121 Tasting Notes

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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This morning, I’m very pleased to review Keemun Finest from Zen Tea Life, Western style: 8 oz. / 1 heaping tsp. (3.5 g) / 208*F / 3 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Intro.: My 1-kg Premium Keemun Hao Ya stash from TeaVivre was very joyfully consumed a while ago now. :- ( :- ( :- ( I’ve been waiting for their next sale to reorder and am suffering from Keemun withdraw! In my experience to date, no other black tea is quite like a Keemun! Then along came an email from Kenneth Son of Zen Tea Life telling me he was going to be offering a new Keemun that he thought was superior to his current one. Needless to say, I was curious. When his May sale arrived, I could not resist! I purchased 200 g without sampling it first, which is very unlike me. But you have to understand, I’ve been Keemun-less for a while now and it was a good sale. I also suspected that this Keemun may have been sourced from the same supplier as a Keemun that used to be offered by Butiki – a highly regarded and favorite Steepster supplier. Would I regret sampling a new Keemun with a 200 gram package???

Leaf: A mix of thick & thin twisted dark chocolate-brown leaves 1.3 cm or less .
Fragrance: Potent, very fine-quality rich pipe tobacco – YUM! Quite a surprise for a Keemun!
Liquor: Clear, dark copper
Aroma: YUM – this is something different! A touch of Keemun smokiness blended with fine-quality rich pipe tobacco. Take a moment to deeply inhale it over & over.
Flavor: Keemun with a subtle winey character

3-min: A thick, rich, full-bodied, extremely smooth and mellow juicy Keemun with zero astringency or bitterness. On the first sip, it has a subtle winey character compared with my regular Keemun – heavier on the bass. But keep sipping! As the winey flavor gradually builds with each sip, this Keemun is so warm, relaxing, and satisfying. Oh my! In the infamous words of Meg Ryan, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

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

Impression: A thick, rich, full-bodied, extremely smooth and mellow juicy Keemun. This black tea is very enjoyable and highly recommended for any time of day, especially for Keemun-lovers who might enjoy a unique Keemun experience. Sometimes in life, you just have to go for it, and in this case, I’m glad I did.

Thanks to Kenneth Son of Zen Tea Life for recommending this unique and excellent 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
http://steepster.com/teaware/revere-ware/46814-classic-2-1-slash-3-quart-whistling-tea-kettle
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/davidstea/36677-thermometer-and-timer

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Terri HarpLady

Gotta love Meg!

TheTeaFairy

Great review as always! I didn’t notice that Zen Tea offered a new Keemun. I quite enjoy the other one they have, it’s very light in smoke. I shall give this one a try eventually. Glad it turned out this way so you can fully appreciate your 200g :-)

looseTman

Thanks TheTeaFairy! Me too! Now if the re-steep was nearly as full-bodied as the first cup …

boychik

I got myself 20g of this tea. I have to try.

boychik

Wonderful review. I really like that your reviews are to the point.

looseTman

Thanks boychik!

Terri HarpLady

I do enjoy Keemun teas, & the variety of flavor profiles they can have. Most of them don’t seem to resteep all that well, unless you’re going with really short gongfu steepings. This one sounds tasty!

looseTman

Thanks, good point! I’ll have to try TeaVivre’s Western Steep recommendations for their Premium Keemun (5g / 1, 2, 3 Min.) with this one.

Charissa

Great review! I haven’t had any Keemun in a long while…almost forgotten what it tastes like. Your note about this tea makes me want to buy it!

looseTman

Thanks Charissa!

looseTman

5g / 1, 2, 3 min. is sub-optimal for this Keemun.

Terri HarpLady

You tried it then?

looseTman

Yes, I did.

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75

We’ve had this classic stainless-steel copper-bottom tea kettle for many years – long before I found Steepster. It’s well suited to Western brewing at 212*F, but not very convenient for Gongfu brewing. I’ve also used it for teas that require temperatures less than 212*F with a DAVIDsTEA thermometer/timer.

A classic reliable teakettle is still a good “plan B” if an electric kettle fails and is also very helpful with a gas stove during a power failure. A day w/o tea is definitely not a good day!

I purchased the much more convenient Bonavita Gooseneck Variable-Temp. Electric Kettle http://steepster.com/teaware/bonavita/39130-1-liter-variable-temperature-digital-electric-gooseneck-kettle and am very pleased.

The Zojirushi 4 temperature (175°F, 195°F, 208°F and Vacuum / REBOIL) electric water boiler is a great option for those who need larger quantities of hot water or who need portability.

Sarsonator

I was a little sad to retire my standard kettle also. But the Bonavita is amazing. I really love it so! Can’t comment on the Zojirushi, but I hear those are also good!

looseTman

Sarsonator, Thanks for your comments! A standard kettle is still a good “plan B” if an electric kettle fails. A day w/o tea is definitely not a good day! Agreed, the Bonavita looks very appealing. What caused you to purchase the Bonavita versus it’s competitors?

A quick look at this page shows the highest rated and most popular kettles: http://steepster.com/teaware?Kettle=on

I plan to use our next variable-temp electric kettle for both Western & Gongfu brewing and would welcome Steepster recommendations.

Brooklynsheep

Nice review!

boychik i would get Zojirushi but non stick coating is no no for me. No Teflon in my house.

Im pretty happy with Breville variable. I have Cuisinart as well in my summer house which is fine. I think i like Breville a little more. I do gongfu sessions every day.

looseTman

What’s the issue with Teflon in tea kettles?

boychik

i dont understand why they cannot make out of SS. And why boiling water should be in non stick. Teflon( non stick) linked to cancer. i use ol cast iron for my skillets
http://www.ewg.org/research/healthy-home-tips/tip-6-skip-non-stick-avoid-dangers-teflon

looseTman

+1 SS would be better. Thanks for the link!

looseTman

Any thoughts on Breville One Touch Vs. Bonavita Var. Temp. Gooseneck?

boychik

Most of the time i make tea for myself. I try not to drink several cups the same tea unless its Puerh. i also read that One Touch retain flavors. And its pricy. i need to boil water diff temps. I have lots and lots of small pots, gaiwans, Yixing,etc. I bought Breville at bed,bath and beyond with 15%coupon( we get this in a mailpretty often) They have a great return policy, no exp time ,sometimes receipt is not necessary;) If something will go wrong I’ll bring it back to store, no ??’s asked.
I have no opinion on Bonavita.

Sarsonator

I went with the Bonavita because I wanted to be able to set temperature degree by degree. The price was more than I would have liked, but honestly, it looked so nice that I caved. It had so many great reviews that I figured it would be worth it. I do indeed use it every single day. If a tea requires a temp of 177 degrees, I can make that happen. :)

looseTman

Review Updated 8-22-14

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This morning, courtesy of Terri HarpLady, I’m very pleased to review Keemun Mao Feng by London Tea Room, St. Louis, MO, Western style: 8 oz. / 1 tsp (3g) / 212*F / 4 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Leaf: Thin twisted mostly dark chocolate-brown leaves mostly < 1 cm.
Fragrance: Smoky sweet Keemun!
Liquor: Clear brilliant copper
Aroma: YUM – A mild-to-moderately smoky Keemun with the classic winey profile and a delicate sweetness that is simply relaxing to deeply inhale.
Flavor: Winey, smoky, malty with a delicate sweetness

4-min: A truly rich, fairly thick, full-bodied, smoky, winey, malty Keemun with a delicate sweetness. There was zero bitterness or astringency. A MANLY cup of tea! YUM!

Re-Steep:
5-min: Not yet
6-min: Not yet
8-min: Light to medium bodied

Impression: I love a great Keemun this certainly predisposes me to enjoying this tea. A Keemun that’s just as enjoyable to smell as it is to taste! A thoroughly enjoyable Keemun! Well done!

Thanks to Terri HarpLady for sending us this gracious sample.

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
http://steepster.com/teas/revere-ware/46814-classic-2-1-slash-3-quart-whistling-tea-kettle
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 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This morning, courtesy of Terri HarpLady, I’m very pleased to review Double Knit Blend by Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea, Western style: 8 oz. / 1 tsp (2.6g) / 212*F / 4 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Leaf: Thin twisted mostly dark chocolate-brown leaves 2 cm or less
Fragrance: Mild Malty
Liquor: Clear, amber brown
Aroma: Upon removing the lid of the Finum brewing basket, the first concentrated fleeting wiff – oooh, YUM – this is something special! But what is it? Subsequent sniffs required placing one’s nose as close as possible and inhaling deeply in an attempt to appreciate the aroma. A touch of Keemun smokiness blended with malt.
Flavor: Malt & Keemun

4-min: Very pleasant, smooth, and medium-bodied with no astringency or bitterness.
5-min: A rich full-bodied tea, but not as full-bodied as a straight Keemun or an Assam tea, with a touch of bitterness and very slight astringency to be appreciated with, not before, breakfast for anyone with a sensitive stomach.

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

Impression: A rich, full-bodied black breakfast blend. I love a great Keemun and that predisposes me to enjoying this tea. The other black tea (others have suggested Darjeeling) that was blended with the Keemun to lighten and brighten this blend, obviously makes it less full-bodied that a straight Keemun. Additionally, if one brews it an additional minute to increase the body, bitterness begins to increase. Perhaps 4.5 minutes may achieve a more optimum balance?

Thanks to Terri HarpLady for sending us this gracious sample.

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: Malt, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Profile

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. Many people drink tea for the anti-oxidant health benefits. So why would health conscious tea lovers drink tea that contains pesticide residues?

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 recent orders have been from: Tao Tea Leaf, Whispering Pines, Yezi, TeaVivre, What-Cha, Mandala, Zen Tea Life, and Verdant. Kudos to: Tao, Brenden, Boris, Angel Chen, Alistair Rea, Garret Sorensen, Kenneth Son, & David Duckler who have all been extremely helpful.

My cupboard doesn’t include the many greatly appreciated samples generously provided by Steepsters’s favorite tea suppliers and by several very kind Steepster members.

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, a winter visitor to our woodpecker feeder.

Location

Mid-Atlantic, USA

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