114 Tasting Notes

95

Ah, well this was an excellent choice by KittyLovesTea – she sent me a generous little bag of this tea in our recent swap! Opening the bag, I was greeted with that wonderfully familiar floral, sweet scent of Jade Oolongs and knew I was gonna love this!

I brewed it up in the same way I always do for green oolongs – around 3-4 g in my 100 ml gaiwan.

The first infusion was wonderful – so fragrant and perfumed! Lovely floral, fruity, sweet flavours, mingling with a gently vegetal background flavour! Successive infusions saw the floral notes become more dominant, alongside an increasing smoothness and butteriness! It lasted really well through 7 or 8 steepings – not the most I’ve ever gotten out of an oolong, but definitely nothing to turn your nose up at – this really was excellent tea! :D

This is a fabulous green oolong, easily on a par with most of the Chinese ones I’ve tried. I’ve got enough to do another session with it, which I’m eagerly looking forward to! :D

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Honey

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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85

I recently did a swap with KittyLovesTea, who sent me a very generous package of teas, most of which were Japanese (at my request). She very kindly included a pretty sizeable quantity of this tea – it smelled lovely, so I thought I’d give it a try last night!

As with all of the Japanese greens I’ve tried so far, I was really surprised by how small the dried leaves were! Some of them were almost needle like :O It had a lovely, fresh, grassy smell and the leaves were all a really deep, vibrant green.

I brewed up in my small glass pot, using pretty cool water (I followed the seemingly ubiquitous “warm water” steeping method – poured boiling water into my pot, left it for a short while, poured out into my two tasting cups, discarded the rest, poured the water back into the pot and then added the dried leaves).

The first infusion was sweet and mild, with a definite grassy, kinda floral flavour! It did have some of that savouriness, but it was mild and not too dominant! Later infusions were a little more balanced between sweet and savoury – still delicious and refreshing after our hearty dinner, though! :D

In all, this was certainly a lovely introduced to fine Japanese teas! I have enough left for another session, so I may try a similar set-up again, but using a Gaiwan. I don’t really have a small pot that’s suitable for sencha and other Japanese teas – maybe I’ll add a small kyusu and a gyokuro pot/set to my wishlist…! :D

Flavors: Cut grass, Floral

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML

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95

Ah, this is a tea that’s right up my street. When I saw Verdant had a reduced price stock of these cakes (due to slightly damaged wrappers), and I had a little tea cash left over, I couldn’t resist! Along with the full cake, I also ordered a little “sample” bag (25 g, mind).

This is my third sheng puerh, now, and I think I’d developing a greater understanding of these teas. This one was really wonderful – it had it all! It had that unusual, savoury, vegetal, brothy flavour, but it also had a real sweetness and a genuine creaminess. I started drinking this in the afternoon and easily got through four or five steeps before I had to stop for dinner.

I used the leaves from the little bag today – the bag contained a number of lovely “flakes” of puerh cake that looked mostly intact. The leaves in my Gaiwan certainly looked full, anyway. It smelled kinda strong and musty, when dry, but not in an overly unpleasant way.

The way leaves were certainly very woody – I can see why someone else has listed that as a flavour note. I did get a mild woody note (kinda like old, dry timber) from the liquor itself, too, which was very pleasant (and unusual).

I used 4 g in ~100 ml. I started with a 10 s rinse (the leaves were very compact) and then left it to sit in the hot, steamy Gaiwan for a minute or two. I then did infusions of: 5", 5", 10", 15" (and maybe 20" – I can’t remember if I did that last one or not XD). The first infusion was pale, but sweet and creamy. Subsequent ones saw the flavours intensify, with those woody notes coming through in the final two steeps. I’ll carry on with these leaves tomorrow :D

(I’m still not gonna “score” this tea, just yet, but I’m getting much closer to the point when I’ll start to score puerh tea. This is certainly my favourite of the three I’ve tried so far, though the 2011 Yi Wu from Canton is coming a close second. I think they’ll be another candidate for comparative steeping at some point in the future :D)

Flavors: Creamy, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
DeliriumsFrogs

This sounds super yummy!

mrmopar

I try not to numerical rate puerh any more. I have found we all have different experiences with this type of tea. But you are on the path.

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90
drank Anji Bai Cha by Butiki Teas
114 tasting notes

Though I have tasted this before, I didn’t get chance to write a note yet… Time to make up for it!

I really like this kind of tea – my boss at the clinic serves a very similar one, as a pre-acupuncture drink, to his patients (he serves them Tianmu White Tea, which is basically identical), and I get to drink a fair bit of it myself.

It’s a really nice green tea – it has a lovely, mild, vegetal flavour, with gentle fruit and floral notes. This definitely is NOT a powerful tea – even with lots of leaf and water that’s too hot, it’s flavours are quite mellow. But, it’s still a nice, stimulating cup and it’s very refreshing on warmer days.

I only got a little sample of this tea, but I’ll be sure to enjoy the rest of it :D

(I brewed this in my little glass tea pot, lid-off, using ~4 g in 200 ml. The first infusion (of 5) was for 2’ and successive ones were longer and used hotter water, until a final steep of around 15’ with near-boiling water. It lasted quite well through all 5 infusions, though the last one was pretty mild.)

Flavors: Floral, Vegetal

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 7 OZ / 200 ML
DeliriumsFrogs

Sounds so delicate and lovely!

Red Fennekin

Mmm, it really is! I strongly recommend trying some Anji Bai Cha (or the related Tianmu type) if you can get hold of it! :D

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I cracked this out again, yesterday (which lasted me into today) – my goodness does this tea have some staying power! By the end of 12 infusions, it was still going pretty strong!

I’m still not sure this one is a favourite, yet. The savory, vegetal flavour are really intense – it’s not unpleasant, for sure. It is very much drinkable and I kept coming back for more. But, at the moment, it isn’t one I reach for with the same keenness as some other teas in my cupboard.

I read somewhere that sheng puerh mellows, and becomes smoother, with age. If that’s the case, perhaps I ought to let a little bit of air get to this and just try it again in a few months (I also read that loose puerh, such as this, ages faster so maybe this’ll be a nice one to “test” such things out on).

Either way, I did enjoy this tea and will continue to enjoy the rest of my bag!

M

This is one that I would love to try some time. My first order from Whispering Pines is on its way as of yesterday!

Red Fennekin

Ah, excellent :D What did you order?

I could always send you a little sample, if you wanted! I’m sure it wouldn’t cost me too much (right??)?

M

I ordered some of the Golden Orchid, because it had such great reviews across the board and I’m a sucker for vanilla. I probably could have browsed that site all day and ordered 100 different teas, but I restrained myself. Who knew that trying to control my tea buying habit would be so hard?

I would love to do a sample swap of sorts, but I just noticed that you’re in the UK. I’m in Canada. I don’t know anything about international shipping costs, but I imagine that would be quite steep.

Red Fennekin

Mmm, I have a bag of Golden Orchid that I just can’t wait to try :D I’m only just managing to put if off on the basis of the number of open bags I already have going on :P

Ah, that’s true… :( Well, it’s one that I imagine Brenden will regularly keep in good stock, so hopefully you’ll get to try it at some point :D

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85

As this box is quite old, I thought I’d start to get through it more quickly, particularly whilst I’m appreciating oolongs so much.

Nothing has really changed about my opinion of this tea – it’s genuinely really good! The infusions (I got ~10 in my 100-120 ml Gaiwan) were all buttery, sweet and floral, with just a hint of a delicate, vegetal flavour.

I have noticed, though, that this tea lacks some of the complexities of the best oolongs I’ve tried so far – even when prepared with lots of leaf and with short infusions, I get little variation. Each infusion is lovely, don’t get me wrong, but it pretty much remains the same throughout the session.

Admittedly, this might be a consequence of this bag’s age – I’ve had this tea opened for around 12 months.

Perhaps, once I work my way through my cupboard, I’ll order another box and test it again, when it’s “fresher”. Goodness knows it’s worth it, for the price – it’s an absolute bargain, compared to other such teas. Perhaps, though, it’s cheapness is a sign that it isn’t necessarily the finest quality oolong…

Either way, I really enjoy this tea – there’s nothing wrong with it and it helped keep my mood really high, despite my on-going toothache :P

adagio breeze

Oh no, that tooth is still acting up? Hope it feels better soon!

DeliriumsFrogs

Oh no! I was hoping your tooth was all fixed. :(

Red Fennekin

Thanks you two :-)

I was hoping it was fixed, too – it felt so much better on Friday that I was sure it was. But the pain returned with a vengeance, over the weekend, and the dentist is now telling me I need root canal… I’m extremely unimpressed – aside from the fact that this means I’ve paid £80 for a filling that essentially will last until I have the treatment (a week or two, then – tops), I now have to go through all of the unpleasantness of root canal surgery. Great T_T

DeliriumsFrogs

…. :( ….
I feel SO bad for you. I’ve had this happen before, and it’s horrible… Also, the pain from a tooth that needs a root canal quite far surpasses that of one that needs a filling. I can work with a tooth that needs a filling; one that needs a root canal is a whole other matter. I hope that your root canal procedure goes well (I’ve had one I was supposed to get taken care of, but the abscess went away, so I’ve kind of put it off…). Dental work is miserable.

Red Fennekin

Ugh, tell me about it – I’ve never really experienced any pain like this before (I know, I’ve been lucky in life!), so I’m finding it really tough. Ibuprofen has become my new best friend :P

Thanks for the well wishes! I’m gonna get a second (and third :P) opinion on it, but I certainly can’t pay the £375 that they’re asking – I don’t have nearly that kind of money. I’d have to see if I could get it done on the NHS (which, tbh, I’d probably prefer anyway – my experiences with private dentists have hardly filled me with confidence…)

DeliriumsFrogs

Oh, it’s the worst! :(
And, I totally understand not being able to pay for the procedure. This last root canal, the dentist told me it would be $800 for the procedure and then even more than that for the crown. I just sort of looked at him and said, “I’ll get back to you on that.” Our dental insurance is really confusing, too, so it makes dealing with it a double pain. So, basically, I am SO sorry that you are dealing with this right now… I can sympathize fully. I really hope you get it all worked out soon.

Red Fennekin

Ugh, exactly – sounds like you had to pay even more than I might have to :\ I think the crown would be included in mine, though the idea of having to get a crown seems like payment enough T_T

But, again, thanks for your sympathy :-) I really appreciate your kindness and well-wishes!

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90

This was the third, and final, tea I ordered when buying a puerh bag and a puerh pick from CTC. The review on here made it sound great and, at £10 for 100 g, it sounded like a bargain.

This morning, I set down to breaking a bit of my cake off (just shy of 5g, I think) and prepared this in my Verdant Gaiwan. Having never broken up a puerh cake before, I’m not sure if this was typical, but it was more difficult than I expected! Videos on Youtube always make it look so easy hahaha. The leaves were nice, though – brown-and-dark-green, with some stem (but not much!). They were nice and intact, and they were consistent throughout the cake – what was on the outside was also on the inside, which I took to be a good sign.

After drinking WP’s Arbor Mist sheng puerh, I had a decent idea of what to expect, but I actually think I preferred (on the first attempts, anyway) this sheng – the infusions it produced were really lovely! Flavourful and tasty, but it was also quite fruity. Alongside this fruitiness, there was a lovely smooth mouthfeel and a surprising, almost cream-like note. It was also lovely and sweet.

The initial infusion was a pale yellow and subsequent infusions became a darker, gold/golden-orange colour. The earlier steeps were more vegetal and a little pungent, with that hint of bitterness and astringency, but later infusions had such amazing fruit and cream notes! The tea left me feeling alert and happy, so that’s a plus too. The final infusions (#9-11) were milder, but still really delicious – I got stonefruit notes, along with that lingering creamy flavour. It did also give me that tingly mouthfeel, that I’ve often seen described, so it’s nice to fully understand that concept now :D

I still haven’t tried enough sheng, I don’t think, to award a particularly meaningful score to this tea. But I’d strongly recommend it – it was really lovely! I’ll certainly be turning to this tea plenty in the future – brewing it like this (which, tbh, I think I will) will mean I’ll get another 19 sessions. Delightful! :D

Flavors: Creamy, Stonefruits, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Along with the couple of sample bags of Arya Emerald Darjeeling that I got from CTC, I also treated myself to two little bags of this. Given my absolute love affair with TGYs, so far, I failed to see why I wouldn’t really like this.

According to CTC’s website, the samples I ordered featured the Spring 2013 harvest – I dunno if this is true, or not, but (if it is) it will give me perspective on how well this tea ages (promising, given the quantity of it that I currently have stored at home :P). The bag containing a little too much for me to use up in one go, so I held back 1 tsp and used the rest in my Gaiwan.

After a brief rinse (it is over a year old after all!), I managed to get through around 4 infusions after dinner today – probably something like 10", 15", 30", 1’.

This tea was, much to my delight, delicious. But, I have to say, it was quite different to the Autumn ‘14 Tieguanyin of Verdant, that I’m so enamoured with. Without directly comparing them both (so going off my memory of the Verdant one), this TGY had a gentler, smoother flavour and was certainly more buttery.

Either way, I’m glad I bought two bags of this. At some point, this week, I’m gonna do a semi-blind taste test between the two and see what a direct comparison leads me to think of them both.

This TGY was a touch more expensive, I think, than the Verdant one, but will cost me a bunch less on shipping. I’m not sure if it will knock my current favourite from its very high perch, but it’s certainly nice to know that I have options :-)

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Orchid

DeliriumsFrogs

A semi-blind taste test sounds like so much fun! :D

Red Fennekin

It deffo should be! If I get someone else to put the tea into the Gaiwans, without telling me which is which and just leaving a note to check afterwards, it should mean that I can genuinely see if the notes I pick up in either tea are ‘real’ or just influenced by the company’s suggestions and descriptions hahaha!

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100

To go with my cups, what better than this equally beautiful Gaiwan. I’m totally in love with it. Though I wouldn’t say I have overly small hands (perhaps I do T_T), I love the size of this Gaiwan as it’s so comfortable to hold. It just fits really nicely! I never burn myself when using it, which is an obvious plus, and the parts all fit together perfectly – there’s no wobble or anything. Liquid flows really well when pouring.

Much as with the cups, my guests are always impressed by the beauty and style of this Gaiwan. It’s my immediate go to, now, for brewing Tieguanyin – I like to think that my favourite tea is being served in the most beautiful Gaiwan I’ve seen, so far! :-)

DeliriumsFrogs

So very, very beautiful.

Red Fennekin

Tell me about it!! :-) As soon as I saw it on Verdant’s site, I was utterly enarmoured. Plus, their suggestion that it was a good size/shape for rolled oolongs (so, for example, my beloved tieguanyin), I just had to buy it… ^^; Tbf, $30 for something so beautiful, that I get regular use of, doesn’t seem too bad…!

Nattie

I totally ignored the ‘gaiwan’ bit of the name and thought you were drinking fish flavoured tea! Ewww :S haha

Red Fennekin

Oh gosh – hahaha! That doesn’t sound very pleasant at all hahaha

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100

Absolutely perfect, beautiful little cups. Aside from being an ideal size for use with a Gaiwan or small pot, they look fantastic and have a great feel – not too light, despite their size and thickness, but certainly not heavy on unwieldy. Amazingly, they feel quite sturdy too – despite them obviously being quite thin (shining a light through them really does, as the sales pitch suggests, make them glow!), they don’t feel fragile at all.

My guests are always very impressed when I serve them tea from these lovely cups. I just can’t fault them.

DeliriumsFrogs

And matching cups!!! (your tea sessions must be glorious!)

Red Fennekin

Hahaha – thanks! :D They’re certainly aesthetically pleasing affairs ;) I rather enjoy, that’s for sure!

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Profile

Bio

Junior doctor and casual tea-drinker.

It’s been a busy few years for me – I’ve graduated from med school and I’m now working full time as a junior doctor in a small UK hospital. I’ve returned Steepster to continue to learn, take recommendations and share my experiences :-)

I remain particularly keen to try lots of new teas, especially Pu Erhs and Oolongs!

I’m also happy to swap, particularly within the UK! If you see anything in my cupboard that you wanna try, please don’t be afraid to ask! Most of them I have at least 25 g of, so a 5 g sample or so will be no trouble :-)

Location

London/Manchester, UK

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