244 Tasting Notes

drank Australian Shincha by Ito En
244 tasting notes

This just arrived the other day as part of my Steepster select subscription, so I’m drinking it during a slow day at work. Since I can’t brew it with the recomended directions, I improvised, using an 8oz cup, a finum brew basket, and boiled tap water. I let the water sit for a good 10 minutes to cool off, I’m not a fan of the bitterness that overwhelms the flavor of Japanese-style greens when brewed too hot.

After steeping for 2-2.5 minutes, I decided to see what the aroma was like, and was pleasantly surprised. It actually smells sweetly herbaceous/grassy, and reminds me a bit of when I used to “help” (read – get in the way and slow down the process of) my grandfather make hay on his farm. The flavor is a bit more conventional, grassy and a bit stringent, aftertaste lingers on the hard palate for a good minute and a half. Seems like a good everyday tea, nothing that makes me want to hoard it away (like my golden fleece, that’s only for special occasions), but still better than your average Japanese-style green. I’ll write more after the next steep.

Well, the second steep was fairly bland and generic. Most japanese-style teas lose a lot of flavor quickly, but this went from “interesting” to “upper middle class”. Good, but not great, lost both the astringency and the sweetness, not much else to say.

Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Herbaceous, Sweet

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Now that my life is beginning to settle down after getting a job (still need a car and a more permanent apartment…), I actually have time for things like tea reviews again!

Got this tea through my recent Steepster select batch, so I brewed it at the office this morning. 8 oz. of near boiling water, steeped for 2 minutes to avoid the dangerous over-steeping that can cause puerh to be unpleasant. The foretaste is a very smooth herbaceous flavor which is very hard to place, and the smoothness is not quite silky, but not really mineral either. More generally, the tea is very sweet and has been properly aged to avoid the bitterness that can be prevalent in younger green puerhs. I am very interested in seeming how the tea develops as the tuocha really starts to break up.

Second steep prepared exactly the same as the first, but the resulting tea was significantly darker. The aroma is also more prevalent, and it turns out that it’s a nice earthy aroma that isn’t overwhelming like some young shu puerhs. The aftertaste/mouth-feel has also evolved to be a definite mineral-like flavor. The other interesting thing is hat it reminds me a lot of hojicha, which is really unique for a puerh in my experience. This has definitely turned out to be a well above-average tea, and I’m honestly looking forward to the next steep.

Flavors: Earth, Herbaceous, Mineral, Sweet, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Another really old tea I found burried in my stash, this was actually something like my fourth tea purchase ever way back in the day when Verdant ran off Wordpress. Good time…

Anyway, the first cup was prepared in my gaiwan with 205 degree water for 20 seconds. The result is surprisingly bright, almost juicy yet at the same time buttery. The taste is dominated by some indistinct fruit (reminds me a bit of grapes, probably because of how juicy the flavor is), but with cedar occasionally showing through. This tea is also incredibly thirst-quenching, and is well suited for the wonderful weather we’re having in Virginia today, and I intend to savor every minute of it.

Flavors: Butter, Cedar

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

I still am hoarding a little too…

Terri HarpLady

As am I! :)

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Wow, I didn’t know I still had this tea, let alone the 2 ounces still left in the sealed bag.

Anyway, I put a generous portion in my gaiwan, and steeped the leaves in near-boiling water for 18 seconds. The results is initially very mellow, a bit creamy but not overly so. The flavor intensifies to a kind of woody flavor with a bit of a mineral sensation that lingers on palate long after the tea is gone. Well, mineral might not be quite the right word to describe the sensation, but it’s not silky, or smooth, and there is a hint of stringency associated with it. It’s a bit like a Japanese green in that the astringency makes it more interesting than if it wasn’t present. Other flavors are present, but they are very subtle and kind of hard to describe. I also remember the tea being sweeter, but that’s probably just because this tea is getting rather old now. Regardless, it is well worth tasting this tea slowly to appreciate the complex flavors. Can’t wait to see how it develops.

Flavors: Cedar, Cream, Mineral, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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I can’t believe that I forgot about this tea, I’ve barely used any of it! Used a heaping teaspoon and a bit extra leaves in a gaiwan, steeped for 20 seconds with 190 degree water. As I was pouring the water over the leaves it started to fill the room with an amazing aroma that reminds me of when I used to go camping in Pennsylvania. The first sip of the tea starts with the a very mild, creamy smokiness that gradually transitions into raw sugar flavor. The mouth-feel also changes to the really fantastic mineral sensation that Wuyi teas are famous for, which was very pleasant. This is truly a rare find, and I can’t wait to see how it develops.

The second cup was preapred with 200 degree water and steeped for about 8 seconds. I was actually amazined, this time it tasted exactly like the subtle roast Zheng Shan Xaio Zhong I got from Verdant last year. That was an amazing tea, and for this to have ascended to that level put this the top 5 teas I’ve ever had. Wow. Anyway, the difference in taste is that this was a little darker, and there is more of the Wuyi flavor profile present. The tea is also sweeter and a bit less creamy, but everything fits together so well that talking about the individual flavors really doesn’t do the tea justice. I kinda wish I had another bag of this.

Flavors: Cream, Mineral, Pine

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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It’s been a really long time since I actually sat down to do a review, these recent semesters have been insanely busy. Anyway, I found this sample packet behind my monitor and figured that I should drink something other than my rapidly-depleting sheng puerh. I opened the packet and was immediately greeted with a pleasantly floral aroma. I steeped it for 20 seconds in a gaiwan with 200 degree water, which was a bit longer than intended but the result was still fantastic. The initial tasting was very sweet, the initial honey flavor giving way to a very smooth lilac flavor. It will definitely be interesting to see how the tea develops.

The second steep was prepared with 200-205 degree water steeped for 8 seconds. The first thing I noticed is that the initial flavor isn’t as sweet yet still very much a honey flavor. There is also a grassiness that I didn’t notice before, and even better the very subtle flavor of saffron appears, slowly coating the mouth in it’s unique flavor. The important lesson to learn here – Tie Guan Yin is to be consumed hot, otherwise the flavors are much less interesting.

Flavors: Grass, Honey

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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I am a university student, studying Computer Science, who found that I really enjoy a nice cup of tea. I finally got into loose-leaf tea in August of 2011. I am currently in the process of expanding my horizons, and have found that I have a particular fondness for Oolongs in general, and Wuyi Yanchas in particular. The unique mineral taste is very appealing to me, as well as a nice Sencha. More recently, I’ve developed a taste for Sheng puerh, white tea, and black teas. The only things I’ve tried that I didn’t like was Shu puerh, but that might have been because it was quite young. Regardless, I’ve been slowly expanding my horizons, so if you have any recommendations, please feel free to send me a PM.

Just for the heck of it, my other interests include classical musics (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Debussy, Shostakovitch, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Wagner, to name a few composers). I also have a fondness for a bit more modern music, like The Beatles, all Jazz (by all, I really do mean all), Gorillaz (I love Demon Days), and a couple of Indie artists you will never run across unless you play a lot of semi obscure Indie games. Also, I love cats.


Fairfax, VA

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