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Recent Tasting Notes
Name: An Ji Bai Cha Organic
Region: Zhejiang Province, China
Method: Gaiwan, ~100ml
Water: Filtered tap
Temperature: 175 Fahrenheit
Time: ~20 sec.
Setting: Commute to work
Music: Jazz (Lee Morgan – I’m a fool to want you)
This was my first time preparing/drinking this tea. I decided to brew it 5 times and blend it all in a larger to go mug for my drive. Each infusion went well. The color appeared to be consistent with others’ reviews – a light golden yellow tint. The smell of the dry tea was more grassy than some other green teas I’ve had and very delicate. I’m curious to see how my multiple infusions blended together differ from one big western style infusion.
The first sip definitely met and exceeded my expectations. I usually like to get a sense of the mouth feel initially, and the result was great. It had a similar silkiness that I usually find with a tieguanyin and that familiar green tea after taste that lingered nicely. Unfortunately, I was drinking from a plastic to go mug so the flavors were somewhat muddled by my container, and the after taste was definitely the strongest aspect. Reminiscent of fields of tea plants after a morning shower, lifting the fragrance up, into the air, blending with the smells of the earth. A sweet taste though, no bitterness. I kept getting a chocolate vibe the entire time but would dismiss it. I am now sure there is a slight chocolate characteristic in the after taste, but maybe that’s just me.
The effect of sipping a great historical tea (see “Treatise on Tea” if you haven’t already) amidst the morning commuting traffic with Lee Morgan conducting the theme music was quite extraordinary. Was it the theanine? I think so. Since I’ve been drinking tea and meditating I’ve developed my senses to tune into slight changes in perception and state of mind. The tea, combined with the setting provided a wonderful contemplative state and before I knew it, I was at work still pondering why some people get up every morning and “fight” their way through traffic while mindlessly arguing on the phone, displaying their displeasure through their obvious body motions. I don’t get it. But that’s another topic.
Overall, I bought 50g of this tea and plan on experimenting with my brewing method and explore what else this tea has to offer.
I got this with my most recent order from Seven Cups. Shui Xian is one of my favorite types of oolong tea so I figured I would like this. It has a very nice roasty smell and a light brown tea liquor.
My first steep was for around 1 minute and is quite nice. It has some lovely caramel notes along with some fruitiness, a bit of plum I am thinking. A very mellow tea with a bit of woody flavor present. I should be able to get at least 3 steeps out of it. I like it but I think it needs to be steeped up at home in the yixing teapot!
This is a lovely little mini tuo. I decided to steep one up this afternoon to try it for the first time.
The tea liquor is very rich and creamy — I am definitely getting the date flavor here but it isn’t as fruity as some I’ve had. It’s earthy, sweet and fairly mild. It’s been a while since I’ve had a shu puerh and this is definitely mushroomy/dirty/loamy in character. Pretty good for an afternoon cuppa. I got three steeps out of it before I gave up, but I think it could keep going for a while.
Here’s an intriguing tea I got from my Seven Cups order. I have a friend who is obsessed with peacocks so perhaps I will have to give her some of this. :)
First steep at two minutes: this smells a bit winey, and ergo reminds me of a keemun. The flavor is a bit like some golden monkeys I’ve had. It’s a bit “yammy” and starchy but the aftertaste is slightly bitter with a hint of tobacco.
Second steep: I decided to go for around 45 seconds instead of the longer steep time. This has brought forth some more gentle notes of plantain and caramel. Definitely good to keep the steeping time short on this tea unless you like something really strong and bitter.
More to come soon…
My first order with Seven Cups, it was prompted by something they posted on their Twitter feed a few days ago about this tea. When I first opened up the bag I wasn’t sure if it was a green tea or a white tea, but it’s definitely green!
I’m not always such a fan of floral scented teas but this is really wonderful! The tea liquor is a nice golden yellow, and the fragrance wafting from it is just divine. I probably let this steep for a little too long because I forgot about it, but it’s still really lovely. It’s rich and sweet with a very hefty orchid flavor and a slight twinge of bitterness in the finish, I will try steeping for a little less next time to see if I can eradicate that. I was definitely not disappointed with this lovely tea! Great for a quiet afternoon moment.
(Same producer, 2009 version, too lazy to start another tea description.)
Yankee Candle recently created a line of “man” candles—a couple of which have made it under my roof for candle-loving hubby. Their “2 × 4” scent smells like sweet, light, clean sawdust in a cabinetmaker’s shop. This tea tastes like that.
Thank you to cha dao (Now known as Alex_Allen) for this gift of tea!
I met Alex at the Rocky Mt. Tea Festival on Saturday!
He’s a very handsome and charming fellow!
(I know he’d hate me saying that but he can get back at me now that he knows how talkative and annoying I am in person!).
Alex walked right on up to me at the end of my Cooking with Tea class (which had 5 courses and was yum-o) and said “Are you Bonnie?” And he handed me this tea gift. (Here you’re supposed to say “Awe, wasn’t that nice.”)
Well, I had a tea gift for him too…so we were being true to our Steepster selves and didn’t shame all of you our online friends.
We took an Oolong class together. I’ll talk about that when I do an Oolong tea review.
So, this was quite a big gift! Alex has no idea that before leaving Boulder, I stopped at Peppercorn (kitchen goods) and bought two 6oz tumblers just to prepare this tea (wanted it to be special).
The dry leaves were very pretty as though someone had pressed prescious blades of tea in the pages of an enormous book between waxed paper.
Vibrant greens in varigated shades, most unbroken, two leaves and often a pale bud.
When I stuck my nose into the bag there was a salty buttered spinach smell. Made me hungry.
The first 2 minute steep was so pretty. The green leaves glistening and swirling in my glass. Pale yellow green color and slightly sweet bean scented.
If you could catch the color and drink it…this would be what I tasted. The lightest bean and a vaporous sweetness.
No astringency or dryness at all.
For the second steep the leaves became larger and turned green with yellow.
I played lazily with the leaves, swirling them around, up and down until I was ready to strain them into the second tumbler.
I could have gone longer I’m sure… because this tea doesn’t become astringent.
At the sipping, I was pleased at the sweetness. There was a floral scent that was not present before. At first I thought of vanilla and jasmine but then changed my mind and thought of more of honeysuckle. (You have to consider these things for awhile)
Even though the tea was juicy and sweeter than before, there was a dryness under the tongue yet still no bitterness or astringenty on the finish.
The light sweet bean flavor was the only vegital taste. The mouthfeel not thin but also not buttery.
I wanted to see what would happen when the tea cooled.
After a few minutes, while the tea was still warm, I took a sip and discovered that the tea had become very silky. I thought there might be a transition to buttery as I’ve experienced before but this was very smooth, not thick at all and delightfully silky!
I can see why Alex loves this tea! It’s very forgiving if you mess up the steep time. Silky smooth when cooled and not astringent. Lightly fragrant and sweet.
Thank you Alex…it was a pleasure to meet you!
One of my staple oolongs that I decided to bring to Japan with me. I drank a looot of it!
Backlogging and based entirely on memory.
I’m trying a different format for my reviews with this one, in the hopes of making it easier to read. I am open to any feedback about this format (or my standard one).
Experience buying from Seven Cups http://steepster.com/places/2824-seven-cups-online-tucson-arizona
I bought 100 grams of this tea in April of 2011 and finished drinking it by the end of that year. I used standard times and temperatures for my Chinese greens steeping this wonderful tea in a glass Bodum pot with metal the infuser/plunger; stevia was always added.
The leaf looked similar to Teavana’s Three Kingdoms Mao Feng (T-TKMF), but I believe it was lighter in color: light and dark green, medium-sized curly leaves and buds, with a somewhat fresher aroma than T-TKMF. I remember that this tea was comprised mostly of whole leaves, buds and bud-sets, and that it looked fresher than the T-TKMF. The flavor was standard for a quality green tea, being vegetal and sweet (tasted slightly better than the T-TKMF). Teavana’s T-TKMF produced a somewhat cloudy liquor, while this teas liquor was clear. This tea blended well with T-TKMF. Since it was well beyond it’s harvest date, this tea went for 70% OFF of its original price (at something like $5 / OZ), and I remember it came to about $1.50 / OZ (I just found the discounted price: $5.43/100g).
Overall, I was very happy with everything about this tea. T-TKMF was my second quality, loose-leaf green Tea, and this was my third (a dragon well from a local Asian store was my first). This tea was better than T-TKMF in every respect, which amazed me, as I wouldn’t think T-TKMF was from an earlier harvest date than this one (I bought the T-TKMF during Teavana’s year-end-sale just months before at the end of 2010, so I would think it was probably from the 2009 harvest at the earliest). Since I was enjoying the flavor of this tea about four years after it’s harvest date (I just checked to verify it was indeed 2007, and not, say, 2009), I learned that not all green teas are created equal. This is also a reason why I have much respect for Seven Cups. I would probably buy this at full price if they offered it again, but I have yet to see them offer it from a new harvest (even at $5 /OZ it would be one of Seven Cup’s least expensive teas, as many of their green teas are over $10 / OZ).
This is a very light and delicate green tea, almost too delicate for my liking. I get almost no flavor from brewing it Western-style. When I brew it in a gaiwan (3-4g in 150mL of 180 degree water), I get a fragrant, nutty brew that that endures three flavorful steepings. Maybe it’s just this year’s harvest (2011), because I have tried previous years, and they are much more flavorful.
So one morning, I think,“Hmmm…” I don’t know what to try! Green tea doesn’t sound good, and I’m not in the mood to pull out my gongfu ware for a rock oolong. What, oh what, should I have this morning?"
I go to my tea shelf and sort through all my teas. My eyes see this Golden Peacock black, and I think to myself, “Yes, that’s the ticket!” So I get my 16oz kyusu pot (large, I know) and, while waiting for the water to boil, put a generous dose of two tablespoons into the pot. A couple minutes later, I add the water, cover the pot, and…… well….. I completely forget about it. Heaven forbid that that this should happen with such an expensive tea ($12 for 50g, considering I used 2 generous tablespoons, really adds up)!
Three hours later, I’m sitting at the kitchen table with my roommate when I realize my mistake. I utter a few choice four-letter words, explain my mistake to the roommie, and rush to pour out the brew, praying to the guanyin that it is not totally ruined. From behind me, I hear my roommate say, “I’ll try a sip of that.” So, I pour myself a cup, and then I pour a spot for my roommie to try, warily handing the cup to him. I watch him take a sip. To my surprise, he says, “This is really good tea!” I take a sip for myself. I am totally astounded! Yes, the flavor is strong. No, there is no hint of bitterness. My mouth is bombarded with flavors of malt, rye bread, umami mushrooms, and even roasted peaches. Praise the guanyin (or rather, praise the masterful producers who grew and processed these leaves), the tea is delicious!
So after I finish this delightful brew, do I throw out the leaves, thinking that they have given their all? Heavens, no! I fill up my water kettle, let it boil, and pray for another flavorful brew. I give this steep a good ten minutes, pour out the brew, and take a sip, expecting nothing special. What do you know, there’s actually flavor!!! And not just flavor: sweet fried yams with caramelized sugar, vanilla, and a hint of cinnamon. Good Lord, talk about a durable tea!
The next day, I have another brew. Fifteen minutes this time. I am blessed with yet another cup full of peaches, honey, and malty chocolate. I decide to save the leaves for one more brew(three hours again), which I am enjoying right now. As I write this, I am in a true state of tea-vana, enjoying the fourth steeping of this amazingly resilient and flavorful tea, amazed that people have the power to create such an amazing work of art and pleasure.
Should I go for one more steeping?
This is a wonderful everyday green tea. The leaves are handpicked, and they have retained their wholeness until they reach the cup. It is not every day that we find a tea this cheap, and still be able to appreciate mostly whole leaves at the bottom of the gaiwan. The aroma is complex, the flavor is nutty and vegetal, and you can get at least five steepings out of this cheap cheap tea! I highly recommend this to any Chinese tea drinker.
I haven’t tried this tea since 2010, when the Seven Cups store in Denver was still open. It has a wonderfully, complex, malty flavor. My dad was drinking it, so I only had a taste, but it left a lasting mark upon my memory. Unfortunately, Seven Cups no longer sells this tea, so I’ll have to go with the next best thing. I miss it greatly.
This is definitely one of the best green teas that I have ever tried. The prominent flavor is a sweetness from the unusually high concentration of amino acids. Below this are hints of rose petals, cantaloupe, and button mushroom. It yields a full flavor in a gaiwan for at least three steepings. I am currently finishing my 2011 stock, a gift from my dad, and I am avidly awaiting the 2012 crop, which should be in the next week (April 15 or so).
A truly outstanding green tea. If it wasn’t for the price, I would be drinking it every day!