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141 Tasting Notes

72

The twisted gold and black leaves are fairly short. The fragrance of the packaged leaves is slightly floral with a note of tomato.

Prepared, the tea is vegetal and incredibly mild. There’s the faintest impression of tannin bitterness but far less than most blacks.

This was a pleasant, simple black tea. However, it doesn’t really stand above teas that are more readily available in the US so I can’t say I’d go out of my way to purchase this one again.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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86

This took me by surprise; it’s so unlike any other pu-erh I’ve had.

This tea is very loosely packed and the leaves are long and twisted. I’m glad it was handled gently so they weren’t crumbled. The fragrance is of a freshly mowed lawn. This isn’t unusual for say a green tea, but pu-erhs are usually more earthy. This was fresh and clean.

When brewed, you have a rust to almost cranberry colored tea. The fragrance is slightly mossy, but young. Here I picture a vibrant patch of newly sprouted green moss after a rain as opposed to something older.

This is a really sweet pu-erh. It’s an odd flavor profile, but what comes to mind first is cucumber with a touch of white grape juice. This was totally unexpected for a pu-erh and was an enjoyable discovery.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

This sounds like a shu I’d actually like!

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70

This is really unique from presentation to the tea itself.

Once you cut into the shrink-wrap around the dehydrated clementine, you get a brief whiff of earthiness and a quick flash of ocean- OK, it’s briefly fishy. I have a friend that describes pu-erh as smelling and tasting like basement. This isn’t that bad, but it’s definitely mossy.

Once brewed, the fish dissipates quickly. The taste is smooth and slightly sweet. I pick up a lot of “veggies” but this isn’t what I’d call vegetative. It’s more like very dull impressions of carrot, potato and mushroom in that order.

While the clementine packaging is a nice novelty, I couldn’t sense any involvement in the fragrance or flavor. This isn’t a citrus flavored pu-erh by any means. It is, however, a solid example of a nicely aged tea.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec
Lori

If you add the dried orange peel to the steep, you can get a citrus flavor.

Paul M Tracy

I have a little left, so I’ll try that next time. Thanks!

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77

The appearance of this tea is impressive. The leaves are very loosely packed in the tin as they are quit long and “fluffy” as others have described. The tiny orange-yellow osmanthus blossoms are sprinkled throughout, but you need to shake the tin as they tend to settle to the bottom during shipping. The fragrance is hay>grass>pineapple in that order of predominance.

I was surprised by the color of the brewed tea. The natural coloring of the blossoms turns the pale honey colored silver needle to an interesting gold-orange. The coloration was almost swirled as opposed to uniform. In taste, you get a faint grassiness, then honey then just a touch of peach-pear. I know osmanthus is supposed to have an apricot flavor profile, but this wasn’t quite that sweet.

On my first infusion, the tea got bitter very quickly as the cup cooled to the point where the last sip wasn’t drinkable. (I had followed the merchant’s recommended brewing instructions.) On the second infusion, I decreased the steep time and that seemed to help. Per Samovar, I stopped after two.

I can sum this tea up as “complicated.” It was enjoyable, but it’s sort of like trying to drive a high performance sports car when you’re used to a Chevy. You might enjoy the ride, but probably won’t get the most out of it until you learn how to shift better. I’ll need to come back to this one after I’ve built up more tea experience.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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67

I really like Tea Spot teas because they are simple and unpretentious but of a good quality. Their large tins provide a great value for a decent quality tea.

The Green Roasted Mint is a bit unusual. In fragrance, you have the obvious mint (which is very clean with no artificial qualities) but there’s a note I liken to aged paper which is probably from the roasting. Once brewed, the fragrance is a faintly smokey.

In flavor, the mint and the tea are well balanced. This is one tea that I will occasionally sweeten to bring out more of the mint.

I’ve made this iced as well and it’s pretty decent.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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72

This is my first try of a Canton Tea Co product and it’s also my first time using a gaiwan. (I already love the thing. How much easier is that?!)

This tea is comprised of tiny pearls. Obviously the fragrance is floral, but this tea goes one step beyond. I would say it’s more of a sugary perfume. It’s quite exotic, but still not quite the level of fragrance that would make this my “perfect” jasmine.

The prepared tea has a pale honey color and has an incredibly delicate flavor. It’s faintly sweet but the floral taste just very slightly overpowers the complexity of the tea base. I get a slight bitter tingle on the edge of my tongue that lingers. I guess I want the best of both worlds; more jasmine fragrance but less flowery flavor.

Overall, this is really good but not perfect. It’s a pleasant tea but, especially given the shipping costs from the UK, I’ll continue to look for that “perfect” jasmine.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Rabs

Hooray for gaiwans! I love mine and really kicked myself for not trying one sooner. :)

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84

When you first open this bag, the fragrance of the pineapple and mango are REALLY strong. It’s not artificial or unpleasant, just very up front. If you asked someone to smell this with their eyes closed, they’d have no idea they were smelling a tea. It’s closer to a bag of candy.

Once brewed, the fruit fragrance is still powerful but you can just start to pick up the sweet, plumy, floral smell of the tea underneath.

While this is fruited, the tea is highlighted and provides the predominant flavor. I haven’t been into tea long enough to really pinpoint the origin of “black tea,” but I’d guess there’s at least some fairly high quality Keemun in here. The fruit flavors help brighten and sweeten the tea and bring out its natural fruity-floral qualities.

While I prefer green teas and herbals iced, this black tea rocks on-the-rocks. Typically icing a tea enhances the fruit notes, which it does here as well, but the tea is of such good quality that it stands up to the treatment and you can still taste it as well.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

I’m not a black tea person but this sounds good!

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87

This tuocha was a little different from camel (shark) breath. It was much harder and portions needed to be flaked off using a sharp knife. So, a little prep work was required but it was nothing too onerous.

Everyone has been raving about the initial fragrance but I have to admit that, for me, there was none in the dry tea. There was maybe a hint of grass and pasture, but that’s about it.

The prepared tea, however, was full of fragrance and flavor. The tea smelled like clean hay with cooked sushi rice. A rice flavor, however, dominates and has underpinnings of honey, oats and a very slight floral finish.

From second infusion on, this tea took on greater honey-and-oat qualities. I’m beginning to understand how pu-erh, even through its quirkiness, can build such a strong following. Each one truly does have a unique character and it even offers a varied experience during one extended sitting.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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84

My first experience with Pu-erh was a bit frightening. The tea was fishy and had an odd color and was simply a turn off. My wife has since taken to calling all of these teas Poo-air.

Since then, I’ve had much better experiences with Pu-erh and this is the best so far. This was my first time using the tuocha form, but it was fairly intuitive. It’s a small pressed capsule that looks like a plug of used chewing tobacco. It’s soft enough that you can crumble off what you need with your fingers.

This tea brews to almost black with a very faint “slick.” I describe the fragrance as “oceanic.” Unlike what the name would lead you to believe, I really picked up less camel territory and more shark. There’s a definite kelp and seaweed presence and, as CTG’s tasting notes mention, it’s definitely briny. As it matures, you begin to pick up faint notes of clean hay and a sweet, peat-like earthiness.

What was unusual (and somewhat pleasant) about this tea is that there seemed to be a constant play between sweet and salty. One sip might start out sweet and move towards salty and the next is the reverse.

On the second and subsequent infusions, the tea leaves the ocean for land. It does become more mossy and sweetens even further. When I first saw the size of the tuocha (slightly smaller than a quarter) I didn’t think it would go far. However, this was made for multiple infusions and you have to go past four or five to experience the entire taste range.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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48
drank MateVana by Teavana
141 tasting notes

I found this hiding in the back of the pantry and thought I’d give it a shot.

The fragrance of this blend is vanilla, chicory and (I don’t know where these come from sometimes, possibly the almonds here?) slightly stale Lorna Doone shortbreads. While not an ugly mix, there’s not a lot to please the eye other than the occasional yellow or blue speck of florals.

Upon brewing, it produces a fairly dense reddish-brown liquid. The fragrance of both the vanilla and shortbread remains. From a taste standpoint, the flavor is of vanilla with a subtle note of brandy and carries a pastry aftertaste. As it approaches room temperature, it begins to pick up a very slight sourness.

I was surprised that, for the number of cocoa components it contains, I didn’t pick up any chocolate in either flavor or fragrance.

I’m not a huge Rooibos or Honeybush fan, so this may be why this moved to the back of the shelf. It’s OK, but not a favorite.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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Bio

avid reader and fitness freak – my tasting notes are brutally honest and range from raving fanaticism to snarky *please don’t take them personally*

Location

Scottsdale, Arizona

Website

http://flavors.me/paulmtracy

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