1000 Tasting Notes

drank Happy Green by Dammann Freres
1000 tasting notes

Kiki has been summoned by Cameron B.!

“Ohhh it smells good. It smells kinda floral and fruity. Smells kinda peach-like. No-no it smells like a berry, blackberry or something. Not quince. Maybe it’s got a little jasmine flower to it, too. I’m a little rusty. Strawberry, it’s strawberry isn’t it? Is it raspberry? It’s not apricot. Apple?

Oh, I do taste the kiwi and green apple now that I know! Even the cucumber!

It tastes good, naturally sweet. That’s good. I like it. I would buy it again. It’s clean-tasting and satisfying. I really like it. I’d give it an 8 and a half. I think when I want to drink it again, it’s gotta be 8 or above. This is very nice, light but flavorful. Thank you, Cameron B. Very sweet you are."

I sneaked two sips before I passed it to Kiki. Really good kiwi flavor, and some green apple and cucumber. Good body. I might be a little jealous she got the mug!

ashmanra

Oooh, what a neat sounding blend!

derk

Two sips was good enough to add to my DF wishlist. The kiwi note was awesome.

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drank Mint Chocolate Chai by Cuppa Geek
1000 tasting notes

The more time I’ve spent with this, the more I like it. It’s a light, intriguing brew. Refreshing from the mint, green tea and cardamom and comforting from the chocolate and clove. Plus, it’s good for two steeps. Brews my best cup at 180-185F instead of the recommended-on-package 190F. Bumped from 73 to 81.

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drank 2014/2009 Jingmai Shu by Farmerleaf
1000 tasting notes

Five grams from Martin in the pot, a few completely empty resteeps and even more grandpa-ish refills. This tea is really smooth and gives the impression of being full-bodied but it manages to water down quickly beyond the sip. The flavor and the body d i s a p p e a r

Tastewise, for some reason it reminds me of game meat spiced with herbs like wintergreen. It’s not gamey but it has a rich, meaty quality to the taste (at least what’s there at the beginning of the sip), so maybe like venison? Other mild associations include sauerbraten, gravy, dense whole rye bread. Strange brew! If only it weren’t so thin and watery!

Flavors: Camphor, Dark Chocolate, Herbs, Meat, Mineral, Petrichor, Rye, Smooth, Tangy, Vanilla, Walnut

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML
Martin Bednář

Yep, it is strange tea. Not that much impressed either.

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92
drank Old Tea Nugget 2018 by Mandala Tea
1000 tasting notes

I can’t recall ever having a shou pu’er like this. The mouthfeel is amazing. It’s like drinking oil. It’s buoyant, round and pectic; silky smooth and coating. The taste isn’t muddy at all — it’s clean and round, savory and piquant. Makes me think of ginseng chicken soup, fresh fish stock, soy sauce, walnut bread, cheesecake, camphor. I really don’t get any earth-dirt-wood here. Very much recommended!

Whether this came from Mandala as a free sample or from White Antlers as a Swedish Death Purge tea, thank you :)

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Camphor, Cheesecake, Cherry, Chicken Soup, Citrus, Dark Chocolate, Fish Broth, Olive Oil, Osmanthus, Plum, Round , Smooth, Soy Sauce, Thick, Walnut, Yeast

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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96
drank Alice by Whispering Pines Tea Company
1000 tasting notes

My glob, today it tastes like finding a slice of banana nut bread inside the mess of jasmine next to the front door. Wouldn’t it be nice to find breakfast ready and waiting for you as you poke through the garden every morning?

Martin Bednář

I was just thinking about brewing this one today! But the last session…
I will miss it so much.

tea-sipper

Well, your description sounds right out of Alice in Wonderland anyway! (or more like the lunch pail tree in Return to Oz).

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76
drank Bao Tang 2017 Spring by Tea Urchin
1000 tasting notes

This sheng is mild and pleasant. The flavors are not strong but the body of the tea is thick with a satisfying swallow. It starts off low-pitched, somewhat mung beany and savory, clean and mineral with a gentle sweetness. Floral-brown sugar aftertaste appears with the first steep and soon a mild minty quality in the throat and chest. Later some bitterness develops as the grassy-vegetal youth of the tea with a hint of astringency expresses itself and a returning sweetness presents. As that fades, it becomes more floral and manages to maintain its thick, softly sweet character until the end.

The energy is noticeable within the first few infusions — calming and I can feel all the muscles in my body relax, not only specific muscle groups. The spent leaf looks great, like most of Tea Urchin’s teas. At this point, I can tell it’s aging albeit slowly with my storage. The liquor is close to a light orange-brown and the wet leaf is generally dark olive with a brown tint.

It’s a gentle tea, one I’d recommend to beginners since it’s easy sipping and doesn’t necessarily need much attention paid to have a satisfying session.

Flavors: Beany, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Floral, Grass, Mineral, Mint, Nectar, Nutmeg, Powdered Sugar, Rice, Sweet, Thick, Umami, Vegetal, Winter Honey

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drank Nepal Pearl Oolong Tea by What-Cha
1000 tasting notes

Wow, what a beautiful, intense tea.

I started drinking this in the early morning and then got to work pulling weeds, root and all. When I needed a break, I’d come in for another short steep. From the get go, this tea’s aroma and taste were both thick with deep honey balanced by dancing pink rose florality on top of a demure violet, pure vanilla, sweet cinnamon, toast-pastries-baguette, meadow-dandelion flowers-hay. What else… cream, creamed honey, straw, green wood type of astringency, cleansing minerals. I lost count of steeps (15?+). A few of the pearls still hadn’t completely unfurled so I chose to cold-brew from there.

This beautiful tea fueled 12 hours of hand weeding in silence followed by mowing. It exposed my insanity, that tunnel vision developed from 5 years’ work of removing invasive species. I don’t know what happened. But it was good. Cathartic, even. Thanks, Leafhopper :)

Praise aside, the effects of the tea were much too overwhelming to likely consider ordering if ever available again. Still very much recommended, especially since it has aged so well.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Flowers, Green Wood, Hay, Honey, Mineral, Pastries, Rose, Straw, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
gmathis

Oh, my aching back!

Martin Bednář

Sounds so tasty, especially after that hard work!

White Antlers

That kind of yard work becomes almost like a religious experience. I remember 10 hour days similar to it in my big backyard in Oakland. By 7 p.m., totally wiped out and dehydrated, I’d be having visions. Good fun!

Leafhopper

Wow! I’m glad this old tea is still holding up.

gmathis

We just do a container garden on the back patio, and I am far from a competent gardener, but there is definitely something soothing about uprooting last year’s dead heads and playing in fresh potting soil with your bare hands.

mrmopar

Long day for sure.

TeaEarleGreyHot

I need to explore some of these Nepalese teas! Has anyone ordered from What-cha recently? Or NepaliTeaTraders? Just want to be sure they’re still reputable before sending payment (not something I can say about Amazon though… but I digress).

Mastress Alita

I enjoy Nepal Tea LC. Have met the owner a few times at tea festivals and he’s a great guy. I even named my cat “Chiya” (Nepali for tea) after listening to a presentation he gave once.

TeaEarleGreyHot

Is that a cute pun on “TLC” in the company name? Or did you mean “NepalTeaLLC”? Because I’m only finding the latter…

Mastress Alita

Just a typo. Didn’t want to look shilly by posting a direct link.

Martin Bednář

While it has been some time since I have ordered from What-cha, I still can recommend it! So yeah, they are certainly reputable :)

TeaEarleGreyHot

Thank you M.A. and M.B.! Your suggestions are appreciated!

White Antlers

What Cha is above reproach. Alistair, the owner, is a delight and he is happy to make up a custome order or offer advice. Don’t hesitate for a second.

ashmanra

My daughter bought me some What Cha teas for my birthday and was really surprised at how quickly it arrived. The tea has been stellar.

Leafhopper

What-Cha is an absolutely reputable company that has great customer service. When making my last order, I forgot to include a tea I wanted and asked Alistair if he could add it to my total. He sent me an additional PayPal invoice and shipped everything within a couple days. I’ve enjoyed all the Nepalese teas I’ve had from this company, especially those from Jun Chiyabari.

Having said that, I haven’t received a response to my last two emails, possibly because he’s very busy. Alistair, if you’re reading this, could you please PM me so I can snag some of your Li Shan Tie Guan Yin?

TeaEarleGreyHot

Such a heartwarming string of testimonials! Thanks all!

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drank Anxi Tie Guan Yin by Camellia Sinensis
1000 tasting notes

Dry leaf aroma is strong but at the same time also muted with a range including floral sweet pea, lily and lilac, baked goods, lemon curd, creamy peas, artichoke. The sip is upfront very floral with mostly lily. This leads into a sharp mouthfeel with tang. I taste crisp lettuce, high-pitched citrus, dry grass, a dark lemon curd, earth and wood. The aftertaste explodes with apricot-peach which gives way to a green sugarcane returning sweetness.

The astringency and bitterness come out after several steeps, leaving my tongue rough and numb. As each steep becomes more astringent, it also grows metallic. If you don’t mind astringency, this tea does have good longevity. Overall, this tea has a good range of flavors and mouthfeels but it was tough for me to appreciate after 4 or so short infusions. This one is flavorwise steps above the very tame Tie Guan Yin that can be had at Chinese restaurants. I’m guessing it’s merely past its prime.

Thank you for the sample, Leafhopper :) It’s been a few years since I’ve had a green Tie Guan Yin. It’s always nice to go back to one of the first loose-leaf style teas I bought – I think it was once of those large canisters offered by Tao of Tea.

Flavors: Apricot, Artichoke, Astringent, Baked Bread, Bitter, Citrusy, Cream, Dry Grass, Drying, Earth, Floral, Flowers, Garden Peas, Lemon, Lettuce, Metallic, Peach, Sugarcane, Tangy, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Leafhopper

Hmm. I haven’t tried the TGY yet, but it’s from spring 2020. Too bad it seems to be astringent in later steeps.

derk

Maybe I needed to brew it differently.

tea-sipper

Years since a green Tie Guan Yin! whoa.

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75

Second flush, May 2020

This makes a nice morning cup. It oversteeps well in the morning fog. The liquor is smooth, fairly light for an Assam. Malty and leathery but not overpowering, with a gentle cocoa base note that is more apparent in the fruity aroma. Enough astringency and balanced bitterness to brace my senses. The taste is also quite fruity with notes of pear and yellow cherry, perhaps some other fruits. I’ll try soon to pick this one apart a little more.

Flavors: Apple, Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Fruity, Honey, Leather, Malt, Pear, Pleasantly Sour, Raisins, Smooth, Tea, Wood

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78

The previous try of this tea was from a June 2018 harvest forwarded my way from White Antlers. Alistair from What-Cha included a May 2020 sample with my latest order, thank you :)

The dry leaf smells like cherry fruit leather: high-pitched and tangy with a dried fruit sweetness. Once brewed, the aroma is of dried cherries and fresh apricots, bright with a rich chocolate note that hides beneath a more general ‘stonefruit.’ The liquor has a pleasant medium body with a balanced astringency. The taste is very smooth with cherry, leather and gentle malt. The tea swallows juicy where much more of the flavor comes out and is particularly fruity. I notice cherry wood, cherry, walnut, fig, red plum and fleeting impressions of caramel and butter. A tangy feeling is left in the mouth and a peach aftertaste hangs around for several minutes, followed by a caramel-like returning sweetness.

I seemed to get more from this harvest than the one 2 years prior. I had described that one as ‘zippy’; there is a little more heft to the 2020 but it’s still a bright tea. Its smoothness really helps it go down quickly, a good thirst quencher.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Butter, Caramel, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Fig, Fruity, Leather, Malt, Peach, Plum, Smooth, Tangy, Walnut, Wood

Martin Bednář

I thought I have tried this tea before. Maybe I did before my Steepster times?

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Abandoned the rating system again. Too much work.

Great tea is unforgettable. Good tea is sometimes forgettable. Mediocre tea is forgettable unless I’ve drank enough of it to form an impression. Bad tea is unforgettable, unfortunately.

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