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2023 An Ode to Tea – H
The letter ‘H’ is another where I have nothing close to a sipdown, so here is one I haven’t written a note for, from Meowster. Thank you! After the first steep, the little slice of cake Meowster parceled out is hardly unraveled. But that means the flavor is hardly overdone yet, which is a problem I have with raw puerh. But it’s also difficult to tell what those flavors ARE. It’s raw puerh with no negative characteristics. And also never acquires that overdone flavor. Good enough!
Steep #1 // 40 minutes after boiling // 45 second steep
Steep #2 // 35 minutes after boiling // 45 second steep
Steep #3 // 30 min after boiling // 1 minute steep
A sample from Meowster a while ago, thank you! This is a great pu-erh that reminds me of the Teavivre that I had last. Very rich and biscuity, bakey, doughy more than a usual pu-erh (and the quality I like best with that Teavivre ripe I just had) with zero negative flavors/aromas. It’s very good and just what I’m looking for in a ripe. Not much else to say. Sadly, it doesn’t look like this shop is around anymore. Two excellent steep sessions with this sample!
Steep #1 // 20 minutes after boiling // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 7+ min
2020 Sipdowns: 84
Ashmanra’s sipdown challenge – June 2023 Tea #3 – A true sipdown tea
I feel like I haven’t had an actual sipdown in months! uh oh. But here is one. A TRUE sipdown! Amazing! Not a bad oolong, but at this point I have no idea the age, so it is probably no fault of the oolong that it isn’t spectacular. It steeps up well enough for the day, anyway! It’ll do when you’re craving an oolong.
2023 sipdowns: 52
From Meowster! Thank you so much! No Steepster notes for this one. It is a very tightly rolled dark oolong. It’s unexpected because I thought Tie Guan Yin is usually much greener… or at least they might include “roasted” in the name. As is usual with a roasted oolong, the roast is really the only flavor I’m tasting, though the first cup does have a significant cream/creamy flavor and texture. I’m glad for the cream note, but by the second and third steeps, it mostly disappears until I’m drinking the remainder of the cup cooled the next morning. The cream is back. One thing is this never gets bitey, so that is nice! But I’m really not a roasted oolong fan. I’m glad there is only a little bit of this left, but it’s certainly fine to brew this up if I’m craving a roasted oolong ONCE in a while.
Steep #1 // 1 1/3 teaspoons for full mug // 29 minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 12 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // 2 minutes after boiling // 3 min
2020 Sipdowns: 49 (ONE pouch of JusTea – Kenyan Black + Bird & Blend’s Milk & Honey)
Brisk but smooth, with no astringency. It is a breakfast tea without bitterness.
Check out my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2019/03/28/wild-black-tea-dian-hong-teabook-2/
My package was marked Wild Red Black tea, but matches the photo, so I’m hoping this is the right tea for my review.
The leaves were long and curled, looked to be good quality. First brew smelled like baked bread, taking a sip, the taste was more of the bread notes along with classic tart black tea undertones and a hint of cacao. Very pleasant to drink, more calming than the normal breakfast black tea sharpness. Second brew has earthier tones, almost more like a pu erh tea. Less bread and more savory black tea notes.
Pretty good overall. Not my personal favorite, but very drinkable and a solid unflavored black tea.
Flavors: Bread, Cacao, Chocolate, Earth, Wheat
2017 Teabook raw is a tea for someone who hasn’t tried or is intimidated by puer. This tea is quite flexible to steep, I even used boiling water and stewed in a travel tumbler for an hour. The cake is pressed lightly, so you don’t even need a tool to break off pieces.
The notes are quite light, with notes of citrus pith, dew, and cotton.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2017-teabook-raw-puer/
Sample for review
Nice looking leaves. Highly aromatic. Tastes floral and mushroomy. Went thru decent amount of steeps. I started with short steeps and they were sweet and pleasant. When pushed it’s pleasantly bitter and astringent as expected for young sheng. Seems like perfect sheng for beginners or someone on the go who wants to steep it grandpa
This is a sample for review.
4g/ 70ml off boil short steeps
Nice looking dry leaf. Smell chocolaty and bready. It’s like Jin Jun Mei on steroids. Leaf is bigger and brew is so much stronger even with very short steeps.
It was an interesting session. It didn’t work with my usual hongcha parameters but when I transferred to a big gaiwan it was nice and chocolaty. I agree with Teabook this tea is good grandpa style.
Tea Swap Session
I’ve been meaning to start reviewing teas again…So, I started a “plan” on getting that done: Drink tea every week and write a quick review on each one the following Monday.
Notes: It had a nice buttery, savory note throughout the session. I had started this session with 4-5 steeps before allowing the leaves to rest a few hours before concluding the session (one thing I’ve noticed with a lot of teas is that they tend to change once they’ve rested a little while). Throughout the remaining 3 steeps, I allowed the water temp to increase (190F, 195F, & 200F) with each steep, to see how far this tea could to be pushed; which, I must admit, can be pushed after it has been mostly “brewed out.” However, the 200F steep didn’t really do much with the tea since it had mostly lost all of the flavor prior to the last. This definitely was a good tea, though. I’m not one to boast about green tea, but this was definitely one worth trying.
Flavors: Broccoli, Butter
This tea gets the job done. It’s not overly complex or necessarily intended for an advanced drinker looking for a special occasion tea, but nobody’s claiming that it is. Teabook offers higher-end Denong teas for the self-proclaimed connoisseurs, and openly advertises their house-brand puerhs as entry-level teas. When viewed in the proper context, this sheng really does taste crisp, clean, and flavorful. As I said earlier, I really preferred this tea grandpa style, but that’s just me. For new drinkers, especially those who have yet to pick up their first gaiwan, this tea is a must. Its ability to preform well grandpa style is a huge selling-point, and will really help ease newcomers into the vast and seemingly endless world of puerh…
Read the full review at: https://shenggut.wixsite.com/shenggut/single-post/2017/08/06/Teabook-Raw-Pu-Erh-Tea-Cake-Spring-2017
Flavors: Apricot, Flowers, Grass
It was floral, sweet, and vegetal. It was a great Sheng, and easy to drink as well. The first steeps were light and sweet, while the middle steeps were heavier. Towards the end steeps, it left a sweetness that lingered in the mouth. I would highly recommend this Sheng to people who are looking to try Sheng, because although it’s a great tea, it’s also easy to drink.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Hay, Sweet, Vegetal
This is tea sold as loose maocha, and it carries a sweet and fruity aroma. To me, it smells exactly like first flush darjeeling with undertones of apricot. I warmed my shibo and placed a bit inside. The warmed tea gives off sweet grass scents with some pineapple and brown sugar. I washed the leaves once and prepped for brewing. The brew begins with sweet tones with a tad bit of sourness. The brew is thin, but it carries some and pear and green apple tones. This brew has the familiar wuliang lemongrass aftertaste. The leaves are not the best quality, for I can spot several “hongcha lookin” leaves that were waaaay over cooked and oxidized. In conclusion, this is a tea to throw in the pot and really not care too much about; However, at .26 cents a gram I think that’s a bit too for an IDGAF tea.
Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Bitter, Drying, Fruity, Grass, Lemongrass, Sweet
A chunk of this bing made its way to my door, so I grabbed my yixing and started the kettle. The leaf is lightly silver and green with some yellow. I can pick up interesting tones of corn husk, sweet wood, some honey, and a light floral. It smells alike White2Tea’s plantation Mengku, except this has some distinct corny tones (lol). I warmed my pot up and threw this in. Now, this was a very interesting aroma. There is a Ben & Jerry (Vermont Ice Cream) flavor called spectacular speculoo cookie dough (or something??), and this tea smells almost exactly like that. Its a mix of dark caramel, graham cracker, and butter cookie. The scent is thick, tangy, and sweet. This intrigued me quite a bit, so I washed the tea and began brewing. The taste begins sweet with a strong background of grass. The astringency is mild in the back of the throat, and it mixes with the sweet greens. The qi is slight buzz that hits the forehead. However, this tea kinda goes downhill from there. The taste becomes plain and bitter with basic plantation tastes of grass, slight sweetish, and soft woods. I can pick up a bit of undertones of floras, but that is the extent of this brew. So, all in all, this is special for its aroma, but that is it.
Flavors: Bitter, Caramel, Cookie, Grass, Green, Sweet
Hello Tea Friends!
Today I will be reviewing some Dian Hong Cha from Teabook. If you are new to tea then here is some translating: Dian – Shorter version of Yunnan, a province in China known for tea growing. Hong means red which refers to it’s colour, in China it’s known as red tea but in Western countries it’s a black tea. Cha literally means tea. So it’s Yunnan Red Tea. This tea is also known as Yunnan Black or Yunnan Red but as there are many different types of black/red teas produced in Yunnan it can be a little confusing using the generic naming. This is why Dian Hong is most commonly used for differentiation.
Personally I do love a nice Dian Hong, they tend to have more tippy golden buds in general, assuming it’s of a nice quality. For this I have no idea until I open it, so let’s get to it. Actually first before I rip the top off the sachet like a monkey peeling a banana let me mention the sachet itself, Teabook sell these sachets in pre weighed bags to make it easier for drinking and transportation. Each sachet is 3g.
Opening the packet I can see some thin, dark leaves with a couple of golden tips. Altogether 3g is around 10 pieces of loosely broken leaves. They bare a dry, wooden scent with some sweetness. I say 3g but the sachet weight is included in that too.
Steeping this Western style: 2-3g into a 320ml glass cup with infuser for 3 minutes boiling water. Usually I do three steeps with Dian Hong in a teapot but 3g is not enough for me to do that to my desired strength.
Once steeped the tea is golden red in colour and bares a very mild malt and wood scent.
Flavour is very mild at first, further sips reveal a hint of sweet malt. There is some drying in the after taste that coats my tongue somewhat. The strength does not increase but the sweet, honeyed malt remains. It’s only noticeable really toward the after taste.
I am torn at this point. I do not want to write a negative review but I do need to be honest. While there was nothing wrong with the tea I personally (and I stress personally) believe that 2g loose leaf tea is not enough for a cup. If I had some Dian Hong whilst relaxing at home I would use 4-5g for a Western brew and 6-7 for a gaiwan. Both would be suitable for multiple steeps at that level of strength.
So the sachet idea is good but it should be at least 5g of tea in my honest opinion. That way it could be Western steeped or used in Gaiwan/Gong Fu Teapot and would be happy in both instances. Perhaps 2g is good for new tea drinkers adjusting to the taste of loose leaf, though even then I would recommend a higher dose.
Apologies to Teabook but that is my brutally honest opinion.
Until next time,
What a surprise! I got this tea in a card from K S and hadn’t gotten around to trying it yet.
When I poured it into my Kamjove I gasped because a lot of powder came out. Could Dragonwell be good like that? I am used to long, thin leaves.
I steeped it twice at 175F and held it to two minutes because of the pieces being so small. I was surprised that tiny dregs didn’t go through the filter but the liquor was clean and clear. Go, Kamjove!
It was super good! It has lots of flavor and wasn’t bitter or sour. One steep that went a bit long had an edge to it, but nothing to put me off. I think we steeped it five times. It was fresh, springtime in a cup!
Thank you, K S. This was a great tea to have with our Asian food tonight!
I don’t know about all of you, but I don’t own a scale. I just scoop out what seems appropriate at the time and go with it. The danger of that is that with time my scooped amount gets bigger and bigger. That becomes more obvious when you use a tea like this that come prepackaged in a single serving bag. I poured it out and looked in the bag, wondering where’s the rest of it. However -
The dry leaf smelled like a fresh uncut field. Alive and green. Steeped at 185F for 2 minutes. This is a Chinese green tea but the aroma reminded me so much of a high mountain Taiwanese oolong. It tastes even better. So sweet and floral, yet no where near perfumey. There is a cleansing bite that runs through the whole sip. Towards the end it almost hits metallic but draws back before crossing the line. Starts feeling thick like milk towards the end of the sip.
Really liked this one.
K S shared a little envelope of the dragonwell from this Teabook installment. Having learned my lesson (premeasured packets), I didn’t overdo on the cup size this time. The dry leaf is really powdery. Left a nice little green Christmas wreath at the bottom of my cup. A little leaf doesn’t bother me, but if you don’t like that, be forewarned.
Aesthetics aside, the tea itself is very, very good. Green tea doesn’t get a lot of attention at my house, but dragonwell is my favorite, and this is a tasty representation of that variety—summer hay and lip-lickingly sweet. This is one to save until the absolute dead of winter when you need a small cup of spring.