387 Tasting Notes

74
drank Balhyocha KSH by O5 Tea
387 tasting notes

It’s a dark, wiry tea. Very reminiscent of a Yunnan, but also reminds me of the one Taiwan black I’ve tried. Dusty, doesn’t really seem to have many notes. Perhaps cocoa (dry, not chocolate). I think I can get what they mean by “smoke”, but nothing that makes me think maple.

I’ve had it a few times already, both in a mug and in a gaiwan. I was gifted with another variety of it, which I haven’t tried yet, but that I think I should steep side-by-side.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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67

I’ve had this floating around in my cupboard for a while, so I thought I’d finish it off.

It’s definitely the smelliest tea I have. Every time I make a cup, everyone around me perks up and leans in questioningly. I occasionally make it at Game for the same reaction. It stops roleplay for a solid five minutes as everyone squints in my direction.

For a bagged (but full-leaf) grocery tea, it’s not too shabby, and though I have no immediate plans to rebuy it, if it’s on sale or something I’ll probably end up picking it up again. Assuming I really have finished it off—I probably have a few more bags of this floating around in various backpacks.

You get berries, chocolate and bergamot in the smell, but only a faint bergamot and (stronger) chocolate in the taste. The chocolate’s a dry cocoa taste, and I’m mostly glad that the berries aren’t supplemented with hibiscus.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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80

Finishing this off. Gravity pot, one cup, fifteen seconds plus a ten second rinse. More mellow than I remember it. Might just be me. Still enjoyable. Tobacco savoury.

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drank Pu-er 1990 Kunming by SOKO Tea House
387 tasting notes

1 1/2 tsp per 6oz gravity brew teapot.
10 second rinse
First steep, 30 seconds

This one smells woodsy.

Now, many a puerh smells earthy, deep, like decaying logs, but this one REALLY smells woodsy. Like fresh peat, or a damp forest.

It brewed lighter than other puerhs, and the leaves don’t look like they were ever compressed. The taste is definitely lighter, not as deep and earthy. Again, light, woodsy—reminds me of the oakyness you can get in some ceylons. Almost mineral. I think that’s where the “vegetal” description comes from. Makes me think of bark.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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drank Chai by Level Ground Trading
387 tasting notes

When I got this home, I was prepared to break out a clip (I’ve a box of them just for tea bags/sample bags), but I was pleasantly surprised to learn, when I turned the bag over, that there is in fact a pull-tab to rip it open (no scissors!), and then, beneath that, a ziplock to close it again.

Despite a paper outside, it is, in fact, foil-lined as well, and all-in-all I give the packaging an A.

When I actually got it open however, and then dished some out into my infuser, all I could remark was “hand-picked my ass”. It’s a step away from CTC. In fact, it might BE CTC, just not quite as “curled”; same size, but irregularly shaped instead of the usual loose “ball” shape of CTC.

At the very least, I can say if they WERE hand-picked, I don’t think they were hand-processed. It’s too broken. No whole spices either; most of the spices are broken up to the point they’re almost ground.

On the plus side, I was pleased that the first smell when I opened the bag was cardamom, not cinnamon.

I didn’t make this on the stovetop, because it’s quite late and I didn’t want to make a racket. Just didn’t want to wait ’til the morning.

Cardamom’s prominent; I think there’s ginger in there too. Brewed at four minutes, no milk, the base isn’t bitter. Solid. Bet this would be wiz on the stovetop.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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The aroma’s strong dry, but still there when brewed. Actually carries over into the taste quite well. The sweetness of the honeybush goes very well with that sort of sticky sweet taste of the apricot and peach.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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78
drank St. Petersburg by Kusmi Tea
387 tasting notes

See, to me, this is everything the tea Dorian Grey should have been, but isn’t. Caramel and bergamot. Berries, though not the apple it uses instead.

Picked up a single bag of this when SOKO started carrying it, because they didn’t have the mini tins. Have you seen the next size up? Those tins are HUGE. Might grab one anyways. I’m just used to 1-2oz.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Violet by Kusmi Tea
387 tasting notes

I’ve never had anything scented with violet before. It smells fruity and sweetly floral. I’m most excited that Kusmi prefers a China base, and you can definitely taste it. Hunan maybe, possibly blended with Keemun. I’m just throwing out wild guesses.

The actual violet is a bit difficult for me to pick out, but I have no idea what violets smell like, and it is “scented” so I expected to find it more in the nose than on the tongue. It’s less fragrant brewed than dry, but it’s still there. Sweetly floral.

This was a sample given to me over and SOKO’s, since they didn’t have any of the 1oz tins (which Kusmi might not even make for Violet, anyways—I know only some of their teas come in the smaller tins). I like having a taster before committing to one of Kusmi’s jumbo tins (what are those, 4oz minimum?).

I’m still thinking on it, but I’m liking it so far. Granted, I’m still working through that tastebud-problem. I don’t know if I’ve just desensitized myself or if this is a symptom of something (as loss-of-taste often is).

As I sip (REALLY sip—full out slurping here), the China base melts away and I’m getting more of the violet, I think. Sticking with “sweetly floral” as my description. I think this would be a nice tea to have on-hand.

I only did four minutes to test, this time, but next time I’ll do five. I’ve got enough left in my sample for another cup.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

Backlogging this one. I drank it the other day with my notebook out. Thus review will be point-form based off of notes.

Tea was loose inside the dried orange. Could be scooped out easily, did not need to be broken up. Could definitely smell the orange and the tea. Earthy zest, reminiscent of Earl Grey but sweeter.

10 sec rinse, followed by 15 second first steep. Light gold. Mild, earthy taste. Zest in the smell, not in the taste. Dirty, sometimes with a hint of zest. I think I can taste the pith? Zest on the tip of the tongue, maybe, with sweetness. The puerh itself is not spectacular. Astringency at the back of the throat.

Second Steep, 15 seconds; much darker, though not black. Wet leaf is a bakey orange smell. Tea more like tobacco—very little zest. Dirt to tobacco. Stronger, bolder, almost savory. Zest might be coming through a bit as it cools.

Photos: http://artoftea.teatra.de/2013/07/18/dan-cong-iron-buddha-orange-puerh/

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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84

Made this in a mug. As always, very strongly floral, not strongly vegetal. It’s gone cold now, but it’s even great cold (I should ice it). There’s an almost cream essence when cold—mouthcoating, maybe. One of the few greener oolongs that I’m finding I quite like.

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

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Bio

I change icons often, apologies. On that note, they are usually Doctor Who related (so no, that is not me pictured in the icon, it is most likely one of the Doctors).

A tea-drinking transgendered Canadian, currently in the third year of university, majoring in geology (yes, “rocks and things”). I take most of my tea made straight into a mug, although occasionally if I’m not in a hurry (this isn’t often), I’ll have time to sit down with a pot. It’s the highlight of a good day if I have time for a pot.

My notes and reviews will often sound dis-jointed, repetitive and confused, as usually I don’t work on them as a whole, but rather add notes as I sip without rereading what I’ve already typed.

On most occasions I won’t take my tea with anything (I reserve milk for chai). Occasionally agave nectar if I want to test to see if it’ll smooth it out. Chais I will make with either the nectar or honey. Although on occasion I will sweeten unflavoured blacks the Russian way—with jam or jelly. Occasionally I will take it instead with a slice of a citrus fruit. Normally orange, occasionally lemon if I have any on hand.

I prefer Earl Greys.

Lastly, I keep a teatra.de blog for reviewing and rambling about tea books/publications.

Also, I am a Doctor Who fanatic. As one may have noticed by my icons. For the record, my favourite Doctor is number three, Jon Pertwee.

“But you should never turn down tea, when it’s offered. It’s impolite, and impoliteness is how wars start.” ~Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann

Location

BC, Canada

Website

http://artoftea.teatra.de

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