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Norbu Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

this tea needs another review from me. This will not be a good one. Long story short? Norbu teas make me happy. Happy in the same vein as yezi teas and a few others. I love nofarS for introducing me to these teas via terri. now to go have ice cream for lunch and dinner.

Dinosara

I had this one yesterday too, but didn’t get around to writing a note for it. I will definitely need to write a real one because it was quite good.

Sil

it was. I think i may need to try all the others this weekend that i picked up from norbu.

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93

Finishing off this delicious sample I got from Norbu a while back. Every sip has such interesting flavors… evergreen, a hint of smoke, cherries, sweet malt. I had the 2011 spring version which is no longer available but they still have the 2012 version on their site. Very tempting!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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88

I am really enjoying this wild black tea from Norbu – smooth, sweet and fruity. Deliciousness in a cup! Beautiful long twisted dry leaf; rich red-brown tea liquor; a very mellow sip. This one is a keeper for me.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

I needed some caffeine as the sis, niece and I plopped down to watch American Hustle. No idea why I felt a white tea was necessary for this viewing, but I’m glad I went with it. First off, it’s a resilient white tea. There was even a steep that I forgot about for an hour, and the brew still turned out good.

Second, the taste: Holy whoah.

I’ve had wild and semi-wild white teas before, but this was the best of the lot. It was fruity, herbal, and just altogether robustly awesome. I can’t think of anything more fitting or flowery to say other than that. The perfect nightcap tea.

Now, if only I could find a way to go to sleep.

Pic: http://instagram.com/p/l8l-zoknSo/#

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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100
drank Lao Cong Zi Ya by Norbu Tea
293 tasting notes

It’s been ages since I’ve has a few moments for my beloved Steepster, and even longer since I’ve spent time with what is probably my favorite tea.
This is still a fruity, malty, interesting delight, and it is a perfect pick me up for this very rainy and rather cold night.

Flavors: Apricot, Malt, Stonefruits

__Morgana__

Good to see you. :-)

NofarS

Good to see you too :)

Sil

i miss this one!

NofarS

I really wish that they would restock it, but apparently it wasn’t popular enough. I cannot for the life of me understand why, as it got glowing reviews on Teaviews, and it really is a great and unique black tea.

Sil

yeah…if i could have handled a few pounds i would have ordered it..but that’s a LOT of tea lol

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100

Opened a new batch of this tea, but didn’t have the time to brew it Gongfu, so the wonderful cinnamon-y taste took a backseat to a more generic, roast green beans flavor.
Still one of my favorite oolongs, but one that NEEDS to be brewed with respect.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Green Beans

Sil

interesting…

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97

Okay, so I fell off the wagon on buying tea. But my Mom wanted some of their Pudina Darjeeling Chai and when I got there to check the prices, the Darjeelings were ON SALE! It was practically a moral imperative to order something.

And I’m very glad I did. This is a super good Autumnal Darj. Beautiful dry and steeped, delicious scent. Very, very low astringency, subtly sweet and musky. That said, I did err on the side of Darjeeling common sense and didn’t steep very long just in case. :)

I do however, have 250 grams of it since that was the smallest amount as this is on clearance. So… I can and will share. Or, until the supply is gone, it is 60% off at Norbu and you can get your own 250 grams. :)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Courtney

I know nothing about Darjeelings, but I got one in a swap and it’s amazing! I don’t know what season it’s from though, so I’ve no idea how to get more of something similar.

Nicole

Do you remember the name of it? I have several and would be happy to send some samples along. Personally I prefer the autumnal or 2nd flushes. The 1st flushes tend to be lighter and more delicate, IMO.

Nicole

Well, upon a quick flip through some of your tasting notes, it looks like it was a first flush so I’m probably not the best swap partner for those. Though I would still be happy to send along some of what I have. :)

Sil

Nicole…may hit you up to try this later :)

boychik

I should not read this. I keep ordering nonstop. I’m going to NYC tea festival on March 22 .

Courtney

No worries! I thought maybe you;d have some suggestions more than swapping.

Nicole

-boychik: Well, I’m glad I broke my resolve (tenuous though it was) for this one. :)

-Courtney: I can’t really recommend any 1st flushes. I can tell you that Puttabong is the name of the estate your tea you reviewed came from, though you may already know that. Castleton, Margaret’s Hope, Namring, Sungma, Thurbo… those are some of the estates that pop up pretty frequently when I’m looking at Darjeelings. Maybe try Upton Tea and look for first flushes. Their samples are a good, affordable way to try stuff.

-Sil: I’m sure I’ll probably have some around. :)

Courtney

Thanks! I appreciate the info. I will definitely check out places for 1st flushes. What are the major differences between flushes?

Nicole

I’m certainly not an expert – there are folks around here who know far more than I about this – but here is a link: http://coffeetea.about.com/od/advancedtea/a/Tea-Flushes-In-Darjeeling.htm

In short, the flushes refer to the seasons when the tea is plucked. 1st flushes are lighter and more floral. 2nd and Autumnals have a deeper flavor and usually more of the characteristic muscatel flavor of Darjeelings.

Courtney

Thanks :) Perhaps a new tea area to explore.

TeaBrat

The 2014 first flushes should be starting to come out soon and Upton is a really great place to look for them :)

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84

Sipdown no. 103 of the year 2014.

After reading some of the notes, I’m going to try using less water this time for the same amount of tea and see what that does. I don’t want to go hotter with the water or longer with the steep, because teaddict warned against this as a way to encourage bitterness.

Less water most definitely makes a difference. The flavor is stronger, and I’m getting an almost Darjeeling-like note, a small amount of grapey sharpness to liven up the overall smoothness. It’s not at all like a silver needle as I’d said in my first tasting note. It has none of the dewy, nectary notes I associate with silver needle. Instead, I’m getting more buttery flavor that has a little of something almost like asparagus.

I wish I had more so I could keep fine tuning. I’m putting it on the shopping list for after I come out of lockdown, if ever.

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91

After a fairly rough weekend at work, I collapsed on the bed at around 7:30PM last night. Which…unfortunately prompted my body to roust around 3AM, thinking it was well-rested. Instead of trying to force it back into submission, I chose instead to sip-speriment.

This is the first hand-rolled Darjeeling I’ve ever encountered. The leaves, frankly, resembled an oolong – only not as tightly ball-fisted. Because of this, I made the twilight decision to “gongfool” the sucker- gaiwan, three cups, and one-minute steeps each.

The results were subtle, sweet, floral- no over-arching spice flavor, to speak of. Very unlike any other Darjeeling first flush I’ve ever tried. At times, it was almost too subtle, but I blame that on the wacky approach I used. A three-minute steep later on turned up a bolder profile.

Instagram: http://instagram.com/p/l-6o3oknbq/

Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers, Grapes, Honey

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
Ysaurella

seems really nice. I like geant & hand rolled tea leaves and the flavours you picked out seem really appealing

Geoffrey Norman

I had no idea that hand-rolling was so rare in Darjeeling, but it makes sense. And the flavor profile was far different as well.

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Sipdown.

I decided to try this one tonight since it’s been staring at me whenever I rummage through my sample bin.

After reading the few notes, I decided to do a super short rinse (maybe 5 seconds?) then a shorter steep. I’ll resteep this later.

After wetting them, I definitely get a cedar smell out of the buds. Not cedar chips, but crushed cedar green “leaf” part. It’s quite gentle. The steeped tea is barely greenish. But it tastes so nice.

It’s a little sweet, thick, a tiny bit green, with a hint of cedar. I like this one. Verdant’s is really piney, which is interesting, but I think I like this one better.

Thanks, Sil!

(1.5 tsp 12 oz)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Courtney

I find the tree flavours bizarrely compelling. I never really crave them, yet I really enjoy drinking them.

OMGsrsly

I think that’s how I feel about them as well. Even super foresty/musty puerh teas… I love drinking them, but they’re not something I think about and reach for all the time.

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84

A couple of weekends ago I waded through my tea and pulled out some samples to put into the “to be drunk soon” sample pile. This was one of them.

My first thought was that the leaves are just really, really gorgeous. They have a lot of color variation from medium-dark green to silvery white, and they are, as the description says, for the most part long and twisty.

The sample was in a sealed packet, but the plastic made it difficult for me to distinguish an aroma from the dry leaves. I find that to be the case with all plastic packets, not just the one this was in.

The liquor is a very pale greenish yellow, and the steeped tea’s aroma is faint and a little like sweet grass or maybe clover, slightly floral.

The taste is very light and mellow, not as vegetal as the only other mao feng I’ve had. I almost wonder whether the sample is suffering from age or whether my taste buds haven’t yet adjusted back from the lapsang souchong I had before this (I did attempt to clear my palate, but I might not have done a sufficient job of it). It’s tasting almost like a white tea to me, like a shade or two more intense than a silver needle. But with the same “fresh water” taste. The other notes on this found it to have a more robust flavor, so I suspect user error.

I am going to refrain from rating for now and try it again on a rested palate.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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80

Okay. Again with this one tonight after dinner. I would say definitely spearmint but surprisingly decent despite that. I upped the temp but kept the steep time the same. The tea itself is still pretty light, but still good. The mint is stronger but the tea isn’t bitter yet or dry.

I’ll try the final bit I have left as recommended. :)

1.5 tsp

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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80

This is interesting. Definitely a Darjeeling, definitely mint. Possibly spearmint… which is not usually anything I like. But this is not a bad after dinner cup. It’s very light and you can definitely taste mint but not in an herbal way, there is tea here, too. I would not pick this out as a 2nd flush, but that could either be to hesitant steeping or due to the fact that my palate just can’t pick out the differences unless I have them side by side. I wasn’t really confident in the boiling for a 5 minute steep instructions so I went with less than boiling for about 3 minutes. Luckily, ifjuly sent along enough of this that I can try another cup or two and play with it a bit!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
ifjuly

ooh, thanks for this note—i haven’t tried this one yet actually. i’m crossing my fingers it will make excellent coldsteeped tea once it warms up (which it seems to be beginning to this week!), since traditionally i love both mint tea and darjeeling separately coldsteeped.

Nicole

It might be a very good cold tea.

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95

Brewed this western style, using a Finum basket. Gave it 3-4 minutes, and it needs that time to open up.
The leaves are long, long, long and blacker than a moonless night. They take time to open up, and patience is required for them to release their exquisite flavors.
This is very gently smoked tea, that tastes like a very, very good Keemun – it has some of the malt/bread flavor to it, with a gentle smokiness that does not feel artificial, but gives it depth and body. There is something of the sweetness of sugar to it, and I did not experience any astringency when drinking it. A great intro to smoked teas,and a wonderful companion for a cold winter’s night, in a large steaming mug, with your hands wrapped around it for warmth.
Norbu did it again!

Flavors: Baked Bread

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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I really enjoy wild teas no matter where they’re from and this is no exception…the sun drying also adds another element into the flavor of this tea which i like a lot too…I’ll be buying more of this before the sale is over …

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92

Ok, so now for a proper tasting note, because this tea is worth it. This is from my latest order from Norbu Tea, part of what I bought during their 25% off Chinese New Year sale (on until the 31st of January. Go buy some great tea now! I’ll wait patiently until you are done).
One of the reasons that I love Norbu is that they have all these unique and interesting teas that you can’t find anywhere else, and this is one of them. This is an aged oolong that is practically my age, and yet doesn’t have any funky, fishy, musty smell or taste. It is very dark, and has a roasted note to the first steepings, but from the third steep on it takes on a Tie Guan Yin taste, with flowery, slightly perfume-y notes, and some fruitiness that remains with this tea from the start. I used very short steepings, as this tea came out bold during the quick wash, so I was afraid of over brewing it. The leaves unfurl, and they nearly filled my little Yixing teapot (Yunnan Sourcing Green Dragon Egg – wonderful teapot!) by the fifth and sixth steepings. This tea can go on for ages, and you are likely to tire of it before it runs out of juice. There are some cocoa notes to the tea, particularly in the first steepings, and there’s a nice sweetness to it, yet also a complexity beyond what you normally get even from a very good oolong. A tea to remember, and to slowly and methodically savor.
P.S. I’m not a fan of flowery oolongs, so I’m knocking off a few points due to my personal preferences. If you are at all a Tie Guan Yin person or an oolong person in general, you need to try this tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec
__Morgana__

Sounds wonderful. I love Norbu, too. I’m intrigued by your teapot as well. I don’t have a Yixing yet but I’d like to get one.

NofarS

Please don’t make the mistake that I did and buy lots of cheap, poor quality Yixing from eBay. Invest in good Yixing teapots, they will last you for years if you treat them properly. I have two from Yunnan sourcing and they are all excellent, excellent, and decently priced. One for Sheng, and one for Oolong. I also have one for Shu that I bought at an outrageous price from Le Palais de The, but at least it’s a good quality one. Finally the one I have for black teas is exquisite, and was a gift from a friend who toured in China and asked a local to help her buy “a good quality Yixing for a friend who likes tea” :)

NofarS

And Norbu are practically my favorite tea company :)

Terri HarpLady

I’m trying to stay away from Norbu’s page…

Sil

Terri…stay away! i have samples to send you!

Terri HarpLady

Oh good! Saved! :)

NofarS

I am struggling not to place another order there. There’sa Sheng, a white tea and a few black teas that are tempting me. Must hang in there

__Morgana__

See, that’s the thing. I know you’re supposed to have a different Yixing for each type of tea (and even subtypes) and I worry that I’ll get carried away if I start down that slippery slope. ;-)

Terri HarpLady

Morgana, I have 3 yixings designated for: Sheng, Wuyi Oolongs, & Shu. Then I have an adorable white porcelain teapot with blue lotuses on it, which is the same size as the yixings. Because it’s porcelain, it’s interchangable, but I pretty much use it for black teas. I haven’t got a black tea yixing yet, because some of the full leaf black teas I drink have very different flavor profiles from each other. My mind is telling me that I’d want separate little pots for yunnan, wuyi, taiwan, etc., so porcelain it is. I have gaiwans for the oolongs, etc. It is a slippery slope! Fun, but yeah!

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92

Clean, toasted notes, with hints of plums and cocoa. A very nice gongfu session during a very frustrating conference call.

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