54 Tasting Notes

95

Wow, this one is new favorite for me! Very delicate tea, but great for a afternoon tea. Typical breakfast foods or heavier meals will overpower. Tea brews very light golden-yellow, which was worrying at first, but the flavors really deliver in this lighter-bodied tea. It has a complex bouquet of flavors, but most prominently I find hints of cherry (unusual for green tea to be so fruity!), osmanthus flowers, and greener nuts. Kind of on the pricier side, but delivers better than most teas I’ve tried in this price range.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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90

This tea is a steal for $21.56/lb. I need to purchase this one more often. Pretty much has everything I want from a Keemun black tea – winey, deep, and has strong “orchid” notes. Both simple and complex at the same time, a good representation of what I consider to be the best variety of black tea. Definitely punching above it’s price range. I find that this is perhaps only slightly less enjoyable than some of the pricier varieties I’ve tried, such as Hao Ya “A”, Hao Ya “B”, or Imperial Grade.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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90

Fragrances and flavors of flowers and melon, as described. This is a really nice tea. I could definitely repurchase this one occasionally, but don’t think it would be my everyday tea. It is a nice a different change of pace. Like a very rich and flower green tea with unusual notes of melon.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

First of all, I love the sent of this tea which pops out at you the second you open the bag. A nice, strong, and green smell, not unlike freshly mowed grass. However, this grassy smell is tempered by a layers of sweetness and nuttiness, combining with the smell of perhaps a zucchini walnut muffin.

Visually, the dry leaves are impressive, with many very fine slender and curled strands tangled together within the bag. A nice deep green color interspersed with downy white buds. It is evident from the appearance that the tea is comprised of two leaves and a bud, as it is about 2/3 green leaves and 1/3 downy buds.

The steeped tea is a nice lighter golden yellow color (sparkling full of the tiny downy particles), giving off surprisingly little aroma compared to the smell from the bag. But flavor is very pleasant, giving off a greenish-nutty flavor with slight parsley astringency and tinges of bitterness which turns into a satisfying sweet nectar as the drink cools. The tea gives a nice faint but lingering nutty aftertaste and seems to coat the mouth somewhat. Not particularly floral or fruity as described by the vendor, but if there is any fruitiness it is more along the lines of a green under-ripe banana. Gives a solid second steep, and maybe even a third steep if you’ve got the time.

Been trying to decide if I REALLY like it or if I just kind-of like it for a while now. Sometimes I brew it and find the under-ripe fruit and rougher edges being accentuated for a not-so-great experience, and other times it is sweet as can be. Maybe has something to do with foods I am eating along with it, but for the most part I haven’t had much variation lately and my brewing parameters have been pretty consistent. At the price I think this is a pretty good deal, but I am fairly certain this is not nearly the best available biluochun (as the company’s grading system would imply).

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 55 g 16 OZ / 473 ML
Keemunlover

Maybe the faintest hints of jamine, but not at all like a jasmine green tea.

Keemunlover

Just one minute for the first steep seems to have good results.

Keemunlover

Bumping rating up to 85 after figuring out only about 1 minute at 175 does it for the first steep – It really is a nice tea at a good price.

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65

Well, I spoke too soon. As is typical for me, I trashed another tea at first but now I’m coming around to liking it. After drinking this one some more, I’ve come to appreciate it a bit. Still don’t like it as much as Ten Ren’s 4th Grade Green King’s Tea, but this is a decent ginseng oolong. I still think it loses most of its charm after the first steep.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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85

I was super-excited to try this tea, as it comes from Anhui, where my beloved Keemun black teas originate. The dry, yellow-tinged green leaves are impressive, roughly of a uniform length around 1" in size and mostly straight. I can readily see that most of the pickings consist of one bud and one leaf. The hairy down on the leaves is there, but not nearly as prominent as I have seen on some other teas. Dry leaf gives off faint but very pleasing fragrance of hay, warm bread, and a hint of florals.

Brewed tea is very pale yellow-green in color, and has delicate but delightful flavors of toasted grains, pine nuts, and a floral taste not unlike the “orchid” found in many Keemun black teas. Also a touch of basic underlying sweetness. The “orchid” might just be in my imagination, because I have no idea if this tea shares any similarities in production to Keemun black tea, but at any rate there is definitely a pleasant floral quality there.

This tea is graded by Goarteastore.com as “Supreme,” which lies exactly in the middle of their grading system. Currently this is the highest-grade Huang Shan Mao Feng they sell on the website, but I would certainly be interested in trying higher grades. Despite being considered middle-of-the-road on the quality scale, this tea commands a fairly high price at $56.98 for 250 grams.

I am in love with the flavor and aroma of this tea, and I would score it even higher if only the flavors were a bit stronger and if there was a more lasting aftertaste – My favorite teas tend to linger on the palate for a while, and this one seems to fade away rather quickly.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML
Keemunlover

Forgot to mention – This holds up pretty well for at least another steep or two. As I get older I am getting more sensitive to caffeine intake, so I am changing up my tea strategy. Buying mostly higher-graded teas than in the past (as theoretically better-quality teas would re-steep better) and re-steeping a time or two rather than having multiple first brews. Cuts the caffeine, gives me better quality tea, and keeps within my budget because I am using less tea.

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65

Was looking forward to a good ginseng oolong tea, but this is not it. Ten Ren’s 4th Grade Green King’s Oolong is much, much, better than this but also slightly more expensive. I will stick with Ten Ren. This one has very little body and very little character. Weak and boring tea.

In its favor, the ginseng seemed to be decent enough and added the familiar spicy and perhaps carrot-like flavor, but the oolong is very underwhelming. First steep is weak, and forget about steeping this a second or third time – not worth it.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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90

I received a sample of this with my order. I’m not usually the biggest fan of jasmine teas, but this is a really good one at a decent price. The jasmine scent is strong, but it is very nicely balanced and not overpowering. Good for at least three steeps, too. The pearls are impressive in their neatness and I didn’t find any loose bits in my sample bag. Looks just like the picture, abundant white hairy buds included in the pearls.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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75
drank Ceylon OPA by Ahmad Tea
54 tasting notes

Almost one year later, and still have a lot of this tea hanging around, because I bought 1 lb. My feeling on it has changed from the initial couple of brews – Maybe I was doing something wrong or had some dirt in my teapot? This is actually a decent and lighter Ceylon black tea, not unlike what you might expect from a supermarket Ceylon bagged tea. It does its job and is enjoyable. Budget-priced at $10.00/lb from Amazon.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Bio

I was a long-time coffee drinker, having worked at Starbucks coffee for about 10 years. Also had a twice-daily habit of drinking 16 oz sugar-free Rockstar energy beverages to fuel getting me through my two jobs and my college studies. And taking care of my family in between.

One day, I decided I was tired of coffee and I needed to kick my expensive energy drink habit (roughly $3-$4 per day for the Rockstars). Also, I was looking to reduce my caffeine intake. I purchased a nice glass teapot with a french-press-style infuser at my Starbucks, and I bought packets of Keemun and Dianhong tea from World Market (circa 2010 when they offered these).

The Keemun tea was my first love. It blew my mind with its deep plummy fruityness, leathery texture, and lingering heavenly aftertaste. The Dianhong I thought was a solid breakfast tea, but not as nuanced.

I use about 20 grams of tea per day now. 10 grams for a 32-ounce teapot once in the morning and again in the afternoon.

I do not re-steep my leaves. I only want one full-flavored pot of tea with the full kick of caffeine. Out of curiosity, I have experimented in re-steeping various teas and I have found invariably that the tea is just a weaker, unexciting, ghost of its former self after the first steep.

I am mainly looking at teas in the price range of $20-$60 per pound, but I have purchased somewhat more expensive teas (up to around $100/lb) on occasion. My goals are to keep my tea habit well below $90/month (what I had previously been spending on energy drinks) but also to have some really great tea experiences.

Location

Las Vegas, NV

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