103 Tasting Notes

96

Finished the last of my Jingshan this morning. It is a comforting friend when a cool breeze is blowing. Must prepare a new order from Verdant Tea soon. :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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93

Superb tea that I simply call “Beautiful Journey” as it takes you to places both familiar and mysterious. I love Geoffrey’s description in his Steepster tasting notes, and have to say I agree completely with the other tasters who have rated this as such a fine Dancong Oolong. You truly must take the time to focus on the tea, and brewing it in small multiple steepings is the best. I happened across David’s (Verdant Tea) video on YouTube specifically showing his steeping method, which also serve as a nice reminder or guide for those who might be unfamiliar with a nice way to enjoy your oolong. Highly recommended.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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90

I had not been in the local Teavana for more than a year, but saw their signage for their Heavenly Tea sale, and thought I would check them out. Most items of my taste were already gone, but the salesperson did a good sell on this Oolong, which was 75% off and did smell fantastic. I brewed up a gaiwan full when I arrived home, and am mighty glad for the purchase.

1st steep: 4 minutes at 200 F, yields a nice amber brew with nice aroma of roasted bamboo. Taste is really surprising. Honey and toasted almonds… a bit like the Honiglebkuchen cookies that I had as a child. Faint wisp of floral notes are there waaay in the background.

2nd steep: 3 minutes at 190 F. Stronger aroma, wonderful flavor. Less sweet, more toasty, and definitely a well defined oolong flavor. Quite surprised by the excellent quality, and beautiful color.

More steeps to follow, and can recommend picking this one up at this deeply discounted price.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Uniquity

I have toyed with ordering this one tea for the past two weeks. Damn heavenly sale!

E Alexander Gerster

Haha! They told me the sale ends on Sunday, and I am toying with going back to buy more! :)

TeaBrat

I was tempted to buy some of this on their website but didn’t – been burned by Teavana suckiness too many times. I’m glad to hear it was good!

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99

After roasted oolong earlier in the day (2011 Golden Key Wuyi), I really wanted to spend a bit of time trying this lovely Autumn Tieguanyin brewed gong fu style. I loaded up my little glass 100 ml oolong pot, broke out my gong fu tea tray and ru kiln cup, and let myself really get absorbed in the flavors and aromas that emerged.

It is such a pleasure when a tea opens up to reveal it’s true nature. Orchid, rock sugar, sweet grass, with spicy notes too — mmm. Enticing aroma that is both seductive and intriguing. I make it through three short steeps before I get a bit of the saffron flavor to emerge, then the hint of apricot and peach, and a wonderful tart edge. At 9 steeps, the flavors keep on coming. Grassy fields and dried flower tones emerge… as Spock says, “fascinating!”

This is my second session with Verdant Teas Hand Picked Tieguanyin, and I look forward to more in the near future. :)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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90

It was a nice cool, crisp morning and I had a hankering for a nice roasted Oolong. This “Golden Key” has been a really wonderful friend, but I had not had any since Christmas… so I brewed up a nice large cup full before heading to work, and set aside a second steeping to have cold later on. I love the nice roasted aroma and flavor of fresh baked sugar cookies. When hot it is extremely satisfying, and cool it is quite refreshing. I may have to order more of this before all of the 2011 batch is gone. ;-)

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

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89

What is it about this tea that is so addictive? I had to bump my rating up a few points, as I have turned to this buttery green tea once again, this time brewing it exactly as Den’s recommends. 1st steep, 1 minute with boiling water (!!!), 2nd steep for 15 seconds with boiling water.

This is the only loose leaf green that actually tastes better when made with boiling water. Most are best at 180 F or below, but this tea is just so much more forgiving. As other have recommended, I have cold brewed this bancha, ice brewed it on one occasion and never had a bad cup of tea. Not terribly complex, but refreshing, bright and nice vegetal flavor. Thanks Den’s Tea for offering such great Japanese teas!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

I do think it’s a good addiction….

Jim Marks

The addiction? That’s just caffeine :-) Japanese greens have (in terms of broad categories, not individual gardens, crops or batches) more than any other.

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90

So I finally ordered from Upton Tea Imports, mostly a batch of samples priced from $1 to $1.50. Their shipping is very inexpensive, and Alex Z at RateTea.net has given good marks for many of their teas. This one intrigued me, and is the first I tried.

The aroma of both the dry and wet leaves is amazingly more like a very green oolong. The flavor is also like a fall oolong, with hints of smoke, sweet grass, and a light fruity aftertaste. Yet this is a green, and carries a bit of astringency and freshness as well. A very pleasant tea, and one I look forward to spending more time sipping.

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

I had my eye on this one recently.. ;-)

gmathis

Thinking that it may be a while yet before post-holiday budget allows for discretionary tea funding (poverty builds character, yes?), but when it’s available, an experimental order from Upton may be in order. They appear to be a good, solid bang-for-yer-buck supplier.

E Alexander Gerster

@gmathis – I am glad I ordered from them, and managed to keep my order small by ordering one sampler combo, and a half dozen samples of teas I wanted to try! And yes, poverty builds character… ;)

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95

Once again started my day with this fascinating green tea. It brews so perfectly in my Koryo (Korean) celadon infuser cup, warming my hands and warming my soul. I went back to review my previous tasting notes on this one and it continues to amaze me that it fuses some of the best qualities of Dragonwell/Longjing with the Gyokuro and Laoshan green flavors and aromas. I had a second steep an hour after the first, putting me in a good mindset to make it through another day! :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 45 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

An awesome tea….

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97

Another wonderful tea full of flavor and complexity. I can’t add anything to what so many have already said, except that this truly is an exceptional Jasmine White!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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95

When this arrived in my December box o’ teas from Verdant, I was really smiling. I love ginger, I love Thai food, and the blend of ingredients sounded just fantastic. I didn’t have a chance to try it right away, but after a day of sniffles and sore throat thought this would be the “cat’s whiskers.” And it certainly was! Energizing, warm and cozy — and I haven’t even had a chance to try it blended with tea.

A quick side note. Growing up in Miami, we had lots of ginger growing all around. It was brought from Asia to the Caribbean and is a mainstay in the cuisine and drinks. My friends from Jamaica and Trinidad always had homemade ginger beer and ginger ale. Galangal, which makes up a large portion of this blend, tastes similar to ginger, but has a more pronounced peppery flavor, and less of the ginger “heat” or “bite.”

The fennel, saffron and burdock were ingredients I had never tried with ginger or galangal, and they add so much to the brew. In fact, they add an aroma that is not unlike Thai Pandan tea…hmmm, could this have influenced the naming of this blend?

This week I have had this blend hot, cold, and room temperature — mostly without sweetener, but once with just a little honey (yum). I have not found a way in which I did not enjoy it! In fact, I used a bit of the leftover tea to flavor some steamed rice and callaloo stew. I am sure it is going to pair nicely with black tea or pu’er too.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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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.

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Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

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