46 Tasting Notes

90

Still a 9. I had this at work today and got a good 7 infusions out of it. Awesome for longevity.

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40

I got this one with the black matcha. And I like this one less than the black matcha. Straight, I find the white matcha far too astringent (I had an involuntary, physical pucker). Like the black matcha, it’s better in a latte, but the brighter taste of the black matcha works better against the milk.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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70

I was excited to try this, because such respectable reviewers have given it such good remarks. Alas, I just don’t like this very much. I find it on the bitter side, and very astringent, when taken straight. It does make a decent latte, though. As a latte, the texture is nice and rich, and the bitterness/astringency is balanced with the milk. As a straight matcha, this is a 6. As a latte, it’s an 8. Overall, 7. I’ll keep it around, and use it in the mornings before work when I need caffeine but don’t want to start a regular pot of tea. I doubt I’d choose it over other teas when I have the time to be leisurely.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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90

My coworker was visiting family in Taiwan and offered to bring me back tea. Apparently, he and his cousins went out trying a whole bunch of different tea shops on the hunt. I’m both thankful he did it and jealous. I’ll be reviewing the various teas he got for me over the next little bit.

Starting with the Sun Moon Lake black tea. Appearance: beautiful, long twisted tea leaves. I seriously love how these look. When steeped, they have a leathery appearance. Liquor: dark amber-brown. Very smooth, complex mouthfeel. Smell: dark, malty, and a little smoky. Taste: Sun Moon Lake is interesting because it is an Assam variety plant, grown in Taiwan (so the course reversed, where the Chinese variety were taken to Darjeeling). This definitely tastes like an Assam – assertive, malty, complex. It has some nutty, almost cocoa, flavor notes. It is good (and varied) throughout the cooling process. Much less astringency than most black teas (although I did steep for a short time for a black tea) This is right up there with a good Darjeeling as my top-two favorite black teas – for obviously different reasons. Yum.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Osmanthus by Aroma Tea Shop
46 tasting notes

I know I still have a bunch of teas in my cupboard for which I need to do tasting notes, but I wanted to do a quick note about osmanthus flowers. I love, love, adding them to all sorts of teas to add a floral note, or perk up a fading third infusion. While I’m not particularly a fan of straight osmanthus tea (6/10), the fun things it can do to a blend make it an 8/10. I’ve had great success with a Darjeeling black tea, a sencha green tea, and even with mint. The flavor is bright and soft at the same time, and I like the floral flavor more in osmanthus than I do in jasmine. Anyone else use osmanthus?

Ninavampi

My Dad brought me some from China. Plain I can’t stand the stuff… Thankfully I tried blending it with other teas and it is actually quite good… I love it in Turkish Apple tea. Mint sounds like a great idea!!

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90

Aroma – Charcoal Roasted Dong Ding. Loose leaf. Appearance: wrinkled dark brown rolled leaves when dry. When steeped the leaves unroll and are still dark and wrinkled. Liquor: nutty brown, with very minimal sedimentation. Smell: soft, roasted smell. Taste: roasted oolongs may be my favorite anytime teas, and this is a really nice one. The taste is smooth, with a soft mouthfeel, roasted flavor with cherry notes. It handles multiple infusions, and multiple steeping times really well. Low astringency. Caramel aftertaste. Just delightful for drinking throughout the day. 9/10

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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70
Appearance: jade colored broken leaves. I really like the color of a sencha – it just seems like green tea is supposed to be this green. Liquor: green-hued gold. Like other Japanese green teas, there is some sedimentation. Smell: very vegetal. Taste: again, vegetal, like spinach almost, but with sweet and nutty undertones. The price is reasonable, so this is a good staple to have in the cupboard. The price also means I’m comfortable being a little more flexible with experimenting. Today I added some osmanthus flowers, and loved it. Solid flavor, reasonable price, so an overall 7/10.
Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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80
drank Florence by Harney & Sons
46 tasting notes

Appearance: standard dark, broken, black tea leaves, with minimal stems. Liquor: dark brown – more brown than the red I often associate with black teas. Smell: So nice! Loose and brewed, there is a strong hazelnut flavor and underlying cocoa. I keep searching for hazelnut chunks. The smell is amazing. Taste: This is surprisingly sweet without milk or sugar. The hazelnut is quite pleasant, and there’s just enough chocolaty flavor that it could stand in for a hot cocoa. Like many H&S teas, as it cools the flavor develops some citrus notes that don’t really work with the other flavors. I don’t think it needs sugar, but adding it does make it very decadent. Adding milk makes it a really good hot cocoa stand in. This may be my favorite milk and sugar tea so far. Very nice way to start a weekend morning. 8/10

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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80

Not sure what I did differently, but I’m upping the rating to 8/10. I’ve found myself craving this one for its clear, non-astringent, well rounded flavor. I am liking more and more that it has a distinct character from either the Japanese greens or dragonwells that I normally drink.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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80

I don’t know what changed from my earlier rating to today’s rating, but today this was just delicious. I’m revising my rating up. The taste was deep and very, very pleasant.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

Attorney in San Francisco. Recent convert to tea drinking, but I’m hooked. I also love experimenting with vegetarian food (meaning I rarely use recipes). Long time chocolate lover.

When I review a tea, I will identify the following information: Source – “Name.” Style, including loose, bag, or sachet. Appearance, referring to the appearance of the leaves dry. Liquor, referring to the appearance of the brewed drink. Smell, referring to the brewed liquor. Taste (self-explanatory). Other insights. Finally, I will give it a score from 1 to 10. Anything in the 1-3 range is something that I disliked and am unlikely to consume again. Anything in the 4-6 range is okay; I am not likely going to buy it again, but if I came across it and wasn’t paying (or past my fairly low caffeine tolerance for the day), I probably would consume again. Anything in the 7-9 range is something I liked, and the higher the score the more likely I will try to keep the particular tea around. I intend to use a 10 rating very rarely, and only for the very best.

General notes:

I don’t like milk or sugar in my tea, except for an Indian style chai masala and certain other exceptional cases. Many black teas are blended to be more on the bitter side, and thus to call for sugar to soften and round the flavors. When I think to try sugar in such a black, my review will note any difference between the straight and sugared taste. I’m doing that for the review process, because if something requires sugar, I’m unlikely to commit to it for one of my standard teas. I can’t imagine using sugar in a green, oolong, or white tea, so don’t expect that distinction in reviews of those types.

Location

San Francisco

Website

http://scottjb.wordpress.com

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