Camellia Sinensis

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Recent Tasting Notes

Cold Brew!

I met up with an IG tea friend yesterday who was in Montreal on vacation and we stopped at Camellia Sinensis to do some shopping and tea tasting. I noticed that this was a new flavour to their iced tea line up, and I’ve been really feeling pink grapefruit teas this summer so I decided to pick up a bag!

Honestly, this is very good but weirdly familiar!? I’m about half way through my cold brew of it right now and I’ve spent a lot of the time drinking this just trying to place what it’s reminding me of. The rosemary is SUPER strong so I wouldn’t recommend this for someone who doesn’t like a more savory or herbaceous ta blend, but honestly to me it just kind of enhances that more elevated cocktail kind of vibe. The pink grapefruit is bright, zesty and sweet with just a smidge of pith to balance it out. It’s also just a bit earthy from the beet in a subtle and complimentary way. I thought maybe it was reminding me of AQ2T’s Rosemary Grapefruit Mimosa blend, and I guess technically it is since there’s so much flavour overlap – the rosemary in this is stronger though and the grapefruit juicier.

That’s not it, though. Yes, there’s similarities but I think specifically the grapefruit flavour is REALLY making me think of another tea and I just can’t put my finger on which one…

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85

Another go to Sencha for me. The leaves are just a bit larger due to the cultivar, and it’s lovely. At 167f for 2 minutes on the first infusion, the lime green liquor gives me a unique floral and fruity array, together with a meadow grassiness. This is a very unique and lovable characteristic of sencha for me.

Second infusion, I bump it up to 185f and brew it for 3 minutes to get more caffeine out of it. It doesn’t disappoint, as a lot of it’s brighter notes covers up the bitter nature of caffeine.

The Koshun Cultivar in general is lovely in comparison to Yabukita. They both have their ups, and in the case of Koshun, it’s a bit more forgiving with brewing, and not as finicky. An indulgent introduction to someone who may be new to Japanese Tea!

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Grassy, Nuts

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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86

Having had 2022 and 2023s batch, I have to say this is one of my favorite Sencha’s. I brew it western style, and usually start around 167f. (If I want to draw it out, i’ll start at 155f for that Theanine hit). The liquor is a deep, glowing yellow and has an immaculate steamed brocolli/spinach aromatics. These same aromatics turn up in the taste

I keep my steepings short and use about 200ml and 4 to 5g of leaf when brewing. I usually start at about a minute or two. Sencha’s require you to get to know them to really enjoy their best attributes, and that is especially true with this tea. You want to avoid over brewing it.

I’ll easily get 3 to 5 infusions out of this with the brewing parameters I use, and I up the temperature a bit each time after the second infusion. The first infusions have a Thick Texture of a soup broth with intensely satisfying vegetable notes. A tiny bit of grassyness, but just the right amount.

As is habit with me, I will end the sencha with an optional infusion at 195f for 4 minutes to extract all of the caffeine. Even then, the tasting notes still linger.

The Body sensation is a calming, and yet lively and alert. I recommend this highly, so long as you don’t overbrew.

Flavors: Broccoli, Grassy, Spinach, Sunflower Seed, Umami

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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84
This is a very interesting Silver Needle! The Buds are ARMORED tough, and the White outward appearance the trichomes give is contrasted is contrasted by the darker, slightly oxidized quality when wet.

This tea is very giving. I got 3 infusions from throwing it in my tea basket and steeping it at 203 for 5 to 7 minutes at a time. I got some Meadow notes contrasted by a sugar cube, baked goods sweetness, with a rustic quality. The liquor comes out a bit on the brown side, and that makes sense. This tea approaches Moonlight White territory, which deepens its nuance.

It is a very versatile White Tea, and evolves with each infusion. Even when I boiled it out for the last infusion for 7 minutes, it was lovely. It also had that medicinal quality I look for in white teas, as I find them very good for the gums personally.

The Body Sensation is all in itself unique, as I get the calming quality, but a little boost of clear headed energy.

I recommend it highly! This is my first taste of Vietnam, and I am glad to say that I was not disappointed.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Hay, Honey, Sugarcane

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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drank Jeju Organic by Camellia Sinensis
1445 tasting notes

This is like a black tea mixed with salad greens. There is a lovely underlying sweetness as well. A very unique cup.

The description notes seaweed notes and maritime briney-ness, but I don’t get that. I recently had Coastal Oolong from MS, so perhaps that has swayed me since that was very ocean-esque. Though to be fair, this is my second cup of this one and the taste profile has been the same both times.

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Sipdown (2587)!

I like the inclusion of spearmint in this blend because it adds more dimension and natural sweetness to what is otherwise a very basic and straightforward peppermint. However, I think leaving this tea sachet to steep in the mug while I drank may have been a mistake because near the end of the mug it ended up getting very potent and savory with a herbaceous element that almost felt like tulsi or even dill??

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95

A sipdown! (M: 4, Y: 24) Note #1800
A big thank you for this tea Leafhopper! It is an amazing tea and I happy I had two sessions of this tea (while I have no memory of the first one).

I preheated the gaiwan and added dry leaf — I got strong whiff of cacao, sweet notes of caramel and dark malts.
I let it absorb a bit of humidity — quick rinse with little water; and sweet notes are even more pronounced. Caramel was probably the strongest, but maybe I would rather say toffee as it is a bit creamy as well. Or it has been a chocolate syrup? I would love to native speaker to tell me.

1st steep, 15 seconds
Chocolate notes with oolong sweetness, brown sugar, baked goodies. Not so long mouthfeel, but it was short steep nevertheless.

2nd steep, 30 seconds
Stronger chocolate notes with brown sugar and baked goodies flavour. Long mouthfeel with hints of florals and barley.

3rd steep, 30 seconds
More of the brown sugar and baked goodies, in aftertaste distinctive floral notes and barley body. Long mouthfeel.

4th steep, 45 seconds
Chocolate syrup for sure in this steep with brown sugar aftertaste, sadly the baked goodies disappeared; some barley in the body and aftertaste too. Medium mouthfeel.

5th steep, 1 minute
Smooth and creamy chocolate, with brown sugar aftertaste, barley body and aftertaste. Mouthfeel again a bit shorter.

6th steep, 90 seconds
Now it’s weak in chocolate and brown sugar, rather a bit malty and woody; weak body and aftertaste — short mouthfeel as well.

Definitely it’s a wonderful tea and somehow good when you’re craving sweets. In those times it’s perfect to pick up tea, which havve requested flavour-profile, but you don’t get any calories form it! Moreover, it hydrates you. Is there something more to wish for?!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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Gongfu!

Happy (Belated) Lunar New Year!!

Today, I’m steeping up some of the smoked and barrel aged Shimada Whisky Japanese black tea. I wanted to brew something in my dragon shaped yixing teapot today in honor of the Year of The Dragon, so even though Japan doesn’t traditionally celebrate the Lunar New Year I pulled out this unique tea I picked up from CS at the Toronto Tea Festival since this particular yixing pot is dedicated to smoked teas. I think it still hits the mark pretty well in terms of honoring the spirit of celebration for Lunar New Year!

The tea stands its ground, too! I think it would be easy to assume thar one of these two strong flavours (smoke and whisky) would be overtaken by the other since they’re so dominant and commanding, but actually the balance is quite spot on and deeply complimentary. For a very full-bodied and intense tasting tea, there’s actually a lot of nuance. Initial steeps are much more smoky and aromatic with woodier, molasses-y body notes. The whisky is always there as an undertone, but it isn’t until the initial wave of smoke has passed that it gets to be the star. So incredibly smooth with notes of vanilla, red fruit, peat and camphor. A lot of peat, actually. The whole thing is like drinking a tip shelf scotch. Certainly very luxurious, and something that I WILL be buying more of…

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C3LqAGduhQR/?img_index=1

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffFl_E0XXc0

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72

Deleted this from my cupboard as I finished it, but then realized I have no tasting notes for it! I bought this as a comparison to Song Tea’s Eighteen. This one’s heavy on the honey (I love that), and I got maybe, six steeps or so out of it, which is great, IMO. Super enjoyable, but it doesn’t have quite the depth that Song’s does. Still, an excellent tea. I didn’t put it through all its paces, since I ordered a 25g bag, so I only gaiwan’d it.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
ashmanra

Six steeps is great!

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95
drank Guei Fei by Camellia Sinensis
961 tasting notes

TeaTiff TTB #29

This is my favorite oolong…and one of my favorite teas!…that I tried from this TTB. I’m not educated enough on oolong to know what Guei Fei means or what it’s “supposed” to taste like, but this one reminded me of a Yunnan black tea in the best way! It had that distinctive buttery-smooth mouthfeel of an oolong, but the flavor was much more robust than I’m used to, with a bit of maltiness and a hint of sweetness. I’d say the flavor reminded me of a slice of toast with honey. My second steep was as delicious as the first and I think these leaves still have more to give! I’d definitely consider purchasing this one at some point in the future!

Flavors: Bread, Honey, Malt, Smooth, Sweet, Toast

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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84

Finished the sample all at once gong fu with 30 sec intervals. Heavy on the walnut and floral notes, second was super sweet and savory bordering on nutty caramel in profile. Really nice to have. I’d probably rate it 83-85. It lost lustre by steep 5. Mostly woody by then. Some plum in steep 3. Busy day. Thank you Leafhopper!

Leafhopper

Glad you liked it! I’m looking for a replacement for the sadly no longer available Sweet Scented Dong Ding from Tillerman, and this comes kind of close because the roast isn’t too aggressive.

Daylon R Thomas

Wang does have some good options for roast too, and same with Floating Leaves. Though they are more expensive than Camellia Sinensis.

Leafhopper

I’ve had one of the less pricy Dong Dings from Floating Leaves and thought it was more roasted than this one or the Sweet Scented Dong Ding. I haven’t tried the one from Wang, though the roasted Lishan you sent me was nice. I’m a lot more picky about roasted oolongs than green ones.

Daylon R Thomas

Same. The roasted ones from Wang I’ve actually finished. I’ve neglected my Eco-Cha one’s which is saying something.

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People actually reviewed this one! Thank you Leafhopper!

So, I gong fu’d it for four steeps than stopped. Went friendly on the leaves. It’s actually more black tea-ish than other Milan Hong Cha’s I’ve had in comparison. Waaaay heavier on the malt department while maintaining some cherry notes. I personally get some of the more citric grapefruit oolong notes from it’s varietal from time to time in aroma and a little in taste. A little bit bitter, but dark bittersweet from “redder” (totally making it up) tannings. The overall vibe of this one is more red than other Milan Blacks too. Sometimes, it was brisk enough to adulterate with cream and sugar, but I didn’t go that far. I haven’t decided on it yet. It definitely stands out, and it may be a little too strong for me to frequently drink, I do like it.

Flavors: Astringent, Cherry, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Drying, Grapefruit, Honey, Malt, Malty, Red Fruits, Tannin, Tea

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85

A Beautiful Green Tea! Vegetal notes intermingled with roasted nuts, it’s wonderful. I get two good steepings out of it western style, and use 2 to 3 grams of leaf per 350 to 400 ml water. There is nothing else like a good Lu-an Gua Pian. Beautiful Mouth texture, and 2023’s crop knocked it out of the park!

I usually do this one western style, as Gong Fu will yeild a weak tea. The first infusion will be 3 minutes, giving me a lovely lime green liquor. I’ll usually do the second steeping at 5 minutes to finish it off. It’s quite a forgiving green tea for heavy handed brewing, but I would stick within the 185F to 187F mark with this tea to get the absolute best out of it!

Flavors: Nutty, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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80

An economically price Gyokuro that has honestly replaced a lot of my Sencha’s. Beautiful green color in the cup when brewed around 158F, with a vegetable soup, brothy, Umami mouth feel. You won’t get as many steepings out of it as the higher tier Gyokuro available, but for the price, it is very lovely. The L-Theanine hit is immaculate.

The way I steep it is to start around 155 to 158f, depending on how broken up the leaf is. about 2 to 4 gram per 200ml water, with the first steeping being 1 minute and 30 seconds. The Second steeping is around a minute, as the leaves have begun to open up. The third will be a bit longer, and i might bump the temperature up in to the low 160s F, and I may go up to 2 minutes. To finish it off, If I want to get the caffeine, I will bump it up to 195f and leave it for 3 minutes. Even that final infusion retains a bit of a vegetal character amongst the catchicen soup.

If you want to have a nice Gyokuro and not break the bank, this is it! It’s lovely to have in between more expensive Gyokuro, to help make the really good stuff last a little longer in your pantry.

Flavors: Asparagus, Grassy, Vegetable Broth

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 30 sec 4 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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drank Li Shan by Camellia Sinensis
15942 tasting notes

Gongfu!

Enjoyed this session paired with some bright red cherries!! Though the cherries aren’t quite as juicy and sweet as they could be, they still work quite well with this fresh, aromatic oolong. Though the mouthfeel of this oolong is rather soft and buttery, it still has a fair amount of body and a wide array of tasting notes ranging from sweet corn and silky smooth coconut milk to more perfumed florals such as violets, magnolia, and lilac. It’s even a little fruity and tropical, with an aftertaste that reminds me of the lingering sweetness left on the tongue after eating a large slice of ripe mango or pineapple. More pineapple than mango go, I think. I managed to stretch out this session quite a long time while enjoying the gentle breeze and sunshine; maybe in part because I packed this gaiwan with so much leaf in the first place. Such a great session to kick off the week with, though!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C7NEUDHuh7n/?img_index=1

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mlh6Df0MT8g

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drank Li Shan by Camellia Sinensis
15942 tasting notes

Gongfu!

Y’all already known that with oolongs I tend to lean a little more dark and roasty, but the afternoon I picked this up was one where my mind was a lot more fixated on the idea of holding on to the last bit of Summer instead of embracing Autumn. The creamy floral aroma of the dry leaf, in particular, really enabled that feeling. It’s interesting sipping on it now because it does have a lot more of those Spring/Summer floral top notes like peony, sweet pea blossoms, gardenia, and – though it’s not floral – fresh coconut water. The finish is buttery with vegetal notes somewhere between crisp and snappy and more tender and “cooked.”

At the same time, I’m having this session from my normal tea space by the window facing the park across the street, and I can see the first yellow and orange leaves popping up in the trees. I feel acutely aware that this is a moment of transition, which is an odd sensation to hyperfixate on…

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CwyLJ0_OQrl/?img_index=1

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAZ6oesZozk

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Matcha Latte… but made a little bit funky!

Ever since the New York Times feature on them, one of my coworkers and I have had a light hearted debated on whether matcha and peanut butter cookies would taste good. We’re both very intrigued, but she’s quite skeptical the combo would work together and I’m more worried that the peanut butter would really over power the matcha.

Thing is, we’re both not willing to commit to actually making the cookies to find out. We then heard about someone who had tried the two as a latte (and not enjoyed it), and I figured that was something I could easily do! So, basically I melted a few teaspoons of peanut butter and stirred that in with some pre-whisked matcha until it was pretty emulsified and then I poured that mix into my Breville Milk Frother with some cashew milk.

Here’s the deal. It wasn’t good. It also wasn’t bad. The thing that it really was was savory. I could taste the nuttiness of the peanuts and texture-wise everything was creamy but it just brought out this DEEPLY umami flavour and all of the vegetal notes of the matcha in a way where the latte sort of tasted like fresh pea puree. It was weird. I had a hard time processing the combo as I drank it.

…and now I’m not sure where I stand on the cookies at all.

Kaylee

The sacrifices we make for science…

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Whisked this up alongside a matcha custard mooncake!! I love the soft floral note that comes across so clearly – it compliments cool, crisp flavours of cucumber skins and sugar snaps. Admittedly, I’m usually more of a flavoured matcha fan than straight matcha, but that’s only because I am not the biggest lover of the more oceanic umami notes present in most Japanese green tea. This matcha, however, is one of a handful of exceptions to that rule. It’s just exceptionally accesible for a culinary grade, with a natural sweetness that makes it ideal for food pairing!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cwio-Y_OWY-/?img_index=1

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liZtTKAdONk

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Gongfu!

Each steeps starts on a creamier, more buttery note but as these beautiful leaves really opened up the array of aromatic, fresh and delicate floral notes really (pardon the pun) began to fully blossom. Peony, orchid, and lilac. The tail end of the sip was a touch more green and vegetal, with a mild fruitiness that made me think of apple skins. I did have to keep mentally on top of my steep times as this Dong Ding does lean more astringent than desirable when brewing parameters are too relaxed, but the flavour payoff was well worth the attentiveness. Such a wonderfully creamy oolong!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cv24dryuoM0/?img_index=1

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UglqJKIskoU

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