107 Tasting Notes

99

I had a tough week, so last night I opened up my pouch of Den’s Gyokuro Kin, placed a good rounded teaspoon of leaves into my Sincha Kyusu and started to relax just smelling the aroma of this beautiful tea.

When Den’s says that “Gyokuro Kin is a cup of affordable luxury,” they are being modest as this is one really fantastic Gyokuro. There truly is a great harmony of natural sweetness and slight bitterness, supplemented by a mellow umami flavor and very light astringency.

1st cup: Water @ 160F; Steep 90 sec
2nd cup: Water @ 180F; Steep 30 sec
I couldn’t resist a 3rd steep, which was nice but gets a bit too astringent for me, and looses the mellowness. Truly a wonderful way to end the week!

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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99

What a beautiful Spring Oolong! I loaded up my gaiwan and brewed just as David suggested, yielding a nice succession of cups almost exactly as described. Wonderful aromas, wonderful flavor and a really pleasant morning sipping on this tea.

Since I grow orchids, I didn’t get this as the most prominent scent. Instead I get the sweet honeysuckle, with a background of orange blossom and jasmine. The first two steeps give a slightly green flavor followed by buttery creaminess in the later brews and some even have a faint aroma of pine or fir trees behind the floral bouquet.

An outstanding tea, plain and simple. ;)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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77
drank Organic Chai by Tazo
107 tasting notes

I was pleasantly surprised by the nice medium body brew that I got out of this Tazo teabag. It was a little out of my usual taste preferences, but made for a nice refreshing cup of tea. Then again, there really is very little tea flavor that you can taste through the spices. This blend seems to have been created to be a good middle of the road chai, able to please the most people by being neither too spicy, or too weak, but having a nice bit of zip. Nice to taste a hint of Peppercorn, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, and Star Anise. I am really pleased that I gave this one a try.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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88

One of the great things about trying a company’s sampler pack is that you find something you really enjoy, but might not have tried on your own. I love Japanese green teas, and have had many cups of sencha, matcha and genmaicha over the last two decades. But this was the first time I tried a genmaicha with matcha in the blend. It was a true revelation.

ist steep: 30 seconds, 180F Bright green, cloudy liquid. Roasted rice aroma with a hint of sweetness. Nice comforting umami flavor with a little nutty and grassy character.

2nd steep: 15 seconds, 210F Bright olive green liquid with still a bit of matcha cloudiness. Aroma is a bit more sweet and less roasty. The flavor is still beautiful with just a hint of kelp flavor.

I look forward to adding more of this tea to my next order from Den’s Tea! :)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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83

Although I rarely have had Houjicha (hoji-cha) at home, it is one of the teas I have enjoyed in Japanese restaurants. It is high in umami flavors, with rich pleasant, roasty aroma. It is one of those teas that goes well with almost any meal.

I received this tea in my sampler from Den’s Tea, and have to echo my fellow Steepsterites that anyone who loves Japanese green teas is doing themselves a disservice if they don’t get this sampler (and more!) from Den’s.

Now on to my tasting…
Color of the infusion is a nice reddish brown. there is a wonderfully savory and aromatic nuttiness that blends with the roasted flavor. I find myself salivating and wanting another sip, time after time—and then it is gone! Wait, time to go for another steep.
Soothing, comforting, and really a pleasant feel on the tongue. Another tea to go on my shopping list. ;)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Cole

This tea is tasty hot, but I LOVE it iced. I usually brew it strong and pour over ice, but even just icing whatever you have leftover usually turns out great!

E Alexander Gerster

Hey Cole, I tried the Houjicha iced, using your method, and it is really nice! What a great taste for the summer… :) Thanks for inspiring me to try something new!

Cole

Definitely! :) Such a tasty iced tea — the perfect summer treat!

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90

This Sheng Puerh certainly brews up to a beautiful golden color and one tasty cup of tea. But I get ahead of myself… you really should take a good inhalation of the dry leaves and smell the aromas of heaven and earth. Redwood forest, eucalyptus trees, and the smell of a distant campfire all come to mind. The first infusion brings out such a brilliant color, and definitely is assertive in it’s flavor. Smooth, bold, robust without being overwhelming.

Subsequent infusions are lighter in color and flavor but bring a new sweetness and aroma. A fascinating tea that leaves me wanting more to brew up. Too bad I only had a small sample bag to try!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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91

This morning I forgo my beloved green teas, and ventured back to Yunnan for another round with one of my favorite teas from Rishi. Having brewed this up both western style, and in a gaiwan, I wanted to try this in my new little Chinese clay pot—gong fu style. Another success. This is proving to be one of the most adaptable (and forgiving) black teas that I can turn to when sitting quietly by myself, or sharing with friends. Nice bold amber color, heady aroma, and a lingering caramel aftertaste that complements the earthiness.

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90

I followed Den’s Tea’s instructions for brewing, even though a 30 second steep seemed short for this type of green, and they were absolutely on the nose. This is a wonderful Sencha, with a gorgeous light emerald color and nicely complex vegetal taste. There is a light taste of the ocean, and taste of the fields that makes for a very satisfying infusion. The second steep was just as nice, with a bit more taste of spinach. A really savory tea!

I also have to echo some of the comments from my fellow Steepsters (Steepsterites?) that Den’s service is really spectacular. My sincha teapot and teas were delivered extremely quickly, accompanied by a variety of reading materials about their teas, and a full catalog/price list of their offerings. Their packaging is top notch, assuring that your tea arrives in the best condition. I am looking forward to working my way through some of the samples they sent, as well as the Gyokuro Kin I purchased for a special occasion.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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88

This is a really nice oolong from Taiwan, that creates a nice coppery infusion from the nicely aromatic leaves. Sweet, subtle and warming. The wet leaves have an amazing aroma, and can be steeped at least three times. A very good introduction to Taiwanese oolongs, that is very nice on it’s own or pairs up nicely with a variety of foods. I think I’ll go and make myself another cup!

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

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Profile

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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