Imperial Tea CourtEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I think this came from the SF Tea Festival’s promo bag that they gave away with entry in 2018. They did not give them out to all attendees this year like they did last, which was a disappointment especially with the $25 entrance fee. Anyways… on to the tea.
I’m at work where we have an instahot faucet, making it hard to refine the temp. I think I steeped this for 2-3 minutes after a 20s rinse. It turned out alright. It’s a little wet, musty, cave like in a pleasant way. I feel like I need more/better adjectives to describe puerh because my puerh vocabulary is limited! Enjoying this cup nonetheless.
Here’s another sample that was in my SF Tea Fest freebie bag. I was happy to see not one, but two of these 4.5g mini tuocha in the pouch. I did three-8oz steeps based on color using boiling water. The liquor is very dark brown verging on black and smells like my average experience with shou puer – barnyard, fermentation but not fishy, chocolate. In the mouth, I taste wet earth and barnyard, with minerals that quickly turn salty/briny. It is a fairly clean and light- to medium-bodied shou despite its color and scent. There is no bitterness and only a hint of astringency biting in my throat. It is not a sweet tea. I am pleased to be salivating. The spent material is finely chopped and surprisingly doesn’t contain much fannings – only a fine layer of dust settled in my mug after pouring through a strainer.
Overall, I find this mini tuocha to be a nice change of pace with its strong briny quality. The barnyard aroma and taste I find pleasant and not gamey. This is something that could be kept on hand but I wouldn’t be springing for it often. It didn’t pull me in.
I stopped by the Imperial Tea Court today and drank this in house. Gotta say, 9 years later, my impression of this tea echoes TeaGull’s. There was barely anything to it. Medium bodied, almost non-existent flavor that was kind of bamboo-grassy-alkaline with a hint of florals. No aroma. Resteep potential was low, like two or three. I did get a nice calming effect going on, though. I have had some good teas here but this one was subpar and didn’t seem to be enough leaf for the gaiwan volume.
I liked my dumplings more.
On the plus side, I walked by a vendor on Market St on my way to the streetcar. Dude was selling tea cups and pots that he beautifully glazes and for a decent price. Picked up a blue cup that looks like it has liquid in it when the light hits the glaze just right. I asked him if he was going to be selling at the SF Tea Fest this weekend but he said he didn’t know about it. Bummer.
I did a comparison today with the two teas dexter sent me that were similar in nature. Turns out i like this one a little less. Again, not a bad tea but in the grand scheme of how many teas there are in the world to drink, this one isn’t a MUST HAVE. it’s a good cup, malty, a little astringency and overall good. Just not the best :)
dexter sent this one my way which is nice ‘cause i’ve never heard of this company. this is a lighter yunnan. There’s nothing here to knock my socks off but it’s still a pleasant, middle of the road tea for me. No caramel notes for me, but i’ve got more to play with to see if i can find the best way to brew it :) regardless i good cup of tea! thanks dex!
UPDATE – 8/5/2016 – Determined that my steep times were WAY too long with this. Subsequent sessions are just as extended, but proceed from a quick wash, to a flash brew, to 10, 15, 20, and 30 second steeps…only gradually increasing the steep times into the minute+ range. The resulting brew is much more consistent, rounded, and pleasurable following this method, while still quite rich and even dark for the first several cups. Upping my rating a couple points as a consequence.
Recently discovered a small quantity of this tea carefully aging (read: abandoned) in the back of my cupboard where it has remained for somewhere between 7 and 10 years I think. As a “Hei Cha,” this is produced in a similar manner to raw pu-erh (fermented, but piled rather than pressed I suppose?) though I’m not familiar enough with either to speak to the similarities or differences in depth.
Placing a large quantity of leaves (which are nearly uniform in size and shape, but accompanied by what appear to be tiny, pale buds or stems?) into the ceramic strainer of my Korean-style strainer-cup I begin a long tasting session with near boiling water, finishing up with water at a full boil:
1st steep (3min): Aromas of damp stone, peat moss, well aged compost, and a dusty note that reminds me I forgot to do a 30 second wash. An abiding bitterness overwhelms the subtleties of flavor, so:
2nd steep (2min): Similar aromas, though a faint floral quality emerges as well. The flavor follows the nose closely, but adds in hints of seeds (watermelon, black sesame), peppercorn, and mowed/dried grasses. Lightly astringent, but smooth with an earthy and decidedly woody finish.
3rd steep (3 min): An additional sweetness emerges. The liquor also takes on a savory clarity, almost akin to a gelatin-filtered consommé.
4th steep (3 min 30sec): A bit lighter in color, the brew is still full flavored, though any rough edges have been smoothed out (though there is a faint herbal/root-like Chinese-medicinal quality that may not be to everyone’s taste) – this is probably the peak of the session.
5th steep (4 min), 6th steep (5min): Still in the sweet spot, these cups are nearly identical to the preceding, though they are perhaps more thirst-quenching in the finish.
7th steep (6min): The tea grows slightly paler and the flavor begins to drop off – this would still serve as a nice accompaniment to dim sum.
8th steep (8min): Continuing to fade, but gradually – if I’d started with shorter steep times, I could probably have extended this session beyond 3 hours if desired.
The appearance of the liquor is robust throughout – a clear, initially dark, rust color with amber highlights. The mouth-feel is appropriately thick while the finish is moderately drying. I can’t speak to the “energy” of the tea, but the effect of the caffeine is sufficiently present that I wouldn’t suggest drinking this in the evening.
While providing hours of evolving, meditative, energizing, hydrating enjoyment, this tea remains one-dimensional in the end. On the other hand, while not presently available from this vendor, I recall this was quite a value – and indeed, nearly a decade after I purchased this, I see Tea Spring stocks a similar Liu An for around $0.10/gram – recommend for the pu-erh drinker on a tight budget looking for a decent workaday cup.
I ordered a cup of this while I was at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market in San Francisco. This tea was a wonderful green, I have nothing bad to say about it. It was flavorful and aromatic, giving way to that familiar vegetal scent and taste that green tea drinkers adore. It brewed a beautiful golden color, i’m not entirely sure what exactly is in the bag, but there was definitely a sencha flavor with it. Very smooth, very enjoyable, and highly recommended.
I got this in Imperial Tea shop in Ferry Bldg of San Francisco…don’t know the producer’s name. owner said it is mao jian type. The leaves are very green, slender, pretty, unlike typical brownish leaves. it has an aroma of refreshing grassy aroma. it tastes smooth, light, and refreshing…overall, quite light, after steeping twice, it tastes almost like water…So i guess low-caffeine. i feel very refreshed
I buy this once in a while as a treat, it’s a little spendy, but unique as a blend, and I love it for night time drinking. It has the tartness of hibiscus and the bright red hue for prosperity. It’s also sweet and without any caffeine it’s a calming cup for me in the evening.
Interesting. I would agree with the previous taster that this is a very ethereal tea; but I would contend that it is a rather flavorful one nonetheless. The tea over all had it a prevailing flavor of dried sour apples with teasing hints of floral notes, like the scent of far away orchids wafting on a summer breeze. A more practical description would be mild but pervasive sweetness with extremely mild astringency and light floral notes. As I brewed it the tea had a lighter-medium body. I steeped the tea six times, though it probably could have lasted a few more times; the only major change steeping to steeping was a slight reduction of floral notes each steeping. My steeping times were: 2m;2:30;3m;4m;5m;7m. I would highly recommend it as a light, but interesting tea.
This remains one of the most complete Chinese greens I’ve ever tasted. The dry leaf is richly sweet, almost chocolate-like. A first steep yields nutty umami from the wet leaf and a liquor that is extraordinarily sweet and fresh, with a lingering mouthfeel I can only describe as buttery. It’s like sipping springtime. Good for at least 5 steeps. Bravo, Imperial Tea.
I drank this one a couple of times in the last week, including once today, so I figured I should log it. I’ve kind of been meh on hot green teas of any kind lately, but this one is different. The base is nice, the rose is nice, they work well together. I should remember to drink this one more often.