90 Tasting Notes

drank Yunnan White Jasmine by Verdant Tea
90 tasting notes

No score or recommendation for this one because I got it as a free sample and I don’t like jasmine. Jasmine is up there with patchouli for “can’t be in the same room with it.” After a rather weak sheng session I found myself back in the kitchen looking for tea. Might as well get this over with. Rinsed the leaves in cold water hoping to get some of jasmine scent off.

Like many people, I had a Polish aunt with a large bouffant hairdo and reeking of perfume. She wore as much nylon and lace as humanly possible in a single outfit. Her bathroom was wallpapered with faux long hot pink fur and she had many vases of plastic purple flowers to go with it. She and her husband had a tavern, of course. When you saw the lipstick, you knew what will happen next and run for the hills. Grew up terrified I might turn out like that, got rid of my Polack accent and adopted minimalism in all my affairs. Then I auditioned for a Polish polka musical and at the audition she came right out of my mouth and got me cast in the show. Got offered the same part at Steppenwolf later that year, my “authenticity.” I bowed to the inevitable, so I thought, and now I try to embrace it when I see a cute nephew, but I have to draw a line in the heritage sand. I dread to add water to the jasmine tea, and my stomach heaves over with the steamy smell.

Oh god, it is probably good for my digestion but I drank it quick. One small cup, no more.

Somebody add Polish Aunt to Flavor choices please.

Flavors: Jasmine

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Roughage

Such a picturesque description. I can just visualise you now as a Polish aunt. :-) I don’t have any Polish aunts but my friend did and the impression she gave me of them has never left me. They were as wide as they were tall, which is to say not much of either, and they continued to lift loads that an olympic weightlifter would balk at until their dying days. Formidable is the right word for them. As for the jasmine tea, I happen to like it at the end of a meal, but it’s not for everyone.

apt

what is up with them and horrible samples? first baimudan, then I got this. I’m not even going to open it.

Cwyn

You got this too? Honestly it might be very good, for a person who drinks this type of tea, so I felt it wasn’t fair to actually rate it. Plus it has like 163 reviews already so they must send it out a lot. With the pre-order debacle I don’t plan to order from them anyway.

apt

I’m not ordering from them again either. There are too many great vendors run by awesome people to be wasting money on Verdant.

I would give this away, but none of my tea drinking friends like jasmine. Me? I don’t like jasmine OR silver needles :)

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93
drank 1998 Aged Yiwu by White 2 Tea
90 tasting notes

I received a very generous sample of this tea with a White2Tea order, my 10g sample would cost around $14 or so based on the cost of a 25 g sample. Piggy me stuffed 5 g of it into my 60 ml senchado pot. Two rinses to break up the cake. Storage taste of bamboo and paper was not unpleasant but I was eager to get down to the business of this tea. Leaves start out looking surprisingly dark green but quickly turn brown as the dark orange liquor emerges.

Steep 1 Storage. Sip and toss.
Steep 2 Storage. Sip and toss.
Steep 3 Storage, my teeny pot is now stuffed to the gills, leaves coming out the top, no room to spread.
Steep 4 Aged wood, spicy and warm. Description says to expect astringency in early steeps, I am not getting any of that aside from a little dryness on the tongue.
Steep 5 Warm brandy in wood, still a bit spicy. I am getting really warm now.
Steep 6 Relaxation, this tea has completely aged, at least my sample has. No top notes left, all bare bottom sticking out for me.

Steep 7 Son comes downstairs to cook ramen. “Actually I want tea,” he says. “I’ll have whatever you’re having.” Sure, of COURSE he does. Son decides on tea in one cup, if doesn’t like it, he’s done. If he likes it, he drinks several. Thus he consumes Steeps 7-9. I tell him this tea was put away when he was 7 years old. He likes it. Sigh.

Steep 10. These leaves are just getting started with the way I stuffed the pot. Still at no more than 40 seconds of steep time, cooler water. I got room for many more steeps, longer steep times and returning to boiling water at the end which could be a couple days from now.

This cake is $300+ but an excellent value brewed tight like I just did. Two days easy with two people here drinking just 5 g. Yiwu is known for its smoothness and this one is like silk and easy to take. Couldn’t make this bitter no matter what you do. Buy the cake, people, the sample is 1/10 of the way there cost-wise, and trust me you’ll be wanting more.

Edit: next day am still steeping the same 5 g. Emptied into a larger pot now that it is fully spread out. Past 15 steeps am only at 40 secs. The energizer bunny of teas, this just keeps going and going. Worked out that 5 g pot/20 steeps equal $.25 per cup. Take that to your local Starbucks.

Flavors: Bamboo, Caramel, Honey, Oak wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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54

Uh, hello? Anyone home? Can I get some tea please. Where is the tea, cuz I can’t taste anything in this water,. Yes, 8 grams in 90 ml produces a colored water.

Ordered a sample of this from Camellia Sinensis mainly because I am still chasing that camphorated finish which everybody but me seems to detect in teas grown next to camphor bushes. I didn’t really believe the 800 year old part, but Bada mountain does have some wild trees, including the 33 ft tall king of trees you can see in photos on chwangshop’s tea blog. Not sure if this tea is one of Vesper Chan’s efforts, the photo of the cake has a house label.

I have had two sessions with this tea so far. I can finally get that camphorated finish because I can feel it down my esophagus. Other than that, I am striving to find flavor here. I get some sour (the “citrusy”) and a bit of the aged wood. But if this tree is really old, it must be tired, cuz this is the most watery sheng I’ve tasted. I’ll probably stuff my pot with the rest of this next time to finish off the sample size. Not sure It is possible to buy a cake, the tea is sold by ounces, I think they just break up the cakes.

Flavors: Camphor, Oak wood, Sour

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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78

Crimson Lotus is new to the tea scene, and founded by a married couple in the Seattle area, the wife hailing from Yunnan, China originally. Their main interest is in Ripe puerh, and they have some fine teas to try and gorgeous tea ware which they scout personally from small Jian Shui pottery houses. Lamu’s family lives in Yunnan, so they are well placed to get started selling tea. It is a labor of love indeed.

I think this cake is one of their earlier efforts, their new cakes they pressed this spring have not arrived yet. This is one of two sheng cakes they currently carry, and they have some interesting cakes coming up from a farm family who has a few old trees in their garden, I will be looking forward to tasting those.

I ordered a 25 g sample of a 357 g cake. Leaves are very dark green, this seems to not have much age on it, probably dry storage has held this back, but that might be okay. Brewed up two sessions so far of 8 grams per 115 ml water. One rinse does the job, this is very clean. Proceeded with 15 second steeps onward.

Description is apple juice liquor and the result lives up to that. First brew is a mild bitter which steeps out quickly for me in subsequent steeps. Has a nice peachy taste, this too is rather mild, no storage flavor at all which again points to a very dry, preservation type of storage. Very cool on the mouth for the finish. I continue to get color in the tea past 8 steeps but the flavor is mostly gone. Wouldn’t want to age this, I think it will fade, it is best right now.

Flavors: Apricot, Green Wood, Peach

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 115 ML
Rich

Sounds like an interesting company. Have you tried any of their shus, and if so, which ones did you like?

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88

I don’t know what has got into me lately. Tried to be a good girl and drink my peaceful and contemplative premium 2014 longjing. After all, it is delicious and so pure. Must be the alcoholic side of the family coming out, because this longjing is like lite beer and I just wanted a damn drink. Mind you, I don’t drink alcohol, I drink tea. It is this puerh collection of mine that has me hanging over the bar with my tongue hanging out. Ruining me for anything else. So bad that I more or less dissed a super fine gyokuro yesterday.

Somebody give me a drink. Right. Found this in my pile of samples from Scott. 8 grams into the Yixing with 90 ml of water, not messing or wussing around. First rinse cloudy, ditto second rinse. The third I drank, some yellow-white powdery sediment at the bottom which clouds when disturbed. By the fifth steep I didn’t care. Tongue hanging out.

Got the nectar and smoke, this is surprisingly cooling on the tongue, not just the throat. Green tea taste underneath, slight bitter but not much, just enough to get the saliva going. Dug around in the pot and the Baggie to find the source of the sediment. Seems like a few white tippies got their hairs a little crushed in the bag, is all. White tips and orange leaves mixed in.

I like it. I feel good. I could buy a tong. I really shouldn’t. Not when tea drunk. I feel so much better though. I can actually think about eating right about now, all salivated up.

Flavors: Green Wood, Nectar, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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87
drank Uji Gyokuro Gyoku-Hou by O-Cha.com
90 tasting notes

Bought this upon recommendation of a tea friend, am trying several O-Cha new spring teas at this time. Still steeping this out after 5 steeps, which is more than the usual steeping parameters for shincha of 3 steeps or so. Used double the leaf of sencha, and I know I got the temps right. I think I was a bit light on the water ratio but I didn’t want to be socked in the face with this if the flavor wasn’t to my liking. I used just a bit more water than a 1:1.

Leaf is very carefully prepared, quality-wise it is splendid.

Taste was all there, so I know I brewed this properly in my mesh kyusu. Tasted primarily of spinach and beans. It is very fine, but I still prefer the charcoal roasted Ashikubo sencha, the slightly smoky sweetness. This tea was not sweet, not sour, not bitter and not salty/mineral. Tastes like spinach. While the fine quality is here, the tea just isn’t to my taste, it is too mild and food tasting, like watered down food.

I know I am not appreciating this enough. But, I’d rather be kicked by a puerh, or if I am drinking a green, I just like Ashikubo roasted green or a salty Korean Sejak or a spicy Hwangcha much better.

Flavors: Beany, Spinach

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 3 min, 0 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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93

I was not gonna buy this cake, got a lovely sample with a recent, and obscenely large order. Really. I don’t need any more tea. Right??!!

Brewed up the sample. Talk about lovely leaves. I am assuming this is actual 2014 material, I am certain it is based on TwoDog’s blog. The good chunk of cake I got is gorgeous, and doesn’t disappoint in my Yixing, full of buds and also firm stems which is a sign of old tree. I brewed up about 7 grams, didn’t fill my pot but also used less water than my small pot holds since this is a sample. Two rinses, mainly to break up the leaves.

Spicy on the throat at the first 20 sec steep, but then, apricots in the smell and taste. Second steep I am feeling the heat in my back already. Fourth steep now I am getting a smoky leather taste, amazing since there is little to no age on this yet. I can taste the old tree difference, this doesn’t taste like green tea at all like another sheng would this young.

Astonishing tea…I mean it…say hello and good night to my wallet. The other reviewer is right, we only live once, and I am about 50. I need to drink my shengs now or never. My future unborn great grandchildren are screaming nooooo as my cash heads out the door, but I am in for a cake of this, small tho the cakes are at 250g. Bravo to White2tea…

Flavors: Apricot, Leather, Oak wood, Peppercorn, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Roughage

I have half a dozen samples from White2Tea. Over the past few days TwoDog’s teas keep jumping out at me off the internet. I have been trying to get through older samples first, but you people are driving me to distraction, because I want to try all his teas that I have samples of right now, at the same time! :)

Cwyn

I am in the same situation, got new cakes and read a tasting note from someone else, which got me going. And then this tea was reviewed on teadb.org. It is fun to try teas at the same time as everyone else, and like you I have other teas I should be drinking, like my spring teas!

Roughage

Yes, Hobbes’ recent blog post on White2tea’s White Whale has me craving that one. I can’t wait to try it. I should set a rota for trying all the teas that I have samples of and stick to it. I am not buying new tea at the moment, but I could maybe reward myself for sticking to the rota with some more samples on the basis of a percentage of the sampled teas.

mrmopar

I may break out the White Whale soon.

Cwyn

Looks like I might have tickets to White2tea’s tasting coming up this week in Wisconsin. This Manzhuan is on the menu, looking forward to hopefully grabbing those last two tickets and meet TwoDog in person!

mrmopar

Tell him you want biscuits and gravy from Big Spring Mill flour and see what kind of look you will get. Then tell him you know me and you both will get a laugh. Hope you are fortunate enough to attend.

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84

I purchased this tuo from Yunnan Sourcing and I am tasting it 4 years later than the previous reviewer. This tuo is what I have been looking for in a sheng, smoky and tasting like it came out of an aged wooden cask. I packed the Yixing with this one. Liquor looks like a warmed brandy, a hot toddy. Smells spicy and like old oak. Two rinses.

This is the sort of sheng that separates the men from the boys and women from the girls. Think poker lounge and fine cigars, in fact I lit up a cigar and this tea cuts right through. Lingers on the palate smoking up your tongue. Short steeps and yes it is still bitter if you steep too long, I am at ten steeps now, and still not past 20 seconds but then I packed the pot full so it will likely go on. The tea is not your floral,orchid, write home to mother tea. This is deal the cards or you’re out.

Still only 9 years in for age on this. I am not sure my own storage will do anything to improve this further. It would need a careful humidity, the nest shaped tuo isn’t too difficult to pry apart as it would have been a few years ago. The leaves are whole if you can be careful and digging around I found several 1 bud/1 leaf sets, green after a few steeps with orange around the edges, just what I want to see. However, this is one of those tuos probably meant for like Tibet or wherever, it is not subtle by any stretch. Not sour, but it is a man’s and strong woman’s tea. Cowboy hat and britches, people. Just what I have been looking for.

Flavors: Spices, Tobacco, Whiskey, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
SimpliciTEA

I was smiling the whole time I was reading this review.

I can’t wait until I get cakes that are of enough quality that I can find full leaf and bud sets in them!

Cwyn

Yeppers, I would kneel on the train tracks for more of this tea! Ordered a pack of tuos.

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73

This no-fanfare puerh is offered for $5.75 for 1 oz plus a free tin, or $10 for 3 oz. bulk. The tea arrived in a bag inside the tin. Smelled a little plastic from the bag, so I let the leaf sit in the open tin for a few days before steeping. Leaves appear to be a 70/30 shou/sheng. No idea how old this is nor provenance. Brews up very dark red, as described, this has to be the cleanest shou I have ever seen. Thickness of coffee. Slight earthy smell, no fishy odor, one rinse sufficed. Clean taste, but that is all, no flavor of any note other than tea. Long steeping, 10 good short steeps easily, clean but no real character. Would be a trusty tea to offer a new puerh drinker, or for someone who wants the health benefit but doesn’t want to wade through the muck of buying cakes.

Preparation
0 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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71

Torn leaves with bits of vein. Very bean-y smell, slightly cloudy light green in the cup. Ordinary sencha, marketed as such with no special claim. Not as sweetly floral as the Ashikubo sencha I normally drink from Camellia Sinensis, but the huge difference is price. For 1.76 oz of Ashikubo, I can buy 3 oz of this at the same $15 of my money. I drink a lot of sencha, and this offering from Leaf and Spoon is a bit darker green than other less expensive senchas.

Flavors: Grass, Lima Beans

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Bio

I’m a tea drunk with baggage and issues. Convent trained, PhD, strong background in herbal infusions during those years. Started drinking green teas almost 20 years ago to address a kidney issue, now in remission, and never looked back. Seeking friends and curators with interests in premium and small batch teas. I drink all greens, and maintain a small collection of sheng and shu cakes. I am interested in first flush, wild leaf, ancient leaf, teas for and by monks and nuns, and difficult teas. My appreciation is high for subtle palates, though my own is rather average. Always interested in unique teas, brewing and storage issues.

Blog: http://deathbytea.blogspot.com/

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Website

http://deathbytea.blogspot.com/

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