113 Tasting Notes

94
drank Doke Black Fusion by Tea Trekker
113 tasting notes

This tea has been getting some good press lately and I would say it’s warranted. The leaves are a striking dusky grey/black—long and twisted. The liquor is dark molasses and tastes something like a cross between an Assam and a Nepalese tea, malty and sweet, with hints of vanilla and pepper. It’s smooth and delicious—reminiscent also of Mandala’s Black Beauty—and immediately jumps to the upper echelon of teas I’ve tried in the last few years. Based on this and the two Darjeelings I’ve tried recently from Tea Trekker, it’s clear they choose their teas intelligently.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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93

Given the bias toward Chinese teas on Steepster, I feel I need to carry the torch for the poor forgotten darjeelings, which are still the tea I feel compelled to drink most often. I don’t think I need to repeat what Tea Trekker has already provided in terms of description. I’ll just affirm that this is a tea where every component is in perfect balance, creating a harmonious whole. The perfume is perfect—not too strong or too subdued. It really is the prototypical second flush.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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97

Just blissing out to some of the best Sheng on the planet and listening to some of my favorite music from 2014: Hiss Golden Messenger, Cloud Nothings, Alvvays, Mastersons, War on Drugs, Real Estate, Popstrangers, Future Islands, First-aid Kit, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Against Me and on and on.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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91

The dry leaf is among the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen and highly unusual for a darjeeling. The picture doesn’t accurately represent the length and thickness of the leaves. Both the wet and dry leaf have a strong aroma of soybeans, also unusual for this type of tea. The soybean remains in the flavor along with the classic muscatel taste. There’s absolutely no astringency or bitterness—the tea is incredibly smooth and drinkable. I’m still trying to decide whether it’s too subtle for my personal darjeeling preferences. It doesn’t grab your attention; instead, you must bring your attention to the tea in the same way some music can remain in the background, but once you listen closely, you realize how great the music is.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

nice I heard there weren’t too many second flush darjeelings this year due to the drought

Doug F

There weren’t, but Tea Trekker has a few intriguing ones. I ordered their second flush from the Sourenee estate and it’s a really excellent tea. I’ll log it soon.

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85

Well, I guess I’m experiencing somewhat of a return to earth after yesterday’s Tea Urchin sample, not because this MGH is offensive or anything—quite the contrary. It’s smooth with a light miso/sweet corn/brussel sprouts flavor and a nice grapefruit aftertaste. It’s just that it’s like going to a Springsteen concert one night and going to see Backstreets, the Springsteen cover band, on the following night.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
boychik

solid everyday tea

Doug F

I agree.

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97

As I ascend into the rarefied air of truly upper echelon shengs, I marvel at the power of the ancient wild tea leaf to concentrate such a variety of flavors (citrus, teak wood, soy, vanilla) and to release such a transforming energy that, in one sip, swept away the cold, rainy Monday morning and replaced it with my own little tea Utopia. This tea should come with a warning: do not attempt to operate a computer or motorized vehicle after drinking this tea. Do not shop for this tea under the influence; hundreds of dollars will disappear as you stockpile the 2013 version of this tea. It’s worse than going to whole foods when you’re starving.

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

Wow, this tea sound amazing. i should drink it before going to bed ;)))

Doug F

I swear I lost an hour bound up in a tea euphoria.

mrmopar

They have some outstanding teas for sure.

TeaBrat

Looks like they are sold out of it!

Doug F

Yes, you would have to go with the 2013, which sounds equally as good.

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90

Another solid black tea from YS. This one is definitely on the light side and needs a good amount of leaf to yield a nice dry malty flavor with a hint of soy and water chestnuts.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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93

I know I’m dating myself, but when I was a kid there was this candy called razzles and the company that made them had a contest where you had to explain whether razzles were a candy or a gum. Presumably you would win a lifetime supply of razzles.

Well, you could play the same game with this scintillating tea from Yunnan Sourcing. Is it an Assam with Yunnan notes or a Yunnan black with Assam undertones? Luckily, all I have to do is enjoy the tea which has the body and heft of an Assam with the fruitiness and chocolate maltiness of a Dian Hong.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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94

Wow! This 11-year old ripe pu-erh is absolutely delicious. So sweet and complex. I have it tucked away in my work drawer and often forget about it, but no longer will it fly under the radar.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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90

I’m in a good groove with this tea—drinking it for the past few mornings. I like how the initial impression is of a rather dry, dark chocolate and then a mellow molasses sweetness washes over the tongue. In contrast to the Yunnan teas in which I find a pronounced fruitiness, the Gao Shan has more of an austere quality that is very refreshing. I’m also beginning to take notice of the energy difference between teas (as opposed to mere caffeine effects) and this one never fails to make me feel ebullient.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 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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