Hide

Welcome to Steepster, an online tea community.

Write a tea journal, see what others are drinking and get recommendations from people you trust. or Learn More

240 Tasting Notes

Wow, it’s been a really long time since I posted a tea review. My internship this summer has been a lot more hectic than usual, and I really just haven’t had time to sit down and write a substantive review, but hopefully that will be changing the next two weeks or so. Anyways, I actually rather excited about today since I finally have both my new Gaiwan and small teacup from Verdant! Big shout out to the guys at Verdant for working with me to get the cup to me after my local post office returned it without sending me a notice!

First steep, ~20 seconds with hot water. I got distracted by some computer issues, and steeped this a bit differently than normal, but the result is amazingly creamy. The tea actually had some very lovely floral note, not I’m a bit rusty so I couldn’t really speculate as to what they really tasted like. One thing that I really found amazing was just how different it was from another tea I have that is similar in age, albeit it was roasted every 6 months for the duration of its aging period. That tieguanyin had a very pronounced caramel flavor which would overshadow the more delicate flavors of the tea, but this tea from Verdant is much more balanced. I really can’t wait to see how it develops.

Well, it was bound to happen. Apparently there was still some water left in from the previous infusion, so this second batch came out a bit bitter. Don’t get me wrong it still tastes better than some tea I’ve had (COUGHGolden PeakCOUGH), but there is a lot of bitterness in this cup. IT is interesting to note that I can still get a bit of a floral flavor from the tea, but not anything that special. Oh well, hopefully the next try will work out better.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

Good you mentioned the need to really get all the liquid drained off before steeping again to avoid the next cup tasting bitter. Too many people rush making tea and regret it…oops…! (We’ve all done it) Mentioning it here helps teach newer tea drinkers that might be having trouble. The other most common flavor killers are bad water (unfiltered) and wrong temp./steep time.

Joshua Smith

I hope a lot of people see this, since it was a fairly harsh lesson for me when I learned it a couple of years ago. Jasmine tea and 2-minute steeps using lousy water from my university campus is not exactly a very good combination…

Not to mention all of the perfectly good tea leaves I wasted since sometimes I couldn’t stand the flavor and had to throw it out…

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

95
drank Hashiri Shincha by Den's Tea
240 tasting notes

On the eve of my fist exam, I’m lucky enough to be destressing with a wonderful cup of this tea. It actually came in the mail this afternoon, but I was too busy to actually try it until now.

I opened the foil package and was greeted with a strong freshly cut grass aroma. Using my brew basket and barely-steaming water, I let the leaves steep in my mug for 30 seconds, which is my standard for Japanese greens. The flavor of this tea is really amazing, with a very intense yet sweet grass flavor and a smooth texture that is defying description at the moment. Finally, the aftertaste of the tea has a bit of a metallic feeling which builds over the course of 45 seconds and then slowly fades away. This is a really remarkable Japanese green, and it was well worth the wait.

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 0 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

95

First of all, I’m back! The hell that was the end of a busy semester is over, and now I actually have time to post about my tea instead of just drinking it quickly to keep me functioning through classes. Anyway, I got this tea in my very first purchase from Verdant Tea about 18 months ago, and the only other thing left from that sample is some Farmers Co-op ‘03 sheng. This was actually one of my favorite tea, which I saved since it was that good. Of course, I haven’t tried it in at least 6 months, so who knows how my preferences have developed.

I put the leaves in my Finum brew basket, and used near-boiling water to steep the leaves for 30 seconds. The aroma is a bit less bright, for lack of a better term, but still remarkably floral. The flavor is really remarkable, initially tasting like a normal floral Taiwanese Oolong, but then the sweetness starts to grow, and reaches an amazing level before slowly fading away over the next minute. The mouthfeel of the tea is extremely smooth, yet at the same time it is also a bit creamy. It actually makes me really sad that I only have enough of this left for two sessions if I stretch it, since I don’t know when I’ll have another orchid Oolong this good again.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Rose Chai by Gaia Tea
240 tasting notes

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

98

It’s been a really long time since I posted a review, mostly becasue things have been amazingly busy for a semester where I only have 13 credits. Anyways, midterms are over, and I have a few weeksto relax before the next crisis/test/project is due.

I prepared this tea with near-boiling water in a cast-iron teapot, and let it steep for 20 seconds. I’ve actually had this tea before, and I personally feel that it benefits from a slightly longer initial steep, but that’s just a personal opinion. The resulting tea is amazingly sweet, yet it retains the Yunnan linen mouthfeel. I also agre with the Verdant tasting notes that this tea is very remeniscient of grapes, which is a flavor that I normally don’t like yet was absolutely perfect. AFter the sucess of this cup, I’m anxiously await the future developements of this tea.

I prepared the second steep with near boiling water and let the leaves soak for 10 seconds. The result is mostly the same, but with one very improtnat change: The linen mouthfeel is starting to transition into something else, but I’m not quite sure what. the only other thing of note is that the sweetness is a bit more muted than before, but grape flavor is still very distinct. On a sidee note, when I poured the hot water over the leaves this time the entire room was fileld with a delightful aroma of grapes and pines like David wrote on this tea’s page. Considereing that it’s the first thing in quite some time to get past first my headcold and now my mild seasonal allergies, it was truly a wonderful experience.

Music of the DayNabucco by Giusseppe Verdi
Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz6GBsJltxE
while the link above isn’t the exact recording I have (Mine is a remastered recording from 1965 with Lamberto Gardelli conducting), it was the best one I could find on Youtube.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

I’ve finally used the very last of this tea. It’s been almost a year, shich is rather remarkable, and this tea still tates just as good as it did when I bought it. The bottom of my canister was cleaned out into my cast-iron teapot, and I let it steep for a bit mroe than 15 seconds. The result is a very malty tea with a bit of a linen sensation that David commented on in one of his blog posts, highlighting the tea’s Yunnan pedigree. Another nice quality of this tea is that it is very warming, which is another reason that I decided to drink it today (It’s 40 and raining here in Virginia). Also, this tea is moderately sweet, adn the aftertaste is a bit hard to explain, but it lingers wonderfully on the roof of my mouth for two minutes.

Second steep, 10 seconds. The big change is the texture, which really dominates the flavor profile now. It’s really ver interesting to feel it this clearly. The tea is also a bit sweeter, but not quite at the same level as Golden Fleece. Regardless, this tea is still a wonderful example of a Yunnan black, and if I remember corectly it will contiunue to be a very interesting tea for several more infuions.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Once more, a sample from the amazing Nepali Tea Traders!

I opened the bag, and it smeels almost exctly like a sencha, but there is something that makes it stand apart that I just can’t quite put my finger on…regardless the aroma is pleasantly grassy and very fresh, both of which suggest a very nice tea. I put this in my teapot, and steeped it with fooler water for 20 second, since I’m not familiar with the tea, and it’s better to be safe than sorry with green tea in general. The result is amazingly sweet, with a hint of grass thrown in to really make it taste authentic. The thing that really stands out is that the smooth texture and slight mineral flavor that I’m geting out of this tea. It’s a very nice addition to what I normally get out of a sencha, and I can’t wait to see what else this tea has to offer.

The much-delayed second infusion was steeded for 15 secodns at a bit of a warmer temperature than the first. The results has a bit more astringency, but still retains all of the sweetness to balance it out, resulting in a vey pleasant cup of tea. There’s an intereesting almost-metalic aftertaste that lingers on the roof of my mouth for over a minute as well, and I’m really pleased by this development. This tea seems to get better and better.

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

I talked to George (the owner of Happy Lucky’s) and he said that all the rules about timing from Nepali didn’t seem to work, so they threw them out and tried different times finding that some of the green tea’s that were bitter at first were fantastic when the time was lowered. Playing with time on these tea’s and noting them in reviews will help the next person since this is a new company.

TeaBrat

oooh, I might need to order some of these. :)

Joshua Smith

I agree with Goerge, the timings don’t work at all. I wold never steep green tea for 2-3 minutes, that would make it fairly bitter, unless you use lukewarm water.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Sakura Sencha by Den's Tea
240 tasting notes

This just came in today, and I was so excited that I just had to make a cup immediately. I threw some in my cast iron teapot, and used lightly-steaming water for a 45-second infusion. The result is interesting: Light sweet floral flavors (how unexpected) and some mild astringency dominate the flavor, creating an interesting contrast in the flavor. On tp of the previously-mentioned characteristics, the flavor is unusually strong, so I would recommend tasting this tea slowly. Honestly, the tea is better than I expected, and I can’t wait to have more!

Second steep, using cooler water and steeped for 15 seconds. The result was very nice, albeit a lot milder in terms of intensity. The only thing that has changed is that is worth noting is that the sweet floral flavor has decreased the least, so the tea is rather sweet now. I feel that the lack of astringency really enhanced the flavor, and I can’t wait to see how it continues to develop.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Another day, another great smaple from NEpali tea. I used a generous helping of leaves in my cast iron tea pot, and used near-boiling water to steep the tea for 15 seconds. The result is interesting, falling somewhere between Darjeelings, Yunnan blacks, and Assams. It has hints of fruity notes like muted Darjeelings, yet it has a bit of Yunnan maltiness (is that even a word?), but not the yunnan texture. It’s actually a bit smoother than an Assam, but the point here is that this tea is similar to many teas, yet has a distinct flavor to make it stand out. Anyway, the smoothness is not quite silky, but still very pleasant, and the aftertaste is a very interesting ligerning smoothness that begins to tingle after a while. I can’t wait to see how it develops.

Well, real life came bursting through my door, and my free time evaporated rather quickly. I didn’t have time to drink more of this tea, and I’m rther disappointed. Hopefully I’ll havce several uninterrupted hours for my next tasting session.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

I hope you try each in a gaiwan also. I’d like to know what you think. I only have tasted these teas with a tasting set in a group of 8 so I can’t remember every one (2 stand out though).

Joshua Smith

I don’t personally own a gaiwan, but the person I’m sharing tea stuff with might have onw. I’ll take a look before I start today’s tea.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

This is my second tea from Nepali Tea Traders, and after the sucess of yesterday’s session, I am very excited to try this Oolong. I used near boiling water for the first infusion, and let it steep for 15 seconds. The resulting tea is the color of lighter caramel, not nearly as dark as the picture, but it still tastes very much like caramel. The mouthfeel of the tea is almost like a yancha, but it’s a little bit silky as well, and the aftertaste is also much like a yancha: Mineral sensation on tongue ad roof of mouth witgh a slight metalic tingle. So far, this is an very pleasant Oolong, and I can’t wait to see what the third steep will taste like.

AFter 3 false starts, here’s my notes on the second infusion. I used cooler water, and let it settp for 10 seocnds. Teh result is silky, not mineral-smooth like the last infusion. Also, the tea is even sweeter, but has become a bit hard to describe. Finally, the aftertaste sees the texture transition from silky in to a mineral/metalic smoothness. Honestly, I was really surprised by this tea, which is always a plus. On top of these things, there are subtle fruity note throughout the taste, a halmark of Himalayan teas in my experience. Kudos to the artisans who made this, they really made something special here.

There was sa third infusion, but I had to go out for a whbile, and I accidnetally deleted my notes about it by closing the notepad window. Oops. Anyway, the fourth was cancled due to being so late, and I do need to get up before noon, so I’m going to have to cut this one short. I promise that I’ll have a more substantive review next time I make this tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Geoffrey Norman

I must try this oolong, if only for the fact that it has the word “Yeti” in the title.

Joshua Smith

I will admit, the name might have factored into my decision to get this sample…

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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

Following These People