123 Tasting Notes

90

The past few weeks I have been working my way through a nice assortment of Taiwanese Oolongs from several companies, including this nice light roast from Drunken Meadow. There is something so refreshing and pleasant about it, that I can’t seem to put my finger on, and makes me want to try just one more steep…

I love watching the leaves of this traditionally rolled oolong gently unfurl in the water, releasing light flavors and aromas of peach, plum and spice tones. More than 4 short steeps and the leaves keep giving … A perfect tea for spring.

Flavors: Peach, Spices, Stonefruits

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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89

A great deal right now on Yunnan Sourcing’s China website. I purchased 100 grams of this last month, along with a number of tea ware and puerh items that were on my wish list… Such wonderful natural flavor. I am a big fan of Autumn pickings, that are often more robust and filled with stimulating energy.

The hand processed needle like tea leaves unfurl gently and yield a cup of light amber/green tea that has a distinctive aroma not unlike some dragonwell (long jing) teas that I have enjoyed, but the flavor is more robust. Nutty, toasty and very pleasant. A real winner here for a bargain price.

Flavors: Almond, Chestnut, Roasted nuts, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 45 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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89

Spent a nice afternoon sipping this tea yesterday. This sample was part of March 2015 Steepster Select box featuring different teas of China. This Wuyi Oolong is a deep roasted version from Fujian Province, yielding a bold, earthy flavor and aroma quite different from other regions. I definitely taste the fruity, floral and sweet tones I remember from a few years back when I drank quite a lot of this tea. A really bold yet smooth oolong that doesn’t disappoint.

I really am pleased with so many of Rishi’s loose leaf teas, and they really made a good impact on the tea world by making sure their teas are truly organic and fair trade certified (more than 90% of their teas). Their flavor consistency is also really impressive over year to year harvests.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Raisins, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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88

This sample was included as part of my March 2015 Steepster Select box, celebrating a variety of teas from China. I was happy to see this sample among the others as it is a bit like seeing an old friend whom you enjoy the company of, and can’t remember why you have been out of touch.

Steeped in accordance with the instructions on the packet (1 tsp/4 g per 8 oz, 185 F), in a small glass teapot so that I could watch the leaves dance over the 2.5 minute brewing time. Aroma is delicate and refreshing, Sweet Grass and Sunshine with a hint of nuttiness. The taste is wonderfully much the same. A very beautiful example of the green tea of the Hubei Province. Much tamer and more sophisticated than Yunnan greens, and no astringency like you find in many Japanese greens. A truly wonderful cup of tea.

Flavors: Chestnut, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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68

This used to be one of my favorite teas, always fresh tasting and a tea I enjoyed drinking all day long. Ordering direct from their site assured you of getting the freshest available. Unfortunately the sample I received in the March 15 Steepster select box just tastes a bit old and stale. Bleh. Maybe it is the packaging? Anyone else have this experience?

Flavors: Dry Grass, Dust, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

Received a small sample of this in my Steepster select box a month or two back, and waited to try it until yesterday. As a German-American, I felt really put off by Andrews & Dunham’s asinine marketing that surrounds this tea (as well as all their other teas) so I missed out on a pretty good blend.

Assertive and bold. The sample I had was mostly Indian Assam, with no smoke detectable. Tannin and malt dominate. Very pleasant, but definitely lacking the smokiness which would have added character. I blame this on the small size sample packaged by Steepster who probably didn’t think to blend the tea before packaging. But that is a rant for a different post.

Flavors: Malt, Spices, Tannin

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
TeaBrat

maybe you should write them a note?

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85

This is unlike any Lapsang Souchong I have ever tasted, and I wondered if the labeling was correct as there was no smokiness to the dried leaves and barely a hint in the brew. It is definitely a nice tea, with beautiful small twisted leaves and sweet aroma. To my senses it smells of honey and hops, very pleasantly reminiscent of a late summer day. Maybe even aroma of honey locust and hay. Very, very faint hint of smokiness in later steeps — not at all like the “strong smoky flavor with a smooth finish” stated on the label.

This sample was received as part of the January ’15 Steepster select box, and I do wonder if tea direct from Silver Needle tea Co. has these same characteristics, or whether another tea was substituted.

Flavors: Honey, Hops, Smoke

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 30 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

A flavorful morning blend that is rich and hearty. Not as strong as some Scottish blends I have tried, but a nice pleasing brew with a bit of malty overtones. I have been drinking this blend often this past week, and enjoy the caffeine kick and full rich flavors. Plus a visit to Tin Roof Teas, or a visit to their website is always fun and I come home with new teas to try…

Flavors: Brown Toast, Malt, Roasted

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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89

I love Masala Chai, and this version is a wonderfully light version that allows the tea to shine through and not be overwhelmed by the spices. I steeped for a bit more than 3 minutes which yielded a light/medium orange brew with an excellent flavor and aroma. Nothing added, just enjoyed it in it’s natural state. Excellent.

I received two pyramid tea bags/sachets from Nepali Tea Traders, and both were gone and brewed the day they arrived. Nice flavor, spicy aroma and a tea I could drink all day long. Thank you to Nepali Tea Traders, I look forward to ordering more tea from you soon.

Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

Received a loose leaf sample of this wonderful tea direct from Nepali Tea Traders, and was very pleased. It is a Darjeeling oolong, partially oxidized, that brews up a lovely medium orange brew. The flavor is a remarkable combination of spiciness and muscatel, yielding multiple steeps that has a very pleasant mouth feel or texture. Highly recommended.

I don’t see this currently listed on their site, but I think I might try one of the other Darjeeling oolongs listed. They are a wonderfully different breed from the Chinese and Taiwanese oolongs that I love.

Flavors: Muscatel, Spices

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I have been drinking tea for most of my life, and enjoy learning about Tea Culture from all around the world. I learned early about Russian and British traditions first, since my parents came from Europe, followed by the teas and culture of Ceylon/Sri Lanka and India. Since I have been a practicing Buddhist for the better part of 25 years, I have strong ties to Asia, and have slowly been learning about the teas from each part of the world I encounter. It is a wonderful and interesting journey.

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Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

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