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Recent Tasting Notes
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: Baked 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.
This was a tasty departure from my usual kick-your-fanny-out-the-door black tea rut. Somewhat lighter than a builders’ tea—had a nice toasty, bready feel to it. My sample from K S came in a little pre-measured packet, probably measured for a slightly smaller mug than I used today; a little extra strength/less water would have made it even more pleasant.
I received a few Teabook.co samples from K S this week! Thank you, K S!
These teas are sent in a subscription box. The first box included a double walled glass steeper. An assortment of individual serving pouches is included. When you open the little wrapper, you may expect to pull out a teabag but it is loose leaf, measured and ready to pour in your steeper. It in intended for grandpa style steeping.
The leaves of this one were very fine and I don’t have their steeper, so I used my Stump pot which has a very fine infuser. It worked quite well. I only filled it halfway since it is larger than their steeper.
The tea smells good and tastes good, not bitter even though it is fine. Baked bread that has a touch of molasses in it might be a good description. The flavor does have a little staying power, lingering for a while.
There is sediment at the bottom of the last little cup of tea from the pot, but it didn’t make it bitter. I resteeped the leaves and the color is much lighter now even though I forgot about it. The resteep is noticeably less flavorful , so I think the grandpa style would be better on the greens.
I think this would be a great setup to buy for a tea newbie who wanted to try lots of things and be able to make tea at work easily, while having a nice selection that can be neatly stowed away. I just bought a similar steeper for hubby to take to work.
This would be a good gift for the workplace tea drinker who doesn’t want to resort to cheap bagged tea and can’t have a ton of tea accoutrement around them.
Teabook is a monthly subscription service. What I think is cool and different about it is the tea is in individual serving envelops. The November box that I sampled has 9 dragonwell labelled green, 9 wild black tea / Dian Hong labelled red, and 1 honey sweet green labelled special collection. Also in the first box is a double walled 10 oz glass tumbler. The idea here is to use an individual packet with the tumbler for grandpa style sipping throughout the day.
That’s a cool idea. How does it work in reality? Pretty well once you get the hang of it.
Having never used a double walled tumbler I heated the water appropriately for the dragonwell. Emptied a packet into the tumbler. Poured in the water, replaced the lid and waited for the steep. Opened the lid and burned my lips. Ouch. Safety tip: Leave lid off so it can cool to safe drinking temp. I’m a weenie when it comes to really hot drinks. I like them cool. The tumbler holds the heat well once the lid is in place.
The dragonwell aroma from the tumbler was very inviting. I was afraid the vessel would hide the scent. It actually seemed to concentrate it. Leaving the leaf in the tumbler made for a strong taste but it was not bitter. There is a metal screen in the top to keep the leaf in the tumbler.
Today I am having the red tea (Dian Hong). The dry aroma out of the envelop is just what one wants from Dian Hong. Wonderfully fresh. Having learned my lesson, I left the lid off while it steeped. The brew color is a nice caramel. The leaf sank to the bottom so not sure the screen is so much necessary with this one. The scent is honey malty caramel. The taste is sweet potato and honey with a touch of malt. There is no bitterness. My wife just walked in the room and asked what I was cooking. She said the tea smelled like I was baking something. Yep, delicious tea.
I haven’t made it to the special collection tea yet.
Based on this one month’s box, I would recommend Teabook if you are into subscription services. I do not know if the subscription cost includes shipping.