102 Tasting Notes

85

This is a real classic Yunnan tea. Rich and savory flavor, with a slight cocoa powder finish. Earthy and spicy and soft, smooth, creamy mouthfeel and finish. Adagio has a variety of Yunnan teas, some that are higher rated and higher priced, but this is probably my favorite. It is beautiful to see the mixture of gold and black leaves, and the aroma of dry leaves, wet leaves and liquor are all quite nice. Just a touch of peppery flavor and it brews up well in a teapot, gaiwan or gong fu style. A really nice experience for newcomers to loose and/or Yunnan teas.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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83

A very good Wuyi Mountain Oolong. This is the “Mama Bear” of the Wuyi Mountain Oolongs I tried from China Cha Dao. Not too smokey, not too sweet, but just right. Enough complexity to keep me interested through several steepings. It is distinctive in it’s aroma, and does not overwhelm you as some can. One note, this tea really depends on having good water that is not hard, best with bottled spring water (soft).

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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88

This new offering by Adagio Teas is very similar to their Jade Snail Tea and both appear to be varieties of Bi Luo Chun (Pi Luo Chun). This is a very delicate tea and is better if left to steep at a lower temperature, and for less duration that recommended by Adagio. Complex, crisp and a great pleasure to drink.

1st infusion: 1 tsp. for 6 ounces water, 170 F, 1.5 minutes.
Slightly sweet and fruity aroma and flavor. Nice gold/green color. Lingering toasty taste, probably from pan firing the leaves.
2nd infusion: 180 F, 1.5 minutes.
Sweetness continues with flavors ranging toward a spring oolong. Very slight grassiness in the background.
3rd infusion: 185 F, 2 minutes.
Color has become more gold than green. Definite taste of spring continues. very nice!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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91

There is something so warm and pleasing about this Yunnan tea. All week, while I was battling migraine headaches and various aches, this was the tea I was craving. It has a great cha-qi (energy) that comes from these big leaves and golden buds. Sweet yet malty with a nice robust flavor and aroma that lingers on and on. This is definitely “comfort in a cup.”

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec

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79

Another interesting combination from Rishi Tea blending organic ginger and pu’erh tea. Not something I would normally look for, even though I enjoy good pu’erh tea and ginger tea as well (especially from fresh ginger). However, it was part of a sampler pack I had purchased and I thought I would give it a try.

Their brewing parameters of 5-6 minutes were a disaster on my first attempt, making a truly undrinkable brew—but when I shortened the time to 3 minutes, at 195 degrees F, it brews up to a really tasty concoction. Dark and earthy, predominantly ginger flavor but with a distinct pu’erh taste supporting. I was amazed to get three nice infusions this way with enough left over to try iced. Mmmm. You have to really like ginger to enjoy this (duh!) and try out the brewing parameters to find a taste that suits you. If the ginger is too prominent, try a second infusion where it tones down a bit.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec
ssajami

I keep wanting to try a flavored pu erh, but somehow I can get my mind around the IDEA of a flavored pu erh. I love flavored blacks / greens. Flavored Oolong is something that I have just lately tried (and liked, to my surprise). However, pu erh is the earthy tea I have in my gaiwan, and there is no room for flavors in there.

Ahh…but the curiosity…I will have to try…

E Alexander Gerster

I always seem to have too much fresh ginger root around, both from the market and also from the yard… I occasionally dry chopped ginger and save it in a tin, and I think I will try a small bit of this with some of the unremarkable pu’erh tea that I have around and see what works. This may be the cheapest way to try a flavored pu’erh! :)
Let me know if your curiosity inspires you to try a flavor that complements your pu’erh.

Kashyap

I prefer fresh ginger as well….much more dyanmic

ssajami

Dried ginger in pu erh….it sounds intriguing. I shall give it a try too. For me, sort of a baby step towards flavored pu erh.

Kashyap

Incidentally I tried for years to develope a pumpkin chai soup, trying every tea I could think of that might give a nod to the land of chai..then one day I realized the best tea for the job didn’t come from India..I started using toucho shou puerh…adding several of them with fresh ginger, cinnamon, clove, pepper, salt, and brown sugar, I would steep it into a thick base and after the butternut squash and pumpkins were roasted (I would pour a bit of the tea into the ‘bowls’ of the squash while it was finishing roasting and let the tea carmelize the surface), I scrape out and puree the squash, add the tea concentrate…adjust flavors and finish it with coconut milk or heavy cream (vegan vs veggie)….the pu erh is perfect. Deep enough that the flavor comes through, allows the tea, spices, and squash to each have an expression on the palate.

E Alexander Gerster

Wow! Now that’s creative! You have inspired me to try something similar. I noticed last time I made butternut squash soup that it paired with pu’erh tea very nicely—and why not add a bit to the mix? Your pumpkin chai soup sounds like heaven to me!

Kashyap

if you want the recipe I would be happy to share
its almost that season

ssajami

Yes please, a recipe! It sounds awesome.

E Alexander Gerster

Would love the recipe for your pumpkin chai soup! I thought about it again last night as I was roasting some calabaza for a quesadilla made with flor de calabaza, queso Oaxaca and epazote. Epazote is known as Mexican tea, and grows pretty easily here in Miami, but is definitely an acquired taste!

Kashyap

I will post it shortly then! sorry for the delay

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86

Such an interesting tea, quite good flavors and a light peppery aroma.
I have been working my way through my sample pack from Obubu, and thought I would make this one today as it is so very warm and humid. I followed their recommended brewing instructions, using my kyusu to hold the entire 5 gram sample. Nice grassy fragrance to the dry leaves, and mix of leaf size as this is aracha (unsorted) tea straight from the farm.

1st steep: 30 seconds at 185F, yields a really nice light emerald green liquid, with slightly peppery aroma to the wet leaves. I can’t resist drinking this hot, saving the second steep for “iced” tea. It has a really nice vegetal taste, with more spinach flavors and grassy undertones. No kelpiness, just a real nice earthy green flavor.
2nd steep: quick 15 second steep at 185F, then poured over ice. This is truly where this tea shines. It tastes amazingly good, refreshing and ‘sparkling’ — but definitely not too sweet. It is beautifully clear, and an appealing gold-green.

I am cold brewing the remaining leaves to see if I can stretch this sample, not only because I am frugal, but because I am really liking this tea! This one is going on my shopping list…

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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87

Another very good quality Oolong from China Cha Dao. Nice aroma, slight scent of roasted apples and wood fire. A very mild sweetness to the flavor, and a wonderful feel in the mouth. Beautiful amber color, and you can see nice unfurling of the medium sized leaves.

I fist brewed a sample western style, with about 1 heaping teaspoon for 7 ounces of near boiling water. It lasted for several infusions and really got me hooked. This afternoon I tried brewing gong fu style in a small 150 ml zisha yixing, and the results were equally pleasing.

A very interesting journey in tasting this tea. It is one that I have enjoyed very much and look forward to drinking again.

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

did a bunch of people get on a list from China Cha Dao? seem like over the last 12hrs teas from them have been sampled…curious

E Alexander Gerster

Jerry Ma from China Cha Dao had a post in the Discussions area and sent out samples to a bunch of us. It was a very generous selection of his oolong teas. If you follow him, you can maybe get some samples from his next batch. I would be happy to send you part of my samples — especially the top three of his oolongs.

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92

Back in June, I ordered an Ito En Matcha Gift set from Amazon.com for about $30, that included a chawan (tea bowl), chashaku (bamboo scoop/spoon), chasen (tea whisk) and some matcha tea. I had no idea that the Tea’s Tea ceremonial grade matcha would be so good, and has quickly become my matcha of choice for usucha — or “thin/light tea.” I just checked out Ito En’s website (https://www.itoen.com/matcha-teas-tea-7-oz-can.html) and now they even have it on sale for less than $10 for a tin. A great deal, and now I see they even won an award for this Tea — I am not surprised!

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C

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93

Another very nice tea from Obubu Tea Plantations in Kyoto. I have been drinking this today using the parameters specified by Obubu, and it makes for a very pleasant set of infusions of a very bright and lightly buttery character. Nice vegetal taste with only a slight touch of bitterness in the first steep. It doesn’t take much imagination to taste the “early summer sun shining brightly.”

A really nice healthy green taste; It goes well with food, but I am enjoying it all on it’s own!

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 15 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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