342 Tasting Notes

86

I received this tea as a free sample in my last What-Cha order. It’s always nice to try something new from Jun Chiyabari, which produces some of the best, most interesting teas from Nepal. I steeped around 2.5 g of leaf in a 355 ml mug at 195F for 3, 4, 5, and 7 minutes.

The dry aroma is of cocoa, roasted almonds, malt, and wood. The first steep has pronounced notes of fudgy darker chocolate and roasted almonds, plus malt, cream, barley, brown sugar, hints of red grape, and wood. The tea has a slightly drying finish and a vegetal aftertaste along with the chocolate (Togo describes it as bell peppers). The next steep introduces flavours of butter, honey, and bread, though the chocolate is still the star. The final couple steeps have a more attenuated chocolate flavour and have notes of earth and chilli leaf, which is something I’ve tasted in other Jun Chiyabari teas.

This is a lovely chocolate tea, though it lacks some of the complexity I’ve found in other teas from this producer (Himalayan Spring comes to mind). I wish I’d gotten more fruity flavours, as other reviewers have. Nonetheless, it’s a cozy, well-crafted tea that I should have consumed during the winter.

On a related note, Alistair is offering 1 pound for each review that is submitted on his site until the end of June. I’ve been contributing to my Jin Jun Mei and Lapsang fund for a few days now. :)

Flavors: Almond, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Chili, Cocoa, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Grapes, Green Bell Peppers, Honey, Malt, Roasted Barley, Tannin, Vegetal, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 355 ML
Daylon R Thomas

Yeah, I’m going to get on that….there’s so many I need to post.

Leafhopper

Yeah, you probably have more What-Cha reviews than me! Sorry I didn’t post this in the Miscellaneous Sales thread a little earlier.

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Chun Ya is a green tea I haven’t heard about that often, and the dearth of notes on it suggests I’m not the only one. I steeped around 3 g of leaf in an 85 ml teapot at 185F for 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 80, 120, and 240 seconds. I also steeped about 2 g of tea in 200 ml of 185F water starting at 4 minutes, adding hot water as needed.

The dry aroma is of flowers, green beans, and chestnuts. The first gongfu steep has notes of green beans, spinach, chestnuts, grass, and faint florals. The next steep has a hoppy/piny bitterness and adds brussels sprouts and watercress. The next couple steeps have notes of hops, cilantro, spinach, asparagus, and chestnuts and are getting bitter. The final few steeps are predictably earthy and bitter, with notes of brussels sprouts, spinach, and grass.

As with the other green teas, bowl steeping brings out many of the pleasant notes (chestnuts, hops, florals, asparagus, spinach) without the increasingly unpleasant bitterness. What it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in drinkability.

I have to say that to my untrained palate, these green teas are much of a muchness. This one is less savoury than the Lu Shan Yun Wu but less nutty/sweet/elegant than the Huo Shan Huang Ya and Bi Luo Chun. I think I would repurchase all of these three teas instead of this one. I already cheated on this drink-all-my-green-teas project with a Red Jade hongcha from What-Cha and an Alishan from Tillerman (no regrets!). However, I will keep forging ahead. Thanks to Teavivre for the samples!

Flavors: Asparagus, Bitter, Butter, Chestnut, Earth, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Hops, Pine, Spinach, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 85 ML

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I don’t have a previous note for this tea, even though I ordered it based on the impression that I’d tried and liked it. I also remember having a very fresh Lu Shan Yun Wu from Yunnan Sourcing a few years ago. I steeped around 4 g in an 85 ml pot at 185F for the recommended 20, 30, and 50 seconds, plus extra steeps of 70, 90, 120, and 240 seconds. I also grandpa steeped around 1 g in 200 ml of water.

The dry leaf smells like veggies and nuts stir fried in butter, with green beans, soybeans, asparagus, and greens. The first steep has notes of chestnuts, butter, asparagus, green beans, soybeans, spinach, and umami. I imagine that this tea would go well with food, as others have found. The profile doesn’t change much over the session, though the bitterness increases near the end. The chestnuts and umami stick around, which is nice.

Grandpa steeping produces almost the same results, though without the bitterness. The body of the tea is especially thick in the early part of the session.

This is a simple but tasty tea whose resemblance to a stir-fry is oddly appealing. I will enjoy playing with my remaining 5 grams, but I think this is a once-a-year spring indulgence for me rather than a daily drinker.

Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Chestnut, Green, Green Beans, Nutty, Savory, Soybean, Spinach, Thick, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 85 ML

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I remember getting samples of this tea in the past, but I don’t have a note for it. Maybe they’re still in the vaults. I steeped around 4 g of tea in an 85 ml teapot at 185F for 15, 15, 20, 30, 50, 70, 90, 120, and 240 seconds. I also grandpa steeped slightly less than a teaspoon of leaf in a 200 ml cup for 4 minutes, adding hot water as needed.

The dry aroma is of green beans, nuts, corn, spring flowers, and grass. The first gongfu steep has notes of green beans, asparagus, nuts, lilac, narcissus, and grass. The second adds corn and is slightly bitter. The next couple steeps are beany, buttery, and floral, with faint hints of melon. The body of this tea is pleasantly thick. The melon and florals persist into the next couple steeps, but the tea becomes increasingly bitter, with asparagus, kale, and grassy notes. The end of the session is all bitter veggies.

Surprisingly, steeping this tea grandpa style decreased the bitterness and brought out the corn, florals, and melon. Maybe this is because I used substantially less tea. It never got overwhelmingly bitter, instead fading to a grassy, saline finish.

This tea has many of the flavours I enjoy in high mountain oolong, though it’s definitely more vegetal. I was surprised that grandpa steeping didn’t increase the bitterness, but instead highlighted the fruit and florals. I may need to try this method with the other Teavivre greens.

Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Kale, Lilac, Melon, Narcissus, Nuts, Salty, Sweet Corn, Thick, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 85 ML

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75

I’m not sure I’m posting this note in the right place since most other reviews of this tea are so old, but the package just says Huang Shan Mao Feng without any modifiers like Premium or Organic. I was excited to read on Teavivre’s website that this is a floral green tea reminiscent of my beloved Taiwanese green oolong. I steeped 5 g of leaf in a 150 ml teapot at 185F for 30, 60, and 90 seconds, plus steeps of around 3, 3, 4, 5, and 10 minutes.

The dry aroma is of savoury veggies like asparagus and beans, orchids and other florals, nuts, and seaweed. The first steep is lighter than I expected, with strong beany, saline, and vegetal notes and a floral sweetness that is indeed similar to high mountain oolong. (However, this tea can’t be mistaken for anything other than a green.) I also get that chestnut taste I associate with a lot of green teas and a slight bitterness. The next steep is buttery, beany, slightly bitter, and floral, with asparagus and kale making it more vegetal than I prefer. It was gone within a few seconds of being poured, an indication that this tea is surprisingly easy to drink. Steep three is a little more vegetal. I lost count on the fourth steep, which amped up the bitterness to levels I found to be unpleasant. The aftertaste is of spring flowers, including lilacs, and grass clippings. The final steeps are pretty bitter, though I also got lazy with the timing.

I’m not sure what to think about this tea. The florals are great, but it becomes bitter easily. I also steep out my green teas until the (bitter) end of their flavour, which is perhaps not the best thing to do. It somehow feels wrong to make three steeps of a tea and then throw it out, even with my extensive tea museum.

Flavors: Asparagus, Bitter, Butter, Chestnut, Cut Grass, Floral, Green Beans, Kale, Lilac, Orchid, Seaweed, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
LuckyMe

This is one tea that gets hyped a lot but I found it to be pretty generic. I’ve only had it from Teavivre though. I might try another vendor before giving up on this tea.

Leafhopper

It would be fun to try the various Mao Fengs from The Sweetest Dew, but it’s a lot to spend on green tea that I might not like/appreciate. Maybe I’ll order some greens from Camellia Sinensis next year.

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A while ago, I won five spring 2022 tea samples in a draw, one of which is this yellow tea. (I then added two 10 g samples and got two more 5 g packets for free, giving me eleven 5 g pouches of tea and making it worth the small shipping fee.) This is my first yellow tea, and I’m not sure what to expect. I more or less followed Teavivre’s instructions and steeped 5 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 185F for 60, 70, 80, 90, 120, and 240 seconds, plus a few uncounted steeps.

The aroma of these trichome-heavy leaves is of chestnuts, spinach, grass, and bok choy. It smells like a fresh green tea, which makes me think of spring. The first steep has a thick body and flavours of candied chestnuts, spinach, bok choy, grass, green beans, umami, butter, and faint florals. The second steep is even sweeter and reminds me of a Long Jing, with more nuts, minerals, honey, and umami. The minerals and veggies increase in the next couple steeps, though the tea is still nutty and floral. The flavours fade gradually over the session, though the final steeps are still fairly sweet.

Although I still probably couldn’t pick a yellow tea out of a lineup of greens, I enjoyed this sample and will look for more yellow teas in the future. I still don’t like drinking my veggies, but the nutty sweetness of this tea made me happy. I’ve decided not to rate these teas since I have so little of them, but this one would rank in the low to mid eighties.

Flavors: Bok Choy, Butter, Chestnut, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Mineral, Spinach, Sweet, Thick, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Michelle

Nutty sweet hay is what I think of the few yellow teas I have tried.

Leafhopper

I can’t remember tasting hay in this one, but that’s good to know for future reference. I think Camellia Sinensis has yellow teas from time to time.

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93

I bought a 10 g box of this tea in my last Camellia Sinensis order in 2020. I was just beginning to be interested in Fujian teas, and thought this would be a good representative. I steeped 5 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma of these fuzzy leaves is of lavender, rose, pastry, malt, and honey. The first steep has notes of lavender, rose, jasmine, other flowers, earth, pastry, honey, pine, and tannins. The bottom of the cup smells like floral marzipan (yum!). The next steep introduces baked bread, butter, and faint cocoa on a lovely floral base. Spices, including cinnamon, emerge in steep three, and the tea starts becoming more herbaceous. By steep five, the tea is more vegetal with a nice honey floral finish, faint malt, and persistent lavender. I even start getting those dill pickle notes I’ve gotten in other Jin Jun Meis. Later steeps are not as flavourful and are a mix of honey, herbs, pastry, malt, and tannins with some metallic notes.

As someone who likes floral teas, I found a lot to be happy about in this Fujian hongcha. It has a complex profile and evolves nicely throughout the session. If it weren’t over $1 per gram, I’d consider buying 50 g of it, but there are similar teas at a lower price point.

Flavors: Bread, Butter, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Dill, Earth, Floral, Herbaceous, Honey, Jasmine, Lavender, Malt, Marzipan, Metallic, Pastries, Pine, Rose, Spices, Tannin, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Daylon R Thomas

Thank you so much for sending me some! I was wondering if this was an oolong or a black. I will be very happy to try it out!

Leafhopper

Oops, I thought it said it was a black tea on the box. I sent it to you specifically because it was a Fujian black tea. :)

Daylon R Thomas

No, you sent me the right one. I didn’t read it all the way as I scurried through the samples down to the Taiwaneese oolongs.

Leafhopper

LOL, I did put the good stuff at the bottom of the box because it was in those open plastic pouches. It’ll be interesting to see what you think of Ethan’s tea.

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94
drank Spring 2021 Lishan by Bok
342 tasting notes

I bought this oolong from a member of TeaForum who also sold me my 150 ml Hongni-Zhuni teapot from the 1990s. I’ve been drinking it for over a month now and have almost finished my 150 g bag. I’ve found that it does better with slightly longer steeps in the Hongni-Zhuni pot, but I’m reviewing it in porcelain because that’s what most people have access to. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml porcelain pot at 195F for 35, 30, 35, 40, 40, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of pineapple, orchids, and grass. The first steep has notes of pineapple, orchid, sweet pea, other florals, butter, coriander, spinach, and grass. The next steep adds kale and umami, but also mandarin orange and peach. The third steep reaches peak fruitiness, with pineapple, stonefruit, citrus, white sugar, cream corn, orchid, lilac, spinach, grass, and umami. This tea is greener than perhaps I’d like, though some of that is smoothed out when I steep it in my clay pot. In the fourth to sixth steeps, the pineapple and florals are pronounced and the tea is creamy and sweet. The tea becomes more green and floral as the session winds down, until it peters out around the twelfth steep.

There’s a lot to like about this oolong. I enjoy the pineapple, stonefruit, and florals, and the aroma of the leaves is wonderful. It loses a few points due to its greenness and relative lack of longevity. Longer (around one-minute) steeps in my clay pot bring out a savoury, umami quality that one TeaForum member compared to buttery lobster, and while I thought this was fun, I prefer to emphasize the fruitiness with shorter steeps. I’ve made this tea almost every day and still look forward to my remaining few sessions.

Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Coriander, Cream, Floral, Grass, Green, Kale, Lilac, Mandarin, Orchid, Peach, Pineapple, Spinach, Sugar, Sweet, Sweet Corn, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I definitely got the pineapple, though there was something about this that made me imagine sugared snap peas.

Leafhopper

I can see how one would get snap peas from this tea! Feel free to let me know if you want to participate in the oolong group buy on the discussion board. I have to order the teas next week.

Daylon R Thomas

COOL! I likely will. Is the discussion board on steepster or the tea forum? I am pretty set on what I’ve got, but if it involves 2022 stuff and something of the stuff you sent me, I’m going to have to sample them sooner.

Leafhopper

It’s on Steepster. I’ll send you a message with the price list and more details.

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85
drank Crescent Green by Spirit Tea
342 tasting notes

After hearing how I dislike most green teas because of their spinachy, vegetal profile, Derk generously sent me a sample of this Crescent Green, which Spirit Tea says doesn’t have these characteristics. I steeped 3 g of leaf in a 355 ml mug at 175F for 3, 5, 7, and 10 minutes, followed by a couple long infusions.

The dry aroma is indeed not like most green teas I’ve had, featuring honey and toasted grains and reminding me a little of a roasted Dong Ding. The first steep has notes of toasted grains, honey, minerals, spinach, sesame seeds, and hints of apricot. I would have said it was just woody, but Derk’s mention of sandalwood fits. The next steep has more minerals and something I’d label as hops. The honey and minerals come out a bit more in the third steep, and there’s no hint of astringency, though the apricot has faded. My last couple steeps, one of them overnight, yielded a tea with honey and sweet apricot notes and no bitterness whatever.

This is a fascinating green tea that I actually enjoyed. The long steeps in particular brought out the sweet stonefruit notes and were the highlight of the session for me.

Flavors: Apricot, Grain, Honey, Hops, Mineral, Sandalwood, Sesame, Spinach, Toasty

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 355 ML
derk

Nice to hear this one worked out well enough for you. Grain, sesame, hops — now that you mention it, maybe I’ll pick up on those next time I brew this tea.

Leafhopper

I was kind of reminded of an IPA in some steeps, though without the bitterness.

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96

I thought it would be fun to drink my newly purchased 2021 Wild Lapsang from TheTea immediately after the awesome Wild Lapsang from What-Cha. When I wrote my review for this tea a few years ago, it was among the first Lapsangs that I tried, and I didn’t have too many reference points. Will it measure up now that I’m more Lapsang savvy?

I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds, plus a few long infusions.

Compared to the aroma of the What-Cha version, this Lapsang has less candied fruit and a milder lemon, plus aromas of orchid, veggies, malt, cookies, wood, orange, and pineapple. Togo mentioned moss, and I can detect it now. The first steep has notes of lemon, cooked pineapple, lychee, apricot, orange, orchids, cookies, moss, grass, wood, and malt. The second steep introduces tart raspberry, cranberry, plum, and cream along with the citrus, pineapple, and pastry. Cooked pineapple, lychee, tart berries, apricot, plum, and citrus are nicely mixed in the next couple steeps, and there are hints of dark chocolate and bread. The tea is soft and viscous with a lingering red fruit aftertaste. Steeps five and six lean toward jammy berries, plums, and apricots, with a growing presence of lemon plus wood, pineapple, tannins, cookies, orchids, other unidentifiable flowers, and minerals. Subsequent steeps are more malty, with lemon, moss, veggies, cookies, minerals, and wood, though the fruit also persists.

While What-Cha’s Lapsang is a showoff, this one is equally pleasant, though a little more subdued. There’s plenty of pineapple and a jammy berry element I didn’t notice in the What-Cha version. The citrus is less prominent, but still runs through almost the entire session. The What-Cha Lapsang has a more typical sweet potato, bready, and vegetal backbone, while this one has a mossy note and perhaps more assertive malt and wood.

I’m giving these Lapsangs the same high rating because they’re both excellent teas. The one from What-Cha is definitely cheaper to access, both in terms of pricing and shipping. Nonetheless, I feel I’d have missed out if I hadn’t tried this version, and will be tempted to buy more when I run out.

Flavors: Apricot, Berries, Bread, Citrus, Cookie, Cranberry, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Floral, Grass, Lemon, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Moss, Orange, Orchid, Pastries, Pineapple, Plum, Raspberry, Tannin, Tart, Vegetal, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Daylon R Thomas

They are really close and similar, but What-Cha’s is more forward.

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Bio

Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).

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