123 Tasting Notes

Sample package label: “Classic Earl Grey, Temp 195*F; Time 2min”

Per http://www.butikiteas.com/Black.html: “Recommended Amount: 2 teaspoons of tea for 8oz of water”

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 26 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 195*F – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer.

2 Tevanna teaspoons, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Introduction: Most Earl Grey teas are light- to medium-bodied. While my wife loves the aroma and flavor of a well-balanced EG, she typically does not find them to be strong enough. To compensate, she will increase the amount of tea leaves and/or the brewing time. However, you can only increase those two parameters so much.

Fragrance: This black tea has a fresh classic Earl Grey fragrance without any hint of artificial additives – the genuine article!

Dry leaf – Dark brown leaves

Infused Leaf – red / brown hue

Impression: This is an elegant smooth, well-balanced Classic Earl Grey with a fresh subtle pleasing lemon aroma The harmonious blended tea base of Chinese, Indian, and Sri Lankan teas was well chosen. There was no hint of tartness, bitterness or astringency.

My wife enjoyed this tea but didn’t find it to be “The EG” she’s been seeking. She prefers a ROBUST version of Stacy’s very well balanced Classic EG. A full-bodied stimulating breakfast tea base with an equally strong EG aroma and flavor. An EG that will make you “Sit Up and Take Notice.” An EG on STEROIDS!

Butiki EG NEWS: Per Stacy, “We are working on a premium version that will replace this version but that won’t be ready for a month or two.” Given Stacy’s track record in providing high quality hand-blended teas, we can’t wait!

Thanks to Stacy for providing this free sample.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Sample package label: “Persian Choice Royal Earl Grey”

Per: http://www.alvinsofsf.com/persian-choice-royal-earl-grey-tea.html
“12oz Box; First Place Winner in the North American Tea Championship. Pungent, Robust, Smooth finish, Very complex body”

Details (See above)

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian at Alvin’s of San Francisco for the recommended brewing instructions: 1 tsp. / 205*F / 8oz.
“Steep Time is around 2 minutes. Again, this part is totally up to you. Many people steep for less time and then re-steep a second time.”

Given my wife’s love of Earl Grey tea and the First Place Earl Grey award in the 2011 North American Tea Championship, we were very interested to taste this tea.

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 26 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 205*F – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer.

1 Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

This tea has a fresh Bergamot fragrance perhaps with a hint of licorice.

Dry leaf – blackish brown long leaves

Infused Leaf – Bright coppery hue

First cup:
2-min: Smooth, pleasing, balanced, med.-bodied I then steeped it an additional min.
3-min: Smooth, medium- to full-bodied with a fresh mild lemon aroma and a lemon flavor at the finish. No hint of bitterness, astringency, or tartness.
4-min: Now nearly full-bodied

Second cup: 1.5 tsp.. / 205*F / 8oz.
2-min: Smooth, full-bodied with a fresh mild lemon aroma and mild lemon tartness. No hint of bitterness or astringency.

Third cup: 1.5 tsp.. / 205*F / 8oz.
3-min.: Smooth, full-bodied with a fresh mild lemon aroma and mild lemon tartness. No hint of bitterness or astringency.

Impression: This EG is a smooth medium- to full-bodied tea with a fresh mild lemon aroma and without any bitterness or astringency. My cup was empty before I knew it. My wife enjoyed this tea but didn’t find it to be “The EG” she’s been seeking. She prefers a strong black tea base with an equally strong Bergamot aroma and flavor.

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian for providing this generous size free sample.

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100

High quality water is essential for excellent tasting tea.

The Importance of TDS in Water for Tea

“All tea, both hot and iced, is affected by water quality. Because of tea’s light flavor, the quality of input water is crucial to the beverage.

The clarity of tea is particularly affected by mineral content in water. Water hardness, caused by calcium and magnesium content in excess of 200 ppm, can cause clouding in iced tea. Water with 50 – 150 ppm total dissolved solids (TDS) or 1 to 3 grains hardness provides the best results, according to the Tea Association of the USA." http://www.teaandcoffee.net/0609/tea.htm

“Water hardness is caused by a high mineral content. Tests show any hardness in excess of 200 ppm can cause clouding in iced tea. Chemical taste and/or odor caused by chlorination of municipal water and the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the water can also detract from tea flavor. In addition, the presence of particulate matter in water can cause scale and lime accumulation, detracting from the operational efficiency of automatic tea steeping equipment.”
http://www.teausa.com/

Choose the best water.

“Ninety nine percent of tea is water, so it’s important to give some thought to the water you use for brewing. Tap water should be avoided since its chemical treatment imparts undesirable flavors and odors which interfere with the delicate aromatics of tea. Home filters and other water purification systems can minimize and, in some cases, eliminate these problems. The best water for tea brewing is spring water with a natural mineral content that’s neither too hard nor too soft. Since T.D.S. “total dissolved solids”, or mineral content measured in parts per million varies greatly from water to water, you may want to do your own taste-test of waters available in your area to determine which one has the best flavor, body and compatibility with the tea you drink.”
http://jiangtea.blog.com/2011/11/26/how-to-brew-tea-using-gaiwan/

Problem:
Our 450’ well provides very hard water 309 mg/L or PPM with a high iron content (0.317 PPM) for a total hardness of 20 grains so we had to install a whole-house water softener and use Iron-out salt blocks.
Results: Hardness: Not detected. Iron: Not detected.

Disadvantages:
1. Softeners add sodium to your water, which is not recommended for tea or your health especially if one has hypertension or a family history of hypertension.
2. Softeners do not remove dissolved solids from water. Our TDS was 438 mg/L or PPM.

Bottled water was expensive. Lugging home 12 gallons (100 lbs.) of water about once a week and recycling numerous empty gallon water jugs was inconvenient. Refilling them was less expensive but more time consuming. Running out of bottled water especially if there was none for morning tea was a royal pain.

Thus, we needed a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system to remove the sodium from our drinking water and to significantly reduce the TDS in our well water. But which brand & model? There is mind-numbing selection from which to choose. Consumer Reports (CR) top-rated the Kinetico K5 system, which is very expensive and uses only proprietary replacement filters. The less expensive models recommended by CR could be found at Lowes & Home Depot. However, the reviews for these models on the Lowes & Home Depot websites reported many issues by mostly dissatisfied customers.

Finally, after much time consuming research, I ran into Allan from Puregen on the Terry Love Plumbing & Remodel DIY Forum. He said:

“Abundant flow is great, Mark is a good guy and very interested in customer service.”

“I would recommend calling Abundant, tell them Allan from Puregen sent you and recommended their generic RO with the Aptera filter and a ERP500 permeate pump. See what they can do for you. They have made consistently high quality ROs for a long time.”

“I would also highly recommend the Aptera filter from them. It is an excellent way to make the water taste better, raise the pH, remineralize, etc. This has been one of the best filters we have seen in a long time, especially for the price.”

Thus, Allan and Mark Bunner at AFW helped me find a cost-effective high quality RO system that I was able to install myself. We’ve owned the system for 8 months and there has not been a single issue. We now have all the high quality drinking water we need, whenever we need it without having to run to the store. One less hassle in life – Solved!

Solution:
Abundant Flow Water (AFW)
Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System
Model: Zeta RO:
Includes:

Options:

Mark Bunner at AFW provided exceptional customer service. He was very patient in answering all my questions. He assisted me in selecting the right system for our needs and provided the necessary technical support so that I was able to install this system myself.

Our TDS used to be 438 PPM. Now it averages 54 PPM and our tea never tasted so good!

Mark and AFW RO systems are Highly Recommended!!

ashmanra

We rely on the Terry Love forum when choosing any type of water fixtures for our home. There is such a wealth of information there, but I had never thought about looking there for R.O. Systems. I may get one someday but our city tap water is actually pretty good and the filter on the fridge makes it even better. Local wells are not so satisfactory though, having a high iron content.

looseTman

Agreed, the Terry Love forum does offer a wealth of information – very helpful!
Does your fridge filter remove the chlorine found in most city water supplies? Have you tested the pH of your water?

ashmanra

I have never had our water tested, and I don’t know anything about our filter! I don’t know if it removed chlorine or not. I have had less than favorable water before, so I am just going by taste when I say that our water is pretty adequate for tea making. The beach where we vacation used to have terrible water, but they have added a city water system recently and I am happy that I can now make good tea there, too.

looseTman

The fridge owner’s manual may tell you what the filter is designed to remove. If not, with the make & model # of the fridge or the replacement filter part #, I suspect you can find out. See:
http://www.filtersfast.com/?gclid=CP6h4PG68LECFYLb4AodhhQAGA#
http://www.freshwatersystems.com/c-453-refrigerator-filters.aspx
If you want a simple in-home test for chlorine and/or pH see:
http://www.freshwatersystems.com/c-345-water-test-strips.aspx
http://filter.filtersfast.com/search?w=ph%20test%20kit
http://filter.filtersfast.com/search?asug=&view=list&w=chlorine+test

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Sample package label: “Ceylon Black”

Per: http://www.alvinsofsf.com/tea/black-tea/ceylon-black.html:
“Black Orange Pekoe, Ultra high grade, Extra long leaf size, Fresh floral bouquet with sweet citrus and cucumber notes and a dry finish.

Details
Our Ceylon teas come from the very best sources in Sri Lanka. Grown in the Highlands of Ceylon, this amazing black tea is the finest on the planet. Picked from the Camellia Sinensis plant this high grade Orange Pekoe leaf yields a fresh floral bouquet with sweet citrus tones. Hints of fresh picked grapefruit and cucumber with a dry grainy finish. This is our absolute favorite un-blended black tea leaf. CERTIFIED ORGANIC, FAIR TRADE, KOSHER tea leaves."

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian at Alvin’s of San Francisco for the recommended brewing instructions: 1 tsp. / 205*F / 8oz.
“Steep Time is around 2 minutes. Again, this part is totally up to you. Many people steep for less time and then re-steep a second time.”

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 26 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 205*F – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer. Brewed in a closed vessel – teacup w/lid:
1 Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

This tea has a strong pleasant fragrance that reminds me of licorice.
Dry leaf – blackish brown
Infused Leaf – Bright coppery hue

First cup:
2-min: Smooth, med.-bodied I then steeped it an additional min.
3-min: Smooth, bright & full-bodied with notes of cucumber, a light floral aroma, and a dry finish. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency.

4-min re-steep:
Smooth & a little lighter than the first infusion, but very enjoyable.

Impression: This Ceylon is a smooth full-bodied tea with hints of cucumber and without any bitterness or astringency. My cup was empty before I knew it. Very well done!

This tea changed my perceptions Ceylon tea. Previously, I’ve tasted a few Earl Grey teas that had a Ceylon base and were too astringent to be enjoyable. I guess the makers of these EG teas may have used a lower-grade Ceylon to reduce their cost and hoped the Oil of Bergamot would somehow hide it.

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian for providing this generous size free sample.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Ceylons grown at higher altitudes also seem to be more astringent. Kenilworth Ceylon is a very good one, in my opinion, or a blend of some of the lower elevation Ceylons. A Southern Season has a very nice Ceylon Extra Fancy with some of the biggest leaves you have ever seen, but it is smooth and rich, not too lemony or tart.

looseTman

Thanks for your suggestions. I’ll have to try them!

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Sample package label: “Autumn Darjeeling”
Per: http://www.alvinsofsf.com/tea/specialty-teas-and-blends/seeyok-autumnal-darjeeling.html
“Malty, muscatel, and spicy notes; smooth yet complex flavor, Autumnal 2nd flush. Organic, Fair Trade
Details
Deep in the Mirik Valley of Darjeeling in West Bengal India, comes this autumn harvest 2nd flush Darjeeling tea from the Seeyok plantation. Its has a strong body with a refreshing crisp finish with strong hints of Mustat, malt and spices. A perfect morning or early afternoon tea. Certified Organic and Fair Trade.”

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian at Alvin’s of San Francisco for the recommended brewing instructions: 1 tsp. / 195*F / 8oz. / 2 minutes. “To really enjoy the complexity of the tea leaves I personally leave them in for a bit longer though this is totally up to you. (Sometimes I don’t even take them out!)”

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 26 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 195*F – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer.
1 Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

The fragrance of this tea is very enticing, but what is it? – A new very pleasing experience.
Dry leaf – blackish brown
Infused Leaf – Bright coppery hue

First cup:
2-min: Smooth, light- to med.-bodied I then steeped it an additional min.
3-min: med.-bodied
4-min: Smooth, lively & full-bodied with a malty character and a clean finish. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency

5-min re-steep:
Smooth & a little lighter than the first infusion, but very enjoyable.

2nd cup (same as above, but brewed in a closed vessel – teacup w/lid):
4-min: Smooth, lively & full-bodied with a malty character and a clean finish. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency. However, I now can appreciate the hints of muscatel. It reminds me of white grapes.

Impression: A very enjoyable Darjeeling – a smooth, full-bodied, malty tea with hints of muscatel and without any bitterness or astringency. Well Done!

Thanks to Hovik Azadkhanian for providing this generous size free sample.

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

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Sample package label:
“Earl Grey de la Cream
Time: 3 minutes / Temp: 212*”

Thanks to David Palmerola founder of Steep City for the additional recommended brewing instructions: “Usually 1 tsp per 8 oz, but I like my teas stronger so maybe a bit more on the bold teas… Especially EG!”

Introduction: Steep City’s recently released Earl Grey de la Cream is the first EG Cream I’m aware of that uses vanilla beans (as opposed to just flavoring). It also uses an Assam/Ceylon blend. Most EG teas have a 100% Shi Lankan (Ceylon) base. Having the addition of an Assam black tea, was another significant reason for wanting to sample this EG tea. Our current EG has a Ceylon base and I can’t get past the astringency. My wife also loves EG.

This tea has a strong vanilla fragrance. Neither my wife nor I could smell the classic oil of bergamot fragrance.

April 18: 1 rounded to heaping tsp. / 8-oz. / 212*F / 3 min / No sweeteners, milk, or cream added

I brewed a cup of Earl Grey de la Crème for my wife – a life-long EG Lover. She noted a strong vanilla flavor, no discernible lemony oil of Bergamot flavor, and another flavor that she could not identify that detracted from the taste of this EG. She then looked at the Steep City website and specifically wanted to know about the vanilla and bergamot flavors.

My first impression of this tea (based only on a few stolen sips) was that it was full-bodied & very, very smooth w/o any bitterness or astringency – well done! The addition of vanilla beans was a great idea! However, as an EG tea, my wife was correct that the vanilla completely overshadowed the EG flavor.

Afterwards, I sent an e-mail to David asking about the vanilla and bergamot flavors. David told us that they use natural oil of Bergamot. “On the cream side, we are using natural flavors with some artificial flavors combined with the natural vanilla beans.”

April 21: 2.5 tsps. (All that remained in the sample) / 16-oz. / 212*F / 3 min. / No sweeteners, milk, or cream added (A cup for each of us)

3-min Infusion: A strong vanilla flavor, no discernible oil of Bergamot flavor, light- to medium-bodied, with zero hint of tartness, bitterness or astringency.
4-min: Improving
5-min: A strong vanilla flavor, no discernible oil of Bergamot flavor, strong hints of cinnamon, medium-bodied, with zero hint of tartness, bitterness or astringency.

In my experience, the tartness of citrus bergamia is a common characteristic of most Earl Grey tea. The addition of vanilla & vanilla beans definitely smoothed out the tartness.

In retrospect, as far as the full-bodied flavor on 4/18 and medium-bodied flavor on 4/21: I probably should have only brewed one cup with the remaining tea sample.

Impression: This tea is for creamy vanilla lovers.

For those who prefer a classic lemony Oil of Bergamot fragrance & flavor:
“It’s complicated.” The additional natural ingredients that give this Earl Grey its rich creamy vanilla taste are much stronger than the classic Oil of Bergamot EG flavor. Achieving just the right balance must be quite a challenge as the number of ingredients increases.

Suggestion: For those like my wife who love the classic EG fragrance & flavor, Steep City may wish to consider refining the balance between the vanilla beans / vanilla flavoring and the Oil of Bergamot so that these two key ingredients can be qually appreciated & enjoyed. Another consideration might be to eliminate the artificial vanilla flavor.

Thanks to David Palmerola founder of Steep City for providing this free sample.

Preparation
Boiling

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Sample package label:
“CREAMY, SMOOTH, and delicious! We use spring select white tea hand blended with coconut, safflowers, and cornflowers. Delivers a sweet creamy texture with a light body and a good balance of coconut.

Ingredients: Organic Chinese White Tea, Organic Safflower, Organic Cornflower, Organic Coconut, Natural Flavors
Caffeine: Medium, Steep: 1-3 Minutes”

Thanks to Joey Landford, The Tea Merchant, for the additional recommended brewing instructions: 1 heaping tsp. / 180*F / 8oz.

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 21 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 180*F – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer.
1 heaping Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

This white tea has a tropical coconut fragrance
Light gold hue

Infusion:
1-min: Smooth but light-bodied I then steeped it an additional min.
2-min: Improving
3-min: Sweet, creamy, smooth, mellow, & light-bodied with a mild coconut aroma. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency.

Impression: An outstanding, well-balanced, afternoon white tea and a very enjoyable way to receive your antioxidants!

Thanks to Joey, The Tea Merchant, for providing this generous size free sample.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Assam Gold by The Tea Merchant
123 tasting notes

Sample package label:
“The Perfect Tea for the coffee lover looking for a healthier alternative. This impossibly smooth malty organic tea comes from the Assam region of Northern India. It brews a rich golden infusion with lots of character and may be steeped multiple times.
Ingredients: Organic black Tea
USDA Organic, Caffeine: Medium, Steep: 3-5 Minutes”

Thanks to Joey Landford, The Tea Merchant, for the additional recommended brewing instructions: A little less than 1 tsp. / 205*F / 8oz.

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 21 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 205*F – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer.
1 scant Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

The fragrance of this tea has hints of tobacco
Golden hue

First cup:
3-min: Smooth but light-bodied I then steeped it an additional min.
4-min: Improving
5-min: Smooth & medium bodied. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency. Since this is an Assam, I suspected more tea was needed.

2nd Cup – 1 Rounded Tsp.:
3-min: Smooth and medium-bodied.
4-min: Smooth and full-bodied.
5-min: Smooth & full-bodied with a malty character. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency

6-min re-steep:
Smooth & lighter than the first infusion.

Impression: This Assam is a full-bodied, malty tea without any bitterness or astringency.

Thanks to Joey, The Tea Merchant, for providing this generous size free sample.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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Package label:
“Ingredients: Pure tea buds and leaves
Original Place: Qimen, Anhui, China
Distributor: Teas and Thes (China) Ltd.
Room 3-241, Hui Zhan Nan Wu Road
Xiamen, Fujian, China
www.teavivre.com
Production date: 5/15/2012
Storage Instruction: Store in Airtight, opaque container in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
Shelf life: 24 months
Net Wt.: 3.5 oz. (100 g)

Brew Guide:
1-2 teaspoons for 8 oz. of water
Brew at 194*F (90*C) for 2-3 minutes”

Per their website: http://www.teavivre.com/keemun-hao-ya/ this Keemun is a handmade Gongfu process tea that also has EU Organic Certification.

Introduction: Since I thoroughly enjoyed the sample of this Keemun Hao Ya, I ordered 500 g. (See my initial review.)

4/18/13 Western Teapot Technique: 32-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 19 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 194*F (90*C) – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer.
6 Tevanna teaspoons (1.5 tsp/cup), without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Results:
This tea has a wonderful mild smoky fragrance as well as a fruity fragrance that reminds me of red wine.

Vibrant copper hue

3-min Infusion: It’s a creamy smooth, well-balanced, full-bodied breakfast tea with a natural caramel-like sweetness, a fruity / wine-like flavor, and a finish that leaves you with a wonderful full mouth feel, which lingers on the tongue for an extended period of time. It’s truly outstanding!

2nd Infusion:
4-min: Initial taste – another minute was needed
5-min: Yes, the 2nd 32-oz. steep was as enjoyable as the first! Just a tad lighter.

Impression: This premium-grade Keemun, clearly sets itself apart from “Keemun Panda #1” in that it is certified organic, provides a natural caramel-like sweetness, and a wonderful full mouth feel, which lingers on the tongue for such an extended period of time.

Congratulations to Mr. Jiang, the tea farmer responsible for this superb Keemun!
“He and his workers are well known to produce some of China’s most sought after Keemun teas, illustrated by their Keemun winning gold medal for best tea at the Shanghai World Expo.”

This is our first TeaVivre black tea and it’s provided a wonderful first-impression. Premium Keemun Hao Ya Black Tea should not be missed! – A truly exceptional Keemun! Very well done!

Thanks to TeaVivre and Angel for providing the original free sample.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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Sample package label:
“USDA Organic, Fair Trade certified
Suggested Steeping Guide:
One scant tsp. / 212*F / 3-5 minutes”
http://www.arborteas.com/organic-keemun-hao-ya-a-black-tea.html#

Introduction: Kevin @ The Whistling Kettle first introduced me to Keemun tea: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/152917#likes I’ve purchased several pounds from him and have thoroughly enjoyed it. When I saw that Arbor Teas offers two different organic Keemun teas, I had to sample them. This second review is of their premium Keemun.

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 25 ppm, heated to 212*F
1 “scant” Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Results:
This tea has a mild smoky fragrance.
Dark brown hue

1st cup:
3-min Initial Impression: The taste is medium-bodied & smooth. It’s not at all bitter or astringent. (I then let it steep for an additional two minutes.)
5-min: Too long – It now has a prominent roasted quality that overshadows the subtle wine-like Keemun flavor.

2nd cup:
4-min: It’s a deep, smooth, rich, full-bodied breakfast tea with a slight smokiness and a subtle wine-like Keemun flavor that’s not at all bitter or astringent.

5-min re-steep:
Still enjoyable and a little lighter as you would expect. In fact, the classic wine-like Keemun flavor is now a little better appreciated.

Impression: A smooth, full-bodied, organic Keemun that is more robust than their less expensive organic Keemun. However, it has a subtle classic wine-like Keemun flavor, which one would not expect of a premium Hao Ya A.

Suggestion: Using teaspoon measurements such as “scant” “rounded”, “generous”, “heaping”, etc. are sometimes too imprecise. Adding the weight of tea in grams to the brewing recommendations would insure an optimum first impression and be more time efficient.

Thanks to Arbor Teas and Aubrey for providing this overstuffed free sample.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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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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