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Recent Tasting Notes

BanZhang King Ripe (ha ha…) as the label reads from White2tea moving sale. As you all know by now laobanzhang or LBZ is the greatest of all puerh. All other puerh bows in its presence, which is how it got to be known as the king of puerh. First you might notice that this tea has no age, that’s cause LBZ trees are magical and can travel back and forth through time at will. No one knows exactly how old the tea is when being picked. This tea could be from a tree that doesn’t yet exist and has traveled back in time. Another possibility is that Paul, the owner of White2tea, a well known time lord and used his puerh powered tardis station to capture this mystical tea in some unknown dimension. Now that we all know a little more about LBZ its on to the tasting.

Before removing the wrapper one must make sure to put on welding goggles or very dark sunglasses to protect the eyes since the tea itself shines like the sun. Carefully removing the wrapper I pick up the cake and it fills me with powerful energy, it feels like electricity coursing through my veins. In fact I happened to be holding a light bulb in my other hand and it would light up whenever I was touching the LBZ. The tea seemed to know I was in the mood for a 10 gram session, a good sized chunk removed itself from the rest of the cake, floated in the air till it settled in my gaiwan and proceeded to separate itself into it’s individual leaves. LBZ doesn’t smell of anything in the traditional sense. Wisdom, enlightenment and intelligence are what my brain registers as I hover over my gaiwan and sniff.

I grab my kettle, pour some hot water over the tea, drain my gaiwan directly into my cup and stare into what looks like the infinite. Grabbing my cup I bring it slowly to my lips for the first sip of his majesty….Reality melts from around me, replaced by something that can not be described in any words I know. The effect is like loading the universe into a cannon, aiming at my brain and firing. Kubrick probably drank this right before writing the end of 2001. All sense of time and self are gone. I am a being of pure energy travelling the cosmos. Eventually I come to on the floor wearing nothing but my goggles, having a full grown beard and still holding my cup. The clock reads a minute later and the date is the same. Time for myself has obviously passed at a much different rate than the world around me….

Having now tried the King of all puerh I can see why it’s so sought after. It’s an experience like no other but not one to be taken lightly. I suggest all who wish to try it read this carefully and be prepared.

Preparation
10 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
looseTman

No hyperbole here! ;-)

Grill

Paul from White2tea wrote haha…. On the label I’m guessing since no one would ever make a ripe out of Banzhang material so I decided to write a silly story about it

looseTman

Sure, why not. It was very entertaining! Well done!

awilsondc

There is a difference between Ban Zhang and Lao Ban Zhang… this is almost certainly not LBZ, but sounds delicious none the less! http://www.thechineseteashop.com/blog/more-about-ban-zhang-pu-erh-teas/

boychik

i envy your excellent writing skills! very entertaining, agree with looseTman.

Grill

Boychik if my high school English teachers ever read that someone envied my writing skill I think that they would faint lol. Wilson I know it’s not lbz or probably even bz just makes for a more ridiculous story :)

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Having a 2014 Ma Hei mini tuo from I think the Tea Horse Family production.
I received this from a friend and I am still waiting on some more info on it.
I let this one open up overnight after rinsing it twice.
Impressions, I worked the tuo open and saw some decent leaf in there.
Brewing it, light yellow color. Brew itself, it starts a little soft like a Yiwu and then it kicks like a Lao Man E. Not bitter but the bit of mouth numbing effect to it.
Cooled it gives a touch more bitter but not enough to turn anyone off for such a young sheng.

teatortoise

Why let it sit all night?

mrmopar

Tuos can be hard to break open without destroying the tea. A rest period after the rinse lets the tea open up a bit before brewing. Usually gets a better brew early on after the rest period.

teatortoise

Because it releases the flavor by steeping with the moisture, just like shou, right? But what I’m wondering is, does it really take all night for this tea?

ashmanra

I never thought about letting a puerh “open up” for an extended time. I need to try this! I am humbled by your great knowledge and skill, mrmopar!

JC

This is a a must for tightly compressed Puerh for sure. This helps you avoid over steeping the outer layer of the leaves by the time the piece of the cake/tuo opens and exposes the leaves inside.

Mrmopar have you ever tried steaming your tuos for loosening them up? sounds cool, but I feel like I’d damage my tea, or not let it dry enough for storing it again in loose form.

mrmopar

ashmanra, just a trick I learned.
JC, I have seen the videos but I haven’t tried it. I think my ability would fall short on that technique.

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
171 tasting notes

Decided to follow the advice of a fellow steepsterite and mixed up a 50-50 mix of Salted Caramel and Peanut Butter Cup, and it was a fantastic idea! The blend was very heavy on the salted caramel tastes (which I’m glad had a decent amount of salt; I feared it wouldn’t be noticeable) with a light peanut/chocolate taste in the background. The two teas mix nicely. I’ll certainly finish off the last tsp. of my sample of Peanut Butter Cup like this.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Kristal

I’m really looking forward to getting my sample of peanut butter cup. If I like it, I will try it as a latte :)

Fay

I think it would be really good as a latte :)

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Today was Happy Tea Mail Day !
I received a care package from Grill. Samples of 2 sheng. One is a mystery.
I love mystery teas.
Dry leaves are gorgeous, long, golden tips ,silvery and dark. Smelled a little like FF Darjeeling, somewhat floral and hay.

5g 75ml gaiwan 200F
rinse/ pause/ short steeps, almost flash

The brew is bright yellow with slight orange tint. Wet leaves smell a little smoky but it didnt translate into taste. its smooth, pleasantly bitter, and somewhat astringent (that didnt bother me at all)

By the 4th steep i was tea drunk and had a dumb smile on my face. I felt the energy concentrated on my eyes, i tried to open them wide haha . Also my face feels numb on a cheeks and around the mouth.

I have a feeling this tea has long legs and i will continue it tomorrow. For now, i need to make a dinner.

Thank you so much Grill for sharing this sheng with me. its excellent tea and quite an experience.

PS He promised me to tell what tea it is after i finish my sessions ;)

https://instagram.com/p/6ngCMWBwgq/

https://instagram.com/p/6ni8o3Bwn7/

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 75 ML
curlygc

Mystery tea packages? That sounds like fun!

boychik

Yes, especially when the tea is so great. Wish all my mystery tea could be like this one

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76

2 grams of Sir Thomas Lipton Earl Grey from Lipton, plus
1 gram of Origins Darjeeling Tea from Twinings

I have these two big tins of teas which I don’t like. I don’t find them any good, neither black nor for builder’s brew. But I don’t want to forget about them and leave them to waste. So I thought, why not blend them together and see how it comes out?

Glad that I experimented. The result was surprisingly nice. Not that they tasted wonderful together, but at least I didn’t have the urge to make a “meh” face like I did with them individually.

The bergamot flavor from the Lipton EG was still there, it was light and quiet, in the background. The Ceylon from Lipton and Darjeeling from Twinings blended together they produced this interesting sweetness that was quite pleasant. And then their astringent taste… how should I explaine… It was like, when tasting these two teas individually separately, they broadcasted their loneliness by producing astringent taste. Now that I married them two, they broadcasted their happiness by producing a sweet taste.

Oh geez, sorry I sound like a 5 yr old… I will just shut up and go drink more tea now.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 240 ML
Nicole

LOL… that is an interesting way to phrase the blending. :) I have a canister of teas I’m not wild about (all unflavored blacks so nothing is going to overpower anything else) and I use the to cold steep overnight in the fridge for iced tea. Franken-tea. :)

Louise Li

So you put every unflavored black teas that you don’t like in the same tin? And then make cold brew tea from the blend?
I always worry the liquid while cold brewing will also absorb weird smell in the fridge.

Nicole

Yes. I put it in a pitcher and cover it tightly. So no weird smells get in the tea.

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It’s that time of year again for great tea value opportunities! …
TeaVivre’s 4th Anniversary Celebration!
http://teavivre.com/sale/anniversary-celebration.html

Terri HarpLady

Quit trying to get me in trouble LTMan…I don’t have any money to spend!

looseTman

Who me? ;-D

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I’m actually drinking a green tea called blue butterfly, but it’s not getting its own entry yet because I’m not sure if it just tastes like a combination of gentle fruits with bubblegum and dish soap, or if my bottle absorbed some of the flavour of the Fairy Liquid when I gave it a really thorough soak last night. UGH. :(

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30

i tried steeping the following

http://steepster.com/teas/yunnan-sourcing/49544-2013-yunnan-sourcing-autumn-ye-sheng-raw-puerh-tea

and

http://steepster.com/teas/upton-tea-imports/11567-roasted-oolong-zo20

least i can say i was not impressed..

i could barely taste the sheng even when i did a ration of ttl 5g 50/50 2.5g each

i guess one must mix like/like teas then.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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So today’s blog is going to be something different, it will not just be me writing this time! Time for an introduction:

First, allow me to simultaneously introduce myself and disabuse you of any notion of my credibility: I am a tea barbarian. As you may have pieced together from Amanda’s fleeting references to me on this blog, my taste runs to strong Blacks in boiling water. I may not be so debased as to use cream or sugar (save with Indian-style teas), but my palate certainly lacks the subtleTEA (I made this pun just to further reduce your estimation of my character) you are accustomed to seeing in this blog.

Why, then, am I contributing my thoughts now? Upon seeing Amanda getting this assortment of exciting candies, I came to two simultaneous resolutions: if they were terrible, I should not allow the woman I love to suffer alone… and if they were good, I needed an excuse to muscle in on some of that candy.

As you will see, both resolutions were soundly fulfilled!

Matcha Caramels-Red Leaf Tea

These were just a little too sweet for my liking, the caramel is very sugary and the white chocolate very sweet, the Matcha taste is pretty mild, I think if it were stronger I would really like these because it would make the sweet not as intense. 2 out of 5

To the best of my knowledge, there is no direct Macha-less equivalent of these fancy little candies. But why would you need one? I’m a sucker for caramels in general, but the hard-ish coating and Matcha flavor take these to a whole new level. I gorged myself on these, clearing a bag in an hour – twice. Five out of five.

Matcha Crunch Bars

Why, how, WHY!?! Seriously, what went wrong? It starts out sweet, like really low quality nasty white chocolate and grassiness from the Matcha and then it gets really weird. Like soap and wax paper blended into a disgusting dance, but you know I have had worse, but that aftertaste just WILL NOT GO AWAY! It lingers forever, like eating Matcha flavored soap laced with sugar. -4 out of 5 (also giving these to a friend as a way of introducing them to Matcha candy aka getting rid of them is a good way to never have them eat anything you give them that is green again, oops)

Crunch bars may be my favorite chocolate bar, so I was most excited for these out of all the options. This was a terrible, terrible mistake. To their credit, unlike Aero, they did not hold back on Matcha flavor – even the crispy sections hold the taste strongly. On first taste, if you like traditional Matcha more than I do, you might think this is a really well done snack. Take my advice: start with small bites. Or, better yet, no bites at all. The flavor you get from these bars will not fade with time, so much as it will actually rot on your tongue, turning more bitter, and harder to ignore, by the second. After eating just one of them, I found myself unable to make it stop or enjoy other flavors for over an hour of constantly chugging water to clean it away. Buy this solely as a practical joke on a tea lover you particularly despise. Death out of five.

Matcha Kit Kat Bars

So ever wondered what white chocolate and a Matcha latte with a side of wafer cookies tasted like? It tastes like a Matcha Kit Kat! I really liked these, they might have been my favorite of the candies I tried, they tasted bright and green with just amount of sweetness to be enjoyable. I feel bad, I only gave Ben one at the end of the tasting because I just tore through the bag, definitely a 5 out of 5 for me!

Sure, I like Kit Kats, but after the Crunch bars, I’ll be honest: I was ready to give up on the whole exercise. Amanda’s prompting and these Kit Kats lured me back. They probably have the most even split on this list between candy sweetness and Matcha flavor (the caramels are sweeter, and all the others are much less so), for a really well-rounded and iconic experience. Four out of five.

Aero Matcha Bars

Oh man, I have not had a legit Aero bar in ages, so nostalgia! I love the texture, and that is really it. The chocolate coating is waxy and lame, just generic chocolate bar, the Matcha center tastes like vaguely Matcha themed chalk, it was not bad, but it was super boring. 3 out of 5

I’ve never had the non-Matcha version of this chocolate – apparently, it’s an English thing. It has a fairly standard exterior, but is all full of little waferey balls which crunch and fizz in your mouth. The good and bad news here is: those balls don’t hold much flavor. The outer chocolate was mild enough that I found Matcha Aeros to be a lot like just air – I don’t know whether this differs from what I’d think of normal Aeros. Two out of five.

Lotte Matcha Caramel

I grabbed these little chewy things on a whim because I love chewy candies and they were super cheap (unlike the others, except the RLT caramels, I still feel somewhat cheated) I loved LOVED the texture and really that was it. Ever have those waxy nickle nips, after the liquid gets slurped out you get the wax bottles and if you were like me you chewed on them for hours trying to extract every bit of sugar out. Same texture, different taste, like the person who developed these has heard of Matcha but never experienced it. It is super odd, a bit grassy, and also spicy with a definite pepper finish. I am still trying to decide if I liked them or not. 3 out of 5

I’ve never heard of these before, so I was curious about them. From the size and texture, I expected something like a Matcha Starburst, but the actual effect is less sweet than that – and also, less Matcha. Sure, you can taste the tea somewhat (moreso than in, say, the Aero), but mostly, it just tasted odd. Like toothpaste and pepper? Or perhaps like Anise and grass? It was in no way unpleasant, but I’m not sure I can think of much to recommend it. Two out of five.

What I learned from this experience? Matcha candies are overpriced and I should just stick to making them myself. Currently in my fridge is a pound of Matcha chocolates I made and nibble on whenever I get the craving! I do want to experiment with more random things with Matcha in them I find at the store!

Photos and all that good stuff: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/06/matcha-candy-adventure-with-guest.html

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First time I’ve used this random steepings tag! This was a sipdown of an unidentified teabag sample I received from Mina in the Hapatite tea swap. It was labelled ‘black tea with fruits and spice’ and is in a little round, organic-looking (?) teabag. Other than that I have no info. I can’t say that I mind – I definitely wouldn’t be picking any more up! The scent is very cinnamon-y, and the main note is also overwhelming cinnamon. I think this has stevia in, as it’s very sweet with no additives, and there’s a lingering back note of orange. It is so so cloying and sweet, and almost undrinkable. Blech. Sorry Mina!

I would rate this tea around a 16.

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GCTTB

I couldn’t find Yinzhu silver needle green in the database, so I decided to review it here.

This poor tea. I wonder if it was in the box too long, or was contaminated by the other tea’s, but it sadly did not taste very good. I found in my first couple of sips a vegetal flavour, but it was too faint. Unfortunately, the tea tasted a little stale and perhaps somewhat contaminated. I think if this were fresher, it would have tasted a lot better.

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GCTTB

I was working in the garden yesterday, cleaning it up, and planted a couple of things even though it’s a bit too early to do that. It was really hot yesterday, so I’m really glad that I had a cold brew going on.

In the box was hibiscus from Sadaf (I couldn’t find this in the database and didn’t feel like putting it in). I’m not generally a fan of overly tart food and beverage items, so I surprised myself by cold brewing this up. With lots of rock sugar. And you know what? It was very tasty and refreshing after all that gardening. Another surprise tea that I will probably pick up.

Jillian

I think that one’s mine from the previous round. It was originally given to me by an Iranian friend who didn’t realize that I HATE hibiscus. So I’m glad someone out there is enjoying it. :)

scribbles

Haha – I admit, I did have to add quite a bit of rock sugar. If I knew it went around a couple of times, I would have taken it all. Oh well. Maybe next time.

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75
drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
214 tasting notes

Drinking one of my oldest herbals tonight, Honeybush and Rooibos that I picked up on my Swaziland trip. I cannot believe that was 8 months ago already. Regardless, this one is perfect for when I want something simple. I still like it best with some honey added :)

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75
drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
214 tasting notes

Since it is unlikely that my tea of choice tonight will be purchased again any time soon and I am unsure that anyone on Steepster would also have it in their stash. I am including this under this “Random Steepings” entry.

Tonight I am drinking “Honeybush & Rooibos” by the South African Collection. This was picked up on my way out of Swaziland, via the stop Johannesburg airport. Not much to say about it. I like to add honey to this one to sweeten it up a bit. I haven’t had this in quite some time. It is a nice reminder that simple can be just as enjoyable.

https://instagram.com/p/2kUlCoJniI/?taken-by=kkpeltzer

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75
drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
214 tasting notes

Thought I would use this entry as I do not know how to put the Mystery Tea #2 from Butiki in my cupboard. Yes, I am just now getting to this!!! I have been away since it came in the mail :(. It was a difficult time being away from my tea stash. But we are now reunited and it is time to get back in my routine, which includes LOTS of tea :D

I’ve never seen a tea like this! It looks almost bead-like and it’s tiny. My assumption is that it’s black tea. The smell is amazing, raspberry is the only scent I can place. There is another scent that is complementing it beautifully. Brewed, this isn’t as appealing although still berry-ish. My suspicions of this being a black tea were confirmed as I needed to add sugar to it, and then a little more sugar. There is still a little bit of bite in the back of the throat that I don’t really care for. Overall, I think this could be a decent morning tea for me, as it is mostly pleasant.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Today was such a completely awful day. I knew I needed something extra special to comfort me. So, I decided to mix a portion of my Premium Taiwanese Assam with Whispering Pine’s Imperial Gold Bud Dian Hong and add some pure ground vanilla. This hit the spot perfectly. It was sweet, creamy, malty, chocolatey, caramely and vanillay goodness. This cup did not make it long since I couldn’t stop drinking it. I’m crossing my fingers that the rest of the day is just a bit better.

Fjellrev

Aww no, I hope tomorrow will be better for you. :(

Butiki Teas

Thank you, Fjellrev! :) For now, I’ll just be hiding out.

Plunkybug

Oh no! Sorry to hear you had an awful day, but here’s hoping that tea was the start of an amazing come back day of you. Sounds like a lovely tea, and could make anyone’s bad day turn around. :)

yyz

Hope the day improves and that tomorrow is completely the opposite.

Butiki Teas

Thank you yyz & Amariel!! :)

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55

This note is for the Early 2k Shu from the white2tea moving sale. I get a lot of the “wet composting leaf” taste that I don’t really like. I tend to get that in mid-aged shou, but not all the time. Definitely not a tea for me, so I’ll probably share it with other steepsters.

55/100

AllanK

They sent me 150g of this. I haven’t tried it yet.

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55

This note is for my custom, Florida-grown tea by Single Origin Teas

First of all, I ordered a green tea, using the bud and the first leaf and with a soft rolling.

Forget Florida for a minute. Transport your mind to China, to Zhejiang Province, to the village of Longjing. Taste the longjing tea, the buttery, hazelnut-y liquor, perfect in every way.

Now, open your eyes. What’s that? It’s a tea from Florida and not longjing? I couldn’t tell the difference. Seriously. That’s how good this is. I felt like I was drinking some really good dragonwell tea, not something that was handmade for me.

Thank you, James for this experience.. If I could order an ounce or two, please let me know.

91/100

Flavors: Butter, Hazelnut

Nichole

Thanks for reviewing! I was curious about this opportunity.

kieblera5

I was honestly shocked at the taste and quality, Nichole. Obviously the tea, itself, isn’t worth the price, but helping James being able to mass produce and hopefully get this tea into more hands is definitely worth it :)

Nichole

Awesome. I was intrigued by this when I saw the post. I’ll have to keep it in mind.

Nicole

That’s awesome! I should do a note for my black tea from him.

Single Origin Teas

Thanks! I’ve been away on holiday (visiting all the tea shops in San Fran and Berkeley), thank you so much for your kind words! It got a hot wok (and by wok I mean frying pan) finish, so that may help to explain some of the tasting experience!

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55

This note is for Yuzu Sencha Powder from the Matcha and Green TTB.

Overall, very sweet. Too sweet.. Luckily, I had a friend over who loves sweet drinks, so they had it instead. Definitely has a nice yuzu flavor, but it wasn’t enough to save the drink.
60/100

Liquid Proust

If this is the ones I put in there: I find it to be super strong!

kieblera5

Yeah, it was the one you put in. I love yuzu, but there must have been a lot of sugar in those packets or something!

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55

Instead of trying to review every tea from the last weekend (I can’t really remember details), I’ll put them here.

1: Bigelow Ceylon Teabag – First of all, yuck. Second of all, why does an airplane only have one kind of tea? I asked the flight attendant for hot tea and asked what kinds they had and she was all “I don’t know. It’s in a bag or something.” _

2: 2006 Jinggu Ripe Dragon Egg Pu-erh – This is a very smooth and lovely shou. Light caramel color, so not as dark as a lot of shous that I’ve had. Overall, a really good tea from the Here’s hoping TTB

3: Blood Orange Pu-erh – I’m not sure which company this was from since I don’t have the bag in front of me.. But this was really good. A nice subtle tang from the blood orange without having that pith taste that a lot of citrus teas have.. Really well balanced. From the Here’s Hoping TTB

4. Lemon Rose Bud (Fusion Teas) – Another from the Here’s Hoping TTB. Really light and flavorful. I’m enjoying the lemon taste even though most lemon teas don’t do it for me. I really like lemon to be in your face. This isn’t tart, but it’s nice and soothing.

kieblera5

And yes, I went seven days and only drank four teas :( The downfalls of traveling and being super busy.

tea-sipper

Having a fun trip is more important than tea. :D

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55

More from the Butiki Educational TTB

Gui Fei – This is kinda roasty and sweet.. I know it’s called “honey tea” but I really didn’t taste much of a honey flavor
Long Feng Xia – This is super smooth and buttery/creamy. I loved this!

Here’s the magic part! Since I brewed both teas at the same time (different pots) I poured half of each flavor into the same cup! Wow is that good XD I’d recommend that if anyone else gets the chance to mix these, that they do it!

Bonus: I tried the Puerh #6 as well.. mmm.. barbeque mushroom shou.. :P Not my thing, but it was okay nonetheless.

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55

Tasting note #100!
The following teas were from the Butiki Educational TTB – I haven’t had a chance to write notes, so here’s a brief synopsis..
Wen Shan Bao Zhong #2 – A little sweetness and roasted flavor. Not something that I would go buy more of.
Hong Shui #1 – Again, a nice roasted oolong with a little spice on the back end.
Ali Shan #4 – A nice green oolong base with a sweet vegetal note.
Jin Xuan – Not what I was expecting.. Didn’t really get any creaminess from this tea. It really just tasted like the Ali Shan that I had before it.

Haveteawilltravel

Congrats on 100!!!!

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55

From the Butiki Educational TTB
Today’s tea is the Vietnamese Green :)

I brewed this like a normal green with 175 degree water for a minute (it was a little longer than this since I got distracted). I’m not really finding any typical green tea flavors in this! I’m getting the taste of a lightly roasted oolong, which is good, but not what I was expecting. Also, it’s very one-note, so it’s kinda boring and gets hard to drink after the first half of the cup.
67/100

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