170 Tasting Notes

98

I enjoyed another session with this delicious tea that starts out light and sweet and emerges in the middle steeps with a strong honey/rock candy sweetness, excellent throat feel and powerful chi. Lemon and apple linger throughout and there’s just the tiniest hint of orchid woven through the profile. Alas, my sample of this benchmark tea is kaput.

On a side note, I find it odd that I have a high tolerance for chi but a low tolerance for caffeine, so my capacity for drinking sheng is much higher than black tea, for example. Are there any other caffeine-sensitive folks that experience this?

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 130 OZ / 3844 ML
boychik

Chinese black or Indian/Ceylon? chinese black or pu dont bother me at all. i can drink them at midnight no prob. Assam is a different story.

Doug F

I have to limit all types of black tea to one or two cups a day, but Indian teas definitely affect me more.

boychik

You need to try Old Arbor Mu Shu Hongcha spr15. I’m falling asleep after two chahai

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87

This is a nicely balanced black tea akin to a medium-bodied Assam. It has just the right amount of sweetness and could serve as a perfect morning cup, especially on this wind-whipped New England fall day. A little bit of smoke and leather to keep you interested.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec 5 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Oh my God, my mouth is still salivating three hours later and it won’t stop. I’ve been hoarding this for a few years, parsimoniously steeping some here and there. It’s so delicious, with a mix of butter rum, cherry pipe tobacco and eucalyptus. This tea vibrates from the throat down to the chest, with a cooling, mellowing essence.

It’s nearly 10 years old now and it’s fascinating to experience the metamorphosis to deeper tones.

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

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90

I’m quickly becoming a fan of these Glendale teas. Others’ descriptions are spot on: the muscatel (and light body) of a first flush darjeeling with a unique papaya/coconut/mango element that reminds me of tropical lifesavers. Yes there is some astringency but I’m willing to live with it given the uncommon and intriguing blend of flavors.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Another session with this delicious tea. A little more bitterness this time but probably because I used a prodigious amount of leaf. I continue to enjoy the creamy caramel notes in this one.

On a different note, I’m glad to see that the change in seasons has resulted in an uptick in the steepster activity, or is it just me?

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec
boychik

I’ve noticed too.

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First of all, I want to thank Big Daddy for suggesting we split the Nilgiri sampler from Teabox. I’ve had a few basic Nilgiri teas over the years but nothing like the offerings from Teabox, which delves deeply into the Nilgiri terroir and unearths some true gems.

I hesitate to call this autumn tea “black” because the liquor is so light-a pale orange akin to some slightly aged raw pu-erhs. The flavor is reminiscent of a Taiwanese black, herbal with a strong fresh tomato essence, but also fruity and sparkly like a Ceylon. The tea is slightly bitter, but it’s offset by an equal amount of sweetness.

A very singular experience! Gorgeous dry and infused leaf. If you think you’ve tasted everything under the sun, give these Adderley Twirl teas a try.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Ineffable rock-candy sweetness with notes of corn and hay, the broth generously lubricates the mouth and is quite persistent in the throat. I’m really amazed at the consistency of this tea that steep to steep pumps out consistently sweet, clean, full-bodied mouth-watering liquor with no ebb in flavor and no bitterness. People talk about price per gram of tea, but maybe there should be a price-per-excellent-infusion category in which the Guang Feng Zhai would challenge for supremacy.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
jschergen

Nice review. Sounds pretty tasty! Do you think the strength is pretty comparable to the 2012?

Doug F

I don’t think it has as much oomph or all-round complexity as the 2012 but there are no “waste steeps.” It gets up to speed quickly and remains there.

jschergen

Got it. Thanks for the note :).

boychik

i feel i dont need tons of cheap average pu. i still have my price limitations but i raised them

jschergen

@boychik. Definitely agree! I think my limit is around the $0.50/g mark or so. Have a hard time rationalizing anything beyond that even if it’s pretty awesome (i.e. Last Thoughts)

Doug F

Yes this cake sits comfortably around the .50/gram mark as does the 2014 Wan Gong, which I didn’t think was quite as good.

jschergen

Yeah. I like that Wangong a good deal, but it didn’t quite have the oomph of their GFZ (at least their 2012).

On a semi-related sidenote, I’m very curious about the Dark Forest that they just added.

mrmopar

jschergen I just put an order in today with some of the Dark Forest in it.

jschergen

@mrmopar . Cool! Looking forward to hearing about it.

Doug F

The description is very alluring.

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This is a dynamic, complex and powerful young tea that starts out sweet and almost buttery with a pleasantly lubricious mouth feel. Make no mistake, this is a bitter tea, but it’s a productive bitterness that coaxes out the flavors of the tea (apricots, nuts and maybe a hint of anise) in the same way that the right amount of salt enhances good cooking. It’s tongue numbing in the middle steeps, and the flavor slowly morphs from fruit to vegetable as the session continues. Another delicious young sheng in the $50/cake range from Yunnan Sourcing. I shared this with some sheng-newbies at work and they loved the mix of drinkability and complexity.

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

Sounds delicious. Next Sheng sale and I’m in big trouble.

looseTman

At least you have enough restraint to wait for a sale!

Doug F

There are a lot of good 2014 cakes in that $50 range; it will be tough to decide which one(s) to choose.

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90

I’ve developed a sweet tooth for many of the YS wild arbor black teas (which often hail from the same villages and mountains as their raw pu-erhs), so I thought I would check out a different kind of black tea. I was rewarded with a really nice cup, albeit one that is a little tough to characterize. In one sense it reminds me of a red robe oolong, a tea that I’m not particularly fond of, but wedded to a creamy, cannabis-scented maltiness and you get a delicious and forgiving tea that can handle a longish steep and extra leaf. It’s very nice to drink in the evening on the cusp of autumn, when the perfume and dried fruit seem to presage the coming season.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
boychik

this tea reminds me taiwanese reds. it has this cherry-plummy-nutty notes.

Doug F

I totally agree. It’s really nice!

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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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