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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlog- You just can’t beat the price of this tea. It was a bit over $7 for 100g. I brewed it up the other day. Haven’t had too much of Jasmine Pearls lately. It was like sitting down with an old friend. Brewed for 2 min at 185F. Jasmine was done perfectly. Not too weak or too strong. I used to like extremely potent jasmine until I learned it only comes from artificial flavouring. Now I prefer the jasmine to be more natural.
I think this tea could get bitter easily if not brewed right. I could detect only faint bitterness near the end of my cup.
Flavors: Astringent, Jasmine, Vegetal
It wasn’t all that long ago that I had never even heard of Mao Jian. Now I’ve experienced this one from Nourishtea and another from Teavivre. My latest discovery is that Mao Jian is basically second flush Mao Feng! Who knew? It appears that the following analogy holds:
sencha : bancha :: mao feng : mao jian
Or maybe we could compare second flush or autumn flush darjeeling with the first spring flush? That might be a better comparison, because I find Mao Jian more similar to Mao Feng than bancha is to sencha. In fact, bancha tastes and smells nothing like sencha to me. Haute sencha reminds me a lot of gyokuro, but even the best bancha is sui generis. In contrast, darjeeling is always darjeeling to me: whether first, second, or autumn flush. Perhaps that will change over the course of this year, as I should be a darjeeling expert after twelve installments of the Golden Tips subscription plan. But that’s another story…
I drank a two-glass tetsubin of this Mao Jian for my mid-day green. It seemed a bit heartier than before, probably because I used more tea. The liquor was pale greenish yellow. I like this tea.
I wanted to compare this Mao Jian from Nourishtea with the one from Teavivre, but this is not exactly a steep-off chez sherapop, as I brewed and drank this tea after the Xin Yang Mao Jian. I also failed to use the same parameters.
For this two-glass pot, I used 76C water (not 79C) and steeped for about three minutes. To be honest, I am not sure which I prefer! All I can say for sure is that I do like Mao Jian, in general.
The liquor of this brew was greener and lighter than the Teavivre, but it might be because there were small particles of broken leaves in the bottom of the glass for the Xin Yang. Another interesting difference is the appearance of the dried leaves, which are darker and more uniform in color in this case.
In order to decide which Mao Jian I prefer, it looks as though I’ll have to do a serious steep-off chez sherapop!
Today’s lunchtime pot was Nourishtea’s Mao Jian: The Emerald Path. Once again I was pleased with this organic single-source China green—a happy discovery at the grocery store a few weeks back.
Once again I noticed that I enjoyed the second glass more than the first, though I had of course removed the infuser basket, which strongly suggests that the flavor is affected by the temperature at which the brew is imbibed. I used slightly hotter water today, but I think that in the future I’ll go back to a lower temperature, since this tea seems best brewed à la japonaise…
Today’s post-lunch POD (pot of the day) was Nourishtea’s Mao Jian (The Emerald Path). I’m happy with this China green. The liquor is pale greenish yellow and the flavor slightly vegetal—but closer to Mao Feng than sencha. Definitely a good mealtime tea!
I noticed today that my large tetsubin cools the water by almost 10 degrees C! Good to know…
second infusion: once again I found that the leaves nearly double in volume upon reinfusion. The flavor is still good, and the color more gold now than green.
Nourishtea The Duke of Earl was naturally irresistible at a measly $6 for a big fat can (110 grams) of single-origin, high-altitude Sri Lankan tea laced with organic bergamot oil! As advertised, the infused tea leaves really are red, and appear to be torn into similar medium-sized pieces.
The liquor is dark amber and the flavor is good. Maybe not my favorite Earl Grey, but a fantastic value for an organic and fair trade single-origin blend with a high-quality black tea base. The dried leaves are very richly scented, but the bergamot does not overwhelm in the brewed tea. I do not have the sense that anything is being covered up or hidden here (as is often the case with mediocre Earl Greys). No scratchiness or rough edges, happily.
Le Duc is a solid Ceylon Earl Grey offering—in addition to being all-natural, organic, and fair trade.
I’m always on the look out for loose tea at Whole Foods and other grocery stores, but I’m finding that the pickings are generally pretty slim. The sachet format seems now to be regarded by “normal” consumers as the best thing since sliced bread. We tea-aholics know, of course, that a can of loose leaf is worth about 100 sachets—and usually tastes better, too!!!!
My latest discovery has been these inexpensive loose leaf organic and fair trade teas from a Canadian company previously unknown to me: Nourishtea. I picked up a couple of the cans at one of the local grocers and was somewhat shocked at the low price (~$6.00 for ~ 100 grams? What???) When I read the text on the cans, I was even more surprised to find that the teas used are single origin. The Emerald Path features China Mao Jian from Zhejiang, and the crispy, wiry leaves reminded me of some Mao Fengs I’ve tried.
The brewed tea is pretty good. However, the water I used was a bit hot (my thermometer is still MIA from the move, and I did not realize until I put the glass to my lips that the water was hotter than I usually use for green tea), so I’m going to try again with a cooler temperature. So far I’m optimistic!
second infusion: the high quality of this tea was confirmed in the second infusion, during which the leaves nearly doubled in volume. They look fresh and green and the leaves are quite large once unfurled from the compact wiry dried form. I do recommend this tea. The liquor is darker golden, but the taste is smooth and delectable. No bitterness, no roughness. A very good single origin China tea: Green Mao Jian from Zhejiang—amazingly available at my local grocery store!
This tea was actually the completion to my biggest fear mission ever. Let me explain, the way I first got into drinking tea was drinking china green tips by tazo that my mother brought home one day. After buying it over and over again I thought that personally it was way too expensive and I was spending way too much on it. After doing some research I saw that I could lower my cost with buying it loose leaf. I tried going through many a type of green tea as I couldn’t find the exact taste I was going for since googling the type it was wasn’t so successful and I was still new to the team game so I had a lot of trial and error times but finally I found this. This is label led as a Mao jian, but now knowing that tazo is a Mao feng? I’m still quite confused as if Mao feng and Mao jian is the same thing. Because buying the teavana Mao feng they are the exact same just this is at a much lower price point. If anyone can explain that I’d be so thankful. Anyways, without all this I wouldn’t have come to love all my new acquired tea loves. This tea is nutty, not too vegetal which I like and has rich notes that make me go ahhhhh. love love love it. It will always have a special place in my heart
Read our whole thoughts on the tea at our tea blog: http://teaconnoisseurs.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/sun-soaked-darjeeling/
Brooke: I wouldn’t want this mix every day because I am not necessarily a huge fan of simple black tea but it is the perfect black tea. It is so clean: nothing added, nothing modified and no extra flavours in there. I do really enjoy it; I am looking forward to offering it our guests. 8/10
Stacey: How often do we have guests? In any case, this is simple and delicious. I’m happy. ‘Nuff said. 8.5/10
Dry the leaves of this bop ceylon smell of raisins, a little sour and dusty. It brews to a dark mahogany. The tea smells of malt and something sweetly vegetal like cooked peas overlain by lemon and plum/cherry tones. It is sweet on the tongue at first sip but the flavour dissipates quickly leaving a sensee of cool dryness in the front of the mouth. The flavour doesn’t seem to hold a lot of base notes but the top notes are a fruity floral with a hint of vegetal. The floral is sweet with a faint hint of spice like clover mixed with carnation. The fruit is sweet hinting more of plum or a sweet blackberry rather than tart like the lemony smell might suggest. The floral/fruit mix it actually at times reminds me of sweet grass, quite nice. Oddly enough a bitter malty tone appears only after drinking
about half of the cup. The tea flavour is nice enough but it lacks depth and body. It is kind of thin for a breakfast tea. I think it would taste rather thin with milk, however if you drink tea black it is pleasant enough.
I decided to have the Dragon Pearls with my tea biscuits this evening. Thanks to my recent purchase of digital thermometer I was able to fine tune the brewing of this fragrant tea. I noticed in the past that this tea has a tendency of turning bitter fast, therefore proper temperature and timing became crucial here.
I steeped it at 80C for 4 minutes with excellent results. The brew is pale in color, mild on the tongue with prominent floral notes which are not too overwhelming for my taste.
Still one of my favorites but I’ll be curious to try another company when it’s time to re-order just to see how this one holds up in comparison.
This was the first white tea that I tried in the loose form and the tea that made me understand that I have to switch from bags to loose tea. I’ve tried many different brands of bagged white tea before that and every single one was turning into dark brown liquid in under 60 seconds of steeping time. This one was first to brew into a golden color.
Overall taste wise it’s a very pleasant tea. I enjoyed it quite a bit until I stuck my head into the premium department and realized what else is out there. It’s sitting a little lower on the quality scale for me because the leaves in my tin came quite broken up and I even got a stem or two.
This was my first Jasmine tea and I have to say I really like it. I was a bit nervous when buying it because I heard that the scent is too powerful for some but I decided to take the plunge. After all how can you say no to these beautiful hand rolled pearls and the name that has the word ‘dragon’ in it. This tea simply had to be tried.
The tea is very fragrant but not too overwhelming for me. It has a very pleasant, delicate taste but have to be careful to not over steep or it will turn bitter. My first couple of brews were a bit on a bitter side. After refining my steeping procedure, I now get it perfect every time.
For some reason I love to have this tea in the afternoons… I don’t know why but it just seems perfect that way.
I wasn’t expecting this tea to actually have full rolled leaves. I also wasn’t expecting this tea to look as good as it does, with nice deep green colors and surprisingly lovely silver needles. The scent leaves a lot to be desired, a light woody scent, but it is quite lovely to look at.
Steeping gives a nice golden color, with a light and planty aroma. Very promising.
The flavor, although very surprising as well, is also a little disappointing. There are light hints of earthy and woody flavors, and a bit of astringency, but it is not strong enough, and because of the light flavor, can drop out once the pale taste takes over.
This could be due to a mass production process, but if the tea were fresher, the scent would be stronger and the flavor more full bodied. A very promising tea that just couldn’t go further.
I have never really dove into minty teas. I have had a couple, and tried many teabags before going to full leaf teas. My general impressions with most are not minty enough.
You would want to have this refreshing experience, like say taking an Altoids mint. Some are even clever enough to mix chocolate flavoring in for an after dinner experience.
The aroma of both the leaves in the canister and while steeping reminded me of mint teabags. There is a more dulled minty scent, less refreshing than I had hoped. This is slightly worrisome.
The initial few sips remind me of a lighter black tea, but then surprises when the minty freshness sneaks from behind.
It’s more of an understated freshness, nice and cool and mild. With a bit of rock sugar it’s a great calming late afternoon tea.
I was surprised to find this at Save-On last night, as I did not expect to find any loose-leaf tea there. A whole line of Nourish Tea was in the tea isle just waiting for me to buy.
I didn’t really expect a lot from this tea, as it would be a typical breakfast tea. The first sip about ten minutes after steeping wasn’t great, somewhat too bitter, and with most typical breakfast teas I find the taste of orange pekoe quite bland.
I let it cool for another ten minutes and gave it another sip. Not bad second time around, less bitter.
It still wasn’t anything special, and typical orange pekoe doesn’t sit well with me very long, but with more sugar and some milk, this tea just might be a little more.