433 Tasting Notes

I admit I purchased this tea out of curiousity, a purchase review stated that it was a tea they had been looking for and had finally found after trying 30 suppliers. I was wondering what would be the draw for this person. Having had it using gongfu method twice I can say this is an intensely sweet and resilient black tea. I got many steeps with stewed apricot citrus and sweet cherry notes mixed with molasses on top and a nice deep base with cocoa, malt, and coffee, mixed with leather and earth. At times there are mole spice notes of cinnamon, chili and thyme, and baked goods notes ranging from charred crust to butter pastry. The tea is intensely sweet in its early steeps. It almost gave me a sugar headache! Altogether quite enjoyable.

http://instagram.com/p/uwBBJoGK_r/
It can be found here:
Sample sizes: http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Promotion-of-high-grade-tea-Yunnan-Dianhong-2014-2-bags-Free-shipping-Buy-more-get-more/723612_2012109496.html

Full size. . http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-Shipping-Yunnan-Fengqing-Dianhong-tea-lily-bud-straight-gold-Dianhong-single-premium-congou/1743139133.html

The dry leaf smells of fruit and cocoa and are mostly long flat blades with a mix of golden buds and longer dark chocolate brown blades at about a 50/50 mix.

I used 2.5g of leaves in a 140ml gaiwan at 95°C.

The tea had a red toned copper, slightly peachy colour with a yellow gold ring around the edges.

45s Scent: cocoa,hints of smoke and roasted notes, stewed fruits, apricot, red fruit and citrus notes.

Sweet and spicy up front with cocoa and darker malt notes underneath with molasses and hints of roasted notes with a touch of char. Stewed apricots, hints of citrus, and sweeter red fruits up front. It’s interesting because I under leafed this yesterday (2.5g/200ml) and got more leather, earth notes which are pretty well hidden in this steep and the tea was brisker. There is a faint hint of leather in the deeper base notes. Savoury spice notes, hinting at a mole sauce with cinnamon, hints of thyme and chili. In general very sweet with a rich deep base that may appeal to coffee and shou puerh drinkers. The tea has a good dose of caffeine and a hint of briskness with a thick rich texture on the tongue.

30s scent: similar to above with stronger malt tones

Cocoa,molasses,apricot, hints of sweet cherry,less citrus, malt, hints of charred crust,creamy buttery pastry, hints of coffee, mole spice, very sweet lingering aftertaste. Thick dense texture on the tongue with a light briskness creating a cooling texture on the tongue.

40s. Scent: cocoa, red fruit, molasses, malt, apricot, hints of pastry.

Cocoa, apricot, red fruits, citrus notes, molasses, malt, butter pastry, coffee , mole spice and hints of earth and leather, less intensely sweet.

60s indistinct cocoa, molasses, fruit mix.

Apricot, cocoa, molasses ( very sweet again), hints of butter pastry, coffee, malt, cinnamon, hints of earth and leather, and a tarter cherry note.

100s. Scent similar to above

Tarter with malt and red fruit, cocoa, fading molasses, citrus notes some cinnamon.

160s. Similar to above with a slight grain note and some briskness.

240s weakening with molasses fruit and artichoke.

Sil

yay! thanks for the great review!

caile

Yes, great review! :)
haha, I went to aliexpress site but got overwhelmed so had to stop looking – so many choices!

Sil

caile…that’s also why i just live vicariously though yyz’s tasting notes…and sometimes dexter

mrmopar

Agreed, detailed and nice.

yyz

Caile, aliexpress can be overwhelming very true but it can also offer many great opportunities. My advice either attack it with a purpose, is a specific tea, or narrow your search is use x tea sort by price check for sales etc. Then if you find something take the keywords from the description to check for the best price:-). Ali has allowed me to buy directly from farmers, to find out detailed info about tea types and growing regions, and to try new things at good prices. I wouldn’t be afraid of it ( except for the possibility of addiction:-)). As for Han Xiang he started out with mostly Fujian teas but has added more and more Yunnan teas. The 1.99 samples are a good place to start. If buying larger sizes ask him questions and let him know if you are ordering a number of teas he’ll often offer you further discount. He’s reduced my order by 10.00 before even when one of the teas was already on sale.

Sil

for me aliexpress is like walking in to target on black friday when they’re selling things at 1$….

Ubacat

That tea sounds so complex. I’m really curious to try it. I set up an Aliexpress account some time ago but never used it. Just not sure how the whole thing worked compared to EBay .

yyz

Ubacat there are similarities, in fact there are sellers and agents that sell on both platforms. Sellers set up stores, transactions are processed by Aliexpress ( all of my transactions have been processed in the uk) and the system is set up in a way that it is supposed to offer some protection to both parties. Buyer protection is extended for a certain number of days. If you haven’t received the item within that time or if you are trying to resolve an issue with an item with the seller you can request that the seller extend the time period. Most sellers will do this as the do not want to have to go through a dispute process. Once you receive the item you confirm acceptance and you have a certain number of days to Raye a transaction. In Aliexpress 5 stars means that the transaction went as expected or if there was a hickup the seller resolved in an acceptable way and you are happy with everything 4 stars is when you got the product but something about the transaction was dissapointing. 3 stars or below is generally reserved for unacceptable service, unhappy disputes, misleading or unacceptable products etc. Generally most sellers will try to resolve any issues with you before you leave a rating so I have never had a need to leave a negative one. There is a new alipay system which is meant to be like PayPal. I haven’t tried it yet. The Cc transactions have been fine for me. Otherwise, if you have any questions it pays to ask them before buying. I. General though I have been happy with my transactions and I have bought some nice teas. Don’t discount sellers who sell tea as a side to their main business. I have got good products from these sellers as well. At times they are selling tea they or their family produce themselves.

caile

Thanks yyz, that’s good advice and I will certainly give it a try. I think I’ll try to start out small, and the samples look like a good way to begin my exploration. :-)

caile

lol That’s the temptation, Sil!

Sil

i know..i know.. but its overwhelming for me

Ubacat

Thanks for all the advice yyz! I did go on and log in. That seller has some nice samples. Do you find your credit card is secure on Aliexpress?

Ubacat

Sil, I know there’s so much! Even on Ebay. All I have been doing on Ebay is mostly going with recommended sellers.

yyz

I’ve never had a problem. Your credit card info is handled by Aliexpress and sellers don’t have access to it.

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drank Black Bi Luo by King's Zen Tea
433 tasting notes

This tea is not as sweet as some teas of this style I have had. Instead has an interesting combination of tart malt and fruit notes and bitter cocoa with some grain notes and touches of molasses and sweeter fruit. An interesting fig note appears during some steeps. Altogether it makes a nice and interesting everyday tea.

I steeped 1.5tsp in 200ml of 95°C water. I got several steeps out of this tea and enjoyed it all day.
http://instagram.com/p/ui-eaVGK2B/

50s First notes are malt, and a slightly apply fruit tone mixed with barley. Underneath is cocoa and the deeper bitter tones of molasses. Smooth but robust and deep flavour. Has some nice sharp tart tones countered by bitter and slightly sweet tones. As it cools tart tones and bitter notes soften with more grainy cocoa notes and touches of honey. The tea has a certain liveliness on the tongue, not really s astringency but a sense of evervesence like a nicely pulled espresso.

40s. More cocoa and grainy notes. Cocoa and malt are dominant. With a bitter cocoa note. Grainy notes thicken the tea followed by fruit and molasses notes. The fruit note is an apple plum note. Hint of dried fig.

50s similar to above slightly more grainy, with a hint of cream. Malt, cocoa,plum, and fig still present. Hints of savoury spice, lemon thyme and cinnamon.

90s similar but weakening.

3 min malt cocoa, fig, light grain notes and a touch of molasses.

Fjellrev

That’s an excellent description. :)

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drank Polka by Betjeman and Barton
433 tasting notes

The dry broken leaf tea has a sharp tang of orange softened by sweet, warm and round fruit notes.

After a 3min25s steep, the tea is wafting scents of baked goods mixed with grainy malt mixed with cherry note softened by the strawberry and peach notes and tempered by the orange.

Orange, malt, and a denser baked good note ( like scones) are the first flavour notes apparent. The tea feels dense in the mouth and could easily take additives. In later sips cherry and strawberry are present in the initial burst of flavour before dissolving into orange. The tea has a strong dose of caffeine and while not astringent feels kind of bracing. Having said that the tea with its dense texture is slightly bready but not overly tannic and is generally smooth. As the tea cools further the sweeter fruit notes become more apparent and balanced with the orange. While I feel no particular need to own this tea, the quality of the base and the subtlety in the flavouring confirms my interest in eventually making as phone order to try more of Betjeman and Barton’s teas. Thanks Dexter for giving me a chance to try one before doing so!

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I have had tea by this company before but bought through a reseller. I picked this up during an Aliexpress sale and got about 250g for under 7$. The tea itself smells of malty chocolate and grain notes with a touch of sugar. The leaf consists of fairly long thin flat folded blades that are dark chocolate brown with occassional hints of golden tips. http://instagram.com/p/t5wNzvmK_E/

I got this tea as part of my search for an amazing Lapsang I’ve sampled before. This is not that tea but it is still very nice. This tea has a higher degree of malt than some Lapsang I have had, it also has a sort of bready texture which is reflected in the taste of some Gongfu steeps. I steeped this tea in both western and Gongfu styles. While the western steep has a nice scalded milk hot chocolate flavour in the first steeps, it really only lasted three steeps so I was expecting great resiliency when steeped Gongfu style, surprisingly I got 9 steeps out of it.

I steeped 3g in 150ml of 95°C water. My steeping times were 5,15,20,35,45, and 65s then 2,5 and 6 minutes. The first steep was a deep aged saffron colour after which the tea was a red toned bright copper.
http://instagram.com/p/t51LPGmK4j/

The tea smelt of: cocoa,longan,apricot, hints of citrus, caramel, malt, faint hints of smoke and roasted notes, cinnamon, and a touch of molasses.

It tasted of: cocoa,longan,apricot, hints of citrus, caramel, malt, faint hints of smoke and roasted notes, cinnamon, sandalwood, and pepper, barley, cashews and a touch of molasses. The last few steeps were mostly malt, cocoa, and grain notes as the tea began to loose complexity after steep 5.

The tea had a fairly bready texture as a result of a mild astringency and tannins. And had hints of malty greasiness in even the early steeps.

Although the western steep is tasty this tea does very well as a Gongfu tea. It does have a good body to it and lies in the middle of the scale in strength of flavour of the low to no smoke Lapsang Souchong’s I have had. It is very enjoyable and I don’t regret purchasing this huge bag.

As a side note, this company shipped very quickly and I received it earlier than some of my Chinese purchases. I did have a small issue with some items being absent from my order. However this was addressed immediately and without complaint by the seller. They sent the missing items along with some extra samples almost immediately. I held back confirming my acceptance until all items were received. Overall I was impressed with their professionalism and would do business with them again.

I look forward to comparing this tea with the fall tea, as I have a few samples of it.

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Capital Tea Ltd sent me a new batch of this and I though I’d try it today.

The tea is a beautiful bright toned copper red. The scent is of malt and spice with tones of yam, cocoa, butter, warm toned stone fruit and honey underneath.

The top notes are spice and citrusy malt. The spice is slightly floral and is savoury with cinnamon and hints of thyme, mixed with lemon tones in the malt. This is followed by smooth plum and yam mixed with honey and a bit of cherry and a stronger cinnamon note with butter, finally the tea portrays a mild bitterness from malt and cocoa. This is a rich, mildly bitter toned and spicy sweet, malty tea with nice fruit and spicy floral notes.

I steeped this tea for 3 minutes versus 3.5 minutes for last seasons tea, but the differences I noticed between these two batches is that this one may be more floral and seems to be less thick tasting with less of a molasses note.

Regardless this tea is quite strongly flavoured and would support milk well. It makes for a very nice start to the day.

http://instagram.com/p/tf3J2UmKxk/

Fjellrev

That’s a mightily adorable teacup, and this tea sounds wonderful. Then again, most Assams do.

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drank Vanilla Black Tea by Capital Tea Ltd.
433 tasting notes

The dry leaf of this tea smells of vanilla custard and chocolate and is composed of large pieces of broken leaf orange pekoe and occasional short pieces of vanilla bean. The leaves are thin and tightly folded blades.

I breweed this tea for the recommended 3 minutes at 95°C. The tea brews up to a rich golden red with a gold ring around the edge of the cup. It smells of vanilla custard with a warm sweet vanilla note behind it with a touch of caramel and cream, a hint of malt and tarter fruit is peaking out behind the vanilla.

The first sip is a blend of a cooler vanilla taste, a bit like that found in good ice cream, mixed and balanced with a light bitterness from malt. It leaves a cooling sensation in the mouth. Underneath is a faintly vegetal note mixed with slightly tart stone fruit. There is a hint of an almost eucalyptus note and there is a caramel note up front that mixes with the vanilla. Best drunk slowly to fully appreciate the warm vanilla notes dissipating in the mouth and opening up first through malt, fruit and ahint of wood and cocoa, then finalling to a cooling eucalyptus. The vanilla is up front in the flavour and is distinct. Their are hints of it in the aftertaste but the aftertaste is more a blend of fruit, eucalyptus and bitter malt tones with the vanilla to temper them and smooth them out. Quite a nice vanilla tea. The vanilla is quite natural tasting and distinct, but does not overpower the tea itself which is quite robust. I could easily restock this in the future.

Fjellrev

Sounds wonderful!

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This is another Ceylon from Capital Tea Ltd. The description of raisins, malt and caramel, left me expecting a rich, warm sweet tea, however I would describe it more as a bright, sweet, brisk tea. Its still very nice, just not quite what I was anticipating. This makes a nice morning or afternoon tea, it’s lively and has a nice dose of caffeine.

The dry leaves are long, thin and wiry lightly twisted blades that smells like rye bread. After steeping for 3.5 minutes at 95°C they produce a clear copper coloured tea with a sweet scent of caramel over sweet potato with fruit.

The tea tastes of spice (a hint of nutmeg with cinnamon), mixed with a dry hay note that is followed with a hint of aged cedar, over a bright sweet fruit note of grapes drying on the vine that are not quite raisins, or very fresh yellow Sultanas. There are hints of malt and barley underneath mixed with notes of caramel. The overall impression is of a bright and fruity tea with a light bitterness underneath it to give it depth. There is a light astringency which contributes to this impression. The resteep is a deeper red gold colour and is slightly sweeter and rounder tasting and is very faintly floral with a hint of rose and is distinctly more malty, with caramel in the aftertaste.

Although I still prefer the Lumbini estate tea, this is a nice light and bright tea that offers a nice contrast and is quite enjoyable.

http://instagram.com/p/taqG-lmK9N/

Parsifal

Love the photo… thanks for the review :)

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
433 tasting notes

Today I decided to compare to Zhenghe teas Tao Tea Leaf’s Zhenghe gongfu, Jin Ping village http://www.taotealeaf.com/zhenghe-gongfu-black-tea-jin-ping-village/ and Titan teas Zhenghe Gongfu. http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Fujian-Zhenghe-Gongfu-Black-Tea-herbal-tea-health-tea-Chinese-100g-bagged-tea/1359449_1980624893.html

I decided to use western brewing for this comparison starting with the following parameters:
2g/2 min/95°C/150ml water

http://instagram.com/p/tYLxcFGK4v/

Titan tea

Dry leaf. Long folded and lightly twisted and curled dark brown leaves with dome copper brown tips. The tea smells of carob with grain notes.

Brewed colour.clear deeper copper brew.

2 min.
Scent. Hot Chocolate, cinnamon, stone fruit, hint of yam.

Taste. Hot chocolate, roasted grain/leaf note, caramel, hint of a mineral note, cinnamon, hint of yam and cherry.

3min. hints of molasses chocolate, fruit, cinnamon

Smooth, cream, chocolate, roasted notes, caramel, cinnamon, plum. Very sweet aftertaste.

4min. Cocoa, hints of citrus notes, spice

Grain, cocoa, molasses, spice, faintly peppery, cream, plum.

5.3 min. Cocoa, grain, hints of citrus, peppery notes, caramel, hints of plum.

Tao Tea Leaf

Dry leaf shorter, smaller and thinner than the titan tea slightly more wound but still loosely wound leaves with some copper, gold tips.
Scent, fall leaves, grain, and cocoa notes.

Brewed Colour. copper

2 min
Scent. Longan, plum, honey, grainy notes, hints of cocoa.

Taste, longan, floral, spicy, grainy note with cinnamon and ppepper, honey, cream and a hint of cocoa, slight astringency and cooling in the mouth, hints of cherry and stone fruit with the cocoa.

3min longan, grain, honey, hints of cocoa

Honey, grain,longan, cocoa, hints of cream, plum and a peppery floral spice, tingly on the tongue. Aftertaste of longan, cocoa,cream and honey.

4 min grain, hints of longan, cocoa, pepper, hints of plum.

5.30 min. Grain, longan, honey, cocoa, pepper, cinnamon, cherry, hints of nuts.

First steep picture http://instagram.com/p/tYNfikGK7h/

Flavour wise these are quite different teas. Tao’s tea is bright and llively, peppery, and complex, with more grain notes, less chocolate, and nutty, floral notes. Whereas Titans tea has a lot of Chocolate. They are both quite resilient, still yielding a lot of flavour after 4 western steeps. I enjoy both teas and am glad to have them in my cupboard.

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drank Keemun Xiang Luo by Capital Tea Ltd.
433 tasting notes

Xiang Luo roughly translates into fragrant snail and is a tea that combines the processing methods of traditional keemun and biluochun. It is produced from whole bud first flush tea and yields a rich and fragrant tea deserving of its name.

This tea has fairly long tightly wound glossy black leaves that are loosely coiled into corkscrews. Occasional golden brown tips are seen among the dark coils.
The dry leaf smells of chocolate, caramel and grainy notes.

The tea smells complex and spicy with chocolate and caramel rising first from the cup, and with light longan mixed with plum and other stone fruits underneath mixed with bright spicy notes of cinnamon mixed with a tone resembling bay leaves and some upper tones of malt.

I used a TSP (@ 1.5g of tea)/225 ml in just off boiling water steeped for 3.5 minutes.
The resulting tea has light longan mixed with honey and spice flavour notes up front that are blended with buttery caramel. The spice is lightly floral and is pleasant and bright. Cocoa is underneath mixed with a tone that is a slightly bitter sweet but mixed with cooked barley mash. The overall effect is a creamy, sweet and bright tea, that is well balanced with deeper lightly bitter notes. There is a light astringency but this is countered by the the body and creaminess of the tea. The tea produces a cooling effect in the mouth. There is no determineable smokiness.

The Resteep at 4.5min is similar in flavour in colour, but is slightly more tart, with more apparent malt and grain tones. The tea remains spicy and sweet though with chocolate, spicy floral and fruit tones. It is peppery and cool on the tongue, yet remains very smooth. The tea is still very flavourful suggesting it may yield another resteep. Altogether it is a really tasty cup, with a nice dose of caffeine and is suitable for all day drinking.

http://instagram.com/p/tIeqQFGK-3/

Thanks Capital Tea Ltd for the sample. I would definitely consider repurchasing this tea in the future!

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