112 Tasting Notes

86

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.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C

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90

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!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C
Terri HarpLady

Good luck! :)

Helena

good luck!

KittyLovesTea

Good luck :)

tperez

Thanks!

Autumn Hearth

Brewing this gongfu right now and really liking it! Thanks for sending it!

tperez

Awesome, glad you like it!

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90
drank Energizing Chai Organic by Zen Tea
112 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Aged Oolong Tea by Tea from Taiwan
112 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Nik

Amazing tasting note, thank you.

tperez

Thanks, Nik!

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80

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.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Babble

I know. It’s so nice out! (Except if you live up north – lol)

I sympathize with the fascination with foreign things. When I went to Japan I got so many things, especially with Engrish.

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10

I made this tea a few days back using 1 tsp of tea and slightly cooler water with pretty poor (gross) results.

I decided to try it again today and made it using about twice as much tea and near-boiling water, and the tea it made was better (drinkable), but not especially good.

Dry Leaves: The leaves twisted and deep brown in color. They have very nice, bold aroma of clove and charcoal.

Brewing: I first did a quick rinse steep, which released a powerful smell of clove and tobacco. I let the leaves sit for about a minute, but not much expansion occurred. In fact, they didn’t really open up until the second steep. The wet leaves vary from black to a deep military green and have a nice fruity scent. The tea brews a mellow orange color.

1st steep: The first steep has STRONG, musty tobacco and charcoal flavors with fall spice and a slight pluminess in the background.

2nd steep: The second steep was noticeably grassier and considerably more pleasant than the first steep. The charcoal and tobacco flavors had died down, and there were slight cantaloupe and cocoa notes.

3rd+4th: The third and fourth steeps were mellower and by far the most enjoyable. The predominant flavors were of clove and grass, and were slightly chocolaty with a lemon sweetness. I tried making a fifth steep, but it came out weak and tasteless.

Overall this was meh. I feel like my tasting note makes it sound a little better than it actually was.

Reminds me of: Clove cigarettes, dirty cars, my uncle Mike

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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70
drank Mei Hua by Adagio Teas
112 tasting notes

Yay, I found a good use for this tea!

On its own, its just too vegetal for me, and I’ve barely touched it since I bought it. It has STRONG artichoke, spinach, and marine flavors. But being a pretty strong green, I decided to make some chai with it, and it turned out quite nice! I used my normal chai ingredients minus the fenugreek and coriander, plus some lime juice, fresh basil, and some dried red chili.

I think this will be my official green for messing around with mixing possibilities, as it stands up fine to other flavors.

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80

Nooooooooooo! I wrote out a nice, really long tasting note, and ended up with the “oops” screen the first time… ugh. :P

This is a nice light oxidation oolong at a pretty affordable price. I brewed it gong fu style and got nine steeps out of it. My oolong notes tend to be pretty long, so brace yourselves!

Dry leaves: The dry leaves are tightly folded and have a more linear shape than ti guan yin. The smell is nice and roasty.

Brewing: This tea brews up to a nice, light golden color. It has a strong honey aroma that evolves over the steeping process. The smell begins like fresh trimmed bushes, develops a more floral note, and slowly fades to warm honey.

1st: The first steep was very fresh and grassy with notes of nutmeg and lemongrass. It has a strong natural sweetness and moderate astringency.

2nd and 3rd: During the second and third steeps, the grassyness and astringency mellowed and were replaced by the warm, floral flavor of honeysuckle.

4th and 5th: In the fourth and fifth steeps, the former flavors were joined by fruity black currant notes. The flavor continued to grow smoother.

6th to 8th: Over the sixth, seventh, and eight steeps, the flavors continued to mellow and the honey flavor was greatly increased. The flavor was milky smooth.

9th: On the ninth steep, the flavors and smoothness began to fade, so this was the last, though it probably could have gone one more. Honestly, at this point I’d had more than my fix of tea. haha :)

This was a nice, grassy oolong that felt to me like a cross between ti guan yin, milk oolong, and a Japanese green. Once unfolded, the leaves were very large, some up to three inches. I definitely plan on ordering some of this when the sample runs out :)

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

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80

Thanks Nature’s Tea Leaf!
The samples came today in a nicely packed box. They look and smell wonderful, and there’s a whole ounce of each! This is my first Fuijan black, so take my review with a pinch of salt. :)

Dry leaves: Opening the pouch, there is a bold aroma of pepper and clove with a melon coolness. The leaves are longer than those of most blacks, and are jet black in color with a few golden tips.

Steeping: This tea brews up to a nice warm brown color. The leaves expand and unfurl to a smooth muddy, melted chocolate brown.

Tasting: This is a nice, bold black tea. It’s pleasantly bitter with a woody, peppery body and notes of cocoa, clove, and citrus.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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99

Holy leaf expansion, Batman!

Saved just a bit of this for the christening of my gaiwan. I was thinking maybe I hadn’t saved enough, but as it turns out, the leaves expanded to fill the entire cup.

I lost track of how many steeps it made around seven. I don’t have much to add to my previous tasting note, but this is an amazing quality oolong! :)

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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 are pu’erhs, Yunnan blacks, and Taiwanese oolongs. I’m not much into flavored teas or jasmine/florals, but I love a good cup of chai or adding a spice or two to my teas sometimes.

Currently taking a break from school, working in Orlando Florida and trying to find my place in the world.

I’m a music lover and have played guitar and violin for quite a while 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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