792 Tasting Notes

68
drank Ali Shan by thepuriTea
792 tasting notes

This is the last of the samples I bought from thepuriTea during their Cyber Monday sale.

Preparation notes: I prepared about 6 grams of leaf in 500 ml. water at the below parameters in my Breville. No additives were used.

Dry leaf: The dry leaf consisted of very small tightly rolled dark green balls. The scent was lightly vegetal and floral. It could be that my palate just isn’t sophisticated enough, but I don’t sense anything that separates it from other green oolongs that I’ve tried.

Steeped tea: The steeped tea is a light golden yellow color. The dominant scent of the liquor is floral – slightly honeyed floral.

Unfortunately I think the taste falls short. It’s not bitter or astringent, but the mouthfeel and taste are thin and watery, and even when it cools I get nothing more than light floral notes.

Steeping parameters from the website recommended 1 or 2 grams of tea per 8 oz. cup, and I did 3 grams, but it still seems weak. And seriously, if I have to use more than this amount of leaf each cup it would get really expensive really fast.

It was drinkable but not something I’ll be seeking out in the future.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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84

Free sample generously provided to me by Teavivre. Thanks so much!

Preparation notes: 2 of the 4 enclosed tuo cha in 500 ml. water in my Breville at the below parameters.

Dry leaf: My only other run in with pu erh tea was with a Teavana blend roughly a year ago. It was a fruit blend, and in loose leaf form, not a cake, so I guess you could say this is my first authentic pu erh experience.

The tuo cha are small – maybe the size of a quarter, or slightly larger. The immediate scent that came to mind was fishy, which my boyfriend interpreted as food pellets. There were also notes of dirt. Very organic smelling.

Steeped tea: I opted toward the later steeping time with this one, and though it isn’t bitter, I’m thinking I might have gone a little strong and would probably dial it back next time. This brewed up a dark brown to black color which totally shocked me, even though it had been noted by others. I guess I just didn’t think it would be possible to get so dark despite the short steep time.

The predominant smell from the steeped tea is that of the hamster food pellets my boyfriend smelled initially. The fishy smell is displaced more toward the background, with hay and dirt taking the center stage. It smells a touch sour, too.

Surprisingly, given how dark it is, it doesn’t taste astringent or bitter. Just…strong, with a full mouthfeel. It seems like a midway point between black tea and coffee. The taste itself does have some earth on the swallow, otherwise, think a very strong black tea, with the accompanying maltiness and smoothness that it has when steeped properly, and you will have an accurate picture of what this tastes like as well.

I understand why people say that pu erh is an acquired taste. In my case the taste wasn’t the issue – it was the smell I’ll have to get used to. After my experience with Teavana I had written this type of tea off completely, but it turns that I may actually like them after all. I think further exploration is in order!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I had to giggle at “hamster food pellets” :)

Ninavampi

I completely agree… Taste of Pu-Erh is fine, the smell is what requires getting used to! (this from my first experience today)

JoonSusanna

@Amy oh – that description was courtesy of the boyfriend. I’m going to have to stop asking his opinion while I’m still drinking a tea, because once he says something like that it’s all I can pick up on for the remainder of the cup. Boys!

@Ninavampi – I just saw your tasting note on the pu erh – I am SO jealous of your dad for going to China and getting to pick out tea! One day I will go to there…

Ninavampi

I also want to go to China one day! : ) I think I might go crazy with the options!

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100

Some days, especially days that start with cold mornings, you want a stout black tea to convince you to get (and stay) out of bed.

I’ve found that this one will always do the trick. Especially if milk and sugar are involved.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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88

Free sample generously provided to me by Teavivre. Thanks so much! From what I’ve tried of oolongs so far, my favorites are the milk oolong and dan cong varietals – so I was really excited to give this tea a try!

Preparation notes: 2 of the 4 enclosed red packets in 500 ml. water in my Breville at the below parameters.

Dry leaf: The dry leaf is typical of milk oolongs I’ve seen – small, tightly rolled dark green leaves that give off a grassy smell with a slight creamy hint.

Steeped tea: The steeped liquor is a greenish yellow with a predominantly creamy scent and underlying grass notes. A slight floral aroma seems to become more evident as it cools.

The tea itself is quite smooth – I don’t pick up on any bitterness. I feel like I’m getting hints of milk or caramel towards the beginning of the sip before it fades into more of a green, buttery taste (with some floral accents) typical of a ti kwan yin. Towards the end of the cup I did notice that it seemed to be drying out my mouth, but this wasn’t unpleasant, just something I picked up on.

This is yet another solid offering from Teavivre – while it’s not my favorite milk oolong, it is still very good and an affordable option for what can be a pricey tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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84

This tea smelled so good in the tin this morning that I decided to have honeybush for breakfast (even though I’m a caffeine addict). 3 tsp. leaf, 500 ml. water, in my Breville at below parameters. Added milk and sugar because that’s what I like with my breakfast.

Unfortunately, I think I over sweetened it, or my tongue has been desensitized to the flavor too easily, because right now it tastes mostly like icing. Cinnamon infused icing. If I take my time between sips a hint of breadiness sneaks back in, but mostly the sweet is overpowering. The mouthfeel is a little thin too, strangely, because I’ve added milk so you wouldn’t think that’d be a problem.

I think I liked it better when I had it iced because it had more of a well rounded flavor. I will likely use the rest of the leaf this way, and save my coconut cream pie/coconut cheesecake honeybush to be made hot.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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87

Happy new year everyone!!!

Free sample generously provided to me by Teavivre. Thanks so much!

Preparation notes: 3 heaping tsp. leaf to 500 ml. water steeped in my Breville at the below parameters.

Dry leaf: Thin dark green leaves – they remind me of dried blades of grass. The smell of the leaf is initially a kind of grassy smell that is quickly overtaken by smoke – cigarette smoke, to be specific. It reminds me of the Keemun I once tried (and really didn’t like) from Upton. I’m hoping this doesn’t carry over into the taste.

Steeped tea: The liquor is a light, bright green. Luckily that smoky scent is completely gone in the tea itself, replaced by a strong spinach aroma – it is very reminiscent of sencha to me which is a huge plus because I love sencha!

The taste of the tea is quite spinachy and sweet. There seems to be a slight astringent note in the taste as well, coming out more as the tea cools. It is sencha-like, but not as smooth a tea as the sencha can be.

Still, I love green teas, and this is no exception. It’s one of the more vegetal greens, so if that’s your thing, you will definitely love it!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Ninavampi

Happy New Years!!! : )

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100
drank Coconut Cream Pie by 52teas
792 tasting notes

Prepared my usual way.

When you add milk and sugar to this it really pops – coconut, cream and black tea in perfect balance. A perfectly decadent tea to enjoy on this last morning of the year.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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85

Free sample generously provided to me by Teavivre. Thanks so much!

Preparation notes: 5 heaping tsp. leaf to 500 ml. water in the Breville (side note: my beloved Brevi is 1 year old today!!) at the below parameters. No additives needed. I want to add here that one of my favorite things about the Teavivre samples are that the steeping parameters provided are bang on – a huge help to someone like me who just isn’t familiar/confident with the lighter teas.

Dry leaf: Fluffy white long skinny leaves – they are so soft and fuzzy! There is a very evident note of hay or grains in the smell.

Steeped tea: The tea brews up almost colorless – that’s how pale yellow it is. There is a faint aroma of hay or grass, which matches the taste. The sweet hay notes come out more as it cools.

This is a very quiet and soft tea – the way it tastes reminds me of watching a snowfall at night. Very refreshing and clean.

In general I am just learning about white teas and their flavor profiles, but I think I’ve established that their main taste characteristic is that of hay or straw. This is the second white I’ve tried from Teavivre, and it is so far my favorite of any that I’ve tried. I like how straightforward it is – sometimes you just want a tea to drink and appreciate without having to overthink it, and this is definitely in that category.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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89

Free sample generously provided to me by Teavivre. Thanks so much!

Preparation notes: 3 heaping tsp. leaf to 500 ml. water in Breville. No additives.

Dry leaf: Dark dullish green, gnarled and twisted, fluffy looking (kind of reminded me of a white tea. Scents of grain/bread, but also a musty note that I found kind of off putting.

Steeped tea: The liquor appears faintly yellow/green tinged. Very light, but not surprising given a short steeping time.

Still a musty smell, though fainter, and less offensive to my nose – it has become a grassier mustiness. I agree with the Cheerios description – think Cheerios infused green tea. It has a slight musty taste that fades as the tea cools.

This is not a particularly vegetal green tea, in fact it seems to me to almost be a hybrid between white and green teas. It has that wonderful grainy mouthfeel and yet a grassy taste. I like greens in general, and this one in particular speaks to how versatile they can be.

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

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87

This was day 10 (I think?) of the 12 teas of Christmas sampler from 52teas – I am finally getting around to trying both this one and the one from day 12 – both of which were the only new ones (to me) of the last half of the box. This particular sample was the only one of the 12 that had an improperly sealed bottom, but I was able to collect it and still have enough for two full cups, so it ended up okay!

Anyway – steeped one heaping tsp. of this in about 7 oz water at below parameters. The dry leaf was very ground up – I used a paper tea filter instead of my Breville because I remember someone saying how it easily got through the mesh basket, and I didn’t want to have a huge mess on my hands. It smelled quite spicy – no hints of vanilla and caramel, though.

Once steeped, I added milk (probably about 2 oz) and sugar because that’s how I like my chais prepared. Taste-wise, I think the overall spiciness of the chai was kind of weak – it didn’t have as much bite as I wanted. However, I did get a touch of vanilla and buttery caramel, which I suspect the milk and sugar were instrumental in bringing out. I didn’t notice any underlying astringency with the black tea base, but I didn’t try it sans additives so that could be why.

Overall, I think it is a nice, though mild chai. More for people who like the idea of vanilla and caramel tea with a hint of spice, rather than the other way around – but more than a welcome addition to my tea cabinet during this cold weather!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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Bio

I have come to the point (as of October 2014) where quality in tea is more important than quantity. Especially because I’m a seasonal tea drinker where hot tea is concerned, and a SLOW one to boot. I generally don’t resteep only because I’d be here all day if I did, though I do break out a gaiwan from time to time.

I adore French teas in practically every iteration, Japanese Sencha (specifically from the Uji region, as they offer the most seaweed flavor), and Dan Cong oolongs. I am trying to focus on plain teas and so companies like Verdant, Upton, and Butiki are on my favorites list.

When it comes to tea, I feel like the 10th Doctor says it best:

“Tea! That’s all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. "

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Atlanta, GA

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