102 Tasting Notes

I continue to have great results with this tea. Drink it straight, don’t be shy with the leaf, and enjoy a tea that seamlessly melds a wide range of flavors.

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drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
102 tasting notes

I might have been too dismissive of this tea in the past, maybe because it isn’t as bold as some dian hongs I love. But it is a smooth and delicious tea with honey notes taking the lead. I’m glad I revisited this tea after letting it languish in my cupboard for a while.

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

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This is a delicious tea. The first sip may not wow you, but after a few more the cinnamon, pepper and chocolate flavors blossom in your mouth to form a complex and beautifully smooth tea. It seems to combine the best aspects of yunnan, keemun and other congous. Sometimes the best teas, like the best music and books reveal their greatness slowly and through repeated encounters.

TheTeaFairy

I stand by that last sentence of yours!

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98

Thanks to Charles Thomas Draper for mentioning this sheng. I bought a sample (cakes are very expensive) and immediately fired up my little pot and steeped it three times: at 30 seconds, 1 minute, and 2 minutes. The first steep was exquisitely smooth, with a light camphor taste and a more pronounced mandarin orange flavor. Things got pretty wild on the next two steeps; the orange remained, and was joined with chestnut and what reminded me of a perfect black bean sauce. This is a high energy tea that had me buzzing along way into the night, right through an excellent set by the Futurebirds at the Press Room in Portsmouth, NH. I’m going to try and conserve this tea; as good as it is now, it will be even better when some of the bitterness fades away over time.

TheTeaFairy

Glad to know their live performance did not disappoint :-)

Charles Thomas Draper

I’m drinking it now. It is sublime….

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98
drank Shincha Kunpu by Den's Tea
102 tasting notes

I don’t often drink green teas, but I have a fondness for Senchas, especially these first flush ones from Den’s tea. The broth looks like lemon-lime Gatorade and smells like fresh grass, Miso and seaweed. I probably brewed this a little hot; nonetheless, this is such a pure, essential tea, so reminiscent of the terroir from which it springs; drinking it is akin to hauling oysters out of the cold Gulf of Maine, shucking them and pouring the icy cold meat down your throat. There are some elemental tastes that should never be diluted. This tremendously fresh and energizing tea is one of them.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TheTeaFairy

Oh my! I will now forever see Gatorade in my Sencha because of you!! That phosphorescent yellow -green colour, so true!
I love the imagery of this review…it takes just a few words, spot on.

Doug F

Thanks! I love the tea. When I drink it I feels like I’m chewing on the newest shoots of spring.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I um really want an oyster now.

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
102 tasting notes

I gave this a pretty long steep with extra leaf and was rewarded with creamy chocolate goodness. It looks like the long weekend is going to be a cold and wet—a good time to hack away at my alarmingly large stockpile of Chinese black teas.

Preparation
4 min, 45 sec

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drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
102 tasting notes

A cool foggy morning, waiting for the sun to shine and enjoying a gut-warming cup of one of my faves. My new favorite band, The Futurebirds streaming on Spotify and the kids off with my wife for an hour—a bit of calm plucked from what promises to be a busy afternoon of yard maintenance.

TheTeaFairy

Ahhh…tea and music. Love Futurebirds, pure laid back enjoyment…a friend introduced me to their album Hampton’s Lullaby last year cause I was totally hooked on this from the Beach House:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FuvWc3ToDHg

What a great suggestion that was! After reading your note, I found their new album, didn’t know they had released new stuff so thank you for that :-) It seems a little more uptempo, love the sound.

My summer find of the moment is Hummingbird from Local Natives (unintentionally staying on the bird theme it seems!)

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h2zWfxW60z0

Oops, sorry for highjacking your note with music reviews, just can’t help myself sometimes!

Doug F

Wow! Another Futurebirds fan. They’re playing in my town on June 4th—lucky me. The new album is more uptempo—reminds me of another band I like—Beachwood Sparks. Thanks for the You tube links and keep the suggestions coming!

TheTeaFairy

I don’t write many reviews on Steepster, but I often include music references, it’s just part of who I am. Great that you get to see them live! I’m going to the Black Keys on July 5th, can’t wait!

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Funny, I didn’t get any astringency from this cup, even with a 4.5 minute brew time with near boiling water. Instead, like El Monstro, I found this to be a fruity yunnan with medium body, a nice change from the very rich yunnans I’ve been drinking lately.

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I returned from my uncle’s funeral service and was compelled to have a cup of this tea as it represents the rebirth of nature after a long cold winter.

Rachel J

Very sorry about your uncle, Doug.

TheTeaFairy

These few words said it all…sorry for your loss.

Doug F

Thank you both.

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I haven’t had this in a while and I forgot how well-balanced and enjoyable this is for an everyday tea. More spicy than sweet, with a hint of raisin and cinnamon. Seems immune to bitterness.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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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.)

Location

Maine

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