76 Tasting Notes

Prepared in my Jian Shui gaiwan, and served in my porcelain teacup via my glass cha hai. Filtered Santa Monica municipal water boiled then allowed to cool for a little while.

No scale or thermometer, so guessing at quantities/temp.

Dry leaves are long and wiry with plentiful golden sections. Smells like Autumn: hay, grain, and hints of leaf litter, pumpkin, and books.

Orange peel/butterscotch liquor.

Delicate faintly grainy aroma.

Flavor follows the nose and is joined by low cocoa notes, pumpkin bread, and dried fig. Finishes almost savory (wood/leaves) with a bready returning sweetness reminiscent of oat cakes. Lovely gentle roast quality throughout. Good longevity.

Creamy (but not slick or oily) mouthfeel. No astringency.

The infusion is subtle compared to the promise of the dry leaf, yet still satisfying. High quality leaves, processed with care.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Harvested November, 2022 (not sure if the vendor changed source for the October 2023 harvest?).

3-stage filtered L.A. water just off the boil into my white/brown “turned” Jingdezhen gaiwan, then into a Pyrex measuring cup, then a small porcelain cup.

Dry leaf is sweet and distinctly tropical with papaya/guava notes with some hints of chestnut and hay.

Saffron to xanthous gradient. Some tropical notes remain in the liquor’s aroma, though joined with river stones, wheat, and floral scents. Potent and complex over multiple infusions.

More prominent baked flavor balances the fruit and floral notes on the palate, though there is never a hint of char in the roast. Linear, lengthy finish. Rounded, smooth and slightly nutty.

Very good red oolong, strongly aromatic but with delicate flavor.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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Prepared in my Jian Shui gaiwan, and served in my porcelain tea cup via my glass cha hai. Filtered Santa Monica municipal water just off the boil throughout.

Dry leaf is brightly aromatic with notes of stone fruit, melon, wildflowers, and alfalfa. The brewed tea evinces the same elements but with more subtlety. Hints of chocolate and malt as well.

Tawny to Titian Red liquor depending on steep times.

Flavor is gently vegetal/savory with malt and grass intermingling. Blind, I’m not sure I could identify this as a black tea as there are flavors that bring to mind white or even green tea as well. Delicate and complex with a grainy/grassy finish. Hints of fresh water chestnuts and wood ear. If pushed, more dark chocolate flavors emerge, but at the cost of bitterness and a touch of astringency/sourness.

Quite energizing – caffeine made me break up the session over a couple mornings.

Unique but at this price I won’t pick up a cake.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 12 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Harvested April, 2021; Roasted June 2023.

3-stage filtered L.A. water just off the boil into my white/brown “turned” Jingdezhen gaiwan, then into a Pyrex measuring cup (sorry), then a small porcelain cup.

No rinse; Infusions at 30 seconds (x3), 45 seconds (x2), 1 minute, 2 minutes, and 4 minutes.

Butterscotch/Xanthous to gold gradient.

Delicate but fairly complex aroma: fruity, starchy, with an array of roast and smoke elements.

Flavor follows the nose, with a persistent sweetness hinting at dòu bāo and cherry blossoms. Smooth slightly complex roast offers balance. Medium, slightly nutty finish with faint hints of wood and expensive cigarettes. Loses a bit of character once it is steeped out, becoming slightly “dusty.”

Medium-light bodied, not-quite-milky, no astringency if you are attentive to the infusions.

Aptly described as “cozy,” this is a quiet yet superbly balanced (in terms of oxidation/roast) small batch production perfect for contemplation.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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Spring 2023 batch.

Prepared in my Jian Shui gaiwan, and served in my porcelain tea cup via my glass cha hai. Filtered Santa Monica municipal water just off the boil throughout.

Fine, soft, black/gold lightly twisted strands brew up into a dark orange silky liquor.

Lightly fruity/floral aroma is mild but pleasant.

Fairly dry, linear, earthy with hints of cocoa-nibs and a lingering bread-like sweetness. Delicate minerality and the faintest astringency if pushed. Lasts for many infusions without losing much character or developing off notes.

Refined, but more inoffensive than luxurious. I’ll enjoy my small bag, but don’t feel the need to stock up.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Just noting that this year’s harvest has much in common with the 2017 one (which I reviewed more extensively), though I do detect a little more depth/complexity (picking up hints of garden tomato, yam, melon, and some floral elements). Unique and satisfying dianhong, and the perfect way to start off Autumn.

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A gift from a friend visiting from PDX.

Filtered/boiled water allowed to cool. Infused for ~3.5 minutes at 179F. Followed up with a couple more infusions closer to 200F for 20 – 40 seconds.
Verona green/citrine/honeydew gradient.

Sachet was perfume-like with bergamot and rose up front. Nutty pan-fried Mao Feng, faint toasted rice, and mellow grassy sencha appear when the tea is brewed.

On the palate, the green tea takes center stage – mild, sweet, nutty/toasty flavors give way to the floral/herbal/citrus notes. Very faint umami at the edges in the finish, but the grassiness of the sencha and the vanilla/floral/citrus notes from the bergamot are present long into the aftertaste. Vague hints of aspirin and elderflower perhaps.

Light bodied, low tannins.

Flavors are alternately competitive and complimentary – a delicate but creative blend.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Cold brewed 12 – 24 hours in the fridge – 1 bag/liter…repeat daily during hot weather.

Gentle grain/nut/roast flavors with very little sweetness. Medium-light bodied – bready and refreshing – one of the best non-alcoholic beer alternatives to my tastes.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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Spring 2022 batch.

Prepared in my Jian Shui gaiwan, and served in my porcelain tea cup via my glass cha hai. Filtered Santa Monica municipal water just off the boil throughout.

Dark gray, twisted wiry strands with some patches of yellow/gold. Fairly uniform. Unremarkable dry aroma.

Butterscotch liquor. Delicate nose is vegetal/waxy/and faintly grainy.

Mild, faintly malty flavor with hints of piñon and dried plum. Linear, slightly dusty finish. A bit more leather and hay emerge if pushed along with a mild bitterness/astringency.

Medium-light body.

Decent, but not much character – will revisit after the package has been open for a few weeks and revise if things improve significantly.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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drank Hoji-cha by Yamamotoyama
76 tasting notes

I usually brew a 6-cup pot at a time with boiled water allowed to cool for a few minutes (to around 190F – I’ve tried using water as cool as 155F or so and found the flavor gets a bit weaker even with a longer infusion), and infused for 1 – 2 minutes. A bag can make a second pot if needed, though it will take a few more minutes of infusion.

Persian orange liquor. Woodsy, baked, nutty, toasty aroma. Clean and mellow palate entry with hints of buckwheat. Hits a sweet spot between genmaicha and mugicha – rather generic but not bland.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec 0 OZ / 0 ML

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Profile

Bio

Converted to Oolong and beyond starting around ’98 or so when I was hanging out at the Tao of Tea in Portland.

Expanded my experience with green teas when I moved in with room-mates who were Chinese scholars, workers at the Japanese Gardens (including the tea room), etc.

Always looking to improve my education, but will concede my pedestrian tastes (e.g. breakfast teas brewed strong enough to stand your spoon in).

Trying to focus more on the qualitative over the quantitative in my reviews, so you won’t see me give too many scores/ratings at the moment…

Location

North Hollywood

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