The Finest Brew

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Recent Tasting Notes

77

Sipdown! I think this came to me via Indigobloom – thanks!!

I sadly was confused by the “TGFOP” and assumed this was a black when brewing – oops. Presumably it is actually an oolong. Thankfully, it was really tasty (creamy, oolongy) – not to mention quite pretty as it was brewing (and in the infuser after!)

Indigobloom

I find it rather light though. Tasty… but light!! glad you enjoyed it :D

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96
drank Doux Rose by The Finest Brew
1811 tasting notes

GCTTB (round 6) tea!

I gravitated to this tea because it smells like caramel and candied flower petals.There is a hint of floral, a nice sweetness, a very distinct and natural fig flavour, like that in fig newtans. The fruity with the floral is really nice.

The base is mellow and not vegetal/grassy, but goes really nicely with the rose. There is a caramel note that stands out as being creamy and sweet, but naturally occurring. This tea isn’t like a David’s tea sweetened tea. The sweetness doesn’t taste like an additive.

Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Creamy, Fig, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Rose, Smooth, Spicy, Sweet, Tannin, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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I’m not a huge Dancong fan. When it comes to oolongs, I tend to prefer the more caramelly roasty Wuyi oolong-types. Also, with most dancongs, I tend to prefer the aroma of the tea more than the actual tea.

I know, that’s terrible, right? This one is the same. It’s probably my fault, because although I try to keep the steepings short, sometimes I forget to count, or whatever, and then I end up with bitter swill, and it only takes a few seconds for that to happen.

So, the aroma of this one is sweet & peachy, actually quite lovely. The first cup was also very nice, with a light fruit liquor. The 2nd cup still smelled wonderful, but I accidentally gave it 15 seconds, instead of 10, and there was a sharp bitterness at the end of each sip. For the 3rd steep I tried to back the time up to 10 seconds again, but unfortunately the damage was done and the bitterness remained.

Oh well…

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80

Sipdown (205)!

From the GCTTBR6…

I pulled the last tsp or so out of the box because I remembered I strongly liked this one the first time around and I wanted to revisit and see if I still felt the same way. Turns out I do, this was still a really strong, amazing and tasty cup! Don’t really have any new observations to add because skimming my previous tasting note it appears I picked up on the same things this tasting as the last one.

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8N8ESXNyZc&index=27&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ

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80

GCTTB V1

So, this is the company that everyone had a lot of issues with around Black Friday right? Orders placed, none delivered – a trail of emails between consumers and the owners about them “already shipping things” and supposed “refunds” with only some people actually getting refunds. I have to say, I was curious to see what their tea was actually like given the fuss.

Of course, their website isn’t up anymore and their FB hasn’t been updated since November, so when I made the Steepster entry for this tea there was literally no information for me to add. So, the ingredients/added flavours and any actual information for this tea is sort of anyone’s guess…

Dry this smelled floral and sweet with maybe a little bit of fruity notes; but mostly quite candy like. Now that my cup has steeped, the aroma is fragrant and perfumey with sweet floral notes but also a little bit of a warming spice kind of note? It also smells really familiar but I’m struggling to place why or where from. Taste time…

Definitely sweet; has a very “candied rose” sort of vibe to it with creamy, fruity undertones. I want to say something like cherry or figs with some vanilla notes. It’s hard to say, honestly. The finish is kind of spicy in a very “sweet Chai” way. Notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and maybe even clove? It’s playfully astringent. I’m actually really perplexed by what the flavours are supposed to be because the ones I’m experiencing are such a weird assortment of flavours.

It’s frustrating though because I’m actually really enjoying the cup! Which is very bittersweet knowing what I know about this company. It’s like a strange version of Tea Drinking blue balls. Argh. Oh well; at least I got to sample it.

Flavors: Candy, Cherry, Cinnamon, Clove, Fig, Floral, Nutmeg, Rose, Sweet

Ubacat

I bought from them on the Black Friday in 2014 and back then there were no issues. I found most their tea to be excellent. I still have one cup left of the Anji Bai Cha and it has held up better than some teas that were younger.

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Drinking this today, and have a GORGEOUS picture to share, just need to upload it from my phone. It’s a bit flat – was expecting a bit more complexity in the first steep (after a quick rinse). Green, light, earthy, a bit crunchy (?) and sweet, grass-like but lighter. Have kept it to re-steep a few more times and see how I feel as it goes.

Flavors: Earth, Grass, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

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85

I bought about an ounce of this on sale several months ago and just opened the bag. At the moment, I wish I had more — and can’t help but notice that it no longer appears on The Finest Brew’s website.

This isn’t really my favorite type of oolong, but as oolongs go, it’s damn near perfect. The dry leaves smell like honey and mint, and this comes through in the steepings as well. There’s not even a hint of the bitterness that sometimes comes through in greener teas, and it isn’t making me nauseous. The tea soup is bright yellow and light. It’s slightly vegetal, but not in the overbearing way of something like, say, sencha or matcha. A bit floral and perfumey too, but not in a bad way. A great Spring tea, so I’m holding out hope that it comes back to company’s rotation.

I used a fair amount of leaf, but I’m not sure where my kitchen scale is. It’s about 2 tsp. (but doesn’t seem like much more than about 7/8 g.) for 200 ml. of water. After a 15 second rinse in the gaiwan, it got through 4 excellent steepings plus a couple of pretty good ones. This is fairly standard with most of the oolongs I like. Used 195 degree Fahreneheit water — any hotter may have brought out some bitterness.

The roast is very light .

Just like everything else I’ve tried from The Finest Brew, this one doesn’t disappoint. It really wasn’t what I expected from a tie guan yin, but nevertheless excellent.

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Mint, Perfume, Roasted, Sweet, Vegetal

kristinalee

Tie Guan Yin is apparently supposed to be more oxidized and heavier roasted than this. I’d like to try one of these more traditional tie guan yins if anyone has any good recommendations. I did like this, but I drink teas with heavier oxidation on a more regular basis, so… If you’ve seen or tried any out there, please let me know.

Evol Ving Ness

I am just getting more acquainted with various oolongs and their processing and characters, so I cannot offer any help on this yet.

I have subscribed to Verdant monthly tea box to gain a better understanding of straight teas, though not just oolongs. I like that each month you receive a box from a particular tea farmer with a selection of their offerings. Their site has a variety of tieguanyins that you might want to take a look at. They also have a $5 intro sampler, though not just oolongs, that you might want to check out.

kristinalee

Yeah, I got the sampler from them a while back, and still have some other samples on hand from them. I have thought about doing some various tea subscriptions, but ultimately don’t think they’re for me. I thought about the CSA I joined when I lived in Pennsylvania for a couple of years, and all those pounds of turnips I really didn’t want to use during the winter. Basically, I think I’d get a few too many turnips if I tried a subscription, so I don’t think they’d work for me.

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Sipdown!

Thanks to Ubacat for giving me just enough of this tea for one session. I used this tea to baptize my new celadon gaiwan and mesh strainer from Yunnan Sourcing, and it was great! The dry leaf smelled a little musty, but when I drank the tea over several steeps, I tasted fresh grapes, lychee, and a hint of rose. Quite nice! Floral, fruity, somewhat dusty and soft.

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I finally tried this tea with water from my bamboo charcoal.

First infusion was 15 sec with boiling water as per the website that had all the instructions on how to brew dan cong. This was the best this tea has ever tasted. It was honey sweet and peachy. All other infusions after that were a bit disappointing but not bad.

Here’s a picture of my brewing session.

http://instagram.com/p/-CkORONDNq/

So what is Shrek doing in it? Well, in my kitchen where my kettle is , I discovered this little Shrek today. How long has he been there? I don’t know. It was weird that I’ve been using that kettle most of the day and who knows how many times yesterday and never even noticed Shrek sitting in the corner on my counter. lol My husband must have put him there sometime. (He just told me now it was there a couple of days!)

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I have LOADS of this tea in my cupboard and still trying to find the perfect brewing for it (I’m getting closer).

I know bamboo charcoal will change the PH of the water and bring out the honey notes in this tea. I bought some bamboo charcoal from Yunnan Sourcing just for that but haven’t tried it yet. I’ve been currently using a Brita filter because Hubby changed the filters for our kitchen tap and the water tasted worse than before! After much tracking down of what was affecting all my teas it turns out he had used a filter that ADDED a taste to water. I asked him why on earth would you want to add a taste to water??? It’s supposed to be tasteless. Well, he promised to change it and I know what that meant: could be weeks or months. So I got out a Brita filter and started filtering my water.

I was thinking today of this tea today and thought I would give it a try with the water from the Brita filter. It’s charcoal so wouldn’t the Dan Cong taste better? Well, it actually did! I brewed it gongfu and the first infusion was a bit honey and floral. After that it just settled for a plain roasted taste that never changed for each infusion. This website says to filter with a Brita filter AND boil the water with bamboo charcoal. I think I will give that try. AT least this tea is not spoiling by sitting in my cabinet so long. It’s just supposed to get better with age.

yyz

Curious about your water experiment. I also find that this Tea is loads better when steeped chazhou style gongfu( Loads of leaf and flash steeping). That made a huge difference for me.

Teatotaler

I wouldn’t even dream of making tea without my trusty Brita filtered water pitcher! Like the old TV commercial says: Brita’s better! :)

Ubacat

YYZ, yes, brewing this gongfu is the only way to go but it requires even more adjustments. Next time I will try this:

http://tea-obsession.blogspot.ca/2008/01/how-to-brew-dan-cong.html

Taatotaler, I have a filter on my kitchen tap and it’s always been enough if the right filters are installed.

Ubacat

I meant Teatotaler not Taatotaler.

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This is the kind of tea that I want to write a fake review about… but I cannot.

This leaf is quite beautiful and once you give it a nice few hot bats you can see the leaf pull away as it is rolled together. I really like the look and color, but the flavor isn’t anything unique. This was to be expected though, however I was hoping it would have something unique to offer such as dianhong balls do versus loose dianhong (this can vary though).

I am thankful to of tried this for sure, but I can’t say it is better than other greens that I have had… for grading it is hard because there is work done in regards to the preparation of making this tea, but shouldn’t a teas score come from the flavor and not the appearance of work put into it?

Roswell Strange

One of the things I’ve learned from the Sommelier course I’m doing is that the grading system describes literally ONLY the appearance of the tea; it has absolutely nothing to do with how a tea tastes. In theory, a broken grade CTC could taste far superior to an Orthodox SFTGFOP. I am marginally surprised to see the Black grading system applied to a green tea though; that’s not super common.

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I went an entire workday without tea since it was my first day today… I do not advise that for anyone who is use to 15-28 cups a day. I feel like Tony Stark when he gets hit by an airplane; sure, I’m alive and all, but this sucks.

I grabbed this tea because I was not going to wait for the water to boil.
Somewhat dry with the mouth feel, but the taste is really smooth and the flavor is quite present in each sip which I really like to happen with my teas. However, for a green tea this is just good for me and not in my category of greatness.

Ubacat

15-28 cups a day! Wow, that’s major caffeine. I feel I have too much when I get up to 5 cups.

Haveteawilltravel

I laughed for awhile xD “sure, I’m alive and all, but this sucks”

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This thing is huge…
I ended up only steeping this six times because I didn’t want to keep drinking it. It’s good, a nice sheng with less bitterness than many that I have drank.

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86

I had a sample of this The Finest Brew sent me some time ago. I couldn’t find brewing instructions on their website and I couldn’t remember exactly how I brewed the last moonlight tea I have. So I started at 190F and brewed a few seconds.

It was good. Smooth and sweet. No bitterness. Had a bit of that hay taste that I get off of white but was strong and full bodied with a bit of malty flavour. There’s a bit of fruitiness in there too.

I messed up the brewing infustions after the first one and left it a minute or so. It was even better. Sweeter and more flavor.

This one kind of reminded me of the one I got from the Ebay seller Goshopstreet. Both are great moonlight teas.

Flavors: Fruity, Hay, Malt

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I had this tea yesterday and did quite a few infusions on it. It had some of that honey sweetness & apricot flavour I love in my shengs but there was this underlying bitterness that just wouldn’t go away. It was in every infusion. I was using high temperatures-near boiling. Some shengs are okay with that and others not so next time I will try the lower temperature. I won’t be rating this tea until I give it a try at the lower temperature.

Flavors: Apricot, Honey

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Stephanie

hmm sounds good to me. I like a nice bitter to balance out the sweet :)

Ubacat

I think the lower temperatures are better for bringing out the sweetness but I’ve had a few shengs that okay with the higher temperature. It depends on the tea.

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70
drank Bi Luo Chun by The Finest Brew
638 tasting notes

I’ve never left a review on this tea. Maybe because I thought I brewed it wrong or it needed another chance before I did a review. I brewed a cup this morning – 1 tsp, 185F, 1.5 min, 8oz. The tea seemed flat and lacking in flavour. I could pick up the fruity notes in the aroma but it didn’t seem to come through in the flavour. I wonder if I’m just stuffed up this morning?

So I threw that out and brewed a new cup- 8oz, 175F, 1tsp, 1min. It might have been a little better than the other cup but the first few tastes were not that good. Now that I am more than halfway finished I am picking up more fruity notes and some of the nutty/buttery taste . This tea sure is fininky but as I get near the end of the cup it keeps tasting better. It’s like a Jeckyl and Hyde tea. The aroma gives the impression it will taste so good and the taste tends to fade in and out a bit becoming better as it cools.

Flavors: Fruity, Nutty

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

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I pulled this one out today because it will bring me down to 100 teas lol thus meeting my goal for the month. I’ve got no clue how i’ll manage April’s goal but we can pretend that it’ll happen. HA! This is a very “green” tea with oolongy notes. there’s sweetness to it though, that i DO like even if the tea as a whole isn’t my favourite. It’s not a bad little tea, i just wouldn’t want it all the time given MY preferences :) For those who enjoy a good dancong, i’d give this one a try :)

Stephanie

did someone say DANCONG? :D

Sil

hahaha

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87

Anlina sent this one my way as well and i am impressed! This is a great offering from the Finest brew and one i’d like to pick up more of. Sweet potatoes, a little mal, very smooth brew. MMMM this was really nice! thanks Anlina!

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81
drank Jin Jun Mei by The Finest Brew
8861 tasting notes

As some of you might know, jin jun mei’s fall in to 2 categories for me – yes and no. lol They’re very hit and miss for me, but i continue to try various ones to see if there is a perfect one for me. This one, from Anlina falls on the “yes” side. this was a nice cup of tea yesterday – smooth and slightly smoky with a little sweetness on the side, sort of like sweet potatoes. All in all, a nice cup! thanks so much Anlina!

Fjellrev

That’s a solid dichotomy. :)

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95

Whoa… This — this is definitely one of the best black teas I have ever had — and is by far the best Ceylon. It tastes like honey and cocoa. Reminds me slightly of an ice cream shop I went to as a child that sweetened its dark chocolate flavor with nothing but fresh honey. I used full on boiling water, and there is not even a sight hint of bitterness. Easiest black tea to drink without any milk that I’ve ever had — I tried it with and without, and milk doesn’t really add anything here.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Honey

Preparation
2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
yyz

Good Ceylon’s can be amazing. I find myself drinking more and more of them.

The Finest Brew Co.

Glad the tea transported you back in time to a sweet cherished memory. I often tell people this is probably the best Ceylon tea you can have that is also produced very socially-responsibly. I will pass on your remark to the estate owner who is a good friend.

kristinalee

It’s fantastic, yes, but… Have you received my email? I’m still missing the Jin Jun Mei from this order. I’m not sure it ever shipped b/c I got the notification that had shipped within 15 seconds of my card being processed, which seems sorta…impossible. Anyway, I’ve never gotten it.

The Finest Brew Co.

Yes I did. I replied to you just a while back. I shall wait for your reply

kristinalee

Hm… Maybe it’s in a different folder. I’ll go look.

kristinalee

All right, I just replied.

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90
drank Long Jing by The Finest Brew
638 tasting notes

I had left a sticky note on the tin of this tea to remind myself to slow down and enjoy this tea. :-) So that is what I am doing.

I can see why I slurped it so fast last time. It’s so darn good. It’s vegetal with a creamy feel to it. Nutty and sweet. I can even smell the slight nutty aroma. The creamy feel of it would make it an excellent afternoon tea but it’s still great for the morning.

Changed my rating. This is such a good tea.

Flavors: Creamy, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cheri

Ooh! That sounds yummy!

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90
drank Long Jing by The Finest Brew
638 tasting notes

I can’t believe I never left a review on this tea. It seems like there’s always something new in my cupboard to try. This is a good Long Jing- nutty , slightly sweet, vegetal. Honestly, I finished it too fast to really get a good review. I plan on sticking a sticky note on the tin for next time (to remind myself) so I can slow it down and do a better review. I really enjoyed it!

Flavors: Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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96

This is the last one of the TTB, and I was saving the best for last. This tea is fantastic! These leaves inside the package do not seem to decadent, but once I brought them out and gave them time to breathe, they’re one of beauty. The dry leaves are made up of little twisted knots ranging from a dark reddish brown to a brilliant gold. They carry an almost non-existent scent of smoke and cacao. I placed this gorgeous twigs in my gaiwan and brewed eastern (finally). I washed the leaves to bring out the aroma. This brew begins with a roasted red potato scent. This hearty essence filled my tea room. The scent then begins to sweeten and become more of a light rum. The taste is delicious. It begins bold and malty with a dark cacao rush. I steeped in increments of 5 seconds so as not to become bitter. This malty robust brew then sweetens and becomes a succulent syrup. It is placed as a dark grape and mahogany flavor. This tea is known as a “high end Lapsang Souchong.” Once I entered the third or fourth steep I could see how this was apparent. The smokiness blends with sweetened twigs forming a tasteful brew. This tea has distinct undertones of earth and sugarcane. This was truly a perfect way to end my experience with this TTB, and I am glad I saved this for last. I highly recommend this for anyone wanting a treat.

Flavors: Cacao, Dark Wood, Rum, Smoke, Sugarcane

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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97

This is spectacular!!! The buds are a golden topaz and so fluffy! This is a brilliant Yunnan! The brew was gorgeous! The dry buds have a faint smoked scent and slight tang. I brewed western in my press. The aroma reminds me of a steak dinner and Thanksgiving all in one. This is a very hearty brew. The liquor has such depth and tastes of baked sweet potatoes and mahogany. The steeped buds give off the scent of a grand feast. I am in love with this Yunnan, and I need it in my life haha

Flavors: Cherry Wood, Maple, Roasted Chicken, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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