231 Tasting Notes
My stash of black teas grow dangerously low! I’ve got a big YS order on the way though, so maybe it will arrive before I run out. Not likely though because I chose SAL shipping.
Drinking the spring 2015 version. This is a good, fairly run-of-the-mill Yunnan black. It’s malty and lightly chocolaty with notes of brown sugar, toasty bread, and yams. Also just faintly fruity like figs. A good daily drinker, but prefer black teas with a little more “personality” if that makes sense; something that makes them unique. This one is pretty stereotypical in it’s “dian hong” qualities.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Brown Toast, Chocolate, Earth, Fig, Malt, Oats, Yams
200th tasting note! Being as I rarely make more than one note on a tea, and theres many I haven’t reviewed yet, that means I’ve tasted over 200 teas!
I went to Ming Ming about a month ago, hoping to pick up some Da Hong Pao or other Wuyi oolong, but they were out. What they did have however was a very fresh smelling Dragonwell from last year’s winter harvest. I had never heard of winter Dragonwell, but I was convinced by the freshness that it couldn’t have been from last autumn or spring.
It’s a very mellow green, much more to my liking than most of the other Dragonwells that I’ve tried. I’ve found it brews well with a little over four grams in my 120mL gaiwan. The strongest note is green bean, with background notes of chestnut, butter, and grass, and a touch of something marine.
It may not be the greatest to someone better versed in Dragonwell than I am, but I like milder greens and this one hits the spot.
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Grass, Green Beans, Ocean Breeze
The dry leaves are big, brown, and twisty with some golden buds mixed in. BIG sweet raisiny aroma from the bag.
Brews up mild and lightly sweet with notes of raisin, malty oats, and a slightly oceanic thick, brothy quality. It has a thick, oily mouthfeel similar to a good sheng. It also seems to have a bit of a “qi” like a good sheng. Interesting that the other wild arbor blacks that I’ve tried didn’t have this quality. The flavor reminds me a bit of a generic Assam black, but with almost none of the bitterness.
The more tea that I drink, the more I find that while tea quality is a fairly objective matter, preferences in individual taste and strength are highly subjective and the qualities that people judge their tea by vary greatly.
This is definitely a high quality and interesting tea, but the flavor profile and mild nature aren’t quite to my personal tastes. While nice and pretty unobjectionable, I find it a bit boring. I can see though how this might be a phenomenal brew for some.
Flavors: Malt, Oats, Ocean Breeze, Raisins
Quite a while ago I ordered a bunch of samples from Puerh Shop, tasted one or two, and subsequently forgot I had them. I found them again and started drinking them, and while I’ve had some teas I liked from Puerh Shop, unfortunately most have just been mediocre.
This one has a very mild flavor, but gets bitter easily if overbrewed. Tastes of green wood, wet moss, and heavily diluted whiskey. Slight lingering aroma in them mouth, body is fairly thin. Overall it’s just ok, as might be expected from a cheap tea that claims to be “Bulang Wild Grown.”
Flavors: Green Wood, Wet Moss, Whiskey
This one has been in my storage for a while now, but hasn’t gotten a tasting note.
The tuo is very fragrant coming out of the box. Brews up a light yellow-orange. Fairly balanced sweet and savory, but leaning more towards sweet. Slightly green pine and wood notes with a light melon fruityness and floral aroma. Very clean tasting and somewhat mineral. There is some bitterness, but fairly mild for how heavily I leafed it. It has a strong, lingering aroma in the mouth and throat. Overall its pretty nice, especially considering the price. The only bad thing I have to say about this tea is that the mouthfeel is rather thin; none of the thick, oily quality often found in nicer sheng.
Edit: later steeps got thicker. While I strongly prefer cakes to tuos, this is really nice for the price.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Green Wood, Melon, Mineral, Pine
Revisiting this sample as I’m dreaming up a big order from the YS China site. Overall it’s cleaner and tastier than I remember it being when I last drank it. Still a little bit “dank”, but slightly more positive tasting notes of damp wood, burning incense, and mineral-rich mountain spring water. While mostly aged out, there’s still a hint of something green and cooked vegetable-ish.
It’s good, but not fantastic: I’m still undecided on wether or not I need a cake of it.
Any Yunnan Sourcing recommendations? I’m looking for a bit of everything; sheng and shu samples, blacks to refresh my stockpile, fresh green teas, and some cheap-ish Wuyi or Dancong oolongs.
Flavors: Mineral, Vegetables, Wet Rocks, Wet wood
I’m not the biggest fan of highly green Tie Guan Yin, or greener oolongs in general, so I was slightly worried when I saw this among the samples sent to me by The Teaguy. However, I found that I enjoyed this one much more than I expected too.
Instead of harshly floral and grassy and green, this one is mild, nutty, and “warm”. It is somewhat grassy, and has a floral note that I’d compare to gardenias, but neither of these aspects are overpowering. It has a nice aroma that lingers in the mouth long after sipping. It’s a very mellow and enjoyable brew with a light honey-like sweetness.
I would not say that this is a top tier TGY, but it’s quite nice and priced very reasonably.
Flavors: Cream, Dry Grass, Gardenias, Nutty, Sweet
Ever seen that Spongebob episode where he and Patrick go to Glove World? They get glove hats, glove flashlights, and glove-flavored candy. This tea would fit in nicely because it has a nice buttery texture and notes of fresh cut grass and freshly-opened latex gloves!
Rubber flavor aside, it was drinkable, and I did in fact make several infusions of it. If you can get over the “dentist sticking his hands in your mouth” aroma, it’s not all that bad. Pairs well with pistachios.
I’d think that maybe it’s just me or I got a bad batch, but a friend had said the same thing to me about it a year ago.
Idk, I’m not very experienced with Japanese teas, but I have had one other gyokuro and it didn’t taste like gloves at all. :/
Flavors: Butter, Grass
My second tea from The Teaguy, this one sounds interesting as they say it’s a blend of Assam, Keemun, Ceylon, and Vietnamese grown tea. Small-ish dark leaves with a few silvery buds. The aroma is light and citrusy with a hint of dry oats.
I tried following their recommended brewing, 2 tsp, 90C for 3-4 minutes, but while I probably added a bit too much water, it came out very weak, so I let it keep brewing, and after about six more minutes it was closer to the proper strength.
The resulting brew is still a little on the weak side, but it’s tasty. Slightly sweet with little to no bitterness, the flavor is light but malty with slight oat, citrus, and cocoa notes.
This was fairly good, but I think I’ll try it again at a higher temperature with a bit more leaf.
Flavors: Citrus, Cocoa, Malt, Oats
Hello Steepster, it’s been a while! I was recently contacted by The Teaguy and asked if I’d like to review some of their teas. Who would say no to that? Anyways hello, and sorry it’s been so long since I last posted.
The samples arrived today, St. Patrick’s Day, and with an Irish Breakfast among the samples. So of course that’s the first tea I’ll try.
It appears to be a blend of CTC and other broken leaf; not unusual for an Irish Breakfast. The dry aroma is sweet with notes of honey and barley.
I followed their brewing instructions: 2tsp for 3-4 minutes at 90C. 90C is lower than I normally brew blacks, but that makes sense to balance out the strength and bitterness of the CTC and broken leaf leaves.
The result is quite good! Mildly sweet with honey, malt, and barley notes and a slightly floral background. It’s bold and slightly bitter, but not overly so in comparison to how Irish Breakfasts can be, and none of the metallic quality they sometimes have. It reminds me of Grape Nuts cereal in beverage form. Very drinkable with or without milk, this would make a great first cup in the morning.
*Editing to say that this tea definitely has a lot of caffeine! I felt a coffee-like punch after drinking it, so I wouldn’t recommend drinking it late in the day.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Malt, Roasted Barley