130 Tasting Notes

Next up on the YS sample tour is another excellent young tea from Bang Dong village. The aroma of the dry leaf is uniquely toffee-like and reminds me of my favorite candy bar: Skor! The first steeps are floral with a caramel sweetness and a nice mouth-coating viscosity. A luxurious creaminess emerges around steep three or four along with a tip-of-the-tongue sweetness that persists through the 10 or so steeps.

This tea really performs best when pushed to 30 seconds or so; the creaminess and floral notes are allowed to shine while the bitterness is still kept at bay.

Another very satisfying raw pu-erh which deserves a place in my decidedly lo-fi storage area—a kitchen cabinet that my wife grudgingly sacrificed to my addiction.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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Scott Wilson is spot-on with his description of this high-elevation tea, which coats the mouth with a pleasant lubricating sweetness and remains balanced and free from bitterness and astringency through many steepings. Prominent mineral, hay, and soy notes linger in the throat. I feel joyful, calm and focused after drinking this tea; any caffeine effects are sublimated in favor of positive energy.

This is a very fresh tasting and delightful tea that is an absolute pleasure to drink right now and a bargain to boot! If I had any kind of influence I would fear that broadcasting its under-the-radar excellence may cause a run on this sheng, but as it is, I urge anyone interested in a daily drinker to give it a try.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
BigDaddy

Twist my arm, as if I needed a reason.

jschergen

One of the staples in Scott’s line. I’m a fan.

TeaBrat

sounds fab :)

boychik

wanted to wishlist, turned out i did it before ;) I think its a sign

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97

I’m a big fan of Man Zhuan shengs and this one in particular. It starts out soft and minty with a hint of lemon. The mid-steeps present a flavor reminiscent of icy-cold mountain spring water with a sweetness that coats the throat and a pleasant touch of bitterness to keep you honest. The tea has a calming energy and good endurance.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 140 ML
Stephanie

I love this one!

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94

This is an exquisite black tea with a flavor profile unlike any other I’ve tried. A trinity of flavors (spearmint, candy-apple and fresh tomato) in perfect harmony create a really special brew which leaves a wonderful tingling sensation in the mouth. I might shorten the steep next time to eliminate the modicum of bitterness. I’m looking forward to trying the Wild Elephant from TS soon.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
boychik

Sounds really special

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My love for mountains and cold weather draws me to high elevation teas and for no other reason than that (and the entertaining session on teadb.org with Crimson Lotus) I bought a cake of Whispering Sunshine. I’m glad I did—it’s a lovely tea to drink now with a pale pinkish yellow broth and a nutty, evergreen profile that coats the mouth and tongue with a light effervescence.

I pushed the middle steeps to about 30 seconds and was presented with a subtle smokiness that perfectly complements the rock candy sweetness on the tip of the tongue. The energy in the leaves is perfect: buoying but not overwhelming. An excellent tea at this price point and one I’ll surely reorder.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
boychik

Very nice review.

Doug F

Thank you boychik!

mrmopar

It’s a good one.

Crimson Lotus Tea

Thank you for the review!

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95

My mouth is numb and I can hardy speak, much less type. Love this Sheng—not too sweet, moderately fruity and a tad bitter, with a pleasant smokiness emerging in the mid-steeps. And teak.

Very little viscosity. A little bit of vanilla custard sneaking in.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
DigniTea

This is a special tea. Big fan of this one myself.

Doug F

I agree. I ordered the 2013 to see how it compares.

Stephanie

I’m so sad that it is sold out :( I love this one SO MUCH!

Stephanie

By the way the Miles Birthday Blend is 80% the same tea! It’s REALLY good too!

Doug F

Thanks for the tip. Next order!

jschergen

Doug, I’m curious about that 2013. Not much has been said about it, especially compared to the 2012! Please post your notes when you try it.

I think they’ve pressed a 2015 one too, don’t think it’s posted yet too.

Doug F

I will. It’s on the slow road from China along with some YS samples I’ve purchased based on teadb reviews and recs.

jschergen

Cool! Hope you enjoy em.

DigniTea

Thumbs up on Miles as well!

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93
drank Qimen by Joseph Wesley Black Tea
130 tasting notes

The small, expertly-crafted leaf portends an excellent tea, and this Keemun does not disappoint. The dry leaf has a voluptuous chocolate smell which mixes with roasted chestnut when the leaf is infused. I like to drink this in a glass mug to see the rich, reddish liquor, redolent of cinnamon.

Chocolate, cinnamon and clean tobacco flavors are in perfect equilibrium and the tea sparkles on the mid-palate. As it cools, a cotton-candy sweetness emerges. The taste persists in the mouth and throat for a while after the session.

From dry leaf to aftertaste, this tea is a wonderful experience.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
boychik

I love this tea ;)

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90

CL was kind enough to include this sample when I ordered a cake of Whispering Sunshine and I was happy to discover a very good shou with medium body and great energy. The first couple of infusions featured a fairly strong tobacco flavor and a somewhat lighter menthol taste both of which persist through successive infusions. I especially like that the tea isn’t in-your-face sweet, like so many other shous that mask their imperfections under a layer of confection.

As I continued with the session, a pleasant tang emerged along with a nice mix of fresh bread and black cherry. Around steep five or six a pulse of sweetness entered the mix but it was far from cloying.

This tea drinks like a much more expensive one—Thanks to Crimson Lotus for offering it.

Preparation
0 min, 30 sec 7 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
Crimson Lotus Tea

Excellent writeup!

Doug F

Thanks! I’m looking forward to a session with Whispering Sunshine.

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Are we at the point where there are too many high-end, farm to cup tea purveyors? It’s very easy to be seduced by the burgeoning websites touting personal relationships with family farms in China or Estates in India. How much variety is too much? How often is the Chinese black tea from X an upgrade from the one you’ve been enjoying for a while? Maybe the answer is a resounding, “Variety is the spice of life!” But it’s a question I ask myself as I find fewer and fewer of my forays into the offerings of new (to me) sellers end up replacing the teas I’ve come to love and drink regularly.

Now, this is not meant as a criticism of Joseph Wesley’s teas which I’m trying for the first time. I really enjoyed his high end Qimen (not reviewed yet) and this Bai Lin is certainly pleasant. But is the Qimen better than the ones I’ve had from Upton, a place I’ve been ordering from for years and from whom I can order a whole variety of excellent teas? Hard to say. When I go to the store, I can choose between 20 different kinds of olive oil or yogurt but the myriad of choices just makes me anxious (or maybe it’s just the fluorescent lighting).

Anyway, back to this tea, which I’m finding hard to categorize. It’s not as chocolatey as its nose suggests it will be; it’s actually more vegetal and grainy. I think I went too heavy on the leaf the first time—when I used less, I had a better result.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Joseph Wesley Black Tea

Hey, Doug. I’m sorry to read that you’ve reached your existential crisis with our teas. But, it sounds like you’re in a really good place with your available options of tea. I hope that we find more people like you who have taken such time and commitment to sample so many teas. Keep up the great work and keep spreading your love. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Qimen! -Joe

Doug F

I have the same problem with books and music. But I do think your Qimen stands out from the rest and is actually a bargain to boot, so I plan on reordering. I do like your focus on black teas as I’m not a big drinker of greens or oolongs. And again, no reflection on your business or teas; if there are enough loose leaf tea drinkers to support everyone—that’s great!

Joseph Wesley Black Tea

It’s been fascinating for me to discover not only the diversity of responses to our teas but also with the reaction to my little project: Joseph Wesley Black Tea. Thank you for your openness and especially for taking time to write a review. I sincerely appreciate the feedback.

TeaBrat

lol on the existential crisis comment. it’s fun tasting new teas but I reached my peak on that about 2 years ago and am less inclined to want everything under the sun.

Doug F

Me too. I’m trying to become more of an essentialist, but it’s hard.

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95

This tea cake has increased in price 2 and half times since I bought it which indicates how precious this little cake is. It’s a very deceptive, mercurial tea—the first 30 second infusion is sweet and fruity with a touch of camphor and wheat. But then the gloves come off and the tea becomes a powerhouse of flavor (teakwood, grapefruit) and bitterness (in a good way). Even at six years of age, this is a very young and unruly tea that has legs. I don’t think I’ve ever had such an intensely flavorful sheng—now it’s just a matter of seeing how the components come into balance.

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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.)

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Maine

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