187 Tasting Notes

76
drank "Space Girls" by Crimson Lotus Tea
187 tasting notes

Hmm I guess no one has made a review for this yet. Drinking this tonight since I got a sample with latest Crimson Lotus Tea order. I knew not to use boiling water, so I started with 190 and yikes that was still bitter (even with flash steeps). So I brought it down to 175 and that’s a lot smoother. Tea isn’t bad, but is still a little astrigent even with the lower temperature. Definitely drinkable though. Feeling a little tea high from this tea tonight too – nothing fancy but a little light-headedness. Maybe because I drank so much so quickly?

For the price and the artwork I don’t think this is a bad tea. The sample I had tonight was a lot of dust and broken pieces. I’ll have to try the more “intact” piece next time to see if helps cut down on the bitterness and astringency.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g

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80

Got this as a free sample from Yunomi and this tea is really cool. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever had buckwheat tea, but I don’t believe I have. Since it’s caffeine-free and I really should be in bed by now, I decided to brew some up without fear of keeping myself awake. The result is a lovely liquor that is very hearty and buttery.. almost brothy? This is very savory and a great herbal tea especially for those that do not like the vegetal taste of green tea. Also, the instructions suggested eating the buckwheat kernels and I can confirm you CAN. Tastes just like cereal and a little like popcorn. This might even be the MORE fun part. I used a strainer for this tea but next time I may not and just eat the kernels as they come next time.

Flavors: Butter, Popcorn, Salty, Wheat

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83

I had heard good things about aged white tea and had been wanting to try them for a while. So I ordered this and a Tribute White Tea from 2012 from Bana (the latter I’ll post a review of later). While the Tribute White Tea was affordable, this White Peony cake was a liiiiitle on the higher side for me. So, I had the wonderful folks at Bana throw in a sample of it for me to try it out and see if a full cake was for me. I was also interested in seeing what kind of cha qi I could get.

For some context – I’m hit or miss when it comes to white teas. For the most part, they’re too light for me and so I’m usually just pretty “meh” about them. This aged white is VERY tasty, however. I wouldn’t call the taste light at all – it’s definitely sweeter – almost a fruity taste. There’s still that familiar white tea taste in the background, but it’s actually quite pleasant. And this tea holds up to numerous steepings, which is always a plus.

The brewing directions on this tea are a little vague at the end .. “Use 5g of leaves per 6 oz of water. Using 195 degrees F water temperature, steep for 30 seconds for three infusions. Then increase the temperature of the water and lengthen the steep time for subsequent infusions.”

So I guess I just kinda figure it out as I go after the first 3? And that’s what I did. I actually kept it 30 sec @ 195 for at least another couple infusions because I like the taste and the leaves were still willing to give. Eventually, I kept it at 195 but upped the time. And then when that was falling flat, I upped the temp to 205 with longer steep times. I got at least 10 good infusions with this gongfu style, and I bet there’s even more to be had. This tea has a lot of longevity.

As for the cha qi? Ahhh.. that was a little disappointment. I was hoping for something amazing, but I fell for the hype. Maybe I didn’t drink it enough or drink it the right way, but there wasn’t much to speak of. I was told that aged white can be even MORE potent than aged sheng .. and perhaps it is. But this is not the tea for me to prove that. Still, I enjoyed the taste.

Will I buying a cake of this? Ahh, no. It is DEFINITELY worth a sample and it is very tasty with lots of give, but the cheaper Bana aged white is good enough for now. Or perhaps my palette just isn’t as refined.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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I’m still not sure how I feel about shu/ripe puerh. Over the past few months I’ve definitely gained an appreciation for sheng – especially young sheng – but shu just still feels too.. musty to me? I don’t know. So I thought I would try a sample of an older shu to see how it goes. I got this as a sample from Verdant’s black friday sale during their “Pu-erh Monday”. When I opened the bag the sample was really crumbly, so already we’re on a bad foot…

And… I don’t know. This tea isn’t bad. It’s smooth and rich. I just think maybe it’s a little too rich? I’m getting lots of coffee and tobacco notes and it makes me think that this would be a GREAT tea to use to introduce a coffee drinker to to get them to “come to the dark side”. The tea holds up for a LOT of infusions too. I don’t know, it’s just not doing anything for me. But I also have complicated feelings about shu so don’t take my word for it.

Speaking of coffee, with my last couple infusions I decided to try my hand at making “bulletproof tea” with this since I thought it would make a good base. For those that don’t know, this is a play on Bulletproof Coffee which is coffee + MCT oil + butter and is supposed to be really good for fasting. Yeah it’s probably some BS but I thought I would give it a try. And…. still kinda meh about this tea. And now it just tastes like warm butter. Eh, I tried.

pkts

I’m also not so enthused with Shou because I find the taste one dimensional. I have yet to find the creamy and other notes that people comment on and I’ve tried a substantial amount of diff shou. But I do like the taste…it’s so nice and comforting on winter days. And surprisingly some of the best tea highs came from shou (including the best ever). You’re braver than me…I intermittent fast but never tried bulletproof tea :/

Babble

Yeah I much prefer sheng these days.

You IF, eh? I’ve heard good things about that. Do you do Keto too?

pkts

Yeah, I started 5 years ago and really like it (though for different reasons than most). I go with my intuition with it…sometimes for weeks and months on end with just a few cheat days, sometimes just after having a day of too much heavy food. Def recommend trying it. I tried keto for a few days but it put me in a foul mood so that was that.

Babble

Ahhh interesting. I’m reading about IF now and they make it sound like you practically need Keto to make it work.

When you IF do you do water only or do some things to hold you over?

pkts

Just water (and tea of course). I think you can have 15-20 cals without breaking the fast but I find it easier to eat no cals. It’s about finding the right way to schedule it to fit your lifestyle. I fast 16 hours and then eat for 8. I eat a big protein and fat meal before bed at 9pm ish and it isn’t hard for me just not eat until 1pm. If you get full easily, you could eat at 6pm and then you only have to not eat until 10am

I find that it helps my gut to repair itself after lots of bad food or drinking alcohol. Also it seems to boost my immune system so I will do it more if people around me are sick. And I’ll do it more in the summer time because it’ll keep me cooler (eating really warms me up)

The keto thing would make IF more difficult for me. I do find that eating lots of carbs at night makes hunger pains more intense in the morning which is why I do more fats and protein at night.

Babble

Ahh so you’d eat a carb heavier meal at 1 and then a fat/protein meal later? What would a typical meal be for you at night vs at lunch?

pkts

Exactly. Lunch could be scrambled eggs on toast or roast chicken with potatoes (white or sweet) or stew with bread. Dinner might be high quality sausages with rainbow chard/cauliflower or stew with squash/carrots/kale/cabbage. I don’t shy away from fat/butter/cholesterol/meaty stocks as ways of adding flavor. Personally I tolerate some heavier carbs with big meals so I’ll sometimes add something like baked potato with butter to a dinner meal but I wouldn’t just have oats by itself for dinner.

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95

Received as a sample from Yunomi

This product is so new it’s not even on the website before. I admit, I hadn’t heard of this benifuuki tea before. When I added it to the database I classified it as “matcha”, but I’m not sure if it is. Either way, it sure is tasty.

I’ve tried it both hot and cold. I LOVE cold-mixed matcha, but it can get a little intense if I use too much. I do not really like hot brewed matcha because it’s just too intense. This Benifuuki is both tasty hot AND cold because it’s a much more milder tea. It’s a very muted taste. I would say if you like the STRONG notes of matcha, you are gonna be disappointed. But, if you want something to put in your water bottle and drink for the day, this is not a bad tea at all. I’d say it almost tastes more like a white tea than a green tea. Maybe as it cools it tastes slightly more green with vegetal notes, but honestly it’s really tough to tell.

Another benefit is that it’s supposed to have some hay fever properties to help with allergy season? Hey man, with my allergies as bad as they are I’ll take what I can get. I’ve also been taking pollen too in hopes it will help. This year is gonna be rough.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C

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80

Received this as a sample from Yunomi

This is one of my first times with a TRUE gyokuro, and I guess I didn’t realize how much of a pain it is to brew. The first infusion requires 122 degree water which is very tough to get down to (even steepster’s slider doesn’t go that low). I bought a temperature precise kettle and it only goes down to 140! So the usual advice is to pour it from the brewing vessel into cup to warm both and bring the temperature down. So that’s what I did. And then steep for 2.5 min. They say this is to “prime” the leaves. Whether or not it’s necessary I don’t know, but I used to write instructions for a living so I feel like I have to follow them. Also, the other reviewer of this tea started brewing this at 160 right off the bat – so take that for what it’s worth.

Second, these gyokuro leaves are SO fine. I thought I’d be slick and use my nice glass strainer to watch the beautiful leaf color but NO, because they are so little they all got caught in there. So, I used an old tea glass mug with a built in infuser at the top. But even THAT infuser was not fine enough, so I had to use a fine mesh strainer when I poured it in to catch all the remaining leaves. This tea sure requires a lot of hardware.

So, was it worth it? Perhaps. The first infusion of this tea is very nice, but it’s not your typical green tea. It’s very savory, almost like a miso flavor? It’s very smooth and not hint of bitterness.

The next two infusions required 158 degree water with 20-30sec infusions which is at least a little easier to get on my kettle. Actually, I’m comparing the label to the website and they say for the third infusion to make it even hotter. Why can’t they have consistent labeling?

Anyway – the 2nd infusion brings more of a vegetal note . I may have steeped it a tad too long; the website says 15 sec and I probably did closer to 25. I am getting a touch of bitterness that I wasn’t getting with the tea before.Dang you gyokuro why must you be so finnicky??

The third infusion they say to steep even LONGER and at higher temperature (45 sec @ 175 degrees) but I don’t know, man.. I try it anyway, and sure enough it is even MORE astringent. I’m going back to my original steeping parameters.

Fourth infusion – 25 sec @ 155F. This is not a bad infusion at all. The astrigency isn’t there. There’s still a bit of taste left with some savory flavor. I’m still not in LOVE with the tea, but I think it works a lot better at this lower temperature.

Also, my mesh tea strainer is getting all clogged up now so I think this is my queue to stop with my infusions.

After these infusions, I decide to cold brew the leftover leaves and MAN is the coldbrew tasty. Honestly, I think this tea works MUCH better cold than hot. But with such a high price tag I’d have a hard time recommending it for JUST cold brew.

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 0 min, 30 sec
pkts

Holy shit, this tea sounds like a lot of work :) Maybe if I wanted a full on tea ceremony level of involvement

Babble

Yeah I probably didn’t need to do the whole 9 yards. But I figure I try it once and know it’s not for me

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76
drank 2005 Aged Mao Xie by Verdant Tea
187 tasting notes

Am I really the first to review this tea? I guess so! I’m going through some of my Verdant samples while reading up on all the Verdant controversy over the last few years.

This tea isn’t bad. It tasted roasted but I guess it’s just aged. I would say their tasting notes are mostly on point. Not getting a whole lot of floral, but definitely savory qualities. Maybe a little fruit too. Definitely some mouth puckering.

I also had their 1995 TGY which I LOVED and I plan to order more. Of course that one is MORE expensive than this one ;) This isn’t quite as nice, but it gives a lot of bang for the steeps.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Got this as one of my “almost free” samples for Yunomi. I didn’t read the package clearly and realized it was TWO samples instead one. So I poured the whole packet in there and brewed it as instructed only to find it was WAAAAY too strong. So I diluted it with hot water and that seemed to do the trick.

Hot, this tea isn’t bad at all. But I decided to let it cool in the fridge to see how that went. And I have to say it’s a very pleasing tea chilled. It’s got a nice blend of vegetal, sweet, and umami. Maybe a little bit on the grassier side but not overwhelmingly so. I think it makes a really nice chilled tea. Even dilluted it is a bit strong, so maybe next time I might steep for 45 seconds instead of the full minute.

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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95

Ooooooh yeah. I’m really liking this tea tonight.

Got this tea in the Sheng Olympiad. I had heard there was a lot of cha qi in this and it does not disappoint. It’s more of a calming effect though and not a “bouncing off the walls kinda loopy” effect that I’ve experienced with other teas.

The taste is absolutely wonderful too. I brewed it per the suggestion at almost boiling and kept to around 10s steeps. I tried to increase the time but I noticed some bitterness creep in so I’ve been dialing it back. The tea is flavorful throughout though even with some of the bitterness. Nothing too terrible as long as you keep the steeps on the shorter side. Very smooth. A little astringent. I wouldn’t say it’s an incredibly rich pu-erh with a lot of flavors but it’s an enjoyable taste. Not having to choke this down like I have been with others.

I could definitely buy a cake of this.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
pkts

Hey now, this one has jumped to the top of my wish list if babble actually thinks there’s qi here ;) What was the tea that got you started on chasing the cha qi dragon ? :)

Babble

It was actually an aged oolong from verdant. I think it was their 1985 oolong? And of course they are out of stock. I got it from a couple bana teas I journaled too.

pkts

Haha can’t imagine that was cheap anyway but that sucks, hate it when I find a great one and it’s out of stock. Interesting that it was an oolong…haven’t really found them to have much tea feels. I’ll look for those bana ones.

Babble

I can always send you a couple samples if you decide you wanna try. Won’t make any promises lol.

Meileaf has some tea they promise will get you tea drunk. Take that for what it’s worth.

pkts

Very nice of you to offer :) I’d have a hard time parting with my Adagio Dante but maybe…. Never heard of Meileaf so I’ll take that for little

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88

Got this one in my Puerh+ box. The sample said it was 10g, but it was really closer to 5g. Womp womp.. For this special occasion I decided to break out my REAL gaiwan. I have an easy gaiwan that I use most of the time, but I thought “what the heck – let’s try the real thing.” I’m definitely far less slick with this than I am with the easy gaiwan. But, I’m learning.

Apparently the brewing parameters for this are all over the place. Some people use boiling water, some “slightly not boiling” .. so I’ve been doing a mixture of both. Also, some people are doing steeps of 30-45 seconds, but not me. Flash steeps are perfect enough for me. I think the tea has plenty of character at very short steepings.

This is a tea that thankfully is not too bad when brewed in boiling water. There is definitely an astringency that I’m getting with a lot of these steeps, but not really any bitterness which is nice for a wimp like me.

I’m on my … 6th or 7th steeping and this tea is still very flavorful with flash steepings. Why would I need to steep it longer? Not sure if I like it better boiling or under boiling – it’s a toss up. So I’m letting my kettle brew to boiling, pouring it, and then as it’s cooling pour again.

This is actually a really versatile tea and it’s not too much money either. Unfortunately, you have to buy the cake for the savings. Getting a sample just isn’t worth it. But I think I shall add this to me “Eventually I will buy from White2tea list”. Sorry, Naka, but you did not make the list (see earlier entry).

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g

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Profile

Bio

So the short story is, a few years ago I was VERY MUCH into tea. And then a lot of things happened, and I got out of tea for a while. And now, I’m back.ⁿ

To me, tea is the missing puzzle piece for my healthy lifestyle. When I drink tea I am encouraged to eat healthy and be active. I drink tea because I simply enjoy the taste, but the health aspects are just an added bonus.

I love all types of teas, although greens and oolongs tend to be my favorite. I’ll drink herbals if I’m feeling a little under the weather. And recently I’ve been getting more into young shengs (also chasing that elusive “cha qi”).

Unless otherwise stated, I drink my teas straight. I’ve been doing gongfu mostly these days, so I use a ceramic gaiwan with an electric kettle. For greens and some oolongs, I’ll do a western style with a glass mug or regular infuser. I try to specify if my brewing parameters are outside the norm.

I’m kinda strict when rating my teas. I rarely give a tea above a 95. Teas that I really like I keep in the 95-85 category. I’ve yet to give a tea 100 yet. So, if you see a tea about 95, that means I thought it was an amazing tea!

ⁿ – Note: I did step away from tea for a while.. again. But now I’m back for REALZ. Usually I have to put this interest on hold when real life takes over, so I’m hoping for no major life events these days.

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Florida, United States

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