126 Tasting Notes

A confession: I usually keep a green tea around only as a lighter alternative to my more highly-favored blacks and pu-erhs. I enjoy good senchas and dragonwells but I almost never crave green tea—my attitude toward them is utilitarian: lower caffeine levels for those times when I don’t want too much of a buzz.

That being said, I’m thrilled to find a green tea that has an in-your-face complexity that rivals the quality black teas I enjoy. The Yin Yang combination of earth and sea harmonizes into a heady brew.

Whe I was a kid there was this candy called Razzles that, when you first popped them in your mouth, had the consistency of candy but then transformed into a gum. The company that created them held a contest, asking kids to explain whether they thought razzles were gum or candy.
A true enigma. Well, this tea reminds me of that: a Chinese green tea that has a lot of Japanese characteristics.

This is one green tea I’ve actually looked forward to drinking for its intrinsic qualities, not because it’s green.

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I’ve actually ordered this a couple of times because it has more flavor and substance than most green teas I’ve encountered from China. Delicious chestnut and honey flavor with a barley/malt base.


I need to look into this one…


That’s funny, I didn’t get the chestnuts with this tea.

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Upton is pretty spot on with their descriptions. This tea has more body than some of the super Assams from Marangi; it’s neat and clean with almost no bitterness. A very satisfying mid-priced everyday Assam.

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I was looking forward to trying this tea, but I was a little bit disappointed. It was fruity, but not very buttery or sweet. I increased the amount of leaf, which helped some, but overall, a rather flat affair. Rarely am I disappointed by an Upton tea.


I’ve had a few red robes are none of them have been buttery or sweet. more like fruit and charcoal.

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Every year I look forward to the second flush season with eagerness and trepidation. I’ve always found it a challenge to find that full-bodied, fruity tea that distinguishes itself from the more flowery, delicate first flushes. I’ve had some luck with Thurbo and Castleton, but in the middle price range I don’t think I’ll do better than this selection from the Goomtee Estate. This is definitely not a shy tea or a late bloomer; from the first sip you’re hit with classic Darjeeling flavor in the old school manner. It can turn a tad bitter if it sits too long, but the tea is so delicious, it usually doesn’t sit around too long!

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drank Gyokuro Kin by Den's Tea
126 tasting notes

Let me add my encomiums to the list of postive reviews of this “affordable luxury.” Even with a lower tea to water ratio than Den’s suggests (I want to make this 2 oz. last a bit!), this is a green tea you can really sink your teeth into—a vibrant brothy soup that (especially on the second infusion) tastes like the briny ocean. If you are not scared away by a bold, sweet, fishy spume of a tea, you’ll love this. As a black tea lover first and foremost, this is one green that really satisfies my soul, especially on a foggy day like yesterday, when the southeast wind blanketed my house in salty ocean air.

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I had much better success with this tea steeping it Eastern style in my new little purple clay teapot. The shorter infusions really brought out a nice balance between the chard-like taste and the roasted character.


Congratulations on your new pot! I really prefer doing roasted and Wuyi-style oolongs in clay, so I wish you well in your little pot’s growth. Is this one just dedicated to roasted TGY, or to all unflavored oolongs on the more oxidized and roasted end of the spectrum (or something else)?

Doug F

Thanks! I originally purchased and used it a couple of times for Shengs, but I wanted to see how this Oolong would fare in a more cozy clay environment. I’ll probably keep it for pu-erhs because I’m not a huge Oolong drinker. I was supposed to be in your neck of the woods last week but my trip was cancelled. I was looking forward to doing some tea tourism, but it will have to wait for spring!

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How can this tea be so good at such a young age? It’s like when you meet a young person who is mature beyond her years—an old soul. The first 30-second infusion blew me away with its sweetness and depth. After that the camphor and earthiness emerged to create a truly heady elixir. I probably could have steeped this tea 20 times with little reduction in flavor. I actually saved the leaves over night and started up again in the morning. I’ll most likely buy a brick to drink now and one to age because I doubt I’ll be able to resist chipping away at it.

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After sampling a new medium roast Oolong that I found only so-so, I turned to this sumptuous and complex tea. The orchid is not overwhelming or even fundamental to my enjoyment. What captivates me is the lingering sweetness and a fine anise seed taste mixed with a lemony tang. A singular tea-drinking experience!

David Duckler

Thanks Triumph!
I agree with your take on this tea- the first time that I tried it, they didn’t tell me about the orchid scenting, and I was completely captivated by that anise sweetness. It still gets me every time. This is a good reminder to go back and flesh out the description for this tea.

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drank Assam Marangi by TeaGschwendner
126 tasting notes

TeaGschwender makes great claims for this tea, which I am still trying to validate. It is light, and the lack of bitterness allows the fruity/nutty flavors to come through, but I’m still partial to the Mangalam Estate teas, maybe because I feel they have a greater foundation. I’m not sure Iike the direction toward which many Assams and Darjeelings are moving—striving for delicacy on the top notes, while sacrificing body in the process. Still, in the scheme of things, this is a satisfying Assam.

E Alexander Gerster

I have heard good things about this Assam Marangi tea, and also enjoy Mangalam Estate teas. I think I will have to try this one myself! :)


I’ve been away from Steepster for a while – just saw your review here. I actually wondered on my TeaGschwender Marangi if it was just stale. It was nothing like the Upton tea I had earlier this week. I would say the Upton one was more “refined” if that can have a taste, but very pleasant.


Just read through my earlier tasting notes. Interesting as Upton suggests brewing for 5 minutes instead of 4. It was quite good at 5 minutes. Although, I would think the TeaGswhwender selection I tried was from the previous year so that may make a difference too.

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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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