New Tasting Notes

77
drank Monks Blend Organic by Zen Tea
489 tasting notes

This is a nice, strong black tea. It seems to be mixed with a bunch of different blacks, and while I like black tea, I tend to find assam too intense without milk and I prefer my darjeelings a bit fruity. So for me, the flavors muddle here a bit into a blend that to me will work best with a splash of milk or as a base for stovetop chai.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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75

Ooh, coffee tea. My kind of thing. The idea of a coffee-flavoured tea has always been amusing to me. Why not just drink coffee? Because a coffee-flavoured tea can taste so damn good too!

The dry leaf is coffee with heavy cream, kind of like a double-double (which reminds me that I need to get in on Tim Hortons Roll up the Rim before it’s gone again).

I’ve actually had this twice already. The first time I added less leaf and it turned out the best. Delicious iced cappuccino (Tim Hortons-style again, that is!). Then a whisper of cinnamon comes in. With 2% milk, this is smooth and creamy with some hard-to-describe dessert-like note in the background too, kind of like cake. My mind would like to think that it is appropriately coffee cake.

The second round wasn’t as good just because I had a weird amount left that was too little for two more cups, so I dumped the rest into my Nordic mug filter. The liquor was murkier, the coffee stronger, but those other flavours got kind of weird, slightly chemical. So the key is to keep the leaf ratio to a moderate level.

I’m actually tempted to get more sometime. Just maybe 20g or so, like I was thinking with Chocolate Macaroon. But I wouldn’t load up on it and drink it religiously.

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This was a very generous sample from Wymn Tea. Thank you!

I enjoyed this as my lazy saturday afternoon tea yesterday. I am just starting out with pu-erh so I am not sure how great my notes will be about the tea. This tea was very hard for me to get to open up. I did quite a few rinses before the leaves ever appeared to break apart. The flavors that I got out of the infusions ranges from borderline bitter, to tangy fruit with honey, a few infusions had a creamy feel to the mouthful, and then towards the end a few infusions showed hints of woodiness. Since I am new to pu-erh I will leave this unrated. It was an enjoyable afternoon tea, but it didn’t stand out to me as a favorite in regards to the few Sheng’s I have tried.

Tashi

No problem TeaTiff! Thanks for the review! This is a tightly compressed cake. We usually break it into smaller pieces first so that the leaves open up quicker.

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74
drank Gold Rush (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
150 tasting notes

I only bought 12g of this tea just to try it. My sample was pretty much all mulberries and coconut flakes and very little white tea, so when I brewed it up I grabbed some white tea and mixed it up so that it would be actual tea. The main flavour of the tea is coconut, and I believe the mulberries add a bit of sweetness as well. It’s a nice taste, but I dunno if I like it with the white tea because it completely masks the taste of it. I would like this better as a herbal tea, especially because adding the white tea into the mix jacks up the price to nearly $12/50grams. To me, this tea isn’t worth the cost and I prefer just a plain white tea instead. However, if you like light tasting coconut tea, this tea is indeed for you.

Flavors: Coconut

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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75

This brew has such a smooth earth flavor. The rooibos brings it a dusty field taste. The vanilla smooths this out and enlightens the taste. I brewed this western styled with a generous amount. The aroma is mostly of a robust vanilla. I had only one complaint with this tea. As I began drinking down my steep, the vanilla become more and more subtle. This caused the brew to become more dry. This wont be a tea for me.

Flavors: Smooth, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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70

Finishing up this sample. Now I wish I had thought to taste this one alongside the Indonesian oolong so I could taste the difference, because this is a very oolong-y green tea. :) It comes all rolled up like an oolong, and the flavour is light and sweet the way some green oolongs are. Lightly vegetal, maybe slightly floral, like a breeze across a meadow. :) There’s a little bit of astringency as it cools, and it doesn’t have that lingering creaminess that I associate with oolongs, so maybe that’s what makes this more of a green tea. It’s nice, but I don’t feel particularly compelled to order more. :)

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88

I purchased two of Naivetea’s sample boxes last week and they finally arrived yesterday!! I can’t believe they took just over a week from order to arrival and it was only shipping from 250 miles away but the wait was certainly worth it!

Opening the packet up, Im immediately hit with the sweet and slightly acidic smell of fresh passionfruit, if I closed my eyes I would think someone was holding a fresh cut passionfruit in front of my face!! Such a heady, indulgent, succulent scent!!

I decided to steep in my little oolong yixing pot following Naivetea’s steeping directions… First steep at 50 seconds and the scent is not as prominent as the dry leaf, the flavor is muted but there is definitely some light passionfruit notes in each sip. Second steep at 40 second, the passionfruit flavor is a little more prominent, more juicy with a distinct buttery end note, the liquor has changed to a slightly more vibrant but beautiful yellow color. Third steeping at 50 seconds, and the scent is infinitely more floral and there is still a slight passionfruit flavor which is balanced with a vegetal flavor. Fourth and final steeping because I’m ready for something else, not because this tea has given up all its flavor… this time I steeped for 2 minutes (as Naivetea recommends for the 7th steeping) there is still a distinct passionfruit scent and the flavor is still present but fading a little… All in all this tea is pretty delicious, I expected a slightly more prominent passionfruit flavor due to the powerful scent of the dry leaves but I’m in no way disappointed with what the tea delivered and will absolutely purchase more when this sample is done.

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72
1 tuo/5gr. 500ml. 85-95C. steep for approx. 1 min.

Easy shu pu ehr with thick sweet taste.

No complexity , and was a tad disappointed at how quick I had to brew longer to get a good cup. Got 5 steeps out of 1 tuo, had participated more…

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec 5 g 500 OZ / 14786 ML

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77

There is candy in my tea…. This gave me quite a surprise haha. I had the expectation that this was going to be hot, spicy, and very bold. To the contrary, it is quite the opposite. The cinnamon adds a soothing effect. This is followed by a smooth black woodsy flavor. The last ingredient blankets the drink in an enticing sweetness. The little candies add a sugared coating. This is a very calm sweet drink. The only spice that lays in this brew is only brief, and in the aftertaste. I like this and it did the job in warming me up.

Flavors: Candy, Smooth, Spices

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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80
drank Pumpkin Spice by Adagio Teas
367 tasting notes

I had been eying the 6 stocking stuffers set for about a year now. Six teas, all in cute little tins, and for a price that I didn’t think was too bad. I went and bought these earlier this year.

Now, I’m finally getting around to trying them. This is the one for today. I love the smell of this one. The spice is really nice. And to me it smells just a little bit like Davidstea’s Pumpkin Chai, but not as much spice.
Tastewise it’s really good. I like the pumpkin and the spices that are there. I did find as it cooled that it began to get an almost banana flavour to it, which is kind of weird, but otherwise it was really good. It held up to milk and a little sugar really well.
I know Adagio doesn’t always have the best teas out there, but from what I’ve tried so far, they’re really pretty good.

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drank Rouge by Nina's Paris
322 tasting notes

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Backlog from yesterday.

Another tea from Dex! I wasn’t too sure about the steeping parameters, so I used 1 tsp per cup with 100C water for about 5 minutes. However, since the leaf was very fluffy, it’s possible I underleafed.

Speaking of that, the dry leaf here is lovely – consistently golden, curly little buds with a some down on top.

I was expecting the usual sweet potato profile for a yunnan on this, but what I got surprised me.

It tasted like pepper! Like freshly ground black pepper!

This wasn’t unpleasant once I got used to it, but it certainly threw me for a loop at first! The liquor itself was a nice medium gold colour, and there was no astringency that I could sense….but…pepper! I’ve never gotten such a taste sensation from a tea before that didn’t have chai spices in it.

Flavors: Peppercorn

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I am continuing my exploration of Gedeng shengs across a fourteen year period of harvests. Earlier this week I began with my oldest cake (1999) and today’s tea is made from the youngest material (2013). Clearly the younger leaf does not have the power of the older leaf material. I am a firm believer that, for the most part, today’s harvests do not produce the same level of power in their harvests. There are, of course, exceptions but as a general rule it is my operating assumption and explains why I now focus on finding tea with nice age. This is certainly not an original idea of mine for I believe many (if not most) collectors share this notion.

That said, I did enjoy this tea session for the dual purpose of education and enjoyment. This is a Changdahao tea. Changdahao is a brand from the well established Yiwu Manluo factory. The leaves are on the small side and mostly whole. With almost two years of age behind them, they are beginning to turn and darken and offer a nice clean aroma – no intimidating scent here. The tea soup is gold, clear and bright with a light fruity scent. No truly distinctive fruits come forward but I would describe the impact as fruit-like. The flavor is not powerful or intense but rather soft and welcoming. There is a bit of astringency to counterbalance. The sip is easy to swallow and quickly offers a warmth and sweetness in the mouth and throat.

This is not a particularly complex sheng (perhaps explained by the more limited scope of modern plantation teas that have been processed) but the flavor and aroma are enticing. Pleasant taste and decent Qi. The real question for me is whether it will age into something magnificent. Probably not but I have enough confidence to go ahead and purchase the whole cake (I am now drinking a sample from Puerh Shop). Also it is particularly difficult to find cakes or bricks from GeDeng Shan (革登山) and I want a few in my collection. Two additional GeDengs to try in future sessions.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
tea123

Interesting question of whether something will age into something magnificent. I guess that is part of the magic of pu-erh.

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77

Yesterday, my Japanese party was canceled on account of the snow. (Not that much, but more than we were expecting.) When I got home, I had this with miso soup and roasted seaweed snacks. It smells nicely green, with some scent of rice cakes/ popcorn. There is a light toasty flavour, with a hint of seaweed. Thanks to cookies for the sample.

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I have this matriarchal voice in my head informing me (or prepping me for a long winded lecture) about how important it is to eat all of your vegetables on the plate before you get dessert… In the same way I feel the need to brew through all of my Cang Yuan Wa Mountain before heading to the higher quality tea in my stash.

In some ways though, this is worst then the poorly steamed vegetables of my childhood.

Fresh warm compost… I mean fresh ‘heated’ worm compost. A sweet earthiness that does not last very long. Earlier sessions, I took the brewed leaf out my gaiwan and sorted through what I had been drinking; squishing some of the leaf, I found actual grit… so yeah, there be some legitimate earthiness here.

Okay. Okay. So I admit this was the first pu-erh I had ever bought, got it several years ago from someone who specializes in Taiwanese oolongs… Overall, the situation was not set up for high quality pu-erh to be acquired.

I hear that actual CNNP 7581 can be well done, even if notoriously inconsistent. I ordered a sample of earlier, supposedly well-done, 7581 from the late 90’s… and I look forward to comparing it to this spin off version.

Do you have mediocre pu-erh you need to get through? If you do, what sorts of inner-dialogue do you tell yourself to drink it?

Additional brewing parameters: 7g leaf, 100ml gaiwan, 2 long rinses, 1-3 steepings: 5 seconds – 30 seconds, 4-6: 30 seconds – 1 minute.

Flavors: Wet Earth

awilsondc

If I’m trying to power through tea I’ll just brew it strong using more leaf than normal and longer steeping times and just drink it in a coffee cup. The more I think about it though there is really no point in drinking bad tea. Might as well just give it to someone who wants it or throw it out. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t drink it! Life is too short to drink bad tea!!! ;)

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annnnd this session was completely different I had shorter steepings which helped the “soapy” taste vanish but the liquor was no longer a darker reddish hue and now it was a deep honey. It didn’t help that I used 3 different types of water (spring, alkaline, filtered tap) in the same session but this time I had none of the dark fruity tastes and mianly just a generic sheng puer slight sweetness.

The only things that have held constant through all steeping of both session is it bubbles every steepings, not tea scum per say but definite bubbles maybe higher sapponin content? and also none of the steepings were ever bitter. Another interesting twist is that I read on yunnan sourcing this area has some “Camellia Taliensis growing in Jing Gu’s red soil has prominent large fat leaves and hairy white buds. Tea from this region is well-known for it’s beautiful appearance, and tea sellers have been know to blend this tea with Yi Wu tea to make it more beautiful and bright in appearance while at the same time bolstering it’s sweetness and thickness.”

so maybe this species has isnt own unique characteristics? and maybe that’s why it’s a cheaper price?

Flavors: Hay, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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85
drank Green Mate (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
150 tasting notes

This is another tea I have had my eye on for months. I bought 10g of it just to try it out.

The brewed tea looks like green tea, but the taste is almost like an oolong. It has sweet notes like ginseng, and therefore reminds me of the long-gone ginseng oolong from DAVIDs. I like it! Once again though, just like guayusa, it is a stimulant so I have to be careful with my caffeine intake with this tea. Overall though It’s one that I may stock up on in the future- especially considering the decent price!

Flavors: Earth, Grass

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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75

Sipdown!

I finished this off last night. Dry, it smelled amazingly thick and creamy. I got a lot of banana/coconut from the brewed tea. Very tasty and going to be sorely missed now that I’m out.

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1

Wow, this has to be one of the most awful teas I’ve ever tasted. I dumped the pot down the drain after one sip and threw away the rest of the tea.

You know how closely linked taste and smell are…and how something can taste like a odor? Well, this tea reminded me of the smell of the of the room in the barn where milk, fresh from the cow, was poured into the milk/cream separator. I’m talking 50-60 years ago, but that tea brought me right back. There was this pungent odor of barn smells and old straw that had milk spilled on it and had by then gone somewhat rancid. I don’t quite know how to describe it…but that’s what the taste of this tea reminded me of…strongly. It was awful.

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75

I enjoyed this tea…sweet and subtle. But, like so many of the teas offer by Steepster, it is not available. That’s the one downside…you find a tea you like but you can’t buy it. Happens too often.

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83
drank Rose Royal by Lupicia
1162 tasting notes

None shall convince me that this is not Champagne Rose, under a different label.
This should annoy me, but I’m willing to give it a pass, as I quite like Champagne Rose, and so I’m not going to fuss about having in my cupboard again, even under an unexpected name.

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60
drank Kokeicha by Narien Teas
25 tasting notes

This may considered a treat in Japan, but it yielded a murky brew, that I found a bit odd tasting. It’s not a bad tea, but the description of an iodine hint is definitely true. Supposedly, you can incorporate this tea when cooking breads and cookies, and that’s probably what I’m going to do with it. I think it would go nicely in a Zucchini bread.

Flavors: Iodine, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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88

My collection of sachets are starting to get disturbingly low. That’s going to be a bit of a problem, as I really like this, and its a seasonal tea!
It would be too simple to say that this is a mint or peppermint tea. Its so much more than that, full of a wonderful layer of lemon, and then a hint of licorice. The most sophisticated mint tea I’ve ever owned.

Maddy Barone

Sounds marvelous.

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90
drank Nilgiri (#325) by Tea Market
57 tasting notes

My first Nilgiri tea! :) Thank you so much to Nicole for the generous sample! This tea is very nicely balanced, strong and completely smooth. It is not as strong as an Assam, but quite a bit stronger than Darjeelings of course. I wasn’t sure about how to prepare it, so, when I first tried it a few days ago, I steeped it for 3 minutes. I steeped it for 5 minutes today, and I have to say that I am enjoying the longer steeped tea more. The extra time did not make the tea bitter at all…increased the strength nicely while maintaining smoothness.

donkeytiara

I was surprised by Nilgiris as well. Much more interesting than I thought!

Mike

Absolutely! Do you have any favorites? I’m definitely going to search out a few!

donkeytiara

I have some amazing Nilgiri from Glendale Estate that you should try…. PM me….

Mike

Awesome, thanks!

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