35 Tasting Notes

67

A truly black black Chinese tea. According to Upton, less than 40kg of this tea was produced. The price certainly reflects it. It’s a very dark caramel flavor. Not the kind you’d find in a supermarket candy bar, but one you’d make on a stove. Maybe close to the hard crack stage. Very strong initial taste but since it’s a fairly thing tea, it dissipates quickly. Not much lingering around after swallowing. I like this but to be honest, don’t really see why it’s supposed to be so special. It’s high brew temp and thinness intensifies the need to swallow it quickly which does not leave much time for enjoying it. I’d recommend pairing with some sweets (cookies or pastry) and letting it cool down 15 degrees before enjoying.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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1.5 tsp instead of the standard 1. Perhaps this is a lighter tea that requires more steeping time to fully brew? Medium amber color. Smell remind me of European milk chocolate. Or maybe chocolate chip cookies. Strong tea (but not overhwhelming). Lots of tanins for sure but mild aftertaste. Slightly bitter but not in a bad way. Very Asian flavor. It’s immediately obvious you are drinking a Chinese tea the moment it hits your tongue. Viscosity is pretty thin. This would be good with some cookies or a pastry.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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75

The highest grade of Keemun black tea from China, this does not come cheap. I don’t remember the exact price but I have the label marked with an asterisk which means it was pricey. Dry leaves are brittle and black and look like tiny short sticks. They are not gunpowder fine but not very large either. Brews up nice and dark and reminds me of Lapsang Souchon and while it’s not smoked, it has a very strong smokiness to it. Tanins are present as well as very noticeable acidity, almost like you squeezed a few drops of lemon into your morning tea. Viscosity is on the medium range, and it coats your tongue nicely. If you rub your tongue against the insides of your mouth, you’ll taste the residual tanins/tea which linger for quite a while after you’ve swallowed.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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84

I didn’t have much left so I split the remainder into two batches so I am brew 2/3’s (2g) of what I normally would use. I may increase brewing time about 15-30 seconds to compensate. I simply love the name of this tea. It invokes so many images and emotions. the leaves are very delicate and initially reminded me of a bird’s nest (tiny twigs) or maybe thinly shredded paper used as packing material.

Ok the tea’s done. Tasting notes: Definitely a Chinese green tea. Very apparent. The color is a very light champagne. Good clarity and very little (to no) residue at bottom of cup. It tastes very slightly grassy, which is a term I generally use for Japanese green teas. Viscosity is thin, not much coating going on here.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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78

This might need to be reclassified as something besides a black tea. The brew is lighter, yellower. I had this this morning and to be honest, don’t remember much about it except that I liked it. 212F brewing temp suggests it’s a darker tea, which it was. Good thing I drank it in the morning. My ritual is always dark in the morning, lighter in the afternoon. I used about 3.3 grams for a 10oz mug.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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84

What an unusual tea. First the leaves are very crispy and big. They take up lots of volume. I always go by weight so for me the recommended 2-3 tsp is the same as saying 6-9 grams which is a boat load of tea! I don’t even have that much in my sample so I used half the sample, so 2.5 G. I picked a brewing time of 9:30 which is between the suggested 8-10 minutes. I might leave it a bit longer since I am using less leaves.

Despite the long brewing time, the tea is still relatively light. No surprise here. The color is very light tinted copper or golden. It’s not as slippery or viscous as I expected. Pretty watery in texture. The taste is very comforting and lingers on the center of your tongue.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 8 min or more

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80

Disclaimer: I am a huge fan of Golden Monkey. This is a fine example. Nice dark brew. Lots of tanins and bitterness (but not in a bad way). I always try to describe smells and flavors in tea but to be honest, unlike wine, I rarely am able to find something descriptive enough. It just tastes like tea.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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81

Very clean shiny brew. The opacity is excellent and uniform. Very minimal tea settled at bottom. Color is a dark caramel. Minimal tanins and acidity. More on the tail end. Nothing bad to say about it but it’s not incredibly memorable either. Take that as you will.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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67

Quite the dark brew color, as to be expected with a Darjeeling. Viscosity is on the lighter side of medium. Taste is classic Darjeeling. The aroma … I am getting a nuttiness but I can’t put my finger on it. This is a take-notice tea so great for mornings (it’s 10:30AM right now).

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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83

Very lightly colored brew. Excellent unfurling of the pearls and color change of the leaves from a flour white to a brown green. Very little to no residue/sediment on bottom of the cup. Very clean jasmine scent but not at all perfum-y or overpowering. Like a sweet note in the background. Viscosity is thin and slick; coats your tongue.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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Bio

I love tea. I have been drinking tea at least twice a day for over 5 years. I enjoy all types of tea but like Chinese and Japanese the most, though I drink Indian mostly (go figure). Accurate tea preparation is very important to me and I am very methodical in my approach.

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Santa Barbara, CA

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http://www.sygyzy.com

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