Norbu Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

91

The first time I drank this tea, it seemed closed-in and lacking in flavor until about the fifth steep. It was okay, but I wasn’t impressed. Looking back, I discovered that I had steeped it at 200 degrees. This time, I used 175 and it seemed like an entirely different tea. I’m really enjoying it.

First steep (15 s; all steeps 3 gms in 3 oz): Tastes like a green tea with unusually good body; grassy/straw flavors. During subsequent steeps (20, 30 s): the grass flavor disappeared and was replaced by wood, with hints of straw and smoke. The flavor deepened and became full and complex.

By the 4th steep (60 s) it was weakening and losing much of its complexity. Back to a light straw flavor. 5th steep (2 min): Rich and smooth. Light but still complex. If 5 steeps seems too little for a pu-erh bear in mind that this 2.8 gram sample has now produced 15 oz of tea, and there is still some gas in the tank.

This tea was an interesting insight (accidental) into how much the water temperature can affect a tea. Also a strong confirmation on the advice I was given to steep young sheng as though it were a green tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 82 ML
Cheri

Sounds yummy!

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I drank this tea yesterday while I was at work. I really enjoyed it! It reminded me of a Kenyan Silver Needles I got from Butiki Teas, with some interesting sheng notes mixed in. Very unique! I finished it up, and before I was going to write my tasting note for it I decided to go stretch the canvas print I had just made…AND I TOTALLY STAPLED MY THUMB! :-O

It was pretty painful. If you want to see, check it out here (not for the squeamish!) http://twitpic.com/ebiscg

Anyway, I never got back to my desk to write this note. My manager took me to the MEC and a doctor pulled out the staple and gave me a tetanus shot and some pain killers. Last night was rough, it was pretty painful and I had trouble sleeping. It seems slightly better today and I am back at work! I could use a nap though…and/or some tea!

Cheri

Ugh. That looks awful. I’m glad it was taken care of by a doctor right away.

Stephanie

I was totally wrapping that stupid motorcycle print, Cheri! And anyone else who was on chat yesterday and remembers me talking about it…

boychik

OMG, I’m so sorry. Bad stapler. i hope you are feeling better. can you ask someone else to do it next time?

Blodeuyn

Aww I am sorry to hear that (Omg that picture!!!). Hope you feel better today!

Cameron B.

LOL the motorcycle! Clearly it is cursed.

I would have stayed home a day. :D

K S

Ouch! I do love living in an age when almost everyone has a camera on them at all times now – and keep their calm enough to take pictures of stuff like this. Hope it heals soon.

TeaBrat

yuck! hope you feel better soon!

mrmopar

I know that hurt! OUCH!

Stephanie

Thanks guys… I’m definitely keeping away from that staple gun for a while!

Terri HarpLady

Just looking at that pic made me grit my teeth!

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it is my second day of steeping this fabulous tea.
Gongfu method
5g 100 ml gaiwan 200F
rinse/pause/ 5/5/7/10/15/15/20sec etc
Quite unusual for me. Dry leaves are so pretty silvery green and uniform in size.
Sweet, somewhat floral with pine notes. Later steeps introduce anise maybe, but its faint and I’m not sure its anise, but its there. pretty thick, yellow. there is some bitterness but its slight and welcoming to make things interesting.
i’m so glad be able to try such unusual and great tasting tea.
Many thanks to the an amazingly generous Steepsterite.

Flavors: Pine

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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86

oh dexter… you always spoil me. this is a lovely tea from Norbu and one i greatly enjoyed, though for the life of me, i can’t recall well enough to write a proper note. It was one of the teas that i had yesterday before running off to do my overnight and it was a great start to the evening. But man, it feels like i drank this a billion years ago. I’d be inclined to pick some of this one up again as it really was great.

Terri HarpLady

Is it purple? YS has one by the same name that is purple, & I loves it

Sil

um… i don’t remember? lol

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A very interesting puerh. The 2011 Norbu Spring White Buds Raw Bing Cha is made of material from Yong De of Lincang Prefecture near China’s border with Myanmar which was harvested in the Spring of 2007. Light compression which flakes off very easily. A little sweetness and a very nice cooling effect. Intense yet delicate evergreen scent. It does taste earthy but still light and smooth, a little naturally sweet, somewhat fruity yet slightly astringent, and there is a bit of malt with a nice lingering aftertaste. Later infusions definitely become more woody overall producing a hint of smoke with a few notes of cedar. A lighter puerh which is definitely worth exploring if only for the purpose of appreciating the many different forms that Pu-Erh can take.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Not enough sleep last night. Must be the cat’s fault.
Running a little late this morning, about to leave, when that inner voice asks…
Do you have tea in your purse for work? Shrug, Dunno
Reach out and grab a random tin of black tea off the shelf and walk out the door.
An hour and a half later, letting a client vent about something that has nothing to do with us, I’m reaching into my purse for that tin of tea.
Some tea gets dumped into my infuser basket. Hang up with client.
Take basket to kitchen, add hot water, return to my desk. Answer 3 questions.
Crap forgot about my tea. Remove leaves. Take a sip….
AND THE WORLD STOPS
It’s like the stars aligned, the atmospheric pressure is perfect, the clouds part, and the sun shines through. I have the perfect cup of tea. Exactly what I’m in the mood for at the exact time that I need it the most.
I actually said out loud – What the hell am I drinking?
Co-workers look at you weird when you say things like that…. don’t care, I spent a few minutes basking in the moment, then went back to work.

This is easily in my top 5 favorite black teas. Amazing.

MissLena

Haha darn cats! Mine ruined my sleep last night too lol..but this sounds like an amazing cup of tea. Love those star-aligning moments with tea haha, especially at work, because no one understands how tea can make you soo happy.

boychik

Priceless!

boychik

Blame it on a cat! I know why you couldn’t sleep. Spreadsheet! That’s why I refuse to make one.

Dexter

I LOVE my new spread sheet!!! I’ll never look up a tea in my Steepster cupboard again. Looking for a fruit tisane to cold steep – it’ll show you just them. Looking for something to sip down – not problem. I can find anything in seconds. Really wish I had done this a year ago, then I would have that much more history (favorites, things to rebuy, what I thought of…) of all the teas I’ve tried. This was the best investment of my time.
The cat gets blamed for everything that goes wrong in my house…. ;))

boychik

I see. You are like my hubby. Whatever happens I’m responsible one. Kids got sick, bad grades, bad groceries, etc.
poor kitty

TheTeaFairy

Lol. Love this review : -) you deserve your best teas all the time. And yay for awesome spreadsheet!

MzPriss

LOVE this note. Now I need to get some

Helene

What a great way to express how you felt while drinking this tea. I see that you are in Canada also. Where do you order your teas? Do you pay high shipping fees. Waiting to hear from you, I’m in Ottawa and used to work in Portage-la-Prairie for 4 yrs.

Dexter

Hi Helene – I order tea from all over the world. Online shopping makes it possible to get almost anything from almost anywhere. There are tons of amazing tea vendors out there. Shipping can be very expensive or it can be free, depends on where you order from and how much you order.
What types of teas are you interested in? China blacks? Japanese green? Taiwan oolongs? Fun flavors? If you let me know what you are interested in, I might be able to recommend a vendor for you or point you to a forum thread on the subject. :))

Helene

I finally updates my cupboard. At the moment I have teas from TeaVivre. I received one box of tea samples from Tea Sparrow. Was expensive and I did not order another one. Then I order a box of tea samples from Amoda and did not renew. I find these monthly boxes get expensive. I like white, green, my family likes flavour teas. I am starting to drink black. Not a big fan because I love coffee. Do you know of any monthly box companies in Canada that are worth buying? Maybe you like the price of Amoda or Tea Sparrow. I think it’s expensive but I might be wrong. I will receive samples from TeaVivre soon. I like the quality of their teas. I want to explore more companies that does not charge us to much for shipping in Canada. Waiting to hear from you. Thanks in advance.

Dexter

I think all subscription boxes are expensive, and then you end up with tea that isn’t your style. I would much prefer to order samples and try tea on my own – but that’s just me.
Teavivre is awesome, glad you found them. I would also check out Tealux:
http://www.tealux.ca/
Really nice straight teas – nice quality, reasonably priced, flat shipping $7.50 under 60.00 or free over 60.00. I find their flavored tea hit or miss, but the straight ones are really good.
Capital Tea Ltd.
http://www.capitaltea.com/shop/home.php?cat=6
Free shipping over 49.00 and they sell all their teas in 20g sample sizes. Great way to try a bunch for a little cost.
Camellia Sinensis:
http://camellia-sinensis.com/en/tea-store
Their tea is more expensive – more high end, but amazing. Free shipping over 50.00
Those three are Canadian Companies, that I really like.
I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE – favorite source of pu’erh – but nice oolong and teaware. Mandala:
https://shopmandalatea.com/
Shipping is 9.00 flat to Canada – they are out of Minnesota – my favorite tea store.
That should get you started – if you would like more info, please follow me and shoot me a PM.

Helene

Dexter: I will have a look at the different sites and will probably place an order soon. This whole tea experience is addictive. I prefer to pay a bit more for more high end tea. At the moment I have the budget because I saved. I am following you. If I have more questions I will send you a PM. Thanks for the help and great info. I think my saved money might dissolved soon in a cup of tea :)

Dexter

The best advice I can give you is SMALL Samples – try lots of different teas, by swapping or buying samples. As you explores your tastes will change, you’ll find tea you like better, don’t buy large quantities until you know for sure what you LOVE and what you don’t. :))

OMGsrsly

I’ll echo Dexter here. Small samples! Or you’ll end up with 250+ teas way faster than you think possible, kinda like we have. :)

Helene

When you say buy small samples you mean the smaller pack of a tea. Per example a White Tea on Mandala is $8 for 1 ounce. Is that what you call a sample? If so that it not cheap if I want to try a lot of samples.

Dexter

White tea is expensive and Mandala is high end. Tealux has 1oz/25g white teas from $4.50. The only straight white at Davids is 14.50/50g – smallest amount you can buy online….

yyz

Usually is anywhete from 10-25g as the smallest size. Sometimes you can get < 10. Some companies sell these as intro packets is Mandalas is listed under sale items and right now it is only for shou but it is $9 Canadian including shipping for Canadians https://shopmandalatea.com/sale-items/ripe-puerh-sampler-pack.html, Verdant has a 5 for 5 deal that is 11 for us. Sometimes you have to search for sizes ie at Capital tea Ltd. The default size is 100g but when you click on this a menu comes up with available sizes. Prices from under 2 and up for the sample depending on the company and the tea.

Helene

I guess I have expensive taste because I like White Tea. At least I know now how to order tea online. Now I’ll have to chose a company and start from there.

yyz

Helene Tao Tea leaf had 5g samples some under 2$ for white tea.
http://www.taotealeaf.com/white/

Helene

I might order some, great price on white teas. Hopefully they are good.

yyz

I’ve only had some of his blacks but they so far have been really good!

Helene

5g will not last long :)

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This came from Nicole. For some reason, I didn’t realize that this is a Darjeeling… Don’t ask me how, the fact that it says “Autumn Flush” probably should have been enough. I guess the fact that it’s called “Imperial Gold” just made me think Yunnan instinctively. And the leaves don’t look terribly different from a less-tippy Yunnan…

Anyway, long story short, I think I underleafed this severely after looking at Nicole’s note… The flavor is extremely light, too. But the flavor that’s there is nice! I don’t think I’ve ever had a Darjeeling before, so I don’t really know what the typical flavor profile is. This kind of tastes like a very light toast with some autumn leaves and a little bit of sweet floral.

Luckily, I have enough left to do another cup with double the leaf sometime. :P

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

sipdown! I am falling behind, BUT i managed to travel for work and NOT buy more tea even though i did find some lol. I had the last of this today in an effort to have a cup that could kick me into action. it didn’t work all that well. I did really enjoy this in the morning though, as it was a little cooler than normal :)

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85

another one from this morning – splash of maple syrup to round off the deliciousness of this cup. This one is slightly smokier than the verdant smoke tea that i have, but both are delicious to me. :)

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85

i think i like this one a little more than the verdant version, but i need to do a taste test since my ratings certainly don’t reflect that. but i had this one again today and it was just a bit more smokey and seemed a bit more tasty than the verdant version from the other day. maybe i can squeeze in a comparison this weekend….

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85

mmmm while this claims to be a lightly smoked tea, there is something in this cup such that, while i agree, it’s also a smoke that lingers, so it feels, after drinking it for a while that it’s more smokey than it is. i hope that made sense. lol I am digging this one, even without my usual maple syrup addition, as i wanted to try this without additions first. I can see this being a possible hit with my tea sister terri :)

this is sweet and smokey and slightly malty. I am really enjoying taking the time to drink my norbu teas today :)

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88

I’ve had this a few time over the past couple of days but haven’t had time to log things. Since it’s my last cup, i figured i should at least get something in here :) On the whole, i’ve rather enjoyed this one – preferring it to the marangi estate assam that i also picked up from norbu. Mostly, i’m just left wanting to try a whole lot more teas from norbu :) thanks again NoFarS for introducing me to them!

Nicole

Do you have any of the Pudina Chai or the Jungpana Imperial Gold? If not and you want to try them, PM me and I’d be happy to share some. I have TONS of the Jungpana… :)

TeaBrat

Norbu has some good stuff!

Sil

Nicole….. I will try to remember to do that, I don’t think I’ve tried either but want to check and iPad is not fear for doing that..

NofarS

:) You are very welcome! I love being an enabler :)

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88

i also had this one earlier today as well. I am a fan of this one from norbu. I wish i had the opportunity to drink more of these teas in smaller quantities. it’s one of the few companies i’m hoping will have some sort of sale in november for folks. they do spring clearance and other such things from time to time, i just always forget to check heh

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88

VariaTEA – this one might work better for you. This particular assam from Norbu is maltier than the other i had this morning, and a little smoother. It’s still got a medium sort of heft to it, but it’s quite tasty, especially if you drink it hot. Cooled, i can see this working incely as a cold brew iced tea in the summer with lemon and honey heh.

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86

having a bad tea morning. this one is bitter today but i know it’s just my stupid taste buds having a crap day. On the upside, it’s still an ok cup to get me gonig this morning, so no hard, no foul..but i’ll stick to tea i know doesn’t ever taste weird for the rest of today or until my taste buds seem to reset lol

MzPriss

I hate it when I get the bad taster days. I’m attempting a reset with Soba

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86

having finally had a chance to try this one, i can understand why VariaTEA found this too bitter for her tastes. She’s a newbie to the dark side, and i can see why this wouldn’t be a happy thing for her palatte. This is 100% a bold, brisk, assam with a bit of astringency. However, on my side of things, this is a great sort of morning tea. There’s just enough kick to get you going and it’s not overly astringent – but there is some there. I do enjoy these norbu teas…just wish they had sampler sizes :)

NofarS

+1 on the sampler sizes, and +1 on loving Norbu tea.

Sil

that’s all because of your awesome swap with terri!

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80

It has been a very long time since I’ve had this tea! I decided to use up the entire sample packet today. I received this in a nice swap several year(s)? ago.

I noticed right away a nice smokey scent to this. I brewed this Western style in a 6oz pot. The leaves were dry, brown, and various texture and lengths. The liquid was a light golden honey color. The scent of the liquid was a little smokey and tobacco-like. It was savory and delicious with some mild astringency toward the end of the cup. There was a hint of sweetness to this as well. Good brew!

Flavors: Honey, Smoke, Tobacco

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec 10 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Thank you Sil for sharing this tea with me but unfortunately I am finding it too bitter for my tastes. I keep trying to get past it to see what other notes are hiding and though there is a slight maltiness, it is 100% overshadowed by a drying bitterness. (159)

Sil

good to know… don’t think i’ve had this one yet lol

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After the mildness of the 2012 Shuang Yu yesterday I opened another sample packet I had bought today and got quite the hit. The dry leaf promised something wild and robust with its solid hay and floral aroma. The brewed tea was a strong amber colour and provided the same hit in a different way. It is sweet and smoky with a mild tobacco edge and vegetal notes. The liquor is creamy and coats the mouth and throat so the smokiness and sweetness endure in the aftertaste. Despite its strength, there is little bitterness or astringency, only enough to enhance the other flavours. This tea is much more in my comfort zone than yesterday’s. I can wrestle with it and expect it to fight back instead of having to nurture it to bring out its best properties.

Flavors: Smoke, Sweet, Tobacco, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
JC

I’ve had a few like this. You feel at home with them. The ones I have to fiddle too much with I end up inadvertently avoiding(too much work when I just want to relax and enjoy).

Roughage

I know what you mean. With the more difficult teas, I tend to wait until I am in the right mood. That usually means finding a rare moment when I can actually sit down and focus solely on the tea. This does mean that they tend to get ignored a lot.

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71

So I attempted pouring a “splash” of maple syrup once again and though I may have been just a touch heavy handed with the syrup, the result is quite nice. The maple and smoke are both very present which is leading to a flavor reminiscent of tasty maple bacon or delicious BBQ. What an amazing combination! Plus, this is a lovely tea. Thank you Sil for both the sample and the maple suggestion. It would be interesting to try this out with an even smokier blend such as lapsang as I feel it would be quite pleasant.

Sil

this is not overly smokey as far as smokey teas go…i tend to find the smokier the tea (as long as it’s drinkable), the better the maple + smoke blend is for me

VariaTEA

I can see that. While drinking his, I found myself wanting more smoke because I figured it would cut down the maple sweetness just a touch.

Terri HarpLady

yeah baby! Although I enjoy my lapsang plain, a little maple lifts it to a wonderful flambé like dessert :)

VariaTEA

I can see that.

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