115 Tasting Notes

4 oz. Sipdown: I thoroughly enjoyed this caramel-flavored assam. Please see my previous review & its comments for brewing recommendations as appropriate parameters are essential to enjoy it: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/259294.
I won’t promptly restock as I’m currently well stocked, there are a few Chinese teas i enjoy more, & there are so many other black & pu’er teas I want to experence!

Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
looseTman

Link added for convenience.

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95

By upgrading from this kettle http://steepster.com/teaware/revere-ware/46814-classic-2-1-slash-3-quart-whistling-tea-kettle to the Bonavita, I feel like a time traveler who has left the Stone Age behind and I’m now light-years ahead!

This variable-temperature kettle is such a joyful convenience. Gone are the days of boiling and using a thermometer, then waiting for it to cool to the needed temperature. That’s OK for one cup. However, it’s a real pain for the multiple infusions of Gong Fu and even worse if you want to temper (pre-heat) your gaiwan, yixing, or cup before brewing! Also, being able to select any temperature from 140 to 212F is rather rare among current competing electric kettles and more expensive water boilers. Most only offer a few preset temperatures. The Bonavita will also hold your selected temperature for one hour with a touch of the Hold button.

The Bonavita also boils water much faster than our old stove-top kettle. It boils so fast (8 oz. tap water in 2 min. 41 sec.), that timer operation for that all-important first cup of the morning, while convenient, is not a necessity.

The trigger handle is very comfortable to hold and the attractive gooseneck spout pot is well-balanced for pouring. The controls are simple and intuitive to use. The display is very bright & distinct and provides a continuous real-time temperature readout. This model appears to be well-construted. Unlike a hot stove-top kettle, a hot Bonavita can be placed directly on a table as it has an insulated base.

Since an electric kettle is only used to heat water, rather than for brewing, there’s no possibility of a strong tea residue affecting the next pot of tea.

Overall, I’m very pleased with this variable-temperature kettle – Highly recommended!

Many thanks to all the following people who have posted very helpful comments or reviews on this variable-temp. kettle: Ashley, Cheri, Chris Van Patten, Dinosara, Kat_Maria, Kevin, Kokabel, Lion Repshire, Sarsonator, Stephanie, Tealizzy, Terri HarpLady, and TinaCHammonds.

New model suggestions:
1. As others have suggested, an audible tone (something melodious rather than a harsh beep or an adrenaline-inducing alert) to inform the user when the desired temperature has been reached would be helpful for faster-paced multi-tasking mornings. A quick glance at the temperature display is all that’s currently needed for this purpose.

2. A built-in count-down timer with a pleasant audible tone such as: http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39312-perfect-preset-tea-timer. The current count-up timer is a nice touch if you have the ability to watch it – on your desk where you’re working.

3. A hybrid model that would combine all the features of this model with a vacuum insulated teapot. The Bonavita version of a water boiler: http://steepster.com/teaware/zojirushi/39783-ve-r-hybrid-water-boiler-and-warmer-cv-dsc40-4-liters. When I recently contacted Zojirushi, they had no plans for a variable-temperature model.

Stephanie

Glad you like it!

looseTman

Me too! Thanks again!

looseTman

Additional thoughts added.

looseTman

Thanks TheTeaFairy!

looseTman

Update: Today I used a fast-reading digital thermometer http://steepster.com/teas/davidstea/36677-thermometer-and-timer to test and compare with the Bonavita’s digital thermostat and built-in temperature display. These components of the Bonavita tracked precisely with the DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer. Well done Bonavita!

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This morning, courtesy of Aubrey at Arbor Teas, I’m very pleased and extremely fortunate to be the first to review Organic Hawaii Premium Black Tea, Western style: 8 oz. / 1.5 tbsp. (3.8 g) / 212*F / 3-5 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Intro: Per: http://www.arborteas.com/organic-hawaii-premium-black-tea.html
“… a rare, USA-grown organic tea.” “Cultivated on the shores of Hawaii, this tea is harvested and manufactured in micro-lots by the Onomea Tea Company on the Big Island.” “The handpicked, organic loose leaf tea is a blend of leaf from several different varietals and picking dates. After manufacture, the micro-lots are then hand blended …”

Leaf: Very long thick twisted dark chocolate-brown whole leaves 4 cm or less.
Fragrance: Rich pipe tobacco, straw/hay
Liquor: Brilliant clear medium copper
Aroma: Alluring chocolate
Flavor: Malted Chocolate!

3-min: Wow – This something special! It has a complex character – chocolate with perhaps hints of fruit. Medium-bodied – I’ll give it another minute.

4-min: Oh my! The additional minute has transformed this cup into a rich creamy smooth full-bodied black tea with incredibly deep rich malty milk chocolate! There was no hint of bitterness or astringency. Each sip was a genuine treat! So smooth, warm, and relaxing! Meg Ryan … has arrived once again! … As I smile from ear to ear!

Resteep
5-min: Not yet …
8-min: Malty chocolate that was almost as deep, extremely well-balanced, and highly enjoyable to the bottom of the cup. Ah …bliss.

2nd Resteep
8-min: Not yet …
16-min: A lighter-bodied enjoyable cup with same balanced flavor profile.

Impression: A creamy smooth full-bodied black tea with incredibly deep rich malty milk chocolate that will also go the distance! This black tea is thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended!

Many thanks to Aubrey at Arbor Teas for providing a generous sample of this incredible chocolaty organic Hawaiian blended black tea.

Method:
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tempered tea mug with a brew basket http://steepster.com/teaware/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39312-perfect-preset-tea-timer

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 4 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Stephanie

Sounds great

TeaBrat

want! :)

Nicole

on to the wishlist it goes!

TheTeaFairy

Glad you had such a good session with this tea :-)

looseTman

Thanks TTF!

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I’m very pleased to present a multi-morning review of No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 from Steven Smith Teamaker, Western style without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Intro: I confidently ordered this tea based on LiberTEAS excellent recommendations 2 years ago:
- http://steepster.com/LiberTEAS/posts/104708
- http://steepster.com/LiberTEAS/posts/135003

After placing my order, I saw that boychik cautioned 7 months ago that the recent batch of this tea maybe on the bitter side: http://steepster.com/boychik/posts/211831#comments. I then began to wonder … Does this Assam have a consistent taste profile from year to year? … Should I have blindly ordered 4 oz.?

Per: http://www.smithtea.com/shop/black/assam
“Preparation
For best flavor, bring freshly drawn filtered water to a boil. Steep five minutes. A good time to practice the sitar.”

Note: The incomplete instructions do NOT specify how much tea or water. Is one supposed to assume 1 tsp. (level, rounded, heaping?) and a 6 oz. teacup, an 8 oz. cup, or something larger?

Given boychik’s warning and the incomplete brewing instructions, I was now less certain how much I would enjoy this Assam.

Leaf: Thin twisted dark chocolate-brown leaves 1.5 cm long or less with many golden tips.
Fragrance: Rich high-quality pipe tobacco
Liquor: Clear brilliant copper
Aroma: Malt, caramel & sweet potato – ah!
Flavor: Malt, caramel, honey

1 tsp. (2.6 g) / 8 oz. / 212F / 5 min:
Aroma: Robust and malty.
This is a smooth, rich, malty and satisfying Assam. However, the malty flavor overshadowed any hint of caramel and there was woodiness at the end of the sip.

Having not yet achieved the same results as LiberTeas, I then looked at previous tasting notes for this Assam and tried the following brewing recommendations:

Scribbles: 1 tsp. (2.6g) / 8 oz. / “just off boiling” (I used 208F) / 5 min:
To my taste buds, the bold malty Assam still overshadows the caramel. Near the bottom of the cool cup, the sweet caramel was more obvious. There was a dry finish with some astringency near the front of my tongue. Fortunately, the woodiness was no longer present with the lower temperature.

Resteep:
6 & 7-min. – not yet. 8-min – ? 10-min. produced a light-bodied cup with a similar flavor profile.

Nicole: 1.5 tsp. (3.5 g) / 10 oz. / 205F / 2.5 min:
Aroma: Malt with hints of both caramel & sweet potato – ah!
This preparation provided a bold, rich, and malty with a definite caramel sweetness and a dry finish. The cup was very invigorating.

Terri HarpLady: 1 tsp. (2.6g) / 8 oz. / 212F / 3-4 min:
3 min. produced a rich, smooth, full-bodied malty Assam with a yummy caramel sweetness. There was no hint of bitterness and minimal astringency. As the cup cools there is a honey-like sweetness. Very satisfying! Now we’re talking!! Terri’s experience reviewing this tea 12 times truly paid off!

Resteep: Not recommended.

Impression: I’m very pleased to have finally found exactly what LiberTEAS so accurately described in her tasting note. No. 49 is apparently consistent and definitely Carmalicious!

Thanks to all who contributed detailed brewing tips in their tasting notes or the comments of the No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 thread. Your guidance was very helpful for this tea especially given the incomplete brewing instructions.

Recommendation Not having to discover the optimum brewing parameters through “trial & error” would be very helpful and greatly appreciated. Having to do so is very inefficient, wastes valuable tea, and IMHO impairs the progress and joy of tea exploration. In retrospect, it’s a very good thing that I ordered 4 ounces!

My favorite tea suppliers evaluate each crop / batch of tea every year to determine the optimum brewing parameters. This insures the best possible first impression of their tea, greatly increases customer satisfaction, and thus increases word-of-mouth advertising – the best form of advertising that money can’t buy. You never have a 2nd chance to make an Outstanding First Impression.

Method:
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39311-perfect-tea-spoon
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket http://steepster.com/teaware/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39312-perfect-preset-tea-timer (for 212F brewing)
http://steepster.com/teaware/davidstea/36677-thermometer-and-timer

Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
LiberTEAS

I’m glad you have managed to achieve satisfactory results with this tea. I really love Steven Smith’s teas. I realize that I’m not at all precise with my eyeballing of the parameters … I guess after having brewed tea for as long as I have, I just … sort of get a feel for it, and that’s where I work from. I’m not good with timers, scales, measurements or anything like that. That said, I am happy that you found some satisfaction from this tea because it’s a good one!

Nightshifter

Wow, outstanding review!

Veronica

Great review! My grocery store sells the bagged version of this tea, but I think I want to give the loose leaf version a try.

looseTman

LiberTEAS, Agreed, SST No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 is a good one! Thanks for your recommendation!
I would be curious to know how many tsp. or Tbsp = one bamboo tea scoop?
Since you use a Breville One Touch, it provides the brewing temperature and time. Per the owner’s manual, the “glass jug” has markings for 500ml / 2 cups, 750ml / 3 cups, 1000ml / 4 cups, & 1200ml / 5 cups and a max of 41 oz. of tea.
Adding any of the known brewing parameters to your reviews would helpful. Thanks again!

looseTman

Thanks Nightshifter!

looseTman

Thanks Veronica! The SST bagged and loose tea should be identical. However, the bagged version probably more $/oz. for the convenience. Also, with bags you can’t fine tune the amount of tea per cup unless you cut the bag open.

Doug F

Great analysis!

looseTman

Thanks Doug F!

boychik

I didn’t like it. I don’t think Assam should be so complicated to find best parameters. I didn’t find mine. it was either too bitter or too weak. I had 2oz, maybe 1 or 2 tsp left

looseTman

“I don’t think Assam should be so complicated to find best parameters.” Agreed! That’s why I’m a big fan of companies like TeaVivre that provide complete brewing instructions which are optimized for each crop year.

boychik

I was annoyed when I called them up to ask what am I doing wrong, the lady was keep telling me same thing over and over 5 min 212F. I love Lord Bergamot and Fez, but I’d rather buy my Assam fr Harney. Mike Harney is very helpful

looseTman

I agree, there’s no substitute for great customer service.

LiberTEAS

@looseTman – I don’t think I had the breville back when I had this tea. I could be wrong, in which case, I would say that for an Assam I probably used 205°F water and 500ml for approximately 2 bamboo scoops of tea. I would estimate that the bamboo scoop equals approximately 2 tsp. So yeah, I probably use more tea than I need … but then it’s always been my own personal preference to want a tea strong and as fully flavored as possible.

@boychik – I’m sorry that you encountered poor service from Smith Teamakers. I usually shop in their Portland tea shop, and I’ve always encountered very good service. But, yeah, it can be frustrating when you encounter poor service and I don’t blame you at all for your frustration.

looseTman

Thanks LiberTEAS! I too like strong full-flavored black teas. I’ll give your brewing parameters a try.

LiberTEAS

Oh … and with an Assam in the Breville … I always brew for 2 minutes. The reason is that the Breville does keep the water warmer than the process of pouring hot water into the tea pot does, even if you temper your tea pot and cover the tea pot with a cozy to keep it warm. This is something that I did learn from Trial and Error because my Assams would always come out bitter after steeping for 2 1/2 minutes, I realized that it’s because the Breville temp doesn’t drop the way that steeping in my tea pot did.

LiberTEAS

After making tea just now, I took a step to measure how much tea fit into my bamboo scoop. I would say it’s closer to a generously heaped teaspoon than 2 teaspoons. Of course, this also depends greatly on the leaf itself. Which is why I suppose the most accurate way to get the right amount of tea is a scale. Unfortunately, my stubbornness won’t allow me to get all accurate when it comes to tea measurement. Tea should be simple. No scales.

Nicole

Excellent review! I’ll have to try Terri’s parameters next time.

looseTman

LiberTEAS, It’s always good to know what was learned from someone else’s Trial and Error experience. Why reinvent the wheel?
OK, 1 one bamboo tea scoop = 1 generously heaped teaspoon. does this = 1.25, 1.5, or 1.75 tsp.?
Any thoughts on this one? http://www.theteamerchant.net/teaware/accessories/tea-scoop/tea-scoop-and-tong/. How does it compare to yours?
Thanks again!

looseTman

Thanks Nicole! Yes, Terri’s parameters were a big help! Steepster is a definitely wealth of info!

LiberTEAS

@looseTman – my bamboo scoop is very much like that one.

I think it would probably be closer to 1.5 tsp.

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This morning, courtesy of Scribbles, I’m very pleased to be the first to review Ying De Black Tea from Tao Tea Leaf, Western style: 6 oz. / 4 g / 212*F / 2 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Intro: “…from Yingde, Guangdong province, China.” “The tea should have a cocoa-like aroma and, like most Chinese black teas, a sweet aftertaste.”

Leaf: Thin and thick twisted dark chocolate-brown leaves 4.5 cm long or less. Forget about measuring with a teaspoon! A digital scale is definitely recommended for this one!
Fragrance: Fine pipe tobacco
Liquor: Clear amber
Aroma: As soon as I removed the lid from the Finum brewing basket, the cocoa-like aroma was immediately evident standing at the kitchen counter.
Flavor: Chocolate with perhaps a hint of Keemun juiciness at the end of the sip.

2-min: A creamy smooth, warm, relaxing, satisfying, full-bodied black tea with rich malty chocolate! that lingers long on the tongue. There was no hint of bitterness or astringency. With each sip the relaxing warmth keeps intensifying and my smile grows larger & larger. Ah! I’m now officially quite content. Near the bottom of the cup there’s a noticeable rich & smooth cocoa flavor.

Resteep
3-min: Malty chocolate that’s extremely well-balanced and very enjoyable.

2nd Resteep
4-min: Not yet …
6-min: Not quite …
8-min: A similar flavor profile but with lighter body.

Impression: A creamy smooth full-bodied black tea with rich malty chocolate. This is a thoroughly enjoyable and recommended black tea.

Many thanks to Scribbles for sharing a generous sample of this very satisfying chocolaty Black Tea.

Method:
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39311-perfect-tea-spoon
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket http://steepster.com/teaware/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39312-perfect-preset-tea-timer

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
DigniTea

I’m waiting for this one to arrive – probably tomorrow. Thanks for the notes reinforcing my decision to take the chance and purchase.

looseTman

Your welcome. I hope you enjoy it!

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This morning, courtesy of Scribbles, I’m very pleased and extremely fortunate to review Jin Ping Gong Fu Black from Tao Tea Leaf, Western style: 6 oz. / 1.5 tsp. (4 g) / 212*F / 2 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Intro: This tea is not currently found on the Tao Tea Leaf website.
A web search resulted in the following information:
Per Martin of Montreal, Canada:
https://www.blogger.com/profile/12558297837241939606
A World of Tea:
The Ottawa 2nd Annual Tea Festival
December 3, 2012
http://www.mar-tea.com/2012/12/the-ottawa-2nd-annual-tea-festival.html

“Jin Ping Gong Fu (an incredible black tea I had the opportunity to taste)”
“Jin Ping Gong Fu, an incredibly rich and layered black tea”

Leaf: Thin and thick twisted dark chocolate-brown leaves 2.6 cm long or less.
Fragrance: Fine pipe tobacco
Liquor: Brilliant clear copper
Aroma: Ding, ding, ding … we have a Winner!
As soon as I removed the lid from the Finum brewing basket, the aroma was so powerful that it came wafting up to meet my nose as I stood in front of the kitchen counter and I’m 6’ tall!
Flavor: Chocolate!

2-min: A creamy smooth full-bodied black tea with incredibly deep rich malty milk chocolate! There was no hint of bitterness or astringency.

Resteep
3-min: Malty chocolate that was not quite as deep but extremely well-balanced and very enjoyable.

2nd Resteep
4-min: Not yet …
6-min: Not yet … Since this was now twice as long as the first resteep and 3x the original steep, I suspected two cups was the limit for this tea. However, I kept on …
8-min: An excellent resteep – nearly identical to the previous cup.

Impression: A creamy smooth full-bodied black tea with incredibly deep rich malty milk chocolate that will also go the distance! This black tea is thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended … if it’s still available.

Many thanks to Scribbles for sharing a generous sample of this incredible chocolaty Jin Ping Gong Fu Black Tea.

Jin Ping “has left the building” ………

Method:
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39311-perfect-tea-spoon
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket http://steepster.com/teaware/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39312-perfect-preset-tea-timer

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
MzPriss

Awesome note looseTman!

looseTman

Thank you MzPriss!

TheTeaFairy

Mmmm…really sounds amazing!

yyz

I’m pretty sure the tea is this one. Jin Ping is the village it is grown in, and this is a tea they have carried for some time. I have a sample from Dexter and I got a whole bunch in the sale so I should be able to compare them. http://www.taotealeaf.com/zhenghe-gongfu-black-tea-jin-ping-village/

yyz

It is a really awesome tea. Great review!

looseTman

yyz I did see their ZhengHe GongFu Black Tea and wondered if it was the same or similar since it was the most similar one currently on their website. Please let us know what you find out. I agree, it’s awesome tea. Thanks!

yyz

The Zhenghe Gongfu comes labeled as Jin Ping so I think it is fair to assume they are the same tea. I just had my parcel hand delivered by the owner to my door.

looseTman

Excellent news – Thanks! Such service too! You must live near their store? How often do they have sales?

yyz

I actually live about a 35 minute drive from the store. They must have had a number of deliveries in the area. I had the pleasure of thanking Tao himself for it.

Last year they had a big sale on boxing day(Dec. 26 th) and slightly smaller sales around the Moon festival I think and the anniversary of the store opening.

looseTman

That was certainly very nice of Tao. I’ll be sure to check out their boxing day sale. When is their anniversary? Given their recent 50% sale, it’s too bad I didn’t taste that sample a few days earlier!!

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8/3/14 Update:
Based on the feedback of gmathis, I decided to give this tea one more try with an increased brewing time. I used the maximum recommended brewing time listed on the Tao Tea Leaf package for this specific tea.

Additionally, in Scribbles review she wrote:
“Today, I’m not feeling the love for this tea. It tastes a little stale and off, and it shouldn’t be stale since this is one of my newer tea’s. But I didn’t steep it as long as I normally would, so I’m not writing this one off just yet. Off flavour is probably user error.”

6 oz. / 2 tsp. (4 g) / 212*F / 3 min.
Liquor: Clear dark amber
A full-bodied, fairly robust, somewhat thick, smooth, juicy, malty and earthy black breakfast tea with zero astringency or bitterness. There is a definite juicy aftertaste that persists long on the front of the tongue similar to a Keemun.

The additional minute produces an initially stronger more robust cup. However, as the cup cools, the tea once again becomes less robust and less satisfying . The difference today is that the longer steep produces a more robust initial cup so it’s not quite as mild near the bottom of the cool cup as yesterday. Unlike yesterday, there is now bitterness at the bottom of the cup. which has left a bitter aftertaste. Thus, a steep longer than 3 min. is likely to become more bitter.

Impression: Based on this tea sample, I would not be inclined to purchase this tea.

Flavors: Earth, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
boychik

Maybe this tea is good for gongfu? I prefer to steep my Chinese tea gongfu

looseTman

After my experence brewing seveal cups, I doubt this sample is able to produce a satisfactory cup.

boychik

Come back to it in a few. And I would gongfu 4g 4oz short steeps like 15/20 /30 sec. After all you have nothing to loose!

looseTman

Have you compared my 2 reviews with the ones from scribbles & gmathis? gmathis was able to brew an enjoyable western cup.

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This morning, courtesy of Scribbles, I’m very pleased to review Chinese Breakfast Organic Black Tea from Tao Tea Leaf, Western style: 8 oz. / 1 heaping tsp. (3 g) / 212*F / 2-3 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Intro:
“This is a unique black tea grown from leaves that usually go on to become large leaf Pu’er teas. The leaves come from ancient Yunnan Da Ye trees.”
This tea is described as, “… robust strength and powerful flavor” “The body is thick and heavy”.
”Region: Lincang, Yunnan Province, China.”

Leaf: Thick & thin twisted mostly dark chocolate-brown leaves 2 cm or less.
Fragrance: Fine pipe tobacco
Liquor: Clear, dark amber
Aroma: Mild earthy
Flavor: Malty and earthy

2-min: Clear, medium amber. Not yet, I’ll give it another minute.
3-min: Clear, dark amber. This is a unique breakfast tea. The initial sip is a juicy, medium-bodied, very smooth, malty and earthy black tea with zero astringency or bitterness. The end of the sip has some heaviness to it. With 3 g / 8 oz. it’s not robust and doesn’t have a thick body. There is a definite juicy aftertaste that persists long on the front of the tongue similar to a Keemun.

Tao Tea Leaf’s western brewing instructions don’t specify a 6 oz. teacup or an 8 oz. cup/mug. Thus, 3 g maybe too little of this tea for 8 oz. of water. For Gong Fu they also don’t specify what size gaiwan.

Resteep6 oz. / 212*F:
4-min: A little longer …
6-min: Reducing to 6 oz. helped somewhat. I was able brew a 2nd lighter cup with a similar flavor profile.

Since I typically brew black teas Western style, I then tried: 6 oz. / 2 tsp. (4 g) / 212*F. Fortunately, Scribbles sent a very generous sample. 

2-min: A full-bodied, fairly robust, somewhat thick, smooth, juicy, malty and earthy black breakfast tea with zero astringency or bitterness. There is a definite juicy aftertaste that persists long on the front of the tongue similar to a Keemun. Fortunately, this preparation is definitely much more satisfying than the first cup. However, as the cup cools, the flavor profile becomes less robust and not as satisfying. I can understand why Scribbles wrote in her review: “Today, I’m not feeling the love for this tea.”

Resteep6 oz. / 212*F:
4-min: A reasonable resteep.

Impression: A full-bodied, fairly robust, somewhat thick, smooth, juicy, malty and earthy black breakfast tea with a definite juicy aftertaste that persists long on the front of the tongue.

Pros: Organic, I love the simplicity of 212*F (100*C) – no thermometer needed (especially if one is in a hurry).

Cons: 4 g for 6 oz. , Volatile flavor profile becomes less satisfying as the cup cools

Thanks to Scribbles for sharing a very generous sample of this unique Chinese Breakfast Organic Black Tea.

Method:
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39311-perfect-tea-spoon
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket http://steepster.com/teaware/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39312-perfect-preset-tea-timer

Flavors: Earth, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
TheTeaFairy

Whoa! That’s a killer review if I ever saw one looseTman :-)

looseTman

Thank you!

gmathis

I don’t have an analytical bone in my body, but I definitely liked this tea, too. Juicy is a fine and fitting adjective for it.

TheTeaFairy

Lol, gamthis, I’m like you, don’t have any analytical skills, probably why I admire people who do so much!

looseTman

gmathis, Perhaps different brewing parameters?

looseTman

gmathis, I see from your tasting note that you brewed this tea western style for 3 minutes. Do you recall the other brewing parameters (oz. / tsp (g) / temp.) you used to create an enjoyable cup of this tea?

gmathis

I wish I did. As you can tell from my loosey-goosey tasting notes, my “recipe” notes are like my mom’s—a glob, a smidge, a glump, “just let it set for a bit…” My black tea habits tend to run toward a “heaping” teaspoon, and close to 4:00 when I’m paying attention. Sorry that’s as exacting as I can get.

looseTman

I was initially impressed with this tea using these parameters: 6 oz. / 2 tsp. (4 g) / 212*F / 2 min. However, the volatile flavor profile became much less satisfying as the cup cooled.

looseTman

Please see: 8/3/14 Update

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This morning, courtesy of Scribbles, I’m very pleased to be the first to review Keemun Gong Fu Black Tea – Premium from Tao Tea Leaf, Western style: 8 oz. / 1 rounded tsp. (3 g) / 212*F / 2-3 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Intro: This Keemun is marketed as: “premium light bodied”.

Leaf: Thin twisted mostly dark chocolate-brown leaves 6 mm or less .
Fragrance: Winey & smoky.
Liquor: Clear, amber
Aroma: When first removing the lid of the Finum brewing basket – A brief touch of Keemun winey-ness blended with fine-quality rich pipe tobacco. Then the aroma became very faint.
Flavor: Keemun with a subtle winey character

2-min: Not yet, I’ll give it another minute.
3-min: A lighter-bodied, smooth and juicy Keemun with zero astringency or bitterness. It has a much lighter body compared with my regular Keemun.

I suspect this outcome may be due to the lack of specificity in Tao Tea Leaf’s western brewing instructions: http://www.taotealeaf.com/keemun-gongfu-black-tea-premium/. For Western brewing they don’t indicate a 6 oz. teacup or an 8 oz. cup/mug. Thus, I suspect this tasting result is simply because 3g is too little of this tea for 8oz of water. For Gong Fu they also don’t specify what size gaiwan.

Resteep6 oz. / 212*F:
3-min: Not yet …
4-min: A little longer …
6-min: Reducing to 6 oz. definitely helped. Given the original 8-oz. steep results, I wasn’t sure how well this Keemun would resteep. However, I was able brew a 2nd cup with a similar flavor profile.

Since I typically brew Keemun Western style, I then tried: 6 oz. / 1 heaping tsp. (4 g) / 212*F. Fortunately, Scribbles sent a generous sample!

2-min: A lighter-bodied, smooth, juicy, and very refined Keemun with zero astringency or bitterness. Fortunately, this preparation is definitely much more satisfying than the first cup! Your cup will be empty before you know it (especially with only 6 oz.). However, it has less body and is not quite as deep or as rich compared with my regular Keemun.

Resteep6 oz. / 212*F:
3-min: Not yet …
4-min: An excellent resteep – nearly identical to the previous cup.

Impression: A light-bodied, smooth, juicy and very refined Keemun. This black tea is very enjoyable and recommended for those who prefer a less robust “less masculine” Keemun perhaps for afternoon tea, or for Keemun-lovers who might enjoy a unique “a more understated” or “elegant” Keemun experience.

Pros: I love the simplicity of 212*F (100*C) – no thermometer needed (especially if one is in a hurry).

Cons: 4 g for 6 oz. less robust cups, not organic, and 250 g for $72!

Thanks to Scribbles for sharing a generous sample of this unique elegant Keemun.

Method:
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39311-perfect-tea-spoon
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket http://steepster.com/teaware/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39312-perfect-preset-tea-timer

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
looseTman

6 oz. / 1 heaping tsp. (4 g) / 212*F
2nd Resteep:
6-min: Not yet …
8-min: Definitely not worth the effort.

scribbles

I also found some steeping parameters lacking, depending on preference. Hope I left you enough to try again…if you are so inclined. AND…welcome back :)

looseTman

Thank you! I think there may be just enough left for one Gong Fu session in the future.

I’ve been home for a week but couldn’t log on as our hard drive crashed. It’s always something! At least I’m not bored! ;-) Fortunately, I was able to make the necessary repairs myself. Thus, today is my first day on Steepster in quite a while.

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This morning, I’m very pleased to review Premium Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea from TeaVivre, Western style: 17 oz. / 8 g / 185*F / 3 – 5 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream. I brewed this tea twice: 1.) w/o a brew basket – placed leaves directly in the teapot, 2.) using a 2” wide x 3.25” deep SS brew basket with the same teapot.

Leaf: Buds with 1 or 2 leaves, up to 5 cm long
Fragrance: Sweet hay / straw / grass
Liquor: Clear straw-colored – easily appreciated in the double-wall glass tea cup.
Aroma: Very Sweet and pleasing
Flavor: Honey with a hint of green beans

6/2/14:
Sample size – 6.6 g / 14 oz.
3-min*: Smooth and rich with a mild honey-like sweetness, a hint of green beans, and a mild almost savory essence. There was no astringency or bitterness. This 2-cup pot of green tea was very warm, relaxing, and enjoyable.

Re-Steep:
4.5-min: Light to medium bodied
6-min: Light to medium bodied

6/5/14:
Sample size – 6.3 g / 13.4 oz. (395 ml)
3-min: Light and smooth with a mild honey-like sweetness. There was no astringency or bitterness.

4-min.: Light and smooth with a developing richness and a mild honey-like sweetness. There was no astringency or bitterness.

5-min.: Similar flavor profile with a just tinge of grassy bitterness. I’d suggest < a 5-min. steep.

Impression: Of the two methods, this tea was much more enjoyable when brewed w/o a brew basket. Apparently, the extra space in the teapot for these large leaves allowed the flavor to more fully develop. The sip was clearly much richer. An excellent afternoon tea.

Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for graciously providing this excellent green tea tasting opportunity.

Method:
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39311-perfect-tea-spoon
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
Brewed western-style conveniently in a Staffordshire 2-cup fine bone china teapot with a SS brew basket and served in double-wall glass tea cups
http://steepster.com/teaware/davidstea/36677-thermometer-and-timer
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavivre/39708-double-wall-glass-tea-cups

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 8 g 17 OZ / 502 ML
TheTeaFairy

Ok, now you make want to try my sample, like right now :-)

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Bio

I am passionate about teas that are full-bodied, rich, & smooth. I joined Steepster to explore Multiple Infusion Teas (MITs) such as Pu-erh.

Currently, my focus is on un-flavored orthodox black & pu-erh teas. Cost-effective organic teas or teas that meet the EU Food Safety Commission Pesticide Maximum Residue Limit EUROFINS are also of interest.

I especially enjoy teas with a natural rich chocolate flavor profile as opposed to natural bittersweet cocoa.

Complete steeping instructions on the bag are greatly appreciated:
tsp. (g) / oz. / temp. / rinse? / min. for both Western & Gongfu brewing.

Incomplete, non-specific, or cutesy instructions such as: “Just add water and enjoy.” significantly reduces the possibility that I will purchase that particular tea.

Having to discover the optimum brewing parameters through “trial & error” is too time-inefficient, wastes valuable tea and impairs the progress and joy of tea exploration.

The best tea suppliers evaluate each crop / batch of tea each year to determine the optimum brewing parameters. This insures the best possible first impression of their tea, greatly increases customer satisfaction, and thus increases word-of-mouth advertising – the best form of advertising that money can’t buy. You never have a 2nd chance to make an Outstanding First Impression.

My wife is an Earl Grey Fan. We enjoyed Twinings for many years – mostly Earl Grey, also English/Irish Breakfast, & Prince of Wales. Several years ago, TEG no longer tasted as good.

Rishi EG & China Breakfast then became our regular teas. However, after winning Tea Expo awards, the prices kept rising.

Our most recent orders were from TeaVivre, Verdant, Zen Tea Life, & Mandala Tea. Kudos to Angel Chen, David Duckler, Kenneth Son, Garret Sorensen who have been extremely helpful.

High quality water is essential for excellent tasting tea.
Our 450’ well provides hard water. For details see: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/176233#comments.

Solutions:
#1. Rainsoft water softener with
Q2 computerized control valve

#2. Abundant Flow Water
Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System with re-mineralization filter
Model: Zeta RO: https://www.afwfilters.com/drinking-ro-systems/6-stage-alkaline-zoi-zeta-reverse-osmosis-system-16.html
Includes:
- Dow Filmtec TFC R.O. membrane
- Omnipure Inline Post filter
- Puregen Aptera Alkaline Filter: http://www.puregen.com/products_detail.php?id=301&lang=en

Options:
- Aquatec ERP-500 & ASV 2000
- 3/8" Output
- HM Digital DM-1: http://www.tdsmeter.com/products/dm1.html

My profile picture is a Red-Breasted Nuthatch, an annual winter visitor to our woodpecker feeder.

Location

Mid-Atlantic, USA

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