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Recent Tasting Notes
I tried some this morning and managed to get 3 solid 1-cup steeps out of about 1-1.5 tsp of leaf.
This stuff is beautiful when it unfurls, and the liquor is a delicate pale yellow.
However, it’s got some of that same smoky, bitter – almost chemical – quality I noticed in Teasenz’s Yunnan Bi Luo Chun. I bet this would be quite interesting as a black tea, as I find smoky goes better with black than it does with green.
Kind of undecided on this one.
Okay So, I am catching up a tad because I have no data on my phone and not wireless at home. According to my notes, i drank this on 10/16, so…
First things first, Thank you to Ost (don’t know how to bold) for this wonderful sample. She took wondrous care of me in our swap, which her kindness left me feeling inspired because of her amazing generosity yet painfully downtrodden because i had no idea she would be sending me so much, and didn’t match her appropriately, but anyway…
I am in love with Oolong. It, Thus far, is my all time favorite straight tea. Having said that though, I am still developing my pallet and am still a little green as far as reviews go. I loved this tea, and its the first really Tie Guan Yin that i have tried by that name. It was special to me because i had heard so much about how amazing this tea was, how it would change me forever about oolong.
And it did… kinda
The dry leaves were very aromatic, smelling of fresh flowers (lilac, maybe… of honeysuckle). I love opening the little baggy and being taken to another place. Steeping the leaves were a breeze, because of my new Yixing so my steepings were as follows:
1st- 45 Seconds. Beautiful aroma and light colour liquor. Very light flavor.
2nd- 1min15sec. Bolder coloured cup, a lot more flavor. still floral.
3rd- 1min45sec. Began to taste a buttery warmth, like that of a smokey or roasted tea (which would make sense)
4th- 2min15sec. Became very…light. Lost a lot of the aroma and flavor.
I did like this tea and it did spark my interest about what else there might be out there, but i must admit, i was expecting something a little more bold, i think… something more roasted and smoky… But certainly not upset. Thank you Ost :)
Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Roasted
From the Lewis & CLark TTB
This was a small sample, so I had to prepare it Western-style.
This is only my second Dan Cong; I really enjoyed the first so was looking forward to this one. It has a dark, spicy flavor, and long rich finish. Behind the spice, I can detect a sweet fruitiness, but also some bitterness in the finish.
I love Teasenz! They have some of the best teas that I’ve tried.
This tea is fun to watch as it unfurls. The dry leaf is really beautiful. Soft, fluffy leaves that have been scrolled into little rings. So meticulous. Each one is a work of art.
Sweet and delicately fragrant. Light vegetal notes, notes of butter and nut and flower. No bitterness, no grassy taste, and there’s very little astringency. A really, really enjoyable tea.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/07/11/daughters-ring-early-spring-green-tea-ming-qian-nuer-huan-from-teasenz/
Ok so I tasted this one again at home brewed better in a glass gaiwan for 1 minute starting, I did not use a fine strainer to keep the hairs out cuz i don’t mind the hairs and I did not allow the tea to cool very much this time:)
Steep 1- 1min
MMMMM, very nice reminds me of a Dragonwell in some ways.
It is a lot less bitter this time actually just a slight bitter now, still quite vegetal with a little herbaceous, grassy notes. The smokiness is more up front this time and kinda reminds me of the smokiness in a Raw Puerh. It also has some slight nutty notes and the finish is a bit sweeter.
Steep 2- 1min 30 sec
A little stronger on this steep, vegetal still about the same, few differences the Smokiness is a little I dunno woodsy or earthy this time maybe, much more like the smokey notes of a sheng, and the finish is a bit sweeter still with some bitter twang.
Steep 3- 2min
Nah,I don’t think it was very good for a 3rd steep was good but surely faded.
It still has flavor mainly just the smokey note still with some vegetal, too weak now to even be bitter with a faint sweet aftertaste that was as lingering as before. Even tho this is the last fading steep and was faint on flavor it was still quite enjoyable.
So yeah It was much better to me this time and I think I surely effed it up with the microwaved water and clumsy brewing earlier BUT
even tho I ruined it last time it was still quite tasty to me and I still enjoyed it too.
I think it will be still tasty with an even shorter steeps than starting at 1 minute, I’ll try starting it 30secs next time around.
Oh and this tea is Very Fuzzy, more fuzzy that it looks,
You can see some of the little hairs on the dry leafe of this tea yet it don’t appear really fuzzy or anything to me, more like just a little hairy BUT oh my! you can really see lots of fuzzy hairs in the liquid (if you don’t strain it well).
The first time the fuzzies eventually sank to the bottom and formed a hairy glob and this time they just floated all around in the liquid and made it appear a bit murky.
Brew it right and it won’t be bitter or astringent,
Very Nice Tea Either way :)
Flavors: Herbaceous, Smoke, Sweet, Vegetal
This one is pretty damn good, I’ve had it a while i think but it tastes very fresh still.
I can’t wait to get home so I can have it prepared a little better. I prepared this one all wrong because i’m at the dialysis clinic, brewed up with microwaved water eeww with a cheap strainer in a cheap cup its the best i could do because i wasnt prepared.
I let the water cool a good it before steeping the tea because i figured it was too hot then by the time i actually steeped it i figured it was too cool but i steeped it anyways.
i actually expected a bad cup of tea due to the steeping but i was surprised that it was still really really good. I totally hate microwaved water but this time i honestly
couldnt tell it was microwaved because the tea was so good.
The tea leafe aroma is oh so good to me, it smells sweet and savory and vegetal and a little floral and something else i can’t place, very comforting too smells like some unknown something from the past, something mt granny use to cook maybe i dunno lol I know it smells really good.
The tea leafe juice is really awesome! even tho the water may have been crap the tea was wonderful. I got lots of differents notes and taste from this one and it changed a good bit when cooled.
This one was BITTER and a bit Smokey but also Juicy and not astringent at all,Sweet(almost fruity sweet)and Savory, very green and Vegetal and a little Herbacious. I got 2 steepings of it this first time and those 2 steepings was soo different.
The first steeping is awesome and intense, with all the notes listed above, most of these notes were subtle and faint at the start of the cup while the tea was warm and seem to just grow more intense as i allowed the tea to cool, It was almost as if i had the leafe still in the cup that how much it changed just with the cooling of the first cup. At first when warm i got faint vegetal taste with a little sweetness and no bitter or astringency at all very nice also for some reason it seemed light or thin at first, as it cooled those notes became a bit more intense and bitter, it seemed to changed from delecate or thin to bold and full bodied if that make sense and it developed an interesting thick mostly bitter slightly sweet lingering after taste. This one was a bit different than some Mao Jian that i have had in the past and it I like it alot.
The second steep fell a bit short and was alot weaker than the first, it was more like how the first steep started with out ever growing much bolder or getting that pleasant bitter as it cooled, It did grow a bit bitter but just like before.
I do want to talk about the bitter of this one,First Bitter is NOT a bad thing in fact I really like the bitter in this one,it is NOT an eww bitter but a very nice yummy bitter(some folks do like that).
I’m not sure why but Bitter and Astringent seems to sometimes show up together in teas and I notice that some folks are easily confused by the two(like this lady up here who tasted my tea lol).
So this chic tasted my tea(cooled) and she was like "omg, that’s astringent!
I think not it is quite juicy and NOT astringent at all, it is BITTER but in a good way.
I’m not sure if i got the bold bitter because it was steeped using bad water or if thats just the way this tea is but i really enjoyed it still. A nice tea steeped wrongso it must be even better steeped right, i’m looking forward to having this the proper way very soon.
oh yeah I advise using a nice gongfu strainer for this one cuz it is a fuzzy one, i used a shitty strainer so it let all the fuz in my cup which i don’t really mind, at first the fuzzies were floating on the surface but as it cooled the fuzzies that didnt get drank up fell to the bottom of the cup and congregated in the middle looking kinda nasty like a hairy blob lol
So use a good strainer if you don’t like fuzzies in your cup :)
Also i got a happy feeling from this one now too, like a slight tea buzz, thats always a good thing in my book :)
Flavors: Bitter, Smoke, Sweet, Vegetal
Oh man, this is the first tea I’ve ever drank that had me making faces. I looked like a dog that just licked something spicy.
There were definitely notes of dill, so I’m glad others picked up on that. My friend mentioned coriander and I think that is accurate too, though I wouldn’t have been able to place that myself… The smell and taste of these reminds me of a fresh box of Crayola Crayons. Ugg, is that weird? It’s really what it reminds me of.
The brew was a really pretty deep red though. The flavor is not bad but I feel like it is an acquired taste for a Westerner. I don’t know how to describe this tea and do it justice. This is not exactly for me!
Flavors: Coriander, Dill
I’m really fond of this puerh—it has a deep, dark, earthy smell that feels like entering the woods after a little bit of rain. The experience evokes early autumn for me, and wet moss or mulch, without feeling too heavy—the flavor’s well-rounded, not bitter. There’s still a good bit of richness after the fifth steeping. Not to mention the clever (recycled) packaging and adorable chocolate bar brick! Love it—one of my new favorites.
Flavors: Cacao, Forest Floor, Wet Moss
Part of the appeal of Jasmine Dragon Pearls is the dry leaf. The olive green, silver-streaked pearls are so neatly rounded that it’s hard not to be impressed by the deftness of their harvester’s skills. When brewed, the rolled leaves uncurl and open slowly, like fingers beckoning you to watch. Then, of course, there’s the jasmine fragrance. Teasenz’s is already present before brewing; the exotic scent floats out of the package each time I open it. Not too strong, nor too subtle, creating the perfect balance for both long-time jasmine lovers and newbies to jasmine tea.
Following Teasenz’s instructions, I use about 1 teaspoon of Jasmine Dragon Pearls and steep it in just-under-boiling water for 1 minute. It doesn’t sound like much time, but the results douse all skepticism. The pale gold cup gives off a jasmine bouquet that’s richer than the dry leaf yet sweet and calming. What I smell is also what I taste. Each sip blossoms with the right amount of jasmine flavor, an enticing smoothness, and a pleasantly grassy finish.
At 90 seconds, the second steep (about 90 seconds) of Jasmine Dragon Pearls is just as excellent as the first one. The signature floral perfume and flavor still tantalize my senses. Steep #3 (2 minutes) takes on a bolder yellow color, and the green tea’s vegetal undertones mingle more evenly with the slightly weaker jasmine essence that’s still delicious. Even as this tea evolves cup after cup, balance continues to the key.
By the fifth steep (about 3 minutes), the tea offers a more grassy taste with a light and pleasant bitterness. The jasmine fragrance is gone by now, which I had expected. What I didn’t expect, though, was that hints of jasmine’s distinctive sweetness would still peek through when I roll the liquid around on my tongue. I prefer the earlier brews of Jasmine Dragon Pearls, but for a final brew this is a nice surprise.
Read the full review here: http://bibliophilesreverie.com/2014/09/24/tea-time-at-reverie-teasenzs-jasmine-dragon-pearls/
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Jasmine, Smooth, Sweet
Oh my god. Oh. My. God.
Cameron B had such good things to say about this tea a few months ago that based on the strength of that recommendation, I requested 5 free samples from Teasenz. This baby was one of those. And oh boy, Cameron was spot-on.
You should have been there when I opened up the package and inhaled the first wafts of this stuff. “Oh my god. It smells like chocolate. Oh my god! It smells like cocoa powder!” I tried shoving the bag in my husband’s face so he could get a good whiff (and thus hopefully convert to Tea-ism) but he wasn’t game.
I can’t get over how good the dry leaf of this tea smells. I took about 2 tsp, brewed it Western-style in my lovely tiny Brown Betty pot, and poured it all out into a large mug.
Considering I only steeped the first steep for 3.5 minutes, the liquor was astonishingly dark and rich-looking. A lovely dark amber colour, like beer bottles. And the smell was good too! Slightly tart, but dark and sweet like prunes or honey.
The taste isn’t quite as good, but it’s still satisfying. Malty, rich, slightly sweet, no astringency, but it doesn’t quite slap me silly with flavour the way I hoped it would.
Now I’m off to have a second steep!
By the way, I woke up this morning with a bit of a sore throat, and I’m worried this may be the first sign of a cold. I better enjoy awesome tea like this now; I’ll save the crappy-tasting tea for when I can’t actually taste it.
As I mentioned in my full-length review of this tea – http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/06/30/mini-pu-erh-tea-bar-50-gr-from-teasenz/ – I was happy with the aroma of the dry tea. It doesn’t have the heavily earthy scent that I’ve experienced with many pu-erh. Sometimes the earthiness gets downright dirty with it’s earthy scent, you know?
But not this tea. The aroma here is rather soft, really, almost to the point where there’s very little fragrance to speak of. Which in the case of pu-erh, is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.
The flavor is WONDERFUL! Deep, rich, mellow. Notes of cacao. No bitterness or astringency. Just smooth and pleasant. Nicely round.
The chocolate notes are quite intriguing to me because I don’t think I’ve had another pu-erh that was quite so distinctly cacao-ish before. It tastes of raw cacao … not quite raw … but not quite roasted either … perhaps something in between. It also has a lovely molasses-y flavor with hints of mushroom.
Overall, one of the nicest pu-erh teas I’ve had the opportunity to try.
Lewis & Clark Traveling Teabox – Tea #24
Another twisty dark oolong! I like this one more than the other, the Red Robe, because this has plenty of peach flavor.. it’s odd that it tastes like that, but I know these dan cong oolongs tend to do that. The Red Robe is mostly charcoal to me while this one still has hints of charcoal, but also PEACH. A little smokiness but I guess that naturally occurs with the charcoal. The second steep lost most of the peach and was sadly charcoal. When Teasenz was offering to send me samples, they sent over a new Dan Cong not in stock currently, a green one that is REALLY good. It’s like a Wen Shan Bao Zhong. So keep an eye out for it if you place an order at Teasenz!
Steep #1 // 10 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
Lewis & Clark Traveling Teabox – Tea #6
Upon rinsing this one, the scent from the cup kind of made me want to change my mind. I believe I’ve only had one Red Robe years before and it just isn’t my thing, isn’t to my tastes. The scent is charcoal. That’s what I don’t love about it. I can now appreciate subtle notes that weren’t there before my palate has tried hundreds of other teas: a flavor like houjicha, a sweetness, a creaminess, a butteriness that lingers, but mainly it is still first charcoal with a dry texture. It’s kind of nice to know that there are some teas out there not to my taste though!
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // rinse // 2 min
From the Lewis and Clark TTB, put in specially for me from Cameron B.
Brewed in a glass test tube steeper. Steeping times: 15 sec, 15, 30, 60, 120.
The leaves different from other Jin Jun Mei’s I have seen. Instead a mix of shades of brown, these are all golden. They look like little dream caterpillars. Strangely, the leaves immediately sink to the bottom of the test tube steeper when I pour the water.
The dry aroma has honey and fudge. After the leaf is first steeped, an aroma of malt, chocolate, and some toast rises from the steeper. And after the later infusions, the aroma becomes decadent and mouthwatering – I can smell fudge brownie cake (the microwavable kind in a mug).
The liquor is golden brown. Fuzzies freely float around or up and down in the glass tumbler, like the goo in a lava lamp. Medium-bodied. The second and third infusions are the best, when the leaves a re fully awakened but not quite beginning to weaken. The notes are prominently malt, honey, and chocolate. The overall flavor profile is light, bordering gentle – not very strong, but could have been to better suite my tastes. Since it is not intense, this Jin Jun Mei is perfect for an early autumn day, when the sun is out and the temperature is not too low.
These flowers are beautiful. As I mentioned in my full-length review of this tea – http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/06/14/snow-chrysanthemum-flower-tea-xue-ju-hua-cha-from-teasenz/ – I’ve had a few chrysanthemum teas in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a red blossomed tea like this one. It’s lovely!
I may have oversteeped the flowers when I brewed them (I steeped them for 5 minutes) but it was forgiving, and I enjoyed the tea. A delightful honeyed caramel flavor. Mild, not bitter, sweet, with an aftertaste that reminds me of wildflower honey.
A really wonderful, soothing tea.
From the Lewis and Clark TTB. No rating because this is my second Dancong Phoenix (the first I had was well more than a year ago).
Brewed Western-style. Steeping times: 2 min, 4, 8.
Grapes dominate the dry leaf aroma. The wet leaf aroma is floral as well as fruity, more evocative of mid/late-summer flowers rather than spring flowers. The peach-colored liquor is medium-bodied, clear, and muted bright. My brain is confused – it thinks the tea is heated juice! It really does taste like pure juice. Incredibly fruity and sweet, with notes of cherries, apricot, grapes, and starfruit.
Because of the flavor profile, this tea seems like it should be drunk during cool summer mornings or throughout autumn days.
From the Lewis and Clark TTB.
Gongfu-style with gaiwan. 5 second rinse. Steeping times: 5, 5, 5, 10, 20.
A pleasant wet-leaf aroma, full of different fruits: berries, kiwi, banana, and peach. The liquor looks like peach juice. Medium-bodied, smooth, crystal clear. A gentle impression. The overall profile is juicy, sweet, and full of fruit with a starfruit note and a hint of floral.
While this da hong pao tastes good and leaves a fluid floating feel, it’s not complex. And I thought it would do well gongfu-style, but I was disappointed that it pooped out so quickly. I should have followed the Western instructions.
Backlog note 13 of 13 – I’m finally caught up!
Heartened by my success with Teasenz’ Lychee Black tea last night, I gave this tea a second chance as well. And, like last night, I watched clock carefully and used a shorter steep time than I did the first time around.
I’m happy to say that the bitter chemical taste I noticed the first time around isn’t as prominent. It’s there perhaps a bit, unfortunately, but the savouriness of the tea itself comes through more, and I definitely finished almost the whole pot of this.
So, note to self: when brewing Western style, Teasenz teas tend to benefit from shorter steep times. Good to know.
I’m a sucker for Bi Lo Chun teas, and the fragrance when I opened this sample packet from Teasenz was heavenly – buttery, vegetal, savoury…
I steeped it at 80C water for 3 mintes as per the recommended instructions. When I pulled the infuser out from the teapot, the leaf smelled vegetal and heavenly.
However, the tea was quite bitter at first sip – when it hits the tongue, there’s a chemical tang that I’m not very happy with. Mid-sip it’s nice and vegetal, and there’s a surprisingly delightful grassy note in the aftertaste, but the initial bitter jolt when it hits the tongue is unpleasant.
I suspect that I will really need a scale to serve this tea properly, as Teasenz’s instructions specify gram weight per cup rather than volume (teaspoons) per cup. Considering I wasn’t too thrilled with their Lychee Black yesterday, I’m chalking the whole thing up to user error on my end.
Now… what do you guys recommend in terms of cheap, user-friendly digital scales?
These leaves are gorgeous. They’re long and slender and they look so elegant. They have a vegetative aroma that when brewed smells a bit like steamed spinach.
This is one of the finest Mao Jian teas that I’ve tasted. It’s sweet and not as vegetative as the aroma led me to believe. The vegetative taste is more like a steamed artichoke heart rather than the steamed spinach that I smelled as the tea brewed.
The sweetness starts softly, gently, and develops as I continue to sip. It is nutty, sweet, and it has a delicate astringency. A really awesome Mao Jian!
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/06/06/xin-yang-mao-jian-green-tea-from-teasenz/
Backlog note 12 of 13. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
After some hesitation, I decided to try this again last night. This time I was much more careful about the steeping time. I kept it to between 3 and 3.5 minutes.
And it worked!
This tea definitely had a true lychee taste without any sourness and only a little bit of astringency, and tasted pretty smooth. However, it’s best to have this hot; as the tea cooled, it became a bit more harsh and chemical-tasting.
I’m really happy I gave this a second chance.
First note for this tea!
I have to admit that I didn’t watch the clock carefully on this tea, so it’s entirely possible that I messed up the steeping parameters on this.
Um… I’m not sure if I like this tea. I can definitely taste the lychee flavour, but it was really bitter and floral. I’ve had fresh lychees, and know they have a floral undertone to them, but I also know they can be quite sweet and juicy – I was expecting more of that juicy flavour to come forward.
Put it this way: I finished only half the pot before I had to leave the house in the afternoon, and then dumped the remainder down the drain.
I’ll need to experiment with this, as the sample from Teasenz was quite generous. But I really hope that my subsequent brews are more enjoyable than this.