45 Tasting Notes

71

I’m not sure whose “choisest” this is, but it doesn’t seem like mainline oolong to me. The first steep had a bit of that oolong nuttiness, but not the creamy texture I look for and it was sweeter than I expected. It got even sweeter on the second steep, and by the end of the third, it was fading. I’m glad I got a sample size so I could try another variant on oolong, but I won’t be ordering more.

Flavors: Nutty, Sweet

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 5 OZ / 140 ML

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71

Someone spent a lot of time tearing up these leaves into small chunks. The result is a honey gold liquor with a smooth lightly sweet tea. Not full bodies, but still reasonably satisfying. I wouldn’t drink this to get me fired up in the morning, but it’s satisfying to come home to when relaxing at the end of the day.

Flavors: Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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71

Every time I offer someone yellow tea, I get the same reaction, “I don’t taste much” or “This tastes like water.” Yeah, ok, so yellows are pretty subtle, but that’s what I find appealing about them. Sometimes. The wet leaves on this one are a bit nutty, almost like warm cookies. Subtle, yes, but cozy. By the second steep, the leaves were bright and pretty. They looked like what they are: pretty much unadulterated tea. The taste was already drying out, but still tasty in that low-key yellow way. This doesn’t stand out, but it’s nice if you want a quiet, smooth tea.

Flavors: Cookie, Nutty

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 5 OZ / 140 ML

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84

This is a very nicely balanced tea and so very different from the Wuyi Mountain version from Verdant. These leaves, which are a lovely mosaic of dark and green, smell somewhat of toasted marshmallows. The first steep is candy sweet (not honey sweet) and a bit dry, the second steep brings in some grassiness and something woody going on underneath. That wet wood is more pronounced in the third steep, but altogether, it’s even sweeter. It was about tapped out after five steeps, but I’ll try it again with slightly hotter water for later steeps. Definitely a keeper.

Flavors: Candy, Grass, Marshmallow, Wet Wood

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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87

Whenever I spot the package of this tea sitting on my shelf, I find myself humming “Wuyi Mountain Big Red Robe do-dah do-dah. Wuyi Mountain Big Red Robe ho-de-do-dah-day.” With apologize to those of you who will not be able to get that tune out of your head for the rest of the day, I have to say that this is a tea worth singing about. I did three 30s steeps at 205°. The leaves smelled like roasted chestnuts and the reddish liquor was likewise nutty with a light vanilla or gentle caramel thing going on. The second steep smelled even nuttier. All around goodness. Tra-la.

Flavors: Caramel, Chestnut, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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82

Two things I noted about this tea: 1) it’s wicked tasty, and 2) it’s remarkably consistent. I put 5 gm into a gaiwan and used boiling water. I started at 15s and added 15s each time for 7 steeps. It was nearly the same flavor every single time: mostly honey, with some tones of something lighter, not floral, maybe melon? Hard to tell. Anyway, good stuff and I’ll look forward to more steady steeps.

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Melon

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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90
drank Wild Black Yunnan by DAVIDsTEA
45 tasting notes

My thought on first sipping this was, “wow, one of those teas!” Translation: rich, malty, chocolatey, not bracing, but full and satisfying. It almost has coffee overtones as it cools. Take note though: one steep and you’re through. The second go-around on this had nothing to recommend it. I’m finding that David’s flavored teas do nothing for me, but certain carefully selected straight blacks are pretty darn good.

Flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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82
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
45 tasting notes

Based on everyone else’s reactions, I went into this tea with high hopes and they were not disappointed. Remarkable bursts of flavor for such incredibly short steeps (3/3/3/6/9/12/15). It comes on soft and caramel, with maybe some cinnamon. By the third steep, it’s all honey deliciousness and stays that way for several more steeps. Oddly, it started to fade by steep five, though still quite tasty. Somehow, I thought it would have more longevity, especially with those short steep times. Next time, I’ll let it go for a little longer and see what emerges. I like the slow build of this tea that the gaiwan allows; I think a full-on Western steep would be overwhelming. I’ll happily do multiple cups of this while wrapped up in a fleece and a good book.

Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Honey

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 5 OZ / 140 ML
Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I still find it a bit criminal that I have not tried this tea yet. It is so beautiful and the descriptions people write sound amazing.

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75

As Verdant suggested, I started with a rinse, then did several steeps, starting with 15’ and increasing by 15’ each time. The pale liquor was green and vegetal, the leaves just short of neon green. It didn’t really hit its stride until the third or fourth steep, with a soft, though not buttery, mouth feel. I’m no oolong maven, but this seems like a good exemplar of its type. If I wanted to introduce someone to tieguanyin, this is what I’d give them. It doesn’t knock my socks off, but it’s really solid.

Flavors: Green, Nutty, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 140 ML
Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I totally agree with you, this would be a perfect intro to to TGY! I shall keep that stored in my memory for next time I want to introduce someone to it.

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90

This tea makes me happy. Despite a full Western steep of 5 minutes, the tea came out somewhat light-bodied and very fresh tasting with a soft mouth feel and nice malt tones. As it cooled a bit, an almost cocoa thing came to the fore. The second steep was certainly palatable, but fainter all around. A very nice introduction to Tea at Sea.

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Bio

I grew up drinking Lipton with lots of sugar and lemon. It’s only over the last few years that I’ve come to discover and appreciate real tea. Now I’m on a mission to expose as many of my friends as possible to the delights of Camellia sinensis. I dream of opening a tea shop someday where people can sit, slow down, and enjoy a proper cup properly steeped. I have so much to learn to make that happen, so I’m eager to chat, meet, and sip with those who know more than I.

I can’t say that I’ve discovered a favorite tea yet. I lean toward the bolder black teas (I don’t think I’ve tried a keemun I didn’t like), but those with lots of golden tips spark my taste buds too (Golden Monkey, dubbed “Monkey Butt” by my then-teenage son, is always popular in my house).

I love the pu-ehrs I’ve tried, but I know that that is a whole world of flavors that could take me years to explore. I keep sampling subtler white, green, and yellow teas, and I’m learning as I go. Let’s face it, I’m sampling everything I can and having a ball doing it.

Speaking of sampling, I’m eager to swap, so feel free to peruse my cupboard (I’m making a concerted effort to record what I have) and ask me for any of it.

When I’m not steeping, I write, bike, raise kids, love my wife, and cook fine vegetarian fare.

That picture is of me at a rest stop on a long bike ride. I’m still working on how to combine long-distance cycling with tea drinking. Hmmm . . .

Location

Newton, Massachusetts

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