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Recent Tasting Notes
Tea Swap Sample
I had a busy weekend and was unable to make an official note of anything that was had during the time. I had 3-4 sessions in total, but my note taking was minimal.
Notes: mineral bite (stone?) with a touch of floral undertones. Doesn’t really progress too much, but it’s not a bad tea.
Handmade long Jing high mountain (dragonwell) green tea. From JK teahouse.
Ru Yao dragon teapot, gongfucha.
Dry leaf: green, vegetal, fresh cut grass.
Light steep; I taste/smell: (smell) light —> fresh cut grass, chestnut, green, vegetal, pepper (?). (Taste) light -→ sweet, grass, pepper, spices(?), green, vegetal, chestnut.
Medium steep; I taste/smell: (smell) light —> green, vegetal, grass, chestnut. (Taste) light to medium
-→ chestnut, freshly cut grass, sweet, pepper, spices (?), green, vegetal.
Heavy steep; I taste/smell: (smell) light —> chestnut, grass, vegetal. (Taste) medium -→ freshly cut grass, sweet(aftertaste), chestnut (?).
Strong —→ bitterness, pepper.
All in all a yummy tea, nice cha qi, nice aromas. I rate a 80/100.
give it a try.
Where to buy: not sure if this is the one.
Flavors: Bitter, Chestnut, Freshly Cut Grass, Grass, Green, Pepper, Spices, Sweet, Vegetal
Checked my notes – ‘Tastes like varnish wooden fruit, by steep 10 I thought yiwu’
Yeah I wont give up my day job to review tea quite yet. ..
I found this to be quite straightforward with its flavour & experience. Each steep did its thing, which was that aged varnish-bitter woody fruit taste (only way I can describe it), without much fuss. ’Twas ok. The front of the sip was the same as the end, not much in the way of a taste journey. It lasted throughout the day, and I particularly liked the later steeps when the taste changed to a hot-dark-milky/rounded base with some sour bitter lift.
It was ok – didn’t set me alight with complexity but its a cheap cake, so yeah recommended for the price – it also might be in sheng limbo-age, I don’t have enough data to know how this will progress when stored for a good few years nicely. Cheap enough to give it a try though :)
I’m not sure that this is the same tea that I’m drinking. It’s an Iron Arhat from Jk Tea, kindly swapped/given by Phi.
Anyway, this tea is good. However, I cannot place words to how good it is because it literally blew my mind. I pleaded with the wife to try this and tell me what she thought. We both pondered as we sipped, unsure what to call it (the taste).
So….We both came to the conclusion that it smells like collard greens & overcooked (not burnt) rice pudding. The flavor reminded us of rice pudding with caramelized/crystallized sugar from the raisins, with a hint of burnt popcorn.
Maybe that’s not correct, but it is 1 A.M. and I’m tired. Perhaps I’ll give this another go in the A.M., once I’ve rested and have had lucid dreams where I allow myself to escape the confines of Wonka’s hellish factory (a dream series in which I’ve been having lately) via the Wonkavator; that doesn’t go out and beyond, but further in….(Seriously, tea before bed results in fascinating, but very terrifying dreams; which my mind must solve an endless nightly puzzle as to how I must escape Wonka’s factory; or how I must compose the greatest musical about a story I’m currently working on about a boy who saves the world in a way in which I cannot disclose because it involves me exposing the story entirely).
Anyway, time for bed now….More to come soon….?
Flavors: Popcorn, Raisins, Rice Pudding, Sweet
I just created this listing. The tea is already listed under Jas eTea, but they note that they buy it wholesale from JK Tea Shop, so I’m listing it here.
It’s brighter in appearance and flavor than I expected for a darker oolong. The tea soup is dark yellow. It tastes floral and seems like it would be most appropriate for drinking in the Spring. I pick up hints of pine as well.
I put “high caffeine” in the listing without any scientific evidence. So please please take the caffeine level with a grain of salt. I am experiencing more caffeine effects than I normally do with oolong teas, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
I steeped 7 g. in 200 ml. water at 205 degrees Fahrenheit. 5 second rinse, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, etc. The tea is at its best for 5 steeps after the rinse, but really not bad for a couple more rounds.
At 205 degrees, there’s a hint of bitterness that isn’t very pleasant. I have another 7 g. left, and I think I’ll steep at 195 with that.
All in all, I enjoyed this tea. I’d buy it again if on sale, but don’t really feel the need to own more of it.
Edit: I should mention that I’m not sure I understand the relationship between JK Tea Shop and JAs eTea. Does anyone reading this know? JAs seems to sell most of their teas, and often at what appears to be a markup. But they’re also straightforward about these being JK’s teas and not theirs, and their websites are very similar. So I keep wondering if they have the same owners or something or if it’s just a wholesale relationship. I’m leaving this here as a reminder to myself to always check JK’s prices before placing an order with the other company.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Fruity, Oak wood, Pine
Good, solid. I haven’t had enough of these teas to be a good judge between them, but I enjoyed this. The smoky flavor is more like toasted grains than liquid smoke or ashes, which is appreciated. Medium-high roasting is a bit much for me for an everyday tea, but this one is good. Leaves are large, and I didn’t see a single bit of tea dust or even breakage.
I’m not a very precise steeper. It’s a little less than half of a 15 g. sample, but I didn’t weigh it.
I would not want to steep this at boiling — it doesn’t need to be any stronger, and I think next time I may try it at 195 or 200 degrees F.
5 second rinse, then steeped 15 seconds, then 30 seconds, etc.
Flavors: Nutty, Nutty, Smoke, Smoke, Toasted, Toasted
Just because my oolong samples from Life In Teacup have now all been enjoyed does not mean I lack for other oolong samples.
I am pretty sure that the one I have from JK Tea is this one. The sample packet (never opened until today) says 2009 Spring Da Hong Pao Ban Yan. I know I’ve had Da Hong Pao before but it has been a while. JK Tea was very kind and included this sample when they sent me the purple chrysanthemum tea they gave away a while ago, and which, unfortunately, did not mix well with me.
I’ve steeped in accordance with the directions on this page, which means hotter water than I typically use for oolongs (over 209F, it says here). There’s a lot in this sample so I have enough to try it at a lower temp later. Going for my usual 15 seconds + 5 seconds in subsequent steeps in the gaiwan.
1. Tea is golden yellow. Smells a little roasty, but there’s no pungent note like some dark oolongs have (and that reminds me of darjeeling). It’s surprisingly sweet smelling and the taste is mild, sweet and not particularly toasty. The empty cup smells like caramel. :-)
2. Dark gold. There’s a note in the aroma that is like toasted rice? Otherwise, the floral notes are coming out this time. Taste is again, not toasty. A little perkier and less sweet, but still very smooth with no bitterness.
3. Dark gold again and a light floral aroma. Continues to be medium sweet and smooth, with a floral taste, and a lovely sugary note that lingers in the cup and in the aftertaste.
4. Lighter golden in color. Honey note in aroma! It makes me think of bees and pollen. :-) Some of the toastiness is coming out in the flavor this steep, but the tea is still very smooth and sweet.
5. Similar color to 4, aroma is less sweet. Flavor has begun to fade but still has a nice, floral smoothness.
I enjoyed this!
The only reason I’m not rating this higher is that there is a sort of a funky note to the tea, a weird sort of plastic-y note, which fortunately isn’t always present and isn’t strong with this tea. I recall having a similar issue with the purple chrysanthemum, though there it was much more pronounced. I’m wondering whether it has something to do with the plastic bags used for the samples? It will be interesting to try this at a lower temperature and see what difference that makes.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Floral, Honey, Sugar, Toasted Rice
Presently enjoying some Naka Bamboo pu’er from JK Teashop in my new porcelain gaiwan, also from JK Teashop. This is the most delicate (cheap?) piece of teaware I’ve ever owned. I already regret the day my tea drunk ass fumbles it onto my tile kitchen floor, smashing it to bits. Anyway… the dry leaf aroma is incredible. Early steeps are a tad bitter; there’s also this interesting and new flavor for me which I assume is bamboo. Lots more smoke than I like in a pu, but considering the preparation method one cannot be surprised by that. Happy to have tried it. Thanks to cookies for recommending it.
Edit: (an hour later?) Wanted to add that at first there wasn’t much in the way of qi, then I got up to make my wife a cup of tea, and stood in the kitchen for what seemed like a long time with no idea why I was there. So this is definitely weird. Also, I lost count how many steeps I’ve had, but I’ve decided to put this aside and maybe come back to it tomorrow. It’s more powerful than I’d originally thought. Also, my dog loves it.
I found the strong, vegetal flavor of this matcha very unappealing. It had a bitter after taste and gritty texture that kept me from fully enjoying it. I was very surprised to learn it was a ceremonial grade matcha, due to it’s washed out color it more closely resembled culinary grade. I strongly suspect it may be old because I’ve never seen a ceremonial grade look so dingy or give me so much trouble when I whisk. According to the JK Tea Shop website, this was harvested in April 2014 making it over a year old.
You can read the full results of the blind taste test on my blog:
Another from my moonlight trip courtesy of dexter I won’t finish getting through all of them today but i made a nice dent, and if i can try the other two tomorrow, maybe i’ll still remember enough for comparison’s sake.
The initial smell of the dry leaf on this one is sweet hay. Nothing but hay. :) Wet, there was a weird smell that this took on – not of wet hay but i swear it was almost like sausages? smoked sausages? yeah don’t ask me..no one was cooking in my area lol. brewed this one has almost a little smoke to it, or at least the memory of smoke. there’s a tanginess here that is relatively interesting to me as well. I think this one has been the most interesting of the bunch so far :)
I got the version from 2014 in a sampler pack. This is waaaay too bitter for me, with no natural sweetness that I can detect. So… Question… Are oriental beauty, da hong pao and wuyi rock the only darker oolongs? I wish I’d gotten a dark oolong sampler instead of this one. All but one or two are…quite green. I need honey or something for this to work.
Flavors: Bitter, Vegetal
Another solid offering from Menghai. This one has a nice dark liquor with rich tones of raisin, and cocoa with a hint of bark. Not terrible complex, but a solid tea. Like most gong tings, this one only lasts 5 or so steepings before fading but they are some amazing 5 steepings! I’ve had this one several times now, and not too much cha qi to speak about but this one is a good one for the morning… a daily drinker type.
I lied! This is my last sample from Dinosara, teehee. She included this one as a freebie bonus sample, thanks dear! The leaves are long and twisty, and quite brittle. The color is dark chocolate brown. Dry scent is somewhat sweet with a fruit element. I did my usual “black tea” 3 minute steep at 200 degrees.
The brewed aroma has very strong honey notes, yum! There’s also a bit of malt and some fruitiness there. Hmm… I’m unsure what to say about the taste. My first thought it “this tastes like black tea”. It reminds me of plain ol’ unsweetened iced tea, and I’m not really sure how to describe that flavor other than just “black tea”. There’s a little bit of a grain element and a touch of honey comes out in the aftertaste, but for the most part it’s tea. I’m not sure if I’m missing something, but this one is not impressive to me. :P
Flavors: Grain, Honey, Malt
This review is for the 2014 version. This tea has a sweet aftertaste, and a unique aroma. No dryness could be felt when brewed right. Its taste evolves nicely over steepings, and in the 2nd steep I got a really nice thick mouthfeel from it. This tea lasts for many steepings (at least 8 steepings the way I brew it).
Brewing parameters: I used about 4.5g of leaves in 125ml gaiwan. 95c for the 1st and 2nd steepings, and 90c for the rest steepings. brewing times: rinse/15s/15s/15s/20s/25s/35s and so on..
This is a special tea, still in its infancy. It has a wonderful rich smooth flavor profile with a unique characteristic of significantly different taste depending on the temperature of the steeped tea. Brewed the traditional gong fu style with 212 degree water, this tea flavor changes as it cools. The initial hot liquor is smooth with high tones of soft bark and cane sugar. At first I though that this tea really doesn’t have much taste, but as the tea cools complexities come out and the tea becomes more rich and sweet with subtle spice notes.
JK Tea Shop describes this tea as “connoisseur pu er” and the price certainly reflects it. I purchased a cake in May of 2013 for $115 and as of this posting the price has sky rocketed to $450! I have not opened my cake and have not tried this tea since I finished the sample I bought prior to purchasing. This is a tea for long term storage for me that I will gratefully savor at some special occasion in the distant future. This is a special tea for sure!
This is an excellent example of an “earthy” pu erh. The flavor is that of deep woods, moss, birch, but with a surprising smooth character that lends to easy drinking. This is probably one of those polarizing teas, either love it or hate it but for those that enjoy the earthy flavor of ripe pu erh tea, this one is excellent. I don’t quite like it as much as the 2010 yongede golden buds loose leaf, but the golden buds appears to be sold out at JK and only this available last I checked. This is part of my daily drinking rotation of ripe pu erh teas. I also find it does well to sooth the stomach after a heavy meal.
Flavors: Dark Wood, Earth, Moss