drank Emerald Mao Feng by Teavana
171 tasting notes

I am striving to get these reviews written as soon as I can, which means it may initially be missing some data which I hope to supply later.

Experience buying from Teavana online http://steepster.com/places/2822-teavana-online-atlanta-georgia

Date of Purchase/Age of Leaf: Purchased at their 2011 end-of-year sale at a discount, and brewed up my first pot right away; no information on date of harvest available (I don’t like that they can’t—or won’t—tell me the harvest date on their green teas, and I don’t like to admit it, but it’s honestly a little annoying to me).

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: I was in the store a few days prior to buying this tea online, and when I looked at it and smelled it, I thought it was a Huang Shan Mao Feng (it’s not a part of Teavana’s name for this tea, but it looked like one to me). I asked about it, the sales associate looked it up, and she verified that it was indeed a Huang Shan Mao Feng (HSMF). Having said that, this tea looks and smells like any other HSMF: wiry, slightly twisted leaves, with a somewhat sour smelling vegetal aroma overlaid with some smokiness (Although I generally like the appearance and the taste of HSMF, I don’t really care for the smell of any of them).

Brewing guidelines: Glass Bodum pot with metal infuser/plunger. Stevia added.
……….1st: 170; 1’
……….2nd: 175; 1.5’
……….3rd: 180; 2’
……….4th: 185; 2.5’

Aroma of tea liquor: < later >

Flavor of tea liquor: Sweet, mildly vegetal, and surprisingly smooth; I don’t think there was any smokiness, either (my wife does NOT like smoky green teas, and so she normally does not like HSMFs, but she liked this one). No astringency or bite in it what-so-ever. Yet, I don’t think it had great flavor on the forth steeping.

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: The leaf in this tea was not as impressive as the leaf in the Golden Jade (it had a few broken pieces), but it was still clearly from a quality pluck; standard vegetal aroma.

Value: This tea is a steal at 75% off the original price (what they state as $9/oz.) → $2.25/oz.

Overall: I suspect that this tea is some slightly lower grade version of their HSMF Reserve (which goes for $10/oz.), and that they don’t want to discontinue this tea, so they just renamed it, and put it on sale (they did not carry this tea until their end-of-year sale. Interesting, huh?). One piece of evidence to support this: the picture for both teas is EXACTLY the same on their website. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. What matters most is that this is an exquisite tea for those who want a sweet green tea without the normal vegetal/astringent notes that are commonly present in Chinese green teas. And it is sweet. I look forward to brewing it up as a treat every now and then this winter.

170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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(Updated 6-3-2014)

After about three years I changed my avatar from the picture of a green teacup with steam rising (one I created using Paint) to this dragon gaiwan. This is one of my favorite gaiwans, although I haven’t brewed any tea in it as of yet.

You can call me, Joe.

What, How and Why I steep:

I typically expect, and shoot for, at least three flavorful steepings out of (just about) any tea I brew up.

I generally start at the times and temps below ( = minute(s), " = second(s) ), then add 5F and 30" for each successive steeping:
Chinese Green - 175F, 1’ ;
Japanese Green - 160F, 1’add 15F, then decrease by 15";
White - 160F, 2’;
Oolong - This varies;
Indian Black/Chinese Red and Herbals - a little off the boil, 2’; why do I start with such low temps & short steep times? So as to ‘spread out’ the flavor over multiple steepings. I have found this to work with every tea I have tried so far. Also, I am not looking for intense flavor in that first cup (i.e. Western style), I would prefer to taste it—and savor—it over many steepings.
Pu-erh - Beginning in 2014, I finally chose to dive into pu-erh! Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 150 ml gaiwan (I also own an 11 oz Yixing):
First I do a 15" rinse with near boiling water. Then for each successive steeping I add Stevia.
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
etc. Until there is no flavor, or I ran out of time and energy.

I hope to ‘streamline’ my reviews going forward, so, hopefully, they are a little less technical and dry (and perhaps even stilted), and a little more organic and experiential (and hopefully, flowing); this somewhat new approach to reviews is a kind of metaphor for where my life is headed right now, and is one reason why I write reviews: as a kind of time-capsule of where I was in my life at that time.

Tea Rating scale:

1 – 29: There is no reason to even think about drinking this stuff again.
30-49: I may drink it if someone else brewed it up, but I would not bother brewing it up myself let alone bother buying any.
50 – 59: I like something about it, and I may brew it up if I already have some, but I would not buy any more of it.
60 – 69: I like a few things about it, and I may buy it if the price is right.
70 – 79: This is a tea I enjoy and would drink fairly regularly as long as it is reasonably priced.
80 – 89: A tea I will drink as often as I can, and will likely try to buy some when I run out (as long as it’s affordable).
90 – 99: This has everything I look for in the best of teas: beauty in appearance, a delightful aroma, and most importantly, depth and yummy-ness in its flavor.
100: Perfect.

My primary interest is in artisan loose-leaf Chinese green, red and ripe pu-erh tea, although I enjoy a white and an oolong tea every now and then as well. Here and there I brew a few of the other true teas and an occasional herbal.

Since I choose to live on a very limited income (‘Voluntary Simplicity’), I have to be very conscience about how much I pay for tea. In reading their Tea Enthusiast’s books, Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss sold me on the wonders of artisan teas. Thankfully I have found that there is affordable, artisan tea out there; it’s just like anything else that has true value: it takes hard work, dedication and at least a little persistence to find it.

I came to tea out of a desire to find something to help calm and focus my mind as naturally as possible. My mind is very active, so to speak, and at times I find it very difficult to focus and keep myself centered. For years now I have been practicing Yoga daily along with others things to help me to stay relaxed and present, but I found I wanted a little something extra to help me start the day; the theanine in green tea seems to help me in this.

I have been enjoying loose-leaf tea since November of 2010.

I enjoy connecting with others about tea.

I drink Stevia with just about all of my tea (no sugar or artificial sweeteners).

I drink a pot of green tea every day in the AM (usually steeped three times over the course of the day), sharing it with my wife.

Each tea in my cupboard is carefully and colorfully labeled in a tin or in a jar that used to hold something else (I love to reuse things!) .

I have three teapots: a glass Bodum – I don’t use the metal infuser/press anymore (greens), a 16 oz glass Victorian (to brew greens and whites, and to use as a pot to decant other teas into), and an 11 oz Yixing (ripe Pu-erh only). (New in 2014) I also one a number of gaiwans ranging in volume from from 125 ml to 250ml.

I tend to be direct, straightforward and honest when I post anything to the discussion boards. I take the approach that everything I say is stated with the implied disclaimer: In My Humble Opinion (i.e. IMHO). I may occasionally emphasize this point, where appropriate. I view your comments in the same way. You are in no way obligated to read what I have posted. And I am in no way similarly obligated to you.

Sitting with my cup of tea I greet the day in anticipation of new discoveries along the way.


Midwest, USA

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