Camellia Sinensis

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Recent Tasting Notes


It’s been off and on raining all day, but nothing super heavy. Drizzling, really.

I’ve been waiting literally all day to head outside in the pouring rain and drink a cup of tea, but honestly it’s getting so late now and I’ve kind of given up on waiting for the rain now so I just kind of went “fuck it” and brought my Gong Fu tray and a carafe outside, set up my laptop in the boot room with a good album playing and just enjoyed my tea outside with a journal to scrawl out some notes.

I started with a wash, and then each infusion afterwards I increased by seconds starting with five seconds for the first proper infusion. I think I got a pretty good session out of the tea, and most importantly it was very peaceful and relaxing.

- 1st infusion:
Roasty/nutty with clean profile and no lingering notes in the finish

- 2nd infusion:
The same but with lingering plum-y sweetness on the roof of my mouth

- 3rd infusion:
Roasty, nutty, wet wood, mineral, sweet, raisin, malt, plum (in that order)

- 4th infusion:
Touch of astringency/pucker, more mineral and raisin with aftertaste of leaves and bark

- 5th infusion:
Sharp decline in liquor colour; surprised at the lack of longevity this is showing

- 6th infusion:
Moving away from the roasty/nutty/woody side of things towards sweet, mellow fruit

- 7th infusion:
Plum, raisin, apricot, fuji apple, banana peel and hints of almond/marzipan in the finish

- 8th infusion:
Liquor is almost running clear – faintest notes of plum, marzipan but not much else

- 9th infusion:
Oversteeped this one but even still it brewed up like water; leaf is officially spent

And for anyone curious, the album I picked out was Jack Johnson’s In Between Dreams album. It’s just such peaceful, easy going music – and I feel like his voice perfectly matches the soft, soothing roastier aspects of the tea as well as the sweetness of the fruit.

Also, I have to say I was pleased to see many of my initial observations when I drank this one Western style still held pretty true for the Gong Fu method of brewing.

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- Top notes of roasted nuts, wood, and cinnamon
- Very smooth with a silky mouthfeel
- Soft body and background notes of fruits; raisin, peach, plum
- Has a really well rounded sweetness to it overall
- Finish it mildly floral in a non distinct way
- Greatly enjoyed this
- Especially the marriage of darker oxidized oolong qualities and stonefruit notes

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Hot cuppa.

Kind of sweet and muscatel, but more than anything this just had a really pleasant and smooth malt note throughout the sip. Malt isn’t something I often strongly associate with Darjeelings, but paired with the brightness/sweetness of the muscat I think it was a very unique flavour note duo that kind of highlighted the differentiating sweetness of each respective flavour.

Also, since astringency has been a button issue with this tea…

Not astringent at all, this time!

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I don’t know if I’ve ever had an iced Darjeeling before? I mean, part of me thinks that at this point I must have but nothing jumps to mind. This one was pretty nice, though! It was definitely a little tannic/astringent at the start so I added the tiniest bit of honey to sweeten it. The honey didn’t completely eliminate that astringency, but it tempered it enough to make it pleasant. Most importantly, the muscatel note of the tea was REALLY strong and delicious – it works very well as an iced tea!

I mean, I still think Darjeeling is best enjoyed hot and plain but this was a nice switch up to the seeming increase of hot Darjeeling I’ve been sipping on as of late.

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Free sample that Camellia Sinensis added into my latest order!

I swear, they’ve added in Darjeeling teas a few times now – not that I mind, but I do find it interesting since I tend to order oolongs from them primarily (and Lapsang/blends) so it does seem like a bit of a weird choice.

I added a smidgen of honey to this one because initial sips were a bit too astringent for my tastes. With the added honey, that resulted in a pretty smooth muscatel blend with an overarching autumnal feel to it and a bit of a floral undertone. Relatively enjoyable, though nothing exceptional.

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Drank this one Western style at work, and honestly I wasn’t paying attention to it AT ALL. I was so busy doing deep clean tasks, and helping customers and the before I knew it I had thoughtlessly sipped the whole mug down without making note of just about anything…

I mean, I did observe at little bit with my very first few sips but not a lot. Just that overall this was surprisingly smooth and silky bodied, which to me made very little sense given the company’s description of the tea. I also recall lots of top note sweetness. It made me think of nectarines which is also weird when you look at the tea description…

I don’t even know.

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We just had a short little thunder storm, so of course as soon as I heard the rolling thunder I whipped together a Gong Fu set, brewed up some water for my carafe, measured the tea out and was on the porch bracing for the rain!

I got to witness that amazing first crack of rain as the pavement suddenly went from water free to drenched in less than three seconds. So satisfying! The storm stopped about two thirds of my way into the session, and after that I just basked in the petrichor until I ran out of water. I’m literally just back in from outside so here are my ‘notes’ from the session – or more realistically, here’s everything I remember before it vanishes from my brain.

First things first I started with a 5 second rinse, and then a rest.

7 Seconds/Infusion One
- Definitely some astringency; a rougher infusion
- A mix of grass/peat with a tangy soup

10 Seconds/Infusion Two
- Still astringent but less so
- Top note is this tangy “apricot” like quality
- Carries a bit into the soup, but mostly this mineral/peat/artichoke sort of flavour

15 Seconds/Infusion Three
- Pretty well smoothed out
- Light apricot tang/peat/artichoke/mineral/hints of anise
- The taste of the finish/aftertaste reminds me of licking stamps

??? Seconds/Infusion Four
- Totally forgot to time this one; I was mesmerized with the rain… oops.
- Smoothest infusion yet
- Same notes as above but add a faint cream/buttery quality to the list

20 Seconds/Infusion Five
- Has kind of lost the “apricot” note
- Has a really nice sweetness to the body though
- Finish is taking on a bit of a heady floral quality

30 Seconds/Infusion Six
- Repeat of the previous infusion, but we’ve lost the buttery quality

35 Seconds/Infusion Seven
- Same but milder overall
- With the exception of the sweetness which is really bright and noticeable

40 Seconds/Infusion Eight
- Lightest infusion yet
- Mostly artichoke top notes, sweet body, floral finish

And at this point I ran out of water, so I just ended the session. I feel like I got the best out of the tea anyway; and the rain was over. It was a very peaceful session all in all, though! I’m really enjoying these more regular Gong Fu sessions out on the porch!

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Made this one, Western style, in store for my manager and myself a few nights ago. This was the first Sheng style Pu’erh she’d ever had and so I kind of challenged her to break down the flavour notes along with me, as well as compare and contrast it to Shou pu’erh that she’s tried.

As far as the compare/contrast goes she didn’t have much to go on because the only Shou she’s tried are the Silken Pu’erh we currently sell at DT and the Golden Pu’erh that DT used to carry. However, she said that the main difference was that this seemed lighter and less earthy as well as fruity.

My tasting note list:
Artichoke, Apple Skins, Peach Juices, Sweet Grass, Anise, Black Pepper, Moss(?)

Dani’s list:
Apple, peach, vegetal, a hint earthy

I enjoyed this one overall! I think maybe I like the other Laos pu’erh I’ve got from Camellia Sinensis a bit better though. It would be good to directly compare them, I think.

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Nice orchid aroma, a light yet complex flavor came out by the 3rd run of 5minutes ( 1st run 15 seconds, 2nd run of 1minute) .Like a refreshing white wine on a summer day, this tea would be perfect for daily drinking from spring thru autumn.

Boiling 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Late night cup.

Really, really floral and smooth with both heady and fresh floral notes. It was very smooth, but with this really abstract sort of quality that was almost… psychedelic in nature? Like, that’s a bullshit way to describe flavour, I know – but really something about the way those floral notes played off another was just kind of trippy.

Also, buttery. Very buttery.

Song Pairing:

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Drinking this one currently while curled up on the couch listening to a new band for the first time; I’m really enjoying how well the flavours of the tea are matching to the music – but based on who recommended the band to me and why they recommended it I kind of figured they would work together…

First Song:

It’s weird splitting my attention between the song and the tea and I know that sounds odd given how often I do tea/song pairings but usually it’s with music I’ve heard before. That way, I can sink into the song and let it be a backdrop to enhance the tea and the moment. With new music, well, I want to soak that in as much if not more than the tea itself. I want to hear the lyrics, and the emotions of the singer…

The tea is toasty; really warming and light bodied on the whole but with elements that build/creep in on you and take on a little more of a medium bodied aspect. Apart from being toasty, there’s a sweetness that reminds me of cane sugar but also the sweetness of snap peas without the vegetal taste to accompany. Though there is some green to the taste; more grassy than vegetal, and lightly so.

The top notes are sweet, fleeting floral ones: lily, orchid and other fresh flowers. The body is also floral, but in a different way – it’s heady with magnolia and rose aspects. Things that linger and have a more impactful presence. This is my favourite part, and the part that I had described as “creeping” and more medium bodied. It definitely makes the cup.

Also, this is my favourite song from this new band:

I think that maybe it’s just a BIT too upbeat to be a perfect match/pairing but I like the sentiment of the song with the flavours/feel of the tea and I do think some of the lyrics perfectly touch on that “creeping/building” quality that this tea seems to really push on you.

And I will follow you no matter where you go
I wanna be the comfort in your company

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I’ve had a lot of blacks today, so I wanted to sneak in a lighter tea to today’s line up as well; I chose one of the new greener oolongs from my most recent Camellia Sinensis order.

This one is interesting; I didn’t have a lot of preconceived notions or expectations for it so it’s been fascinating from start to finish. It’s very light bodied and delicate overall and definitely a tea which requires attentiveness/focus whilst drinking it to appreciate it. I’m happy I could devote that time to it today.

The flavour is really clean and crisp with overarching vegetal notes throughout, though nothing all that distinct other than the general coolness/refreshing nature of it. Definitely not something “dense” as far as veggies go. In addition, there are some beautiful floral undertones here as well! They’re making me think of lilies and daisies; though I’m not particularly sure why the former because I don’t think I’ve ever had a “daisy” infused/flavoured tea before or really ‘daisy’ flavoured anything…

Other neat things I observed was some fruit based sweetness in the top of the sip which also lingers for a few seconds on the bed of my tongue after I’ve swallowed the sip. It reminds me of a really, really gentle/light and stripped down raspberry note. Not totally unlike the raspberry notes in DAVIDsTEA’s Mighty Aphrodite blend that I recently enjoyed iced, although this is even lighter than that and more fragile. Really natural, though.

I’m very pleased with my first tasting of this; I think it will make a lovely Spring time addition to my cupboard! Can’t wait to see how it holds up to Gong Fu as well.

Song Pairing:

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Finally diving into this that I picked up in Montreal when I was there some time ago. Such a beautiful store to shop in. I should have written down which vintage this was. No idea. Spring 2016? Autumn 2016? Earlier?

Currently on the first steep and don’t think I’ll manage beyond the second today. Caramel sweet and milky and a bit vegetal, but delicately so.

Thank goodness for tea. I find that there’s such heaviness in the air post-election next door. Fear and heaviness. Panic too, perhaps. And anger. And upheaval. My heart goes out to those living in it.

Flavors: Caramel, Milk, Vegetal

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I was gonna drink this one Gong Fu the other night, but ended up having some Yabao instead notes from that session to come later. I had already pulled this one out of my stash though, and it seemed a shame to put it back without having tried it…

So I drank it Western which I felt like, at the very least, would give me a starting off point for what to expect when I do eventually Gong Fu it.

- Dry leaf smells wet/dank/musty/earthy (pleasantly so)
- Reminds me of old books? In a good way
- Smooth, sweet and earthy with lots of wet wood/decaying wood notes
- Petrichooorrrr!!!
- Finish is honey sweetness
- Resteeped; same notes

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The leaf I received was very brittle and somewhat broken up, but a little cosmetic damage doesn’t mean too much to a tea. I warmed my gaiwan up as I took a sniff of the small black slivers. They gave off a nice aroma of dry maple with some char. These are pretty roasty, and I hope it was a successful firing. I scooped my leaf inside the gaiwan and gave them a swirl. The roast scent mixed in with some slight leather and dark fruit, The leaf portrays a common aged oolong profile with the dry raisiny tones. I washed the leaf once and prepared for brewing. The taste was smooth and lightly sweet. A calm brew with wooded tones and raisin with a base of mineral and spice. The drink is nice, but it is relatively plain. However, the odd sweet and spice mix does excite the palate somewhat. A harsh astringent tone hastily presents itself soon after the first couple steeps. I did not notice any qi from this drink.

Flavors: Leather, Maple, Mineral, Raisins, Roasted, Smooth, Spices, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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GCTTB tea 6/8 that I picked.

Always wanted to try This company- glad I got the chance! This tea is pretty good- most prominent taste is floral but there’s a slight vegatel taste at the end of the sip. Very smooth without bitterness. I am more partial to vegetal greens but I will have no prob using this one up.

Flavors: Floral

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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the appearance of the rolled leaves suggest great care from the artisan

the dry tea smells fabulous!
wet leaves indicates green vegetables (spinach/swiss chard) which carries over to a robust brew. the smokyness gives body to a somewhat oily brew that leads to an acute mineral finish. ( 4-5min 85C)

intoxicating florals from the dried beads are much less present in the tea, still lovely fruity notes arises here and there.

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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Smelling the wet leaves suggest a strong malty/citrusy brew.
Brew is bright orange, smells like flowers, citrus and chocolate syrup!

I am tasting a nice mix of chocolate and lemon, it feels a bit like molasses or commercial chocolate syrup (in a very nice way). the mouthfeel is thin which is nice because i still get those flowers and the tartness makes it uplifting.

overall I’m really liking the balance of flavors and it seems to keep me in a very clear productive state.

One downside might be that it’s linearity/simplicity. But it really doesn’t bore me for casual sipping.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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floral and sightly green pu er. Smelling the wet leaves/tea reveals fresh apricot aromas with some delicate sweetness. It’s a light yellow-green infusion with low bitterness, i get pineapple/starfruit and a slight chamomile feel.
ends with chalk/rock and faint bark notes. nice and mild

I went with 4min teapot infusion and felt like the overall liquor was shy , would recommend lots of leaves and gaiwan technique

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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This is a very good White Tea.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Honey Dew

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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This black tea is a good tea to drink in the morning, afternoon or night. It makes you feel relaxed. This is a very good black tea .

Flavors: Caramel, Oak wood

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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