1287 Tasting Notes

From Liquid Proust group buy almost 4 years ago. 22 years old at this point. It’s very mild and with very little taste until the aftertaste begins to bloom with subtle notes of sweet and sour stewed fruits, spice, wood, flowers and menthol. Smooth and very lightly salty-tannic mouthfeel. As it steeps out, it becomes very perfumey. Much too mild to drink any time besides the evening.

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A note to only say goodbye.

Kiki had this 12oz!! box of full leaf tea when I moved in and it was very fresh and strong, caffeinating, smooth, complex citrus, perhaps the best Earl Grey I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, I never made a note for it. Also unfortunate is that it sat at the top of a shelving unit in the kitchen that is directly below a heating vent in the ceiling, so every winter the tea got blasted by hot air. This summer I realized much of the bergamot had evaporated. Instead of tossing the tea, I made pitchers of cold-brew for Kiki. Made this way, she said it tasted like a light, refreshing Earl Grey.

I wish I had made an actual note because this was a great Earl Grey.

Martin Bednář

This was a great Earl Grey! I still remember first cup fondly. Not sure if available, but their website is still up!
https://persiantea.com/collections/persian-teas

Cameron B.

Twelve ounces?! Dear lord!

Martin Bednář

I will take four at maximum, so if anyone wants to split it up for 3 of us… :D

Leafhopper

LOL, that’s what I was thinking! Even if it was a favourite, 300 g is a lot to get through. (I currently have 250 g of spring 2022 Shan Lin Xi, so I’m not in a position to judge.)

derk

Looks like within the pay few years, the company name switched from Alvin’s of San Francisco to Persian Royal Tea. I’m going to buy another box for Kiki and would be happy to split that 12oz to ship to whomever might want to try it. Let me know.

Cameron B.

I’m interested! Would prefer 2 ounces but will take up to 4 if that’s better for you! ❤

derk

I can gladly accommodate 2oz, Cameron. I’ll let you know when it’s ready to go. And Martin – I will hang onto your portion for our next swap.

Martin Bednář

Thank you in advance!

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drank Ginger Zest by Solaris Tea
1287 tasting notes

Ginger is warming, never straight up spicy and it’s most prominent in the steam and in the sip. The licorice root is very good here, not thickly, sickly sweet despite being steeped for 10 minutes. It’s soft and carries the warmth of ginger and sweet cinnamon through the swallow. I notice the elderflower most on my breath. It’s definitely there and a nice addition. As an ingredient, it’s rarely seen in American tisanes. Overall fragrant warming, softly sweet-spicy, floral in that elderflower way.

Martin has given me so many good herbal blends from Europe that I think as a generalization they got the art of tisane on lockdown. It’s more likely, though, that he sends the good stuff my way :P

Flavors: Cinnamon, Elderflower, Floral, Ginger, Licorice Root, Soft, Spicy, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Martin Bednář

I am glad that you liked this one as well! And well, I think I rather do not drink bad stuff :)
Of course, sometimes it happens, but then I tend to keep it to myself than sharing, that’s true.

Elderflower is my favourite floral note. Maybe that’s why I actually like this one.

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90
drank Nine Lotus by Mandala Tea
1287 tasting notes

Bought a bag after Kawaii433 gave me a sample. My bag says 2020 harvest but it doesn’t taste like it to me, I think it’s last year’s.

Anyway, the one from Kawaii was very soothing. I’m sipping from a bowl what I bought earlier this year and it’s a great palate cleanser had with a light lunch. The tea has a restrained yet deep orchid florality that, despite drinking in between bites of food, reveals itself fully on the breath after each sip. And the lingering mouthfeel is very active, tingly but not in a pure astringent or tannic way.

:)

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drank Turmeric Ginger & Lemon by Tipson
1287 tasting notes

Martin’s shipment of Georgian teas arrived earlier this week and yet the first cup I made from the box is this herbal teabag! I guess it’s what I needed tonight.

This is a great turmeric blend, not too strong in any dimension. There’s an earthy, spicy base of turmeric and a step up from that is a non-dominating ginger zing. I really like the level of spice — it’s not biting but presents as a playful, prickly presence. A welcome touch of acidity might be from the lemon flavor? which blends into the greener lemongrass top note, connecting with a bit of savory basil that in turn reaches down, complementing turmeric’s slightly savory character. I’d say this lives up to its name. It sure tastes and feels good.

I now regret brewing the other bag for Kiki, haha. Thank you, Martin :)

Flavors: Basil, Citrusy, Earthy, Ginger, Lemongrass, Spicy, Tangy, Turmeric

Martin Bednář

I am happy that you liked it and as well that you got that package so quickly! I liked this one too, as you said, not too strong in any dimension :)

gmathis

The Tipson samples I’ve tried have been quite good.

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Having some western cups before heading out for the evening. Really nice mix of sandalwood, nuttiness, passionfruit, pomelo, honey and plumeria. Second steep expresses a lot of pear rather than passionfruit. Best Gui Fei style oolong I’ve had and it comes from my favorite high mountain, Shan Lin Xi. The Gui Fei oolong I’ve had before have been too much for me, whether it be nutty-roasty, honeysweet, citrusy or tannic. This one is simply delicious. It is very fragrant and has a lingering aftertaste.

Perfect for late summer late afternoon.

Flavors: Fruity, Grapefruit, Honey, Mineral, Nutty, Passion Fruit, Pear, Plumeria, Sandalwood, Sweet, Tangy

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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78

I think this is the right tea…

All the reviews for this tea since my experience with it 4 years ago are lukewarm at best. How does it fair now that I’ve had 4 years to appreciate so many more teas?

There is a multitude of tastes however they are a bit watery-soft at first and almost overshadowed by aging oolong sourness, though at this point in time, pleasant to me like tieguanyin. Steeping for longer to concentrate the flavors only brings out an overwhelming barky tannic texture. Difficult to brew well. Overall, the mix of flavors is typical of a summer bug-bitten oolong with woody and citrusy character, honey sweetness, autumn fruits and baking spices. I did not find the roast distracting. This is gongfu. Western steeping had a more syrupy texture and a tinge of vegetal taste. Nowhere near as complex.

Good to revisit a tea had in my early days of Steepster (thanks to Leafhopper!) but not one I’d purchase again nor one I would recommend. Sorry if I led people astray :P

I’d give this harvest a 66; the first one was 90. Average 78

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Bark, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Citrusy, Clove, Drying, Fruity, Grain, Grapefruit, Honey, Lemon Zest, Mineral, Osmanthus, Persimmon, Pleasantly Sour, Quince, Roasty, Rose, Rosehips, Soft, Spring Water, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy, Tannic, Watery, Woody

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Leafhopper

I don’t remember which harvest this tea was from, but chances are good that it’s old. Maybe that accounts for your less-than-optimal experience?

derk

If so, I caught it before it could turn too sour. Liked it enough to drink the entire amount you sent.

Leafhopper

Glad to hear it! I checked my records and it was from 2019. I remember laughing at your comment that this oolong made you feel like a happy tea amoeba, and thought you might appreciate it more than I did. :) It’s interesting how much harvests can vary and how time can change them further.

derk

The tea amoeba feeling was wild. It’s forever etched in my memory.

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2022 harvest of Taiwanese white tea made from Qing Xin cultivar grown with permaculture methods, along with the other two teas from this Snow Mist Farm series, an oolong and a black tea.

I prefer brewing this in a large gaiwan with less leaf than usual. For one, it is huge and unruly! It refuses to be crammed into my small porcelain teapot and will fit only in the the largest of steeper baskets for western brewing. I haven’t tried bowl.

Why I really prefer it brewed in my large glass gaiwan, though, is because there is an initial spicy, fresh-leafy, astringent edge to the leaf that is best mitigated in this manner. Once that fades, it takes long, hot absent-minded steeps beautifully and lasts forever. Smooth and deep herbal hay and dried leaf spice, peonies and floral sweetness, creamy-juicy swallow.

Maybe I’ll pay more attention to its character with the remaining leaf but I probably won’t because I’m enjoying it without diving into analysis. Fun find: a long strand of moss, lime green, stood out amongst the leaf.

Side note: my tea plants have developed an aphid infestation. The assamica variety has been hit the hardest; the Black Sea sininsis variety less so (these 2 represent the bulk of the plantings, I think around 100 plants). The lone surving sinensis from Fairhope Tea Plantation is untouched, as well as the Large Leaf sinsensis. A few have been spotted on the 2 unknown variety plants I found at a local nursery. I washed the plants with soap, let them dry, split a container of ladybugs between the two large raised beds, then zipped up some enclosures to keep the lady bugs mostly in to work their magic. Fingers crossed. Damage has been done but hopefully the plants bounce back.

Flavors: Astringent, Bread Dough, Chrysanthemum, Creamy, Dry Leaves, Floral, Herbal, Honeysuckle, Hot Hay, Juicy, Meadow, Moss, Smooth, Spicy, Sweet, Tree Fruit

Preparation
4 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Martin Bednář

I would try two other things to get rid of them (experience from our family greenhouse). 1) Get rid of ants. They are having “farms” on plants. 2) Consider planting lavender near the plants. I have heard they hate the smell. However not sure if it can survive in Cali, though.

gmathis

Sorry to hear about the bugs! But the thought of turning out the Ladybug Battalion makes me smile :)

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drank Mint Medley by Brooke Birch Tea Shoppe
1287 tasting notes

It’s been miserably hot lately. This is the closest I can get to a proper cool-down on the nights the fog doesn’t roll in from the Pacific.

My preference definitely lies with peppermint. Spearmint rubs me wrong but I do find this simple blend balanced and refreshing , even as my warm nighttime cup. The sweetness from the spearmint tempers the bracing cool bite of the peppermint. I steep it for howeverlong – 15 minutes? – and it doesn’t taste like a stewed wet rag in the slightest. That means it’s good mint.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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82

From Leafhopper’s Tea Museum. The last sample of this tea that she sent was I think a different harvest and at the time only 1 year past the best before date. This sealed sample’s best before date was just shy of 4 years ago.

Effectively dead tea. About the only life left was the very sweet caramel aroma from the roast, none of that warm, roasted chestnutty goodness of Long Jing. Even though the steeped leaf looked like it was a good pick, the sickly buff color with no hint of green was testament enough to not bother with brewing the rest of the sample.

I wouldn’t normally leave a note for such an experience but it might be useful information for somebody out there. Drink this tea within a few years of harvest! Other Chinese greens can hold their life longer than this one.

No hard feelings, Leafhopper. This is just a data point.

Leafhopper

Ugh, sorry for sending you a dead tea! It came out of the same pouch as the Long Jing you liked, so I assumed it was the same harvest. Anyway, I’m not surprised this tea wasn’t very good; the only surprise for me was that you enjoyed the sample I sent earlier.

derk

I too was surprised to fall so hard for the other one I must’ve caught its magic at the right moment in time. If both samples were from the same harvest, it’s safe to say another 2 years’ time was not kind to this leaf!

Leafhopper

I’m not entirely sure. I remember winning four packets of this in a draw or something and putting them in one of those big resealable Teavivre pouches. I drank one, gave two to you, and sadly, retained the last one in my tea museum. However, maybe I put other things in that pouch, too. I’ll have to open that last bag and see how it is, though I’m not expecting much after all these years.

Martin Bednář

Well, dead tea is still atea… but some are worse than others. Afterall, I had to toss out one from White Anters as it was also dead. Absolutely no flavour but bitterness, if I recall correctly.

Leafhopper

Martin, don’t worry, I won’t send this Schrodinger’s tea in your swap box. (It’s both alive and dead until you open the bag…)

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Bio

Eventual tea farmer. If you are a tea grower, want to grow your own plants or are simply curious, please follow me so we can chat.

I most enjoy loose-leaf, unflavored teas and tisanes. Always on the lookout for teas from countries and regions not commonly known for tea production or those that are not well represented in the western market. I seek these teas to gain an understanding, however vague, of how this plant performs in different climates.

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Sonoma County, CA

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