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5 Tasting Notes

90

Excellent. Smooth and not too floral. I get overwhelmed by jasmine easily, but this had a very nice, rounded delivery. Tea flavor is pretty subtle, but the whole thing melds together so well it didnt really bother me.

Advice: My tea came with jasmine flowers still in it. TAKE THESE OUT BEFORE YOU STEEP. It brews muuuch smoother that way. The first time I steeped it with them in I got a weird bitter flavor.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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80

My first pu-erh! I’ve been very excited for this moment. All the descriptions of it sounded exactly like something I’d like, given my inclination for smells of musty basement, dirt and wet leaves.

Smelled like wet leaves in the bag, the rinse stage brought out much more of a, what my mother aptly described as, “bike tire air” smell. I know some people brew this gongfu style but I was kind of lazy about that. I used half a french press of water for one square, poured out some of the water at 45 seconds for a first taste. Yep, taste like bike tire air. But not unpleasantly! After the 4 minute-ish mark I poured the rest of it into my cup. My mother uncharitably described it as “still bike tire with some outhouse mixed in.” I had more positive connotations of decomposing log and musty shrooms. Pretty much exactly what I’d expect old wet tea leaves to taste like, but in the best possible way.
there’s some bitterness too that I noticed more as the tea cooled, but it’s not overpowering or harsh. It actually goes well with the earthy taste. A second steep brought out more earthy flavors and the rubbery tire taste was much less perceptible. Third steep is starting to lose intensity, but is still enjoyable.

Definitely looking forward to my next pu-erh experiences!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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70

A great value if you can get the giant 500 g tin of it. The bergamot is a little light, but I don’t mind that. The black tea flavor is nice and strong so the bergamot becomes more of a bolstering after taste. It’s quite pleasant if you don’t like to be assaulted by bergamot.
Tea gets bitter quickly, so I don’t recommend steeping it past 3 min

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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80

Ridiculously cheap tea at the Middle Eastern grocer- I got 400 g for $7
Cardamom blends well with the tea flavor, no hints of bitterness. Tasted just as great on a second steep as well, the cardamom was a little stronger actually.
Smooth, drinkable, a great everyday tea.
i realized the other day that I had all the spices to make my own Chai tea, so I’ve been using this tea to that end. My best blend so far is orange peel, star anise, cinnamon, all spice, ginger, black pepper and a little extra cardamom. I know all spice isn’t a traditional ingredient but I don’t have cloves and it seemed to work fine. The orange peel is a very nice extra touch.
Rating this tea extra high because it’s such an insanely good value if you can find the giant box of it at the Middle Eastern grocer (they also usually have giant tubs of Ahmad Earl Grey too! It’s a favorite of me ma’s)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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76

Made some for my mom, brother and me after a delicious meal of Middle Eastern: hummus, mujaddara, falafel, baba ghanouj, tabbouli…yum!
This works well as a ‘digestif,’ light, soothing and refreshing
Most obvious to me was the smell of cloves that filled the kitchen while it was steeping.
Spicy anise, cloves and an end note of mint. Has a medicinal quality but not unpleasantly.
I think it’s pretty fantastic, mom likes it well enough, although thinks it’s probably an acquired taste, and my brother said he likes the smell better than the taste.
I think the mixed reviews are pretty indicative of the highly unusual and unique flavor..it’s definitely interesting!

Edit: I didn’t use sugar or milk with this one, don’t think it needs it. I would definitely drink it again but my family was more ambivalent, so I averaged out ratings. For me personally I’d put it at an 85.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Jim Marks

I think the meal you describe would have been perhaps better paired with a sweet tea. North African cuisine has a lot in common with Middle Eastern and Persian and the Moroccans are obsessed with green tea thick with sugar.

This Holy Basil sounds like it might have gone better with a sweet dessert to off-set the medicinal spices.

jordanze

thanks for the advice, I’ll try that next time!

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Profile

Bio

Alton Brown’s Good Eats tea episode was my awakening
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npFAFX04ROE
Prior to that I was a very casual tea drinker (a coffee love, really), drinking a Sleepytime or berry-flavored black tea from a tea bag when the inclination struck. That episode helped me get a grip on the basics of tea (like..what’s an oolong?) and inspired me to start buying loose teas. First loose leaf buy/love affair: Twinings Earl Grey. I love experiencing the depth and variety of beers (faves are coffee stouts, hefeweizens and a citrusy IPA) but an unabashed love of beer has its downsides. It’s so exciting to discover a world with seemingly unlimited depth and variety without the negative side effects (as long as I switch to herbal before nightime). And it satisfies my oral/hand fixation!

Along other taste avenues, I’m currently exploring the vast array of delicious Vietnamese food we have here in San Diego. You can also find me wandering the aisles of the many asian grocery stores, usually with a basket overflowing in exotic greens.

Other hobbies include taking closeup pictures of plants, especially weeds, and reading too much about things unrelated to the advancement of my career.

Location

San Diego

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