125 Tasting Notes

75

Lighter Keemun black tea. The vendor describes this brew as having a “dark red color,” but I get more of a medium orange/amber color. Brewing western style, I’d say this one is good for no more than two steeps. Which works good for my purposes. If you want to add milk or sugar to your Keemun, this probably would not be your brew of choice. The dry leaves are not very uniform, with smaller and longer bits and a fair amount of stalky/twiggy-looking stuff included. I’d say this is probably the bare minimum level of quality needed to get a decent Keemun tea.

All that being said, it isn’t too bad. It delivers the signature Keemun flavor profile, with orchid florals, winey darker grape notes, amd some pleasant minerality. Nothing more, nothing less. No dark chocolate notes like you can get with some Keemuns.

Probably a good tea for blending. Could be useful to tone down a harsher black tea or contrast against a lighter darjeeling-style black tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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75

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97

I must be a sucker for jasmine tea, but, judging by other people’s reviews (both here and on YS’s website), I think we are on to something here. I like this even better than Mark T Wendell’s Flowery Jasmine that I raved about.

Funny thing is, I really wanted to dislike this tea. I had heard that the presence of jasmine blossoms in the dry leaf is usually an indicator of a lower-quality jasmine tea. Decided to give it a go anyways, because this was an opportunity to try a Yunnan-sourced green tea scented with jasmine, which I believe is a bit different than the typical sourcing of jasmine green teas. And if it is processed in the “bi luo chun” style, well that would be wonderful.

Looking at the dry leaves, there is indeed a good amount of jasmine blossoms present in the mix, but they don’t seem to weigh much comparatively. I’d be surprised if the blossoms accounted for even 50g in a 1 kg bag. So their presence would have a minimal effect as to diluting the tea leaves, which I believe is the typical reasoning for preferring the tea to be free of blossoms.

Brewing western style, I get great results brewing at 175° for 2 minutes, and a second steep at 3-4 minutes. If I want to go for three steeps, I might brew for 1 min, 3 min, and 5 min and it is spent.

The tea is perhaps not as “strong” as MTW’s Flowery Jasmine, in that it gives a slightly lighter color and more of the floral and fruity notes minus the earthier side. Also, a touch less of the tendency to grow bitter but definitely some bitter edge still is present. But it makes up for this lessened strength with the nuanced fruity apple/green grape sweet notes of the tea playing very nicely with the jasmine florals. Just a really lovely light and refreshing jasmine tea!

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

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60

This was kind of a mistake of a purchase for me. I bought a smaller quantity (100 grams) off of Amazon to see if I enjoy sheng puehr, in preparation for my next order of teas from Yunnan Sourcing. I have been suspecting that I might find very young sheng puerh to be enjoyable, because I absolutely love green teas and young sheng is perhaps similar to a green tea with something a little “extra” added. The problem here is that probably shouldn’t have purchased a 2010 aged sheng puerh to see whether or not young sheng puerh is something I would like. And furthermore, buying from Goartea I know I’m probably not finding the greatest example of a good tea, but I have purchased other teas from them before and I have generally been satisfied with the quality of this vendor’s teas. Wouldn’t expect them to be 100% authentic or top-shelf, but I find them to be not a bad deal for the price.

Anyways, experimenting with this tea, smelling the dry leaf I very much notice the “aged” aroma. Kind of the tea version of smelling old library books. I really like the “dragon ball” style of tea processing, and I think it is really convenient and makes more sense to me than buying teas in the larger cake format. For this reason, I have been eyeing White2Tea’s offerings as a possible alternative to Yunnan Sourcing – They seem to offer most of their teas as dragon balls, which is awesome. But Yunnan Sourcing has better taste in the artwork on the wrappers, so difficult decision, LOL. Also, I like how Yunnan Sourcing gives more details on the source gardens and picking season/grade of each tea, with the exception of “secret garden” offerings.

Brewing this tea, I drank the rinse a time or two (after a 30-second or even 1-minute rinse – leaves open up slowly and sometimes I used a lower 175-degree temp), and I was actually intrigued by a nice thicker texture and pleasant nectar-like sweetness which emerged in the very very light yellowish-orange liquor at that point. Almost what I was looking for in sheng puerh! Something green tea-like, but different. Alas, the intriguing sweetness and texture was there in these early steeps, but without much flavor or overall interest to back it up. Then when I give it a second, third, or even fourth brew (at varying lengths, but largely with similar results), I got something more akin to a very woody tasting black tea, with some mushroom earthiness. Not quite as much earthiness as the “cooked” puerhs I have tried, but it is there. The woody notes somewhat remind me of English Tea Store’s Scottish Breakfast blend I had years ago, in which the woody notes I understand come from Chingwo County orange pekoe black tea. There is also some sweetness, but definitely a bittersweet thing going on here. Sadly, not finding much in the way of florals or fruitiness. I especially enjoy floral teas.

I find this tea to be kind of lackluster, which isn’t surprising given I didn’t pay very much for it, and it is from a generic tea vendor. And it totally doesn’t answer my question for me, either, which is whether or not I might enjoy the world of young shengs. Doh!

Planning another Yunnan Sourcing order in about a month or so, and I will definitely buy a 2023 or 2024 young sheng or two to try – maybe a 2023 and a 2024? I don’t know.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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90

Very nice. This is great breakfast-style black tea. Plenty strong with some bitterness, but not an offensive bitterness like I find in many Assam black teas. A tolerable bite to it which you may find welcome in a breakfast tea. The flavor is nice and complex, with caramel sweetness, a touch of puerh-like earthiness, hints of dried fruit, oak, some sweet potato, and that nice “leathery” texture you get with some black teas. Brews up cleanly with a satisfying darker reddish-brown color and is a great value for a nice tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

Very nice ti kuan yin. Hits a lot of the typical oolong notes, but avoids being boring by offering nice, strong, and vibrant flavors. Sometimes that is hard to find with this style of tea, as I have experienced a few which seem to be very weak in flavor.

Orchid florals, peachiness, and chestnut notes just as described by the vendor, plus to me I also find some apricot. Responds well to western-style steeping. I’ve had good results with 3 minutes at 195° for a first steep, and 5 minutes at 195° for a second steep. Probably would work for a third steep as well.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

Spring 2023: Green apple, citrus, tart, hints of grapes, with a pleasant bit of grassiness – Actually, to me more cannabis-like than plain old grass, which is cool. Didn’t impress me as much as the “Pai Mu Dan” I purchased a few years back from English Tea Store, but at half the price, this one is not bad at all.

Very nice on its own, but I have taken to blending it (usually 50/50 by weight) with my green teas. It makes a particularly great blend in combination with Yunnan Sourcing’s pure bud bi luo chun. So much so, that I am considering ordering additional quantities of both teas to keep up with this experimentation in blending.

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

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90

Spring 2023: Another lovely black tea from YS at a great price! I get amaretto vibes from this tea with nice woody notes akin to a shou mei tea. Hints of caramel, chocolate, and spice, plus even some red grape winey notes creeping in. Good lingering aftertaste as well. Not too light, with some oomph that makes it a decent breakfast-style black tea. Warning: I do not use any additives in my tea, so a “strong” tea for me might not satisfy somebody who wants to add milk etc to their tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

It took me a while to connect with this tea, but the last few cups I have really enjoyed. At first, it seemed like a basic lighter-colored oolong without anything special. It has orchid florals and a green grapey-type fruitiness and honestly there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot more going on here flavor-wise. It just has a really nice texture and lasting presence which grows on you over time. And a pleasing feeling of freshness. Despite the apparent simplicity of the tea and its basic flavors, it has a higher level of quality to it that is winning me over.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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I love tea. Mainly Chinese teas, such as Keemuns, Shui Xian oolongs when I can find them, Yunnan golden buds, and delicate spring greens. With so many options, though, I keep trying new teas.

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Las Vegas, NV

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