97 Tasting Notes

80

Woke up with a sore throat this morning, lets see if this tea will work it’s magic :)

Kashyap

mince fresh ginger into it and a pinch of turmeric and that should further help the throat

tperez

Ooh, that sounds good. I’ll try that :)

mrmopar

Hope you feel better soon!

tperez

Thanks! I thought I was getting a cold, but it might just be allergies, its been dry and breezy out the past few days.

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85

Its a beautiful day! Its dry and slightly breezy, with a temperature latching on to the mid seventies. Its the sort of intoxicatingly bright, pastel weather that makes everything seem to shine, and it feels great just to be out in it.

This is a tasty, affordable Wuyi tea. Fresh, clean flavor with notes of peach, pumpkin, and red clay with slightly roasty, mineral edge. Very mild and difficult to over-brew. Kicks the butt of any cheapish Wuyi oolong I’ve had.

To me this tea tastes like waking up on a crisp Fall morning, hiking somewhere in the Appalachians; but I suppose a lot of people would say it just tastes like tea. :P

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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97
drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
97 tasting notes

Received this as a free sample a while back, and wrote out a lengthy review on paper. However, said paper went MIA. I waited a while for it to turn back up, but well… it didn’t. (Nothing escapes the gaping maw known as my desk! MWAHAHAHAHAAH!!!) So, here’s what I remember:

It was delicious! Very sweet and creamy with fruit and pastry flavors. what it reminded me of most were the “pasteles de guayaba” that I used to get with my grandparents in downtown Tampa. It’s hard to believe that this tea is unflavored! I love milk oolongs, and this one was very unique. :)

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77

Hmm, this is ok I guess. It was cheap, but the other black teas I’ve had from Yunnan Sourcing were WAY better.

It has a nice black peppercorn quality, and a sweetness a bit like maple syrup, but it also tastes a bit like wet dog… Its a smooth tea, but it’s fairly one dimensional and overall not much improvement over decent quality teabag blacks.

I wonder if this wasn’t stored very well? It may have gotten slightly damp at some point or had too much humidity.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Pyra Gorgon

LOL @ wet dog.

That is a really good analogy. Recently, I received a Yunnan 2004 ripe and aged puerh that smelled and tasted like rotten roots. The taste was brutal.

Come to think of it…it did smell a bit like wet dog too!

Kirkoneill1988

did any of you find out what caused the taste?

tperez

I’m not sure really. I gave it a another chance a few months later, and the musty smell/taste had gone away. It was actually really nice! I’d seriously
considering buying another the next time I make a Yunnan Sourcing order

mrmopar

Where have you been at?

Terri HarpLady

Perez, I thought of you the other day, as I’m getting ready to head down to visit my folks in Apopka this week. Any tea places open up in the area that you know of? :)

Kirkoneill1988

As long as the wet dog taste does not come back it should be fine

tperez

Hey Mr. M! I guess I sort of went through a quarter-life crisis last winter, followed by a full time job, a girlfriend, no spare cash to spend on tea, and I slowly disappeared from most of my internet hangouts. I suppose I’m back now :P It’s good to hear from you!

Sorry Terri, I don’t really know of any. Orlando is pretty depraved when it comes to tea. Infusion Tea on the West side of Orlando is decent, but not particularly noteworthy, and you can get some decent tea and tea wares from some of the larger asian markets in the Colonial/Mills area.
If you stop by the West coast at all there’s Kaleisia Tea Lounge in Tampa which is pretty good and has a nice atmosphere, and Ming Ming’s Tea in St. Pete which has some very good tea and even a decent selection of pu’erh.

Kirkoneill, the wet dog ran away, and despite all of the “lost smell” posters that I didn’t put up around town, he’s yet to come home. Haha

Kirkoneill1988

still, i may try this tea someday :)

mrmopar

I am glad to hear you are ok! Good to see you posting again! P.S. need a girlfriend who likes tea……:P

Terri HarpLady

Thanks for the report, Perez, I kind of figured so. We’ll be sticking pretty much to the Orlando suburbs most likely, no visits to the coast on either side.

Kirkoneill1988

Could fishy taste be another way of saying it other than wet dog ?

tperez

Hmm, no it wasn’t quite the same as the fishy taste you get with bad/very young shou. Wet dog was the best descriptor I could think of for it. Not moldy, but I guess old mulch would be pretty close.

Reading reviews on the YS site it doesn’t look like others had that experience with it. I’d guess that there something weird happened with the one I got. If you’re worried about it maybe go for a newer pressing

Kirkoneill1988

newer pressing?

tperez

There’s a 2012 and 2013 version. I was thinking maybe they wouldn’t have the smell

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97

The dry leaves are long and twisted, sort of like a Taiwanese black or Dancong. They have a deep, full aroma of chocolate, eucalyptus, and yam.

The infusions are a slightly unexpected walnut brown, maybe this has something to do with the purple leaf varietal? Despite the deep color the flavors are surprisingly smooth and mild.

Early infusions have flavors of chocolate, eucalyptus, pumpernickel, sweet potato with a rich, malty body. The mouthfeel starts out soft like marshmallow and ends slightly ashy like Wuyi oolongs/blacks.

Later infusions become cleaner and show flavors of lemon and clover leaf. The tea is very creamy and leaves a great, fruity aftertaste of guava and lychee nuts.

This is good stuff! Pretty resteepable for black tea, and has some unique characteristics that I assume come from ye sheng varietal leaves. Seems like the love-child of Yunnan and Laoshan black, with a touch of… purple? :)

Preparation
0 min, 15 sec

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78

Another fine sample from the folks at Teavivre :)

The dry leaves are small and tippy with lots of golden buds.

The initial infusions come out very dark, the little leaves are very potent. Despite the dark brew, the tea is extremely smooth with an almost marshmallowy texture. It has flavors of oak and milk chocolate, with a very slight smokiness.

Around the fourth steep the brew gets a bit lighter, with more sweetness and a mellow flavor like yellow squash on the rich, woody background. Flavors begin to fade at the sixth steep. This is less than I usually get, maybe because of the tippy-er leaves giving off most of their flavor early on?

This is a mild and mellow pu’erh with a sweet, friendly taste, but to me it didn’t seem to have a whole lot of depth.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Kashyap

is it sheng or shou (sounds like a shou) and I wonder if it was kept in the best aging conditions…might have gotten flat?

tperez

Its a shou. Hmm maybe? What kind of conditions lead to pu’erh going flat? I hadn’t heard of that before, thanks

Kashyap

pu erh should be ideally kept at stable temp conditions that have even and gentle air flow, cool dry environment, and stored in unglazed ceramic wear that is porous like yixing pottery….they should be kept way from scented teas, herbals, and anything flavored or strong with natural essential oils….and any environment with heat and cooling fluctuations (like a kitchen, cupboard above a sink, sunny windowsill, spice cabinet, or area near a door or a air/heating vent…could lead to an imbalance in the conditions that allow for the natural bacteria in the pu erh to perish

tperez

Ahh, I knew about it picking up smells, but I hadn’t thought about the bacteria dying out. :)

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99

Really good, ridiculously clean shu. Thanks Autumn Hearth!

So… Apparently there was bit of scandal going around a while back about this being a cheap, low quality shu. I can’t answer for the first accusation, but as for quality all I have to say is that it was delicious.

Putting that behind us…

Early steeps: The tea brews extremely clear with a nice red color. Thick, chewy bread flavors and notes of portobello, vanilla, and something berry-like.

Middle steeps: Lightly oakey, reminds me of the camping on a cold night. Tastes of dark, rich soil. It becomes lighter with mineral, almost sparkling qualities. Clean like sheng.

Later steeps: Dry fall leaves, cedar, and pine. The mouthfeel is sort of meaty, and though its not fishy at all, I’m picturing a nice plank-cooked salmon. (I’m not crazy!) :P The flavors start to get weak around the 8th infusion.

I left the leaves on a gaiwan saucer by the window to dry, and what I found where some nice, big healthy leaves. And these things:

[IMG]http://i1075.photobucket.com/albums/w433/thomascperez/-3-2_zpsd087729c.jpg[/IMG]

Not really sure what they are, young tea flower buds?

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Terri HarpLady

Hmmm…never seen anything like it. Maybe ask David?

mrmopar

Are they tea seed pods? Looks like that may be the case.

Kashyap

I enjoyed this as well. There are a few shu/shou pu erhs that really remind you that its not all earthy thunder and old horse barns…that there is a range of subtle that is akin almost to white tea (conceptually) that hides in its powerful claws. I still find them lovely, but prefer the Sheng for their exotic and complicated flavors

tperez

Mr. Mopar I think that’s exactly what they are! I cut the biggest one open, and there was three shriveled lumps inside it that probably used to be seeds. I didn’t know tea plants had pods like that.

Kayshap totally! This is the first shu I’ve had that tasted so clean and mild, the white tea comparison definitely fits. I’m just starting to get into sheng and really enjoying them too

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85
drank White Night by Mandala Tea
97 tasting notes

I had been looking forward to trying a White Night/Moonlight for a while, since it sounded very interesting and has the characteristics of some of my favorite teas. It didn’t disappoint!

Dry leaves: Cream colored tips and chocolaty brown leaves. The dry aroma is similar to dian hong, but slightly more muted with a mildly lavender scent and a slight sheng pu’erh mustiness.

Early steeps: Mild and sweet with flavors of lavender, yam, and white grape with slight marine qualities. The taste reminds me of a very soft golden needle, but has a mouthfeel more like a sheng pu.

Later steeps: A sweet greenness appears that reminds me of guapan or Taiwanese oolongs. Slight mushroom flavor, and VERY creamy.

This tea had a WHOLE LOT of qi for me. Very warm, sleepy, and medatative, and strong feelings along my eyebrows, forehead, and spine. I haven’t been this tea-drunk in quite a while :P

Preparation
0 min, 15 sec

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98

I REALLY enjoyed this tea. Very refreshing yet mildly vegetal flavor.

Dry leaves: The dry leaves are a deep green with lots of budsets. They’re rolled into loosely needle-like fashion.

Brewing: Strong vegetable aroma with a slight minty coolness. The tea liquer is extremely clear and green-gold in color. The brewed leaves look healthy and plump, and are largely unbroken.

Tasting: The early infusions are mild and sweet with flavors of cantaloupe and pomelo. The mouthfeel is extremely clean with a slight sparkling quality. As the tea cools it shows a more vegetal side with flavors of green bean and chestnut. Around the third steep, the tea gains a creamier quality with flavors of olive oil, hazelnut, and fig. After the fifth, the tea becomes very light and sweet with crisp flavors of edame and barley.

Thanks Teavivre for this sample!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

Sounds cleansing and fresh.

tperez

It definitely was! :)

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95

Mmm, I tend to favor more subtle black teas, and this one fits the bill nicely.

Dry leaves: The leaves are small, black, and wirey with lots of gold/orange fur. They have a sweet citrus and sweet potato aroma.

Brewing: This tea definitely brews best (IMO) at a lower temperature than most blacks. The wet leaves have a rich aroma of chocolate and fall leaves. In early infusions lots of golden hairs piled up on my filter, almost clogging it.

Tasting: The flavor of the tea has a nice balance of sweet and salty characteristics. The early infusions are mild but brisk with notes of chocolate, sweet potato, peach, and charcoal. Surprisingly cool feeling for a black tea. Later infusions mellow out with fresh flavors of lemon juice, edame, clover leaf, and jaggery. The taste is sweet and slightly nutty throughout.

Thanks Teavivre for a great sample!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Profile

Bio

My name is Thomas,

Long-time tea and coffee driker, but I only started getting into the world of good quality teas about three years ago.

My favorites right now are pu’erhs, Yunnan blacks, and Taiwanese oolongs. I’m not much into flavored teas, and jasmine almost always puts me off, but I love a good cup of chai or adding a spice or two to my teas sometimes.

I’m 21 and currently working in Orlando Florida, taking a some time off from school to try and figure out my place in the world.

I’m a music lover and have played guitar and violin for quite a while in classical styles, rock, jazz, etc., and have also learned to love the sounds of the sitar and hindustani music in all its forms. I’ve become a bit of a guitar “grease monkey” and find building, modification, repair, and dissection to be even better than playing sometimes.

I also love hiking/camping and downhill longboarding when I have the time to make it out to somewhere hilly.

My Rating Scale:
95-100 Wowza!
90-94 Pretty darn good
80-89 Nice
70-79 Decent
50-69 Potable
0-50: Blech.

Location

Orlando, FL

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