teabento

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Recent Tasting Notes

64

An Earthy Chinese tea that tastes like a black tea. I guess I was hoping for a sweet/plum-like oolong with a bit of a roast. Maybe this is 90% oxidized, but I swear this tastes like the many golden tippy Yunnan blacks I’ve tasted. There is some sweetness, but mostly a leathery/Earthy flavour. I would have liked more sweetness or something floral/fruity.

Flavors: Earth, Leather, Mineral

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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78

Had this one a few days ago, paired with a STELLAR curried cauliflower, jalapeno, and mango pizza with a mint yogurt drizzle. I know that’s a lot to take in pizza wise, but fuck me it was good…

This tea is excellent; it’s so beautifully balanced with really true to form tasting notes. I’d say the strongest, in my opinion, was the floral lilac elements alongside orchid notes as well. It’s also quite creamy, both in taste and mouthfeel, and has a mixture of grassy and vegetal (romaine) body notes as well. There’s also a really delicate stonefruit like undertone; something in the realm of white peaches.

I was worried that the pizza might outweigh the tea because it was a very busy pizza; and I think the spices did drown out a little bit of the nuances that would have been present otherwise. However, the mango was a great tie in for the stonefruit undertones, and the cooling yogurt seemed to make the vegetal/grassy elements in the blend seem crisper/cleaner. So, while there were some flaws it still worked overall.

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/BjBKxhJn7iR/?taken-by=ros_strange

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78

Out of all the green tea samples I got from Teabento this one is probably the most distinctive from the others. As an assamese plant grown in Lao Cai, Vietnam (northern/China border), this tea has a profile reminiscent of a sheng puerh. Rich mushroom, string bean and other veggie notes provide an intriguing spectrum of sweet, sour and smoky. It’s a smooth cup, and a lot less nippy than some of the younger shengs in their early steeps. I still get a bit of smoky-sweet cedar woodchips though, which is something I associate with my limited exposure to sheng puerh.

I’m steeping this one western style with a 1min steep to start. I’m using a cup that I originally steeped the last of What-cha’s rose oolong in and I think it’s adding some creamy, floral (and possibly berry) notes to the profile (they’re a nice addition but not helpful when trying to discern an already complex tea).

Will do a gongfu steep next time! This tea deserves it.

Flavors: Cedar, Green Beans, Mushrooms, Smoke, Sour, Sweet, Vegetables, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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82

All the offerings from Teabento’s green tea sample pack have been hits for me, falling in the 75-85 range, and this one isn’t an exception. I prefer it more than their Dragonwell and Jasmine Pearls, and maybe slightly less than the Kamairicha, Uji Sencha and Daejak. It’s flavourful sweet, nutty, vegetal profile has been my friend these last couple early mornings and evenings.

I’ll be sad when I’m out! It was such a novelty to have so many delicious unflavoured green teas in the cupboard. Besides this, only Lonely Saola is left and it’s smoky!

Flavors: Chestnut, Nutty, Peanut, Peas, Seaweed, Sweet, warm grass, Umami, Vegetal

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80

This was a lovely oolong. The first steep was a bit buttery vegetables. After that it was mostly variations of vegetables. So it was a very good tea just not something I would get again for myself as there are other Tea Bento teas I prefer a lot more.

Flavors: Butter, Vegetables

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 16 OZ / 473 ML

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80

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85

This is a lovely Dragon Well, perfectly balanced with none of that drying quality that comes from over-roasting. Sweet and juicy (sugarcane, sweet peas, corn, stonefruit) play off savoury notes (butter, toasted nuts, chestnuts). The corn, nut and butter notes come together for a nice cream impression that either leads to a finish of umami-like seaweed (the crushed kind you’d find sprinkled on top of okonomiyaki or something) or creamed corn, depending on how my brain associates it.

I steeped this longer (2-3min instead of 1min) than what Teabento recommends because I like my Dragon Well that way. This particular offering has a gentle enough profile to handle it, imho.

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Garden Peas, Peanut, Seaweed, Stonefruits, Sugarcane, Sweet, warm grass, Toast, Umami

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

Think the peanut profile of a Dragonwell with the backdrop of a Japanese green (grass, grass, and more delicious sweet grass). I’m having a hard time finding anything negative to say about it. I’m seriously thinking of swapping my essential but problematic (ie.- pollution prone) Dragonwells for this tea type.

Thanks for the the sample, Teabento- I’ll be playing with this one all Easter! It’s also nice to be reminded of the existence of Pikas.

Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Peanut, Sweet, Toasty, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec
Evol Ving Ness

By pollution-prone, do you mean easily contaminated by the fragrances of other teas?

CrowKettle

I’ve seen a few tea shops market their Dragonwell as “clean options/cultivators” because Hangzhou in general is building up a reputation for air and water pollution. Not sure if that’s supposed to be a marketing gimmick, defamatory or a real concern with this tea type/area, but it has made me a little hesitant. :/

Evol Ving Ness

Wow!
Well, truly, China is seriously polluted. I wasn’t in Hangzhou, but Guangzhou for example had pollution so thick that it felt and looked like a perpetual ceiling.

CrowKettle

I’ve only been to Shanghai, which is an extreme case in such a huge country, but maaan was the pollution bad- in what is otherwise an incredible city.

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87

I’m putting this one into my “tricky steeper” file; when it worked it was awesome but when it didn’t it was meh. I also never got it to fly through multiple steeps (over 2).

The perfect cup was nuanced- mellow hay and cucumber layered with honey, stonefruits, melon, and nuts covered with a light dab of cocoa- leaving the mouth full of something surprisingly equal parts fruity (sweet, melon) and savoury (pepper, walnut, and smoke). The hint of “spice” reminds me a tad of juniper and cedar. There is also a touch of something subtly creamy smooth, like rice or coconut water, or maybe almond milk. This cup pairs surprisingly well with a chocolate peanut bar.

On a bad day it tasted like burnt hay and astringent messiness. Fickle, fickle tea.

Thankfully for the sipdown, today was a good day. Teabento says steep at 80C or 85C and I found life was better if it was steeped somewhere in the middle of this range.

Steep Count: 2 + Rinse

(Sample generously provided by Teabento)

Flavors: Cocoa, Cucumber, Fruity, Hay, Honey, Honeydew, Melon, Nuts, Pepper, Smoke

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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81

I finished up this tea months ago, but it feels wrong not to leave a note on such a lovely green tea. I’m pretty sure this was Teabento freebie too.

Jasmine Pearls aren’t always my favourite (they’re my mom’s) but when they somehow end up in my cupboard it’s like stumbling upon a ballet performance in your kitchen. Too fancy, delicate and beautiful for my humble abode. This one stood out from the rest (H&S and Teavivre), lacking the soapy sour veg note of the parenthesized offerings. It was so sweet. If/when I’m looking for the Pearls again Teabento will be on the list of top contenders (it’s a short list but it isn’t a bad one).

Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Sweet, Vegetal

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82

I meant to sit down with this green and purposefully drink it, for the tea notes, but it ended up becoming my sloppy go-to green tea for the week evenings instead. What that means on a scale of 1-10 is I drank it with zero (0) mindfulness and ten (10) chugging speed.

What can I say now that it’s gone so soon from the earthly realm of CrowKettle Tea Shelves? It was sweet. It was refreshing. It was deliciously flavourful. Now it’s gone.

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Nutty, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec
Evol Ving Ness

Honest and succinct words for ephemera. No fluff needed. A haiku might work though.

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This tea is really soft, gentle, not as bold as most oolongs I drink. It’s sweet – I find that a little weird – some honey, some stone fruit and of course some woody oolong. It’s good. People who aren’t a huge fan of dark oolong might like this one, it’s milder than other’s I’ve tried. I prefer bold, aged oolongs that are a lot like leather and old books – so this isn’t quite my cup of tea.

(Really tight hockey game happening – hard to focus on the tea when I’m sitting on the edge of my seat…… go jets…)
https://www.instagram.com/p/BfcPdpUBWCZ/?taken-by=dex3657
That picture looks good on my phone but really washed out on my laptop…. weird….

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, sounds promising.

Go jets go! (Whatever it takes to get you here :)

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Thanks to tea bento for the generous sample box. I made these green tea jasmine dragon pearls according to pacakage directions: gong fu style, 80-90c, rinse/1min/20s/50s/80s/140s/4min.

The first steep is a pretty standard jasmine green: floral and grassy. 20 seconds is too short for the second steep. It comes out tasty but too light. I did the third steep at 88c and that made the brew come out too tart. I went lower on the temp and brewed the fourth steep at 83c, but it came out bitter, as if the base was being oversteeped. I went way lower for the fifth steep and brewed at 75c, which was much better in that the brew was no longer bitter but the jasmine came out more perfumey than floral. The same problem happened in the sixth steep, with the jasmine taste becoming cloying.

Overall, I think this is a somewhat finicky tea that would benefit from fewer steeps at a lower temperature. I have enough left to try again so I can play around with it a bit.

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Thanks to tea bento for the generous sample set. The dry leaf of this wild silver needle has a scent that is equal parts floral and hay. I steeped according to package directions: gong fu style, 80-85c, 4 steeps of 30s/15s/2min/5min. I didn’t try to get a fifth steep out of it.

The first steep was by far the best. It brews up very pale with a savory aroma of hay and sticky rice. The sticky rice note carries over into the flavor, which I really like.

Subsequent steeps also brew up pale but bring out an astringency in the leaf. The second steep is mildly astringent, with a dominant flavor of hay. The third steep had faint notes of cooked rice and hay. It was hard to make anything out past that initial astringency in the sip but the taste of bitter greens did linger after the sip. The fourth steep was the longest, which seemed to cut down on the astringency. The robust savory scent of that first steep returns. The astringency is still present but the underlying flavors are stronger than in the second or third steeps.

Overall, I think I would have preferred this tea brewed Western-style for relatively short steep times to bring out as much of the savory notes as possible while suppressing the astringency.

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85
drank Jiri Horse by teabento
3336 tasting notes

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85
drank Jiri Horse by teabento
3336 tasting notes

Have drank this a few times now; I think I prefer laoshan black but the chocolatey profile here is certainly tasty as well. I just think it errs a little more on the… hay-y side, whereas I prefer the maltier, richer LB.

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87

It is definitely a rare occasion drinking a tea (in this case a fine dark hand rolled Oolong) from Vietnam. Its profile really reminded me a lot of its origin Taiwanese version. My wife loved this buddy to its bits!
Aroma: It resembled a lot of an Oriental Beauty but still different with a nice sugary sweet roasted note. The sweetness somehow reminded me of cotton candy. Later steaming up the full honey structure was conquering every inch of my scenting buds. Such a deliciously mouth watering sweet structure plus a nice typical Taiwanese floral note to it.

Taste: Like the aroma the taste was very sweet. It was hard resisting this fellow. While I was shooting those photos the scent really messed with my concentration because the steaming bouquet was so lovely. The liquor unfolded so deliciously sweet like cotton candy with honey plus a hint of multivitamin juice (mango, passion fruit and a hint of pineapple) with an extra of dark sweet gums like blueberry and cherry. Beside those aspects a small hint of gingerbread and sweet roasted almonds showed up too. This was a great example of a well composed and naturally sweet Vietnamese Oolong

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94

Dancong especially Milan Xiang at its best should be very thick, with a full body and a very tropical fruity profile and this is exactly what this fellow combines and even more. This again is by far one of the best Milan Xiang I’ve ever had. I tried many but not as fragrant, full bodied and so well balanced composed as this one. A masterpiece of its own. Mango, passion fruit a hint of pineapple a slightly nutty accent of sweet roasted almonds and pumpkinseeds a good amount of sweet ripe peaches and a nice sugary sweet aspect of cherry blossom hi-chew (Japanese fruit gums). This profile really lets your Dancong heart beat fast as a Speedster! This is the miracle of tea! This fellow keeps his strength of taste for at least three steeps after that a nice bouquet and liquor is still pleasing your tasting buds but with a slightly greener lighter touch to it – the tropical fruit note is now more noticeable within the long fragrant aftertaste

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76

Thanks to teabento for sending along a sample of this tea. I love the leafhopper sweetness in teas, and this one is no exception. I did notice that it seems to require a little extra time to bring out the sweetness – the first cup I had was a bit bland, but the second was filled with bug bitten goodness.

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93
drank Jiri Horse by teabento
937 tasting notes

Mmm. This tea is so particular: bittersweet, like darkest chocolate. A bit of sweet potato trailing behind. All in all, such a delight.

I am hoarding this one. Maybe not completely hoarding, but indulging in a cup or two only from time to time so that I can stretch out its deliciousness.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Sweet Potatoes

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