579 Tasting Notes

93

Sipdown.

I liked this a lot better after tweaking my brewing. Increasing the leaf quantity and lowering temperature was key. Vibrant green color and flavor. Full bodied with notes of freshly cut grass, cashew, and cream. Upping my rating as I enjoyed it far more this time around.

Flavors: Cashew, Creamy, Freshly Cut Grass

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Hey, where’ve you been? We’ve missed you.

LuckyMe

@Evol Ving Ness thanks for asking. life has gotten a little busy recently but still here and drinking tea :). hope you’re doing well

tanluwils

I too like to treat the good senchas like expensive gyokuro for the first few steeps.

Evol Ving Ness

More or less ok here. Good to see you!

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84
drank Melon White Tea by Lupicia
579 tasting notes

Last tea from the Lupicia group order. I put this one off for a while because I didn’t care for their Melon Oolong and expected it to taste the same. Finally had it today and it wasn’t half bad.

You can tell its the same melon flavoring used in the oolong version but it goes quite nicely with the white tea base. Clean tasting and lighter than the oolong. Candy sweet with more of a cantaloupe flavor than Hi-Chew candy this time.

Flavors: Candy, Cantaloupe, Melon

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

I love their Melon Oolong, but it’s definitely not a natural sort of melon flavor he he.

LuckyMe

Melon was my least favorite Lupicia flavoring…tastes a little too artificial for me. Mango and Momo Peach oolongs though were fire.

CrowKettle

Melona bar melon! Just needs the right base :)

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88
drank Merci Mille Fois by Lupicia
579 tasting notes

This is one of the teas from last year’s Lupicia group buy that I just got around to recently. It reminds me a lot of a plum oolong I used to like back in the day.

Dry leaf smells like plum, pomegranate, and raspberry. When heated, it becomes more plummy with notes of overripe berries and a little sweet potato. The flavor closely matches the aroma. Nice, tart flavor of plum, pomegranate, and dark cherry. There’s supposed to be white peach and strawberry in this blend too but I didn’t detect it. Normally I’m leery of tart/sour teas (I’m looking at you, hibiscus) but here it’s executed very well and is not overpowering at all.

Tastes good both on its own and blended with a straight black tea.

Flavors: Cherry, Plum, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Tart

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 OZ / 236 ML

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87

Currently a part of my tea rotation at work. This is one of those every day teas that’s good for easy sipping but not quite good enough to devote time to contemplate.

The style of this tea is called Kyomushi which Yuuki-Cha describes as strong steamed sencha. On the spectrum of Japanese green tea, it’s somewhere between a fukamashi (deep steamed) and chumushi (medium steamed) tea. This is also an aracha: unrefined and processed entirely by the grower himself.

Tasting the tea, it indeed straddles the line between medium and deep steamed sencha. On one hand, it’s not as murky green as fukamushi but does have some of the richness and chlorophyll taste. At the same time, it preserves some of the more subtle mineral, vegetative, and citrusy notes of lighter sencha. Minimal bitterness and doesn’t hit you over the head with umami. Good for 3 steeps.

Flavors: Grass, Lime, Moss, Spinach, Vegetal

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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66

Close to sipping down this one and so far, it has been the least impressive tea from my TTC order. Despite some wonderful aromatics, it has a very bland, generic light oolong taste. Faintly floral, watery body, and fades rather quickly. A little disappointing at how mediocre this is considering Long Feng Xia is usually a stellar high mountain oolong.

Flavors: Floral

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 45 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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98

It took only one sample for this matcha to win me over. Officially, one of the best matchas I’ve ever had which is even more impressive considering how old the sample was.

The dry powder smelled fresh, sweet, and fragrant. It frothed easily and had a rich green color. Although I intended to make a latte with it, I first tasted the prepared matcha and was surprised by how delicious it was on its own. Smooth and creamy without any bitterness and the in-your-face umami of most matcha. It’s the only matcha I’ve ever been able to tolerate on its own. Was tempted to have the rest of it straight but decided to go ahead and have it as an iced latte. A little sweetener, a few ice cubes, and a splash of oat milk and it was outrageously good.

Definitely going to hit up Obubu for my next matcha order. Thanks for the sample Cameron B

Flavors: Evergreen, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML
Cameron B.

Ooh that’s exciting, I’ve never tried any of their matcha!

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93

Revisited this tea after a long time. I was blown away when I first sampled it a few years ago and then made the mistake of buying a large bag that turned out to be totally lackluster so I didn’t bother with it again until recently. After many sessions over the past few months, I’ve learned that this tea is best enjoyed at peak freshness. That’s true for most greens but especially so with this one.

When fresh, it’s incredibly aromatic and vibrant. The leaves emit a wonderful scent of blueberry jam, nectar, and flowers. It slowly brews to a pale translucent green liquor with the taste of warm blueberries, hay, and white tea florals. The blueberry note is unique and not one you typically come across in green tea. Subsequent infusions bring out corn silk, sweet peas, and light vegetable broth.

The flavor has evolved a bit (or devolved depending on your point of view) as the tea has aged. The fruitiness has all but disappeared along with some of the delicate notes and the tea has settled into more of a beany / vegetal flavor. Still good but not as craveable as before.

A few additional observations. This tea requires a good amount of leaf. I had best results when using half the 7g sample pack for a 120ml gaiwan. It has a tendency towards bitterness so not recommended for grandpa steeping. Like I said above, the flavor fades quickly so its best enjoyed when fresh and I wouldn’t recommend stocking up unless this is going to be your daily drinker.

Flavors: Beany, Blueberry, Corn Husk, Flowers, Hay, Vegetable Broth, Wax

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 240 ML

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95

Yum! This was such a delicious tea. Wenshan Baozhong is one of my favorite oolongs but I’ve never had it roasted before. The name suggests an ashy tea however it’s anything but roasty. The roasting has transformed the usual heady baozhong florals into something completely new. It evokes the flavors of roasted fruit, chocolate, maple syrup, stroopwafel, and candied pecan. Bears many similarities to a good dong ding but with a lot more sweetness. There are none of the oily and woodsy notes that I sometime struggle with in yancha and dan cong. A very clean tasting and approachable tea for everyone.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Elderflower, Maple, Peach, Pecan, Roasted Nuts

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C

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78
drank Cooking Matcha by Sazen
579 tasting notes

Ever since I gave up on acquiring a taste for straight matcha, I’ve been searching for the best bang-for-buck non-Uji matcha that can work in lattes. I had been using Yuuki-Cha’s Yame matcha for some time now which made wonderful lattes but it was still ceremonial grade and felt like overkill. Powdered kamairicha was next but turned out to be a bust. I learned that powdered green tea does not equal matcha. Recently, I decided to give culinary matcha a try. Years ago, I had an extraordinary culinary matcha from Den’s tea that was better than even some higher grade stuff and hoped to strike gold once more. Sadly, it didn’t happen this time.

This culinary matcha superficially resembles ceremonial matcha with its verdant green color but differs considerably in flavor. It’s not as fragrant, sweet, or robust. Froths up okay and has a a vegetal, swiss chard like flavor with a slight bitterness. The flavor doesn’t hold up when milk and sugar are added becoming muted to the point where I can barely tell its there.

Still tinkering with brew parameters but so far not terribly impressed.

Flavors: Vegetal

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Mastress Alita

I too can only take matcha in latte or smoothie form, and have switched to more cost-effective culinary matcha. I’m using the one from Mizuba Tea Co.

LuckyMe

Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll check them out. And yeah, matcha is wonderful in desserts and drinks but too in-your-face for me on its own

Mastress Alita

Same. I need a balancing sweetness to take the edge off the bitter/umami.

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81

An interesting experimental batch from TTC. This is a scented tea made using local Taiwanese Bergamot instead of the familiar Italian variety found in Earl Grey tea. Tasting it, however, I can say there’s a world of difference between the two. Real bergamot has a distinct perfumey flavor. Even though it’s a citrus fruit, bergamot flavored tea isn’t very citrusy. This on the other hand is more citrus forward and would not be mistaken for bergamot. Smells and tastes like juicy tangerine and citrus rind. Occasionally, it gives impressions of lemon scented kitchen cleaner and Hi-C. When ambient brewed, the bergamot mingles with the underlying Jin Xuan to produce delicious rose and gardenia florals.

I think this would appeal to people seeking a citrusy or orange scented tea but doubt it will win over too many Earl Grey afficionados.

Flavors: Citrus, Lemon Zest, Orange, Tangerine

Preparation
Iced 5 g 20 OZ / 600 ML
Evol Ving Ness

What does ambient brewed mean?

LuckyMe

@Evol Ving Ness it means steeping at room temperature for a few hours then adding ice. It’s my short cut method for cold brewing.

Evol Ving Ness

Ah, ok. Thank you for explaining. I do that overnight and no ice.

LuckyMe

Cool. I ambient Brew for only a few hours though. Any bitterness from steeping that long?

Evol Ving Ness

No, but I am cautious about the teas I steep this way. I go light on leaf with those that are prone to bitterness.

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Profile

Bio

My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea many years ago and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and flavored Teavana teas. My tea epiphany happened when I discovered jade oolongs. That was my gateway drug to the world of high quality tea and teaware.

For the most part, I drink straight tea but do appreciate a good flavored tea on occasion. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks have started to grow on me. I’m less enthusiastic about puerh though. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

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

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky

Location

Chicago

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