Hide

Welcome to Steepster, an online tea community.

Write a tea journal, see what others are drinking and get recommendations from people you trust. or Learn More

164 Tasting Notes

I steeped the remaining tea from the sample (about 5 grams) in my 150 ml gaiwan doing a wash and adding stevia on each steeping, water at boiling:
1st – 45 seconds
2nd – 75 seconds
3rd – 60 seconds
4th – about 90 seconds

I like the flavor. Somewhat cloudy orange-ish colored liquor, lots of little pieces of tea, no bitterness on the 1st steeping, but some on the 2nd (that’s why I backed off on the time on the third), none on the third, and just a little on the forth.

Managing the bitterness is the only downside here; I think this is a tea I could easily enjoy.

Until I get more of a reference point of what I like in a raw pu-erh, I am leaving off the numeric rating.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 5 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

Add a Comment

Please keep things friendly and .

Brewing guidelines: Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 11 OZ Yixing.
……….15 – 20 second rinse with near boiling water, Stevia added thereafter.
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
……….4th: Boiling, 2’
……….If 5th and/or more: Boiling, < If I do more than 4 steepings, I basically add 0.5’ for each. >

Overall: This was tea from a 14 gram sample from a pu-erh tea sampler I purchased at the end of 2013, and with each 14 gram sample I did two sessions each (cutting each roughly in half, or about 6-8 grams for each session), such that I did at least 4 steepings in each session.

As with all of the ripe samples I have been trying (probably about ten different ripe samples from a number of different vendors), this one tasted much like the rest: heavy, woodsy, with a flavor I enjoyed. This was a part of a cake, and I noticed even after the 4th or 5th steeping that much of the tea was still in a single ‘chunk’. This one seemed to maintain a dark color throughout the steepings, where most of the rest of the teas got substantially lighter by the 4th or 5th steeping. On the last steeping I did it for about 7 mins, and I noted that there was the slightest hint of bitterness in it (I didn’t put sweetener in it, and perhaps that is why).

One pattern that is emerging for me: on most days I seem to only have the time and energy for about 4 steepings, and those I usually do in conjunction while heating water for steeping another tea (usually a green tea). Perhaps sometime soon I will sit down and really pay attention to the flavors in all of these ripe pu-erh teas. I like to take things slowly.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

Add a Comment

Please keep things friendly and .

Brewing guidelines: Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 11 OZ Yixing.
First I do a 15 – 20 second rinse with near boiling water. Then for each successive steeping I add Stevia to my 8 OZ clear-glass teacup (thus, typically not added to the teapot).
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
……….4th: Boiling~(poured usually right after the previous steeping, so the teapot and water are as hot as possible)~, 2’ (if it’s the final steeping, then sometimes longer)
……….If 5th and/or more: Boiling, < If I do more than 4 steepings, I basically add 0.5’ for each. >

Overall: NOTE: I hope to ‘streamline’ my reviews going forward, so, hopefully, they are a little less technical and dry (and perhaps even stilted), and a little more organic and experiential (and hopefully, flowing); this somewhat new approach to reviews is a kind of metaphor for where my life is headed right now, and is one reason why I write reviews: as a kind of time-capsule of where I was in my life at that time.

This tea was a sample included in a pu-erh sampler pack I bought at the end of 2013. I have been brewing up lots of different ripe pu-erh teas over the last few months, usually over the weekends, steeping a different one each day in the hopes of determining which ones I like the most. I have not been as systematic about my overall analysis as I used to be (especially as I was with green teas); for example, mainly due the the time and effort involved I don’t compare/analyze the dry and wet tea leaf of ripe pu-erh as I have with other teas classes.

Although I am enjoying ripe pu-erh, somewhat sadly most all of the ripe pu-erh teas I have had basically taste the same to me (so far). I believe, over time, as my pallet gets more exposure to ripe pu-erh, the differences will make themselves known to me.

I finished the last of this yesterday, and all I really remember about this tea is that I liked the flavor a little more than the others. I don’t know, perhaps the word ‘Golden’ in the name is doing an unconscious ‘number’ on me. I don’t think so, though. The flavor seemed somewhat richer than the others, and the leaf was somewhat larger than the others. I will say this: I prefer the pu-erh with the larger leaf, if anything, because then it won’t slip through the holes at the end of my spout on my Yixing!

As I don’t really have a benchmark to measure from as of yet, I plan to leave off the rating on any pu-erh teas I review.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

Add a Comment

Please keep things friendly and .

90

Update:

I did four more steepings: 3’, 4’, 5’, and over 10’, such that the water temp was around 180-190F, with the exception of the last steeping where I decided to try boiling. I barely detected a degradation in flavor through all of the steepings. My guess is this tea would have yielded many more steepings, especially had I done it gongfu style—starting at 20 seconds and adding 20sec for each additional steeping.

This is an amazing tea, and I plan on showcasing it tonight with those in my men’s group. When I experience a tea like this my immediate desire is to share its pleasures with others. Unfortunately, my wife doesn’t like it. Phooey on her! :p

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

Add a Comment

Please keep things friendly and .

90

I received this tea in the mail recently and opened it just today.

Age of leaf: Early February, 2014.

Brewing guidelines:
Ceramic 150 ml gaiwan, sweetener (on second steeping), a small handful of tea buds, 5 OZ water.
……….1st: 175, 2’
……….2nd: 180. 3’

Appearance and Aroma of dry tea leaves: Right away, I could tell this tea was a very different type of tea than I have ever had: largish green and white cluster-like buds. There were a few stems (as in, small pieces of brown twigs). Still, there were NO little bits of broken tea leaves/buds in the bottom for the bag, as is usually the case with most any other tea I have bought. Little twigs aside, Impressive (the presence of little twigs actually doesn’t bother me, I simply mentioned it here because I aim to be thorough as possible in my descriptions).

Color of tea: Very light yellowish-green, and incredibly clear.

Aroma of tea liquor: fresh, mildly pleasant forest aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor: clean, light and incredibly fresh, and as the description says (otherwise I don’t think I would have come to this my own) a hint of fresh pine needles.

Overall: So far, I’ve only done two steepings (I plan to do at least on more). Still, …, I love this tea! I brewed it up in my new gaiwan (I LOVE my new gaiwan). It is a tea with an appearance I’ve never seen before, the tea liquor has a beautiful clarity that practically glows in my clear glass 8 OZ teacup, and has one of the freshest flavors of any tea I’ve had. When I drink fresh spring teas like this one, it’s hard to explain, but it’s like, up, uP, UP all the way into the clear blue sky!

I always enjoy trying something new, and I knew I was taking a risk with this tea. Not all risks pay off, yet I’ve found some of the best things in life come from taking risks.

Flavors: Pine

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML
boychik

Wow. I was keep adding it and removing fr my cart, back and forth . I stopped cause it increase my shipping. Next time then. I just want to wait until all new tea comes in

SimpliciTEA

I hear you, boychik, I’m the same way: I want to order what they have ASAP so it’s fresh as it can be when I get it (any non-puerh teas, that is), when every few days, sometimes every day, a new 2014 spring tea is added! < Shaking head in resigned manner >What-a-ya-gonna-do?!

It sounds like you do the same thing I do: keep adding tea until it kicks me into the next shipping price threshold that I consider too much $$$ for me.

Add a Comment

Please keep things friendly and .

This is the 4th pu-erh toucha I have tried over the last two days, and the second from a sample pack I bought through Teavivre this past November, 2013.

Age of leaf: July, 2006.

Brewing guidelines:
Ceramic 4 cup teapot, no sweetener, 5 gram toucha, ~1 cup of water, 5 second wash.
……….1st: Just under boiling, 2.5’
……….2nd: Boiling. 5’

Appearance and Aroma of dry tea leaves: Right away, I could tell this tea was a very different type pu-erh than the last three I have brewed up. It was loose (as a sample, I am assuming it is broken from a larger toucha), and of a much lighter color than the last three pu-erhs; ‘spicy’ was one of the first words the came to mind. The aroma was also worlds apart: milder, lighter and clearly fresh. My initial impression of this one over the other pu-erhs: I like it better.

Aroma of tea liquor: mild but pleasant aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor: clean, light and spicy.

Overall: Generally speaking I prefer my tea to be light, natural, and fresh (that is why I mostly drink Chinese green tea). This ‘raw’ pu-erh is a refreshing change to the last three ‘cooked’ ones I had. I am now beginning to think that first two touchas I tried yesterday—the SpecialTeas one and the one from Taobao—were ‘cooked’; the color of the last three was very dark brown, almost black, and this one is orange and much lighter in color. I liked the flavor; the second steeping was a little bitter, but still enjoyable. Overall, I like this tea.

Fortuitously, I kept a little of the second steeping of the last cooked pu-erh and heated it up so as to compare it side-by-side with the flavor of the second steeping of this raw pu-erh. Its obvious now how different the two are: the cooked is fishy, heavy; the raw is spicy, light, perhaps woodsy. It’s hard to say which I prefer. I like each one for different reasons.

I’ll leave off the numeric rating until I try it with shorter steeping times and possibly in my new Yixing.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
mrmopar

Nice uncooked is listed as sheng and cooked is shou. I would think the first ones were shou and the last one sheng. Although very old sheng will look like shou but with much more intensity. Nice notes you do better than me on that!

mrmopar

Forgot shou is also ripe and sheng is raw.

SimpliciTEA

Thanks, mrmopar!

Yeah, I’m still getting down the pu-erh terminology; my understanding is:
shou = ripe = cooked

sheng = raw

mrmopar

I think you are doing well!

Add a Comment

Please keep things friendly and .

82

I bought a one OZ sample of this in late November, 2011, having brewed it twice (most recently on 1/20/2014).

Overall: I’m keeping this review very simple. I just brewed it up for my wife (in the midst of doing my pu-erh toucha sessions), using my standard black tea parameters (although I used my 16oz glass Victorian), and I am impressed with its flavor: I don’t drink brandy often, but I do like it, and this definitely tastes like brandy. The peppermint comes though nicely as well. Not artificial taste either. And, the leaf is at least two years old to boot. I am not a huge flavor-added tea guy, but I am impressed with this tea. My wife likes it as well.

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

Culinary Teas was my gateway vendor for flavored black teas. This sounds pleasant!

SimpliciTEA

Culinary Teas does have some good teas.

Add a Comment

Please keep things friendly and .

This is the 3rd pu-erh toucha I have tried over the last two days.

Age of leaf: May 2007.

Brewing guidelines:
Ceramic 4 cup teapot, no sweetener, 5 gram toucha, ~1 cup of water. I did a 5 second wash this time.
……….1st: Just under boiling, 2.5’
……….2nd: Boiling. 5’

Aroma of tea liquor: About the same as yesterdays touchas, but a little more, eh, ripe?

Flavor of tea liquor: definitely stronger than the other 2 touchas: like mulch, perhaps woodsy, and a little bitter.

Appearance of wet leaf: Like the SpecialTeas toucha, tiny little dark bits of tea.

Overall: The first steeping was not exactly to my liking. After reading one review on Teavivre’s website stating you need to keep the steeping times short, I thought maybe the 2.5 min. steeping time was the problem. Still, for comparison purposes, I decided to follow the advice of the ‘scientist’ in me and stick to using consistent parameters for comparison purposes and so did the second steeping time ~5 mins. Generally speaking, not much of a change from the first steeping.

There seemed to be lots of good reviews about the tea, and, although that doesn’t change my own personal experience with it, the reviews do indicate that I may have done something ‘wrong’ in brewing it. It may also be my tastes don’t match the reviewers’ tastes, but I doubt it. I have lots of respect for the quality of tea that Teavivre sells (having had at least 20 teas of theirs). So I will try brewing this one again sometime (I have three more ‘pieces’ of it) with the shorter steeping times: a wash, 20-30 seconds, adding 10 seconds for every steep after that. So, I’m leaving off the numeric rating for now.

I wish I knew if the SpecialTeas toucha was ripe or raw, but my guess is it is raw; if it is, I realize comparing a ripe toucha to a raw toucha is not the best comparison. Still, I like SpecialTeas toucha the best so far of the three.

What really strikes me most about this experience is what a difference adding a little sweetener did to the taste; on the second steeping after trying it without sweetener I added a touch of Stevia extract to it, and it seemed to smooth out the edges very nicely. I was astonished at the difference: it was barely drinkable without sweetener, and yet much more drinkable with it. I still hold to the philosophy, or general guideline, that it is best to try the tea first w/o sweetener; yet, this experience also emphasizes how easily sweetener can transform the taste.

On to the forth toucha.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

Add a Comment

Please keep things friendly and .

Age of leaf: I wish I knew; unfortunately, as I bought this over three years ago, and as SpecialTeas is out of business, and I have no record of it’s production date, I can only guess: it must have aged a few years before they put it up for sale, so my guess is this must be 6 or 7 years old, at the very least.

Brewing guidelines:
Ceramic 4 cup teapot, no sweetener, 5 gram toucha, 2 cups of water.
……….1st: Just under boiling, 2.5’
……….2nd: Boiling. 5’

Aroma of tea liquor: Smelled just like the dry leaf: strong, and for now (I am wanting for better descriptors here) I will call it ‘fishy’—in a good way, not a bad way (although my wife smelled the dry leaf, and reacted as I thought she would: “Yuck!”).

Flavor of tea liquor: Again, I am wanting for better descriptors here (I hope to increase my arsenal of more precise Pu-erh flavor and aroma descriptors over time), so for now suffice it to say: earthy, fishy.

Appearance of wet leaf: Tiny little dark bits of tea.

Overall: Good. I vaguely remember trying this about two years ago (my first Pu-erh ever), and I think it may actually be smother now (however, I may just be perceiving what I expect). There was no sign of bitterness, and it was heavy on the mouth—enjoyably so.

For comparison purposes I also decided to steep another toucha today (brewed with the same parameters) that I bought through a seller on Taobao (again, little information on its age: the rice paper wrapper had a number appended with “-2008” on it, though) to compare with the SpecialTeas toucha. The Taobao toucha was a tinge bitter, and not as full, or heavy, on the tongue, as the SpecialTeas toucha on both the first and second steepings. This was a meaningful comparison, as it at least begins to give me an idea of what I am looking for in a Pu-erh. In this case, I prefer the SpecialTeas toucha: smooth, with a heavy mouth-feel.

This is my first real foray into Pu-erh tea. I recently bought a Yixing, and I am trying out a few Pu-erh teas I have on hand (I have a number of samples) in my ceramic before I decide which one to use to season my new Yixing with. So far, I am enjoying it. I hope to have the time and energy tomorrow to try at least one more.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
boychik

thru your note I don’t know if you rinse for 15-30 sec? This step is essential.

SimpliciTEA

boychik: Very good question. I forgot about that step; silly me. : }

I did a ~5 sec. rinse on the last toucha though, and I plan to do that going forward.

Thank you for your suggestion. : – )

Add a Comment

Please keep things friendly and .

88

Preliminary (and perhaps only) review

I got this as a courtesy sample from Life in Teacup with one of my orders from them this spring (thank you Gingko!). I have lots going on tonight, and I wasn’t thinking at all of doing a review, but this tea was so good I told myself to set aside the perfectionist, and simply take about 10 minutes to write and post a short-if even terse-review (OK, I think it ended up taking about 25 minutes, but that’s not bad for me!).

I feel I am coming to know what to look for in a quality spring Chinese green tea having tried many dozens of them (not to include all of the flavor-added varieties) from almost as many different tea retailers. I am very particular about what I want to experience in the best Chinese spring green teas in that I expect them to be appealing in every way, most notably in appearance, aroma, and taste (a clear-colored tea liquor is good, as well). For example, I want the dry leaves to look and smell fresh, and I want them to look the way that that particular type is tea is supposed to look (if I happen to know what that is). I want it to be comprised mainly—if not entirely—of whole leaves and buds. I would like it to look beautiful while steeping in my glass teapot. I want the tea liquor to have a fresh and preferably mild, aroma. And finally I want it to taste fresh, without any odd or off flavors (preferably when at room temperature as well as when hot).

So, all that to say, this tea meets just about every one of the above criteria (the leaf just hung out on the bottom of my glass 14 OZ mini-teapot for the first two steepings, and I prefer that it hangs from the top so I can ‘see’ or appreciate the leaves in their fullness). The dry tea is comprised of tiny curls with a nice variance in light and dark green colored leaves, all of which are beautiful and remind me of Bi Lo Chun (a quality spring Chinese green). It smells fresh. The wet leaf looks whole, with a mixture of and light dark green colored leaves, and smells fresh. How re-fresh-ing! And, on taste, although I still struggle with the best way to describe the exact flavors, it seems to be vegetal, nutty, fresh. Nonetheless, it clearly has a flavor that I have come to expect in only the finest grades of Chinese spring green tea.

I also wanted to post this because after trying a number of green tea samples from Life in Teacup (some from her blog sale), it has become apparent to me that she truly knows quality Chinese tea, and it seems that she knows where to get it. I am grateful for what Gingko has to offer to us ‘tea enthusiasts’, and I am grateful for Steepster, as that is how I discovered Life in Teacup, Gingko, and her wonderful teas!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

Add a Comment

Please keep things friendly and .

Profile

Bio

(Updated 3-23-2014)

You can call me, Joe.

What, How and Why I steep:

I typically expect, and shoot for, at least three flavorful steepings out of (just about) any tea I brew up.

I generally start at the times and temps below ( = minute(s), " = second(s) ), then add 5F and 30" for each successive steeping:
Chinese Green - 175F, 1’ ;
Japanese Green - 160F, 1’add 15F, then decrease by 15";
White - 160F, 2’;
Oolong - This varies;
Indian Black/Chinese Red and Herbals - a little off the boil, 2’; why do I start with such low temps & short steep times? So as to ‘spread out’ the flavor over multiple steepings. I have found this to work with every tea I have tried so far. Also, I am not looking for intense flavor in that first cup (i.e. Western style), I would prefer to taste it—and savor—it over many steepings.
Pu-erh - Beginning in 2014, I finally chose to dive into pu-erh! Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 11 OZ Yixing:
First I do a 15 – 20 second rinse with near boiling water. Then for each successive steeping I add Stevia to my 8 OZ clear-glass teacup (thus, typically not added to the teapot).
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
……….4th: Boiling~(poured usually right after the previous steeping, so the teapot and water are as hot as possible)~, 2’ (if it’s the final steeping, then sometimes longer)
……….If 5th and/or more: Boiling, < If I do more than 4 steepings, I basically add 0.5’ for each. >

I hope to ‘streamline’ my reviews going forward, so, hopefully, they are a little less technical and dry (and perhaps even stilted), and a little more organic and experiential (and hopefully, flowing); this somewhat new approach to reviews is a kind of metaphor for where my life is headed right now, and is one reason why I write reviews: as a kind of time-capsule of where I was in my life at that time.

Tea Rating scale:

1 – 29: There is no reason to even think about drinking this stuff again.
30-49: I may drink it if someone else brewed it up, but I would not bother brewing it up myself let alone bother buying any.
50 – 59: I like something about it, and I may brew it up if I already have some, but I would not buy any more of it.
60 – 69: I like a few things about it, and I may buy it if the price is right.
70 – 79: This is a tea I enjoy and would drink fairly regularly as long as it is reasonably priced.
80 – 89: A tea I will drink as often as I can, and will likely try to buy some when I run out (as long as it’s affordable).
90 – 99: This has everything I look for in the best of teas: beauty in appearance, a delightful aroma, and most importantly, depth and yummy-ness in its flavor.
100: Perfect.

My primary interest is in artisan loose-leaf green tea, although I enjoy Chinese red (or Indian black) and white tea somewhat regularly (during the summer, iced ). Here and there I brew a few of the other true teas and an occasional herbal.

Since I choose to live on a very limited income (‘Voluntary Simplicity’), I have to be very conscience about how much I pay for tea. In reading their Tea Enthusiast’s books, Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss sold me on the wonders of artisan teas. Thankfully I have found that there is affordable, artisan tea out there; it’s just like anything else that has true value: it takes hard work, dedication and at least a little persistence to find it.

I came to tea out of a desire to find something to help calm and focus my mind as naturally as possible. My mind is very active, so to speak, and at times I find it very difficult to focus and keep myself centered. For years now I have been practicing Yoga daily along with others things to help me to stay relaxed and present, but I found I wanted a little something extra to help me start the day; the theanine in green tea seems to help me in this.

I have been enjoying loose-leaf tea since November of 2010.

I enjoy connecting with others about tea.

I drink Stevia with just about all of my tea (no sugar or artificial sweeteners).

I drink a pot of green tea every day in the AM (usually steeped three times over the course of the day), sharing it with my wife.

Each tea in my cupboard is carefully and colorfully labeled in a tin or in a jar that used to hold something else (I love to reuse things!) .

I have five teapots: a simple six-cup and four-cup ceramic (red/black/herbal teas), a glass Bodum – I don’t use the metal infuser/press anymore (greens), a 16 oz glass Victorian (to brew greens and whites, and to use as a pot to decant other teas into), and a Yixing (Pu-erh only).

I tend to be direct, straightforward and honest when I post anything to the discussion boards. I take the approach that everything I say is stated with the implied disclaimer: In My Humble Opinion (i.e. IMHO). I may occasionally emphasize this point, where appropriate. I view your comments in the same way. You are in no way obligated to read what I have posted. And I am in no way similarly obligated to you.

Sitting with my cup of tea I greet the day in anticipation of new discoveries along the way.

Location

Midwest, USA

Following These People