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I had the opportunity to this year to dring two Mao Jians. One was called Tai Shun Mao Jian and the other one is what i’m drinking right now – ZheJiang Mao Jian. I was not impressed by the Tai Shun version. It was on a completly different level then this AAA version from ZheJiang. I think even somebody new to teas would notice the difference. The first thing of course is when you open the bag is the astounishing fragrance (and it’s not a Bi Luo Chun). Very fresh and a bit fruity – you just can’t resist. The second thing you notice are the dry leafs – dark green plastic color, almost even in size, small curly leafs. You definitely feal that there was some effort put into it and it’s not something done in mass production.
The local supplier adviced to steep for few seconds. I couldn’t agree with that. Chineese greens can take much more (except the ones created using japanese steaming methods). So i steeped for 1 min. (later 1:30) with 75-80C water and…..delicous. Full green, fruity flavour without any bitterness. Long juicy aftertaste ( also a sign of quality teas). The leafs unfold slowly and show their true self after a few steeps (3-4). The color of the wet leafs is a bit lighter green, but very nice. You can see that the leafs they used very quite young. Overall a very good tea and a great alternative to Bi Luo Chun (especially since i was not able to get a good Bu Luo Chun this year :

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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I’ve ordered this tea mainly for my father, because he has some good memories of drinking black tea in Russia. It woudn’t be me if i didn’t taste this one.
The tea comes from the restored gardens in Ozurgeti in Georgia. Tea was first planted in Georgia in 1830 when prince Miha Evistavi smuggled some tea seeds from China. Geogian tea was very popular and recognized in whole europe. They even won some prizes in different tea exibitions. But later they started to supply tea for the whole Soviet Union and since the demand for quantity grow, the quality dropped. The reputation of the tea dropped and between 1990-2000 most of the gardens went bancrupt or had been cut down. But thanks to some enthusiast and also the involvement of the government some gardens were now restored and offer once again very good tea.
The one i got from the local shop is a fresh crop from Spring 2010. The leaves of the tea are very nice, long and evenly oxidized. The smell very nice, like tea covered in caramel.
Steeped for 5 minutes with hot water (about 95 degress C). Again very nice smell and the leaves opened so you can see them in their full beauty.
The tea is nice from fragrance and nice for the eyes. Let’s see how it tastes.
Yeah, i need to say that it’s really good. Deep dark flavour, sweet, with hints of caramel, honey and also with a slight hint of vegatable sharpness.
I also noticed that the flavour is even better if you leave the tea to cool down to like 50-55 degrees. Very interresting tea with an interresting history and from an interresting country :)

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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This is again a Pre-Quing Ming 2010 tea. The leaves look on the first sight like the famous Long Jing, but they smell a bit different. It seems that it’s not roasted in the wok as much as the dragonwell. This gives the tea more natural feel. The leaves have a light green color and smell very fresh. You can also smell a similar fragrance like bamboo shoots. This is not a coincidence. The tea was named Zhu Ye Quing, which means “Green Bamboo leaf” ( by Chen Yi in 1964).
This is a AAA class tea, so the manufacturing is very precise. Very good first impressions, but let’s see how it tastes.
The supplier adviced to steep it for few seconds. Can’t agree with that. About 1 minute gives it a very good and still mild flavour. The liquor has a bright yellowish-green color. I smell bamboo again…not an issue, i love bamboo shoots.
The tea is very refreshing and i would also say “juicy”. I gladly recommend it for drinking even if it’s hot out there. This is also a similarity to the famous Long Jing. Long Jing is said to have a “cooling” effect. Some chinese ads say that this tea refreshes your body and soul :) …agreed!
I can’t feel the classic roasted aftertaste and i like it. It very natural, a bit fruity and tastes after green bamboo leaves. Also, as usual for chinese greens, it can take up to 5-6 steeps.
So to sum up. We have a very good quality tea for a lower price than long jing. It tastes good, smells good and looks good. Nothing can replace the Long Jing, but i’m not looking for replacements. I’m looking for something new a fresh. Hey, it’s spring :)

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Just got this tea today. Fresh 2010 early spring crop (pre Qing Ming 2010). I was really interrested in this tea, because it is also called “room filled with fragrance”. Thought that this could be something similar to Bi Luo Chun. And you know what? It’s even better. At least in my opinion. This one is AAA grade and costs not even a half of AAA grade Bi Luo Chun. When opening the bag, the smell popped out and filled the room…ok, the name fits. The leafs are very nice, dark green, curled like small snakes (again..like bi luo chun but without the silvery tips). The processing is great, the leaves are alomst even in size. Now the local store advice to steep it for like 15 secs. Thought that this is quite short, so i let it for 35 sec., than later 45 seconds. I think 45-50 is great for this tea. The liqour was creamy had a standard light yellowish-green colour. Smelled realy nice. But the ultimate weapon is it’s taste. It’s so deep – with many layers. It’s a bit sweet with lot of fruity and flowerly aroma. It’s always a pleasure if the beverage goes through your mouth. That’s how a nice spring tea should taste like. Go get it if you see it somewhere. I’ll go and make some more steeps :)

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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drank Sencha Miyazaki by Tealand.sk
17 tasting notes

Finally spring is stepping in, it’s a bit warmer and brighter outside. I’m starting to get excited how 2010 Shincha’s will taste like. Anyway…i just had to get an injection of Sencha. This one is from ichibancha 2009. Brought recently like a middle class sencha for “everyday drinking”.
The price is ok (7EUR for 50g). Looking at the leafs, they seem pretty nice in colour, plastic, dark green. Not so even leaf size like the expensive brothers, but that’s the same for most fukamushi’s. Taste is what counts.
The tea can’t take much infusions – max. 3. The fourth is very weak.
Now the colour of the baverage is nice – like most of the good senchas out there – bright green. It’s also nice creamy and clean.
Now let’s see how it tastes. Not really the exploding sencha i like. The taste is quite calm, nothing stands out too much. Pretty harmonic. A bit grassy, a bit fruity, with a mild aftertaste like after you ate some fresh peaches.
Overall i’m quite satisfied. The tea represents it’s price range.

155 °F / 68 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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Wow..this is what i needed. This is how quality gyokuro should taste like. When i fist tried the gyokuro i bought in Japan i thought that i will never get this quality here in my country. I was wrong. I was surprised to see an aging Gyokuro in the offer of our local tea dealer. This is something you have to try..so i’ve ordered it.
I opened the tea pack an “booom” a very intensive but fresh fragrance came out. How is this even possible? After 4 years? My mother came to the kitchen and asked what’s this strong tea smell :)
The leafs were nice and clean, had dark green color..usuall for gyokuros.
First steep – nice bright green color, not the really clean transparent one, but more like milky (milky way :-)). Again very nice fragrance and the taste….Oh MY GOSH!! So deep, so many layers, so mature, so fresh even after so many years, so long and strong aftertaste – fruity, grassy, woody, milky…and very tasty!
I did 5 steeps. The fifth one was weak, but usually if you have fresh japanese teas, you can be happy to make 3 good steeps.
If you see this somewhere…you have to get it. It’s very rare and very good. I got it for 17,30EUR for 30g, but hell it was good investement

160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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Well…i didn’t like it. Fortunately i only ordered a sample, so i don’t have this bad feeling of wasting money.
It doesn’t have extremly bad taste, don’t get me wrong. Somebody might even like it. For me it tastes like reeds. Also very dull taste. Maybe it’s because i usually don’t dring white tea. But this can’t be true, cause i liked Snow Buds or the classic Pai mu Tan (Bai mu Dan).
I feel bad when i need to give bad rating for a tea, it doesn’t happen very often :

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Sencha Yamanoibuki by Tealand.sk
17 tasting notes

A very good quality sencha. Just opened the bag today, fresh grassy and sweet fragrance came out. Took out the leafs…really nice quality. Dark green plastic color, quite long leafs, no dust, clean work.
Followed the instructions from the supplier, steeped for 1 minute in 65C water. Feels like the right temp and time for this tea.
The beverage was very clean, had bright green color. Smelled kind of sweet. The taste was strong but very harmonic. It was a bit more fruity than other senchas. It left a nice long fruity aftertaste in my mouth. Was very satisfied i just wish they made it more grassy. On the other hand it doesn’t go like “boom” but is more like a very calm and wise old man :) It’s a good tea to drink it all day long.
The second time i steeped it for 45 sec., i know that almost every japanese tea gets stronger during the second steeping. Was a right decision. Even with the 45 sec. it was stronger than the first one.
Can take like 4 steeps..pretty standard. Next time i’ll give it some more leafs, let’s see if something pops up. Anyway, i think this is a very good sencha. I had better ones, but not for such a price (50g for 13EUR).

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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I just recieved a package from our local tea shop – tealand.sk. Lots of high quality teas and also some free samples.
The first thing i tried was this Long Ding (not Long Jing) – a chinese tea where only the buds (young leafs) are used. This is a premium quality tea, you can see that the leafs are approx. the same size, no dust, no crippled leafs. Frangrance is very strong and grassy. Looks like a very good chinese green.
Steeped for 45 sec. like the suplier adviced. Looks like it was the right amount of time. The beverage had a pretty light green color. Though it will also taste very light like the an ju bai cha. But i was wrong, the taste was also like the fragrance of the dry leafs – strong and grassy, but also with a light flowery aroma. Almost taste like good Bi luo chun, but without the fruity aroma. The liquor was creamy and pure.
It’s a very good quality tea, but….it is pretty similar to most of the chinese teas, it doesn’t give you a special aroma and taste like bi luo chun or long jing (dragonwell). Even though it’s not special, it’s very good.

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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drank Ben Shan Oolong by Tealand.sk
17 tasting notes

This is an spring oolong. Precise production, very good quality leafs, very light oxidation (about 10-15%), nice green color and fresh smell.
I’m kind of surprised by the quality. Didn’t expect that for such a price. Usually you can get a Tie Guan Jin of such quality for about 2-3x this price.
I love lightly oxidized oolongs. They have a very light aroma with a nice flowery guidance.
I’m steeping it for about 1:30 minutes and the 5-6th steeping for about 2-3 minutes. The liquor has a bright brownish color, very pure and smell nice flowery. You can get some more aroma via gong fu cha, but it’s also fine using a “normal” method.
This is a very light tea, really reflects spring. Can be drunk all day long (also because you can steep it like 6-7 times). I don’t really like jasmine teas or any other teas with additional aromas. In this case the flowery armoa is created during the oxidation process, which is really beautiful.
A very good tea for a very good price, what else does a tealover need? Well, i wish they had it on stock, unfortunately it’s sold out :

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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