244 Tasting Notes

91

Over that past week and a half, this has become my standard morning tea. It’s been an interesting experience drinking it at work, mostly because the preparation is a bit different and the water is cleaner (We have machines that do crazyubermega filtering, and the result is hard to argue with.). I use a about 6-8 grams of tea, and put it in the bottom of an 8 oz. ceramic mug I got a while back, but just dug up in a cupboard. I let the leaves sit in there all day, and when I start to get low, I add more hot water. The result is a milder tea, where the linen taste is less prominent than when I brew it at home with my tea ball. It is also a bit sweeter, which kinda makes me wonder what is wrong with my tap water…

Anyway, I get a good 4-5 cups of tea this way, it tastes pretty good, and it lasts me for most of the work day. What more can I ask of it?

Jim Marks

Houston’s tap water is heinous. We have a huge under sink filtration system to deal with arsenic and other fairly serious problems. Sadly, I don’t think the filtration system gets the trace radioactive particles out of it ’0_o !

Joshua Smith

Oh dear, that could be a problem. When living with my parents during the summer, the water we get comes out of the Potomac River, and is, in fact, the last town that can get it’s water from the river due to federal regulations. I always find that a kind of scary thought. Luckily, the refrigerator in the kitchen has a very good filtration system. As to radioactive particles…now that I think about it, you are probably fine. Radioactive stuff is almost always large on the atomic scale, and your system probably catches it along with the other chemicals just by virtue of it being bigger than the chemicals that the filter targets.

Bonnie

I have really great water but even with wonderful water I buy spring water for fine tea tasting. Delicate tea’s, etc.

Jim Marks

The only reason I don’t buy water is that I drink so much tea that I think it would become unreasonable to keep it around in sufficient quantity.

But I may soon, God willing, end up working back in an office instead of from home, at which point keeping spring water at home for tea in the evening and on the weekends might not be a bad idea.

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90

Backlog. Also, really tired. This was my tea for the weekend, seeing as I didn’t have any rooibos to celebrate, and I also didn’t have any tea that could be considered “blue.” Regardless, it was very pleasant, nice and flowery, and great for quenching your thirst (It was annoyingly hot and murderously humid in Northern Virginia). I’m only half done with the sample I got from Teavivre, and I’m certainly glad that I have a lot more of it.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
244 tasting notes

Alright, time for my first legit tasting note for this tea. The website says that this is my 152 tasting note, but I don’t really count my most recent two as notes, since they aren’t detailed, and don’t have a rating. Yesterday was a nice preview, but I getting interrupted by things, so the session was cut short. I don’t have a gaiwan, so I had to make do with what I had available: Two mugs, a strainer, and a steady hand. I didn’t want to use my tea ball, for fear of restricting the leaves when they try to open.

The first infusion was not as intense as most black teas, but it makes up for that with the amazing taste. I did not rinse the leaves before the first steep, but it still tastes well above average. Steep time was more than five, but less than ten seconds, using approximately four ounces of 205 degree water paired with about four grams of tea. The taste is silky, sliding over the tongue in a very unique way. The taste is slightly malty, but not very strong. There is no doubt that this is a Dian Hong, but it is clearly more refined than every other that I’ve tasted. There is also a hint of the sugar flavor I talked about in my note yesterday, but it’s not well developed yet. The tea finishes with an aftertaste that lingers for a good minute on the hard palate of the mouth. Not quite sure what it is, but it is pleasant. I can’t wait to see how the tea develops.

Second infusion, 8 seconds, 4 ounces, 205 degrees. More refined than last time., still silky, and the raw sugar has developed nicely. The aftertaste still lingers on the hard palate, but it has started to stick to my tongue as well. There is also a bit of cinnamon starting to peak through the flavor palette, making the tea delightfully complex. I’m starting to think that this is the platonic ideal of a Dian Hong. Again, I can’t wait to taste the developments of the next infusion.

Third infusion, the only change to the method was I got a bit distracted, and made five ounces of tea, and steeped for 12 seconds. The end result is a cinnamon-flavored tea, sweetened with raw sugar. The mouth-feel is a bit less prominent now, but is still silky, and the tea’s taste is very clear, creating a very enjoyable experience. The aftertaste is weaker, lingering for only about thirty seconds on the hard palate before it fades. The end result is a very nice development of flavors, which combine in such an amazing way to create a great cup of tea.

Fourth infusion, 4 ounces, 12 seconds. Unfortunately, I had a bit o lemonade while the tea was cooling, and that messed up my sense of taste a bit, but here’s what I got from this tea: The cinnamon has really started to get strong, and clove seems to be appearing, but it was hard to tell. The tea feels silky, and is still very clear. I don’t know about the brightness that David mentions on the website, but it was very remarkable nonetheless. The aftertaste has weakened, lingering for only 20 seconds now, but the end result is still exceptional.

The fifth infusion, 15 seconds, four ounces. The tea has become delightfully spicy. The clove flavor has really started to show itself, and the cinnamon is still going strong. There is also some other spice flavor present, but I can’t tell what it is exactly. It might be morel, but I’ve never had morel before, so I can’t really say that with any degree of certainty. Because of this, the tea isn’t really sweet any more, but that just makes it interesting, reaffirming my earlier claim that this is an ideal Dian Hong. Another interesting development is that the aftertaste has gotten a bit stronger again, lingering for 45 seconds on the hard palate. It has also changed in that the aftertaste is tingly, like spice or perhaps something rubbing on the surface of my mouth. Different, yet pleasant.

The sixth, same parameters as usual, 25 seconds. The taste has changed subtly. It is still smooth, but I would no longer consider it silky. It is a bit more like the mineral smoothness of a Wuyi Oolong, but not quite the same. Also, the cinnamon and clove flavors are rather strong, and they are very harmonious at the moment. The mystery taste also meshes well with them, but not to the same extent (at least, not yet).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
Bonnie

Ah time to enjoy! I’m so glad that you are persistant! The tea was waiting for you.

Joshua Smith

I agree! The worst part is I have my tea stuff set up in my room right next to my bed. It was hard to have to go to sleep, knowing that it was sitting right there in front of me. But the wait was definitely worth it. Like I said in the recent edit, this tea seems to be the Platonic ideal for a Dian Hong, possibly even a Yunnan blacks.

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100
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
244 tasting notes

Ugh, real life decided to be annoying today, so I don’t have enough time to do this tea justice. I promise that I’ll do something substantive tomorrow. I really like it, it’s an amazing tea, with the most amazing palate that I’ve ever had. I have to agree that the mouth-feel is silky, and it’s amazingly sweet. I went and got a sugar in the Raw packet from a friend’s house to comp[are, and it does indeed remind me of raw sugar.

Unfortunately, I’m only at the second steep, and this is probably all that I have time for today T_T. I was really looking forward to the interesting spicy flavors that the profile describes, but I just don;t have time. Luckily, I’ve already got time planned out, and I’m going to do this right. A tea this good deserves nothing less.

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89

This isn’t too detailed, since I took this with me to work, and drank it over the course of about 9 hours. I was really impressed with the flavor, starting out pretty sweet yet intense, like good dark chocolate, but then it started to develop a lovely spiciness. I would agree that cayenne is one of the flavors, and the mouthfeel later on definitely reminded me of clove. Anyway, expect a substantive review sometime this weekend, but not tomorrow. My company lets out early due to the holiday weekend, and I intend to spend most of it trying out my Golden Fleece. Based on Bonnie and Jim Marks’ reviews, it really is something special. I almost can’t wait.

Bonnie

Perfect timing for new tea wouldn’t you agree! Have a great weekend!

Scott B

Thanks for the review, have been wanting to hear about this tea.

Bonnie

Scott there are three reviews of this tea right now.

Scott B

Thanks, Bonnie. I guess it just got added to the database yesterday.

Joshua Smith

Yeah, I added it when I got my order.

Also, thanks Bonnie! Have a great weekend yourself!

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91

Just a quick little note: I’m starting my internship tomorrow, so my reviews will be more limited until late August.

Anyway, This tea is delightful, espeically now that I understad why Verdant tea has Linen as one of the flavors. David Duckler had a post about tasting that discussed the other sensations, like touch and smell, and how they impact flavor. If you haven’t read it, you should check it out:

http://verdanttea.com/rebelling-against-the-tyranny-of-flavor/

I finally understand that the linen flavor is really the interesting sensation that you get on your tongue while drinking this tea, not a flavor in the traditional sense. Anyway, time to get back to unpack stuff from college…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

I’m glad you read that article too! All the best with the internship!

Joshua Smith

Thanks! I’m actually working at the same company as last year, and I’m friend with a few of my co-workers, so everything should go pretty smoothly. Also, since the HR rep that I need to see doesn’t get in until 9, I get to sleep in an hour!

Bonnie

Great!

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89

Alright, actually taking some time to properly review this tea. Unfortunately, my allergies are still acting up a bit, so I can’t really smell it (that, and the grass outside was just cut, which certainly doesn’t help). Anyway, the taste is interesting in that it’s both warming and cooling, and it’s actually very “clear.” The other shu that I had was very murky and tasted a bit like lake water. It’s very complex and flavors are all muddled together, but still enjoyable

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec
Bonnie

Hope you feel better!

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92

Alright, after surviving my last two exams and helping a friend move out, I finally have time to actually post a note. This is actually my second cup of tea, as I was really nervous this morning and made myself a cup of fukamushi sencha to calm down. Anyway, I went into this tea with kinda low expectations, as I really didn’t like the last dancong I had, but I was pleasantly surprised by this tea. This one is also juicy, but the flavors present seem better to me. This first cup displays evidence of something woody/spicy, and is a bit sweeter than I expected. I can’t wait to see how it develops.

To clarify, the previous cup was a bit rushed, and was interrupted frequently as my suite mate was moving out. That’s why I was a bit vague. Anyway, the second cup was really, really good. I actually got a chance to check out the aroma while it was still nice and hot, and it was simply astounding. The sandalwood seems to envelop me, making everything seem more peaceful and relaxing (which is amazing, considering I’m in my dorm room in the middle of packing, and there is stuff thrown everywhere). There are some other aromas present, but my allergies are acting up a bit, so they’re hard to catch for me right now. Anyway, the tea’s taste is also wonderful, with a bit more fruitiness than last time, but still retaining the juiciness of the previous cup. There is also a nice spice flavor developing, but it’s still a bit muddled.

Mmm, the third cup displays delightful development for the spice flavors. It tingles on my tongue after each sip. It’s also warming, which is nice since the weather took a turn for the worse and it’s raining right now. Anyway, back to the tea, it’s remarkable that it’s such a “warm” tea, yet is still tastes so juicy. It’s a very pleasant combination.

The forth and final cup was really nice, much like the third but more mellow. The spicy tingling has been reduced to a much weaker sensation. It’s kind of hard to describe, but it’s less and a tingle, but there is still a sensation involved. Anyway, it’s very pleasant, and I’m glad that I had a few hours to really do justice to this tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

Hooray for you! Done with the tests! Time fore R & R &Tea!

Joshua Smith

Yeah, pretty much. My internship starts on Monday, so I need to make the most of these next few days.

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89

My first impression of this tea is that it’s really, really good. My first experience with shu went pretty bad, but this is so much better. Unfortunately, I don’t have time for a full review, I have a double-header of exams tomorrow, and I need to review. I’ll reserve judgement until I have some time to really reflect on this tea.

After hours of studying and several (I lost count) cups of tea, I have to say that I do not in any way regret buying this tea. In all honesty, it’s actually a nice break from the Yunnan blacks that I’ve been favoring recently. I’ll try to post a more substantive review later this week, probably Thursday or Friday.

Bonnie

Blessings for your exams!

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91

It’s been a while since I had this, and I felt like having a green Oolong today, so my choices were fairly limited. Anyway, this tea is great because it’s really buttery, and because the aftertaste lingers for minutes. Some of my tea linger for a minute, maybe two on a really great day, but this Tie Guan Yin lingers for up to five minutes! Since this is the first cup, it’s not that complex yet, mostly grassy and buttery with hints of fruit, but I recall that this tea develops well.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

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.

Location

Fairfax, VA

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