185 Tasting Notes

86

This is a nice Darjeeling-type tea. It’s quite green. and aromatic – in fact, its aroma was the strongest point for me with intense meadow, hay and fruit fragrances. Prepared gongfu the taste was similarly intense, sweet and floral, with a typical Darjeeling profile. Muscatel was not too prominent, but flowers and stone fruit notes came out quite strong. Eastkyteaguy and Leafhopper identified individual flavors well enough, so I will not go in there.

The disappointing parts in my experience is that the complexity of taste fades quickly – I could not get many quality steepings. Oh, and also it was quite horrible Western style: just a bland undifferentiated sweetness that turned me off enough that I could not finish my cup (which is rare for me). It probably requires a very high leaf-to-water ratio to shine.

Leafhopper

I’ve never tried to gongfu a tea from the Indian subcontinent. What parameters do you use?

Bluegreen

I am not that scientific about gongfu and pretty much play it by ear. I usually use 4-5 g per 80-90 mg, let the first steep to last 5-7 seconds and go from there according to taste. Eastkyteaguy is certainly a much better source for gongfu details based on his painstaking reviews.

I kinda stopped regularly making tea the gongfu style except for puehr and dark tea: it always comes out way better and more intense in the first couple of steepings but then the quality of teas plummets so noticeablty that I have to force myself to keep steeping and drinking. If I had unlimited money then yea, I would always drink it gong fu and discard after the second steeping but oh well.

Now, in terms of drinking South Asia tea gongfu: I would not do it for your typical Assam or Ceylon, but Darjeeling and Nepal teas usually come out really well.

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86

After trying it Western I prepared it gongfu and have to bump my rating up a bit. It is way better gongfu. To be certain, it still comes out as rather simple, straightforward tea: the taste is dominated by the bittersweet chocolate, complemented in the first couple of infusion by baked potato and starting in the 5th – by honey and sugared fruit.

There are way to many chocolaty teas to get overtly excited, but it does acquire a certain depth, balance, and pleasant aftertaste – all that I did not find when I steeped it Western style. Also, it produced a remarkably large number of infusions (8 or 10) without tasting tired: actually, I enjoyed the late infusions the most – when the bitter chocolate got muted and honey+fruit intensified.

Flavors: Fruity, Honey

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86

It is a simple, unpretentious tea. The delicate fine leaves produce the brew with floral and “tippy” aroma. Th e taste is quite typical for a Jin Jun Mei: chocolate, sweet potato, clover, light fruit. Not complex at all, but clean, light and hits all the right notes for this type of tea. Regrettably, not much of an aftertaste, but at least it re-steeps well (I had it Western).

Edit: I bumped this tea’s rating up a bit after having it gongfu – it was way better that way.
After trying it I have not been neither disappointed nor excited. Given that Jin Jun Mei is the current rage and the prices it commands are often exorbitant this is not a bad deal at all for someone who wants its taste profile on a budget. I will gladly finish the ounce I had purchased but unlikely to order it again.

Flavors: Chocolate, Fruity, Sweet Potatoes

eastkyteaguy

I’ve been meaning to try this tea for some time now. Hopefully, I will be able to get to it in the coming month. What-Cha usually sources excellent Jin Jun Mei. If you haven’t tried it yet, try their higher end Jin Jun Mei. It’s great.

Leafhopper

JJM seems to be a popular topic lately. Eastkyteaguy, given your extensive experience with this tea, do you have any recommendations? Is it better to just stick with unsmoked Lapsang Souchong, or Zhen Shan Xiao Zhong as YS puts it? I’ve thought about ordering from Yunnan Sourcing, Teavivre, and now What-Cha, and would value your opinion.

LuckyMe

I’ve only tried Verdant’s JJM and wasn’t blown away by it. The YS Lapsang is good however it lacks depth. My favorite unsmoked LS is one I tried from Teavivre a couple of years ago.

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93

A Japanese black, which is an intriguing rarity for me. It is broken in tiny pieces with generous helping of stems and tinged with black around the corners: like a weird bancha trying to be rebellious and hip.

Not much of a dry leaf smell: grass, hay, roasted nuts. The wet leaf and the brewed tea itself has a very distinct smell that is hard to describe: there is certainly grass, leafy greens, but also seafood/seaweed and some kind of East Asian spices (soy sauce?). The taste is spicy, umami, pleasantly sour and pungent. Very Japanese, to be sure. It lingers in a big way.

In summary, it is quite distinct and unusual in many aspects. Memorable too. This is probably one of those love/hate teas – and I loved it.

Flavors: Grass, Hay, Pleasantly Sour, Roast nuts, Seaweed, Soy sauce, Spicy, Spinach, Umami

Martin Bednář

I saw it on the website and considered ordering it. Looks pretty unusual and tasty.

gmathis

Interesting!

Martin Bednář

Okay, I placed an order with this tea in.

Bluegreen

Yeah, I was intrigued by this tea enough that I went on Yunomi and placed an order for several Japanese blacks. This is certainly an area where I am rather weak and that Benifuuki impressed me enough to merit further exploration.

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75

This is a typical tea from East Africa, the only differentiating trait is its dry leaf appearance: the leaves are small and twisty, which reminded me of some Chinese reds like Keemuns.

Everything else is rather typical: not much of wet or dry leaf smell besides vague maltiness. The taste is robust but not rough: malt,bread, clear astringency. It is pretty much Lipton but how Lipton would taste if it prioritized taste and storage as much as cost-efficiency.

It takes milk and sugar well and if one craves for that traditional English tea experience this is the tea that would suffice. On the other hand, this tea offers nothing original and interesting, so it would probably disappoint more adventurous tea drinkers.

Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Malt

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81

I agree with most of the previous reviews for this tea: it is indeed smooth, not astringent at all and full of stone fruit (plum, apricot, cherry), raisins and baked apples. The best part is the dry leaf appearance: very intricately rolled into wavy, twisty curls.

When I took a first sip (Western style) I thought “Whoa, that’s a unique taste with its combination of sweet and sour!” – but that feeling dissipated quickly: this tea does not grow on you much as you drink it . The main flavors, why pleasant, come as somewhat underpowered, and the tail of the taste is disappointingly sour. It is not a bad tea, but I had decidedly more balanced and lively teas with the stone fruit profile.

Flavors: Apricot, Candied Apple, Cherry, Plums, Raisins, Sour, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes

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94

I had it Western style. The dry leaf is long, remarkably wiry and gnarly, which is pleasant. Its smell is restrained, with notes of fresh hay,malt, honey and pepper. The wet leaf acquires undertones of ash, earth, molasses and overripe berries.

The liquor is pale and it takes some time for it to darken appreciably. The taste is similarly understated: baked bread, malt, molasses, smoke, dark cherries, citrus zest. It has a good lasting power and could be sipped for a long time at different temperatures. A nice and balanced aftertaste.

Overall, it is a very enjoyable restrained tea with the profile of mostly baked bread + cherry/molasses sweetness. No astringency whatsoever. It could be a reliable daily drinker.

Flavors: Ash, Baked Bread, Berries, Cherry, Citrus Zest, Hay, Honey, Malt, Molasses, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Sounds like a winner!

Kawaii433

I really liked this one too. I need to restock it.

Martin Bednář

I remember having this one… Great tea!

Bluegreen

Well, it is on sale now at Whatcha. And despite coming from the 2018 harvest it is still very potent.

Martin Bednář

Bluegreen: you are teasing me now!

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88

Now this is one divisive tea – based on prior reviews. I always thought that puehrs stuffed in citruses are just a marketing gimmick. Finally, I ordered this puehr-in-a-tangerine to try it and check off the box.

Well, I was wrong. This rather simple earthy, autumnal-decay type of puehr blends with the citrus peel in a very natural way – like bergamot, ginger or chrysanthemum do. I always add part of the peel to the brew. The result is a simple, calming, autumnal drink. Dirt, mushrooms, a smell of the lake in the woods full of peat and fallen leaves.

There is not much of complexity, and definitely not the best choice for precise gong-fu sessions – but it is perfect for leisurely drinking the grandpa style.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cinnamon, Citrus Zest, Clay, Dirt, Malt, Mushrooms

eastkyteaguy

I don’t think I’ve reviewed any of them on Steepster yet, but I’ve been a big fan of the Golden Horse pu-erh offerings for several years. They take some time to get used to, but are great brewed Western or grandpa style. I like to keep several of them around for when I’m sick. Oh, and they can make a pretty solid gongfu session too, but it takes some experimentation.

Bluegreen

Huh, I did not realize that there were other Golden Horse pu-erhs. I will try the other ones then. What is appealing to me that the one that I tried tastes pretty unique and original to me, with a distinct and strong emotional profile. To me this is not a tea for every day, but when a certain mood strikes it is a great option. And it’s not like with greens when you have a nagging urge to finish them before they deteriorate.

eastkyteaguy

Yeah, there are several blends. The only ones I’m familiar with are the 8685, 8681, and 8682. You can find the 8685 blend at a number of places. It seems to be the most popular and readily available. The 8682 is referred to as “Rosin Fragrance.” I recall seeing it at Chawangshop. The 8681 I usually buy from Puerh Shop. I’m pretty sure there are others too. I recall seeing a Golden Horse sampler online several years ago, but I don’t recall which vendor offered it. I’ve also seen lemons, pomelos, king oranges, limes, and grapefruits stuffed with ripe pu-erh.

eastkyteaguy

Okay, scratch that bit about not knowing which vendor sold the sampler. I just found it. The Golden Horse sampler was offered by Dragon Tea House, and they still offer it. It includes one each of the 8681, 8682, 8683, 8685, 8691, and 8890 blends.

Bluegreen

Oh, thank you. I will definitely try a sampler. Dragon Tea House has been on my radar for quite a while and Golden Horse may finally nudge me to place an order and explore what it has to offer.

eastkyteaguy

No problem. Once I’m in a spot where I can buy more tea, I will probably buy one of their samplers myself.

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76
drank Bread Pudding by 52teas
185 tasting notes

Oolong is a smooth, understated tea and this blend was designed to be smooth and restrained as well. It requires concentration and full attention to appreciate. The bread component is the most prominent on the nose, while on the tongue it mostly spices (nutmeg and allspice) on the backdrop of mild oolong and baked bread.

The taste profile is not especially complex and the spices take a bit more prominence that I would have liked. Also, there is no interesting lingering aftertaste. Overall, it is a solid blend but it’s not something I will look forward to drinking again.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Nutmeg, Smooth, Spicy

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89
drank Mermaid by 52teas
185 tasting notes

This is a tea that matches its name well. It does smell of seaweed and water and some undetermined spicy aromas of faraway tropical lands. The taste is savory and umami: seaweed, cooked spinach, succulent grass and some exotic spicy notes.

All strands blend well and create a unique and memorable taste that I had no desire to dissect. Very mermaidy indeed. Usually green tea-based desert blends leave me underwhelmed but not this one really impressed me.

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Bio

I like to drink teas to recreate a specific mood, or just to take a break at work. The world of tea is so endless, patiently waiting for exploration and rewarding you in many ways big and small.

I am looking forward to years of playing with tea leaves, gaiwans, cups, and YouTube videos.

My ratings:

90 or more – a very good/excellent tea, I can see myself ordering it again.

80-89 – it is a good tea, I enjoyed it but not enough to reorder.

70-79 – an OK, drinkable tea but there are certainly much better options even in the same class/type.

60-69 – this tea has such major flaws that you have to force yourself to finish what you ordered.

<60 – truly horrible teas that must be avoided at all costs.

Location

USA

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