New Tasting Notes

66
drank Decaf Ginger Peach by Allegro
1570 tasting notes

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70
drank Almond Chai by Twinings
1570 tasting notes

This was a standard chai with a bit of nuttiness and marzipan sweetness. The black base is quite fine inside the teabags, so it gets a bit tannic and bitter if you oversteep. Beside the spices were flavours of minerals and vanilla. Unlike most chais, I would advise against adding milk or you might not make out the almond or some spices.

I probably wouldn’t try it again, but it wasn’t bad.

Flavors: Almond, Mineral, Nutty, Spices, Tannic, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec 20 OZ / 600 ML

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77

Probably my #3 favourite tea. I like that it’s a green tea, and for people that want green tea benefits without committing to the original taste this is a good, fruity, refreshing way to go!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

This morning, I had Planet Jingmai raw puerh from Crimson Lotus, so this afternoon I decided to have some small moons from Teavivre. Most people seem to be using 3 or 4 balls of Fengqing Dragon Pearl Black Tea, but I went for a full 4 grams, which came out to be 6 balls in a 110ml gaiwan. I did a rinse, then started with a 30 second infusion to open the balls, then went back to 10 secs for the next infusion and began adding seconds from there. Compared to a Laoshan Black, this tea doesn’t have as strong of a chocolate note, and for me it is less of a chocolate taste and more of a faint chocolate smell. There is also that malty note that others have reviewed, and I find that it fades by about the fourth infusion. I get some sweet potato taste. In fact, this dragon pearl tasted a lot of like a more delicate version of Laoshan Black. I never experienced any bitterness or astringency. I could drink this tea as a daily, though I would go with Laoshan Black for the more pronounced chocolate note. I happened to have an Oreo nearby, and I have to say, this tea goes great with an Oreo. As most probably know, this tea is shipped directly from China. Packaging was excellent with sealed foil smaller bags inside sealed foil larger bags, the larger bags being wrapped in bubble wrap and packaged with more bubble wrap inside of the box.

Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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85
drank Sencha by Yamamotoyama
50 tasting notes

This somehow tastes better after reading several papers on all of the health benefits of green tea.

Is that caffeine perking me up or the feeling of my cholesterol lowering? ;)

Flavors: Astringent, Green, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 OZ / 118 ML

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88

Bai Ye is just one of those teas that if you buy it from 7 vendors you’ll get 7 different teas. This is fairly representative with a good amount of florals and sweetness and a hint of cashew. Brewed for extra length which is always a plus, but it was not the best I’ve had, still I will drink the rest of my stash with reverence.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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72

Morning cuppa. I did not sleep very deeply last night, but I’m feeling alright at the moment (this may all come crashing down later, of course, but I’m determined to take advantage as best I can).
This remains a light, almost floral blend, with hints of wood and a very delicate sip. I enjoyed it very much as my first cup.

Indigobloom

Hope you get a good rest tonight!!

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
1705 tasting notes

Today I drank the May 2017 offering from Global Tea Hut, a 2015 Sheng Maocha. This was a reasonably nice teae. It was not as good as some of their previous tea I think. It was sweet initially until the leaves opened up. Then it got more of a bittersweet note to it. The bitterness lasted only a few steeps and it was back to sweet. Not sure that I would use the term apricots to describe the sweet note. It was not quite that strong. Maybe more of a sweet grass note. In any case it was good but not phenomenal.

I steeped this tea twelve times in a 50ml Teapot with 3.5g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 minutes.

Preparation
Boiling 3 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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65
drank Paradise Green by Lupicia
40 tasting notes

I had this one through two steeps—the second was actually a lot more flavorful on the fruity side than on the first steep, and the first was more noticeably green. The fruit flavors don’t taste cloying or artificial.

Makes a great iced tea, also!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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80

This is a very good tea for the price Chawangshop gets for it, I believe for $5 a 100g bing. Yunnan Sourcing has the same tea which I also bought before I saw it at Chawangshop. While I would not call this tea phenomenal, it was very good, a nice solid ripe. It had a fair amount of fermentation flavor left, that flavor was a little unpleasant at first but not fishy. There were some notes of dark bittersweet chocolate in there. After a few steeps the bittersweet notes left and a sweet note was there. Not sure as to how to describe this note. This tea is definitely worth buying at Chawangshop’s price if you put in an order.

I steeped this tea twelve times in a 220ml Yixing Teapot with 15.1g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 minutes. It waspretty much finished at twelve steepings. If I had used more leaf I am sure it would have gone a little further.

Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 15 g 7 OZ / 220 ML

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100

Bitter-sweet and very fruity ith a longlasting aftertaste like berrys and nice, decent Qi. Later on the bitterness turns down and becomes more sweet, like tart sour cheryys. You get really much for your money!
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2017-jingdong-ancient-wild-eot

Flavors: Bitter, Cherry, Fruity, Sweet

Preparation
8 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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100

Buttery-smooth, very light tastewise but with a heavy underlying strength. Very strong and relaxing Qi and with a lot of endurance!
Images and more at https://puerh.blog/teanotes/2017-yiwu-guoyoulin-eot

Flavors: Butter, Heavy, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
8 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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drank Himalayan Black Tippy by beTeas
555 tasting notes

I’m not on Steepster much these days, but every so often I come back and write a review. I want to get back here more often as I do love this website.

Anyways, I went to the shop that sells these beteas only a couple of weeks ago. I LOVED it!! It was such a great little place.

I picked this one up because they said it would have chocolate notes to it. And I think I get a little of it… but either way, I really like it. There’s something very nice about it. It reminds me of the Nepal Black tea from Davidstea. It’s got that same smoothness to it. So yummy!

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99

This is the closest approximation to my favorite tea from Alaska. It’s not quiet the same as my Samovar Tea from Kobuk, but it certainly curbs my cravings and makes me smile.

It’s very rich and flavorful. It warms you up like drinking a hot cider and the orange and clove provide a sweet balance to the heat of the cinnamon. No need for added sugar or milk as it is wonderful on its own. Definitely one to maintain in my cupboard.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves, Orange

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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95

Planet Jingmai from Crimson Lotus is the down sleeping bag of teas. There is a lot of material compressed into this little orb of raw pu erh. After the first rinse, the tea has floral and hay scents. It takes a little work to get this ball to open, so for the second rinse, I poured just off the boil water from high. This helped open the ball. You can watch air bubbles rising as the water penetrates the tightly packed leaves, and the dark little orb begins to turn green and open. After two rinses of about 30 seconds each, I no longer detect the hay scent. Now, it’s floral and vegetal. The first infusion after the rinses is done for 10 seconds. The liquor is pale. The first sip is sweet followed by just a touch of woody tannin bitter, but proper bitter. The second infusion, I let it go to 30 seconds when I was momentarily distracted. The leaves are opening up nicely. They now are at the half-way mark on a 150ml gaiwan. This was a bit too long of a steep for me, but if you are looking for a punchy bitter sheng, 30 seconds will give it to you. Third infusion, I try 15 seconds. Sweet honey immediately followed by bitter and now astringent toward the front of my mouth. Fourth infusion, and that first sip is sweet again. It is the sweetest it has been, and as long as the tea remains in the mouth, it remains sweet, but as soon as it is swallowed, the bitter notes begin to appear, and soon after the mouth begins to dry. It certainly has a nice push and pull balance to the tea. Fifth infusion, keeping it at 15s, and this is nice. Still that hit of sweetness on the first sip, honey and apricot, still a bit of wet wood, but this infusion remains wet, creamy, and smooth in the mouth. A touch of bitterness is still on the finish, but almost no astringency. Interesting. Others described smokiness. I get no smokiness in my Planet Jingmai, not even a trace. I’m doing this on a practically empty stomach, first thing in the morning. I had a small cookie before this session. I feel relaxed, calm, but I tend to remain calm even in extremely trying situations, so maybe it is more my personality than the tea. I took the temperature down a bit and did a longer steep of 25 seconds. Sweetness is still there but has faded. Bitterness is more immediate. Smelling the leaves in the gaiwan, they are still floral, but it doesn’t come through in the liquor now. I’ll keep going, but I suspect this tea will remain about the same as it is now through additional infusions. Now in my 8th or 9th infusion—I lost count—the sweetness has continued to fade and more vegetal comes through. I detected no mustiness or earthiness with this sample. I will order a couple more of these to see how they will age. I enjoyed this and would recommend it. For those wanting to try a raw pu erh for the first time, it’s a convenient way to try it, and not overwhelming.

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Floral, Hay, Honey, Sweet, Wet Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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80

My Lu Shan Yun Wu Green Tea was picked Spring 2017. I’m brewing it gong fu style and its coming out very vegital – spinach in particular. It give a very sour/astringent finish which is a bit off putting but after around 15-20 seconds I can taste a very sweet fruity notes not unlike fruit loops which keeps me coming back for more. I really love teas that transform like this so I would recommend it!

Flavors: Astringent, Citrus Zest, Drying, Sour, Spinach, Vegetables

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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99

Definitely one of the best Earl Grey I’ve ever had: it tastes fresh and natural. As with all good black teas you can drink it plain or with sweetener. I would actually recommend not adding anything to this one, to enjoy the more delicate and subtle flavour!

Flavors: Bergamot, Malt

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75
drank Whispering Woods by T2
995 tasting notes

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64
drank Coco Colada by DAVIDsTEA
3438 tasting notes

Sipdown (287)

Goodbye pina colada tea. You were ever so sweet and though you could be nice at times, I welcome the sipdown.

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I find it very interesting how these have been progressing in the clay pot that I put them in. The pot itself has taken on such a strong scent from the tea cakes and it’s only been a few days. The top of the container has what looks like some faint clusters of white mold which smells exactly like the tea cakes themselves. In addition, the tea cakes now seem to have a slightly more pleasing flavor than previously. I’m going to wait much longer until I try tasting them again (at least a month). But, this is a very interesting process to watch. It’s hard to understand just how alive these cakes are when they’re just sitting there all quiet and unassuming. But, to see this growth happening now is such an amazing thing. I had been thinking of these tea cakes as tea, but with this much life in them, they seem much more within the realms of yoghurt and probiotic drinks.

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So, I’ve been doing my comparison of the three differently-stored portions of this tea, and this has been a pretty wild experience for me. The one I’d stored in a plastic bag actually turned out well (which goes against the many claims that airtight plastic bag storage is bad). Now, I’m tasting the one that was stored out in the open and got moldy.

I took a sample from inside the piece, which didn’t visibly have mold on it, but I got such a whiff of mold after rinsing the leaves that I rinsed them for a second time. (As a note, the mold I found on the pu-erh was white and looked the same as the mold I found on the inside of my clay pu-erh storage pot after cleaning it thoroughly and putting newly-purchased pu-erh cakes in it for a few days. So, I really think that this was already on the pu-erh cake. I think it just multiplied by leaving the pu-erh cake out as I did.)

After each of the first few brewings, the wet leaves were so unimaginably sweet. I had no idea that tea could smell this sweet. It also had such a clean, wet red wood taste and smell.

I haven’t been really drinking the cups since it concerned me how much mold was on the outside of the chunk that I took this from. But, even with drinking so little (maybe eight sips so far), I feel tea drunk. (Seriously.) I’m glad that I didn’t try drinking the whole cup each time, because I’d probably be unconscious right now. Whatever process these leaves went through made the tea ridiculously stronger, even if it didn’t change the taste or smell all that much!

Edit: I wanted to add some links for anyone who is interested. According to a study: “Aspergillus niger and Blastobotrys adeninivorans were frequently documented as dominant lineages in Pu-erh from both culture-dependent and culture-independent studies.” Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4918958/

Aspergillus niger can range from black to white: http://fungi.myspecies.info/all-fungi/aspergillus-niger

Blastobotrys adeninivorans is depicted as white: http://preview.tinyurl.com/ba-white-culture (I had to use tinyurl because for some reason, Steepster didn’t register the link correctly)

There are other cultures which can appear on pu-erh, not all of them are safe or beneficial. So, while seeing evidence of cultures on pu-erh isn’t necessarily bad, it isn’t necessarily good either. For more on this, see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4918958/ (Though, be warned, as it is technical.)

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90
drank spearmint by Harney & Sons
34 tasting notes

I am a lover of mint juleps. While this tea isn’t quite the same as a julep, it does have a refreshing taste and fragrance that helps take the edge off of the summer heat. I tried hot and cold. It was fine both ways but with the warm weather, I especially enjoyed this tea chilled. The spearmint flavor really comes through. The tea it self is almost the consistency of a matcha, so be careful with the infuser. If you like spearmint, you won’t be disappointed. Prior to this I was buying McCormick and Bigalow’s Plantation Mint. This is far better than McCormick and while PM was’t a bad tea, the Harney’s blend is easily my favorite.
In fact, I think this will end up being one of my summer favorites, besting Harney’s Black Currant and Organic Coconut iced teas.

Flavors: Spearmint

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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Another sample from the same teafriend! I normally don’t bother with green teas, aside from the occasional sencha or gyokuro, as it’s annoying to have to drink them while they’re still fresh and I just like oolong and puerh better 9.9/10 times. I certainly wasn’t going to say no to a package which included some fresh teas though! I think this one is the first fresh Chinese green I have tried.

I tried it gongfu first, and found it to be so-so. It was vegetal and brothy with a bit of grassiness.

I much preferred it the second time I drank it when I did grandpa style. It took a while for all of the leaves to sink to the bottom, so I had to filter through my teeth for the first couple mugs full. The flavor was actually pretty intense at the start – very brothy and nutty, with a bit of a vegetal flavor as well. The nuttiness was the main flavor I noticed through most of the session. I think there may have been a bit of straw or hay underneath as well. I didn’t pick up any notes which I would describe as “bright” or “crisp.” No fruit or anything like that. The flavor also had an unusual depth to it, which I had a bit of trouble placing, but I think it was some umami in the nutty flavor which was tricking my palate some.

I certainly enjoyed my time with this tea, but Mao Feng won’t be something that I pick up on a regular basis or anything.

Flavors: Broth, Hay, Nutty, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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