1995 Tasting Notes

79
drank Shan Lin Shi by Naivetea
1995 tasting notes

Of the three remaining unflavored high-altitude oolongs from my sampler, the dry leaf on this one had the most butter/cream in the aroma. That’s not to say it was a lot, more like a whisper of those notes among the greenish oolongy scent. Brewed up, there’s a lot more of those buttery/creamy notes in the scent, though they’re not really sweet like a milk oolong. Somewhere in between very vegetal and very sweet, like the aroma of sweet corn. And now I just sneezed a bunch and totally clogged up my nose so I can hardly smell anything! :( Sickness not allowed, go away!

Ok my nose as cleared a bit. The flavor is richly vegetal, like thick, leafy greens. It’s very smooth and a bit buttery. I feel like it’s a bit strong (it seems a little “overcooked”) for me at these steeping parameters, which is surprising since I went with a 2 minute steep (usually I use 3 minutes for green oolongs), but it’s not bitter or unpleasant, really. There’s a hint of florals (osmanthus?) at the end of the sip. Overall a very pleasant oolong, and I do want to try it at 1 minute to see how it turns out then. I also plan on trying all of these in a gaiwan (hopefully I’ll get one soon!) with the steeping instructions Naivetea gives.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I have a bunch of their teas too. I would definitely try steeping this for short periods of time and maybe even a lower water temp.

Dinosara

Thanks for the tips! I definitely plan on trying these at a bunch of different parameters.

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75
drank Four Red Fruits by Kusmi Tea
1995 tasting notes

I am a little stress ball lately with a million things due at work right before the holiday. Not to mention this morning I woke up with a sore throat. UGH. I was looking through the samples I had and considered a Black Currant, but then decided what I really wanted was the last of this medley of red fruits sample. This really is a very nice blend, and I enjoy the black tea base they use as well. I really need to try more Kusmi teas!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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97
drank Milk Oolong by American Tea Room
1995 tasting notes

I kind of hate that this tea is so good. I’m having the last of my sample today, which means an investment if I want more (which I will). For some reason I craved it today; well, it was this one or Golden Moon’s Coconut Pouchong, which I don’t have any of. Guess I’ll be resteeping the heck out of this one…

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
BTVSGal

I have been wanting to try this. I just dot know if I can give up $39 for it..lol. That and I still have a bit of DavidsTea Milk Oolong.

Stephanie

I think the puriTea’s is a great, more affordably-priced alternative!

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90
drank Noël à Pékin by Dammann Freres
1995 tasting notes

Not your typical Christmas tea! But it just might be a nice one for thinking of warmer times when it’s cold out. It’s just so bright and cheery! I love the jasmine in combination with the mango/passion in this one. This is also a black/green blend that really works. Some people might be missing some of the black tea notes, especially when brewed a this temperature, but I’m cool with them laying low in the flavor.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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75

This afternoon is our departmental holiday party (yay!) but that means I have a lot of work to get done this morning before it starts (boo). So I chose a tea I wouldn’t have to think about too much. Bonus points for holiday-ness! I really forgot how sweet this one is. And it’s almost more clove-y than cinnamon-y. I don’t crave spice blends a lot these days, but this one is a really great one for the upcoming winter.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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99
drank Gardens of Anxi by Verdant Tea
1995 tasting notes

Love this tea so much. I brewed a cup, had a few sips, and then got distracted in conversation for half an hour so it cooled down to lukewarm. It is still so delicious… it’s like drinking jasmine honey. Mmmm.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Yuzu Oolong by Naivetea
1995 tasting notes

When I was putting my Naivetea order together I almost went ahead and ordered 2oz of some oolongs I was sure I would love (passion fruit, lychee) instead of the infused sampler pack, but I really wanted to try this tea so I went for the sampler instead. Plus as much as I may want it, I don’t really need that much oolong in my stash right now.

I read that this had a grapefruity aroma/flavor, and that’s certainly what I smell from the dry leaf, but it also reminds me of some other less common (in the US at least) citrus fruits that I occasionally find in the grocery store. Pretty sure I’ve never found yuzu though! The steeped tea smells incredibly sweet-butter-creamy with a hefty dose of florals. I don’t get so much of the the citrusy yuzu in the aroma now.

Flavor-wise, this is another top notch tea from Naivetea. This is definitely the most subtle of the flavored teas that I’ve tried; the grapefruit/yuzu citrus notes are hard to distinguish and seem to blend into all the other flavors of the tea. They do seem to give the tea a certain something that just makes it taste a bit different, though. Otherwise, the tea is a little buttery, a little vegetal, and a little sweet, with big floral notes. All around a very nice tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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95
drank Golden Earl by Verdant Tea
1995 tasting notes

Definitely love this one. I think the golden buds base is just a fantastic match for the citrusy bergamot. Lately I feel like I’ve been running up against black tea bases for flavored teas that are at best uninteresting and at worst taste bad. I would love it if more tea bases were like this one!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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70

I wasn’t feeling an oolong this afternoon so I decided to dig out my big box of MBSC samples and try something I hadn’t had before. Of course this one jumped out at me as fairly seasonally appropriate. It is getting chillier, though overall it’s not really as cold as might expect for this time of year.

The smell of the dried leaf on this one is very orangey/appley, and surprisingly not very spicy. The steeped tea actually takes on the aroma of mulled cider, with a little black tea added in (actually that gives me a fantastic idea… black tea in the mulling spices for cider!). It actually smells really good, but I worry that I’ll get disappointed expecting mulled cider taste, especially the sweetness.

Wow, I really really like this one! Even though right before I take a sip it seems like I’m going to be drinking mulled cider, and afterward it’s clearly not. The actual flavor is similar enough to mulled cider yet different enough that I’m not disappointed. And the big apple chunks in the blend do lend a light appley sweetness to the tea. The spices in this are not individually distinct in the flavor but definitely add up to a nice blend, and I think that adds to the mulled cider feeling. I think I get a faint hint of rose in the aftertaste, but it is barely there.

I haven’t been super impressed by the blends I’ve gotten from MBSC not because they were bad, but rather because they just weren’t fantastic and I’ve been drinking some really fantastic teas lately. Also their black tea base was a little meh, which I can tell is the case here as well, but there’s enough other things going on here that it’s not as distracting. I do wish this blend had a higher quality tea base, because it’s one of my favorite “winter” blends I’ve had so far. It should be called Spiced Apple Cider!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Spoonvonstup

I’ve never tried MBSC’s blends, but I’ve certainly been enjoying just getting their straight spices/etc to make my own blends and chai. Plus, then I can experiment with them in cooking, too!

Sounds like a yummy blend.

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80

This is another green tea that I requested from Teavivre with my samples based on its description so that I could broaden my tea horizons. So thanks again to Teavivre for providing me with these!

The dry leaf has that kind of “green tea” scent that I associate with a standard green tea. The leaves are fairly long and twisted but they also are relatively curly so they pack fairly well and I think my measurement of them should be fairly accurate. They are dark green when dry but after steeping they have turned a very bright yellow green, and the liquor is a medium yellow color. The steeped tea smells really good, and not like I would associate with a green tea. The description mentions chestnuts, and I definitely am getting the kind of nutty aroma I might associate with them. Also maybe roasted sweet corn? It is a scent that is familiar but that I’m having trouble placing. As it cools a definite buttered cooked veggie aroma is coming more forward.

I definitely get sweet, nutty, buttery, cooked vegetable notes in the flavor as well. It’s a hint bitter, so I’m wondering if I used a tad too much leaf (or maybe I should have done a 1 minute steep). Either way, it’s not too bad and I definitely love the other flavors going on. This one actually has the same combination of flavors that add up to a cookie-type note like I experienced with Verdant’s Jingshan green (in a blend), which is totally unexpected for me but I really like it. If I can figure out my optimal steeping parameters for this tea I might just fall in love.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-86: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
85-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.

Location

Ohio, US

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