15 Tasting Notes

99

The only reason this isn’t a straight 100 is that I have the summer pickings, and have not had the opportunity to try the first flush (which Mad Monk Tea also stocks). This tea really exudes quality in every aspect: it retains flavor for many brewings (the highest I’ve gone up to is seven), the leaves are whole and beautiful, and the taste… my god, the taste… The first brewing has the most sublime buttery mouth-feel I’ve ever encountered, and the taste is sweet and divine. I’d say it tastes almost between a milk oolong and a ti-gwan-yin; it’s not as creamy as a milk oolong, but has that some of that sweetness that I haven’t tasted in a TGY. Subsequent brewings lack the strength of the initial thick oily mouth-feeling, and the vegetal side of the tea gets more pronounced. If this tea didn’t cost such a pretty penny, (which honestly, for the number of infusions you can get out of the leaves, isn’t that much at all), I’d probably drink way too much of it.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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85

I need to experience many more Earl Grey variants before I can discuss this tea intelligently, but as of now, I am a big fan. The base tea is of definite quality, and the dry tea leaves smell sublime. The only qualm I have with it is that I would like a tad bit more bergamont oomph in the brewed tea. Don’t get me wrong, the bergamont is definitely there and tasteable, but I’m a sucker for that orange smell and taste.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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80

I like this tea a lot. Hot, it’s a decent blend of black teas, nothing spectacularly mind-blowing, but good tasting and certainly hearty. The only problem I have with it is that I am prone to getting severe bouts of nausea if I drink it before I’ve had any food. The same applies to almost all black teas though, especially blends with an Assam in them. I find this tea to be spectacular iced. I’m not sure if I want to continually stock the 8oz tin that I have of this, but I wouldn’t mind it being consistently in my cupboard.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I was interested in this one as well. Just ordered some stuff from MTW and it didn’t make it onto the short list. :)

narwhalclub

Ooooo, what’d you get?

TeaBrat

Hu Kwa, Victorian Afternoon and Manhattan Tribute (should arrive today!)

narwhalclub

Nice! I’m curious to see what you think of the Manhattan Tribute :)

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88

J’adore le thé Mélange Français! (I’m not sure if that’s the correct way to say that, but my French is only slightly above non-existent) This tea is flowery and delicious and manages to not be too perfumey. It is robust enough to drink in the morning (yay Assam component!), but is perfect, in my opinion, as an early afternoon tea. Oh, and it is decidedly spectacular iced (especially with some lemon). I’ve been trying to find some sort of France-inspired blend that is good enough to continually keep in stock in my cupboard. By George, I think I’ve got it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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69
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
15 tasting notes

Thank you so much to Amy Oh for sending me a sample of this! I like this tea. I don’t love it, which is a shame, because I really really wanted to love it (mostly because it’s called Paris and j’adore Paris!). It’s too sweet in a chocolatey sense for me, and doesn’t have enough bergamont. Like, I definitely got a hint of bergamont, but I wanted it to reach up out of the cup and slap me in the face, announcing its presence, which it did not. It kind of just nodded at me, slightly smiling, and slipped off into the corner of the party in my mouth. Oh well, maybe next time.

TeaBrat

I actually like that about it because I’m not a fan of bergamot… ;-)

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94

Wowza. Thank you so much to SimplyJenW for sending me a sample of this! Would I not have gotten a half pound tin of Hu Kwa, I would be in quite some distress to decide which was the better Lapsang between it and this and which I should order more of. It astounds me how similarly delicious they are, balancing their smokiness with sublime smoothness, yet how unique their tastes are. Upton did right by me on this one. Definitely recommended.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
SimplyJenW

I am having the same dilemma. But since I order from Upton about every two months, the Black Dragon will probably win! Thank you for the Hu Kwa!

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88
drank Milk Oolong by thepuriTea
15 tasting notes

Thank you so much to SimplyJenW for sending me a sample of this! This tea blew my mind. Not in the sense that it tasted so good that my mind overloaded, (it does taste quite terrific mind you), but because it is alleged to be nothing but pure camellia sinensis. It’s very buttery and creamy, which kind of put me off at first smell, but once I took a sip I realized I was mistaken in my initial assessment. The best part, for me personally, is the aftertaste, when that creamy taste that’s lingering in my mouth mixes with the vegetal taste that I’ve come to expect from the greener oolong teas. That vegetal taste gets slightly stronger with subsequent infusions, but the creamy buttery taste is ever-present, and stays powerful long after the first infusion. I’m intrigued by this tea and may just have to buy myself some.

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

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12
drank Florence by Harney & Sons
15 tasting notes

Thank you so much to Amy Oh for sending me a sample of this and H&S Paris blend!

I was bound to find a tea that I truly disliked eventually, though I would never have thought that this would be it. The actual taste of the tea, in truth, is not that bad for me. Not that good, but also not that bad. The problem is that I have to smell the dry leaves, then the brewing leaves, then the cup when it’s poured, every time I take a sip, and all the way through the cleaning of the pot, and the swell is just way way way too sweet in a way that doesn’t do it for me. This is the first chocolatey tea I’ve tried, and I think I can say that chocolate teas aren’t going to be my friends, but I can’t confirm that until I’ve tried more.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

Truthfully I’m not a big fan of chocolate teas either…

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80

So I tried this a while ago when I first got it last September, and it made me super nauseous because a bunch of leaf-bits slipped through the holes of my strainer in my teapot and I drank them. Recently though, I discovered that I have a teaball (I know teaballs are lame for the most part, seeing as the leaves don’t unfurl properly, but this tea doesn’t have that problem) in my house that has small enough holes to prevent that from happening. Since then, I’ve had a few cups of this almost every day, and I really like it. It’s very bold and invigorating, and makes for a great morning tea. Too bad that I wake up around noon on most days and don’t get to drink it in the literal morning :P I like it with a bit of lemon, but I like almost all of my black teas with a touch of lemon, so that isn’t saying too much.

On a side note, the reason I ordered this tea in the first place was that it comes from the base of Mount Kenya, and I actually flew over Mount Kenya in a small passenger airplane when I visited Kenya years ago. So I actually got to see where it comes from, which gives me a sense of a special connection to the tea, which I think is rather cool.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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79

This is the first of my adventures into loose leaf green tea, as well as my first jasmine tea. I thought I wouldn’t like green tea based on some experience I had years back that I can’t even recall, but past me is sorely mistaken. The tea itself is light, which I guess makes a lot of sense, it being a green tea and all. The jasmine taste is very faint when consuming the tea, but the scent of the jasmine is fairly strong, which is awesome because I rather enjoy the smell of jasmine. It keeps for three steeps easy without losing any flavor, but I’ve never gone beyond that. All-in-all, a terrific purchase from a small local store, which I will be enjoying for a while.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 45 sec
Spencer

The Secret Garden is just an awesome little shop. I love having it nearby.

narwhalclub

Agreed. I really like the fact that it took me so long to find the first time I tried to go there, like some sort of hidden grove of goodness.

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Bio

I’m on leave from college because making superficial relationships with hyper-competitive wunderkinds wasn’t exciting my passion. Instead, I drink tea. I like all types, but oolongs tend to be my favorites, and I’ll smack you upside the head if you put anything but lemon in my tea. My palate isn’t super experienced yet, and I don’t know exactly what I like and do not like yet, but that’s the whole fun in it right? The mystery steaming from each cup?

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