19 Tasting Notes

70

Leaves were from the bottom of the can, but the tea normally has pretty, yellow tips. It has a beautiful, slightly smoked odor.

45s @ 208F/97C
The liquor is a deep red-brown color. Not quite as dark or ruby as pu-erh, but almost. Smell nearly the same as the dry leaves, but nuttier. The flavor is astringent, but not bitter, like slightly tangy nuts. Really delightful, toasty black tea. I could drink this all day, but not for the price of a premium tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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Small, semi-beaded oolong. The dry leaves have a somewhat vegetal, slightly bitter aroma. They’re a pretty mix of light and dark greens.

Steeping #1 (1m @ 175F/79C)
The liquor is a very light hay-ish green, with a grassy, vegetal odor. (I don’t particularly care for it.) It’s a very classic tieguanyin flavor that seems to linger in the bridge of the nose.

Steeping #2 (45s @ 175F/79C)
Brighter yellow than before- the grassy is gone from the smell and it is now very much just vegetal with a new and very, very faint touch of floral.
The flavor is quite vegetal and somewhat more floral than many tieguanyins, but very strong on the vegetal.

Steeping #3 (45s @ 175F/79C)
Much greener liquor than before. The smell is more floral and less vegetal, now. I enjoy this steeping the most, as the planty flavor has backed off some, and it’s intriguingly sweet and floral. The leaves are about as open as they’ll get, and the flavor is barely there, so no #4.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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62

The smell of the dry tea is very strong and interesting, like a black tea. Somewhat like keemun, but with no smoky or roasty aspect. The leaves are beautiful, long and twisted with lots of white tips. Same color profile as Bai Hao, but with less rich brown.

Steeping #1 (45s @ 175F/79C)
Toasty golden brown liquor. Smells like a rock oolong. Very nutty and pleasant. Somewhat two-dimensional in flavor, and not very lingering, but very drinkable and nice.

Steeping #2 (45s @ 175F/79C)
Darker golden brown liquor, like chestnut wood. The aroma is almost sweet, and less nutty.

The flavor is uncannily like roasted nuts. No smokiness, but there is also an enjoyable and slight astringency and some sweetness, which is interesting. The very first moment of the sip is strongest, with a very slight and toasty aftertaste. I’m not going to invest in a third steeping, but it’s a nice tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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73

This is a very small beaded oolong
Aroma of dry tea is at once floral, vegetal, and slightly bitter, but many good oolongs smell that way. It’s sort of a refreshing smell.

Steeping #1 (45s @ 175F/79C)
Greenish gold color, surprisingly faint floral odor.
Pleasant, light floral tastes with a hint of astringency, but one inherent to the tea and not from heat or time. Very faint- this probably wanted to be steeped a little longer.

Steeping #2 (45s @ 175F/79C)
The leaves are awake, but still rather tightly curled.
The color is a cheerful, fruity light green.
The flavor is really blossoming now. The astringency is barely perceptible and it is delightfully floral.
There is a clear possibility of a rich, heady floral-ness with some time/temperature tinkering. Really wonderful. It’s rather close to the flavor of San Lin Xi, my favorite, but without the strong impression of gardenias. I’m hoping for something even better from steeping #3.

Steeping #3 (1m @ 175F/79C)
Green-gold liquor with a strong floral scent.
(I absentmindedly ate a sweet cookie that had broken in the case at work, and a customer came in, so my mouth is probably being stupid, in addition to the tea having sat a bit.)
Much less floral than #2, but possibly chocolate-cookie-addled mouth betraying me, particularly as the smell was quite floral at the start, which seems to now be absent.
After some more sips, the slight floral-ness is back. The cookie was clearly interfering.

Steeping #4 (1m 30s @ 175f/79C)
The tea is still a greenish color. Floral, now slightly vegetal aroma. The flavor is mild and somewhat vegetal, and neeeearly astringent, but not quite. I’ll probably stop after #3, next time.

This tea was really great at the second steeping, but even a third steep isn’t that great.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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91

I prepared this tea at work in a porcelain gaiwan.

This is a beautiful, twisted green tea of forest green and dark emerald. Aroma is heavy, but not thick. It smells of a green, light oolong and portends of a grassy or vegetal liquor.

Steeping #1 (45s @ 175F/79C)
The leaves are awake, but not open.
Very light, cheery green liquor. Its aroma is floral, with some grassiness, though nothing like a grassy green tea.
The flavor is surprisingly wonderful. Floral, not grassy, with a hint of creaminess on the tongue, like an authentic Jin Xuan. It’s really very good, and I’m looking forward to the second steeping.

Steeping #2 (45s @ 175F/79C)
The leaves are somewhat open at theis point. The color is perhaps slightly greener, but barely. The aroma is more floral and really clear, despite my having painted my nails this morning and can still smell them this evening.
The flavor is rich and stronger than #1, with no astringency at all. Creaminess is somewhat more present.

Steeping #3 (45s @ 175F/79C)
Some of the leaves are now fully open. The color is nearly the same, but just starting to be more yellow than green. The aroma is now rather faint. The flavor is still much more than the smell suggests. The creaminess is gone- I believe the tea peaked at the second steeping. It’s still very drinkable, but getting pretty faint.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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70

I prepared this tea at work in a porcelain gaiwan.

Steeping #1 (1m @ 175F/79C)
Very light, greenish-gold with a mild aroma. It’s very nutty, particularly in the back of the palate. Tastes almost like a very light charcoal-fired gaoshan oolong.

Steeping #2 (45s @ 175F/79C)
Straw shade of gold this time. Much nuttier, very pleasant and a stronger flavor than the first steeping. Tastes surprisingly like a light Da Hong Pao. The nuttiness really lingers in the back of the nostrils and soft palate after sipping. It’s a not a particularly deep or complicated flavor, but very pleasant. I find this tea superior to that I’ve purchased from TeaVivre, which is also pleasant.

Steeping #3 (45s @ 175F/79C)
Slightly darker than steeping #2. The nuttiness is a little more astringent in odor, but also slightly fainter. The flavor is still there, with no real development, but is much lighter than #2, and not worth steeping a fourth time.

The second steeping was, by far, the best.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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78
drank Market Spice Tea by Market Spice
19 tasting notes

Oh crap. I can make this by microwaving the milk for four minutes instead of standing at the stove for twenty. At least it’s delicious, but my milk intake is probably about to skyrocket.
(everything says to make it with skim milk, but I have 1%, and it’s damn fine. I’ve always thought skim milk was weird. I’d love to try this with whole milk some time.)

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78
drank Market Spice Tea by Market Spice
19 tasting notes

I just about don’t drink flavored teas. But this and Twinings’ loose-leaf earl grey are I supposed my guilty pleasures. I don’t even like cinnamon, but I love this.
I only make it with milk, however (and then make a liter and drink all of it and feel gross), so I can sort of pretend it’s just really tasty milk and not flavored tea. I purchased this after having Blackflower and Co’s Signature Chai, which seems like it’s more or less the same sort of thing. Both with that rich-in-oil sheen on the leaves, and those little bits of orange. I’d also heard of it all over, but never realized that it was from right here in Seattle (I live nearby).
If you almost-but-don’t-quite like this tea with water, I strongly recommend making it with milk. 1tbsp/8oz of milk. Mmmm.
You will, however, want to daub off the little sheet of warm-milk-stuff/oils. It comes off in one piece, though, and is also sort of neat and weird.
It just tastes all warm and snuggly.

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85

I was really excited for my box of different teas to come from Teavivre. Spent too much money, but it’s been absolutely worth it.

It’s an oolong with the larger dry leaves, like a Li Shan or Ali Shan. They smell good, and promisingly like those of Shan Lin Xi, which is my all-time favorite. The liquor is a vivid gold, almost green, like brass. It smells sweet and floral, with just a hint of that bakiness that some of the more traditionally made oolongs have.
This steeping seems to taste rather vegetal, but still rather flora, with an aftertaste of that bakey flavor. This seems to be how some teas are supposed to taste, and others, it’s when I haven’t made it quite right, so I’ll be making a followup review, just in case. As it cools a little, that herbaceousness takes more of a background role, and it turns into a delightfully well-balanced tea. In the aftertaste, I see what people have been saying about that butteriness; it’s smooth and quite pleasantly mild.
My adjective department is somewhat lacking today, which I’ll try to fix in the followup review. Really tasty tea, and I’ll be purchasing again from Teavivre when I run out.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I live with my paternal family and boyfriend on a small, family-owned alpaca farm in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been drinking tea, not considering tisanes, since I was relatively small and first allowed caffeine. Here, we are lucky enough to have two lovely, non-chlorinated wells, so I have relatively unlimited access to nice water that doesn’t influence the taste of my tea, and it certainly feels like a privilege. I prepare tea gong fu style, sometimes with an Yixing pot, and sometimes with a small porcelain pot or gaiwan, as that works best for many of my greener oolongs. I love learning, talking about and making tea.
One of my favorite things about making gaoshan oolongs is the focus and care that takes to make them truly shine. If I’m having a rough day, I can sit down and just focus on the time, temperature of the teaware, etc, and it is completely distracting from whatever is upsetting me.
I think that, however, the most fun is in trying new teas (particularly oolongs; they’re just too wonderful) and working with them to learn how to make them taste their best.
I had a job at the island’s tea shop for a while, and enjoyed the opportunity to learn and teach about teas, and to taste anything I wanted of the stock.

Location

Washington State

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