194 Tasting Notes

85
Another tea from the Dammann Freres group buy. Let me preface this by saying that I drink flavored teas occasionally and when I do, it’s almost always blended with a straight tea because otherwise they tend to be too off-puttingly intense. So my ratings for flavored teas are based on how they taste blended, not steeped on their own.

The dry leaf smells of perfume and orange. Bergamot is the dominant flavor and it’s not exactly subtle. I add just a pinch of this tea to regular green tea which balances the flavor just right. Along with the bergamot there is lots of violet and citrus. I don’t really taste any of the fruit flavorings, namely peach and kiwi.

This is the best of the DF teas I bought, but I’m not sure whether I would go out of my way to purchase it again from France. I like subtly flavored teas and I’m finding theirs to be too perfumey. The blends are unique for sure, they just need to be toned down a little. Lupicia does this well. I may check them out or maybe Mariage Frères for flavored tea in the future.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Lavender, Orange, Violet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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66
drank Honeysuckle by Teavivre
194 tasting notes

So this tasted nothing like I imagined. I was expecting something floral and instead got a serious vegetal wallop. Arby’s tasting notes are spot on. It tastes exactly like okra and raw zucchini. And it was only steeped for a couple of minutes with a small pinch of honeysuckle buds. It was a slightly palatable once diluted a bit. Definitely not my kind of herbal tea despite being caffeine free, at least not when drunk straight. Might taste better sweetened or blended with something else.

Flavors: Vegetal, Zucchini

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Arby

It’s like drinking okra water. I’m thinking it might be best cold brewed/served iced with lemon? I’m not really sure what to do with my samples because as much as I like okra and zucchini, vegetable flavoured water is just icky IMO. Maybe I’ll use them in savoury cooking.

TeaVivre

This herbal tea called Jin Yin Hua (金银花)in China. If you can’r get used to its taste, you can try add some Chrysanthemums, or Goji for extra taste

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, too bad. The idea of honeysuckle tea sounds delightful.

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92

I normally don’t get too excited about dragon well, but this one really made me sit up and pay attention.

I steeped 1g of leaves grandpa style in a tall glass teapot. The dry leaf greets you with a wonderful aroma of roasted vegetables. The taste is a medley of green veggies. I picked out notes of snap pea, edamame, and green beans. It’s nutty, but not overly so and has a juicy, thick mouthfeel. There’s a depth of flavor here you don’t usually see in dragon wells, which tend to be subtler than other green teas.

The longevity of this tea is remarkable. I started brewing with 175 F water and due to laziness didn’t bother reheating the water when refilling yet it maintained a robust flavor and the cooler temperature brought out more sweetness.

I was a bit apprehensive about ordering this tea because dragon wells are usually best when fresh and this was already several months old. However the flavor was still spectacular. I can only imagine how amazing it must have tasted when the tea was freshly harvested in the spring.

Flavors: Fruity, Nutty, Peas, Soybean

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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30

Bought this through the 2016 Dammann Freres group buy. All of my DF teas were pretty perfumey but the smell of this alone was enough to trigger a migraine. It tasted like Herbal Essences shampoo or a bath bomb. I couldn’t taste the underlying oolong nor any of the flavorings because one cloying note – aloe, I think – overwhelmed everything. I ended up giving it away as the potpourri smell was too much for me. A shame it didn’t work out because the melange of flowers in this blend – plum blossoms, acacia, jasmine, hawthorn, etc – sounded so interesting and unique.

Flavors: Perfume

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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62

As I explore my new found interest in black tea, there are some teas I’ve encountered that remind me of why I used to dislike black tea in the first place. This happens to be one of them.

True to its description, Superfine Keemun has a sweet potato aroma and taste. I like sweet potatoes and all but that earthy flavor doesn’t quite work for me in tea. Most of it dissipates after the 1st steep though. The second steep has a taste I associate with a typical English breakfast tea. There’s a tinge of smoke, a a bit tannic as it goes down but not bitter.

This really isn’t my kind of tea. I don’t get any of the chocolate, malt, or sweetness that I like in black tea. It’s basically a strong musky flavor with sharp tannins and earthy tones.

Flavors: Earth, Sweet Potatoes, Tannic

Evol Ving Ness

I like that you are exploring your new found interest in black tea and happily taking up along with you.

LuckyMe

Totally, I feel you have to fully explore a tea genre in order to understand it and find the ones you like to drink.

Black tea is still fairly uncharted territory for me. Happy to keeping exploring and sharing my discoveries :)

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83

An interesting change of pace from regular Japanese sencha. Closer to a Chinese green tea in character, it has long needle like leaves that when steeped give a pale yellowish green liquor and a buttery, clean vegetative taste with a hint of chestnut in the finish. However it lacks the umami and grassiness of a real sencha. Think of it as a Chinese green tea minus the nuttiness.

Taiwanese green teas from my experience are pretty mellow and this one is no exception. It’s low on astringency and has a soft and mild flavor. Personally I found it a a bit bland for my taste but I think this would be a good green tea for newcomers.

Flavors: Butter, Smooth

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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89

Backlog.

This is a bug bitten oolong that shows a lot of different faces as its steeped. Lower temperatures, around 185-190, give a honey-like sweetness, notes of orchid, and a rich syrupy body. At higher temperatures, the tea has more fermentation flavor and the taste and aroma of spiced roasted nuts. As the tea progresses, the toasted nut flavor amplifies and it develops some cinnamon and woodsy notes.

Being a bug bitten tea, there are similarities between it and Oriental Beauty. But the floral honey and fruitiness of Gui Fei give it a greater depth of flavor. I would describe the flavor profile as a bug-bitten Dan Cong. Really enjoyed this lovely, soothing tea.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Fruity, Roasted nuts, Spices

Preparation
4 g 150 OZ / 4436 ML

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84

This is my third Shan Lin Xi from TTC. Their other two varietals, Shibi and Long Feng Xia, were outstanding and Shibi has become a perennial favorite of mine. This was good, but the least impressive of the bunch. Lighter in flavor and hits less of the high notes.

Dry leaf: dark, dull green. faint hint of citrus in the aroma

1st steep: tangy and crisp with floral overtones
2nd steep: thin body, a bit weak. might not have steeped this long enough.
3rd steep: fruity with some citrusy notes. soft mouthfeel. good flavor, but more subtle than other SLXs
4th steep: a little vegetal with an ever so slight hint of bitterness punctuated by undertones of daffodils and cream
5th steep: creamy and light vegetal flavor. hint of vanilla detected.

Flavors: Cream, Flowers, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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80

Backlog.

This is smooth, buttery tea with a nice balance of vegetation and flowers and a rock sugar finish. All good stuff, but nothing that really sets it apart from other Taiwanese oolongs. It has more or less a standard gao shan taste and aroma. The first couple of steeps are light, and then the tea develops more viscosity and body. However it doesn’t hold up to multiple infusions as there is a noticeable drop in flavor after the 3rd steep. This particular harvest seemed a bit weaker in aromatics and flavor than past Ali Shans.

While I enjoyed it, I consider this squarely a middle of the pack green oolong. It had its moments but didn’t blow me away.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Sugar, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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78

Pretty good, but I wish it were a tad greener tasting. It’s got a strong toasty flavor and murky liquor. Less spectacular than the same tea from Yuuki-Cha. Matcha washes away after the first steep and then it tastes like a regular genmaicha. Not my favorite genmaicha but it does the job and is better than the bagged stuff.

Flavors: Toasted Rice

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Profile

Bio

Fell into tea years ago, and for a while my experience was limited to Japanese greens and a few flavored teas. My tea epiphany came a couple of years ago when I discovered jade oolongs. That was the gateway drug to the world of fine tea and teaware.

With the exception of a handful of lightly scented teas, I drink mostly straight tea. I’m on an oolong kick these days but will always have a soft spot for green tea. Love fresh green and floral flavors. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes. I am slowly beginning to explore black and puerh tea. I lean towards Chinese black teas and young sheng.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking and food, reading, traveling when I can, nature, alternative medicine, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

Location

Chicago

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