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96 Tasting Notes

drank Strong Assam by Shanti Tea
96 tasting notes

Per: https://www.shantitea.ca/sthome/product/strong-assam:
Origin: India / Serving: 2.7 grams per cup / Temp. 100*C / Steeping Time 2-5 Min.
“2 min without milk, 5+ min with milk”
“Ingredients: Tea (Camelia Sinensis)”
Canada Organic – Biologique Canada: http://www.organicbiologique.ca/en/

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 26 ppm, heated to 212*F.

2.7 grams verified by My Weigh Durascale D2 660. No sweeteners, milk or cream were added.

Fragrance: This black tea has a fresh earthy moderately strong fragrance.

Dry leaf – Short broken moderately dark brown leaves

Infused Leaf – Clear & coppery

3-min.: Initial observation: Not yet strong enough will step another min.

4-min.: Mild, pleasant, earthy aroma. A strong, malty character, however there was noticeable bitterness and a very dry finish.

Next I tried: 8 oz. / 2.7 grams / 195*F (verified w/DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer):
3-min: Not yet strong enough.
4-min.: A smooth, strong, malty character, without any bitterness or astringency.

5-min Resteep: Just as enjoyable as the previous cup.

Impression: A smooth, strong, malty, invigorating organic breakfast tea when brewed at 195*F.

Thanks to Safiya Motala and Shanti Teas for kindly providing this free sample.

Correction due to new scale: What I thought was 2.7 grams was actually 27 grains. I was in the incorrect weight mode due to the very small font used for the grain abbreviation (gn). Using a Grains-to-Grams conversion, the actual weight was 1.75 grams.

I just brewed another cup: 8 oz. / 2.7 g / 3-min. / 195*F.
With the proper weight in grams three minutes was sufficient for a very enjoyable full-bodied cup of tea. At 195*F there was no hint of bitterness or astringency.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Using filtered water with a TDS of 27, I brewed 8 oz. of Fengqing Dragon Pearl Black Tea western style with 10 pearls per TeaVivre’s Brewing guide. Ten pearls equaled 16.8 grams per a My Weigh Durascale D2 660 scale.

Per brewing guide: 3 steeps: rinse, 1m, 2m, 3m at 212*F.

Fragrance: Cocoa

Liquor: Amber brown

Aroma: Cocoa with a caramel-like sweetness

I enjoyed the rich, moderately strong dark cocoa flavor and caramel-like sweetness of this tea medium-bodied tea. All three infusions were enjoyable and very consistent. In fact, with this much leaf, I was also able to produce 4m & 5m infusions for a total of 5 infusions. There was no hint of bitterness or astringency.

Impression: A high-quality, rich, smooth, medium-bodied black tea with a moderately strong dark cocoa flavor and a caramel-like sweetness. I agree with Ashmanra, I consider this to be an excellent afternoon tea.

Thank you to Angel Chen and TeaVivre for their gracious free sample of this high-quality tea.

Correction due to new scale: What I thought was 16.8 grams was actually 168 grains. I was in the incorrect weight mode due to the very small font used for the grain abbreviation (gn). Using a Grains-to-Grams conversion, the actual weight was 10.9 grams.

Preparation
Boiling

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I brewed 8 oz. of Bailin Gongfu Black Tea western style with 2 tsp. exactly as recommended: 3 steeps: rise, 1m, 2m, 3m at 185*F. While I enjoyed the rich light chocolate / cocoa flavor, this tea was light-bodied. All three infusions were enjoyable and very consistent in body. I also tried a 2m first-infusion and it too was light-bodied. There was no hint of bitterness or astringency.

The following day, I received our new digital scale. I then brewed some Bailin Gongfu Black Tea using a full 8 grams of tea. Out of curiosity, I then measured the 8 grams with a teaspoon and found that it equaled 3 teaspoons. Even with this much tea leaf, I still found this black tea to be light-bodied.

Impression: A high-quality rich silky smooth black tea with a light chocolaty flavor and a caramel-like sweetness for those who enjoy lighter-bodied black teas.

Thank you to Angel Chen and TeaVivre for their gracious free sample of this high-quality tea.

Correction due to new scale: What I thought was 8.0 grams was actually 80 grains. I was in the incorrect weight mode due to the very small font used for the grain abbreviation (gn). Using a Grains-to-Grams conversion, the actual weight was 5.2 grams.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C

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I know Stacy gives very careful consideration to determining her brewing recommendations for each tea. Thus, I brewed this single-serving Assam tea sample exactly per her directions on the sample bag: 2 tsps. / 8 oz. / 212*F / 4-min. It did not even occur to me to consider a longer steep time at this time. No sweeteners, milk or cream were used.

Dry leaf: The longest length dark brown leaves I’ve ever seen. I had to use an extra-large infuser to accommodate them.

Liquor: Bright clear & coppery – Beautiful!

Aroma: Subtle and very pleasing

4-Min.: This tea was a extremely smooth, light-to-medium bodied, mildly malty Assam that provided a rich yet delicate full mouth feel that lingered long on the tongue. Truly a very special Assam! There was zero bitterness or astringency.

Impression: An Assam with an extremely refined character!

I would definitely welcome another sample of this Assam to try a longer steep time as I typically prefer robust Assam teas. However, this exceptional Assam might change my mind.

Thanks to Stacy at Butiki Teas for providing this free tea sample.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Assam Reserve by Teas Etc
96 tasting notes

North American Tea Champion: 2012, Third Place
World Tea Champion: 2009

Brewed per Teas Etc. recommendation: 1 level tsp. / 8 oz. / 212*F / 4 to 5-min. – without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Dry leaf: various length, dark brown with many golden tips
Fragrance: Reminded me of fine pipe tobacco
Liquor: Clear & dark coppery

4-Min.: The tea was very smooth and full-bodied w/o any bitterness or astringency. The rich malty character and caramel-like sweetness are easily appreciated.

6 min. Resteep: Produced an enjoyable cup.

Impression: This is a very smooth, malty, full-bodied Assam with a caramel-like sweetness. An excellent breakfast tea!

Thanks to Beth Johnston at Teas Etc. for providing this free sample.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Per Aubrey at Arbor Teas:
“We are no longer sourcing our Assam from the Rembeng estate … because they are no longer Fair Trade Certified.”
“Our new … “Assam Black Tea” is now sourced from the Banaspati Estate and is both Organic and Fair Trade Certified.”

Brewed per Arbor Teas’ recommendation: 1 level tsp. / 8 oz. / 212*F / 3 to 5-min. – without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Dry leaf: uniform short length, dark brown
Fragrance: Reminded me of pipe tobacco
Liquor: Clear & coppery

3 min. Initial taste: I’ll steep it longer.

4-Min.: The tea was smooth and medium-bodied w/o any bitterness or astringency.

5-Min.: Medium-to-full-bodied with a delicate sweetness and w/o any bitterness or astringency.

1.5 tsp. / 8oz. / 212 F / 5 min. The clear, lively, coppery liquor is now medium dark and full-bodied, without any hint of bitterness or astringency. The malty character and caramel-like sweetness are now better appreciated.

10 min. Resteep: Produced an enjoyable cup.

Impression: This is a very smooth organic Assam. For those who enjoy a more robust cup of Assam, more than a tsp. is recommended.

Thanks to Aubrey at Arbor Teas for providing this generous size free sample.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Brewed per Arbor Teas’ recommendation: “one generous tsp.” / 8 oz. / 212*F / 3 to 5-min. without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Dry leaf: Uniform short length, chocolate brown
Fragrance: Reminded me of fine pipe tobacco
Liquor: Clear & coppery

3 min. Initial taste: The tea was smooth and medium-bodied w/o any bitterness or astringency.

4-Min.: Full-bodied w/o any bitterness. However, a light level of astringency was noted.

1.5 tsp. / 8oz. / 195F / 3 min.* The clear, lively, coppery liquor is now medium dark. This Nilgiri is brisk without any hint of bitterness or astringency.

Impression: The flavor is very smooth, simple, and enjoyable. Your teacup will be empty before you realize it. Well done!

Thanks to Aubrey at Arbor Teas for providing this generous size free sample.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I brewed this tea following Arbor Teas’ recommendation: “one generous tsp.” / 8 oz. / 212*F for 3 to 5-min. without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Dry leaf: well twisted, uniform sized, blackish brown
Fragrance: Subtle hints of pipe tobacco
Liquor: Clear & mahogany colored

3 min. Initial taste: The tea was smooth and medium-bodied w/o any bitterness or astringency.

4-Min.: The longer infusion did allow the flavor to more fully develop. Now this tea was smooth, somewhat malty, and full-bodied w/o any bitterness. However, after a few sips a moderate-to-strong level of astringency developed and persisted on the front center of my tongue. I understand astringency can be associated with high-altitude teas. This “…organic Ceylon tea hails from Sri Lanka’s eastern Uva District, grown between 5,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level.” I would definitely not suggest a longer infusion.

Next, I tried 1.5 tsp. / 8oz. / 195 F / 3 min.: Wow, now we’re talking! The clear, lively, coppery liquor is now medium dark. The flavor is now very smooth with a malty richness and with a subtle caramel sweetness. There is no hint of bitterness and only a very mild drying effect on the finish. As my cup cools, I’m delighted by the sweet caramel finish.

The increased amount of leaf produced a richer sip and a delicate caramel sweetness. The decreased temperature and reduced time significantly reduced the level of astringency.

Impression: This is one Sri Lankan black tea you don’t want to miss!

Thanks to Aubrey at Arbor Teas for providing this generous size free sample.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
yyz

glad you found a way to love it!

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The first time I reviewed this tea I brewed it for just 3-min. to minimize the potential for any astringency and was very favorably impressed.

Today, I decided to brew this tea following Arbor Teas’ recommendation: “one generous tsp.” / 8 oz. / 212*F for the maximum of 5-min.

The longer infusion did allow the aroma and flavor to more fully develop. The clear, lively, coppery liquor yields a sweet floral/fruity aroma. The initial taste is very smooth and has a delicate caramel sweetness. There was no hint of bitterness. However, there is a medium amount of astringency in the middle of my tongue.

Next, I tried 1.5 tsp. / 8oz. / 195*F / 4 min. Wow, now we’re talking! The clear, lively, coppery liquor is now medium dark. The aroma is more fruity than floral. The flavor is now very smooth and rich with a definite caramel sweetness. There is no hint of bitterness and only a very mild drying effect on the finish. As my cup cools, the first part of the sip is fruity and is followed by a sweet caramel finish.

The increased amount of leaf produced a stronger aroma, a much richer sip and a solid caramel sweetness. The decreased temperature and reduced time significantly reduced the level of astringency. This is one Indian black tea you don’t want to miss!

Thanks to Aubrey at Arbor Teas for providing this generous size free sample.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

sounds yummy

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drank Breakfast Earl Grey by Lupicia
96 tasting notes

Sample package label: “5202, Breakfast Earl Grey”

Per, http://www.lupiciausa.com/product_p/13355202.htm:
“Earl Grey made with broken leaves brews up a robust taste. Perfect to enjoy with milk.”

“Water Measurement: One 5.0 fl.oz (150ml)-cup
Water Temprature: Boiling water
Brewing Time: 2 – 2.5 min.”

Per Victoria at Lupicia Customer Service:
- The base of their Breakfast EG is a single Ceylon tea, not a blend.
- Their bagged tea is “the exact same as their loose tea.”

Technique:
5-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 27 ppm, heated to 212*F, 2.5 min.

1 tea sachet, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Fragrance: This tea has a stronger fresh lemon Earl Grey fragrance than their 5201 Earl Grey. There wasn’t any hint of artificial additives.

Dry leaf – Dark brown leaves

Liquor – Clear & dark coppery

Impression: This is a smooth, well-balanced Earl Grey with a fresh mild pleasing lemon aroma. Finally, another EG with more body! There was no hint of bitterness or astringency. As the cup cooled, there was no hint of tartness. This Earl Grey resteeps well at 5-min.

My wife enjoyed this Lupicia EG more than their 5201 EG. She especially liked the stronger Bergamot fragrance. This EG tea has come the closest to her liking. However, she noted that there was a vegetal aroma / flavor not expected in a classic EG. I asked Vitoria what might contribute the vegetal hint to this tea. She wasn’t sure and said “Perhaps it’s because it is a broken tea?”

At this point, it has been 10 Earl Greys & counting! We would welcome any suggestions for a stronger Bergamot, fuller-bodied, invigorating breakfast version of the classic EG.

Thanks to Lupicia for providing this free sample.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
yyz

I’ve sometimes gotten that vegetal taste in black teas. I usually find that these teas are teas that do best when brewed at off boiled ie 190-196 instead of at boiled. When I brewed these teas at the lower temperature the vegetal taste usually disappears or is diminished significantly.

looseTman

Thank you. That’s very helpful. I used 212*F per Lupicia’s recommendations.

Nicole

Silky EG from Teajo has an Assam base and a pretty strong bergamot.

looseTman

We found the Teajo EG to be enjoyable with one caveat for classic EG lovers: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/163801#comments

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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 are also of interest.

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.

Through our local co-op we tried Frontier Natural Products Co-op bulk loose tea – mostly Assam, also Irish Breakfast, & EG.

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

Kevin at The Whistling Kettle introduced me to Keemun, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and my wife enjoyed their Earl Grey Cream.

Our most recent orders were from TeaVivre & Zen Tea Life. Kudos to both Angel Chen and Kenneth Son 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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