248 Tasting Notes

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

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drank Rose Chai by Gaia Tea
248 tasting notes

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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

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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

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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.

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drank Sakura Sencha by Den's Tea
248 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

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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.

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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…

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94

Wow, I can’t believe that I’m the first person to review this tea. I found this company indirectly via Bonnie, since she always has the best stories centered arround Happy Lucky’s Tea house that I decided to check them out. I was on their site, and I saw that they were having an event with Nepali Tea Traders to promote their teas, and I ended up with six sample after checking out the website.

When I opened the bag I was initially very surprised as to how much like a Darjeeling that the tea smelled, with very interesting fruity notes bieiung the main thing that stood out to me. The leaves are of similar coloration to a Darjeeling, but a bit smaller than Darjeelings, and there is a fine golden dust on the leaves similar to Verdnat Tea’s wild-picked Jin Jun Mei.

I brewed the first infusion in a cast-iroin teapot with a generous helping of leaves and near-boiling water. I decided to ignore the directions on the back of the package, and I did a 15-second infusion. The result is a clear golden tea with a smoothness that is not quite creamy enough to be butter, but at the same time it’s not the mineral smoothness of a yancha. The tea is also surprisingly sweet, a bit like raw sugar but more subdued. finally, the aftertaste is a light tingling on the tongue that last for about a minute. All in all, it’s a very nice start for this tea, and I can’t wait to see how it develops.

For the second infusion, I followed some advice from Bonnie and let my water boil and then sit for about six minutes before making the tea. I let the leaves steep for 10 seconds, and then started drinking. The result is a bit fruitier than before, yet still sweet and clear. The smooth texture is also a bit more of a silky smooth as well, which is a delightful surprise, since I figured that it would fade a lot more. All in all, this tea is turning out to be a very interesting experience.

Okay, the third infusino happened last night, but I could not get the website to work, so here it is: I used cooler water again for this infusion, but I let is sit for about 25 seconds while steeping. The result is a very smooth and lightly fruity tea, which was a nice balance between the two previous steeps. It has just the right balance between the sweetness and the complex flavors that have yet to reveal themselves. Unfortunately,I need to stop, or I’ll never fall asleep, but this was a very nice tea, and I’m very glad that I got to try it.

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

I’m so glad you tracked them down! They give all their profit to charity and that’s what the appeal was for the owner of Happy Lucky’s besides the fine taste of the tea’s. Through several tastings, we discovered that playing around with temperature changed the flavor, so you might try that too. Nepali Tea explained that Darjeeling can command higher prices for tea, but many Nepalese tea’s are still unknown to the world and are grown next door to the Darjeeling tea’s but command a lower price. I’m thrilled that this company is helping farmers in a similar way to Verdant and Laoshan Village.

Joshua Smith

I know, it’s a really awesome idea to put your profits back into helping your partners improve their livelihoods and craft. Also, about the prices, that is always the thing that bothers me about Darjeeling, especially after buying a few teas from Rare Tea Republic. I had a sample from Nepal, and it was an amazing tea, yet I remember that the per-counce price was much less than the Darjeelings that I got from the same place.

Frinally, I’m testing the tea at a lower temperature now, ’ll get bakc with the results shortly.

Kashyap

I sent my reviews directly to them and will be posted them soon…glad you started the ball rolling

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First of all, these past two weeks have been incredibly busy, so I haven’t been posting about the teas that I’ve been drinking. Today I decided that I was going to try this tea. I put a nice ammount in a cast iron teapot, and let it steep for 30 seconds using near-boiling water. Even though I have a bit of a head cold right now, the the roasted aroma of the tea was easy to detect arround the pot.

Anyway, when I first took a sip, was was amazed at the smootht texture of the tea. I’ve found that the first cup of aged Oolongs can be a bit…stale, but this was perfect from the get-go. The initial flavor of the tea is that of a deep, dark roasty flavor, something that I adore, and the middle flavor has a interesting spicy tingling. It’s a bit early to be judging it, since the roasty flavor is dominating the palate right now, but I bet it’s going to be very pleasant later. Finally, the aftertaste lingers forever. I love Wuyis, and this aftertaste is the perfect balance between the roasted flavor and the smooth mineral texture that characterizes these teas, and it’s really a cut above just about everything else I’ve ever had. The only thing that compares was the Big Red Robe that David sold a while back. I went through the pot really quickly, and I’m really anxious to see what the next steeping tastes like.

The second steepign was prepared the same as the first, a little longer than I would have liekd, but I got distra—Oh look, snow! anyway, the falvor has mellowed a bit, yet it retains that smoothness and deep roasty flavor. Teh aftertaste has lightned up, a bit less roasty and a bit more mineral, and the result is pretty much a very pleasant improvement.

Third infusion, 45 seconds, near boiling water. The spice has resolved into something a bit like cinnamon, and I’m actually really liking the taste. The tea starts with a smooth yet balanced roasted flavor, and then the cinnamon starts to dance arround the surfaces of my mouth. The amazing thing is that it’s not overpowering like cinnamon tends to be in food. Finally, the aftertaste linger in my mouth with a gentle mineral taste, starting out very mild but strengthening over time. The third steep is usually the best, but this greatly exceeded my expectations. If this is the type of stuff that the One Word guys drink regularly, I envy them.

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

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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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