Grace Rare Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

90

Dry leaf is longer, thinner, and more twisted than any other Keemun I have had. Black leaves with some goldish brown highlights.

Refined and very smooth taste. The floral qualities are more up front, accentuating the orchid/rose notes, but still with a satisfying depth. Some prune-like fruitiness and maybe a touch of wood. Lingers on the palate a bit. Vey nice.

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

Also has whispers of chocolate. Not in-your-face chocolate like some Keemuns, which is fine with me. Good for at least 3 steeps if you do it my way – 2 min / 3 min / 4 min at 195° – 200°.

ashmanra

I enjoyed so many of their teas, and yet have never tried this one even though Keemun is one of my favorite types. I should do something about that one day.

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90

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90

Sweet with notes of rose and cedar – Tastes like how one of my shoe trees smells, but in a good way, LOL. Pleasant flavors which linger a bit. Very nice!

The leaf appearance is definitely a higher grade than the Formosa Oolong I had previously purchased from Harney and Sons, which was mechanically harvested and had lots of twiggy stuff, smaller pieces of broken leaf, and no noticeable bud material. This one has little or no twigs, larger leaf pieces and whole leaves, and even some small white buds.

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

Second glance, there is some twiggy stuff but not too much.

Keemunlover

Adding to my previous review. Still loving this tea after multiple sessions. Notes of peach and chocolate in the aroma. The peach translates well into the flavors, however not so much with the chocolate. This is fine by me, as I don’t always enjoy teas with strong chocolate notes.

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95

Holy Moly – This one is a surprise hit with me. I continue to be very impressed with this tea. Bumping up my rating.

I was never a big fan of jasmsine tea until recently. This was probably because I had mostly low-quality jasmine teas and/or incorrectly brewed them. I had kind of written the jasmine tea category off as more of a one-note, you’ve-had-one-you’ve-had-them-all type of thing. But still nice to sip on one for an occasional change of pace. Yet I did recall some Trader Joe’s jasmine dragon pearls bagged tea I had a long time ago which was pretty nice.

Recently I had a sample of jasmine pearls from Goartea which was great, and I also have a tin of jasmine pearls from Mighty Leaf which I am liking.

But this one really takes the cake as far as I am concerned. The pouchong tea is really present here, reminding me of the spring pouchong I’ve had from English Tea Store. The leaves are not nearly as pretty in appearance, but the essence is here. The feel, sweetness, body, fruitiness, and non-jasmine florals of that oolong pretty much seem to be here, with the added dimension of the jasmine fragrance. That is important to me in a jasmine tea – Having a strong and interesting tea base as a foundation. And this one really makes it happen. All at a much lower price than the typical dragon pearl tea would cost.

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

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95

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95

Very nice!

I recently tried a sample of a jasmine dragon pearl tea (from Goartea), and I was amazed at how smooth and light it was. But I felt I was mostly tasting the jasmine scent, without much character coming through from the green tea. Definitely a high quality tea, though, because the overall feeling was just so nice.

This tea I feel is almost just as smooth, but there is more body there from the pouchong tea, which I love. There is a vast price difference between this tea and a typically dragon pearl tea as well, I think mainly because you aren’t paying for all the labor expenses of having people tie the tea up into little pearls. I’m even getting a decent second steep from this one, so I think it is a winner.
Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML
ashmanra

I like their Winey Keemun and Irish Breakfast. I have had this one but it was a long time ago. I love Teavivre’s Premium Dragon Pearl Jasmine above all others now. All of their jasmine teas are so good, though, if you ever get a chance to try them!

Keemunlover

Hi Ashmanra, thanks for the recommendation. I’ll have to try that one!

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80

This is priced similarly to the Huangshan Mao Feng which I purchased from goarteastore.com (“supreme” grade. The tea is similar in size, shape, and color, but it is less uniform in appearance. There seem to be less complete budsets, and a touch of random stemmy stuff. If I had to guess, this might be a step below in grade or maybe rejects from a higher grade. Aroma and flavor are similar, however this one has a little more of a “milky” quality in taste and isn’t quite as enjoyable. For roughly the same price, I would go with the other tea.

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

I didn’t realize GRT sold as Huang Shan Mao Feng. The one from Teavivre and one from Harney are at the top of our list of favorite green teas.

Keemunlover

Yes, I will have to try those when I get a chance. I think this variety could easily be a favorite for me if I could find one where the flavors are a bit more pronounced and with more of a lasting aftertaste.

Keemunlover

I think most interesting about this both this tea from Grace Rare Teas and the competitor’s tea from goarteastore.com, is both offerings have a nice licorice-like note. Unusual quality in a tea, and something I really like.

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85

This tea is pretty nice. Has nice sweet floral flavor with a touch of toasted chestnut. Whispers of green bean/grassiness, but this one bends more towards floral (osmanthus) aspects. Good for two or three steeps western style, and probably a few more if you do the gongfu thing. For price/value, definitely some better buys out there. I don’t think I will purchase this again unless I develop a specific taste for dragonwell greens. It was nice to explore this category a bit, but I am more interested in other varieties.

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

Not sure how I failed to mention in the first note, but I definitely find a “roasted corn” aroma and flavor in this tea.

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85

No notes yet. Add one?

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

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85

My first of any Russian Caravan, so I can only compare it to itself. The Keemun is delightful and accented nicely by the gentle smokiness of the Lapsang. I wanted a second cup right away. Thanks to ashmanra for the generous sample.

Flavors: Astringent, Chocolate, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
ashmanra

They sell this at A Southern Season, and you will be in Chapel Hill soon…:)

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96

As a coffee drinker, I preferred single-origin, freshly roasted coffees. Not being a snobby purist in any way, I tried many, many coffees that didn’t fit that bill…that’s how I know my preference.

The same is happening with tea. I have discovered single-estate teas are my preference. There are blends I enjoy, and I have several teas with organic or herbal additives, but for the most part, I lean toward something more pure with a flavor I don’t have to hunt for.

After drinking several Assam blends and truly enjoying their unique bursts of flavor, a good friend (ashmanra) sent me a tin of this pure Assam from Grace Rare Teas and suggested I’d like it. She was right!

These leaves yield a beautiful copper cup with all the flavor you’d expect from an Assam tea, but somehow more mellow. While I typically add milk to Assam blends, it’s absolutely unnecessary with this tea.

If you’re an Irish Breakfast fan, try this! You might find out you’re really a fan of Assam tea. I did.

Flavors: Malt, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
ashmanra

Grace loved this one, and I thought it had Comm Guy written all over.

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Right now I am drinking some teas just to get them off the shelf. And this one is getting old and definitely needs to go.

It isn’t bad – it is a pouchong rather than jasmine green. It was pretty good with food but not my favorite. As an economical jasmine with food, I would prefer Teavivre’s Silver Jasmine Green. By itself, I love their Jasmine Dragon Pearl. This tea is just okay.

The great thing was the food. On mrmopar’s recommendation, I bought some Ponzu with lime to try on Ramen noodles. I made a pack of ramen, throwing away the seasoning pouch that comes with it. Near the end of cooking, I threw in some frozen peas and sliced Baby Bella mushrooms. I strained the water off. I added some cornstarch to the Ponzu in a cup and whisked it together, then added a tiny amount of oil and poured it over the ramen noodles. Lunch was eaten on a quilt in the side garden with my dog, Sam. And I found out that I LOVE PONZU! I will be trying it on some more things. I put it on hubby’s crisp green beans tonight and he liked it, too!

mrmopar

Ponzu is good. Did you get the lemon or lime one? Told you that you would like it.

mrmopar

Whoops it was lime. Got ahead of myself.

White Antlers

mrmopar has great suggestions. This recipe is going on my weekend menu.

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I should have gone to bed a long time ago, but it has been a weird weekend. I took a nap this afternoon and that is probably monkeying with me. I didn’t eat supper but just snacked on walnuts and drank some chocolate milk. So at 3 am I decide it is a good time to continue watching movies with the (college) kids and heat up a plate of Asian buffet leftovers. Probably not smart.

I wanted a nice green to go with it, and this was close at hand and fit the bill. I don’t remember how I made it before, but I was in a hurry and just gave it about 90 seconds at 180F. It came out really well and is great with my food. Now I am going to absolutely CRASH and yet I have to get up early to take care of the chickens. Maybe another nap will be in order tomorrow!

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This was great with my lunch of leftover Asian buffet takeout. The jasmine is fairly light in this one, as in, if you hate tea that tastes like cologne you could drink this. The jasmine is lightly sweet and the green base is a little…gutsy? It doesn’t overpower the jasmine, though.

This is good with food, but for my “cuddle the cup of calm” jasmine tea, I will still take Teavivre’s Premium Jasmine Dragon Pearls or Jasmine Silver Needle white tea!

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I tried this one again, and to be fair gave it a little leeway from comparing it with ANY dragon pearl tea. It isn’t a dragon pearl and I shouldn’t let my love of DP give me a bad attitude toward other jasmine teas!

The pot was sitting out and I gave it a sniff and asked youngest what it was. She said she didn’t remember. I decided to drink it anyway! I thought it was decent with a tad of astringency, the good kind. As I finished the pot, I thought I had figured out what it was, asked daughter if it was Flowery Jasmine, and she said it was. I immediately repented of my bad attitude toward it on the first tasting.

This is a good jasmine tea, but incredibly, Teavivre’s Jasmine Dragon Pearls are cheaper! I like how they make special occasion tea affordable enough for every day. I will probably not ever replace this tin, and mostly bought it out of curiosity and because I had a gift certificate for the store selling it.

I will continue to replace my JDP from Teavivre whenever it gets low. I had a friend growl at me last week because she says I have gotten her addicted to it and now she has to keep it in stock as well! And she didn’t even like green tea until a few weeks ago.

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I have loved every tea I purchased from Grace Rare Tea, until this one. I don’t hate it, it just doesn’t have much jasmine flavor. I wonder if it is old? I bought the two ounce tin at A Southern Season. I asked if it was a pouchong base and the manager said she had never heard of a jasmine tea having a pouchong base and told me it was a black tea base. Hmmm. Most of the jasmine teas I have seen are pouchong! Harney’s basic jasmine is pouchong and really tastes great for the price.

Anyway, I opened it up and sniffed and the jasmine aroma was very good. Steeped, it is a typical pouchong base in color and strength, fairly smooth. The jasmine flavor isn’t strong enough for me, though. It isn’t soapy and nasty like the jasmine black I tried from SS. The more you sip, the more the jasmine comes through. If I had never had Teavivre’s Jasmine Dragon Pearls, I might really like this. Unfortunately, this is standing in the shadow of an awesome tea. I am glad I got to try it, though!

Teavivre’s Jasmine Dragon Peals still have my number one spot for jasmines!

LiberTEAS

most of the jasmine teas that I’ve encountered are green tea, with white tea coming in at #2… pouchong would probably be third.

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34
drank Russian Caravan by Grace Rare Tea
123 tasting notes

Slight smokiness from the Lapsang, chocolate from the keemun, and also some floral flavors but the aftertaste is sharp and leaves my mouth dry almost. Interesting but not my favorite Russian Caravan.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec

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71

Smells very floral and very delicate. And the smell is not misleading. This is a floral and delicate brew. Wonderful jasmine taste, smooth and light.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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87

Absolutely delightful.

It smells wonderful, it tastes wonderful. Everything I want from a Jasmine. I like that the base is a pouchong, it feels softer. A very beautiful tea.

Nicole

What a lovely name for a tea.

ashmanra

I was looking at this yesterday in the tea shop, now I am kicking myself for not buying it.

LiberTEAS

@Ashmanra: I really like this one, the jasmine is soft and sweet and wonderful. I wish I had more!

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79
drank Formosa Oolong by Grace Rare Tea
3237 tasting notes

Sip down! Wow, this feels like a landmark for me, because this very tin is the first oolong I ever bought.

Grace Rare Tea Company does not disappoint. They don’t have a huge catalog because they chose to specialize and committed themselves to finding the best they could of a few types of tea. They have done that very well.

My weekly tea guest who started out as a lover of black tea is very fond of this one. I will most likely restock it one day, but for now I am removing it from my cupboard simply because I have so much tea. I really have reached a point where my own tea collection is a little overwhelming to me, partly because I feel like there are so many things I need to be drinking, but I am always wanting to try something new.

I have given away one box and one bag of teas just to try to gain control of the stash but more needs to be done. I think a weekend long sample sip down is in order, too!

Formosa Oolong – au revoir! Until we meet again!

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79
drank Formosa Oolong by Grace Rare Tea
3237 tasting notes

I made an extra large pot of this today because I remembered that my guest loved it last time. Today, however, she loved the Anna’s tea so much that I drank mostly this so she could have more of her favorite! I have really been craving oolongs lately, so I didn’t mind!

It was no sacrifice. This is a lovely Formosa oolong and as usual, GRT does it right. My tin is almost empty, but I will keep it because the labels are so cool!

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79
drank Formosa Oolong by Grace Rare Tea
3237 tasting notes

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79
drank Formosa Oolong by Grace Rare Tea
3237 tasting notes

I had this one long ago, before I knew much about different types of tea and what to expect. I wanted to try this one again since I just had my first really premium oolong, and I found it to be light and refreshing. It is definitely a flowery oolong rather than a fruity one to me. I did a short steep since I wasn’t too sure of this one. Might try it again with a longer steep time.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Formosa Oolong by Grace Rare Tea
100 tasting notes

It’s sweet – I almost wanted to ask the wife if she put sugar in it. It’s not overly sweet – but much more than I expected. It has a hint of Darjeeling like dryness/sharpness at the end – but is smoother. A bit earth. I could drink a lot of this.

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