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Recent Tasting Notes
Christina gave me a big sample of this tea and I’ve enjoyed it 2 times aleady! Thanks Christina!
I like to add a little honey to this tea to give it a bit of sweetness and bring out more of the honeysuckle floral taste. I’ve been feeling pretty good drinking this tea and love the fact that it’s anti-bacterial. I have to get some more of this tea for the winter months ahead.
This is the last sample I have provided by Teasenz. All of them have been very good quality at a reasonable price. They offer flat $5 worldwide shipping from China.
The aroma of this one is fresh field hay with soft floral notes. The dry leaf contains plenty of furry silver buds and light green to dark brown leaves. The taste of the first cup was like drinking fresh mountain stream water, filled with stone and mineral elements. Mid sip reminds me of damp forest leaves. Late sip has light floral elements that remind me of the namesake peony flowers. The second cup is much darker in flavor. It is a combination of stone, forest leaves, and fruit – like apricot with hints of plum. Second cup seems more syrupy.
First tasting note for this tea!
The dry leaf of this flower tea is a mix of white and pale green strands, but since I couldn’t see any jasmine buds or flowers, I’m assuming that the two weren’t mixed together to create the blend.
However, the taste of this tea wasn’t that memorable. The jasmine flavour was thick, but it was a surface-level thickness, without a lot of body underneath. A lot of the time, with really good jasmine, there’s an underlying sweetness that reminds me of oranges or orange blossom, but that secondary flavour wasn’t present here. I’m going to chalk that up to there being no jasmine flowers in the blend.
The green base was quite mild, which I didn’t appreciate — I think that if the base tea had a more intense flavour, it would have competed with the surface-level flavour of the jasmine and overall given it more body.
Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2015/10/random-flower-teas/
The leaves of this tea are long and spindly, and light pea green. They also smell like buttery vegetables and snap peas.
The resulting brew was pale yellow that darkened to a clear green as it cooled. This had a more traditional green tea taste – buttery, vegetal, and green-beany, but still remarkably light and clear.
The leaves are long, spindly tubes with a dark forest green colour and they smell faintly of licorice. The resulting brew was clear, light green, and had a delicious sweetness on the back of my tongue to complement the notes of greens and cooked vegetables. It reminded me of pine sap — a bit sticky and refreshing.
This is very nice. The dry scent is typical of silver needle yet the taste is a little different. It is clean and crisp. It is sweet. Not at all bitter. Instead of a hay and cucumber profile, this one leans a little more towards green. It has floral/fruity notes. I also catch fast and light hints of minty. I steeped for the recommended 4 minutes at 175F. Had I gone short steeps at slightly higher temp, it would almost certainly turn out differently. As prepared the flavor is bold for a white tea and has plenty of depth. I feel refreshed and relaxed after sipping. Teasenz sells some pretty good tea.
This particular Mao Feng is among one of the highest in quality I have had the pleasure to sample— it’s not something I say lightly, I am incredibly particular when it comes to this specific type of tea since it’s such a favorite. The flavor is mild, with a slightly nutty undertone that tastes almost of roasted chestnuts and a natural, honey-like sweetness. For something so lightly flavored there is a surprising amount of depth. If Mao Feng weren’t already a staple in my cupboard this would be the tea that convinced me I should always keep some on hand.
You can read the full review on my blog:
This was a tea Christina generously sent to me. I have today off from work so could take my time learning how to brew this one. It’s not my first time having this type of tea and I’ve liked it in the past but find it a bit expensive compared to other teas.
Of course who couldn’t love the dry leaves of this type of tea. So flat & big and they smelled so fresh. I found Teasenz video on how to brew and followed their directions:
Here’s my cup:
Okay, so I brew it in a cup but do I drink it in a cup? Doesn’t the leaves get over steeped? I gather I’m not supposed to drink from the cup since I time it two minutes so I transferred it to a pouring pitcher but it’s a messy business pouring from a cup.
It’s a beautiful light tea with green bean notes. It seems to have a bit of floral edge to it too. I don’t get much chestnut or buttery notes from this tea which is common in many Chinese greens. That makes this tea quite different and special. In the past I considered this tea too expensive but look at how much work goes into making it. I watched this video from Teavivre while drinking this tea:
I can really appreciate now this is a great tea to keep in stock for when I’m in the mood for something different and fancy. Thanks Christina for the sample.
Flavors: Floral, Green Beans
Felt in the mood for a green today. Grabbed this one from Teasenz. I have had Xin Yang Mao Jian before and liked it. This one looks different. The dry leaf is very dark green and is tightly rolled like long wiry stems. It is almost like pulling a birds nest out of the bag. Dry it smells intensely of malt along with a sweet and sour aroma like fresh cut dewy grass. Once brewed the scent becomes heavily green and leafy. The first thing I notice when tasting is the bitter. I hate using that word when it is a good thing as it is here. It is crisp and refreshing. This is also sweet. Imagine that. The last time I had a Xin Yang Mao Jian I still had the Splenda monkey on my back. Now I’m clean and monkey free (mostly) and I recognize this as sweet – (sweet!). This feels thick and almost syrupy by mid sip, before trailing off into a hefty green vine like aftertaste that lingers. A Nice tea.
Now be aware the package said to steep this 4-5 minutes with 2-5 g of leaf. I went on the high end of both. After drinking I noticed the website said to steep this ONE minute. I knew better but went with the bag instructions. I fully plan to have a go at this again using the short steep. It was good but potent today. I think the reduced time will make this a wonderful refreshing break from reality – and who doesn’t need that?
The dry leaf of Teasenz’s Tai Ping Hou Kui is gorgeous and unlike any other kind of tea I’ve seen before. The leaves are pressed long and flat like thick blades of grass and have a delicate, fluffy texture like feathers or moth wings. The different strands of leaves mingle together so that it looks almost like the tresses of some beautiful mermaid.
The first steep produced a brew that was pale yellow-green and had a mild smell that was briny and vegetal. However, the taste itself was much stronger — it packed a sharp punch that reminded me an awful lot of some sweeter sencha teas.
Full tea review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2015/08/teasenz-tai-ping-hou-kui/
August? What happened to July? For that matter where did spring and summer go? The first cold snap is probably only 7 weeks away. Oh well, maybe that will help get me moving drinking tea again.
Actually, I tell you what it takes to motivate me – Jin Jun Mei. I love Fujian tea. This is a really excellent one. I honestly can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this one. From the moment I opened the bag I was hooked. It has all the wonderful scent you expect from it. The leaf is beautiful. The brew color is dark, dark, ruby red. The aroma is intoxicating. Teasenz says it has notes of orange. Others mention this as well. To me it is like fruit wine, except better, cause its tea ;)
The taste is honey and sweet potato, malt and hay, along with the fruity wine vibe. Accompanying this mixed in with a pleasant bite is molasses and cocoa.
I made two mugs and the second was as excellent as the first. I know most of my reviews are positive – because I don’t drink stuff I don’t like. That said, this is really good. If I still rated teas, I would slide the bar way to the right.
The liquor is brilliant, nearly fluorescent, yellow with the light behind it. Sipping, it is not bitter and has no sharp edges. It does have just enough bite to excite the palate. The feel is a bit creamy. The taste is clean, crisp, and is a mix of nutty with underlying floral. The aftertaste is grassy with floral and melon notes. It is not a strong aftertaste but lingers a long time. I also catch a definite dryness and some cheek tingle that isn’t out of place with this type tea. A very satisfying Chinese green.
I received this tea as part of a sample from Teasenz. I’m not a big fan of roasted rice with green tea [Genmaicha] and so figured I wouldn’t like this one much. Wow was I surprised! I would say if you like Houjicha [roasted sencha] tea type flavors or heck even if you like a bowl of cheerios then you should give this tea at least a taste! If you want something warm, but a little different from the normal tisane/tea fare then definitely try this gem.
The smell reminds me of cereal, specifically regular cheerios for whatever reason. The taste is similar to the smell but with more pronounced roastyness [yes I make up words]. Definitely a afternoon or mealtime type tea.
Flavors: Roasted Barley
This was removed from the Here’s Hoping Teabox the last time. Each piece is pretty big and heavy. But whoa this is the flavor I love from pu-erh. The cup gets very dark almost instantly but as the piece of pu-erh unravels, I’m noticing some pretty long leaves – some are about an inch long. Usually a pu-erh has much smaller leaves, even with comparable flavor. It’s amazing that such a dark cup can come from such large leaves. The flavor is delicious dark chocolate and maybe hints of vanilla bean. It’s so delicious. Exactly what I want from pu-erh. It’s smooth, silky, with no hints of disagreeable pu-erh flavors (or being at all bitter or astringent). The second and third cups are delicious too – the same! It disappeared from my cup so fast each time! The little cube of tea filled up my brew basket pretty heavily about half way up, so that must be why this one is so dark, deep and delicious… so many leaves! The description says the leaves are based from Yunnan which I’m starting to realize might be my favorite pu-erh base. I have one piece left to savor but I wouldn’t mind stocking up on this one! All of the teas I’ve tried from Teasenz have been great.
Steep #1 // 2 minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 2 min steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2-3 min steep
Steep #4 (next day) // 6 min after boiling // 6+ minute steep
Anyone know how much caffeine in general ripened pu-erh has compared to other things like black tea or coffee?
Well first of all it helps to put your review on the correct tea :D. My first review of this tea should be tossed as it was not this tea!
Anyway now down to this tea’s actual review. I found it quite amazing how different the taste is from the dry smell. I also liked how long the twists were. Overall this tea is very similar to houjicha [i think anyway]. And yeah I know I also said that on my wrong review but it’s true! The dry twists have an almost slight raisin smell to them with a somewhat earthy note as well. The prepared tea smells roasty just like houjicha but the taste is a bit more subtle than houjicha. I think i’ll try steeping it longer next time and see how it compared then. Either way, I would recommend this tea to anyone preferring a good roasty flavor probably during/after a meal or specifically in the afternoon. Due to it’s scent and flavor it’s a more savory type of tea. Thanks to Teasenz for this sample!
This tea makes me think of houjicha to a point. It smells roasty although the taste is far less so. It’s a good tea but doesn’t make me think premium or anything like that. Probably a good tea to drink whenever you prefer houjicha type of tea. Take green tea and roast it but to a lesser degree than houjicha and that’s pretty much this tea.
Flavors: Green, Roasted
Man, it is humid today! I am pretty sure the air is soup, it feels like living in the South! I have mixed feelings about humidity, on the one hand it means possible storms and rain, which I love, on the other hand it makes everything feel damp. I spent the entire night fussing with my pillows and sheets because they felt soggy, my clothes feel soggy, my paint is just not drying, and my hair is super poofy. I am enjoying the damp smell of earth and wood that is wafting through my window though, so I forgive most of the side effects, well except the soggy feeling bed.
When my box of samples from Teasenz arrived, I did a squee of joy over the Da Hong Pao, but I also let one out over today’s tea, Jin Jun Mei! Another tea I ran out of recently, so there is no surprise that this was the first tea I opened up and drank from the sample collection. From the Tongmu Village in Wuyi (same home of Lapsang Souchong) in a way this tea is considered the super fancy version of Lapsang Souchong. Picked as a Pre-Qingming tea and only collecting the delicate buds, these ‘golden eyebrows’ are super pretty, but I do love my fuzzy golden teas. The aroma of the delicately curling buds is super rich, with notes of malt, and different layers of woodiness. There are hints of sweet pine sap, cedar, and a pinch of sandalwood, it is very aromatic, not as sweet as some Jin Jun Meis I have experienced, but still pretty intense. The finishing note is a whiff of molasses and honey, with just a hint of roasted peanuts.
Tossing the leaves into my gaiwan and giving them a good short steeping (well shortish, long by puerh standards but short by western…ok it was 30 seconds, you be the judge!) and the aroma went super intense and sweet. Mixing honey and molasses with rich malt and just a hint of the previous woodiness in the form of delicate pine sap. The liquid is super sweet and creamy, with notes of malt, molasses, cocoa, roasted peanuts, and pine sap. Ben who was sitting on the other side of the room remarked at how good the tea smelled. He insisted on having a cup, which is understandable, he is a long time fan of Jin Jun Mei.
Ever had tea out of a pine cup? Me either, but I imagine it would taste like this, rich, sweet, and malty, with a distinct pine sap undertone. It is quite entertaining, the pine taste does not overwhelm any of the other notes, it compliments them. The finish is a blend of cocoa and molasses, which lingers for a while.
The aroma of the second steep is super heavy on the pine sap, giving is a woody sweetness, again reminding me of tea in a pine cup. The taste is not as sweet this time, but still super rich, starting off with a thick mouthfeel and heavy note of malt. Malt is definitely the defining taste, it is accompanied by molasses and just a hint of honey and cocoa at the finish.
Third steeping time! The pine notes have mellowed some, now it is distant pine and nice rich malt and molasses, much sweeter, similar to the first steeping. The taste also is super rich and sweet, starting off with honey and finishing with honey. The middle is a rich building malt and molasses that rolls across my tongue like a sultry wave, the taste gives it an almost thick feel, but that is mostly in my mind since the texture is very smooth. This feels like a more ‘grown up’ Jin Jun Mei, blending very rich notes with honey sweetness, I like its extra body in comparison to others I have had.
My town was hit with a flash flood, and this brew was a time filler before class. I actually wasn’t going to drink this at first; however, I decided to take a peek inside the bag, and I was whooshed with the most intoxicating aroma. These small green pebbles carried a fresh ivy scent that I just had to try. I placed the small emeralds into my warmed gaiwan and took another inhale of the enticing aroma. The ivy scent had developed into a vibrant spring and grass aroma. Although, the taste was slightly diminished in comparison to its scent. The initial sip was a dry vegetal tone with a mineral sweet undertone. This brew lasted for quite some time. Once the storm died down a little bit, I left my steeping to wander into the rain. I really wish I didn’t have to leave my tea room xD
Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Mineral, Sweet, Wet Moss
There is nothing really exciting going on in my life at the moment, so instead of my usual introduction, I shall skip right along to the tea.
By tea, I mean herbal tea, since this tea is in fact tea-less, Teasenz’s Himalayan Black Tartary Buckwheat Tea- Soba Tea From Daliangshan! If you are not familiar with Tartary Buckwheat (Fagopyrum tataricum) do not feel too bad, unlike its more well traveled cousin Common Buckwheat, this plant is pretty much not eaten this side of the world. So, hailing from the Hunagduan Mountains’ cold climate, here is some roasted seed tea! I am such a sucker for roasted and grainy smelling/tasting things, so this is going to be right up my alley. The aroma is is like a big bowl of cereal without the milk, like sweet roasted grain, baking bread, and honey. In fact, it honestly reminds me of Honey Nut Cheerios, a grain heavy aroma, but with a distinct honey sweetness.
So, writing about this made me think about it, so I am also drinking this tea while writing about it! Usually I do not do that, but it does happen sometimes. It doesn’t help that I am super sleepy and the idea of a toasty herbal tea just sounds perfect right now. So while my tea is steeping I shall write about the soggy buckwheats, their aroma is delicious. Seriously, it is like a blend of grain and nut butters, baking bread, and warmed honey being drizzled over said bread. You know those commercials that have someone sensually drizzling honey over baked bread and the image is so delicious you can practically smell it through the TV? It is one of those moments. The liquid is pretty sweetly fantastic too, not as strongly nutty, still some intense notes of cashews along with cereal and honey. Still reminds me of Honey Nut Cheerios, and I am totally ok with that.
I actually have been drinking this tea quite a bit since I got the samples, I am notoriously fond of having my last cup of tea be either roasted corn tea (Oksusucha) or Sobacha (roasted regular ol’ buckwheat tea) so I am actually drinking my last cup now, sad. One thing that really surprised me was how incredibly smooth it is, and thick, with an almost creamy mouthfeel. Someone drizzled honey over buttered bread it seems! I can’t stop comparing this to baked really heavily grainy bread (like the kinds that make the outrageous 20 different grains claim on their packaging, come on, at least 10 of those are different kinds of wheat) that I have been known to eat copious amounts of. Freshly baked and drizzled with honey, Tartary is sweeter and buttery-er, than common buckwheat, especially as it cools, which really brings out the sweetness. Also if you are feeling adventurous, taking a bit of honey and drizzling it over the now thoroughly cooked tartary makes for a tasty snack!
It is a sad day today, last day of the Dropzone Commander Tournament, and yours truly will not be in it because I lost. Ben (who is the Best General, he got an award for it and everything) is still in, and I would not be at all surprised if he wins, even though I was so hoping to go against him in the finals. Honestly it was not even because I wanted to win the tournament, I just really want a rematch against Ben and his stupid Shaltari! So tonight I will bring my tea and equipment and make people tea if they want it, and maybe pick up a game with one of the other people, and if that does not pan out I can always paint my golden Prowlers to go with my crazy looking golden Annihilator!
Let it be known, when I opened my box of samples from Teasenz and saw they had included their Red Robe Da Hong Pao I did a little squee of joy. I had run out of the good stuff and only had some really low grade (really I think I paid $2 for it at my local International Market, and it is…interesting) and Teasenz has never disappointed me with their teas, so I had high hopes for this one. You all know me, I have a serious weakness for Wuyi Yancha (Rock Oolongs) their rich mineral and char notes ground me, I am not sure if it lines up with Traditional Chinese Medicine, but they seem to have a strong Earth and Wood Cha Qi (why yes, I have been brushing up on my studies lately) to me. Metaphysics aside, this tea smells really good, in fact I will go out on a limb and say this is the sweetest Da Hong Pao I have ever sniffed! There are strong notes of rich cocoa, hovering between dark and milk chocolate, toss in the notes of baking biscuits, moderate notes of slightly fruity pipe tobacco and autumn leaves, and finish off with a blend of char and myrrh. This finish reminds me of the charcoal incense burner and resins I used to use a lifetime ago (ok, it was only 15 years ago, so half of a lifetime!)
Into my Yancha pot the substantial amount of leaves go, I think it was the incredibly valuable resource of TeaDB where I learned the fine art of brewing Yancha traditionally. Lots of leaves, almost boiling water, and super short steeps! I can safely say that brewing Yancha that way was an eye opener, so much so that it was the second tea I dedicated a Yixing pot to. The aroma of the wet leaves is super strong in the cocoa department, leaning toward cocoa butter with its creamy sweetness. There are also floral notes of spicebush (or, I was just recently reminded, the flower Dianthus, they smell almost identical) and orchid. At the finish there is a hint of char and mineral, like wet stone. The liquid is very creamy sweet with notes of honey and cocoa, there is a gentle lingering floral, along with a nice kick of char and mineral at the finish giving the tea a bit of depth.
Yep, this is the sweetest Da Hong Pao I have ever had, there is a dance of honey, milk chocolate, cocoa butter creaminess, and flowers on my tongue at the beginning. That lasts until the midtaste, at the end of the midtaste, but before the finish, a very distinct orchid note for lack of better word blooms in my mouth before moving right along to a robust finish of char and wet rock. The aftertaste is a blend of loam and myrrh, this first steep was a powerhouse of sweetness and those familiar rock notes.
The adventure continues with the second steep, the aroma is still really sweet, though the cocoa and honey notes have a stronger accompaniment of spicebush, char, and wet slate (if you were curious which specific wet rock it is) along with a gentle finish of tobacco and myrrh. This steep is quite intense, though not as sweet as the first. Starting off with strong notes of mineral and char, then moving into a fruity tobacco. After that there is a pleasant explosion of spicebush and honey, the spicebush notes lingering into the aftertaste to be joined by notes of cocoa at the finish.
For the final steep, the aroma is a bit mellowed out, notes of char and mineral with a sweet gentle floral note and a honey finish. This steep really lets the rock part of the name Rock Oolong shine, with notes of wet slate and even a bit of fresh spring water mixing in with rich char and a finish of cocoa. Not a very complex final steep, but a very mineral heavy one, which I enjoy.
ooh, how i have been WAITING for this day… especially since i have been about… a month without a Chinese black, since my black dragon pearls from another company were a bust. literally. opened the bag to find crumbled pearls, while the whole pearls, and the replacement package, were bland.
ANYWHOO. The leaves are a lovely black and gold, my bag is more black than the pic on here. The scent is of honey, straw, and cocoa. Mouth watering.
I use 1.5 tsp for 10 oz of water, 200 degrees for 3 min.
The liquor is a lovely, dark brown-red, and smells of honey and chocolate. The initial sips while still extremely hot are of Sweet potato and honey. Cooled enough to actually drink, the sweet potato takes a step back and shares the show with honey, chocolate and light notes of straw. There is a lovely honey aftertaste that builds with every sip, encouraging you to forget about whatever it was you were doing before you picked up the cup and started sipping, and focus entirely on the amazing tea in your hands. I love the taste of this tea, but to me, the aftertaste is even better! There is no astringency, this beauty is silky smooth in anticipation of your time together :)
This is everything i remembered about this tea, and im quite happy with it, and i cannot believe how inexpensive this company offers this tea for. If you like blacks, and like/dont mind a sweet potato taste in your tea, you cannot afford to pass this tea by.
Wow, this is a great and interesting tea. It smells of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, tobacco and moist earth. The taste is malty, funky, earthy with a little hint of mushroom. There is a smooth astringency at the beginning but it finishes smooth. This is a very flavorful and fun tea that stands out from the pack. I used 4 pearls for 12 ounces of tea and it brewed up nice and strong with a slightly mellower re-steep.
Flavors: Astringent, Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee, Malt, Mushrooms, Tobacco, Wet Earth