100 Tasting Notes

drank Shincha Kunpu 2014 by Den's Tea
100 tasting notes

Ah Spring. (Well, if it ever arrive here in Maine).

And this is one of the most anticipated releases of the season. Always amazing, this refined vegetable broth with its dynamic green color and briny base is one of the best teas in the world, IMHO. It’s also an incredible mood-booster, with astronomical amounts of theanine. Scoop it up before it disappears.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

This is always an intriguing tea to me. In many ways it reminds me of a proper Ceylon, but it also features a pronounced blueberry/grape flavor with a hint of coconut. An enticing amalgam and truly a genre-busting tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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92

This is almost 10 years old and it’s evolving beautifully into a sweet, creamy tea with some emerging hints of camphor. Delicious!

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

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90

I have piles of unread books around my house, but will that stop me from buying the new Collected Poems of Derek Walcott today? No. I have scores of albums I’ve downloaded and barely made it beyond track 1. Will that stop me from downloading the new War on Drugs or Future Islands this week? Absolutely not.

My over-stuffed tea cupboard has also suffered from this unbridled acquisitiveness. And it’s keeping me up at night as I pore over all of my teas that are nearing or over the one year mark. So I’ve made a promise to myself to only buy the absolute jewels of my annual tea drinking cycle until I drink down some of my stash: Shincha from Den’s Teas; a first flush darjeeling from Upton and Imperial Mojiang Yunnan tea from Yunnan Sourcing.
So to make room for my spring Darjeelings, I’m drinking a lot of this quality second flush from Sungma that has delicious honeysuckle sweetness,a citrusy vibe and a mild roasted flavor.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
TheTeaFairy

Haha! Love this review. My whole life revolves around books, music and tea, that means lots of compulsive purchases that lead to unread books, unheard music, and teas that are stacking up, waiting to be drunk…love being surrounded by books, love knowing I can choose from over 8000 songs to suit my mood, and love to just be able to drink my most prized tea on a tuesday, for no particular reason…just cause I can!

BTW, The War on Drugs latest album is their best to date, in my humble opinion…just thought I’d mention it :-)

Doug F

That’s pretty much my planetary alignment also, when I’m not being a dad to my two wonderful boys. I agree with your humble opinion, though I did enjoy when Kurt Vile was part of the group.

TheTeaFairy

Aww, two boys, that will keep you busy, I understand the unread books situation even better!

(Yes, I like Kurt Vile too but not such a big fan of his solo work…)

TeaBrat

ha, I suffer from the same affliction when it comes to books (and tea of course)

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88

We’ve all had the experience of seeing a movie that was highly recommended and highly hyped—-American Hustle, for example—and left with a feeling of, I wouldn’t say disappointment, because the movie was enjoyable, but still, you wanted it to be better. After drinking Yezi’s Qing Pin and really liking it, I expected to be seduced by the Gao Shan. The first sips yielded dark chocolate, cherry and tobacco—pleasant but not transfixing. I agree with another reviewer that the cup got better as it cooled, producing a nice red-wine flavor entirely free from bitterness.

Overall, this is a very drinkable, high grade Chinese black, but I prefer the Qing Pin.

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

ha, I loved that movie :)

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91

Black Beauty and this Mao Cha are quietly emerging as two of the teas I find myself instinctively reaching for. The Mao Cha reminds me of the smell of a freshly mowed field on a hot summer day—sweet and pungent with a lemony tang. Like a green Ceylon mixed with a newish raw pu-erh.

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

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91

Such an amazing blend of citrus-flavored green pu-erh leaves-beautiful to look at as they unfurl in my SamaDoyo glass mug, but even better to drink. No trace of bitterness with a thirst-quenching snap! Love it!

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

Hi Doug! Thanks for writing up your thoughts on this tea! This particular mao cha is the autumn 2013 picked. Great stuff now, better in 1 year. I just had 500 cakes of this same mao cha pressed into pu’er in China. If you haven’t tried the Wild Monk cake from spring 2012, I recommend it. Our customers are flying through it here, but we still have 200 or so cakes left. Definitely worth the try. You will see differences and similarities between it and what you are sipping right now.

It’s what I drank before and after my 6 mile cold and snowy run this morning. It kept me feeling light and strong!
Grateful,
Garret

Doug F

Hi Garret, I do have the small cake, but I wanted to try it again before writing a review. Maybe this evening after I make my way home in yet another snowstorm.

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drank Qing Pin by Yezi Tea
100 tasting notes

A delicious tea and everything you would want in a China black. Chocolatey and fruity with an interesting hint of licorice—smooth, refined with a lingering honey sweetness. It also provided great sustained energy. I’m loving this trend towards farm-sourced teas!

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

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drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
100 tasting notes

Maybe it’s because I’m an INFP on the Meyer’s-Briggs scale, but my choice of what tea to drink usually comes down to opening the cupboard, twirling the lazy Susan and waiting for something to jump out at me.

When I find myself reaching for the same tea over and over, I figure it should be a staple in my collection. Well, the Black Beauty qualifies. Unlike other people, I find this to be quite dry and clean in the mouth balanced by a nice burnt sugar taste and an almost chai-like spiciness. It’s definitely becoming one of my comfort teas—perfect for these bone-chilling New England days.

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

…and I like to methodically go through my teas in accordance with a predetermined structure. There’s always a plan B, C, D, E and F, of course, just in case. (INTJ)

Doug F

Hmmm. Do I sense sarcasm?

Anna

No, not at all, that’s actually how I do it, haha!

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I think Ceylon teas might be the MUTs (Most Underated Teas) of the tea world. Like the classic design of a Corvette Stingray or a Schott leather jacket, the crisp, lemony flavor of this Kirkoswald Estate offering will never go out of style.

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

Agree. I would never say no to a good Ceylon. My husband’s coworker brought a tin of a excellent Ceylon from Sri Lanka. He said that he never had full leaf himself only CTC because its very expensive for Sri Lanka people.

Doug F

That’s funny—even a good whole leaf is pretty affordable here—$5 or $6 for a quarter pound. Upton always has a bunch of good ones and usually some green Ceylon teas as well, which I really like.

BigDaddy

Can’t fit in my Schott any more, never could afford a corvette but I can drink Ceylon teas. Thanks for the review will give it a try sometime.

yyz

To put things in perspective when I was in India I stayed at a basic hostel geared to Indian workers for a little over $12 ( probably less than that, I am using modern exchange rates) a month. My friends Dad paid $9.00 for a small flat inside the old part of Jaipur and a room in a poorer part of Old Delhi was the same. Although rents were comparable to here in other parts of the city. You could get a kilo of bananas for under 10 cents. I took a 6 hour bus ride for under a dollar and it puts into perspective why higher grades of tea could be seen as expensive by a large part of the population.

TeaBrat

My favorite from the Region is Sam Bodhi by Palais de thes

Doug F

Yes. It’s all about perspective. I imagine that the same Ceylon I pay five dollars for 125 grams costs a lot less in India. I’m definitely grateful for everything I can enjoy as citizen of a prosperous country.

Doug F

Thanks TeaBrat! I’ll have to try the Sam Bodhi.

yyz

Definitely! I have no idea how much loose tea was there. Most of my friends just bought it from chai stands you’d order it for about 2.5 INR. Less than 5¢.

yyz

As well the economic situation is very different there now, then when I was bthere. For example the pink box Lopchu ( higher grade) didn’t seem to make it over here this year suggesting that there is more of a local demand for it.

boychik

It’s by MlesnA Victorian Blend selected Orange Pekoe. It’s in a pretty tin 200 gr

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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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