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240 Tasting Notes

95

Wow, what a great way to start off my weekend: I was digging through my room, looking for my iPod, and I found this sample mixed in with some Classic Rock CDs. I don’t know how it got there, but I’m not going to question it…

Anyway, I’m re-tasting this tea after several months, and I have to say that the taste is much better than I remember. It is similar to my Art of Tea orchid Oolong, but creamier, which makes the whole experience so much better. The aftertaste is also a bit stronger, lingering for three minute (It lasts even longer than Tie Guan Yin! How does that happen?!?!?) on the roof of my mouth. Needless to say, I’m bumping up the rating, and I can’t wait to see how it develops.

Alright, second infusion same temperature, steeped fro three minutes. The tea has developed a pleasant sweetness, which reminds me of some sort of confection confection. I don’t know exactly which one, but I would guess it reminds me of one of the Japanese sweets I got from a friend. Anyway, the tea is so delicious, I actually regret only having a small sample left, as this is the perfect desert tea.

Third infusion, four minutes, 205 degree water. The tea lost a lot of sweetness, but it still reminds me of some sort of confection. the aftertaste still lingers for over a minute, and it still retains the creaminess that made it so appealing in the beginning. It’s still an exceptional tea, but I think it’s a bit past its prime now.

Forth infusion, five minutes. The tea has started to loose the creaminess, but luckily the sweetness did not degrade further. Overall, the strength of the taste didn’t change, which is the beauty of Oolongs: Their flavor lasts for a very long time, providing many cups of wonderful tea. I think I’ll probably get eight cups out of this, mostly because it’s a green Oolong, which tend to loose their taste a bit quickly then others.

Fifth cup, stopped keeping track of time, just going by color from now on. The creaminess lingers, but it’s mostly gone now. Interestingly enough, the tea retains its sweetness, as well as the lingering aftertaste.

Sixth cup, process the same as before. It’s starting to get a bit bland. It has lost all of the creaminess, it isn’t as sweet, and the aftertaste doesn’t linger very long. I’m gonna call it quits on this one. That being said, it lasted a long time, and it tasted great. I’ll miss this a lot when I finish off the sample.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
Bonnie

Happy Saturday!

K S

I can just imagine back in the day trying to explain a bag of loose leaf mixed in with my classic rock CD’s to my mom. Of course it wasn’t classic then and it was vinyl. Go ask Alice…

Joshua Smith

@K S – That would be a bit weird. I actually keep my collection hidden, since I don’t think my parents would be happy to realize I have almost a whole kilogram of tea stashed under my bed…

In this case, I’m pretty sure I simply forgot to pack it up to take to college, and it just ended up getting shoved into my CD collection by chance.

@Bonnie – Happy Saturday to you too! Hopefully the weather is better for you, it’s 90 degrees here.

Bonnie

It is hot but we have dry heat and the nights are cool. I was just going to turn on my air conditioner to. Automatic but low.

Lynne-tea

That sounds absolutely delightful. And very funny hiding spot.. though I really do understand. I am starting to consider hiding my tea stash even more as currently it is in my room with five shelves littered with tea… A new hiding spot may just keep the ‘you have a problem’ comments at bay! Hmm.. perhaps one of my closets would be the best idea.

Joshua Smith

@Bonnie – Very nice. We’ve got 70% humidity, so it might only be 90, but it feels like…98-ish. Luckily, my family is going on vacation on tuesday to the British Isles, where we will be enjoying rain, rain, showers, and more rain!

@Lynne-tea – It’s better than my hiding spot at College, where it all ends up in a single drawer. My friends actually think I have a problem, but we mostly gotten over that after they tried some of my stash XD.

Bonnie

Ooooo have the most wonderful time right-o!

Joshua Smith

Indubitably.

Bonnie

That was so spiffy cute!

Joshua Smith

I just couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, we’ve just covered about half of my British vocabulary…

Oh well, I’ll make sure to pick up some more on the trip!

Bonnie

Bobby, Boot, Nappie, Pint.

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86

Ugh, such a stressful day at work…so glad that it’s over…

Anyway, back to the tea, I needed something without too much caffeine, and I have quite a bit of this still sitting around, so why not? I filled up my tea ball a bit more than half way, and let it steep for 45 seconds in 175 degree water. The tea had a wonderful calming flowery aroma, which was just what I needed to unwind. The taste was reminiscent of smooth and delicate flowers, also great for unwinding, and the aftertaste lingered pleasantly on the roof of my mouth for about 40 seconds.

Also, the music I was listening to was a little piece by David Popper I heard on the radio while driving home. It’s called Gnomentanz, or Dance of the Gnomes in English.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_H0n9j1y4A

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Bonnie

Thanks for the music! Haven’t heard it in some time!

Spoonvonstup

Love all of your music recommendations, by the way!

Joshua Smith Delete

Thanks! I find that nice classical music mixes nicely with drinking tea. It’s just a great way to unwind after a long day. As for today, I was listening to Dvorak’s 9th, as conducted by Gustavo Dudamel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo1KHr-b-CA

Honestly, half the fun of this video is watching Dudamel really get into the music. If only the sound quality was a bit better, then it would be perfect…

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91

Another sample from Teavivre.

I let this steep for three minutes, enduring the enticing aroma until the tea was done. The end result is a very nice Tie Guan yin: Fruity, buttery, a hint of saffron. I don’t taste any grassiness, but the taste lingers for two whole minutes in the hard palate of my mouth, which definitely marks this as a really good quality Tie Guan yin. I can’t wait to see how it develops.

All right, after several false starts and a few interruptiuons, here is the second steeping for this Tie Guan Yin. It retained most of the flavor from the previous infusion, with the creaminess actually being a bit more prominent, along with nice development of the saffron flavor. A hint of grassiness might have developed, but it’s really faint, and I might be tasting it because I’m looking for it. Anyway, the aftertaste still lingers for a minute 45, which is pretty impressive. I’m liking this tea more and more.

Third infusion, still no grass. The taste has lost a bit of the creaminess it had, and is starting to get a bit weaker. It also only lingers for a minute now, but other than that, it’s still very good. I also want to note here that this tea is MUCH better if you drink it when it’s warmer. If it get’s cold, it isn’t as vibrant. Unfortunately, this is my last cup of the day, since I need to be able to get up for my internship tomorrow, but needless to say I’m going tosavor the rest of this cup.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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91

A big shout out to Teavivre for the free sample of this tea!

It’s been several years since I last had a Lapsang Souchong, and it’s actually better than I remember. I used about 5 grams, and steeped it in 205 degree water for about a minute (I was being a bit conservative). The first impression you get of the tea is aroma: It’s pleasantly smokey, but overwhelmingly so. The tea is also a lot sweeter than I remember, and was really the perfect way to start my morning.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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92

All right, first sample from the new batch from Teavivre. Thanks again, Angel!

This is also my first Dragonwell, so I’m a bit excited to finally get to try it out. I put about four grams of tea in my tea ball. The instructions said to use more, but that was also to make 8 oz. of tea, whereas my mug only holds 6. Anyway, I steeped the leaves for one minute in 175 degree water, and the results were great. It has a very smooth texture, like the aftertaste of a Wuyi Oolong, which seems to coat the tongue and hard palate. The tea also has a delightfully nutty flavor which reminds me a bit of Hojicha, but it’s not as strong and taste more refined. Definitely a great way to start off the weekend.

Alright, second infusion, same preparation as before. The only real difference is that it has lost a bit of the mineral smoothness, which, while disappointing, does not really affect the taste too much. It is, however, a bit unfortunate, because it seems that I won’t get all that many infusions out of this tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C
Jim Marks

dragon well is roasted very early during processing and that is what brings the oolong or hojicha type flavor along. I find that really excellent dragon well leaf is the closest chinese style green to the japanese style green — which is odd because the processing is so radically different, but the flavors end up a log more the same.

Joshua Smith

I agree completely. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s closer to Sencha than other Chinese greens, especially how it looks. It is certainly a very interesting experience.

unfeasible

That is exactly what I thought of this dragonwell too! Interesting how that happens.

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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
240 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
240 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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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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