Experience buying from Jing Tea Shop http://steepster.com/places/2780-jing-tea-shop-on-line

Age of leaf: I received this tea in early June 2011 and first brewed it that summer (the tea is listed as 2011 early spring harvest).

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: Fairly standard appearance for a Chinese red tea: lots of small, uniformly-colored dark leaves. However, the aroma smells strongly of what must be lychee fruit (I have had a canned version of lychee fruit once with an Asian friend, but I don’t remember much about it, other than it was mildly sweet, had the texture similar to a pear, and had a mild flavor I had never tasted before). This smell of the dry leaf is stronger than I remember the fruit tasting, but I like it.

Brewing guidelines: Traditional ceramic six-cup teapot, with large metallic tea-ball; stevia added.
……….1st: Near boiling; 2’………Great flavor
……….2nd: Nearer boiling; 3’…..Good Flavor
……….3rd: Boiling; 4’……………..Decent flavor
……….4th: Spot-on boiling; 5’…Not much flavor

Color and aroma of tea liquor: nice caramel color; and a light aroma akin to the taste.

Flavor of tea liquor: strong flavor, similar to other Chinese red teas I have had, with the lychee fruit flavor not overpowering, but rather complimenting the standard red tea flavor.

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: Standard medium-grade chopped leaf; pleasantly aromatic.

Blends well with: I added a tsp of SpecialTeas Java OP to today’s mix and it didn’t seem to interfere with the overall taste.

Value: A great price for $5.20/100g.

Overall: Before today, I had this tea twice, and although I didn’t remember much about it, I remember liking that it was a little different than any other Chinese red tea I have had before. I decided to brew it up today for my wife and I, as I was hoping this tea would be the one Chinese red tea we could both enjoy together. I wasn’t sure what she would think of it, because she doesn’t seem to be too fond of Chinese red teas: she tried one Lapsang, at least one Keemun (I have two), and she may have even tried a Yunnan—none of which she liked. : ( And, of course, as I myself bought them, I enjoy drinking them all! Now it happens that, although she likes just about any flavored black tea she has tried (most, if not all, of which, I believe, are artificially flavored; I prefer teas that are not), I prefer Chinese red teas (I just checked the description on Jing Tea Shop’s website, and it simply describes this tea as ‘flavored’. So I don’t know if it’s artificially flavored or not. I was assuming it wasn’t. Bummer. I may want to eventually email them to find out). So, after brewing it up, with my fingers crossed, I give her her cup, and she sips, and sips again, I try to act nonchalant while watching her reaction, as she makes one of those faces we make when we think we like something but we’re not sure, she begins to slowly nod her head in affirmation, and says, “I like it.” Phew! Funny, but since I know she doesn’t like Chinese black teas I didn’t tell her up front what it was, so, I waited until she had tried enough of it to confirm her initial impression before telling her that it was a Chinese red tea (this happens on occasion when I want her to try a new tea). Luckily, I too was also impressed with the flavor (not too overpowering on the lychee fruit flavor). So now we can enjoy a Chinese red tea together! Ahh, the work we go through to get our close ones to enjoy tea with us. In the long run, it’s worth it, though, wouldn’t you agree? : – )

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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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