245 Tasting Notes

71

I just got this in the mail today, and was eager to try it out. After five cups of Oolong, the sun set and it got cold, so I figured this would be a great way to warm up! As a side benefit, I’ve never gotten more than 4 good cups out of Genmaicha (emphasis on good).

This tea had all of the typical things: The toasted rice taste, the pleasant aroma (which was strong enough that I could actually smell it though my congestion). The only problem was, it was by no means unique. There was nothing to make this stand out, and the flavor wasn’t exactly strong. The first infusion I made was accidentally steeped for minutes, and yet, I wouldn’t consider it to be over steeped. I think that this is a good tea for a beginner, as further experimentation proved that it was remarkably forgiving with respect to steep length and temperature, but it isn’t a flavorful tea by any stretch of the imagination. I’ll probably keep some on hand until I find something better, but make no mistake, if something better appear at a reasonable price, I’ll snap it up.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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80

Usually I start off a review of Qi Lan by commenting on the wonderful aroma. Unfortunately, I am still congested, so this is an exercise in futility. Regardless of my inability to smell anything, this was a very nice session with this tea. The lightly-roasted flavors were interesting, and were nicely complemented by the light honey flavors. One thing that was a bit odd was that the aftertaste was very muted, and the distinct mineral taste of a Wuyi Oolong was very hard to detect. The other strange thing is that I remember the tea having more complex flavors, but they are absent. I suspect that this is due to my congestion, as it is a well documented fact that smell greatly affects taste.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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75

I had the flu for the first half of this week, and didn’t feel like I would be able to keep any tea I made in my stomach long enough to really enjoy it, so I had to abstain until today. I decided to start off rather light, and made some nice jasmine tea. Sadly, I am a bit congested at the moment, so the aroma is extremely muted, but this tea held a few surprises for me.

It was interesting, because the taste of the tea was sweeter and more flowery than I remember. This might be because I took the water off when bubbles where just beginning to form at the bottom of my kettle, as opposed to boiling the water and letting it sit for a while. Another interesting surprise was there was an after taste now, where a “flowery” taste lingers at the back of the throat, and gradually disappears. I’ve never experienced this before, so it was a rather interesting and relaxing experience.

when it’s all said and done, I was rather surprised by how well is turned out, especially after having to suffer through caffeine withdrawal on Tuesday and Wednesday. Also, because of how well this tea turned out, I might start drinking it more often.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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63

This tea was okay, and certainly worse than I remember, but part of the reason for that is because I have a cold right now. Regardless, this is green tea. There is nothing else to be said about it. It has no distinguishing features, no interesting flavors, and no unique aroma. It is a tea marketed to the masses, and it has a taste that, while not offensive by any stretch, is lacking.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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89

This tea was a bit strange, but in a good way. I opened the bag, but there wasn’t much of an aroma. After brewing the tea, I still had a hard time with the aroma, but there seemed to be something a bit spicy (spicy as in smelled like a spice, not oh-my-god-my-tongue-is-on-fire spicy). Imagine my surprise when I tasted the tea, and it there was a delightful dash of cinnamon taste! It was like drinking masala chai, but not a strong, and with more refined/subtle flavors than any chai I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, I only had time for four infusions of the tea, and it was still perfectly drinkable, but the flavors had started to fade quite noticeably. I actually think that I want to get this tea in a larger quantity in the near future.

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

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89

So, I opened up the bag of this tea, and was overwhelmed by the earthy smell of this tea, but in a good way. The smell was very distinctly earthy, something that I associated with my young sheng, but it was not as harsh. After the first infusion, the aroma lost the “earthy” quality, and started to smell a bit like cedar. The taste of the tea was rather interesting as well, as it had all the flavors that I associate with Sheng, but they were smoother and just better than I am used to.

I can’t wait until this tea makes it’s way back through the rotation so I can have it again.

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

Well put, definitely a step above your average and young sheng pu’er.

Scratch that…it’s like 5 steps above your average ;)

Joshua Smith

Yeah, it’s almost unfair for the young sheng. It never had a chance.

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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.

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Fairfax, VA

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