112 Tasting Notes

94

Such a smooth and elegant tea. Light, refreshing and with the fruity floral aroma and flavor that is so particular to teas from this region. Brilliant. :)

Flavors: Floral, Fruity

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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80

I received a sample of this tea from Republic of Tea and was impressed enough to keep the outer packet to remind me to write a review. I like some of Republic of Teas loose teas, but never have been a fan of bags, even if they are the round, environmentally friendly, unbleached bags used here. And another disclaimer, I have never watched Downton Abbey so don’t understand all the marketing hype. I just know I enjoyed this tea which is essentially a nice blend of black tea with natural fruit flavors and dried bits of various berries. Nothing artificial tasting, just a light fruitiness and bold black tea base. Above average and very pleasant.

Flavors: Berry, Brown Sugar, Toast

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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92

Thank you Tea Ave for the wonderful samples, and I look forward to the launch of your online store! First, I must comment on the packaging of the sample packaging I received, which has a wonderful labeling of information that is sure to please even the most tea aficionado by listing: tea name and description, origin, growing altitude, roasting level, cultivar, oxidation level and brewing instructions for gaiwan, tea bag, tea pot and cold brew! Most companies don’t even have this much information on their website, much less on the package. It is much appreciated and graphically well done to convey lots of information in a clean and simple design.

I have been tasting a wide variety of oolongs this past year, and this DongDing by Tea Ave is one of the very top three of this type that I have had the pleasure of tasting. I brewed mine in my gaiwan, as per the instructions on the packet of 8gr/130ml for 1 minute, adding time for multiple steeps. It has a wonderful silky texture or mouthfeel as I believe gmathis’ review noted. Definite aroma of dried fruits, light amber color and held up well through 6 steeps. It has a nice light roast and med/light oxidation level that is approachable and suitable for drinking alone, with a snack or after dinner. Very, very pleasant! Not too bold, not too subtle, not too complex, not too simple. Just right!

Flavors: Dried Fruit, Nutty, Roasted Barley

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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95

If you like yellow tea, then this is one you have to try. I was so happy when this arrived in my Steepster select box this month. Brews up a beautiful light yellow, and if you leave it for the full 2 minutes recommended brew time (175 to 185 degrees F ) it yields up some amazing flavors and aroma. Although subtle, I definitely get tones of baked fruit and light vegetal background. I have never had a tea that actually has such a silky texture. Warm and soothing all the way down.

Flavors: Fruity, Vegetal

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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90

I have been drinking a variety of Houjicha teas over the past few months, and this Kyoto “Akishun” Fall tea is truly one of the best for my taste buds. When you look at the leaves, you can tell this is a green tea, that has been roasted carefully to bring out it’s distinct flavor. The aroma (dry) is nice mix of toasted rice, nuts, and hay that accurately reflects the flavor yield when you brew. A nice accompaniment for onigiri rice balls or just on its own any time of day. A really comforting tea.

Flavors: Hay, Nutty, Toasted Rice

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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95

It has been a while since I last tasted Noble Mark, but had a sample sent along with my last order from Mandala Tea and had a chance to enjoy this once again. Such a great tea to sit down with and enjoy multiple steepings. Not overpowering, just a wonderful balanced taste that changes in a subtle way with each brew and sip. Very important to give it a quick rinse first, and I brew at about 180 to 190 degrees F.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Bamboo, Earth

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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82

I actually liked this chai blend more than many others that I have tasted, but it shows the problem of sending out samples with only a teaspoon or so per packet, because it is only natural that the spices will be distributed unevenly amongst those sampling it.

Mine had only a light clove tone hinted at over the Assam base, with more citrus /ginger coming forward in both the aroma and flavor. No discernible hint of cardamom. A very pleasant chai, very much in the tradition of South India, that would go equally well with food, or just as a refreshing cup through out the day.

I was surprised how well this tea held up to second and third steeps. Very aromatic and pleasant on this cool rainy day in NC. :)

Flavors: Citrus, Clove, Earth, Ginger

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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88

Brewed this Western style this morning, and was pleasantly awakened by the gorgeous aroma and flavor. Just as the other tasting notes mention, chocolate predominates the first steep with light tones of mineral and just a hint of smoke. Second and third steeps have less of the chocolate taste as the other flavors step forward, but the aroma still remains enticing.

Reminiscent of Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, but with more of a mineral edge. Thanks Steepster Select for including this in the September Box.

Flavors: Chocolate, Mineral, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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92

Something so appealing about sitting down to a few steeps of a darkly roasted oolong on this cool first day of Fall. This tea seemed to find it’s way to me at just the right time, with the dry leaves luring me in with their dry, toasty aroma. I did shorter steeps in my guiwan, with more leaf per ounce, and have had an amazing time following a progression of flavors. First nutty with hints of dried fruit, then more creamy vanilla with nuts, and after many steeps a flavor of toast seemed to prevail.

A dry mouth feel follows the creaminess and the aroma stays strong. An interesting citrus tone sneaks in at times as well. A really beautiful example of its type.

Flavors: Creamy, Fruity, Nutty, Toasty

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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75

Part of a sampler I received, and tried this morning for the first time. Several steeps from the same leaves produce the typical golden hue and very light aroma found in gunpowder green. Slight grassy flavor with second steep producing more tones of light smoke and copper. I am not usually a big fan of this type of tea, but found myself watching the tea pellets unfurl and dance in the pot, and finished 4 cups before I even realized it!

This type of tea is essential in the Maghreb where it is used in the preparation of North African Mint tea (Berber Tea Ritual). This inexpensive gunpowder green would be a good candidate for this purpose.

Flavors: Cut grass, Smoke

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Bio

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.

Location

Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

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