5 Tasting Notes

drank Bancha by Harney & Sons
5 tasting notes

Great value tea, $20/lb.

Nice grassy flavor without too much bitterness, hints of hay and a sandy beach in autumn. Steeps are good up until the 3rd, maybe even the 4th brew. Watch out for water temp and over brewing.

I agree with the artichoke and hints of brussle sprout flavors suggested by “Tea-Guy”, I find these nice. There is also a distinct nut aftertaste, somewhat like walnuts. The tea also provides a great psychological buzz and concentration not unlike that of a Sencha.

I like to use a lot of this tea and reduce the steep time by half. This creates a nice progression of brews. First brew maybe only 30 seconds, subsequent brews add 30s to the previous brew time.

Overall, fantastic everyday green japanese tea.

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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More oxidized than the average Chinese Oolong. Fuller bodied, more akin to a 2nd flush darjeeling in aroma, taste, and body without the heavy muscatel and astringency.

Dry tea smells fruity and spicy, but not the true fruity papaya quality Taiwanese Oolongs often have. Tastes of delicate mango freshness with a spicy ginger undertone and a hint of lime zest. Well balanced. Fruity mango with slight gingery spice notes and a hint of lime zest.

Exceptional complex mixture of light tones, with a slight brisk and highly pleasant bitterness at the finish. Each sip leaves a pleasant mouth fullness, a coated feeling.

This is one of the best teas TeaHaus carries.

Needs to be brewed with a large amount of tea and small amount of water. This tea stands up to multiple brewing. The second infusion was as good as the first. I think it should be brewed with slightly under boiling water, such as pouring boiling water into your cup first and then into the teapot.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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This tea has a slightly smokey flavor which complements the underlying chocolate and wet leaf tones. For those adverse to the liquid smoke like taste and smell of Lapsang Souchong, this tea is a pleasant balance between smokiness, earthen leaf, and more floral qualities.

Among Keemun’s this is a good to great one, but not fantastic. It is more smokey/floral and less chocolatey than the Keemun 1110 from The Republic of Tea. A subtle sweetness lingers after each sip.

Good with milk, given it’s smokey flavor, especially when brewed for 3-5 minutes. Milk enhances the smoke and earthen leaf tones, diminishing floral and chocolate notes. I personally avoid milk with this tea, unless I happen to over-brew.

At $3.72-3.26/oz (1.7oz/1.1lb respectively) this tea is moderately priced and a very good value, especially considering it’s multi-brew capacity and the price The Republic of Tea’s Keemun 1110 Full Leaf at $3.71-2.8/oz (3.5oz to 1lb respectively).

Best when brewed between 195-205ºF and for 2-3 minutes. Short 2-3 minute brews produce a delicate mouth feel while longer 4-5 minute brews enhance the astringency and bitterness.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Ryokucha by Samovar
5 tasting notes

A Genmaicha cousin with added matcha powder for that electric green look and extra vegetal punch. Whether good or great is hard to say. But costly, is surely is.

A pretty good tea, at $7/oz this is an expensive tea for daily consumption. I’ve found this tea is enjoyed by many people, both tea lovers and coffee hogs. Its smooth, bright, and as always too expensive.

A vibrant green grass flavor emerges through a subtle background of rice and slight seaweed. The mixture of rice, leaf, and powder means that the refined subtle flavors of each component become lost. So for those of you who like to hunt your taste buds for comparisons to other foods and lands — the  terroir terrorists — you’ll need to look elsewhere.

After drinking a cup my psyche becomes concentrated leading to a narrow focus. Very similar to the psyche offered by a good Sencha or pure Matcha. More so that a standard Genmaicha. This is both good and bad, ala tunnel vision phenomena. Cold sweets and jitters coming from black-darjeelings are usually not present.

Although the Samovar people say you should try using boiling water, which I did (once), I’d avoid the straight from the kettle method. I find letting water cool to around 85º C is best. The marketing material suggests a large range of water temperatures, which I agree with. Genmaicha’s are known for being robust under harsh brewing conditions, the rice acts as a buffer. So this tea is perfect for the bumbling brewer in your house, who can’t be bothered to cool their water.

The matcha powder to rice/leaf ratio changes depending on which area of the bag you spoon your tea from. The powder has a tendency to fall to the bottom since it is fine. This means sometimes there is far to much powder or not enough. Not sure if there’s a fix. The rice does act as a powder carrier, and is itself a vibrant green.

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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A good, not great, 2nd flush darjeeling. Slightly too expensive, $3/oz would be right. The advertised astringency and muscatel flavors border on lushness but end up having a metallic taste (not the water).

At a cost of $6.55 for 50g, or 3.72/oz, this tea is a bit expensive. Considering the price, this tea does not amaze. There are better value 2nd flush darjeelings, such as the Republic of Tea darjeeling (which can be found around $2.80±0.30, 1lb is $42 direct).

A warming white pepper taste surrounds the mouth upon taking your first sip. Hints of tart sweetness leave the mouth dry. Moments later a bright orange note rises from the dryness. Finally metallic copper enters, vibrating between the orange and sweet dryness. Some may find the astringency, dryness, and near-metallic taste to be discomforting.  This is a specialist flavor. Some will run towards others away. For those 1st flush floral lovers this tea will greatly disappoint.

Although TeaHaus suggests using boiling water and steeping for 3 minutes I find using slightly cooled water between 90º and 97º is best. Depends on your brewing vessel, and its heat capacity, absorbency, and insulation as well as your pre-heating/washing rituals.

Second brewing is still quite good, especially if the first has a shorter brew. Third falls flat.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Tea drinker among other things. Oh and – earl grey, hot.


On a pedestal sink?



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