32 Tasting Notes

drank Wuyi Ensemble by Adagio Teas
32 tasting notes

I liked this more than I expected based on my experience with Adagio’s oolongs. The roast is on the lighter side for a Wuyi, so it’s a little more floral and fruity than I’m used to Wuyi oolongs being. There’s also a sweet cinnamon note and some dark chocolate. I enjoyed this sample, but I wouldn’t buy it because there’s a lot of high quality Wuyi oolong out there for a similar price.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Floral, Fruity, Roasted

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drank Golden Yunnan by Adagio Teas
32 tasting notes

A light tea with an earthy, malty, and slightly peppery flavor. Not the most interesting Yunnan black tea I’ve had, but not bad either.

Flavors: Earth, Malt, Pepper

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The leaves have a baked, nutty and woody smell that comes through into the brewed cup. It’s fairly tannic, with a bittersweet chocolate and muscatel finish and moderate level of astringency. This doesn’t taste like first flush Darjeeling.

Not sure what I think of it. It’s quite different from the kind of Darjeeling I’d pick out when reading tasting notes and smelling dry leaves before buying.

Flavors: Chocolate, Herbs, Muscatel, Nuts, Toasty, Wood

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drank Kim Tuyen Black by Harney & Sons
32 tasting notes

Brewed in a gaiwan. Light and sweet with mango and honey notes, mild smokiness, and a hint of spice in the finish, which I always enjoy. Something about it reminded me slightly of rooibos. The last couple infusions were used to brew kombucha, so I don’t know what those tasted like.

Flavors: Honey, Mango, Rooibos, Smoke, Spices

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Malty with subtle spice notes. Not much to say about this one.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Cloves, Malt

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I made some kombucha with this tea and really like how it turned out. It’s bright and light bodied with dominant notes of green apples and cranberries, a hint of raspberry, and an earthy and mildly spiced background. The original flavor of the tea is definitely recognizable, but the fermentation process transformed it into something unique.

derk

That’s cool you were able to taste the tea after fermentation. I’ve used shou puer before to make kombucha but couldn’t tell you how the flavor of the tea transformed since I’d usually do a second fermentation with fruit juices. It’s been several years since I’ve made kombucha but this is inspiring me to bring out the gallon jars.

RyanG

I do a shorter ferment (about 5 days, just long enough for it to turn tangy with an acidic finish) with a little less sugar than most seem to. I also made a half white tea, half sheng puer kombucha at the same time, and that’s a little fuller bodied with a nice combo of apples and pears, and some green/vegetal flavors that are clearly the sheng. I never know what flavors will stay and what will turn into something different, but I can usually taste some of the tea’s flavor. I’m currently trying reroasted Huang Guanyin, half Huang Guanyin/half Tieguanyin, and coffee kombucha to try making some fuller bodied kombucha. I might have to try shou as well.

derk

That’s a handful of experiments. What size fermentation vessels are you using?

RyanG

Pint jars. I like variety, so I prefer making a few different kinds at once.

derk

Perfect :) I’m curious how these will all turn out.

RyanG

Both the ones with Huang Guanyin turned out fairly similar: bright and fruity with a watermelon Jolly Rancher (?) note. The mixed one was just a little brighter. The coffee kombucha is interesting. It’s acidic like kombucha, but the flavor isn’t so tart. It’s more burnt caramel and roast. Reminds me of a coffee stout in a way.

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Going from a lower end Keemun to this was a pretty drastic change. This is much smoother as well as more subtle, so much so that I hope a 7g sample will be enough for me to understand and appreciate this tea. Through the five or six steeps in my gaiwan, I smelled and tasted honey, grains, sweet potatoes, and a slight tangy fruitiness that most closely resembled plums and possibly cherries. Very mildly smoky; I don’t think that aspect would bother anyone who doesn’t like smoky teas. This is very good, but as someone who’s used to cheaper Keemun with a bolder character, my first impression is “this is Keemun?”.

Flavors: Cherry, Grain, Honey, Plums, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes

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drank Kim Tuyen Black by Harney & Sons
32 tasting notes

For those who don’t know, Kim Tuyen is Jin Xuan. That’s probably why Harney describes it as being like an oolong: it’s a black tea made from a cultivar normally processed as an oolong. This does come through in the taste. Its body has a softness that reminds me of some Taiwanese oolongs even if it lacks the milkiness Jin Xuan oolongs are known for. The floral aroma and light but honey-sweet tropical and stone fruit flavors, too, are quite oolong-like. Yet, despite everything it shares with oolongs, it’s still recognizable as a Chinese-style black tea.

As I hoped, gongfu and western style both work well with this tea. Gongfu brings out the complexities and the aroma of the tea more, while western style is sweet and mellow. Either way is satisfying to me. This is very cheap, so I recommend it for anyone who enjoys mellow Chinese black teas or fruity dark oolongs as this has similarities to both. Avoid if you think of Darjeeling or full leaf Yunnans as too weak or if a bit of smokiness bothers you, because this is light, but also a bit smoky.

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Smoke, Stonefruits, Tropical

Preparation
0 OZ / 0 ML

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I don’t have much to add to my previous notes except that this is sweeter and fruitier brewed gongfu style.

Flavors: Apricot, Black Pepper, Cocoa, Earth, Lemon, Mushrooms, Smoke

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And now “western” style. It tends toward maltiness, as I expected, plus the sweet potato and cocoa notes. There’s a bit of citrus as well. I didn’t notice that when I brewed it in my gaiwan. This apparently isn’t a very peppery Dianhong: just like when brewed gongfu, the spiciness is hardly there. There’s enough that I like about this tea that I don’t mind that, though.

Flavors: Citrus, Cocoa, Malt, Sweet Potatoes

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Bio

I mostly drink roasted oolongs, Chinese black tea, Darjeeling, and occasionally sheng puerh, aged white tea, or Japanese green tea. Assam, Ceylon, etc., don’t interest me much, and I don’t like flavored tea except Earl Grey and chai.

I don’t think rating tea is very helpful when everyone rates on a different scale and looks for different things in tea, so I will probably never rate anything I review.

Aside from tea, I also like single origin coffee, wine, and craft beer. Other interests include listening to and making music, music-related electronics, sci-fi and fantasy, writing, and cooking.

Location

Michigan

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