123 Tasting Notes

drank Plum Oolong Tea Blend by Rishi Tea
123 tasting notes

Fruity and sweet. I could taste a hint of the oolong but overall, just another pleasant, inoffensive flavored tea.

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drank Toasted Nut Brulee Oolong by Teavana
123 tasting notes

Meh. Smelled lush, aromatic, nutty in the bin so I bought 2 ounces. Only discovered after I got it home that it had at least as much rooibos as oolong, and the rich aroma was already fading. Brewed it this morning, <24 hours after purchase. Like others, I tasted mostly cinnamon with a sweet-tart note of pineapple. Not at all what I expected. It would probably make a decent iced tea, but I can’t recommend it unless Teavana changes both its name and its description to be more accurate.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Pineapple

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

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Finally found my way to the local Teavana store. It’s in a mall renowned for its complicated geography and massive crowds. I got lucky with a parking space, too!

Anyway – I went in with this tea as my specific goal. Like others, I thought it was odd to use a high-quality green in this mix, but oh, my this is wonderful! Definitely will be getting more. There is a pronounced salty, buttery quality to the flavor. Not even a hint of bitterness. I haven’t had good luck with second steepings of genmaicha in the past, but I’m going to try it with this one.

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Iced Green Tea: Peach by Steaz
123 tasting notes

I found this very tasty – lots of peach flavor and not too sweet. But it has almost no tea in it.

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drank Sencha Zuiko by Den's Tea
123 tasting notes

Alas, I am beginning to think my taste in green tea is woefully plebeian.

This was in my novice sampler from Den’s. I was pleased to find a strong almond scent in the leaves from the 1st steep, but it was not present in aroma of liquid. First sips revealed no sweetness at all. It was bitter, even sour. And very grassy, not in a good way. I suspect I am not cooling the water sufficiently before steeping.

So I did the 2nd steep with water I had poured back and forth about 8 times in an attempt to cool it to a much lower temperature, and steeped it about 90 sec. This time I got the sweet almond scent both from the leaves and from the aroma of the tea. Before tasting, I let it cool almost to lukewarm. Results: still bitter, the flavor more floral than green.

I have about one more trial of dry leaves on this one, so no numerical rating yet.

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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First experience with sencha, from Den’s Sampler for Novices. On a hunch, after reading the Q&A comment that Den likes to leave teabags in the cup, so did I.

I was surprised to find this so smooth, no astringency or bitterness at all. There was a whiff of flowery aftertaste when it cooled, gone very quickly. I was not expecting to like this, but I did enjoy it and might buy it again for the convenience.

Looking forward now to the other two sencha samples included in the package.

Boiling 8 min or more 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

Den’s is awesome!

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Got this in a sampler. I am on the hunt for a genmaicha I can enjoy (toasty but not burned) and not easily mess up (bitter due to oversteeping) but have never tried a blend of genmaicha and matcha. Nor, for that matter, have I ever tried matcha alone! I am a real newbie at green teas. So I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

I love the aroma — very warm and nutty. I’m getting a little bitterness so I may have oversteeped yet again. Like others here, I was working under a best-guess theory based on the loose tea recommendations. The bitterness seems to lessen as the tea cools, or perhaps simply as I get closer to the bottom of the cup (see below re: matcha settling.)

There is more dust than I expected to see in the bottom of the cup. I drained the cup in my final sips and there was no grittiness but there does remain a slight slippery, buttery feel in my mouth that’s actually more interesting than the sipping experience itself so the dust must be primarily matcha that settled.

I plan to try a second steeping and check it after 30 seconds. I guess most of the matcha will have washed out in the first experiment. Later today I’ll try the loose leaf sample.

Probably will not buy this in bags again, but it would be convenient in a pinch and if one knew what to expect ahead of time.

UPDATE: Second steeping.

Well, this is interesting! I poured the boiling water back and forth only once this time so the temperature was probably a bit higher. I sniffed the brew after 30 seconds and decided to go for a bit longer as well. Probably ended up with between 45-60 second on this steep. No bitterness!

It is, as I expected, a bit weaker. I am still seeing a bit of dust at the bottom of the cup. With about 1/2 the liquid gone, and noticing a faint sweetness at the back of my mouth, I swirled the cup to distribute the dust (matcha?) more evenly. Yep, that buttery sensation, more than a real taste, is back with the final two swallows. The toasty flavor disappears quickly, leaving behind an aftertaste only slightly bitter, more like another type of green (kale? collards?) than spinach.

Don’t think I’ll try a third steep, but even more curious now about the loose tea.

Flavors: Butter, Pecan, Spinach, Toasted Rice, Toasty

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Osmanthus by Old Wilmington Tea Co
123 tasting notes

Just a quick note on this one. I’ve been working on a sample I got with my last order. This is very floral — too much so for my taste. I love this company’s Amethyst, thought, and will be ordering more soon.

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 15 sec

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drank Wuyi Oolong by The Republic of Tea
123 tasting notes

I bought a tin of this at the same time I bought the Numi Chocolate Pu-Erh. I’ve been sampling it ever since, wanting to love it and just not managing. Too floral for me, no peachy flavor at all. I know, I just said almost the same thing about another tea from a different seller. Maybe it’s just me. But it is what it is. I think there are better oolongs out there, probably even some available at a lower cost.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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drank Chocolate Puerh by Numi Organic Tea
123 tasting notes

Well, this is odd stuff. I think I like it. Not sure whether I’m going to buy more when it’s gone, though.

Was that confusing enough?

Yesterday was one of those seriously frustrating days filled with interruptions and tangents and distractions and delays and stubborn people and by the time I hit the grocery store after work I was ready to purchase and eat an entire Key Lime Pie all by myself, washed down with a bottle of cheap bubbly. So I wisely headed for the tea aisle instead.

I decided I would get one, maybe two, boxes of Really Serious Tea. I had in mind some Yorkshire Gold but the only box was badly crushed. Then I thought, maybe some killer Earl Grey. But there were none I hadn’t tried already, and they were all in bags. So I wandered over to the brands I don’t look at too frequently.

I noticed that every single Numi in the store was a pu-erh. I am seriously nervous about pu-erh. That seemed a good reason to take the plunge, so I picked this one because it was the single weirdest-sounding one on the shelf. When I got back home I found it was actually on my shopping list, although I’ve since taken it off.

I am finishing up the second cup. I drank the first one without additives. The dry bag had a whiff of something vaguely fishy, but I plunged on. Surprise! Brewed, it really id taste like tea+chocolate, rougher than Florence but really kind of interesting. And no fishy aroma. On the other hand, I was looking forward to the hint of orange, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and I didn’t get the orange at all. I drank most of it pretty quickly but was not fast enough to get to it all before it went stone cold. Drinking it black and stone cold was not a good option for me. Although, weirdly, I think I got more of the cinnamon and nutmeg then.

Second cup, I added a splash of half-and-half and sampled it. Hmm. Weirder still, I think I liked it better without additives as long as it was hot. So I added some rock sugar, and decide yes, counter-intuitively, the stuff is more interesting to me without anything added.

Now the second cup has cooled off, and I’m getting a lot of chocolate following a rush of sweetness. This is the most changeable, wibbly cup of tea I have tried so far. If it piques your curiosity, go for it. I think you will have a very individual response to it, but I truly cannot say where it’s likely to fall on your personal continuum.

Not going to assign a numerical rating.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

I liked their Emperor’s Puerh well enough, but I thought the mint puerh was awful!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

This was the first puerh I ever had. I liked it for sure…think I’ve got another bag around here…

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That isn’t Angus; nor is it Merle, Finn, Dulcie, or Squeaky Jess. It’s a very focused Scottish wildcat.

More later.


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