312 Tasting Notes

drank Qi Lan by Nannuoshan
312 tasting notes

From the Here’s Hoping TTB:

(60s): Beautiful floral/citrus bouquet. Magnificant rich flavor mixes honey with the aroma components and an undercurrent of sweetness. Long, luscious finish. I love this tea. For some reason the tea got less interesting later in the cup. Still good but no longer great. I started thinking of a score like 97 but wound up with 91. I’m feeling a buzz from cha qi. A first for oolong. I tried gong-fu (30s, 3 oz) and a normal second steep. In both cases the aroma was great but the taste was “just” very good. Still feeling the qi.
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Imperial Kuding by EnjoyingTea.com
312 tasting notes

From the Here’s Hoping TTB.

This looked interesting: the tea comes as a single leaf, which is twisted into a cylinder. Here was an opportunity to try it.

Big mistake. The taste is really horrible and bitter. After the fact, I looked on-line and discovered that it is supposed to be medicinal (probably based on the theory that something that tastes bad must be good for you). I have to admit that I finished the cup, since it’s supposed to be good for blood pressure, and I got a little bit used to it.


Blend it with lemon juice and it kills the bitterness… They don’t call it Bitter Nail tea for nothing… hahah xD

Dr Jim

The question is, why bother?

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From the Sheng&Shou TTB2:

This tea was an interesting journey. It started out with medium body; rich with depth of flavor. Not much aroma. Not sure how to describe the flavor. By the third, steep it was still rich and smooth with different flavor: wood, tobacco, and a little straw. Still very nice. 4th (30s): Rich and sweet and fruity. good texture in the mouth. Bumped my rating up a couple of notches. 5th (40s): Still full: tobacco and wood. Never had much in the way of nose: the one drawback. 5th (60s): Woody and slightly bitter. no longer special.

I’m now at the 7th steep and there is a bit of tar entering the flavor. At its best this was a very enjoyable tea. It was always pleasant and I liked the different faces it showed me as I steeped it. I"m not giving a rating, partly because I have a hard time rating puerh and partly because it was very good at its best, but only average for several steeps.

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From the Here’s Hoping TTB

I wanted to like this tea. The initial introduction was a whiff of molasses in the aroma. The taste had highlights of sweet potato and perhaps a hint of chocolate. The flavor was big and full, with a long, strong finish.

So, what went wrong? The main flavor is very dark and just this side of bitter. Not sure how to describe it, but tar might be close. It just doesn’t appeal to me. If you like this kind of dark flavor, you might really like this tea, since it seems well-made and is fairly complex. Just not for me.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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From Here’s Hoping TTB

The dry tea Smelled like French toast, but the tea really didn’t taste like much other than a very nice Dianhong. I wish I hadn’t added sugar (I usually sweeten flavored teas, and figured French Toast should be sweet. It may also have been a mistake breaking the ball. It was 3 grams and I usually only use 1.5 grams per cup. Perhaps the flavor is all in the other half?

Resteep without sugar: Just a good Dianhong Yunnan.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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After 2 rinses, there was still significant fermentation taste in the first pot but it was pretty much gone by the second. The taste started out a mix of fruit and earthiness, but the fruit gradually dominated. Good complexity and finish. I’m not usually a shou drinker but I enjoyed this one.

Thanks to Wymm Teas for the sample. Sorry the review took this long.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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This was a pleasant surprise.
The lovely nose is floral and fruity. I would have guessed this was a 1st flush, not Autumn!. Soft, fruity taste is really pleasant. Approachable but not at all weak. A bit too tannic at the finish, but otherwise a marvelous tea.
I immediately followed this with one of my favorite first flushes, which made clear the difference. This has a lot of first flush characteristics, but a darker autumnal character underneath. Still, it made a perfect morning tea.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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From the Sheng and Shou TTB

My initial thought was that this tea had chunks of unbroken beeng sections, but when I looked more closely, I could see that the individual leaves had been tied up in knots that look a lot like braids. Very interesting.

Sadly, they didn’t put more effort into the tea. This tea is all smoke: very strong smoky aroma and taste that reminded me of a mediocre Lapsang Souchong.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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This tea sums up why I don’t buy much shou, but why I still keep trying it.

After two rinses, the tea smelled wonderful. In fact I wanted to go back and drink the rinses. There was a lovely black raspberry aroma, with a hint of chocolate. While this flavor carried into the taste, it was accompanied by an underlying bitterness that I didn’t care for. I found myself dumping the tea because the bitterness overwhelmed the fruit. I kept steeping and while the fruit faded the bitterness faded much faster.

I’m on about my 9th steep now and it is really pleasant. Next time I’ll try 3 rinses.

200 °F / 93 °C

Glen’s wife Lamu doesn’t start drinking a shou until the 5th steep.

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Xiaguan teas can be very heavy, so I decided to go for a series of short steeps with this tea. One issue: it was hard to break up. I wound up with three pieces totalling about 2.4 grams for my 2-ounce gaiwan.

It took several steeps for the chunks to dissolve. These initial steeps were light, with obvious smoky character, which I like. There are wood and straw behind the smoke. Despite the short steeps, I’m getting a nice relaxed feeling from the cha qi, helping me to ease out of my work attitude, and into my relax mode.

Not really a special tea, but a good value for 8 years old, and just what I wanted on a lovely spring day.

Flavors: Smoke

200 °F / 93 °C 2 g 2 OZ / 59 ML

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Retired engineer/physicist.
My ratings will usually be based on multiple tastings. Oolong teas are generally 3 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 1 minute. Black teas are 1.5 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 3-4 minutes. Pu-erh is 3 grams in 2.5 oz, generally 10, 10, 20, 30, 60 sec. Since I use less tea, 6 sessions is equivalent to twice that many for people who use 7 grams of tea.

My numerical ratings are all based on how much enjoyment I took from the tea. Since I prefer blacks and oolongs, they will receive higher scores. I also give a couple of extra points to decafs, just because I can drink them in the evening without staying up half the night. I don’t dislike flavored teas, but find that they lack the complexity of finer teas.

90-100 = superior, worth a high price
80-89 = Excellent. Will buy again
70-79 = Good tea, but probably won’t buy
60-69 = Nothing really wrong, but…
Below 60 = Wouldn’t drink again. Probably didn’t finish

I am having computer problems and my password is lost. If my computer dies, I won’t be able to access my account, so will need to start a new account as Dr_Jim. This statement vouches for my new identity.



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