659 Tasting Notes

85
drank Jin Jun Mei (2015) by Verdant Tea
659 tasting notes

Scent of dry leaf is very sweet and brown sugary. After steeping, taking the lid off the gaiwan and inhaling I get an overlay of smoke on top of an underlying sweet rock smell. Tasting at 30 seconds and this has a mild bit of smoke but not unpleasant, somewhat woody and sweet but at the same time highly mineral/rocky and a little dry and dusty. At 60 seconds, while inhaling the aroma from the gaiwan is sweeter and more malty, the flavor is more dusty and the campfire smoke is more pronounced along with a barnyard note.

A pleasant and good quality jin jun mei but not one I personally need to keep on hand. Luckily I still have a good stash of my ultimate jin jun mei so I have time to find a replacement. :)

Dexter

Is your ultimate JinJunMei not available anymore?

Nicole

Sadly, yes. The Last Dodo & I grabbed a bunch at MinRiver Tea’s going out of business last gasp. Someone else has to carry the same source (of which I have no idea what it is), but I haven’t found one comparable yet.

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Hm. This is more a roasted oolong taste to me than a black tea. Very mineral but thin feeling. Reminds me of a cross between a lightly roasted oolong and a Darjeeling. It’s fairly dry. Per pkg directions, 30 sec, 40 sec starting at around 205F.

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I have tried this twice now, once gong fu and once Western. I preferred it Western I think.
This is either a much lighter Yunnan than I am accustomed to or I underleafed. I did steep for 5 minutes when I did it Western and it was still tasty, as I would expect.

I still have some to experiment with, thanks for a very generous sample from TeaTotaler! It is quite a nice, balanced cup.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Holeee cats – the chili pepper & ginger in this just about knock you out to smell the dry leaf. Without sugar, the pepper is the foremost taste. Definitely a bite. Unfortunately, it kind of consumes the tea which is one of the main reasons I was anxious to get this blend. With sugar and cream it becomes an excellently scented, but moderately spiced chai and the pepper is moderated by the cream. Need to try again with some different parameters before rating.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Single Origin Teas

haha, guess coming from Texas I have different ideas about spice! ;)

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89
drank Black Pearl by The Mountain Tea co
659 tasting notes

Trying this one in the new bat gaiwan tonight (thanks to Amanda ‘Soggy Enderman’ Wilson for the lead on where to get one!). I still like this, but sadly, I think my tastes or my tastebuds have changed because I don’t like it as much as I used to. I’m getting far more mineral notes tonight along with some tobacco and some bitterness in the later steeps. Maybe not actually bitter but very metallic. It was never a quenching tea, always more on the dry side but I’m not even getting any malt tonight. Oh, well. I have a whole lot of it and this is from an admittedly old batch, though I store in relatively tightly sealed, opaque tins. I haven’t opened the new package from this year yet. Maybe that will be different.

I know it’s possible that medications can change what you taste. I’m on a new one and possibly the problem it’s supposed to cure could also be impacting – minor GERD with a minor hiatal hernia. So I’ve been cutting back on my tea intake since I’m supposed to watch my caffeine levels (in addition to not eating anything I normally eat…). Oh, and lose weight. I don’t know how I’m supposed to do that when a major part of my dessert substitutes are liquid caffeine. :)

http://tinyurl.com/p7pu6nt

boychik

you have to drink shou. it helps with reflux and other stomach problems and losing weight. Come to the dark side of shou ;)

Nicole

But I just can’t find any I want to drink. You sent me all those samples and I tried most of them but none of them said “Drink me!” But I am probably not preparing correctly either. I shall have to try again. :)

Liquid Proust

I’ll keep fighting this battle… but oolong is the best kind of tea period. However, that is not to say that shou is not good :)
A nice ripe can really comfort oneself but a beautiful oolong can take you to another dimension.

The notes on this say apple and floral… did you find that at all? I figure this kind of oolong would be straight up roast.

Nicole

I have never really gotten apple or floral from this tea. I’d say it’s closer to black than oolong, truthfully. They say it is a heavily oxidized oolong then call it a dark tea. I don’t get the roasted notes that I get from dark oolongs and I don’t get florals like I do from the greener oolongs.

boychik

Nicole, its acquired taste. you cannot love it from the first sight. I will definitely send you some to try not once.
This oolong was just roast to me but i really liked it. Thank you for sharing it with me, now i want moar

Liquid Proust

I might add that with shou that for me: I was able to ease myself into the taste by washing them and then steeping by color…

Basically, when it gets to a dark amber I release the liquid. This typically happens within 7s to 10s. However, there are some STRONG puerhs and I honestly just flash brew them at 2s. I converted four people last Saturday while we were meeting up for tea. They all said puerh tasted like old hay and wet dark earth. So I brewed some ripe as 7s and mixed the first four steeps together to weaken the strength a bit and they all have requested to come to my introduction to puerh event :)

Nicole

Yeah, old hay, mold, mud and fish. That’s what most puerhs taste like to me. I’ll have to try flash steeping. I just lose track so easily that I’m better off with teas I can not pay attention to. :) I’ll have to convert to more mindful sipping.

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drank Congou Black by Silk Road Teas
659 tasting notes

Very nice. Mild, smooth, apple-y in initial steep. Second steep was a little sour but not in a bad way. The smell is very much a Fujian black though there isn’t any of the mild smoke I have gotten lately with teas from that region. Glad to have this on hand. It isn’t one I have to keep around but it will be enjoyed as an every day tea while it lasts!

Teatotaler

This must be apple day for me. I think I’ going to have to place an order for this tea!

Nicole

PM me an address. I have plenty – I’d be happy to send some your way to try it before you buy since they don’t have small amounts.

Teatotaler

Thanks, Nicole! :)

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drank Caramel Chai Pu-erh by Tea Guys
659 tasting notes

Hm. Not sure I could pick this out as pu-erh but then I am not the most experienced with that type of tea. There are little soft caramel bits covered with tea in the mixture and it smells like chai. It wasn’t an exceptionally strong chai, more a scent of caramel and spice. I added some sugar about halfway through the cup and the spices popped a bit more. Nothing really stands out to me here but it wasn’t horrible either.

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This is indeed rich and full bodied. It stands up well to steeping when traveling under less than optimal conditions. There is a faint maltiness I think but I want to have this under better conditions than unknown water temp in a styro cup. Even at that this tea is definitely distinguishable as a cut above standard. It may be a suitable replacement for my beloved Crimson Horizon, which, until I run out, is my vacation tea of choice. I want to test these two side by side when I get home. Until then, no rating but suffice to say that any tea that manages to shine in these circumstances and a CTC that didn’t turn bitter left in the cup, is a quality tea in my mind and one that is like to keep on hand.

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90

This one was plenty strong but not overly harsh. Malty, though not as much as some when hot. Maltiness seemed to intensify as the cup cooled. Medium sweetness and some fruity notes in the background. Not a replacement for the Assam Enigma, which is still sadly out of stock, but this was an excellent sample included in my last order. This is the kind of Assam I wish for when I order Assam at an afternoon tea but never do get. The kind of Assam I’d have at my afternoon tea shop. :)

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100

I had 2 steepings of this over the day today. With the second steeping I was also eating Darkside Skittles. OMG… the intense malt and the fruit and the sweet? A-MAZ-ING. Such a plebian desecration of this gorgeous tea, but it was soooo good. Now I need to try it with a splash of cream but I get the feeling that might be dangerous. I love it so much unaltered.

Sil

darkside skittles……..

Nicole

A device of the devyl. I snarf entire family size bags in a day. Normal Skittles no longer hold any appeal. I truly try not to buy them but sales happen. It’s not just tea I lack willpower with. :)

Fjellrev

I had to google da Skittles. I was hoping they’d be LE Star Wars Skittles or something. Yoda Yuzu and Darth Durian.

Nicole

That would be awesome. They should do that. :)

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Tea afficianado & founder of the Midwest Tea Festival. I wish I could make a living creating and serving tea parties, but alas, bills prevent that possibility. :) So I make do by catering tea parties for friends and co-workers and drinking tons of tea with my cats on my lap. :)

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