115 Tasting Notes

94

This is a super amazing flavored Assam tea. I like my Assams malty and flavorful without much if any astringency. I control the later by keeping my steep time under 2:30 minutes. I have tried many Assams and some are great and some not so. This one has a variety of flavor notes… yams is perhaps the strongest, chocolate and plum, giving a nice sweet finish. This is one of the best Assams I’ve tasted from the 2012 harvests.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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90
drank Guangxi Hao Ya A by Tea Embassy
115 tasting notes

Note: Their website currently calls this just “Hao Ya A” but when I got the package of it, it is labeled “Guangxi Hao Ya A.” It’s description is that it is their highest quality of Keemun.

A good Keemun is one of my favorite black teas. But I am very particular about my Keemuns. I have sampled many supplier’s Keemuns, from standard grades on up thru 2nd and 1st grades, to Hao Ya A and B grades. I find that while high grades typically look more refined and have a more uniform leaf size, usually a small size, it doesn’t mean their flavor is always superior in my opinion.

A really good Keemun has that unique flavoring of a hint of smokiness mixed with pine/oak nuances and some hints of fruit notes, followed by some notes of chocolate. It’s hard to describe but once you take a good one, I find it not replicated in any other tea.

I pit this particular Keemun Hao Ya A against 3 other Keemuns I found enjoyable from previous samplings in a blind taste test which I and my wife took part in. I equalized all the parameters, side-by-side cups of equal size, same hot water source, equal steep timing, equal sweetener (sugar, I’m not a hard-core tea drinker of black teas who omits sweeteners). This tea came out as our number 1 pick of the 4 Keemuns. It’s leaf quality was not notch and it’s flavor profile was really very good. This is one I could recommend fully to those who love a really good cup of Keemun.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

I agree with your Perfect Keemun requirements, more or less. It’s more grain-y for me that it is for you, it seems, but otherwise I agree. I found that for me the best Keemuns are actually the lower grades, the higher grades often being too floral in flavour rather than smoky.

LadyLondonderry

I have a similar situation with Ceylons. The high-grown ones seem to be the ones preferred by connoisseurs, but the low-grown ones are the ones I like best. I guess they’re looking for extreme subtlety and I’m not. :)

Teaman

I know what you mean. I have found some Keemun’s that are wonderful but are labeled “Imperial” or “First Grade” or even “Second Grade”. I’ve paid a bunch for Hao Ya “A” and the “B” is better or not as good as the 1st or 2nd grades. That’s why I do taste tests, 4-5 cups brewed identically at one time. It’s fun and I get to know which one I like the best for re-orders. :)

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79
drank Halmari Assam by Infusions of Tea
115 tasting notes

Included this in a taste test with 4 other assam teas I have. This one came out #3 of the 5, ahead of SpecialTeas Rembeng and Adagio Assam Melody, but behind TeaSource’s Panatola and Ramanugger assam teas. I drink my assams black with sweetener. I steep them 2-2 1/2 minutes to keep astringency away. This is a very good Assam tea.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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47
drank Assam Melody by Adagio Teas
115 tasting notes

Did a taste test today with this tea plus 4 other assam teas. This was my first try of this tea from their sampler 4-pack. This one came out #5 behind TeaSource’s Panatola and Ramanugger, InfusionOfTeas Halmari and SpecialTeas Rembeng. This one has a rather noticeable yam flavor note in it. Since I like yams I wasn’t sure if this was a positive or negative. I decided it was out of balance compared to what I like in a good Assam so it pushed it down the ranking. The brew was lighter more yellow than the others darker more amber coloring. I drink this black but with sweetener. I would not order up this one given the other excellent assams I have found out there.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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82

Did a taste test today with this tea plus 4 other assam teas. This one came out #2 behind TeaSource’s Panatola but ahead of InfusionOfTeas Halmari, SpecialTeas Rembeng and Adagio’s Melody. This is a good assam tea, with a nice malty smooth flavor with no noticeable astringency. I drink it black but with sweetener.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Geoffrey Norman

Wow, I first read that as “Ramenburger”.

I must be hungry.

LiberTEAS

Hmm… I’m contemplating what a ramenburger might taste like…

Teaman

LOL! I don’t think I’d like a tea tasting like top ramen and burger…

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87
drank Assam Panatola Estate by TeaSource
115 tasting notes

Did a taste test today with this tea plus 4 other assam teas. This one came out #1 ahead of TeaSource’s Ramanugger, InfusionOfTeas Halmari, SpecialTeas Rembeng and Adagio’s Melody. This is an excellent assam tea, with malty and caramel notes and smooth flavor without the astringency. I drink it black but with sweetener. I haven’t seen this one on the TeaSource.com web site in some time so I’m not sure if they will ever get it back in. A great Assam if they ever get it in again!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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76

Did a taste test today with the last I have of this tea plus 4 other assam teas. This one came out #4 behind TeaSource’s Panatola, Ramanugger and InfusionOfTeas Halmari. Still a good assam but I think the age had it’s affect and it’s flavor was a little duller and did have a tad bit of astringency probably because I steeped it a tad beyond what I should have.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec

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85

Visited the Tea Zone in Portland yesterday and asked about any new teas of the owner. He stated they had some new Assam teas in that were not yet on the menu list. Great I thought! I asked for a malty one and he suggested this one. It comes in organic and non-organic, yet he states that their flavor profile is quite different between them because they are grown in different areas.

I tried this tea at my brunch there yesterday and liked the tea so much I bought some to take home with me. The leaf is very dark, virtually a black leaf. There are no tips in it at all. The leaf is cut but offers large chunks 1/4"+ in length. The brew is golden brown and reveals a bold flavoring. It has the malty flavoring but also has a bit of a yummy sweet potato flavoring along with other notes I can’t quite put a finger on. It’s a complex but delicious flavor. I’m really enjoying this as it’s yet another addition to my Assam collection that is different from my other tippy and malty Assams.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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91

Got a sampler of this yesterday and had to try it. I love Yunnan teas and also a good malty Assam. Well this tea attempts to blend both of these together and does so very well. I had never thought of combining a Chinese tea with an Indian tea but given the peppery flavor of a yunnan and a malty flavor of a good assam, this is really a winner. The resultling combination is really yummy. I think the Yunnan flavoring is slightly stronger in this than the Assam. I had forgotten the description of the tea since ordering it. Most blends involve Assam tea and given they come from India, Himalayan grown teas are usually more similar to Assams. So I was expecting this to be like an Assam. However when I smelled the aroma of the tea I was surprised to find it being more like a Yunnan. I sampled the taste and had the same reaction. It was good. I then went and looked up the description and then remembered why I had chosen it. Now I wished I had gotten a whole bag of it. This is going to go on my order list for next time.

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

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24

This is my after-lunch tea today and it’s not tasting good to me. I may have put a bit too much leaf in my mug but it’s tasting like bleh! The muscatel is hard to find in amongst the rest of it. It could be dried lawn leaves for all I know. I’m not sure I’ll finish this. I liked it ok the last time I had it, but not this time.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Profile

Bio

I love loose leaf tea! While I gravitate towards black teas, I’m getting more into oolongs, greens and whites. I’m always looking for great fresh new teas to try. This tends to lead to the problem of ordering more even though I already have way too much.

My collection of tea has kind of gotten out of hand. After taking over several kitchen cupboards, it has spilled into the back hallway now with containers of tea stacked up there. I think I need more hours in the day to drink it all.

I’m also a vegetarian who loves dark chocolate, photography, travel, computers, web programming, technology and cats.

Location

near Portland, Oregon

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