174 Tasting Notes

70

This was my second wuyi from Yunnan Sourcing and it’s quite different than others I’ve tried in the past. I would describe the flavor profile as wood-spice and black licorice. It has a thick mouthfeel and a sharp cinnamon taste that really hits your palette. I don’t get the floral notes that YS describes. Not a bad tea, but just not my style of yancha due to the pungency and heavy spice flavor.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Licorice, Roasted, Spices

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

Received a generous sample of this with my Bitterleaf order. I’ve been seeking to expand my tea repertoire beyond green tea and oolong and this sheng was a great intro to the world of puerh. My puerh experience, while limited, has been a mixed bag. This is the first puerh I’ve not only liked but truly enjoyed.

The dry leaf is has a deep fragrance of brown sugar/molasses, flowers, and clay-like earthiness. The first few steeps were sweet, full-bodied yet light with lots of fruitiness. Low on bitterness and the earthiness that characterize puerh. Later steeps though became metallic, typical of a young sheng.

This is a nice tea for easy sipping. It’s gentle character will appeal to green tea drinkers and puerh noobs like myself. I can definitely see myself buying more of this tea.

Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Metallic

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML
Matu

This one is really one of the best bang for your buck puerhs of 2016 imo.

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82

The autumn version of this tea is delicious. Similar to regular laoshan green but nuttier and with fruity overtones. The nuttiness reminds me of oats and basmati rice. Sometimes I get a little chestnut or toasted rice type of flavor too. The liquor is a pale green color and has a green bean like taste. The mouthfeel is thick, buttery, and sweet. Steeped at lower temps, around <175 F, it’s sweet and fruity. Higher temps produce a more savory flavor profile.

A fine green tea typical of the Laoshan style though not as complex nor full flavored as the spring reserve bilochun was.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green Beans

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec 1 g 5 OZ / 147 ML
Ubacat

I placed an order for some Autumn Laoshan greens from Verdant during the Black Friday weekend. Looking forward to trying them including this one.

LuckyMe

Can’t go wrong with Verdant’s laoshan greens. I liked their pine needle green tea the vest from this autumn’s harves

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88

I bought this tea because the description sounded similar to WP’s Wildcrafted Da Hong Pao, one of my all time favorite wuyi oolongs. This tea has a lot of characteristics that I like in DHP.

At first it was a little aggressive, but after resting a few months the roast has mellowed out and the char flavor is gone. The dry leaf smells like dark chocolate and wet wood. When brewed, it has the classic wuyi rock flavor, along with some oak and a hint of florals in the finish. There’s some honey that pops in occasionally. It’s a quite potent tea so less is definitely more. I grandpa steep this with just a pinch of leaves and it can go all day.

This is a smooth, enjoyable wuyi that’s not quite as sublime as the WP one but is stellar tea in its own right and a better value at half the price.

Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Oak wood, Wet Rocks

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Zennenn

I love this one too. It’s my favorite work tea right now.

tanluwils

This one is boss. I find it surprisingly floral and minty. I may grab a 100g bag at Scott’s next big oolong sale.

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84

Backlog.

A nice citrusy, light bodied oolong. There are notes of flowers, white balsamic, and lemon verbena. It’s similar in flavor to long feng xia, but with a thinner body. This is a very delicate tea, soft and relaxing. I liked it, but it’s not my favorite style of Taiwanese oolong.

Flavors: Flowers, Lemon

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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88

Received this as a free sample with my Den’s order a while back.  Given that it’s a culinary grade matcha, I wasn’t expecting too much but it makes fantastic matcha lattes and is even pleasant to drink straight.

The matcha powder smells fresh and grassy like a good matcha should. The tea has a sweet vegetative taste with some minty tones and a hint of astringency in the finish. The body is robust enough to hold up to milk and sweeter with great flavor.

This is far above the low grade stuff that passes as culinary matcha. Recommend checking it out if you prefer matcha that’s naturally sweet and less bitter.

Flavors: Grass, Mint, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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75

The refrigerator can have interesting effects on tea. So after my less than wonderful experience with this tea earlier, I tried a small batch I had refrigerated about a month ago. And wouldn’t you know it, this time it tasted like a totally different tea. The harsh bitterness that made it unpalatable before? Gone. The chill from the fridge seems to have transformed the tea, smoothing out its rough edges and giving it a nice, mellow flavor.

Now I can’t guarantee refrigeration will help all teas. My own experiences with it have been mixed. I recently had to chuck sencha which had turned foul sitting in the fridge and finer dragon wells haven’t fared too well. But other senchas, kamairicha, and some Chinese green teas like bilochun have in fact benefited from cold storage. This is very much a YMMV thing, but it can’t hurt to try it on lackluster teas.

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Vegetal

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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74

In the past year, I’ve had the good fortune of trying a number of competition grade bao zhongs and the experience has ruined all other bao zhongs for me. This winter BZ from BTTC has a vegetal character that puts it closer to a green tea than an oolong. There are subtle notes of butter and flowers, but lack the depth of the higher grade teas. This is a good tea for easy sipping but doesn’t quite reach the heights that better BZs do.

Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Grass, Seaweed

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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91

Really enjoyed this sample from BTTC. Its fruity flavor and lush fragrance reminds me a lot of some of the Shan Lin Xi teas I’ve had.

The tea leaves are tightly rolled into giant green nuggets and smell intensely floral and creamy. It brews up vegetal and a little tart in the beginning followed by a rich and robust pear like fruitiness, flowers, and a tangy mineral flavor.

An excellent tea for the money. I would definitely pick up some more on my next BTTC order.

Flavors: Flowers, Mineral, Pear, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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75

Backlog.

Watching this tea bloom was a feast for the eyes. Using boiling water, the bulb slowly bounces around the vessel for a bit before gracefully sinking to the bottom to allow the beautiful flower structure to fully unfurl. It’s pretty tall so you want to use a large enough glass or teapot.

The flowers here are supposed to be amaranth and jasmine. I couldn’t taste the jasmine at all, but the amaranth dominated. The flavor of this tea is sweet, nectary, and honey like. There’s no bitterness to speak of even at boiling, a problem I’ve had with other blooming teas. But I didn’t really care for the resin like taste of the amaranth.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Nectar

Preparation
Boiling

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Bio

Fell into tea years ago, and for a while my palette was limited to just 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.

I mostly drink straight teas however there are a handful of flavored teas that I can’t go without. 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 less enthusiastic about blacks and puerhs. However I don’t mind less tannic black teas and enjoy a good sheng every so often.

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

Location

Chicago

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