In Pursuit of Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes


//Story Time
I went ahead and ordered some sampler pouches and a few custom blend tins from Adagio. Totally didn’t need to as I still have plenty of tea to drink, but the samplers have many teas I still need to try and would be nice to taste before I blend them.

//Tea Time
This is from an ancient steepster select bag that I just opened. Man I wasn’t expecting there to be full size leafs and blossoms in there; I mean I should have cause the bag was so poofy. The smell and taste reminded me or herbal shops and specifically tension tamer teas. It has this sweet menthol peppery smell. This translates over into the taste, but with even vague undertone flavors of licorice or fennel. It’s actually kinda complex with the flavor changing as it cools to revel a sweet and smooth mouth feel and pleasant herbaceous pepper. Biggest thing I noticed as well is just how smooth and sweet this tea is. Most herbal blends tend to have that bitter medicinal taste, but this has none of that. Maybe it’s cause it isn’t shredded or fannings so it doesn’t over extract the leafs? Overall this is a very pleasant tea that is much smoother and sweeter than most herbal teas.

Flavors: Anise, Herbaceous, Menthol, Pepper, Smooth, Sweet

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I was pleasantly surprised by this tea. I bought it on sale on a lark and I really enjoy it. It’s very nutty and woody.

Flavors: Nutty, Wood

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Got a sample of this from the folks at the Mem Tea Imports tasting room in Somerville, MA. Beautiful leaf structure on the raw tea, clearly made from a higher grade, smaller leaf size and not overly compressed. Raw tea has a light, classic Shu smell with an edge of incense which is a flavor I find pleasant in my Shu Puerh.

Rinsed 20s. Apricots, dry hay, incense, fragrant bamboo scents on the wet tea.

Mug steeping w/ a stainless, cup style infuser

25s/210’ – Relatively clear liquor, bordering on opaque. Beautiful Shu smell and flavor, clean, aromatic, slight incense flavor, Frankincense, heartwood, maybe even flavors of dried longan minus the high notes. S-M-O-O-T-H the mouthfeel is straight velvet, just superb really. This would be a GREAT tea to introduce someone to Shu. It has no WoDui still on it after 17 years.

20s/210’ – Stronger flavors going on here, opening up the leaves some. Aromas of Mushrooms, dark soil, slight camphor/menthol thing going on. Liquor is 2nd steep dark – you know what I’m talking about lol. Flavors are holding but also changing – incense aroma is background now, much less present, and deeper, savory flavors are pushing forward. Mushrooms, dark, dark fresh soil, slight wo-dui but not unpleasant, roasted something, still smooth but not sweet yet. Does have a pleasant cooling effect on the mouth although a bit drying.

Flavors: Cherry Wood, Mineral, Resin, Smooth, Tobacco

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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Woah. This is my first really nice Shu Puerh and my first Bamboo stored Puerh. Had it as the last tea at a Puerh workshop at Mem Tea with In Pursuit of Tea. Was so floored by the quality of this tea that I impulse bought a ‘log.’

Just cracked open the bamboo using a knife and mallet. Scent wise I can just barely smell what this will become, which is odd considering its strength of flavor. Relatively evenly compressed and easy to separate layer-wise, there are a couple layer where there is obviously some silver/gold tipps, can’t wait to get to those! The tea itself is small leaves mostly, prone to cracking and crumbling because of the stuffing it underwent in the Bamboo so I gave it a relatively fast rinse then let it breathe not wanting to overextract it due to small particle size.

Immediate smells of Incense, eucalyptus, manuka, wintergreen, Tibetan folk art store (you know what I mean), Frankincense, Sandalwood, Fernet/Jagermeister maybe? Vanilla, Patchouli, Ylang, Cedarwood OIl, camphorous, pipe tobacco

From what I’ve gathered, the strong incense flavor that I get off of this tea is partially an effect of aging in the bamboo. My partner says that she smells fresh cut bamboo in this tea profile. I had literally just broken up the log and brewed this and in the future I think I will air some of this out periodically in a paper bag to let some of the strongest flavors mellow some. The brew times below worked fairly well. I drank this over the coarse of a day and a half, working through the steepings all day.

In retrospect, I don’t know whether I like this tea in it’s first couple steeps, almost overwhelmingly aromatic of rich, sweet-spice wood flavors, or if I enjoy the flavor enough to go for a long session. By the end of working on this session for 24h, I was fairly sick of the flavor. Maybe a Chrysanthemum Pod, Rosebud, or some smokier, spicier shy blended in. We will just have to try!

15/s Wow. Clean, with an almost overwhelming aromaticity that is beautiful to taste. Incense. Sweet on the back of the palate and the tongue. A bit powdery or creamy feeling.
10/s The brew was so dark so fast, it is obvious that this is giving a lot away to the water in a short time. Minus some of the brighter complexities, it had in the first round that so floored me. Still strong incense flavors, leather jacket, new cleats, pipe tobacco, cedarwood oil, Patchouli. As the tea cools in the mug, it takes on a strong sweetness akin to Licorice Root.
20s/ – The almost overwhelming aroma from the first couple steeps still dominates but is spreading out some. I don’t know whether that is a good or a bad thing.
30/s – The liquor clears considerably from a darkness I couldn’t see through to a more transparent broth.
1/m – The original aroma is still there but the brew has cleared even more, lightening each round at this point. The bamboo flavor is more identifiable now, especially on the middle-back of the palate, and there is a bit of a drying effect on the tongue.
2/m – flavors of good loose cigarette tobacco, cedarwood, Cardamom, medium brown sugar. Not much of a returning sweetness on the palate though, just the aroma of sugars.

Flavors: Bamboo, Brown Sugar, Camphor, Cardamom, Fireplace, Molasses, Resin, Stewed Fruits, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wet Earth, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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My sister gave me a fancy tea bag of this, and I’ve drunk it down this afternoon. Goodness, this is a bright and cheerful blend! So sunny, and fruity, and just all around nice.
I don’t want a ton of this in my cupboard ever-its the kind of sweetness that’s alright once and a while- but it was nice to try today.

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Silver Needle is one of my all time favorites. I’ve probably had Silver Needle from at least 50 different companies and I was looking forward to trying Pursuit’s version.
Honestly, from the very appearance I was taken back. It’s a much darker bud than some of the very high quality ones I’ve had before, but I tried to ignore the appearance and taste as if blindfolded. In the end, the visual test proved correct. I’ve had way better.

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Having this with leftover Chinese food – Vegetable Deluxe with Chow Mein. I forget what the other Steepster Select tea I tried was, but I wasn’t impressed. This, on the other hand, is fantastic. What a nice surprise! I tend to like Yunnan Gold teas that are a bit lighter and sweeter, but this will definitely do! Nice and tobacco-y and chocolatey. Yum yum.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Golden Yunnan by In Pursuit of Tea
270 tasting notes

Another sample from long ago from a box of Steepster Select.
Accidentally steeped this for 2 minutes longer than recommended, which is likely causing the bitterness. I am not going to make it through the cup, but it is user error and cannot be blamed on the tea.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

Since those finicky Dian Hongs turn nasty after over-steeping, my trick is to carefully under-steep the next infusion, so as to soften and diffuse that bitterness, without harming the flavor.
Now, that’s frugalitea!


Thanks for the tip! :)

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I got this in a Steepster Select box sometime last year. Well, it delivers in it’s promise of roasty, woodiness. On the other hand it looks like a bunch of sticks. I thought it was just rolled to be in that shape, but even when I steeped it for a long while, it was still just stems. I don’t know how I feel about that! The sample was 8g, and it says 4g per cup. So two servings.

I do like it, it has a mellow nuttiness to it that I don’t usually reach for much, but is pretty satisfying. I just can’t get over the fact that it’s a bunch of twigs. I wonder what the leaf would taste like?

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From my Steepster select box, December 2014!

I had almost forgotten about this one! The package it comes in is so stuffed. I was a little taken aback when I opened the package. Inside it looked like there was fresh sage stuffed into the package. The leaves were probably no picked within the last month or three, but they looked so fresh. The smell was interesting to say the least. It was peppery and herbaceous. The leaves produced a light green liquor with … well, peppery and herbaceous notes. It was pretty light. I even used over half the package. (4g+) the flavor was quite lacking, and very watered down.
Eh. It was a great experience. But I don’t think I would reach for it ever again.

Flavors: Herbs, Pepper


This tea needs more vigorous heating than most herb teas; that is why your tea was weak. Typically they say boil it for 3 to 5 minutes, and then steep another 3-5 minutes.

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This does taste a lot like kukicha. I haven’t had many versions of the latter, but this really has that same flavor after the first steep. I don’t really get any of the spice flavor in the two steeps, and right now I don’t know why I would buy this over a kukicha or even a hojicha. It is interesting to see how oolong teas can vary so much in flavor, but I don’t think I would buy it.

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From my December 2014 Steepster Select Box!

I didn’t think I was going to like this tea. But I was surprised! The first two brews were a miss, but once I got past those two, I got a sort of cinnamon-y pepperiness that was very reminiscent of an Asian Beauty. The little stick tea was actually interesting to see come alive in my cup. The little twisty sticks grew and straightened out, not unlike some sort of phallic appendage I can’t mention on the internet. It was like sipping on a beachside bonfire, minus the sand in my swimsuit and the fire. I also got a nutty, toasted rice quality to it, at the beginning and the very end.
What an interesting tea!

Flavors: Bark, Cinnamon, Nutty, Pepper

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I quite like this tea. I prefer a weaker steep on most teas as I find it brings out the brighter notes while really allowing me to enjoy the deeper richness of the brew on the back end. This is indeed, as described, toasty and woody; I would add the floral notes on top reminiscent of traditional oolongs. Also, the shape is fantastic! Really interesting to watch steep. The journey of the brew is surprising. Peppery finish on the third steep. (second steep 4 min, third steep 10 min)

Flavors: Floral, Nutty, Pepper, Roasted, Wood

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Oh my goodness, I really wasn’t expecting this tea to be all that great. I thought it was just gonna be another roasty oolong.
I was partially right because it’s kinda roasty, but it also is floral. And totally tastes like flowers. Which is different from being floral.
It tastes like a lighter, sweeter floral…which reminds me of flowers. Therefore to me, I would say the main flavors are flowers and something roasted.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this one! (:
Thank you so much for the sample, LiberTEAS!
A nice finish for caffeinated teas tonight. Now onto the decaf teas, once again! (:

Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Honey, Roasted, Smooth, Sweet

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drank Golden Yunnan by In Pursuit of Tea
2816 tasting notes

Good Morning Steepster. I found this ancient sample in my tea stash when I was signed up for the Steepster Select box a few months ago. I like a drink a lot of yunnan teas so I’m not sure what made me wait so long to drink this one (aside from simply forgetting about it).

Have to say I am not overly impressed with this one. I think it’s a matter of personal preference as tobacco isn’t really a flavor I enjoy a lot in tea. Aside from that it seems very thin and light in body even though I used the whole sample to produce my tea, I don’t think I underleafed. There is a bit of sweetness that balances out the tobacco and also pepper.

I can see why this would really appeal to some palettes but it’s just o.k. in my book… also is leaving a very strong aftertaste in my mouth…

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Great aromas here! This tea is bursting with lilac like a great jasmine tea. This tea also mentioned hyacinth but I’m not familiar enough to tell. First steep created a wonderful golden cup and the scent jumps right out of the cup.

From: Steepster Oolong Sampler

Flavors: Flowers, Green

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I think I like the nice, flowery aroma better than the actual drink. I mean, it isn’t bad! It’s light and slightly sweet, but fairly nondescript beyond that.

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The dry leaf smells floral and sweet. There is also something spicy that reminds me vaguely of clove and cinnamon. Once water has been added, I detect that starchy scent that some Yunnans have. The spice is still very present, but I have a feeling that it will lighten up a little as the cup cools.

Sipping… wow, there are some really strong leather and tobacco notes here. It’s very savory, but also has mild notes of sweet potato and milk. This is a decent cup of tea with different layers, but I think it’s a bit too sharp for me. I’m not crazy about the leather/tobacco and pepper combination. Creamier sweet potato and honey flavors would really turn this tea around, but they’re so faint that the tea remains peppery and brisk.

I’m happy to have tried this tea, but I am not all that impressed with this particular Yunnan.

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drank Keemun Mao Feng by In Pursuit of Tea
10 tasting notes

A coworker gave me a 4 ounce bag of Keemun Mao Fang to try. When I first opened the bag I was pleasantly surprised by the aroma and leaf quality. The smell was slightly sweet and the leaves were intact (no broken leaves to speak of).

The only potential downside is that the tea is very light. While the first infusion is fine, the second infusion is very light which is a shame for a tea this expensive.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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