111 Tasting Notes


While visiting TenFu’s in Beijing, I could not resist this tea and bought another jasmine tea to compare them both. Not sure exactly what the price difference between the two was; I would say something like 40% more for the pearl.
The little balls make it quite easier to use and for evaluation of the right quantity (2 balls for the first cup + 1 each, more or less). The smell is not very strong when opening the bag, much lighter than “regular” jasmine teas.
I always find the steeping disturbing (even after something like 20 to 30 teapots). The color remain very very light, however long I steeped it; once I probably forgot it for more than 10 minutes. The smell is quite delicate : not too strong on the jasmine, neither on the tea. Same thing when drinking : the taste feels really delicate, stronger on Jasmine at first then the green tea takes over.
A real bonuss : the tea never gets really bitter.
I really have the feeling those two smells and aromas just managed to be perfectly mixed together in this tea. And every time I prepare it, I get the same feeling “wow this is way better than jasmine tea”.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Jasmine Tea by TenFu's Tea
111 tasting notes

There were a few different quality jasmine tea at TenFu’s (5 or 6 if my memory is right); the highest being Pearl, the others ranging from full / almost full leaves to small pieces / fannings.
I bought both the pearl (to be reviewed separately) and the highest grade of jasmine tea leaves.
Most of the leaves / pieces od leaves are around 2 cm long; some stems also found their way into the bag :(
The tea color is a golden yellow. The smell is nice; the taste strong both on tea and jasmine – the two tastes being quite distinguishable. I noticed it’s important not to let it steep long, as it turns quite bitter.
Overall this is a nice jasmine tea, but nothing wowed me; it jut felt like a good very standard and bland blend. I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish the pack I have.
I’ve also tried it iced (with a hot steep, which I believe is imperative to avoid the bitterness); it’s just ok.
I would recommand to any potential buyer to put the few more bucks required to upgrade to the Pearl rather than get this one.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Boh is the Lipton/Twinings of Malaysian highlands. Most of its tea being sold bagged in supermarket, with even 2 in 1 (tea+sugar) or 3 in 2 (tea+sugar+cream) mix available, that makes me cringe each time I see them.
While visiting the plantation, I decided to give a chance to the highest quality teas offered and chose 2 out of the 3, based on the look at the leaves and quick smell.
The leaves are quite long and actually look like dried and partly rolled leaves from a tree. At each opening of the box, I smell it and come back with this only feeling : nice black tea, but…
After the steeping, the tea color is golden honey like, clear.
The taste is quite nice and reminds me of a forest, starting with a green taste like grass or green leaves and switching to a more earthy aftertaste. To my opinion, it seems like the taste of a perfect black tea, completely pure and excluding any kind of flavour.

Now come the ridiculous part, which shows how far I still am from knowing much about tea. On the box I had read flowery pekoe; I remembered having drunk orange pekoe long ago. I wrongly assumed this tea would be flavoured with the flowers of a citrus tree;) Therefore I was surprised not to notice any tangy smell on the leaves, neither on the tea while/after steeping, nor any taste while drinking it.
I then decided to research a bit and understood that flowery pekoe just relates to the quality of the leaves selected for making the tea; flowery pekoe being either the highest or second highest quality range, according to this British classification used throughout India and former British colonies (such as Malaysia).

So this is probably the explanation to my good but not excellent rating to this tea. Despite my conviction this tea is probably a very fine unflavored black tea, but I’ll probably never know for sure as I’m not so keen on black teas, especially when unflavored. At least, this tea helped me understanding that.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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When I saw this silicone tea infuser and read the promises, I thought I had found a solution to the dripping of tea-balls all over my table or kitchen counter, a solution that would allow me to use only this “magic” spoon, instead of my measuring spoon, the tea ball in 2 parts and the small dish to put the tea-ball after infusing. I did not buy it straight away as I found it a bit expensive. But the colors were so nice.
After about one month, I finally bought it and brought it home very excited.
Then I started using it and reality quickly came back.
1. I mostly brew tea in a teapot (750 or 1000 ml); most of the tea infuser handle gets into the brewing water. It’s not so easy when taking it out to get a strong grip on the wet and hot handles to squeeze sufficiently the infuser, so that it does not drip
2. the silicone egg comes in 2 parts that get closed with the help of small magnets on both side of the egg. The egg can also slide along the metallic handle. As a result, I’ve noticed that both parts of the egg are sometimes not perfectly aligned and then do not close perfectly tight, which means some of the tea leaves end up in the teapot. Moreover, it seems to happen more often when I’m brewing small loose rooibos rather than jasmine pearls or large oolong leaves ;)
3. last thing, after maybe 5 uses, the silicone around one metallic bar out of 4 split vertically; this side of the egg probably tend to move more which probably increased the frequency of problem number 2.
4. the egg opens very largely; I’ve actually never managed to get loose tea from an aluminum tea bag out in the spoon and then close the spoon without spilling half of it over my counter. So I still use the measuring spoon as it’s more convenient.
Honestly I’ve actually come back to my basic tea-balls for most of the time.

In my opinion, his product is a nice-looking but expensive gadget, a bit fragile and not so convenient as promised. I do not recommend its purchase, though it might be somehow practical for use directly in a cup/mug at work, for instance.

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This tea has a very special place in my heart. It’s the first high-quality tea I ever drank. One of my best friend has been drinking it for years and I regularly shared it with her while being student (more than 15 years ago). Each time I go to her place, I still enjoy a few cups with her, like a comforting tradition, even though she also has some other teas. I’ve never bought it, as I really associate it with enjoying a moment with this friend.
Each time, as soon as I smell the steaming cup and start to drink it, I remember why my friend likes it so much and why she has real good taste.

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Why did I order that, instead of a bottle of water with a lunch pack ? I still wonder…
When opening the can and pouring the drink in a glass, no smell can be detected. The color is rather yellowish and the drink not too clear.
Drinking it, what do I taste ? Sugar. Sugar. Sugar. Then I remember it’s supposed to contain honey, I try to check whether the sugary feeling could come from honey; not sure, so not sure and not convinced I wonder how much honey there actually is in there.
Which makes me also wonder how much tea or chamomile flowers are actually used by the way.
From my once-tasting experience not to be renewed in the future, I would assume 2g would be sufficient to prepare a few liters of this decidedly poor beverage.


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I had the opportunity to drink this tea for a few weeks without any alternative, but cheap instant coffee. That was quite tough because it really is not good.
I’ve tried reducing the steeping time each day, hoping to reduce the overwhelming bitterness, up to only a few seconds. The taste is then a mixture of bitter and waterish. The smell of the bag before use is really not so nice; the smell of the hot brew not very appealing either. The color quickly turned really dark and did not seem clear, as if it were full of particles in suspension. Looking at the bag, it did not seem there was anything but brownish-black powder in there.
This was probably the worst tea I ever drank; I wondered sometimes if drinking plain hot water would not be preferable.
Drinking this tea reminded me of the chance I have to be able to enjoy much nicer quality teas or even standard Lipton or Twinings.

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Earl Grey by Twinings
111 tasting notes

This is the tea I drank last week-end for breakfast in a hotel. I had already had it before in the same conditions but did not remember what I had thought or not paid enough attention. This time I did.
The taste was ok, stronger on the bergamot than on the tea side, which is to be expected considering the fact there are not tea leaves in the bag but only small pieces, that leaks black powder at the bottom of the teapot.
For a widely available throughout supermarkets at a reasonable price, I found it reasonably pleasant. Not a tea I would buy, but one I would really prefer to a classic yellow lipton for instance !

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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I’ve started drinking much more tea quite recently, almost completely quitting espresso for it!
I’ve been introduced to high quality tea by one of my best friend, MF Marco Polo addict since more than 20 years. I’ve only rarely bought tea-bags since then, preferring the quality-price ratio of loose leaves.
I drink my tea natural, without any milk, sugar or sweetener. I only add honey when a sore-throat is coming along.
I usually either brew a large pot at home or resteep my leaves at the office. I cannot seem to learn to master the use of a gaiwan in an elegant and not clumsy way…
My tea preferences :
- I really like flavored black teas, with a preference for fruity flavors, from a tangy Earl Grey to a real fruit smoothie-like tea. I’m trying some single origin unflavored blacks from time to time but always end up having trouble to finish them. I usually do not really enjoy the strong breakfast teas.
- I do not like chai or teas with strong spice flavors. Strange considering I really like spicy food, but not what I drink.
- I am quite afraid of pu-erh and lapsang souchong, though I probably have never drunk any real good ones and I’m quite sure it can make a huge difference… A few years ago, I had been introduced to scotch whisky and can definitely attest that you cannot say you don’t like whisky, if you’ve only drunk blended stuff and not tasted yet single malts. I hope to get the same happy discovery for those teas.
- I discovered very good oolong, without going through the step of drinking bad-one first, and really enjoy it, especially with a meal. I’ll definitely try some flavored oolongs in a near future.
- I’ve just started discovering white teas, which feels very delicate. The only problem is that those can be awfully expensive…
- I also really like rooibos which I discovered a few years ago while searching for low-theine/caffeine teas that I could drink at night without suffering from insomnia.
- As with green tea, we’ve had a long-standing difficult relationship. I’ve occasionally had some that were real smooth, refreshing and so very many that turned bitter very quickly. And I cannot stand a bitter tea.
- As for jasmine tea, I used to like it but have indeed drunk too much of some bad quality bitter brew, and now I even have problem finishing the high-quality pearls I bought in Beijing.
- Yerba Mate: I’ve had some in one blend and am quite convinced that I would never like that as bitterness is one of its main characteristics. I’ll try to avoid it like the plague.
- Herbal tea: I used to drink more or those before discovering rooibos; finding good ones is unfortunately really difficult – even in organic shops, the herbs sold are far from great.
I loathe artificial flavoring of any kind in any beverage or food.

I’m quite opiniated and try to leave room for further improvement and better discoveries, which explain why I haven’t rated any tea in the 95 and above range.
Teas above 80 are among my favorites
Between 60-80, I could or could not give them a second chance or recognize that they are made with high-quality ingredients though their taste does not please my buds.
Around 50, it starts to be rather bad and a not so pleasant experience to drink.
25 to 40+ cover low quality products that I manage to drink when nothing else is available.
Below that, it’s really vile and basically almost undrinkable IMHO.



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