156 Tasting Notes

Method:
2tsp/12oz
Pre-boiling
Rinse: 10sec
First steep: 1min 55sec
Second steep: 2min 45sec

Liquid is a clear, pale yellow. Mineral and stone fruits are at the forefront of each sip; toasted rice, vanilla bean, cream, and flowers on the back end. The second steep developed some really nice, buttery, bread-like flavors that were absent from the first. I suspect that the strong roasted mineral notes were a result of my not watching steep time carefully enough. This is why you don’t use steep time to keep studying for an exam!!! You take a break. The plan was to begin steeping at 1min 15sec, and increase by increments of 20-30sec. Next time I will treat this tea more gently. Thank you very much nannuoshan for the sample.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cream, Floral, Mineral, Roasted, Stonefruits, Toasted Rice, Vanilla

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92

Method:
~1.5tsp/10oz
Pre-boiling
First steep: 1min 30sec
Second steep: 2min
Third steep: 2min 30sec

The color of the infused liquid is a thick reddish gold. This tea is smooth with a lovely honeyed sweetness; grain, malt, and a gentle smoked flavor all dance across my tongue. There’s a tiny hint of cocoa as well as fruit. It’s like longan, or perhaps apricot. Difficult for me to identify. Finish is sweet and a little drying; it reminds me of flowers. Though it isn’t a heavy tea, it’s savory and has a full, syrupy feel on the tongue. With other Keemuns I’ve tried there is at least a little astringency or bitterness. Some have an assertive “brassy” quality to them. Not so with this tea. It’s bold, but gentle. It’s nuanced and perfectly balanced. I can tell that it’s of high quality and I’m very impressed. Thank you nannuoshan.

Flavors: Apricot, Cocoa, Fruity, Grain, Honey, Malt, Smoke, Smooth, Thick, Wood

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drank Bai Mu Dan 2008 by Nannuoshan
156 tasting notes

Method:
~2tsp/10oz
Pre-boiling
First steep: 1min 05sec
Second steep: 1min 45sec
Third steep: 2min 30sec
Fourth steep: 3min 30sec

The dry leaf is gorgeous. Dusky, olive toned leaves are interspersed with vibrant green and umber. They’re covered with soft silvery hairs. The aroma of the tea liquor is intoxicatingly fresh, green, and sweet. It’s medium-full bodied with a thick mouthfeel. First infusions contain notes of fresh flowers, vanilla, rice pudding, sourdough bread, and some unnameable “greenness” that is neither vegetal nor fruity. (My first instinct was to say melon, but that’s not quite right.) I’m stumped. The closest approximation would be to say that it’s like taking a walk through the forest in late spring, after the rain. It’s lush and thirst-quenching. In later steeps a subtle spice note emerges and a taste like evergreen trees. It leaves a clean, cooling sensation in my mouth. It’s a delicate tea with flavors that were difficult for me to discern, at first. Not as hearty or “musky” as I expected it to be. I wonder if I should have brewed it differently. I have enough left that I will try a different method next time. As an aged tea it went straight to my head, and I find myself feeling warm, relaxed and a little tipsy. Great tea to end the night with.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cedar, Cream, Flowers, Green, Rice Pudding, Spices, Vanilla

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96
drank Tanyang Gongfu by Nannuoshan
156 tasting notes

Method:
~1.5tsp/10oz
Preboiling
Rinse: 3sec
First steep: 1min 15sec
Second steep: 1min 45sec
Third steep: 2min 30sec

Rinsed for three seconds before steeping. Liquor is a dusky reddish orange and the smell calls to mind grain, malt, cocoa, and cherries. It’s a deliciously bold tea. Not bold enough for breakfast, but perfect for midday. It has a playful fruitiness balanced by light notes of cocoa, malt, bread, and a sweet caramel finish. There are hints of stone fruit. It’s heady, thick, and syrupy. So delicious. SO Delicious. I quickly gulped down my first cup and made another. The second infusion smells strongly of freshly baked sourdough bread, chocolate, and honey. Not very much chocolate or cocoa in this infusion. It’s mostly fruit, honey, and grain with a slightly nutty aftertaste. It’s a tad lighter in body but the finish is still thick and syrupy. Caramel and pudding flavors dominate, coating my tongue. (Drooool.) By the third steep, it’s become noticeably lighter with honey and baked bread being the most prominent flavors. Wow. This tea was a definite win with me! I don’t recall being this impressed the last time I tried a Tan Yang. Thanks very much nannuoshan for the sample of this tea!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Cocoa, Fruity, Grain, Honey, Malt, Nutty, Stonefruits, Sweet, Thick

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Method:
~2tsp/10oz
Pre-boiling
Rinse: 3-5sec
First steep: 1min 45sec
Second steep: 2min
Third steep: 2min 30sec

A quick five second rinse releases the aroma of smoke, stone fruit, and honey into the air. The liquid is a lovely gold, medium bodied and slightly viscous. Wow, is this really a smoked tea? It tastes of sweet honey, stone fruit, and light mineral. It’s dries the tongue just a bit. Faint notes of muscatel are present. The only evidence of a smoke flavor is the taste that lingers behind after swallowing. It’s perhaps more pine wood than smoke, but it’s there. It becomes more obvious as I sip through my cup. In the second cup I notice subtle notes of cocoa with a light caramel/cream finish and a touch of roastiness. The body, again, is light-medium and less viscous than the first cup. The third cup has a stronger caramel flavor, but overall it’s much lighter and starting to weaken. I don’t think it’s a tea I’ll be buying, but it was certainly a lovely one to try. Thanks nannuoshan!

Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Honey, Mineral, Muscatel, Pine, Smoke, Stonefruits, Wood

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drank Dian Yin Zhen by Nannuoshan
156 tasting notes

Since I tried the Yin Zhen first, I have some frame of reference. The dry leaves are much longer and spindly. As Tealizzy put it, they look like a cross between a silver needle and a golden needle Yunnan. They have a mild, perfume-like scent.

Method:
~2tsp/10oz
Pre-boiling
First steep: 2min
Second steep: 2min 30sec
Third steep: 3min 15sec

The liquid is very, very pale and clear. It’s a creamy shade of yellow. The scent is floral with strong notes of oakmoss and spice that sets the back of my throat tingling before I’ve even taken a sip. Evergreen is the first flavor to hit my tongue. It’s very much like the camphor you’ll find in a sheng puerh. The spice gives my tongue a pleasant tingling sensation as the taste melds into a long, sweet creaminess. Immediately following is a flavor that to me is distinctly Yunnan. It’s a thick, syrupy, caramel pudding flavor that seems to stretch on forever. As the tea cools I catch hints of cut wood—pine, maybe—beneath the creaminess. The wood-like flavor grows a bit stronger in the second steep. It leaves a fresh, almost minty feeling in my mouth. Long creamy finish is again present and accented with a juicy fruit flavor that I can’t identify. The final steep features thick, dairy notes at the forefront with earth, evergreen and wood underneath. It’s a very tasty tea! Thanks to nannuoshan for giving me the opportunity to sample this one.

Flavors: Camphor, Caramel, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Milk, Pine, Spices, Wood

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95
drank Yin Zhen by Nannuoshan
156 tasting notes

The dry leaf is adorable. The tiny, tender leaves are covered with a downy silver hair that coats the inside of the sample pouch. I held a few my hand and admired them before putting them in the infuser. I did not follow the brewing directions online, opting to use my preferred method for first tastings of straight tea. There is enough in the sample that I will be able to experiment with brewing parameters a little.

Method:
~1.5tsp/10oz
Pre-boiling
First steep: 2min
Second steep: 2min 30sec
Third steep: 3min
Fourth steep: 4min

The liquid is a very pale, clear yellow. It smells of apricot, hay, and fresh flowers. I wait several minutes until it’s just cool enough to drink. My first impression is that it tastes very, very fresh. It has a natural sweetness and it tastes very “clean”. Faintly floral, like honeysuckle flowers, with a somewhat fruity undertone. There is a long, deliciously creamy finish. Soft and lovely. It’s a taste that lingers in the mouth.

The second steep yields stronger notes of fruit. There’s a sweet lychee flavor, followed by hay, flowers, white peach, and cream. Long finish is underscored with a light tartness. I’m in love with the delicate, sweet peach notes in this infusion; it took me a moment to pick them out. It’s DEFINITELY white peach, not yellow peach.

Third steep is thick, juicy, and malty—malty?! It’s still has a strong, fresh, fruity taste, but the creamy notes have become much stronger. Almost milky or custard-like. I was surprised by how much flavor was in this cup. So, I opted for a fourth. It contained many of the same flavors, but they were a little less intense. Ah, well!

Thanks for the sample nannuoshan! I can tell this is a high quality white tea. I’m super excited to try the Dian Yin Zhen to see how it compares.

Flavors: Cream, Custard, Floral, Fruity, Hay, Honeysuckle, Lychee, Malt, Milk, Peach

Stephanie

Sounds good!

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Sweet, tart plum flavor at the forefront; creamy cake batter and a hint of nuttiness at the end. I find myself wanting more cake and cashew. The predominant flavor seems to be plum, and the Kenyan base tea serves to enhance that flavor. As it cools it becomes a little more creamy and nutty. It’s good, but not really hitting the spot for me tonight. I’ll try adding a splash of cream next time!

Plum Brandy Cheesecake > Plum Compote & Cashew Cake

Flavors: Cake, Creamy, Nutty, Plums, Tart

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Method:
~1.5tsp/12oz
Pre-boiling
First steep: 1min
Second steep: 2min 15
Third steep: 4min

It brews up a lovely clear reddish gold. The body is light to medium, and it’s incredibly smooth. It opens with notes of honey and hay. Almost floral, but not quite there. By the end of each sip it’s transformed into a silky, pudding-like concoction of chocolate, malt, and fresh bread. Very distinctly a Yunnan tea. It has its own natural sweetness, with zero astringency. (And pudding mouth! Woah.)

The second steep brings out notes of sweet potato. The initial flavors are brighter, more “brassy” and almost citrusy. It’s still followed quickly by malt, bread, and a touch of cocoa. Less chocolate here. Hardly any at all. The malt is still strong—pudding mouth, again. I prefer to drink it after it’s cooled. The nearly citrus flavors fade and it’s liquid malt-honey-bread.

Third steep was much the same as the second. (Perhaps a little less malt, more honey.)

It’s certainly a lovely tea. Not one I think I’ll be craving often as I tend to like darker, heavier, chocolatey black teas lately.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Hay, Honey, Malt, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes

looseTman

“…I tend to like darker, heavier, chocolatey black teas…” +1

looseTman

Which ones are your favorites?

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86

This tea opens with deep, fruity notes of apple and something like dried apricot. (I’ve only ever had dried apricot, so the taste immediately reminds me of the chewy texture. Weird!) Soon after, it gains a honey sweetness and very light whispers of cream. All of this is underscored by brandy and the bitter touch of pecan skins. Not unpleasantly bitter, mind you. The tea base lends a mineral, rocky taste that pairs quite nicely with the cinnamon/apple/brandy/pecan combination. It’s a definite winner…I won’t have any trouble finishing off the ounce I have, though it will be missed when it’s gone.

Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Brandy, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Mineral, Pecan

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Profile

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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