6 Tasting Notes

drank Lishan Oolong by Tea Ave
6 tasting notes

A free sample from Tea Ave by way of Georgia at Notes on Tea. The dry leaf is a lovely dark green with some stems rolled in, with a sweet floral aroma.

I used 5g (half the sample) in my 100ml gaiwan. One rinse, then 30 sec. at 190 degrees. The first steep was light in body and flavor, reminding me of flowers along with baked goods, but there was a strong aftertaste of sweet grass, like those weeds we used to suck and chew on as kids!

I increased the water temp. to boiling and time to 1 min., then 15 sec. longer for each steep after that. Longer steeping brought out butter, more grass flavor and a cinnamon aroma lingering in the cup. Normally I don’t like grassy teas, but this grass is bursting with freshness and very agreeable! And the mouthfeel remains surprisingly light in spite of all the creamy, buttery sensations. The flavors were stronger after cooling a bit.

This tea lasted about 6 good steeps before tapering off. I don’t have much experience with Taiwanese high mountain oolongs, but I found it interesting and delicious! Excited to try my other samples!

Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Creamy, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I had the 2012 batch of these, but I drank several and gave the rest away to friends. They were so well-loved that I will definitely order more. I miss them!

One of these little babies can be infused all day—8 or 10 times at least. It takes a while for the tightly compressed tea to break apart, but it’s delivering deep, fantastic Yunnan Black tea flavor all along. Chocolate, malt, maybe a slight but not unpleasant dryness. I haven’t had them for months but I can still remember the taste and aroma! So satisfying!

Flavors: Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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drank Big Red Robe by TeaSource
6 tasting notes

The dry leaf is lovely: a large strip style oolong with a roasted nut aroma. I put 5-6g in my 150ml gaiwan and rinsed it well (the rinse came out bubbly/cloudy). Brewed for 1 minute at 190 degrees, it produces a honey-colored brew without a very strong aroma or mouthfeel, but it’s pleasant to drink. The 2nd through 4th infusions had the best flavor, after the initial strong roast flavor wore off a bit.

Flavors: Dried Fruit, Floral, Roast Nuts

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I’ve had so many black/lemon blends over the years that I’ve really enjoyed—unfortunately, this isn’t one of them. I think I was expecting more of a “lemon peel” flavor, and the lemon myrtle isn’t the same. There’s something menthol-like in the flavor that I find distracting or overpowering.

I can drink this if I mix it half and half with a straight black tea, but I won’t reorder it.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 30 OZ / 887 ML

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The dry flowers have a light fruity aroma. I put them in my 6 oz. glass teapot and gave them a good rinse, then brewed them for 3 min. at 185 degrees. The resulting medium-dark yellow brew was slightly bitter, so I tried a lower temperature the second time.

5-6g of flowers, 6 oz. of 170 degree water for 3 minutes: Now we’re talking! I got a golden yellow brew without much aroma, but fairly smooth with a mineral aftertaste. The surprise came after I let it cool for a bit—it became much sweeter, with a spicy warm flavor very much like cinnamon and fruit. Drinkable apple cobbler :)

Good for 2-3 infusions using this much “leaf” in a small pot.

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Mineral

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Hei Cha by TeaSource
6 tasting notes

Not really a puerh tea because it’s from Hunan province. This is the first Dark tea I’ve ever tried, and still my favorite. I’ve even served it to friends who are new to post-fermented teas, and they loved it too.

It comes in the form of cubes (probably from a Fu Cha brick) with plenty of “Golden Flower” fungus between the layers of leaf. I broke a cube in half with my puerh knife and gave it a rinse with almost boiling water. Then I brewed it in my 175ml clay pot for 4 minutes with 200 degree water.

This is so easy to drink! The brew is a clear, bright dark brown, with only a subtle aroma and medium body. It’s mellow but fresh and woodsy, with a little earthy umami feeling. It’s very pleasant on the stomach, too.

After the first try, I’ve been brewing a whole cube in 8 oz. of water just under the boil, since it takes about 4 min. each time. You can get at least 4 good infusions by increasing the time as you go along. Perfect to drink any time, all the time!

Unfortunately, I don’t think you can get this from Tea Source anymore. I bought a bunch when I noticed it was being discontinued. It will probably age well.

Flavors: Hay, Mushrooms, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I’ve been enthusiastically drinking tea for decades; it’s always been an absolute necessity for me. But a few years ago, a trip to the Pacific Northwest, including visits to some Chinese tea shops, kicked my interest into high gear!

I still enjoy a good “breakfast tea” or flavored blend once in a while, but spend much more time nowadays on single origin teas brewed gongfu style. I’m even hosting tea tastings for my friends.

I enjoy all tea types, but lean towards black (red), oolong and ripe puerh. Unfortunately, many raw puerhs seem to disagree with my insides :( I’ll try anything once, though!


Honolulu, HI

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