JK Tea ShopEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Searching for a roasted oolong in my sample drawer, I found this one buried way down at the bottom of the drawer – I believe it was a sample sent to me quite a while back by the company to try out/review. Oops.
I had this one later in the evening – I slept basically all afternoon after a night of insomnia, and all I wanted (more than anything else) was roasted tea. Let me tell you, this PERFECTLY hit the spot! It’s a pretty heavy, toasty taste for something “medium roasted” but I’m feeling it! Early steeps are all about roasted chestnut, dark leather, and instant coffee ground notes with a brassy, mineral heavy finish…
Thins out after about five or six steeps but holds its flavour, just not the body. The flavour drops out around steep eight, and then it’s a quick decline. It was a good ride, though.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuscdhNUhiY
Aroma: The dried aroma is equal parts grassy and buttery. Once steeped, it becomes clean , fresh and crisp. Think steamed greens, seaweed and minerals.
Tasting Notes: There’s no bitterness in this at all, just a long sweetness! It holds a super spritely, fresh taste, with a long-lasting sweetness.
Flavors: Mineral, Seaweed
Aroma: The packet scent smells like sweet white grapes, while the steeped scent is toasted and chocolate-y, with muted florals.
Tasting Notes: The whole flavour is rich and complex. With lingering sweet notes of caramel and molasses! The silky mouthfeel adds a nice touch, making this cuppa go straight down!
Flavors: Chocolate, White Grapes
Aroma: The packet scent is like light chocolate and honey. Once steeped, the fresh honey intensifies and combines with the smell of fresh baked bread.
Tasting Notes: This tea is not what I expected when I read the packet! My experience of Lapsang Souchong is a dark black tea with heavy smokey flavours. I love it! And recently ran out of my stash… However, the only hint of empyreumatic notes is through the flavour of baked bread! Its rich and flavoursome and delicate and light and beautiful. There’s a hint of fruits, making it taste like banana bread in the aftertaste.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Honey, Nut Fruits, Sweet
Aroma: Gamey notes of leather, with touches of charcoal, dried wood, tobacco and a faint sweet honey scent.
Tasting Notes: I have an on-off relationship with wuyi tea. Sometimes I find the flavours comforting and fulfilling, other times I find them opposite. I guess it depends on the tea. This particular Da Hong Pao is slowly baked over charcoal, something that seems to be retained in the aroma. However, there are hardly any empyreumatic flavours in this tea. Instead I find a gentle roasted flavour with deep cacao notes, light stone fruit and leather.
Flavors: Honey, Leather, Stonefruit, Tobacco, Wood
Grandpa style from earlier in the week!
Surprisingly very nice when brewed this way – I had my concerns, both because the tea is a little bit older/not fresh and because I worried it might draw out a lot of bitterness/astringency. I certainly wouldn’t think of Dancong as a tea that would typically be best brewed Grandpa style…
There was a little bit of dryness at times, particularly when the tea had been sitting in the cup for a more extended period and was waiting on being topped up with fresh water. That is completely to be expected though, and even that dryness wasn’t anything that was all too undesirable. The best way the lovely juicy and floral plum notes that were steeping out; very Japanese type of plum flavour, but oh so good! A little toasty, a little mineral, some darker amber honey notes. Definitely a nice thing to sip on during the afternoon, and a surprising success and use of this tea leaf!
Tea session from this Friday, steeped casually over the course of my work morning. I only took notes briefly, as I was focusing on some other tasks. Here’s what I wrote up for instagram though in summary of the first four or so infusions – I think I got about another four afterwards that were good, too.
Early steeps of some deliciously fragrant medium bodied Honey Orchid Dancong. I lowered the g/ml ratio from the last time I tried this oolong and I’m MUCH happier with this session. It’s smooth with a balanced mix of roasted nuts, wood, honey, and plum notes with an increasingly floral undertone over these first few steeps…
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZUF_K976FA
I feel like I owe this tea a more thorough review, but I’ve only got a few minutes to get in some reviews before my bus leaves for the night so I’m gonna keep it brief and to the point – jot note level of brief/to the point. Just know that I will revisit this and give it a more detailed review…
- Beautiful dry leaf; a slightly nutty aroma with sweetness to it
- Steeped it had more of a fruity quality; sort of a fresh lemon aroma
- Not lemon skin/peel or the fruit itself but more just the aroma of a lemon, untouched
- Smooth and medium bodied
- Notes of lightly toasted nuts (almond?), honey, and florals
- Just a bit of roastiness, and lemon/citrus undertones
- Maybe some yuzu?
I liked it well enough overall; I anticipate I’ll most likely enjoy it even more when I get around the brewing the rest of the sample Gong Fu. As it stands, this is something that I’d drink happily if served or the mood strikes but I don’t think I’d class it as exceptional or something I’d go out of my way for just when it comes to this sort of Western prep. Then again, we all know a tea like this isn’t really meant to be prepared Western…
Buy It Here: https://www.jkteashop.com/
Only made a teacup worth of this because I had such a small and weird amount of the tea left. Even still, I think it was too little and I probably should have just shoved it into my teapot when I steeped this Gongfu earlier in the week – the infusion was just super light and watered down tasting.
Happy to have finished it off though and cleared one more green from my ginormous stash.
I’m trying to sipdown my stash and get back under 600 teas again, and this seemed like a good choice to work on finishing off – it’s a little bit older now, I don’t have a large quantity of it left and I have zero desire to hoard green teas. Getting four tea packages in last that two weeks was super exciting, but also meant my cupboard total blew up more than I’d like it to; so gotta put in the work and finish some shit off!
I actually steeped this one up with some apple mint leaves added into the glass pot I was brewing with – part of the tea and herb experimentation I’ve been dabbling with as of late. I liked the idea of doing a Chinese green tea with mint because it’s so similar to the concept of a Moroccan Mint blend, and Apple Mint seemed like a fun twist on that since it’s sweeter/fruitier and has less menthol in the finish: sort of a brighter, sweeter and more “Summery” Moroccan Mint…
I didn’t bruise the mint I used because I knew it would come through pretty strong without the extra hand – and I wasn’t sure how much to use to not overpower the tea. I think, in the end, I went with six average sized apple mint leaves – and honestly that was probably one or two too many since the infusions for the first three steeps were definitely majority apple mint flavoured, with just a bit of grassiness from the green tea and some astringency in the finish. It was delicious but not a super great balance.
Infusion four was actually really nice; more even balance of apple mint and green tea notes. However, after infusion four the apple mint and green tea were both starting to get too mild to be really enjoyable.
If nothing, this was a good learning experience and it did help me to nearly finish off this tea!
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43n1wghXRGM
Very short, and very late at night “mini session”.
I’m calling this a mini session because it was only four infusions, and I knew it was going to be a quickie because it’s so late at night and I tire of green teas pretty quickly. I just found that I was really spontaneously craving a green tea, though.
Just sweet and medium bodied, with a smooth and buttery taste/mouthfeel combo. Definitely notes of buttery leafy greens like iceburg lettuce/kale/romaine. Finish is a little bit artichoke-y, and a little bit like REALLY MILD anise bulbs. Second steep, of four, was the best because it was sweetest and more buttery with the smallest amount of ‘green’ to it. Honestly not bad overall though; but I’m very content with such a small session.
Craving something light bodied, straight and green and I still have some of this left over from the samples JK Teashop gave me so I thought it would fit the bill quite nicely. Definitely a lighter bodied flavour overall, but still really smooth and clean in terms of finish. I find the body has a strong green bean/edamame kind of flavour to it. Little whisps of cucumber skin, too. It’s also pretty nutty, but right now I’m finding that the green bean notes outweigh the softer nutty elements. It makes me feel like I’m drinking the equivalent to a really nice, leafy green salad. Just a bare bones kind of salad though; leafy greens, maybe a TINY bit of citrus, and a handful of finely crushed nuts on top. No dressings. Refreshing, cooling, and a little bit summer-y.
Next up of the teas JK Tea Shop sent me to review!
This was the one I was least looking forward to, to be honest – anyone who knows my tea tastes even remotely knows I’m not a huge green tea fan in general. However, this is a Chinese green tea and between Chinese and Japanese I think that’s my preferred when you rule out things like Genmaicha and Houjicha, which don’t taste like the typical green tea…
I brewed this up Western style; I don’t usually enjoy Gong Fu with greens and I wanted to give this one the best shot humanly possible for me to enjoy it. The aroma of the dry leaf was actually surprisingly pleasant though; sweet and somewhat floral with a bit of nuttiness to it. That made me hopeful, because those are the types of notes that usually make a green tea passable for me.
Steeped up, this was actually solid! I mean, for the sake of transparency I’m confident that this is something I would definitely not purchase for myself/wouldn’t have chosen for myself but the overall profile was nice, and not once did the tea give me ‘yuck face’ which is totally a thing that happens when I drink a lot of straight greens. I definitely agree with the company description that this is floral and sweet – and also just incredibly smooth as a whole. What I did pick on that I didn’t see mentioned, though, was again that same nutty quality I had observed in the dry aroma. I’d describe it as more of an almond thing, and I say almond because IMO that’s definitely a sweeter sort of nut and almond notes tend to have overlap with cherry/florals/sweetness in general because of the ‘marzipan’ sort of quality that comes with ’em.
I have no doubt someone who actually drinks green tea on a regular basis would love this tea; I think the profile was really smooth and pleasant and I can totally see the appeal. I’ll also probably finish my sample with relative ease – it’s just not something I’m going to turn around and buy for myself.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWzh7Xg9Krw
Get It Here: https://www.jkteashop.com/
Gong Fu Sipdown (606)!
Finished off this (unsmoked) Lapsang Souchong last weekend – it was pretty damn tasty. As always, I do wish I had a slightly better recollection of the flavour evolution throughout the session, but thankfully I managed to capture my basic impressions of this tea on instagram and I do have an older tasting note for this tea as well that has some of my impressions captured there as well.
Basically, it was pretty typical black tea flavour notes for an unsmoked Lapsang: full bodied and brisk but smooth. Highly malty flavour profile, with French bread and cocoa undertones. I recall it having a little bit of an oak/mahogany wood undertone as well, and a fleeting, soft smoke finish on some of the infusions. Like seven infusions total? Not sure. I remember it being a pretty average session length for a black tea, though.
The most impressive/stunning part of the session was DEFINITELY the beautiful red hued liquor of the steeped tea in my cha hai; gorgeous clarity and colour.
So, JKTeaShop was really nice and sent me some teas for free in exchange for some reviews; they showed up yesterday and I would have loved to crack into them then but it was like 10PM at night when I got home from work so definitely not the ideal time for a good session…
I wanted to try this one first though; I’ve a pretty big fan of Lapsang Souchong regardless of whether or not it’s smoked (this one isn’t) but I’ve been drinking a lot more unsmoked Lapsang lately so I was excited to try another take. I steeped this one up Gongfu, with 8g of leaf. I’ll probably finish the rest of the sample Western style because this is a style of tea I enjoy both ways, and while Gong Fu black can be nice it doesn’t generally have much staying power.
I got about eight steeps out of this one – I found it had beautiful flavour right off the bat but it tapered off very quickly; but like mentioned above black teas don’t often have great staying power when it comes to brewing Gong Fu. Right off the bat, this one had a very nice full bodied and smooth malty quality to it that then further developed into undertones of stonefruit and some honey-like sweetness. I say honey-like because it was almost more something that is honey flavoured versus actual, realistic honey. Midsession steeps continued the malt and fruity sort of notes/traits, but developed into a bit of a bittersweet dark chocolate/baker’s chocolate sort of flavour with a somewhat spicy finish. Like, notes of cumin were definitely present. I actually really liked the introduction of those cumin notes because they were really unique and interesting contrasted against the stonefruit undertones and sweetness.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed this one! It was a great early morning session for me, and while it didn’t have the most staying power in the world it had solid flavor and for me that’s always the most important thing.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6Nt1ssPLBA
Buy It Here: https://www.jkteashop.com/
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