244 Tasting Notes

93

Tonight is special for two reasons: I’m using the last of this tea, and I’m drinking it in my brand new hand-made ceramic tumbler! It’s one of two, and they just came in the mail yesterday, but I was busing and couldn’t try them out yesterday. Big shout-out to Mamif!

Back to the tea, I prepared the first infusion with barely steaming water, and steeped for 75 seconds. the taste is just as exquisite as usual, like some sort of sweet vegetables. The aroma might be grass, but I just mowed the lawn earlier, and I might still be smelling that. I’m really going to miss this tea after tonight…

Second infusion same temperature, 15 second infusion. It even sweeter, and had gotten a bit more grassy instead of vegetative. this is pretty much the peak for this tea: The second infusion is the prefect balance of flavors, and it just gets weaker from this point.

Third infusion, same temperature, 45 seconds. This time it tastes more grassy than sweet, but it’s not in any way astringent. Unfortunately, I ran out of time, and I’m going to need to stop drinking tea if I want to fall asleep at a decent hour. Sad, since I could probably get another cup of tea or two out of these leaves, but sleep is more important.

P. S. – Pics of the tumblers: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mamif/7382224810/in/photostream/

Preparation
145 °F / 62 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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88

I ran across this tea in my stash when I was looking for my Shu puerh, and realized I hadn’t had this for months. The first thing that struck me when I opened the tin was the strong roasted smell of the leaves. I put some in my tea ball, and let it steep in nearly-boiling water for three minutes. The result is a fairly dark tea that smells very roasted/toasty. The taste is very much like a Wuyi Oolong, much more so that I actually remember. The taste is pretty much the standard heavily-roasted Oolong taste, with no tea distinguishing feature, but the aftertaste tastes mineral-ish, but it doesn’t have the same smooth feeling associated with Wuyi Oolongs. Overall, it was a very pleasant tea, but with nothing special as of yet. I don’t have high expectations, but I’ll see how it develops in later steeps.

Second infusion, 205 degree water for a minute and a half. The tea is a nice caramel color, and the taste has mellowed quite a bit. The roasted flavor is smoother, and so is the aftertaste, making it seem even more like a Wuyi. The roasted taste also lingered pleasantly in my hard palate for over a minute, rounding off a very nice second infusion. I have to confess, this tea is much better than I remember, and the rating is getting bumped up again.

ALright, I had two more cups of this, and it was pretty good, but I got interrupted by some eleictical work that my dad was doing, so I; didn;t have electricity to post about it here. The TL;DR is that it was much better than I remember, and I’m really glad I git 100 grams of this tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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93

Alright, this is the first time I’ve had a sheng since Jim Marks made that post a while ago about using less leaves when brewing sheng. I decided to try it out, and the results are amazing! The first infusion is so much sweeter than I remember, and the bitter foretaste is not present at all! While I wouldn’t describe the taste as “buttery” I can certainly taste the walnut, albeit much smoother and refined than most actual walnuts. I’m certainly bumping the rating up a few point, since this is much better than I remember.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

Interesting
so what was your water to leaf ratio?

Joshua Smith

Hm…Large. I’d say something like 1.5 oz : 1 g. I’m not very exact when making tea, especially when it comes to puerh.

Bonnie

so glad you persist!

Joshua Smith

Even when this tea was astringent, I still enjoyed it. This just means I’ll be drinking it more regularly.

Jim Marks

So glad it worked.

Charles Thomas Draper

I may have wasted some precious Sheng….

Joshua Smith

@Jim Marks – I am too!

@Charles Thomas Draper – Sheng is tricky. I’ve wasted a good amount myself before Jim Mark’s post, but in the grand scheme of things, which is better: A bit more Sheng or some good advice?

Bonnie

I’ve always been stingy with my Sheng and satisfied with the results. Probably because I tend to lose track of time now and then. You gentlemen are always a joy to read! What would I do without your collective Pu’er wisdom!

Bonnie

Oops. not to forget Amy who is wise about Pu’er and mistress of dargeelings especially (which at this stage is still a huge mystery to me)!

Joshua Smith

Ha ha, puerh swisdom…I’m far from being able to claim I have any of that! I’m just applying the wisdom of others, it doesn’t really count. Now, Sencha is a different story…

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Another neglected tea. I have a ton (~40 gr) of this left, and it’s taking up an entire canister. Anyway, first infusion, 3 minutes and 205 degree water. It smell immediately gives away it’s origin, no other tea region that I know of has the same smell. It’s kinda hard for me to describe, but I would hazard a guess that it’s like dates. The taste is very clear and fruity, and very pleasant for a warm evening like today. It’s also a welcome change from Japanese greens and Yunnan blacks that I’ve been drinking this week.

Unfortunately, I don;t have enough time for another cup, but this is a pretty good way to end the day. Since I don’t get to fully experience the tea, I won;t give a rating, but it tastes better than I remember. I’ll give it a more detailed review sometime in the near future.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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89

Re-tasting this tea, since it’s been a few weeks. 205 degree water for two minutes. The result was similar to the Aztec hot chocolate that I had on vacation for desert: Ghiradellli hot chocolate, chilli, cinnamon, and cardamon. It’s a bit fruitier than the hot chocolate, and there might be some wood flavor, but the end result is still similar.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

I remember going to Ghiradelli Square and watching chocolate being made when I was a teenager! There was an enormous pot of dark chocolate that I will NEVER forget …and the smell!! It still is my favorite (they are socially responsible too!)

Joshua Smith

I did that too when I was younger! My family went there when we were in California! For American chocolate they can’t be beat, but my friends in Switzerland would kill me if I claimed that they were the best in the world. ;-)

Bonnie

I usually keep lindt with sea salt in the freezer for emergencies!

Joshua Smith

Nice. I personally don’t keep much on hand, but when I do have chocolate, it’s always 0% cacao or more. I like really intense and flavorful chocolate.

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92
drank Top Leaf by Mellow Monk
244 tasting notes

Once again, I’m drinking a neglected Sencha and wondering why the hell I haven’t been drinking this more regularly. The first cup was made using barely steaming water, steeping the leaves for a minute since this tea is also a bit picky. The result is very sweet, with a pleasant grassy taste and subtle fruity notes, and a smooth, clean finish. I could definitely drink this every day, but sadly I’m running low, and apparently Mellow Monk is waiting on the next shipment…darn.

TeaBrat

I want to try this when the new shipments come in. ;)

Joshua Smith

I would buy more, but I really need to work my way through more of my current stash first. Between my Verdant Tea binge and the latest set of sample from Teavivre, I just have so much tea on hand…

First world problems at their finest.

Bonnie

So sorry for your problems with too much tea wahhhh! Hahaha!

TeaBrat

welcome to my world. :-P

Joshua Smith

Heh, it’s nice to know that I don’t suffer alone XD

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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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