170 Tasting Notes

93

I have to agree with the YS description—this is a unique tea with a challenging flavor profile. I can tease out some pepper, nuts, and chocolate flavors but the overall body and mouth feel is unlike anything I’ve tasted. Maybe a hint of Rou Gui and mountain stream water when you hold the tea in your mouth for a bit.

Overall, it’s very tasty and intriguing—a good choice when you want to sit down and focus your attention.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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94

Ho Hum. Just another in a long line of delicious old/wild arbor black teas from YS. This is not raisiny and malty like the Yi Wu mountain Assamica tea, with more brightness on the tongue, some caramel sweetness and a little bit of that leather/cherry flavor that you find in Keemuns. Amenable to all kinds of brewing approaches with absolutely no harshness.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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93
drank Yu Lu Yan Cha Black by Verdant Tea
170 tasting notes

This was included in my latest Laoshan Black order and I have to say, it’s quite delicious. The chocolate notes that dominate the flavor profile of the Laoshan are sublimated in favor of a deliciously sweet caramelized sugar taste. It’s also more effervescent and complex than the Laoshan Black, which can sometimes overwhelm me with its strong cocoa flavor.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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96

I’m still somewhat of a neophyte when it comes to Oolongs, but I think I can recognize a truly spectacular one. This is both delicate and substantial at the same time with the perfect balance of melon, lemon and orange flavors. I’m still experimenting with steep times, but the tea is pretty forgiving and there’s something in each steep to enchant.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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95

This Sheng is developing nicely. The bitterness is fading and a strong throat feel is emerging along with camphor and mint. It takes a little while to get going but once it gets up to speed it’s hard to stop. Strong buzz from this one.

Preparation
0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
mrmopar

This is a fine tea for sure.

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98
drank Hashiri Shincha by Den's Tea
170 tasting notes

I know I just reviewed this wonderful tea, but I wanted to also note how the experience of drinking this tea invalidates a lot of the thinking about tea types and caffeine. Personally, I’ve always felt that caffeine levels are not a true indicator of how a tea affects someone and that caffeine labels should be taken with a grain of salt. Case in point this shincha which shouldn’t be sending me for a loop based on caffeine alone but clearly has a chemical profile that is making me quite tea drunk! I’ve had many black teas that haven’t affected me nearly as much.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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98
drank Hashiri Shincha by Den's Tea
170 tasting notes

The 2016 version of this is absolutely delicious, incredible, and powerfully energizing. Getting my hands on some of this each spring has become a requirement and I’m not even much of a green tea drinker. But this transcends individual predilections and stands as a tea everyone should taste for its smooth, fresh vegetal taste.

The Greek gods ate ambrosia. . .this essential nectar can’t be too far off.

By the way, I brewed this three times in a Kyusu at 1 minute, 2 minutes and 2.5 minutes and didn’t experience any bitterness and the flavor endured.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
just john

I’ve been wanting to try this!

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89

I found this to be super flavorful with a heady perfume reminiscent of a darjeeling muscatel. Sweet apples and melon dominant the profile. Teabox has so much to explore and these Nilgiri teas definitely deserve attention. I’m thinking of signing up for their monthly subscription—there has not been one tea in the sample pack that I split with Big Daddy that I wouldn’t be happy to drink on a regular basis. So many seasonal varietals of Darjeelings, Ceylons, and Nilgiris!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 15 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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92

I’m actually commenting on zy83, purchased in the fall of 2015, but no matter—I find Upton’s Yunnan rare grade to be a reliably tasty brew that hits all the right notes for this style of tea: malty, caramel sweet, with a subtle peppery note. A great choice for those fans of Yunnan Sourcing’s Imperial Mojiang.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
TeaExplorer

I still have some ZY84 from 2014 that’s holding up quite well. I agree with your observation that it’s similar to the YS Imperial Mojiang.

Doug F

That’s pretty good endurance. I have to admit, I go through it pretty quickly!

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95

“I woke last night to the sound of thunder,” to quote Bob Seger, tremendously odd for February in Maine, and when I walked outside to 60 degrees, I knew I had to start my day with Spring Wonder. While this tea is less overtly honeysuckle-sweet than most first flush darjeelings, it is delicious nonetheless, with a buttery grape flavor and absolutely no astringency. I know spring hasn’t arrived yet, but for one day I can pretend it has.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Profile

Bio

I love tea and living in a place that is cold or cool nine months of the year, tea is a constant source of warmth and education. I always drink tea straight and rarely drink flavored teas or Tisanes, except for the occasional Rooibos. I’m a proud father of two young boys, an avid skier, motorcyclist, reader, and runner. I have a doctorate in English (dissertation on Emily Dickinson.)

Location

Maine

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