370 Tasting Notes

Buoyed by Dexter’s glowing review of this tea, I finally drank this tea last night.

It has quite a lovely rich, warm flavour. The first steep tasted a little like Chinese grocery store oolong in the orange tin if perhaps a little less nutty but subsequent steeps were much rounder, and richer in flavour with good roasted charred notes, balanced with caramel, cinnamon, stewed black cherries and apricots, cocoa, fall leaves, vanilla cream, and mineral notes. The first steep does have that odd mauvish colour that Dexter noted. Pretty tasty if you like dark roast teas.

The dry leaf is like the picture appearing very dark brown to black. They are heavily charred. The tea was well packaged as the nuggets remain solid and tightly wrapped in shape as I think the level of roasting may make them prone to crumbling.

I steeped the tea 9 times at @95°C after a rinse (40, 35,40,50,70,90,150s, 4min, 6 min), 1.5 TSP in 170ml Taiwan.

The broth was a eddish grey tinged brown for first steep, more red tinged golden brown for others.

40s. Scent Charcoal tinged roasted grain note, caramel, sweet dried apricot mixed with cherry and plum, hint of fall leaves spice note

Taste Toasted grains up front opening to brown sugar caramel note, hints of fruit and leaves layered in bbetween, bitter cocoa mixes with sweet sugar in the aftertaste. black cherry like fruit note becomes stronger as it cools and charcoal moves to the background.

35s scent roasted note, caramel over cherry with cinnamon, cocoa, fall leaves.

Taste Roasted note blended with much stronger cocoa note and fall leaves, over caramel, stewed black cherry and cinnamon.

40s scent. fruit, spice and caramel, moving to the front combined with the cocoa, roasted note moving into background

Taste Caramel, cocoa, with roasted notes over stewed cherries and cinnamon, leaf note gone.

50s. Taste Roasted note caramel cocoa, fruit heading more to dried apricot.

70s taste . Roasted grain, cocoa, caramel, joint of warm fruit with cinnamon. Black liquorice tone in aftertaste.

90s. Taste same as above with a little vanilla cream and the caramel notes are mellowing, but the tea is quite sweet, with a hint of roasted ash note, less fruit, and more cream, cocoa and mineral notes

150 taste sweet notes fading, roasted grain notes, cream, and mineral notes, with fading caramel and cocoa.

5min taste cream, cocoa,roasted,notes,vanilla, caramel., mineral note.

6min taste continuing to fade but still flavourful.

The spent leaves are charred in such away that even though they have unwound the blades remain mostly wound and are curly not flat leaves are dark chocolate brown.

A really nice warm tasting tea!

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drank Papaya and Orange by Bonomelli
370 tasting notes

Despite all the potentially tart ingredients included, this tea smells fantastic. It smells like the small dark rounder papayas that have the darker orange flesh and that taste sweeter, with just a tinge of orange. The colour of the tea even mimics the reddish orange colour of the papaya flesh.

Flavour wise, the first sip does betray the hibiscus but after that it settles down into a pleasant blend of herb and fruit. The papaya is tempered by a note that reminds me of chamomile, though there is no chamomile on the ingredients list, this is followed by a slightly bitter zest of orange ( like Orangina), that is sweetened by liquorice( which is really just a sweet note). I found the tea pleasant and it will probably make a nice cold brew, but the hibiscus is present enough that if you are sensitive it you may not enjoy the tea. However it is very affordable and comes in small 10 bag boxes that makes it suited to us that like diversity, and is definitely worth the risk of trying it. Papaya and Orange do make a very tasty combination.

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This is a good Assam blend, that would be especially nice for someone who likes the fruity, malty spectrum of Assam’s, and that like to take their tea with milk. It has a fair bit of tannins and moderate astringency so it is a good match for rich foods such as a fry up.

The dry leave are dark to chocolate coloured thin blades scattered with golden tips and smell of raisins and chocolate.

I have brewed this tea twice, both times at around 95*C for 3 minutes.

The first time I used 1 TSP per 225 ml. I found this to be a little bit too much leaf for me so I reduced it to about 3/4 TSP the second time.

The broth is a mahogany toned red.

Using 1 tsp resulted in a scent that is very fruity with cherry and citrus notes. Also present were spice, malt, pastry, milk chocolate and a hint of almond tones.

The tea tastes much heavier than it smells. Malt and cocoa are the first tones, followed by cinnamon with a hint of nutmeg and finishing with citrus opening up to cherry almond tone. There is a hint of a light floral if you hold the tea at the front of the mouth and allow air to move over it. The texture created by tannins and astringency are a little too strong to create a biscuit tone. The tea lends itself well to milk and would complement a fry up ( big greasy breakfast) quite well. As it cools the dark cherry and bitter malt tones blend more elegantly together with the cool floral note appearing lightly on top of it. This is a nice and robust tea and quite strong. Brewed this way this is a nice blend for those who like robust, heavily malty, fruity Assam’s. The tannins really coat your tongue, with this tea.

The tea resteeps nicely with citrus note intensifying and the tea tasting sweeter and and a little spicier.

Using 1 /4 less leaf, the first steep is much sweeter, with stronger cocoa notes and less bitter malt. The tea remains fruity, but the cherry note is less apparent. The flavours blend together well and are less distinct than when more leaf is used. The tannins and astringency are still quite apparent. A sweet tone with tinge of caramel is first apparent over cocoa and malt, with the flavour finishing with spice and a slightly tart fruit tone balanced by warm berry tone.

I must thank both Sil and boychik for their generous samples of this tea. It is a nice blend and makes a nice breakfast tea.

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 225 ML
boychik

What a review. I think I’m going to read it not once :)

looseTman

“It has a fasir bit of tannins and moderate astringency …”
“The texture created by tannins and astringency are a little too strong …”
“This is a nice and robust tea and quite strong.”
“The tannins and astringency are still quite apparent.”
Not to be consumed before breakfast on an empty stomach!

yyz

Probably not a good idea if you are intolerant!

TheTeaFairy

Well luckily, I’m not and I’ll take this baby on an empty stomach any given day :-)

yyz

Neither am I, thank goodness as I’ve had times where I’ve existed on nothing else but caffeine:). No food for 16 plus hours, or pushing past those moments you’re so tired you’re freezing…etc

looseTman

I’ve been a tea lover all my life and haven’t had any such issues. However, this Assam, on that day, wasn’t a good idea on an empty stomach. I suspect it was me as I had heartburn for a couple of days afterwards.

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This is one of the green teas I received yesterday! It will probably take me a little while to figure out my preferred parameters but so far I prefer less leaf, higher temperatures and shorter steeps.

This tea has dark green, curled thick, twisted cabled leaves. The leaf smells intensely sweet and fruity.

Using 1 TSP/200ml/85°C/40s the result in tea is a pale green yellow.

The tea smells of blanched fresh peas, cantelope, chestnut and a hint of savoury greens.

The taste is intensely sweet with notes of melon, fresh peas, caramel, rock sugar, a hint of chestnut, and a hint of lilac. The higher temperature produced a thinner brew.
I kept my resteeps to intervals of 5-10s. These steeps had notes of melon, chestnut, peas, caramel, a touch of cocoa, and a touch of lilac spice. They were creamier and had a more balanced flavour sweet with just a hint of bitterness.

Using more leaf (1 TSP / 150ml) produced stronger spinach notes and bitter greens. Lower temperatures resulted in a creamier but more savoury brew.

The seller http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Sunfall-2014-green-tea-premium-organic-tea-bulk/1052197_1837152561.html kindly shipped the tea in two packets whiich will make it easier to keep fresh. It is also available here.: http://h5.m.taobao.com/awp/core/detail.htm?id=38236971307&spm=0.0.0.0

This is a nice very sweet green tea and probably my second favourite of the Rizhao greens I have.

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This tea provided a pleasant accompaniment to my afternoon.

The dry leaf smelled of a powdery chocolate smell with a hint of sugar and raisin as well as a hint of sweet aging straw. The tea never developed the sweetness apparent in the smell.

I brewed this tea 12 times after the rinse and used half a sample packet. ( 10, 20, 25, 30,35,40,45,50,60,80,120,180s). The broth was a brownish red tinged gold.

The first third of the steeps were dominated by a coffee like bitterness created by tones of leather, dried bitter greens, dry fall leaves, dark cocoa and charred dried aged wood. This was tempered by unsweetened cream, plum, warm lemon, and a hint of vanilla orchid.

In middle steeps the leather and bitter greens slowly dissipated and the wood developed a charred aged cedar tone. Honey became apparent underneath the fruit. Tones of sultana and licorice appeared briefly among the cocoa, charred wood, fruit and cream.

The later steeps were dominated by plum charred cedar, cocoa, honey and hints of vanilla orchid.
The tea produced a bright tingling at the front of the mouth and a warmth in the throat.

Thanks Angel I enjoyed this tea very much and appreciate the opportunity to really begin my education in puerh teas!

Once again thanks to the ever generous TeaVivre for their generous samples.

SimpliciTEA

The flavors and aromas you get from this tea is astounding. Do you have a background as a tea sommilier, or did you get some other kind of training to be able to identify the flavors so distinctly?

yyz

Thanks. I actually don’t have any formal training. Informally I grew up in a very multicultural environment and have had exposure to a wide variety of environments. I started cooking by taste when quite young and my mom and I used to go on wine tours from when I was a young teenager. Some of the vintners used to lay out samples from their entire production and I guess my education in discerning tastes and tones began there. I’ve generally had a pretty good sense of taste though! I have travelled a lot as well and it is sometimes interesting how different culinary traditions combine the same ingredients and obtain very different results. Or in some cases use small amounts of a simple ingredient to create a bold transformation in flavour.

SimpliciTEA

Thank you for posting here about your tasting history.

I don’t feel I have a very good sense of taste myself, but it may be in part due to my racing mind, and my hope is that in slowing down I will be better at discerning flavors. I’ve already slightly better at it; I hope my ability to taste continues to improve as I continue to slow my life down.

I also appreciate that last sentence you posted, as it reminds me how the right changes in the right place at the right time, no matter how small, can transform lives.

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drank Keemun Classic by Capital Tea Ltd.
370 tasting notes

This dry tea smells of rye bread that has been allowed to develop a dark crust and is slightly smokey and chocolate and has broken but still fairly large thin leaves ranging in colour from black to milk chocolate brown.

After 3 min at 95°C this tea brews up to a nice reddish copper.

The scent is soothing and warming of light to medium spicy smoke chocolate, a hint of vanilla orchid and a grainy slightly malty note and a hint of fruit.

The tea feels dense in the mouth, with moderate astringency. A sharp fruit tone like dark slightly sour berries and malt are up front, followed by a mild dark chocolate, insence like spice like burning fall leaves, and vanilla orchid to soften and balance the tea. This tea is nice and robust due to the tannins and the astringency. As it cools the chocolate, spicy tone from the smoke ( which is at a level I can appreciate and which enhances the flavour of the tea) and a robust grain tone become dominant and the sharper fruit are minimised. There is a tone that reminds me a little of iron and the flavour reminds me a little of a bitter sweet lava cake I once had.

After a resteep of 4 min the body is a touch thinner and it smells more of chocolate. When hot the sharp berry note is a biy more like a young wine with the sharp berrybalanced by bitter notes from the malt, cocoa, and smoke. There is a nice smokey, grainy element to this steep. This tea could probably take another resteep.

This tea is very nice, with a higher level of caffeine and with enough body to take milk if you prefer your tea that way, and a nice robustness in flavour. It reminds me of being at the field camp in Chapleau watching the mists rise off the lake in early morning and waking to the day in companionable silence. Overall very happy to have this in my cupboard.

looseTman

Awesome review! You have quite a refined palette! Perhaps your Steepster moniker should be Mass_Spectrometer!

looseTman

How does this Keemun compare to others you’ve tasted?

yyz

I haven’t had that many yet. This one definitely has more chocolate tones and is slightly smokier than the ones I’ve had so far. It has a denser mouth feel and more astringency at this temperature. It is a bit more bitter, but this appeals to me as I love espresso. Of the ones I had the Teavivre superfine, reminded me. Of a jinjunmei I had. The whispering pines one had a menthol pine tone that I liked and made the tea very refreshing. The Marie Antoinette one was Avery broken op which was smooth but did not have the resteepability of these other ones. I had an older Zen tea one I liked as well. I’d like to try this one at a lower temp and try it using shorter steeps. It is not as elegant as some of the Keemun’s I’ve had, but I like the robustness, the chocolate notes in it and I appreciate the tones the smoke contributes.

TheTeaFairy

Agreed with looseTman, your descriptions are so colourful! I think you have a lot more taste buds than the average human ;-)

looseTman

Thanks for the detailed reply! We look forward to your lower-temperature results …

boychik

i envy your tastebuds and description abilities;)

looseTman

Or how about, Super-Human_Buds

looseTman

Do you have a culinary background?

yyz

Not professionally. I do like to cook by taste though, and enjoy experimenting with food from different cultures ( one of the joys of living in such a multicultural area). My mom also used to take me on wine tours when I was quite young 13-14. A friend of my mom’s knew the honour of one winery outside of St.Catherine’s and she used to lay out everything she produced that year and we’d sample it all.

looseTman

You might consider adding this background info to your Steepster profile.

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drank Caramel Cream by PureAromaTea
370 tasting notes

I brewed this tea at closer to the recommended temperature of boiling and steeped it for at minutes and at least by the smell it works better for this tea. It smells more like caramel at the base tea smells more floral spicy rather than grassy as I remember it.

Taste wise the base tea is a little marine over a spicy sweet taste that mixes with a dried apricot type flavour. The caramel is present as a sweet buttery foot note but it might be more apparent as the tea cools.

Sipping on this a spinach note is present in the base as well.the flavouring is more apparent as it cools and I am getting that slightly sour tone you get from heated butter mixed with a browned sugar note. I like it best once it has cooled a little bit. Nice enough but I have been spoiled by some of my straight greens and I don’t find myself reaching for flavoured greens very often.

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This tea had a lovely balance between the sweet and the savoury. I didn’t get the strong peach notes until later steeps, but I did get a lot of fruity tones from it including, longan, prune, fig tones, mulberry and lemon. This was bonded to the savoury notes by butter caramel, which evolved into honey, cocoa, malt and cereal notes and a touch of salt. The savoury herbaceous notes I found were, lemon thyme, the flavour you breathe in when you crumble dried oregano, cilantro, cinnamon, and towards the end ginger and artichoke. I got nine steeps out of this tea . (1tsp, 170ml,95°C: rinse, 10, 15,20,25,35,45,60,120,180s), and it has been a pleasant companion today.

Thanks TastyBrew for the opportunity to expand my experience with Taiwanese blacks!

gmathis

Dating myself here…but you know how random creatively phrased adjectives in a review just send you off into goofy land? Fig Tones. Anybody besides me remember the dancing, singing guy in the really bad fig costume in the Fig Newtons commercial circa (cough, cough, choke)…?

yyz

I might of… But then I’ve been told I was born out of my time and that I am ageless:). I was ‘21’ from a time before I was a teenager and than became ‘16’ again when I was 24, when I went back to University they all thought I was 13 years younger than I am. So I don’t think your dating yourself.

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This tea is one of the teas I picked up when I went to the Zen Garden restaurant in Mississauga http://www.zen-garden.ca/ourbranch.html. I need to go back there as I am especially fond of their Gold Monkey and their Osmanthus Dancong. As for this tea it is really nice and is much fresher and brighter tasting than the Lychee teas I have had in the past.

The dry tea has a bright and sharp fruity scent that is different than some of the lychee teas I have had in the past that have softened sweet, or floral fragrances. The scent rich and deep bright lychee fruit with a wine like raisin scent underneath from the base. They balance each other well and are a little spicy.

After 1 minute the broth is a reddish gold tone. It tastes of lychee fruit, a tone that slightly reminds me of dried figs, a rich malt in the base and a flavour that reminds me of a fruity rosé with the fruit, and wine tones mixing with the barest hint of rose. I could see how this could make a nice ice tea.

It resteeps well with consistent lychee flavour and a deepening wine, dark honey and cocoa notes in the base and with the lychee tasting more honey like and rounded with sweet sharp notes tempered with a touch of rose. So far I have steeped this tea three times (1,1.2,2 min) with the tea becoming sweeter and the fruit mellowing a little. Really enjoyable and now added to my Kin’s Zen Tea shopping list.

If you live close to one of their restaurants it is worth dropping in. The prices of their tea is cheaper than online and you can get samples, 25g and 50 g sizes, and you can get some teas in bulk that they only sell in tins online ( ie gold monkey). If not they sell online at http://zentea.ca/category.php?category=0.
TheTeaFairy

Awesome, a restaurant that sells tea :-)
Thanks for the links, I go to Quebec city occasionally, will keep that in mind next time I go.

yyz

:). The one in Mississauga even does tea ceremonies sometimes. Usually, it’s done on Fridays over a business type lunch, which suits its location.

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drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
370 tasting notes

JustJames gifted me a bit of this tea during our swap around Christmas and I am finally getting to it now. It is a lovely tea thanks James !

The dry leaves are long and loosely twisted cables that smell like a lighter grade dark chocolate with hints of Logan and a touch of cinnamon, scents that translate well into the flavour.

I steeped this tea as recommended for short steeps and used 1 TSP/200ml/95°C and steeping time starting at 1 min increasing by 1 min per steep.

The colour of the liquor is a bright reddish tinged golden brown.

Like Terry mentioned today the flavour remains fairly consistent through the steeps . The top note is of longan followed by cinnamon, chocolate, a hint of malt and honey.
The taste is a good balance between cocoa and fruit, there is a slightly buttery creamy tone that blend them together. A faint hint of cinnamon and malt binds everything underneath. As it cools the cocoa scent and taste intensifies. The tea is slightly sweetened by a honey like tone and a faint peppery note mixes with cocoa and honey in the aftertaste. It has a buttery, smooth texture. In resteeps the fruity tone is more apparent, but is softened from the sharper tones of longan.

This was a pretty enjoyable tea with chocolate tones that were easy to obtain, especially as the tea cools. Thanks again James!

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