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245 Tasting Notes

88
drank Xinyang Hong by The Old Tea's
245 tasting notes

This tea reminds me a little of chocolate malt balls eaten in a tack room of well dressed leather, as these aspects are present in both the scent and the flavour. Present in the taste as well, are honey, spice, and a vitamin c type aspect that remains hidden when brewed at low temperatures but comes out if you brew at higher ones. The listing of this tea lists it as a green black tea, which is probably meant to bring attention to this tea as the most famous teas sold from this region are green teas, but is also fitting because this tea has aspects of black, white and green teas.

The dry leaf smells of chocolate malt with a hint of rye and is quite pretty with lots of furry golden tips.

I like this tea best when brewed western style at the lower end of the green tea temperature scale around 170 or less for about three minutes. What you end up with is a green tinged copper coloured tea that has a slightly powdery texture in the mouth. It has the chocolate malt ball honey taste discussed above with a faint leather spice note and a deeper cocoa bitter note underneath it. It is a fairly light bodied tea with mild caffeine levels. I can usually get away with drinking this one at night. If brewed at to high a temperature it gets the vitamin c note that white teas get when they are close to exhaustion in gonfu brewing. This tea really needs to be brewed at lower temperatures to bring out the chocolate and deeper flavour notes. I can usually get 3-4 steeps out of this tea when brewed this way. This is a nice mild and sweet black tea with interesting flavour notes.

This tea is available from a few aliexpress retailors and came packaged in a metal coated bag inside a red printed box. The only thing in English on it was the address and village authorization listed in the description above. I bought it from this retailor:

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/208334

They have several brands of black and green teas from Henan, China

This is the one I bought as they have several grades.

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/2013-tea-black-tea-premium-gift-xinyang-maojian-tea-100g/208334_907255530.html

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Nicole

“chocolate malt balls eaten in a tack room of well dressed leather”

Tea people are so odd. We are probably the only people (other than horse people) to whom this description would appeal. :)

yyz

so true!

gmathis

Couldn’t have said it better, Nicole!

TastyBrew

Yum! This sounds like something I need to try :-)

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90

Cloud an mist teas tend are grown at mid to higher altitudes in areas with high humidity and less sunshine as a result of high cloud cover through out the years. This video is a nice introduction to the manufacturing of this style of tea:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kkPlWASbbA.

I really enjoyed this tea. It seems like a nice green to take into winter as it had a nice body and a good depth and variety in its flavour with a good mix of floral and fruity sweetness, nuttiness, and sweet and bitter vegetal notes combined with a really nice sparkling brightness.

The dry leaves smell bright and sweet with a green pea scent and a hint of tartness. The leaves are tightly twisted forest to earthy green leaves with silvery straw coloured furry buds.

After 45s brewed in an open gaiwan at about 175*F I had a pale golden yellow green tinted broth, with a sweet scent with hints of fresh hulled peas, chestnut, and sweet honeysuckle floral. The tea had a clean taste. The broth was silky to buttery with a first note that was nutty to bitter green that opened up to sweet pea, with light floral and herbal notes (faint basil), with a hint of brightness that was slightly fruity hinting at orange. A light astringency created a fresh and sparkling sensation in the mouth. There was a sweet green, floral aftertaste that lingers. A lower temperature and a little less leaf might reduce the astringency and increase the focus on the teas sweetness. The Wet leaf smelled of chestnuts.

The tea has enough body and depth to the flavour that it is a nice green to take into winter. It had a nice level of caffeine that left me feeling pleasantly alert.

After a 60s brew the tea smelt of sweet floral spice with chestnut underneath. It tasted very sweet at first and was creamy and silky opening up to bright freshness, with a sweet fresh green note (like eating green pea pods) with fruit notes merging into a floral orange blossom note. Chestnut was lightly present underneath. The floral fruity green aftertaste lingers. The tea scent had floral, herbal, green notes as it cooled.

Later steeps (70, 80, 90, 110s) had a sweet floral scent and tasted of plum, orange, light bitter green, floral and chestnut notes.

This particular tea is from Hunan, China and was provided as a very generous and much appreciated sample by Capital Tea Ltd http://www.capitaltea.com/shop/product.php?productid=225&cat=5&page=1 . I look forward to future experimentation with this tea and am definitely interested in purchasing some more once I work through at least one of the greens I currently have in my cupboard.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Doug F

Thanks for very informative review.

Sil

I may need to give this one a shot – see if it’s a green i can get behind :)

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92
drank Taurus by Nina's Paris
245 tasting notes

I’ve bee sitting on this sample for a little while because I wanted to be able to do it justice and finally my sense of taste is returning to normal after a summer of weird allergies and minor illnesses. ..

Nina’s Gemini remains one of the best Rooibos Teas I have tasted. One, strawberry often complements and blends well with some of the characteristic flavours of rooibos and two, it’s combination of sweet and tart, with vanilla cream is executed wonderfully. So I was excited to try another strawberry rooibos from Nina’s, thanks again for the sample!

This nice reddish orange tea smells of bright strawberry ( a bit like cooked strawberry mixed with fresh ripe berries ), cream, and a touch of heaviness from the rooibos. However it does not smell woody or medicinal like rooibos sometimes can. It tastes of cream with strawberries mixed with compote and a hint of fresh banana which I think is a result of the rooibos. It’s Very good. The second steep tastes of vanilla scented cream with strawberries with a slight rooibos tang. The aftertaste is of fresh strawberries. I still prefer Gemini over this one, but this is very good.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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77
drank Rose Mango by Utopia Tea
245 tasting notes

This tea would certainly be a nice tea to have in summer as it is bright and citrusy, and at times references hard candy and bubble gum to me before opening into a bright floral rose.

The dry leaf smells kind of like tart candy and contains a blend of teas (with green tea most apparent) some rose buds and is scattered with a few pieces of dried buds.

The brewing instructions in the package suggest brewing it for two to three minutes at boiling. I used water at the higher end of the scale that I use for greens and brewed for about a minute and a half, and the tea was slightly bitter and a little astringent, so I suggest using lower temperatures and brewing for shorter time periods. The flavouring is quite strong and I don’t think that you would miss much by using shorter brew times.

However once brewed the tea smelled very fruity, with citrus, mixed with an under ripe mango, combined with rose, and that sweet fruity spicy smell of some green teas.

The tea despite its slight bitterness tasted refreshing and bright, with lemon citrus over a peach mango mixed with lemony rose spice. The base tea flavour was relatively hidden, though It might be contributing to both the fruitiness and the spice. The nice bright flavour, does remind me of the flavour of some hard candies but in a pleasant way.

The second steep was brewed at a lower temperature and was less bitter. The rose and fruit had a flavour that referenced some old
fashioned bubble gums at first than expanded strongly into the flavour of fresh bright rose.

Thanks Utopia tea for including this tea as a gift with my order!

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85

East Frisianites would make great members of Steepster if this article is to be believed
http://germanfood.about.com/od/drinks/tp/German-Tea.htm

as the average consumption of tea per year is 5.51b per person.

This tea was quite satisfying today. It had a nice body and an interesting variety of flavours and an interesting softness to it even without the recommended cream.

The dry leaf is quite pretty with a nice blend of bop scattered with golden buds. After 2.5 minutes, It brewed up to a deep copper colour that deepened to rosewood with a full cup that smelled of fruit, biscuit, malt and cocoa.

Flavour wise, My initial impressions of this tea were a smooth, floral, hay, combined with white chocolate notes melding into malt and biscuit,
with top note of fruit. I could see how a rich cream could go nice with this. I would love to try it with an unsweetened double cream (one of my favourite foods I had in Ireland), the floral chocolate notes would meld perfectly with it. The initial note is light and soft, and the tea finishes with deeper rich notes of fruit and malt. There is a hint of spice and chocolate in the aftertaste with
just enough astringency for it to taste refreshing. quite nice!.

I tried a second steep with the recommended sugar and this really brought out the berry notes of the Ceylon in the blend followed by floral notes.

This is a really nice everyday tea that I quite enjoyed. Thanks to the generosity of Nicole I have several more cups to look forward to!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Anna

I enjoyed the article – thanks for linking. I was told the other week that nearly all the tea sold in Sweden is imported from Germany – yet, German tourists make up the biggest consumer group out of all tourists when it comes to “Swedish” tea.

Mmm, double cream. This tasting note makes me want to eat things.

Nicole

Thanks for the article. :)

yyz

I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks again for the tea again Nicole!

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74
drank All Day Oolong by Teascent
245 tasting notes

I have to preface this review by stating that I have never had a bagged oolong and that I next to never use western style brewing for oolongs so this is a new experience for me.

Teascent kindly sent me two bags to try of their All Day Oolong. When I opened the envelop I was met with a very fragrant floral/fruity scent. The tea is packaged in a large standard tea bag and as other’s have said arrived to me in fairly large broken chunks which may be do to the shipping process. I brewed the tea according to recommendations with two steeps of 3 and 5 minutes respectively.

The tea brewed to a rich pale gold with a hint of green with a scent of gardenia soft peach and a hint of hay. The dominant flavour is a green slightly vegetal note followed by a light spicy gardenia and a hint of peach it is not as sweet or as floral or creamy as some oolongs I have had but the flavour is pleasant. The second steep had a similar flavour profile but the vegetal notes and spicy gardenia were a little bit stronger. Thanks Teascent for the opportunity to try your tea!

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88
drank Ceylon by Nina's Paris
245 tasting notes

This is a really nice everyday tea with great cherry plum fruit notes and a nice body given to it by the bop nature of it’s leaves. I’m curious as to what estate or region this tea came from as I suspect I would like the one more as I suspect it would be slightly less tannic. However as it is it would pair nicely with milk if you like a sweet fruity tea with milk.

Dry the tea is very fine bop approaching larger fannings, that smell very fruity. My first steep was about 2 minutes at about 96 degrees Celsius. The result was a clear copper red brew that smelled very fruity with notes of plum, very ripe sweet cherry, cocoa and light malt.

The scent translated into a tea with a first note of cocoa and thicker tannic malt supported by strong fruit notes underneath it with more than enough body to support milk. The fruit notes were oddly strongest when hot. Perhaps the fruit would come out more with sugar or a slightly cooler brewing temperature. The tea was only slightly astringent and was pretty smooth for a bop ceylon.

Second steep was for 2.3 minute at around 92 degrees Celsius. The fruit, cocoa and tannic malt notes were still present, but were better balanced. This steep was more astringent.

This was quite a nice tea that I would happily drink again! Thanks again Sophie and Laurent for the sample.

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89
drank Lapsang Souchong by Nina's Paris
245 tasting notes

Unlike others I found the scent of this one to be only mildly to moderately smoky perhaps this is the result of transit or maybe I have had some very Smoky teas of this variety before. There is hint of pine, and a slightly sweet scent.

I brewed this one gongfu style.

50s orangey brown maple colour broth with a
scent of smoke, grain, and plum with a hint of honey.

As I said before this is not as strongly smokey as some lapsang souchongs I’ve had. The tea has a slightly heavier bodied tea underneath it. It is warming, with a hint of warm bread and honey followed by sweet ripe plum dipped in honey with a hint of cocoa. The after taste consists of a cooling sensation in the back of the mouth accompanied by a developing honey sweetness at the front, as well as a heavier hint of malt mixed with a mild smoked honey flavour. A lingering peppery sensation develops later on and mixes with the taste of honey. The tea still leaves me with a general feeling of warmth.

60s more bready/grainy less sweet on first sip but still sweet in the aftertaste.

There is a fruity honey aftertaste with a mild smoke and peppery cooling sensation.

70s slightly thinner, nice mix of sweet honey, bread and smoke, tastes like artisinal multigtain bread cooked in a wood oven.

90s smooth balance between smoke grain and sweetness, less sweet, smoke a little more dominant over other flavours. Honey still comes out in aftertaste.

110s smoke, grain, faint sourness honey.
130s honeyed water with hint of smoke and bread

250s same as last steep

Altogether quite a nice tea and a nice choice for those who like there Lapsang Souchongs to be sweet and honeyed. Thanks Laurent and Sophie for the Sample!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec
JustJames

hmmm… may have to try this one. the smoke element usually precludes lapsang souchons for me, but there’s always an exception….

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89
drank Lapsang Souchong by PureAromaTea
245 tasting notes

This weekend I decided to experiment with some of my Souchong teas. Of the 3 classic Lapsang Souchong teas this one and Nina’s tied. This one is more refreshing but Nina’s is sweeter and holds up to more steeps.

The dry leaf of this one smells like a campfire with a hint of sweetness and spice that is achieved when burning
hardwood and fall leaves. The tea has a scent overtone of mint and pine and a good measure ofsweetness like semi ripe plums.
The dry leaves are mix of black brown and a touch of grey, you can see the veins on some of the leaves.

It brews to a medium transparent orangey peach brown.

The tea has a scent of light smoke, sweet fruit tones, sap, pine, and sugar syrup. It is not as sweet tasting as it smells, but it is still sweet. Light upper tones disappear almost instantly to deeper plum and grainy tones at the back of the throat which are then followed by an after taste of wood and pine smoke. It is mildly astringent. There is a mild freshening feeling at the front of the mouth as part of a tangy sweet/piney fresh aftertaste.

There is a faint taste of sour cherry. The tart fruit notes dominate over the smoke. The tea is quite refreshing. The aftertaste is accompanied by tingling, cooling sensation. I could see myself ordering this in the future. It Tastes like a slightly damp fall day
once everyone starts lighting their fireplaces. It actually brings back a vivid memory of the scent and taste of woodsmoke in Urbania, Italy. I had been there a couple of weeks when one day the air was full of woodsmoke. At first, I thought it was due to the kilns as there are a lot of pottery works there, but later I found out it was due to the drop in temperature. Electricity is expensive ( my landlord reccommended only turning on the furnace for two hours a day) and many people are using either wood or charcoal to heat or suplement the heating of their houses. This is not my photo but I lived on the top floor of the building on the left and had a huge (capable of waliking into it) fireplace in the kitchen.
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/20443915

3 min second steep. The scent is less sweet, but there is still a potent taste with a stronger reference to smoke, pine mint and grain with an almost floral note. There is still a slightly unripe tart stone fruit taste. Sweet, fresh, but smokey aftertaste that is sweeter than the tea tasted.
3rd steep 345. Honey and cocoa grain notes coming out underneath the smoke
4th steep 5min smoke tones over grainy and bitter cocoa, still fairly strong
5th steep colour fading honey bread and smoke, lighter flavour but sweeter and less bitter.
Overall it is quite a nice tea and very refreshing

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Pomegranate Green Tea by 52teas
245 tasting notes

The dry leaf reminds me of candy smelling of sour pomegranate flavoured hard candy so I was surprised when the brewed tea reminded me of Christmas. It has a spicy fruity scent that is widely available at that time of year. I’m not sure how old this sample is as I received with an order from I Heart Teas, but the dried leaves still looked bright green and fresh.

As the tea cools one can begin to smell the underlying sweet notes from the sencha, mixing with the fruit and spice. In general the flavouring mostly obliterates the sencha, but I can detect the sweetness and a faint bitterness underneath it. The liquor feels at first creamy on the tongue and the leaves a slight freshness. The pomegranite flavouring is sweet almost like grenadine, but not quite, and the spice seems to be a mix of cinnamon with some cloves and leaves a little cooling sensation in the mouth.

The second steep has less spice and stronger fruit taste it is also not quite as sweet bringing out the tart notes from the fruit. The tea base is still quite strong underneath, suggesting that it will hold up to further steeps. Quite nice.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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