98 Tasting Notes

89

Lovely—if I don’t rate it at the tippy top, it’s because I try to rate my teas in such a way as to make it easier to know which ones to buy again, so my favorite gets 100, and the next 99 and so on. Of the Oolongs I’ve tried, the only ones I liked as much or more were Sweet Silk, Big Red Robe—and my favorite tea of any I’ve tried—Oriental Beauty. Rare Orchid I’d definitely order again. It’s honeyed, silky smooth and fruity, but in subtle very drinkable ways that aren’t overwhelming. That’s just with the first steeping, I haven’t had a chance to try others—but it’s wonderful right from the top.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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40

I’d agree with the description of TeaSource’s site that it’s “sweet, smooth” although I don’t detect the citrusy or spicy note. In fact, my major complaint with the green teas I ordered this time (their House Green and Double Yunnan Needle as well as this one) is that they don’t seem to me to have much personality. In that sense any of the three might make good introductions to green tea—they’re not too grassy, they’re drinkable, and they’re … inoffensive. But none impressed or would have me ordering them again. I like this one slightly more than the other two, but not as much as several other green teas I’ve tried from TeaSource.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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37

The description on TeaSource calls it “herbaceous” and “smooth.” It’s mild and not grassy. My aunt calls it “watery” (and no this didn’t have more water or less tea than usual) but this is a very light tea and to me doesn’t have much personality—not one I’d order again given I prefer several other green teas from TeaSource.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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38

I had a very different impression of this tea than that in the other tasting note. I don’t taste the vegetal/broccoli note—which for me is a good thing. I did find it astringent, even bitter, and I steeped it at a lower temperature than the other reviewer, at 160 F, the low end of what was recommended, rather than 190, which is the temperature more for an oolong or Darjeeling. But really, a higher temperature and longer steeping time should make it more bitter, not less. It’s drinkable, and my aunt liked it, but among the several green teas I’ve tried from TeaSource, thjs is no favorite and not one I’d order again. Among their unflavored Green Teas I prefer Houjicha, Iccha Kariban , Clouds and Mist and Pi Lo Chun Imperial.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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53

We did enjoy this tea, but I feel mixed about recommending it, since we didn’t love it, prefer other Darjeelings, and don’t intend to order this again. But that might be more about my tastes and my aunt who I share the teas with than this tea itself. Our favorite tea is a Darjeeling, but it’s a Summer flush. This is a spring flush, and definitely on the oolong rather than black side of Darjeeling: light, rather flowery, fruity, honeyed, mellow, but with a bit of astringency compared to most oolongs.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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88

Described as having notes of pumpkin and cocoa. It looks like the name—golden curls, and steeps up fairly light for a black tea, a golden brown. It’s a rather mellow tea. I don’t find it reminiscent of cocoa. I don’t find this earthy. But a spicy pumpkin-like note is there I think. My aunt liked this tea even more than the Yunan Tian Hong we enjoyed yesterday.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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65

It smells earthy with chocolate notes—and I can taste some of that too. I wouldn’t call it earthy in taste mind you—but the chocolate-like taste is there, a creaminess and sweetness. It’s a very mellow and very enjoyable tea. A bit reminiscent of a Hunan Black I’ve liked, otherwise not really comparable to blacks I’ve had before.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Cream

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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56

It’s a mild, green tea, very mellow and slightly sweet, not vegetal or grassy, but somehow not a winner for me or my aunt in the Green Tea sweepstakes or distinguishing itself above the Green teas we’ve discovered we like most so far: Pi Lo Chun, Clouds & Mist, Iccha Kariban and Hojicha.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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32

Longevity Oolong – Description on label: “This baked Ti Kwan Yin style oolong has been preserved and rebaked for each of the last four years. This produces a leaf that is almost coal-black and the steeped cup is dark, toasty, very smooth, and slightly fruity and sweet.” My aunt disliked it—said it tasted “smoky.” I liked it somewhat better—to me it tasted almost caramely—but I wasn’t so enamored of this I’d order it again over such favorites as Big Red Robe or Sweet Silk Oolong.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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69

It’s described on the package as “complex, silky, sweet, and slightly grassy cup of tea.” It’s one of the “Ten Famous Chinese Teas.” I didn’t find it very grassy at all, and I did find it slightly sweet—but also very, very mild. Enjoyable, but not distinguishing itself enough I could see myself ordering it again.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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