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164 Tasting Notes

88

Backlogging and based almost entirely on my notes

Experience buying from Verdant Tea http://steepster.com/places/2886-verdant-tea-online-minneapolis-minnesota

Date of Purchase/Amount of Leaf/Age of Leaf/Date of Steeping: I received a 15 grams sample of this from David in the fall of 2011; I believe it was harvested in the spring of that year; I steeped this on 12/10/2011.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: All I remember here is that the appearance and aroma of the leaves reminded me of the best qualities of an expensive spring green tea I tried from a local Asian market months earlier.

Brewing guidelines: < no notes here, but I vaguely remember using most of the sample with six cups of H2O, and I probably steeped it loose in my glass six-cup Bodum, with stevia added >
……….1st: 165⁰F; 1’
……….2nd: 180⁰F; 1.5’ (“180F was intentional due to it being a sun-dried tea.”)
……….3rd: 185⁰F; 2’ (“Much later in the day.”)
……….4th: 188⁰F; 2.5’

Color and Aroma of tea liquor: Pale yellow color; < no notes on aroma >.

Flavor of tea liquor (by steeping):
1st:… mild, but good flavor;
2nd:.. a little more flavorful then the 1st (probably due to the higher temperature)
3rd:.. still good, but very mild
4th:… minor flavor

Appearance and Aroma of wet leaf: No notes here other than, “Leaves were on the top during all steepings.”

Blends well with: I tried blending the remaining amount of this sample with another green tea, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out well; my guess is that the other green tea had different brewing requirements. Needless to say, I make it a goal not to mix samples any more (I was bummed, as I really liked this tea)!

Value: This wonderful green tea is about as expensive as the other green teas Verdant Tea offers (as of 6/5/2012 it is on clearance, but I believe it is normally about $40 / 4 OZ); it’s too expensive for me at regular price, but I may decide to acquire some if I can get a ‘deal’ on it at some later date (i.e. during a sale) when the fresh stuff comes in, or possibly as part of a sampler pack.

Overall: It’s been over seven months since I brewed it up now, but I do remember thinking at that time that this was one of the best tasting green teas I had ever had. Although I have enjoyed tasting all of the green teas he carries, I think I liked this one the most. “It reminds me of a Teatrekker tea that tasted like artichokes. I like it!” Notes on 2nd steeping: “I think I should have done the first steeping hotter. Slight astringency (bite/dryness) here that was absent on the first steeping.” My understanding is that since sun-dried green teas are processed a little differently than the Chinese green tea processing methods normally used (basket or pan fired) it needs to be brewed a little differently. I think I would start at about 175F-180F the next time I brew this one up. I am hoping to be able to get my hands on some of this great Tea again sometime in the near future!

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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80

Experience buying from Life in Teacup http://steepster.com/places/2861-life-in-teacup-online-easthampton-massachusetts I just did a substantial update of the company review

Date of Purchase/Date of Steeping/Amount of Leaf/Frequency Drank: received late April, 2012, brewed up not long thereafter; four grams; this is my first time I have had this particular type of tea.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: It looked like any other quality DaFo Long Jing (that I have seen pictures of, at least) in that it had the characteristic sword-like bud sets with uneven colored light-and-dark green hues counterpointed with tiny light brown splotches at the ends of the bud-sets; it had a fresh and strongly nutty aroma.

Brewing guidelines: Glass sixteen-oz tumbler (so I could see the leaves as they steep) with ceramic teacup saucer as lid, two cups H2O; stevia added; I then decanted the tea into a larger container using a strainer by pouring from the tumbler to our teacups.
…….….1st: 182F; 1’……..good, fresh flavor; leaves all on top
……….2nd: 180F; 1.5’….a little milder tasting, still good
……….3rd: 187F; 2’…….heavier feel in mouth, but still good
……….4th: 188F; 2.5’….milder, yet smooth; all leaves still on top
……….5th: 186F; 3’…… very mild flavor

Color of tea liquor: a very light yellow-green color which got darker on the later steepings.

Flavor of tea liquor: Delicate, pleasant, fresh, with a very small amount of astringency, (which was actually pleasant); more detail in Overall.

Appearance of wet leaf: very high quality leaf: all whole bud-sets (with what I understand to be the characteristic tiny end-buds); interesting thing is, the leaves did not open up as they normally do in buds sets after begins steeped; I have never seen this before.

Value: After inquiring about this tea, Gingko offered to give me a small sample of it; Thank you Gingko! Although it’s pricier than Tea Trekker’s (you have to buy more from them than from Life in Teacup), it’s cheaper than Seven Cup’s organic version, and the price of this one seems to be roughly what the going rate for this tea is at ~$15/OZ. UPDATE: I just checked both the Camellia Sinensis and Jing Tea Shop websites, and although they have no Dafo Long Jings, the three Long Jings each carries are about the same price (or more) than this Dafo from Life in Teacup.

Overall: For various reasons I am writing this over a month after actually tasting this tea (although most of this was already written a week after trying it), so this review is based partially on written notes and partially on memory.

I think I am getting a better handle on how fresh spring green teas compare with, for example, year-old green tea; after having had this 2012 fresh spring Dafo Long Jing from Life in Teacup and comparing it side-by-side to the taste of a 2011 harvested year-old Long Jing (one from Jing Tea shop of what I believe to be a considerably lower grade), I was able to make some distinctions. On the surface, taste-wise, I liked both of them, but for different reasons: the year-old Long Jing was heavier in my mouth (I think that’s called ‘body’?) and was flavorful, while the fresh Long Jing was much lighter, and although it was hard to describe the flavors (being somewhat unusual), they were interesting.

Describing experiences by using people/animals/objects that tend to intrigue me (for example things in nature, like birds) seems to be something that comes naturally to me, and as I am still learning what all of the technical words for describing taste are, the following is my way of describing the difference between a fresh and a year-old spring green tea (in this case, two different Long Jings). While drinking the fresh spring Long Jing: within the space where I held the Tea, I imagined a few small colorful birds, ones that differed ever-so-slightly in shape and color, flying effortlessly up, up, up, trilling out their pleasure of the day; while drinking the year-old Long Jing: I imagined a flock of larger birds, all similar in size, shape, and color, moving around with considerable effort at low altitudes within the space where I held the Tea, making familiar noises. It’s easy to take note of the larger birds (mallards perhaps?), and yet more difficult to get a glimpse of the swifter, more delicate ones (goldfinches and/or ruby-throated hummingbirds perhaps?)—but what a joy to watch them fly!

I hope to write more about the price of fresh Long Jings (and a few other things) when I write up the review about the Life in Teacup 2011 year-old version of this DaFo type of Long Jing (a sample of which I didn’t realize I had until after I brewed up and compared this tea with the year-old Jing Tea Shop Long Jing. Doooah!).

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

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Backlogging and based almost entirely on my notes

Small update (6/14/2012): Today I did a complete second steeping session with this tea (five steepings), which finishes the sample, and I got the same results.

Experience buying from Verdant Tea http://steepster.com/places/2886-verdant-tea-online-minneapolis-minnesota

Date of Purchase/Date of Steeping/Frequency Drank: David graciously included this sample with my last order at the end of 2011; brewed up March, 2012; presently, have done only one steeping session so far.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: aroma reminded me of roasted, salted-in-the-shell peanuts! It was fresher than what I remember the Cha Dao Wuyi oolongs to smell like; these leaves had the appearance of what I believe most Wuyi oolongs look like: large leaves, twisted—some bent—with a uniform dark-brown color.

Brewing guidelines: what I am guessing was three very generous TBSP dry tea (I used my hand to measure it, as its hard to get the leaves on a spoon) for three cups H2O; < my notes don’t state it but I believe I used my six-cup glass Bodum, leaf free to roam >; stevia added;
……….1st: 200F; 45"……………….mild, roasted
……….2nd: near boiling; 1.5’………a little fruitier, less roasted
……….3rd: Nearer boiling; 2.25’…what I judged to be the best steeping (less roast, more fruit)
……….4th: boiling; 3’………………..mellow, smooth, mildly-toasted, good!
……….5th: spot-on boiling; 5’…….very mild flavor, but good (“Reminds me of a roasted chili pepper”)

Color and Aroma of tea liquor: light caramel color (with a few bubbles on top); mildly roasted aroma.

Appearance and Aroma of wet leaf: Quality leaf: mostly large, whole dark-green leaves with roasted edges; aroma was rich and malty.

Value: Currently $32 / 4 OZ; although to me this seems like a lot to pay for this tea, I don’t know the standard price of Wuyi oolongs, so it may be commensurate with the quality.

Overall: I’m not certain what that note of the 5th steeping means exactly (I know, a BIG downside to backlogging : } ), but I roasted some chili peppers years ago—having brought them back fresh from a trip to New Mexico—and they were simply delicious; evidently something about this tea reminded me of them. I’ve decided not to assign a numerical rating to my review because it seems as though, on the whole—having had a number of Wuyi oolongs—I don’t care for the heavily roasted flavor that seems to be indicative of the first two steepings. Although I liked some things about the last three steepings, the taste is not something I am looking for in a tea. I have faith that David carries only the best-of-the-best (or close enough to it), so I am guessing my not liking this tea is more about my personal preferences than the tea not being ‘good’. Who knows? Maybe somewhere down the road I will develop a liking for the more darkly roasted Wuyi Oolongs.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Tea_is_wisdom

I think you did an awesome job on this review. My personal feelings is if your going to review a tea and score it you have to do it according to what is the quality of the tea and does it hold true to it’s tea characteristic profile. I am glad your not grading a tea on well I didn’t like it because it’s not my taste in a tea. I think more reviewers need to understand quality of a tea and the tea’s profile that your drinking and knowing is it acting like it’s suppose to even if I don’t care for this type tea or is it just a low quality tea that is not holding true to it’s tea type and character. I am sorry for being long winded but hope you got what I was saying. I just think you did an amazing job and did it in the right way.

SimpliciTEA

I appreciate your kind words. : )

I think I got what you were saying; and you NEVER have to apologize to ME for being long-winded; I am almost continually ‘blowing wind’ all over the place. : }

“… if I don’t care for this type tea or is it just a low quality tea that is not holding true to it’s tea type and character.” Determining the difference between 1) I don’t care for this type tea, and 2) it’s a low quality tea that is not holding true to it’s tea type and character, is not necessarily easy. Just this afternoon I was talking to my wife about a veggie burger she had from Trader Joe’s; she didn’t like it; I though it was interesting, leaning toward good. I tried to get her to tell me why she didn’t like it, and I didn’t get a straight answer out of her.

Anyway, how do you know if you really ‘know’ (that’s looks strange, but it’s worded properly; I guess you could substitute the word ‘understand’ for the second ‘know’) what the teas true character is? Even that—being, the teas true character—is subjective.

I am toying with the idea of doing away with giving numerical ratings to any tea. But at least for now I plan to be more leery of assigning a numerical rating to a tea if I feel I don’t really know what to expect from. It’s a tricking business any way you look at it. What’s most important (as I see it) is that I am at least aware of the complications involved.

See, there I go again, blowin’ wind …..

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75

Backlogging and based entirely on my memory

Experience buying from Sanctuary T http://steepster.com/places/2940-sanctuary-t-online-new-york-new-york?visit=1642

Date of Purchase/Age of Leaf/Date of Steeping/Frequency Drank: Bought at the end of 2011; no harvest date provided on website; started drinking it almost daily from February 2011 to some time in April of 2011.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: About the same of the other two Gyokuros I’ve tried: small, dark green leaves that look almost like leaf ‘shavings’; strongly vegetal.

Brewing guidelines: three full TSP dry tea for every six ounces of H2O (this stuff is really dense); glass Bodum pot with metal infuser/plunger; stevia added; my standard Japanese-green times and temperatures; three steepings (I usually brewed the third at 180F for 2 minutes which seemed to work out well, especially when I blended it with a Chinese green tea).

Color and Aroma of tea liquor: A somewhat cloudy bright green color; vegetal/grassy aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor: One of these days I’ll have to sit down and figure out how to describe the difference between ‘grassy’ and ‘vegetal’, but for now let me say that Japanese teas seem to have a flavor profile that differs from Chinese green teas in that they seem to be more grassy—a taste some don’t go for as it comes across a little bolder than Chinese greens do. Although I prefer the taste of Chinese greens, I did like this one: it had a flavor that was about as grassy and sweet as the other two Gyokuros I’ve had.

Appearance and Aroma of wet leaf: Standard ‘grass-clippings’ look, strong grassy/vegetal aroma.

Blends well with: This tea actually blended reasonably-well with a Chinese green on the third steeping.

Value: I bought eight OZ of this at 50% off (making it $25 / 8 OZ); at that price it was worth it to me; but at the regular price I’d much prefer to go with Den’s Tea or some other tea retailer that specializes in Japanese teas.

Overall: As Gyokuro is purported to have a high content of theanine in it, I started using H&S version of this tea as my work-morning green tea last year (2011). When I ran out of the H&S version, I began brewing up this one. It’s been over a month since I finished off the last of it, but overall it was about as good as the H&S version (the H&S version may have been slightly tastier). This tea is not worth it to me for the price, but still I’m glad I had a chance to experience SanctuaryT’s version of Gyokuro.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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75
drank Pi Lo Chun by Adagio Teas
164 tasting notes

Backlogging

Experience buying from Adagio http://steepster.com/places/2897-adagio-teas-online-naperville-illinois

Date of Purchase/Amount of Leaf/Age of Leaf/Date of Steeping: in December, 2011, I bought a 14 gram sample; age of leaf not available on website; steeped on 5/19/2012.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: mildly vegetal; small, fine, light-and-dark green curly leaves, some broken (lighter in color to another version I tried a day later).

Brewing guidelines: labeled as 14 grams of dry tea, six cups of H2O; glass Bodum six-cup teapot, leaves free to roam; stevia added; (I started the steep times a half-a-minute longer and the temps a little hotter than my normal green tea times and temps as most Bi Lo Chun green teas seem to call for this).
……….1st: 178; 1.5’
……….2nd: 182; 2
……….3rd: 182; 2.5’
……….4th: 185; 3’
……….5th: 188; 4’

Color and aroma of tea liquor: Cloudy, light-yellow color; mild, sweet, vegetal aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor (by steeping):
1st: mild, sweet, good
2nd: had at least as good a flavor as the 1st
3rd: decent flavor
4th: still decent flavor (leaves all on bottom)
5th: mild flavor (clear liquor)

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: aroma similar to other versions, but not what I would expect from a quality green tea, as although it’s vegetal it has a somewhat stale smell (maybe because this sat in the sample bag for six months from when I bought it? Then again, maybe not …), and something else interesting I can’t place; lots of leaf movement from top to bottom of teapot while steeping, leaves mostly on bottom, lots of broken pieces floating around; wet leaf seems to be of decent quality: many whole leaves, a number of buds, and some pieces and stems.

Value: Currently $7 / 2 OZ. Most Pi Lo Chun (or Bi Lo Chun) is much more expensive (I’ve seen the fresh stuff go for close to $20/OZ, and even higher for organic), so although this price is pretty good, I don’t believe this tea is of a very high grade.

Overall:
At the end of 2011 I bought four samples from Adagio (all green teas), and this is the last of that bunch. In general, I have found their green teas to be of average quality with a commensurate price.

I have had at least five different Bi Lo Chun (Pi Lo Chun) green teas at this point, and I judge this one to be a pale comparison to the real thing; it’s decent tasting and worth drinking, but nothing stands out about it. Still, it seems to embody the basics of appearance, taste and aroma that the other versions had; as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I’m on the lookout for a Bi Lo Chun of better quality, and I’m willing to pay a little more for it (not more than $5 / OZ), since, as a style of tea, Bi Lo Chun is one of the best green teas I’ve ever had (The one from H&S was incredible, but I’m not willing to pay $10/OZ for it). There are currently a few sellers on Taobao (through a Taobao buying agent) that I am very seriously considering buying some of the 2012 harvest from.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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63

Experience buying from Culinary Teas http://steepster.com/places/2981-culinary-teas-online-milford-indiana

I bought a one-ounce sample of this in late November, 2011, having brewed it twice.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: about the same as the rest of the flavor-added black teas from Culinary Teas: medium grade CTC leaf, strong aroma.

Brewing guidelines: four good-sized TSP, four cups H2O; loose in four-cup ceramic teapot; stevia added; my standard black tea steeping times and temperatures; two steeping sessions (months apart); three steepings each session.

Flavor of tea liquor (derived primarily from latest session):
1st: strong, but bitter
2nd: no bitterness, but relatively weak on flavor
3rd: weak

Color and aroma of tea liquor: I liked both the amber color and the mildly fruity aroma.

Appearance and Aroma of wet leaf: Mid-grade CTC leaf, with a very small amount of flavoring bits; fitting aroma for the flavor it is meant to imitate.

Value: Culinary flavor-added tea’s are generally very reasonably priced: this one is $8.15 / 4 OZ, which puts it at about $2 / OZ (and even less with any discounts and/or if you buy it in larger quantities).

Overall: I bought a bunch of samples of flavor-added black teas at the end of last year for my wife to try. My niece was with us this morning, and we all seemed to agree that the 1st steeping was unpleasantly bitter, and the 2nd, weak. I am currently drinking the third steeping (boiling, 7 minutes), and although there is some raspberry flavor there, it’s very light. I will say it doesn’t taste artificial (as it seems many inexpensive flavor-added teas can taste). I also remember being disappointed in the flavor the first time we tried this. That’s the end of this sample, and as much as we wanted to like this one—my wife loves raspberry flavored sweets, as does my niece—it just isn’t doing it for us; I don’t see us buying this one again.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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72
drank Assam #1 by thepuriTea
164 tasting notes

Backlogging and based entirely on my notes

Experience buying from The Puritea http://steepster.com/places/2885-thepuritea-online-los-angeles-california

Date of Purchase/Amount of Leaf/Date of Steeping: Bought during their Black Friday sale near the end of 2011; 3 – 4 TSP sample; steeped once on 1-29-2012.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: No discernible aroma; standard look for an Assam.

Brewing guidelines: < No information noted on teapot used >; stevia added; my standard Chinese red tea steeping times and temperatures; four steepings.

Color and Aroma of tea liquor: Malty aroma, dark amber color.

Flavor of tea liquor (by steeping):
1st: sweet, malty flavor
2nd: good
3rd: still good
4th: decent, but not enough to attempt a 5th

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: Standard mid-grade CTC leaf; malty.

Value: $2 for the sample (no more than 4 TSP): I find that to be very pricy for a small sample; otherwise it’s $12 / 4 OZ.

Overall: I liked it, my wife liked it: a good Assam. As I mention in my review of The Puritea, I was hoping for more Tea in this sample. I don’t think it’s likely I will buy this tea from them again, as there are plenty of Assams that are higher in quality and priced at least as good.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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74

Backlogging, and based entirely on my notes

Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online—

Age of leaf/Date of brewing: advertised as spring 2011; received November 2011, brewed up days later (11/14/2011).

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: small wiry leaves and buds; smells fresh, slightly smoky.

Brewing guidelines_: loose in glass six-cup Bodum teapot; stevia added; two complete steeping sessions < first / second >
……….1st: 170/180, 1’
……….2nd: 175/175. 1.5
……….3rd: 180/185, 2’
……….4th: 185/< not attempted >, 2.5

Color and aroma of tea liquor: very light green color, very mild vegetal aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor: Mild, but good vegetal green tea taste, with mild smoky undertones; flavor held up well through three steepings: “3rd (steeping): surprisingly tasty!” < this note applied to the second steeping session, steeped at generally higher temperatures than the first >; slight astringency in third cup < from the first steeping session >.

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: some decent-looking whole leaves, with a number of buds and a few bud sets, yet there were more torn leaves that could be accounted for due to handling; fresh, vegetal aroma which was stronger than the aroma of the liquor itself.

Value: Pretty good as compared with other fresh green teas in its price range: the current price (as of 6/1/12) for the 2012 harvested tea is $11.50 / 100g (3.5oz).

Overall: This review is based entirely on my notes, and I didn’t write much beyond what I have already provided above other than, “A decent tea for the price”. I also noted that my wife preferred this tea when hot (I have personally found that some green teas taste a little better when cooled a bit). I will be trying a sample of the 2012 lot soon, so I am interested to see if there will be any notable differences.

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

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70

Experience buying from Culinary Teas http://steepster.com/places/2981-culinary-teas-online-milford-indiana

I bought a one OZ sample of this in late November, 2011, having brewed it twice.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: about the same as the rest of the flavor-added black teas from Culinary Teas: medium grade leaf, strong aroma (of cinnamon, in this case).

Brewing guidelines: four TSP, four cups H2O; four-cup ceramic teapot, with ceramic basket; stevia added; my standard Chinese red tea steeping times and temperatures; three steepings.

Flavor of tea liquor: good, and very Cinnamon-y, but otherwise nothing noteable about it.

Value: Culinary flavor-added tea’s are generally very reasonably priced; this one is $8.15 / 4 OZ, which puts it at about $2 / OZ (and even less with any discounts and/or if you buy it in larger quantities).

Overall: I bought a bunch of samples of flavor-added black teas at the end of last year for my wife to try. We both agree that, although this is a reasonably good tasting tea, it’s not one we plan to buy.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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74

Backlogging, and based almost entirely on my notes

Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online—

Age of leaf/date of brewing: advertised as spring 2011. Received fall 2011, brewed up days later.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: < No notes here >

Brewing guidelines: 3 small TSP, 2 cups H2O (from my notes it looks like I did two completely separate brewing ‘sessions’ with this tea, one day apart); < I have no notes on what teapot I brewed this in, but I likely used my glass Bodum >; stevia added; standard Chinese green tea steeping times and temperatures; four steepings for the first session, three for the second.

Color of tea liquor: yellowish (“like a lite beer”).

Flavor of tea liquor (by steeping): (based on both sessions) 1st: mild, but good, standard vegetal flavor (no weird or off flavors); 2nd: decent; 3rd: good (notes say “Definitely good: better, sweeter, reminds me of a Dragon Well”); 4th: mild flavor.

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: looks and smells like any quality, fresh, standard mid-grade green tea: “lots of good buds, many leaves (some torn), and a few stems (no bud-sets).”

Value: again, great value for a decent green tea at Teavivre (my notes show $2.27 / OZ)!

Overall: I don’t have many notes on this tea, but overall I remember (and based on my notes) that this was a decent tasting green tea (I drank it about six months after it’s harvest). I should be getting a sample of a similarly named green tea (Organic Tian Mu Mao Feng) from the 2012 spring harvest, soon, so I’ll be curious to see if I like it any better (they currently list this tea as out of stock, so I don’t know if they plan to get a new harvest of this exact green tea or not).

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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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

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