156 Tasting Notes

85

This tea is the embodiment of springtime to me. The tea liquor is pale yellow-gold. So pale as to be almost clear. It starts with a vibrant green, floral flavor, then gains the sweetness and softness of honeysuckle flowers. The finish is buttery, smooth, and marshmallow sweet. It leaves a very soft pillowy feeling behind. Absolutely lovely. It has been a while since I’ve had this tea, and it’s much sweeter and softer than I remembered.

Parameters:
2tsp / 10oz water
pre-boil
15 second rinse
1st steep – 40sec
2nd steep – 1min 10

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Honeysuckle, Marshmallow, Orchid

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91

Needed a shu to get me going this morning! I haven’t been drinking much puerh since the winter/early spring. It’s something I typically reserve for cooler weather, when I need something to warm my bones…And it usually does the trick. (: Interesting to revisit an old favorite after so long. I used 2tsp of leaf to about 10oz of boiling water, rinsing for 15 seconds first. Steep times were 35sec, 40sec, and 1min 15. Every steep was creamy, nutty, and mushroom-earthy. Each flavor had varying intensities but for the most part each steep was very similar. Notes of baked bread gained strength with every infusion.

Overall I would say Bu Lang Gong Ting makes a bold cup with light sweetness, pastry/bread notes, some fruit/berry undertones, and a strong earthiness about it. Lowering the rating a tad because it’s not very complex—it’s comfortably consistent and reliable. Not very fussy either. Nonetheless, it’s still one of my favorite shu’s.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Berry, Creamy, Mushrooms, Nutty, Pastries, Wet Earth

Garret

Great job with your notes! And you are right about complexity of this tea. It has wonderful characteristics by itself and brews up a wonderful western style brew. But for gong fu style brewing, I like to blend in some larger leaf material to keep it more interesting in later steeps.

The flavors you bring up in your notes are spot on for me, too.

As far as the ripe pu’er in cooler weather, that definitely rings true for many. In Chinese medicine all foods, drink, etc are seen as having a thermal nature – they can be cooling, neutral or warming. The lighter, less processed teas are seen as cooling, oolongs (for the most part) as neutral, and darker teas as warming. We really see it reflected in our sales as the lighter tea sales increase as weather warms and the inverse when weather cools. Seriously an inverse relationship.

I hope you are having a super spectacular day, my friend! Thanks for the notes!

kimquat

I’ve never tried gong fu brewing with this one. Maybe I need to do that next. I tried a 5 minute steep this morning and it was delicious! Like a breakfast pastry, somehow the long steep brought out more hidden sweetness and a buttery flavor. Seriously good.

I have heard that before. Oolongs typically have a cooling effect on my body temperature—especially high mountain oolongs. In winter I would drink puerh before trekking across university campus for class. If I drank it right before leaving, I would hardly notice the wind chill on my face and hands. If I drank other kinds of tea—oolong, green tea—it wouldn’t have the same effect. I can always feel my body temp rise after drinking puerh. Other teas served at the same temperature won’t necessarily do that. I always thought it was fascinating…I didn’t read anything about it until months later.

I hope you’re having a lovely day as well! Thank you for the wonderful tea!

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88

Got this as a sample in my last Teavivre order. A fifteen second rinse made the leaves open up and release a heady, dark chocolatey fragrance. I used 4 pearls with about 10 oz of water just under boiling for 2 minutes. “Slight” flavor of chocolate…ha! The predominant flavor to me is chocolate/cocoa. It’s rich, malty and juicy, with a thick lingering sweetness. It’s not a heavy tea by any means. It’s very light on the tongue, but the flavors that stay after sipping are full and rich. Delicious…not overly complex, but very satisfying to me. I could use it as a comfort tea. I’m sad that I only have a sample of this left. (: I’d like to spend more time with this, maybe gong fu brew it over a day.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Honey, Malt

MzPriss

There is some in the UTTB

kimquat

I should have gotten a sample while it was here, but I knew I had an unopened sample at home with me. Regrets…

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92
drank Silver Buds Yabao by Verdant Tea
156 tasting notes

Received in a swap with BrewTEAlly Sweet forever ago!

Oh my goodness, this tea was unexpectedly delicious. I’ve never had a yabao and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I used pre-boil water and steeped for just under 2 1/2 minutes. The tea liquor is very, very pale—almost clear. The aroma is like spice and wood. A sharp smell, but very woodsy. I’m sipping right now…it’s cedar and wood on the front end with a spicy undertone. It’s fresh and clean, like air in the forest, or on a mountainside. There’s a hint of fruitiness that’s like peach or honeydew. At the end of each sip it develops a very sweet, marshmallow flavor. It coats your mouth with syrupy sweetness and it’s SO refreshing. It really packs a wallop for such a pale, modest-looking tea. It looks like it will be going strong for a while, too…if what everyone says is correct! I’m excited. I’ll definitely be sipping on this one for the rest of the day. It’s great. (:

Flavors: Cedar, Honeydew, Marshmallow, Peach, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Wood

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87
drank GABA Black by Mandala Tea
156 tasting notes

Received as a sample in a Mandala order several months ago. It’s definitely…unique. I’m having trouble coming up with the right words. There’s a honey-like taste to it and a syrupy sweetness. A grape or muscatel flavor, as well. It tastes more like a roasted, well-oxidized oolong to me than a black tea. There are fruit notes that are difficult for me to describe…they’re similar to peach or apricot, but not quite the same. It calls to mind crunchy, sweet green fruits and vegetables. Pear? Is that it? I can’t tell. Celery? No, not quite. It’s slightly vegetal and floral. There’s an aftertaste like honey-drizzled, buttery bread. Light and spongey and sweet. It’s smooth and roasty too. I like it more than I expected to. I wish I could better explain its indescribable taste!

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Muscatel, Roasted, Sweet, Vegetal

Stephanie

Fascinating tea note :)

MzPriss

I probably need this

kimquat

Interesting note for an interesting tea. I’ll send you the rest of my sample MzPriss!

tea-sipper

There is some in the Butiki teabox so I was reading about this one today. Supposedly the Gaba reduces anxiety.

MzPriss

@kimquat – woo! thanks. I’ll message you

MzPriss

@kimquat – I was just doing (another) Mandala order and I went ahead and got a little of this so go ahead and enjoy the rest of it. Thank you so much for the offer :)

kimquat

It’s no problem at all! Hope you enjoy it.

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100

(From the UTTB.)

Backlog from a few days ago! Jotted down notes but never posted them. I need to stop doing that. I’ve been on Steepster for almost a year and I’ve only written 50 tasting notes, what’s up with that? I want to get to at least 100 before end of summer! I’m getting there, slowly and surely…but I digress. (:

First sip of this tea was fruity, then it morphed into something thick and malty and chocolatey sweet! Exactly like the way it smelled. It was like chocolate graham crackers. And it was very distinctly NUTTY and RICEY for me. I’ve seen very few other people comment on those flavors, so maybe I’m crazy?! It reminded me of Verdant’s LBCG so MUCH. It tasted like it had puffed rice in it. All of the sudden it had me thinking of Cocoa Pebbles and Cocoa Krispies cereal, transporting me right back into my childhood.

The second steep was smoother with less astringency, not that there was really any to begin with. A caramel-vanilla sweetness peeked in. Less fruitiness and a thinner texture. It doesn’t coat the mouth as much. The predominant flavors for me were rich chocolate and toasted rice. It was an absolutely decadent cup. Like dessert, but not. BETTER! I was going to add this one to my next WP order and trying it beforehand only affirmed it for me.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cocoa, Fruity, Graham Cracker, Malt, Nutty, Toasted Rice, Vanilla

TeaBrat

AH, I want to try this someday!

MzPriss

@TeasBrat – check your mail next week

MzPriss

Sorry I typo’d your name :(

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76
drank Gong Fu Black by Zhi Tea
156 tasting notes

I don’t really see anything special about this tea. I’ve tried it several different ways, using water from 200F to boiling, steeping anywhere from 1-5 minutes without getting a cup I thought was really spectacular. It’s a straightforward breakfast-y tea. A little astringent, some fruitiness, some really light cocoa notes and a winey quality about it. There’s a sweetness to the aftertaste that builds slowly. I can tell that these hints of flavor are there, but it always falls flat to me. I know there are plenty of people who like it more than I do…Maybe someone else will be willing to swap or just take it off my hands?

Flavors: Astringent, Cocoa, Fruity, Muscatel

boychik

i feel the same way. not bad, average. I’ve sampled too many Chinese Blacks

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drank Jin Jun Mei Black Tea by Yezi Tea
156 tasting notes

Backlog. Received in a swap with KiwiDelight!

It’s been a little while since I had this one, so I’ve only got my notes to go by.
This was my first Jin Jun Mei. It was light, woodsy, and a little drying on the tongue. Floral and grape-y like a Darjeeling. There was a malty feeling left in my mouth after swallowing. Hints of olive oil…and a little sweetness. A very pleasant, quiet and mellow tea! Enjoyable but not something I’ll likely be reaching for in the future. (: Still good.

Flavors: Chocolate, Floral, Grapes, Malt, Orchid, Sweet, Wood

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86

(From the UTTB.)

I don’t have any experience with Keemuns so I don’t have a point of reference for this one. It’s assertive on the front end, on the lighter side of malty, and it has a slight earthy quality about it. Light/medium bodied and smooth. There are some fruity floral undertones that are subtle, affecting the way the tea reads as a color to me. Bright reddish orange maybe? Much like the color of the tea liquid. It’s drying in a pleasant way that makes my mouth water. A touch of smoke and wood. There’s a thick, caramel sweet potato aftertaste that balances the other flavors nicely. The flavor is thick but the texture is not. It still maintains a bright cheerfulness. It’s quite nice.

New goal: find the perfect Keemun for me!
Gosh I need more breakfast teas. My cupboard is severely lacking. ;)

Flavors: Caramel, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Wood

Stephanie

I really like this one too :)

boychik

i must be crazy because no one mentions saltiness of this tea like in aftertaste

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99
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
156 tasting notes

(From the UTTB.)

Gosh…I feel like I shouldn’t even be writing about this tea. It’s indescribably lovely. It’s exquisite and refined. It’s vanilla and brown sugar, spice and baked bread. There’s a wonderful natural sweetness to it that’s making my eyes roll back in my head. The first two steeps were a minute long and they were very subdued, in my opinion. I would have liked them to be stronger…but there was the promise of greatness there. Third steep was two minutes. Now I feel like we’ve gotten past the paltry pleasantries, the “hello, how are you”s, and we’ve started to really get to know each other. How could I describe the taste or the texture of the tea? All descriptive words are coming up short. It’s soft and silky. Some people are saying “creamy” but I don’t think I would use it to describe the way the tea liquor feels. More like…the way it makes your mouth feel after you’ve swirled it around your teeth and swallowed. There’s a chocolate maltiness that begins to emerge, slowly, as you continue steeping. Restrained and intriguing. It’s heavenly. Yet, despite all its breathtaking loveliness, it’s a very humble cup! It’s the kid in the corner of the classroom who you didn’t know was a poet and a genius because he speaks so softly. I don’t know what I did to deserve this moment with these leaves. If it maintains flavor for as long as others have said, I’ll be holding on to these leaves for days, stretching out these moments as long as I can. I’ll listen to the secrets they unfold and hope that one day, I’ll be able to put them into words…

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cocoa, Honey, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla

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Bio

I am still relatively new to loose leaf, as I have only been drinking it since 2013. I’m amazed at how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I have met such lovely, kind individuals on Steepster and am so glad to have become a part of this community.

Pure black teas are my favorite. I drink black tea daily and I try to keep a variety on hand. I also enjoy white tea, puerh, and the occasional oolong. Matcha is something that I love though I haven’t tried a large variety. The very good matcha that I’ve had is quite expensive. In general I try to stay away from flavored teas—especially those with artificial flavorings—but I will make rare exceptions, and I do enjoy a well crafted blend of straight teas. Things I (usually) don’t like: green oolongs, rooibos, straight green teas.

Rating System
90+ The very best! Teas that I always need in my cupboard!
85-89 Teas that I enjoy immensely and will try to keep around.
80-84 Makes a very pleasing cup. I will enjoy drinking them, but won’t necessarily try to keep around. (There are exceptions.)
70-79 Decent, but could be better.
60-69 Mediocre.
40-59 Gross. I might still try to finish the cup.
39 & under Undrinkable. I probably dumped this cup. Depending on the specific rating, I probably threw the rest of the tea out as well.

Some of my favorite tea companies are:
-Whispering Pines Tea Co.
-Verdant Tea
-Mandala Tea

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