932 Tasting Notes

drank Unknown Oolong by Liquid Proust Teas
932 tasting notes

A packet of rock oolong that came from an aged oolong group buy orchestrated by Liquid Proust several years ago. Disregarding my Chinese character illiteracy, all I can read on the packet is “Ye Cha.” I don’t know if this translates as “Wild Tea” or something else.

Had this lackadaisical morning before a breakfast of chorizo and eggs (tea and breakfast made me 15 minutes late to work, whoopsie), I don’t remember much. It seems the roast was light and there were absolutely no lingering roast notes, just a nice warm toasty tone to the mineral sweet and dry woody deal. The flavor persisted for many infusions, which was a nice change of pace from so many rock oolong that seem to give all their life within the first few short infusions. Looking at the pliable and healthy spent leaves, they seem to have been light to medium oxidized, which I don’t normally enjoy with this style of tea but something about this one worked very well. A very friendly tea that I think would be great for beginners to rock oolong.

I created “Unknown Oolong” to house my many upcoming notes for teas from that group buy.

Flavors: Brown Toast, Chocolate, Jam, Mineral, Raspberry, Sweet, Toasty, Wood

Sierge Krьstъ

It is amazing that cravings for teas akin egg & toast on Saturday sunny morning. You can’t fool your body but it is almost like it wants to experiment by merely reading description of brews.

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Kiki:

“Ok, I though it was strawberry at first and grape candy but it tastes like, uh, bergamot and black tea. It tastes berrylike. That’s good. It’s got a little tartness in there, too. Maybe it’s a little hibuscus or something. I like it, it’s good. I could drink it again. I’d say it’s an 8.5. It’s got that exotic smell, you know. Can I have another cup?”

derk:

This smells really good. I see where Kiki is getting grape candy, it has that tone but lacks the sweetness. I interpret it more as blackberry. It’s a smooth, dark woody but mild black tea that transitions to some tartness and astringency. Seems mostly like a Ceylon black. Bergamot is definitely there, stronger on the swallow, but I think it melds well with the berry and black tea. Dang pleasant. This tea oozes French. I’ve never been to France, but I think about its Mediterranean coast and while there is no lavender in this blend, my mind keeps wandering there. I enjoy this one. (Edit: except now I have a headache.) Thank you, Cameron B. :)

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Berries, Blackberry, Citrus, Dark Wood, Smooth, Tart

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Spring 2020 harvest

Dry — dark chocolate, peanut butter, malt, slight rye. Warm — dark chocolate, oak, osmanthus, vegetable oil.

Western has a very forward, sweet chocolate-honey-apricot taste for me with a delightful and drawn out powdery white floral and osmanthus finish. Overall, the tea is rich and deep upfront but a little thin-textured for my likes.

Gongfu, this tea has a good, viscous structure with balanced astringency and tannins. More tangy than western, less sweet. There’s also a nice swallow that I get from a lot of Old Ways Tea’s Fujian blacks – it’s squeaky, full and satisfying and I can feel it cool my throat. The tea is a bit drying but I think that allows the aftertaste to continue developing in the minutes after finishing a cup. Floral, rich and fruity notes of osmanthus and honeyed apricot-orange-peach with touches of caramel, chocolate and sweet potato linger in the mouth and sinuses. These aromatics are more apparent than the actual taste of the tea. Bottom of the cup retains a very sweet and deep osmanthus note supported by chocolate and red cherry. Comfortable energy. This tea is currently on sale.

Nice tea. Happy Easter :)

Flavors: Apricot, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Oak, Orange, Osmanthus, Peach, Peanut, Rye, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy

Leafhopper

Happy Easter! I’m glad this tea is a good one!

Martin Bednář

Happy Easter!

Martin Bednář

And looking forward to try this one as well!

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If you’ve ever had a LaoManE sheng pu’er, then you’ll understand the level of aspirin or rubberlike bitterness of this tea. The cake itself has an intoxicating scent but the flavor and any underlying complexity beyond dark and herbaceous tones are masked by the bitterness. I threw a pinch of a very chocolate-forward black (What-Cha’s Huang Jin Gui) in the second steep to try to give the tea more of a dark chocolate vibe. Can’t say it was successful. I have ~100g to play around with and am curious 1) how it does gongfu and 2) how I can amend this tea to make it drinkable western style. Not sure how I feel about it yet.

Leafhopper

This is discouraging. Maybe it’ll improve with age?

Natethesnake

I can’t imagine Lao man e being suitable for black, white or much of anything but puerh. Most of the yunnan Assamica I’ve tried processed as black tea, be it Yiwu, Lincang or Bulang has been too monolithic. LME being monolithic as puerh would be really so as black.

derk

Leafhopper, I think it might be an immutable bitterness. I’ll try to work some magic on it in the coming month and report back if mitigation is possible. It is on mrmopar’s wishlist. If you don’t like it, maybe he’d take it off your hands?

Natethesnake: monolithic is an excellent description! I have both a Bulang and a Mengsong black to compare.

Leafhopper

I’ll have a session with it in the next few days and will let you know what I think. However, it doesn’t sound promising.

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93
drank Shan Lin Xi by Camellia Sinensis
932 tasting notes

Spring 2020

Dry leaf smells like spiced walnuts, pineapple-mango-coconut, vanilla sugar and flowers. Wamring brings out a sweet, creamy vegetal character with spinach, coconut cream, walnut and vanilla sugar. Intoxicating. Rinse brings out a more pungent, tropical fruit character with pineapple, mango, coconut and jackfruit on a spinachy base.

The leaves quickly unfurl. The tea is silky, oily, mouth-watering with salt and other minerals. Complex, rich and evolving aromas, tastes and aftertastes. The strength of the aroma gives the illusion of sweetness, but I’d say the tea is rather mineral-salty and somewhat tangy. Lofty notes of coconut cream, vanilla sugar and rich white florals on a crisp lettuce-straw base change to macadamia and coconut to cream and butter. The aftertaste contains the fruitier notes of the tea. The sweet aromatics blend seamlessly into the aftertaste and when that subsides, the fruitier notes of the tea display with green apple skins and pineapple. Some gentle cooling in the mouth early and later, an impression of sugarcane fills the throat. At the end of the session, coconut and floral vanilla make another appearance in the aftertaste. Burps bring out some of that spinach quality of the warmed leaf.

This tea easily takes boiling water and lower and does well with a variety of brewing methods. I couldn’t stop preparing cup after cup. It’s really that easy-drinking and addictive. The creamy quality of the tea suggest Jin Xuan cultivar to me but I see it’s actually Qing Xin. A beautiful representation of Shan Lin Xi. Thank you, Leafhopper :)

Flavors: Apple Skins, Butter, Coconut, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Green Apple, Lettuce, Mango, Mineral, Mint, Nuts, Orchid, Pineapple, Salty, Spices, Spinach, Straw, Sugar, Sugarcane, Tangy, Tropical, Vanilla, Walnut

Leafhopper

I’m glad you enjoyed this tea! I always have to pick some up when ordering from Camellia Sinensis because it’s just that good.

Daylon R Thomas

I’m gonna love it then when I try it out.

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58
drank Taiwan Jade Oolong Tea by What-Cha
932 tasting notes

March 2020 harvest. A mystery oolong pick that Leafhopper shared with me when we went a little crazy in November.

The dry leaf has notes of spinach, walnut, cream, gingerbread and honeysuckle. This transforms into a very floral perfume with the rinse – notes of lilac and gardenia, plus cream and gingerbread.

The tea is one of the most fragrant unscented teas I’ve ever had, so strong that it’s dizzying — in a good way if I were to find myself in a mood that warrants such an effect — but I couldn’t handle it either time. The tea is creamy, sweet, soft and silky and produces a wonderful mouth-watering effect. The floral perfume lingers long in the aftertaste.

The characteristics of the tea soup point to good quality, but the floral aroma is much too intense for me. I can see why this tea garners such positive reviews here, but it’s simply not for me. This is truly a Jade oolong and for those sippers with a major floral tilt, I would recommend it.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Citrus, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Gardenias, Ginger, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Mint, Orange Blossom, Perfume, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Walnut

Leafhopper

After reading your review, I’m glad I kept most of this tea!

derk

Yes, better to be in a home where it’s appreciated!

Leafhopper

LOL, I chugged the 40 g or so I had left in less than two months and am considering getting the 2021 version. I guess I like really floral teas!

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Silky, nourishing, grounding, clean. Cooling, lingers in the mouth and throat down into chest. Mild sweetness, mild tang, salivation, tingling. Gently stimulates digestion. Brews much darker than the taste. Excellent tea, especially after acupuncture and dinner, and a stark contrast to the other Fu Zhuan tea I’ve tried which is sharp, smokey and dry. This is loaded with golden flowers. My my.

Togo

Sounds lovely! :)

Natethesnake

I really enjoyed this tea too. Was even considering getting a brick but it’s like 3kg…

TeaEarleGreyHot

Natethesnake, A 7-pound brick of tea does sound a bit overwhelming! However, for others reading this, it is also available in smaller sizes — as little as 50 g package for about 10 bucks. Save on delivery by ordering it from their .US website.

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78
drank Georgia MANNA Green Tea by What-Cha
932 tasting notes

I’m excited to try a green tea from Georgia thanks to Martin!

Summer 2020 harvest, certified organic. The tea is soft and thick on the sip and transitions to a clean, mineral swallow before leaving a lingering salty and lightly drying finish. Notes of grass seed, green olive and the barest hint of spiced apricot are greeted by a mild astringency. Combined with the mineral-salty character, it creates an excellent palate cleanser and is treating me with a gentle hand upon waking.

While it’s a simple, mild tea, it excels at what it does. I’d say it easily plays a supporting role to the excellent black teas that What-Cha offers from Georgia.

Flavors: Apricot, Grass Seed, Mineral, Olives, Salty, Spices

Martin Bednář

Considering that Georgia produces mostly black teas… I think this is a nice surprise!

derk

Yeah, I’m interested in seeing how their green tea processing techniques might change over the years.

TeaEarleGreyHot

Is this tea from the Eastern European country of Georgia? Or is it one of the several State of Georgia, USA -grown teas?

Martin Bednář

It’s European country Georgia TeaEarleGreyHot and they do a great black tea. Check out Guria Likhauri from Dobra Cajovna I found out last year!

derk

The Guria Likhauri Martin shared with me is one of the best black teas I’ve had.

ashmanra

Oh yes, Martin’s suggestion of Guria Likhauri is quite a good one!

TeaEarleGreyHot

Thanks, everyone! Although I’m also interested in trying the US-grown teas from Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, and elsewhere! I was impressed to read that some have imported varieties from Taiwan!

gmathis

I’ve tried a couple of varieties from the Charleston Tea Plantation. Their American Classic is pretty basic but an improvement over grocery store brand “just tea.”

TeaEarleGreyHot

Gmathis, that’s rather what I’d expect from a garden started by Lipton and today owned by Bigelow. They specialize in “just tea” from the grocery store (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But smaller operations may be more likely to incorporate other local ingredients as well to create truly unique tea. I’m thinking Georgia peaches, Texas citrus, southern nuts and berries. Herbs and spices and flavorings. And of course, reflecting the unique terroir and climate. They can also act as an accessible gateway other than mass merchants for others to begin exploring international and orthodox teas

gmathis

It’s been too long ago for me to remember clearly, but I think Charleston variety #2 was a classier upscale loose leaf … not seeing any offerings like that on their website now. But you’re right—a Yankee spin on domestic varieties would be great!

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drank Just Beet It by DAVIDsTEA
932 tasting notes

Kiki:

“Oh boy! whispering What is that smell?? Candy, candylike. louder It tastes like strawberry jello. Am I close? hehe Strawberry or raspberry. Tastes very fruity. It’s very pleasant. It’s like drinking jello water before it sets. whispers I like it. It’s so sweet. It’s up there, it’s up there in the eights. It’s the wildberry flavor that we’re tasting burp and smelling, isn’t it? It’s a berry tea.”

derk:

I’m stealing a few sips. It definitely smells tangy, like strawberry jello. Yup, hot strawberry jello water. Boring. Huge list of ingredients. Why do I taste nothing? Nothing bad but nothing.

Flavors: Artificial, Hibiscus, Strawberry, Tangy

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drank 2019 Bi Luo Chun by Mandala Tea
932 tasting notes

I….. don’t think 2 years has done this tea any favors. Oh well. It was drinkable and that’s all I ask for! Thanks, White Antlers <3

Flavors: Flowers, Green Beans, Olives, Salty, Straw, Vegetal

Mastress Alita

At least green teas abused by age still make good cold brews.

derk

that they do

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Profile

Bio

Tea Habits:

Among my favorites are sheng puerh, Taiwanese oolong, a variety of black (red) teas from all over, all teas Nepali, herbals, Wuyi yancha. I keep a few green and white teas on hand. Shou puerh is a cold weather brew. Tiny teapots and gaiwans are my usual brewing vessels when not preparing morning cups western style and pouring into my work thermos. Friend of teabags. Hold the milk and sugar unless we’re talking masala chai.

In my late teens, home-brewed unsweetened Lipton iced tea was the drink of choice to combat cottonmouth. The following years saw the appearance of the odd box of tea from Trader Joe’s. About 4 years ago, walking out of the parking garage where I kept my motorcycle, I came across a move-out dumpster treasure: single serve packets of what I can look back now and say was Wuyi yancha. Yes, I drank dumpstered tea and honestly, that’s what blew the doors wide open.

Preference Reference
“That’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.

89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again. Some could be great daily drinkers.

79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.

69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.

59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possesses off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.

Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s puerh, I likely think it needs more age.

Character Rundown:

Boring pandemic hermit whose only current hobbies besides tasting tea are skateboarding and learning herbalism. Will update as the times change.

Location

Sonoma County, California, USA

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