97 Tasting Notes
Yay, no more cold/flu/whatever I had! On another note, my parents officially think I’ve gone crazy with my tea drinking habit. :P This is the first time that I’ve been home for more than a few days since my tea obsession started.
Ming Ming’s: I got this tea from a (semi) local shop about 45 minutes from my parents house, which I’d been meaning to visit but never had gone through with. The stars had aligned, as I needed to pick up my final paycheck and turn in my uniform from a seasonal UPS job (the UPS headquarters was about 30 minutes in the right direction) and I had dropped and broken my gaiwan (and I saw online that Ming Ming’s sells some) a few days before. For more info, check out my place review, but to keep it short it was a great experience and I was impressed by their teas.
Dry Leaves: The dry leaves have a strong aroma of apricots and fresh hay with a stimulating, menthol-like quality. Most are either single leaf or one bud and a leaf sets. The leaves look pretty fresh despite being harvested last spring
Brewing: After a quick wash the leaves give off a dense, marine smell with vegetal qualities. Asparagus maybe? The tea brews a mellow green-yellow color that reminds me of a light Taiwanese oolong.
1st steep: The first steep has a smooth nectarine flavor with touches of asparagus, white grape, and allspice. A thick, heavy feeling rests on the back of my throat and tonsils.
2nd + 3rd steeps: The flavors of the second steep are rounder and the fruit and spice notes are balanced out by salty-savory ones.
4th steep: This steep brings the tingling, spicy notes to the front. The main player here is allspice, but there are also hints of clove and white peppercorn.
5th steep: The fifth steep brings back the white/green grape (whichever you call it) flavor. The sweet flavors definitely topple the savory here, but its a battle that continually tips back and forth.
Later: The flavors continues to ebb and flow in the later steepings (I got about nine) A delicate dance of peach, ocean, and spice. This tea definitely gives me an energizing cha-qi type feeling. I’ve got to say this is one of my favorite green teas that I’ve had, though I often don’t even like dragonwell.
This is a nice, clean tasting dragonwell from a small teashop near my hometown. Mild, marine flavor with notes of peach, allspice, and white grape. It has a strong throat feel and noticeably high caffeine.
More in depth review on its way when I get over this cold :(
Smooth, rich, and chocolaty! Mine came from Yunnan Sourcing as “Red Rhyme”, but I’ve read that the pinyin “Hong Yun” can translate either way, I believe this is the same cake.
This is a really nice shu with notes of chocolate, oak, and smooth red wine.
This tea definitely needs to be given some time to mellow out, but I think it will be nice given a year or so of aging.
Dry cake: The dry leaves have a nice milk chocolaty color with a good number of golden buds mixed in. The cake compression seems ideal (to this newb anyway), its pretty tight, but still loose enough to break apart without too much damage to the leaves.
1st infusion: I gave it a wash and brewed the first infusion; yuck! Tastes like a cup of fermentation. It really wasn’t worth drinking, so I transferred it to a cup to pour over my teapot.
2nd-5th: These were much more drinkable. There is still a some fermentation taste, but it was much less and joined by flavors of chocolate, celery, and oak.
5th-8th: This is where this cake shines. It still has a bit of compost flavor, but the “tea flavors” really come through with notes of date, pecan, cocoa powder, and red wine.
9th-10th: These were weaker, but otherwise like 5-8, and this is where I cut it off.
This isn’t the greatest right now, but I think it will be a nice tea.
This is the second raw pu’erh that I’ve tried, and a very young one. In my limited knowledge, it seems like a good candidate for aging (which is good for me since I bought a whole cake).
First off I’ll have to say that this cake smells AMAZING! The smell is strong and sweet with figgy and toasted qualities that fill the box where I’m keeping the teas that I brought home with me (at my parents house home on winter break). If they made “raw pu’erh” air fresheners, I’d buy a dozen! :P
The tea brewed a light gold/green color like a lightly roasted oolong, and the leaves opened up to be fairly large, most around two inches, but some larger or smaller. The wet leaves look tender and green like a good dragonwell.
The tea is pungent and sweet, with a predominately apricot flavor, a slight bitterness, and a natural sweetness. In the earlier infusions I found notes of orchid, green olive, and oatmeal.
The bitterness faded in the later infusions leaving sweet and mellow tastes of almond and cream with more a more tropical mango flavor that lingered across the front and back of the tongue.
This is the first tea I’ve tried that had more stamina than I did. I left off at around twelve infusions, though the flavors were still coming through strong. I’m definitely feeling the cha qi on this one. I feel aware and content, and feel the need to lay back and enjoy the day’s beautiful weather. :)
This is a fairly large sample from Teavivre (enough for three or maybe four brews) made in my new yixing pot :)
This is a very nice, mellow pu’erh! The flavor isn’t as heavy as the other’s I’ve had, and it seems like it would be a good “introduction” pu’erh with less shock factor than some.
Dry Leaves: The dry leaves have a pleasant and sweet roasted chestnut smell without any compost-yness. Its just nice and roasty, and smells the way I imagine a fully oxidized ti guan yin would. The wet leaves are fairly large.
Brewing: The tea is a nice bright red color, very deep, but not quite is brown/burgundy as the other pu’erhs I’ve tried.
Tasting: The tea is very mild and sweet with flavors of milk chocolate, walnut, buckwheat honey, barley, and roasted mushroom.
Wow, I realized I haven’t posted a tasting note (at least not a long one) in quite a while now! I’ve had quite a few new teas and written notes (on paper) about a few of them, but between a general funk that I’ve been in and the impending horror of finals week, I haven’t put anything online.
I made this tea in a gawian for the first time today (for some reason I’d never considered making blacks or greens gong fu until recently) and it’s really nice.
This won’t be a full note, but an “update” I guess with some more things I’ve noticed with this tea:
-One, is that it brews GREAT in a gaiwan! It brought out smoother flavors and lasted more than eight (I lost count) infusions
-Another thing I noticed is that its very creamy for a black tea, definitely no cream needed for this one
-Finally, I noticed some nice melon and milk chocolate flavors in addition to the spice and whiskey flavors I noted last time
Well, now I’ll head back to hitting the books… Wish me luck!
Nom nom nom! This has a nice mix of interesting ingredients. I’d have to say this is my favorite pre-mixed chai that I’ve tried! The pu’erh is nice and strong, and the coconut and other ingredients compliment/smooth it out nicely.
The only thing is that its not quite as spicy or bold as I like, so I think the next time I make it I’ll add some fresh ginger and some extra pu’erh.
Thanks Zen Teas for another great sample!
I was really excited to try this tea, since I’d never tried an aged oolong. Also, it’s pretty weird to drink something that’s older than I am. I guess you could say I have a bit of a “thing” about old/vintage things. There’s a kind of power/stateliness to things that have been tucked away for years, that have been held and used by people years ago.
Not that this tea is THAT old, but for a tea it certainly is. :)
Dry leaves: The dry leaves have a bold, musky aroma of roasted chestnut, hickory, and musk. The leaves are small, dark, and silky and looking; rolled into small, tight pellets with a chocolaty brown color.
Brewing: When I poured water over the leaves for the rinse, they released a strong aroma liked meat being cooked on a wood-fired smoker. This tea needs to be steeped longer than most oolongs until it turns a nice red-brown color. When wet, the leaves a dark black and slick looking. They unfurl just slightly and truly look like “black dragons.”
1st steep: The tea has an strong but smooth and elegant smokiness not quite like normal smoked teas like gunpowder/lapsang. It tastes of oak, camphor and cinnamon with an underlying coconut note. The taste is rich, stately, and slightly reminiscent of whiskey.
2nd steep: The second steep has much less smoke, but is otherwise similar to the first. This tea is very buttery. There’s no detectable amount of bitterness or astringency.
3rd steep: The third steep has a savory flavor like slow roasted meat. There are strong notes of oak, with a new piney and milk chocolate flavors. The mouthfeel is smooth and heavy like coconut oil. This steep is slightly sweet.
4th steep: The forth steep remains similar to the previous, but reveals a deep, pu’erh-like sweetness.
5th+ steeps: Later steeps remained similar and gain more and more buttery smoothness. Around the eight steep, I need to increase the brew time all the way to about two minutes, but the tea remains strong. It begins to fade around eleven.
Reminds me of: The first time I played my violin, which belonged to my great great great grandfather. Like the tea, it was something completely new to me (I had no idea how to play it), but I could feel the beauty and power of the instrument. Its exciting to hold something completely foreign to you, yet so old and beautiful.
Got the samples from Tea from Taiwan today, and they were packed in nice little vacuum-sealed pouches. I decided to start with this one. Not sure about everyone else, but whenever I get something from a foreign country, I feel the need to keep the packaging. :) These cute little packages with Chinese writing are definitely getting saved.
Dry leaves: The leaves are fairly small for an oolong, most of them around the size of gunpowder green pellets, but some are larger. They have a nice pear-like scent
Brewing: The tea steeps a nice pale yellow color like dried daisies. The steeping leaves a peachy smell with a slight marine quality. The leaves expand nicely, and most are in good condition.
1st steep: The first steep of this tea has a surprisingly vegetal/brothy flavor, something I haven’t encountered in an oolong before. There is a nice, fresh pear taste mixed with the vegetal qualities of a Pi Lo Chun and the brew has a natural sugarcane sweetness. The flavor lingers on the top of the tongue.
2nd steep: The second steep continues on the themes of the first, but this time with reduced vegetal tastes replaced by a slight grassyness and cooked peach flavor.
3rd steep: The third steep show continued reduction of the vegetal qualities and increasing sweetness. There is a slight hint of vanilla bean.
4th steep: Even sweeter yet, the dominant flavors in this steep are those of peach and vanilla with a slight floral touch. The later steeps remained similar and gradually lost flavor.
It is lovely out (FINALLY feels like fall), I got some great teas in the mail, and the speakers outside the basketball arena (which are ALWAYS on) were playing New Fang by Them Crooked Vultures when I walked by. I think its safe to say that today is a good day.