900 Tasting Notes

91

Okay, I’m finally back on Steepster to post a review. I doubt I’ll have the time to bang out more than one this evening. This website’s bugs are starting to drive me crazy. This is now the third or fourth time I have tried to post this review. Hopefully this time is the charm. Anyway, this is yet another blast from the past. I think I finished what I had of this tea in either February or March. As Assam black teas go, this one was pretty much exceptional.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaves prior to steeping, and I did not attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cedar, prune, raisin, tobacco, and dark chocolate. After infusion, I detected new aromas of malt, cream, honey, and orange zest. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of malt, honey, cream, butter, oats, tobacco, autumn leaves, cedar, caramel, raisin, prune, sorghum molasses, orange zest, pine, and lemon that were chased by hints of candied date, fig, roasted almond, and black cherry. There were even traces of red pear and dark chocolate left at the back of the throat after each swallow. The finish was wonderfully smooth, malty, and balanced with some pleasant fruity touches.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable Assam black tea. It produced a liquor that was very balanced and drinkable, presenting a wonderful and highly complimentary array of aromas and flavors while also offering a good amount of heft and fullness in the mouth. Basically, this tea offered what one would generally expect of a high quality Assam black tea. I doubt it will surprise any experienced Assam drinkers, but it is very enjoyable regardless. This is the sort of tea that doesn’t need to do anything out of the ordinary to be appreciated.

Flavors: Almond, Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dates, Dried Fruit, Fig, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Molasses, Oats, Orange Zest, Pear, Raisins, Tobacco

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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72

This was another of my sipdowns from earlier in the year. I’m pretty sure that it was the first white tea I polished off in 2020 and seem to remember drinking the last of it sometime during the first half of February. Though I am a pretty big fan of Yunnan white tea, this one did not do a ton for me. It wasn’t bad though. If I had to say anything negative about it, I would say that it struck me as being too subtle as well as being rather boring and predictable.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of hay, grass, malt, vanilla, marshmallow, pine, and sugarcane that were underscored by hints of smoke. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of toasted sweet corn, cream, and cucumber. The first infusion introduced a cooked zucchini scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered subtle notes of hay, marshmallow, cream, grass, butter, malt, and toasted sweet corn that were balanced by even more delicate notes of minerals, cooked zucchini, cucumber, pine, sugarcane, and honeydew. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of honeydew, butter, grilled lemon, corn husk, and summer squash. Notes of smoke and vanilla came out in the mouth along with stronger impressions of hay, minerals, grass, cooked zucchini, cucumber, sugarcane, and honeydew. New flavors of spinach, grilled lemon, summer squash, squash blossom, oats, and corn husk also appeared, as did hints of plum, honey, almond, and sour apricot. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, cucumber, sugarcane, corn husk, cream, and grass that were balanced by hints of toasted sweet corn, hay, vanilla, grilled lemon, almond, plum, sour apricot, and cooked zucchini.

There were some interesting aromas and flavors present in this tea, but unfortunately, they were often too delicate and subtle to hold my interest for any length of time. The tea liquor was usually more texture-heavy than anything, so people who spend a lot of time focusing on the texture of a tea’s liquor would be likely to get a lot out of this particular tea. I tend to focus more on aromas and flavors than texture, so perhaps this tea was just not one that was meant to be appreciated by someone like me. In the end, I’m glad I tried this tea, but I also doubt I would go out of my way to try any further productions of it.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Butter, Corn Husk, Cream, Cucumber, Grain, Grass, Hay, Honey, Honeydew, Lemon, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Oats, Pine, Plums, Smoke, Spinach, Squash Blossom, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal, Zucchini

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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93

Alright, I’m back again. I’m still struggling with motivation it seems. When I do manage to get some free time, I never seem to want to do much on Steepster. Of course, I have also been in a generally terrible mood for like the last four or five months, so it’s probably a good thing that I don’t seek out any form of social interaction regularly. Anyway, that’s enough of me being a lazy sourpuss. Let’s get on to the tea review. This is another golden oldie of mine. I think I finished my pouch of this tea back in either January or February of this year. I found it to be an excellent winter Dancong oolong.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of orange blossom, orchid, vanilla, cream, custard, and sugarcane. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of violet, lemon candy, grass, baked bread, and toasted corn. The first infusion introduced a rather subtle gardenia scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of orange blossom, orchid, grass, gardenia, cream, butter, and roasted almond that were chased by subtler impressions of vanilla, baked bread, toasted corn, sugarcane, pear, and peach. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of orange zest, earth, pear, steamed milk, green apple, sour cherry, butter, coriander, roasted almond, and spinach. Impressions of lemon candy, violet, and custard came out in the mouth alongside stronger notes of baked bread, vanilla, toasted corn, pear, peach, and green apple. Impressions of minerals, sour cherry, orange zest, white grape, earth, steamed milk, coriander, and wood also made themselves known. In addition to these new flavors, I could also pick up some hints of plum, spinach, and pomegranate as well. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, cream, butter, earth, wood, grass, and coriander that were balanced by lingering hints of vanilla, baked bread, green apple, lemon candy, spinach, sugarcane, orange zest, sour cherry, and pear.

This was really not what I was expecting of a Ya Shi Xiang. I often find such teas grainy, gritty, nutty, and earthy, and while a lot of those characteristics were present, this tea emphasized floral, vegetal, fruity, and smooth, creamy qualities. It was incredibly easy to drink and very approachable. If I had not known this was a Ya Shi Xiang going into my review session, I doubt I would have been able to identify it. Overall, this was a great Dancong oolong. I could see a tea like this going over well with people who often find Dancong oolongs to be too astringent or too volatile in how they express themselves.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Coriander, Cream, Custard, Earth, Fruity, Gardenias, Grain, Grass, Green Apple, Lemon, Milk, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Plums, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet, White Grapes, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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87

This is yet another review from either July or August of 2019. It’s also probably going to be the last review I post today. I recall this tea being just a little past its prime when I got around to reviewing it, but it was still a very nice offering.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing 6 grams of the rolled tea leaves, I steeped them in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of apricot, peach, orchid, orange blossom, golden raisin, straw, and honey. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of roasted almond, cream, vanilla, pastry, sesame, and custard. The first infusion introduced aromas of plum, violet, rose, lilac, and baked bread. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of apricot, peach, rose, orchid, honey, roasted almond, plum, vanilla, and orange blossom that were balanced by hints of lilac, baked bread, cream, straw, golden raisin, violet, butter, and tangerine. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of tangerine, dandelion, grass, and orange zest. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of tangerine, cream, baked bread, violet, and butter appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, Asian pear, white grape, orange zest, grass, watercress, and dandelion. There were also some pleasant hints of sesame, mint, pastry, and custard. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and emphasized notes of minerals, butter, cream, grass, baked bread, and orange zest that gave way to delicate impressions of vanilla, violet, apricot, dandelion, sesame, honey, peach, tangerine, and orchid before a cooling mint note kicked in and filled the mouth after each swallow.

This was a very unique and approachable Tieguanyin that also displayed tremendous depth and complexity. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what I was detecting with each sniff and swallow. I can only imagine how much more powerful and enjoyable this tea would have been had I tried it while it was fresher.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Citrus, Cream, Custard, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Mint, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Pastries, Peach, Pear, Plums, Raisins, Rose, Straw, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet, White Grapes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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82

We’re jumping in the wayback machine for this review. I know I have mentioned in the past that I have a number of unposted reviews from 2019, and until now, this was one of them. I actually finished what I had of this tea back in July or August of last year. Yeah, I really am that far behind. Anyway, I found this to be a very nice, solid oolong. It did not strike me as being as rich or as enjoyable as most Taiwanese baozhongs I have tried, but it was still a more or less very good tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of baked bread, cream, vanilla, lilac, and gardenia as well as a subtle scent of orchid. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of custard, sugarcane, and butter. The first infusion introduced something of a brothy umami scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of grass, cream, vanilla, butter, baked bread, and sugarcane that were balanced by hints of umami, spinach, green apple, bamboo, and apricot. The subsequent infusions coaxed out subtle aromas of green peas, sweet pea, and violet. Stronger and more immediately evident notes of umami, green apple, and apricot appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of sweet pea, lilac, orchid, gardenia, green peas, lettuce, minerals, and custard. I was also able to pick out hints of white grape, plum, violet, pear, and tangerine zest. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, grass, lettuce, cream, butter, and baked bread that were underscored by subtler impressions of orchid, violet, apricot, pear, green apple, white grape, umami, tangerine zest, and spinach.

Compared to many of the other baozhongs I have tried, this one was much subtler, much creamier, and more vegetal. Though it did display a number of very pleasant fruity and floral characteristics, this tea struck me as leaning more heavily on savory and vegetal notes. In some ways, it almost seemed to occupy an odd middle ground between a green tea and an oolong. It was a very balanced and enjoyable offering overall, though I doubt I would ever reach for it over a truly great spring Wenshan baozhong.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Bamboo, Butter, Citrus Zest, Cream, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Green Apple, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Pear, Peas, Plums, Spinach, Sugarcane, Umami, Vanilla, Violet, White Grapes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Martin Bednář

I assume you write down all the tasting note down and then you just re-write or copy that, right? :D I couldn’t remember what I drank last week, not mentioning last year :D

eastkyteaguy

Martin, I keep a couple notebooks in my kitchen that I use for nothing but tea reviews. Sometimes I will write full reviews as I am drinking and then rewrite them at a later date, but at other times, I just write down a series of steep times, notes, and impressions and then construct reviews from them. It kind of depends on how focused and energized I am when I am brewing. Right now, I can tell you that I have two reviews I am dreading because my session notes are such a mess. I have no clue where I was going with them, so I may just end up not posting them. I have also been known to occasionally assign a tea a numerical score but not keep detailed notes of my drinking sessions, so if you ever see me just assign a score to something and not write a review or just jot down a couple sentences, that’s why.

Martin Bednář

I was thinking writing them with hand too, but it just was so messy and I couldn’t express myself that well as I am able when writing on Steepster AND in English. I wonder why, when it’s not my native language. So I prefer writing them when I am actually drinking it or really shortly after.

But thank you for an introduction how do you do it :)

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88

Okay, I have to start all over again on this one. Sometimes I really, really fucking hate Steepster. I went to post my review of this tea, and somehow this damned site ate everything I wrote and replaced it with the text from my review of What-Cha’s Nepal Jun Chiyabari Hand-Rolled Tippy Oolong Tea. Anyway, this was one of my sipdowns from the end of the first week in February. I found it to be a very nice Yunnan Bai Mudan.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf material in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf material produced aromas of cedar, pine, hay, malt, and marshmallow. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of radish, roasted carrot, peanut, roasted turnip, and spinach. The first infusion brought a hint of dandelion to the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cedar, pine, hay, malt, peanut, radish, and roasted turnip that were balanced by subtler impressions of roasted carrot, spinach, dandelion, celery, grass, straw, sugarcane, and marshmallow. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of honey, chrysanthemum, spearmint, straw, orange zest, cucumber, basil, coriander, and pear as well as a stronger dandelion scent. Stronger and more immediately evident impressions of roasted carrot, dandelion, celery, grass, straw, and sugarcane came out in the mouth along with notes of cucumber, minerals, chrysanthemum, orange zest, basil, and coriander. I also picked up subtle notes of honey, spearmint, violet, pear, and mushroom. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, cucumber, orange zest, malt, sugarcane, roasted carrot, and coriander that were balanced by hints of violet, straw, mushroom, dandelion, pear, basil, celery, and marshmallow.

This was a very nice Yunnan Bai Mudan that struck an admirable balance between its grassier, more vegetal characteristics and its sweeter, fruitier, and more floral characteristics. At this point, I should note that I tend to associate Jingmai teas with sweet, floral, and/or fruity aromas and flavors, so it also did a good job of representing its terroir to me. My only real knocks were that it was a bit rough at first, and it struck me as being something for which I would have to be in the mood.

Flavors: Carrot, Cedar, Celery, Coriander, Cucumber, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Spearmint, Spinach, Straw, Sugarcane, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

This was another of my sipdowns from either March or April. I’m pretty sure I finished this tea around the start of March, but as with just about everything else these days, I can’t be sure. I know I have polished off a rather significant number of Nepalese teas in the past four months (at least four or five). All have struck me as great offerings, and this one was certainly no exception.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, straw, pine, chocolate, rose, and apple. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut and violet as well as a subtle scent of smoke and a much stronger rose aroma. The first infusion introduced aromas of plum, pear, roasted almond, orange zest, and black cherry. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, straw, pine, apple, rose, roasted peanut, and black cherry that were balanced by subtler flavors of roasted almond, pear, plum, smoke, violet, butter, and orange zest. The majority of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of grass, green bell pepper, blackberry, baked bread, butter, earth, dandelion greens, and spinach. Stronger and more immediately evident notes of roasted almond, violet, butter, pear, and orange zest came out in the mouth along with impressions of minerals, earth, baked bread, cream, grass, tobacco, chocolate, blackberry, dandelion greens, spinach, and green bell pepper. There were also hints of caramel in places, and there were some rather interesting hints of lychee, apricot, and tobacco that lingered at the back of my throat after each swallow. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, grass, dandelion greens, earth, malt, green bell pepper, roasted peanut, and roasted almond that were underscored by hints of butter, cream, orange zest, pine, spinach, caramel, apple, pear, and black cherry.

This was an extremely enjoyable and truly fascinating tea. In a lot of ways, it reminded me more of a second flush Nepalese or Darjeeling black tea than many of the oolongs produced in that part of the world. It was also a very heavy tea in that the tea liquor had a ton of weight and texture in the mouth and both the aromas and flavors were very rich and vibrant, almost explosive in many places. It was a tea that absolutely demanded to be taken seriously. That being said, it could also be a bit tiring and it did start to fade a little earlier than I expected. Still, this was a great tea and one that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in Nepalese teas.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Butter, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Rose, Smoke, Spinach, Straw, Tobacco, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I felt this one bordered on a black too. The Moondrop resembled more of an oolong to me too, though I find that with most Himalayan oolongs from Nepal or Darjeeling, they veer more in black tea territory. I have one Oolong from Young Mountain that the company claimed was based on a Taiwanese style, but the leaves were rolled with gold buds. It was a lot more like a muscatel tippy black, but a good one. I have not had it too often, though. Something about the texture does not agree with my throught. As for this tea, I was sad when it was gone.

eastkyteaguy

Daylon, I’m glad to know it wasn’t just me, and I think you’re right about a lot of Darjeeling and Nepalese oolongs bordering on being black teas. I worked my way through a pouch of this tea and the Jun Chiyabari Shiiba Oolong in a fairly short span of time and then drank the Jun Chiyabari Moondrop shortly thereafter. The latter two were definitely more oolong-like in how they came across to me. All three were fantastic, but I have to say that the Moondrop was the one I enjoyed the least. To me, it had some characteristics that bordered on white or green tea territory, and honestly, green teas from Darjeeling and Nepal are not my favorite things in the world. On the other hand, I absolutely adored the Shiiba oolong and found it endlessly fascinating and rewarding. It was definitely my favorite of the three.

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90

Okay, I’m back at it again. This is something of a change of pace for me, as I usually do not manage to post more than once or twice in any given month these days. Is everyone looking forward to Memorial Day weekend? I know I am. Anyway, let’s get back on track. This was another of my sipdowns from either March or April. Again, I have no clue when I actually finished what I had of this tea. I found it to be a very good and very unique Chinese black tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cinnamon, baked bread, dark chocolate, tobacco, and brown sugar. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, grass, straw, and caramel. The first infusion introduced aromas of pine, apricot, and plum. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented rather delicate notes of dark chocolate, baked bread, brown sugar, black raspberry, and plum that were balanced by hints of pine, grass, straw, raisin, and roasted peanut. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of minerals, black raspberry, mulberry, orange zest, lychee, blueberry, and lemon zest. Stronger and more immediately evident notes of pine, grass, straw, raisin, and roasted peanut came out in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, caramel, earth, roasted almond, mulberry, blueberry, apricot, lychee, orange zest, and lemon zest. There were also some subtle touches of smoke, tobacco, cinnamon, and brown sugar here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor settled and began to emphasize notes of minerals, orange zest, lemon zest, earth, blueberry, and mulberry that were underscored by subtler impressions of plum, roasted almond, lychee, black raspberry, pine, and roasted peanut. There were also very pleasant, cooling impressions of tobacco that lingered at the back of the throat after each swallow.

This was a very unique and complex Chinese black tea that was also very light and drinkable. I normally get a lot of malt aromas and flavors out of black teas, but I didn’t find them in this one. It came off as being all about sweet, fruity aromas and flavors. Though I would not find myself reaching for this tea on a regular basis, I was very impressed by how much it had to offer and how much it stood apart from the overwhelming majority of Chinese black teas I have tried. I could see it going over well with people who are not into malty aromas and flavors or who are looking for a light, sweet tea that can still be taken seriously.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Grass, Lemon Zest, Lychee, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Raspberry, Smoke, Straw, Tobacco

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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93

This was another of my sipdowns from either March or April. As a matter of fact, I am pretty certain that I finished and reviewed this tea immediately after the China Fujian Non-Smoky Lapsang Souchong, but I could be wrong about that. Anyway, I found this to be an excellent Taiwanese black tea. To be honest, I am rarely if ever truly disappointed with this type of tea, but this one still struck me as being a great offering.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 19 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of honey, baked bread, sweet potato, cinnamon, blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, roasted almond, cream, and butter. The first infusion introduced aromas of candied orange, raspberry, geranium, and black grape. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of candied orange, butter, cream, baked bread, and roasted peanut that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, blackberry, raspberry, sweet potato, Asian pear, blueberry, green wood, and plum. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of Asian pear, caramel, green wood, menthol, and plum. Notes of honey and black grape appeared in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediately evident notes of roasted almond, blackberry, sweet potato, Asian pear, green wood, and plum. I also detected notes of minerals, caramel, malt, lemon zest, and menthol as well as hints of earth, cocoa, cinnamon, geranium, strawberry, and nutmeg. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, candied orange, plum, black grape, green wood, butter, and lemon zest that were chased by hints of caramel, malt, baked bread, roasted almond, Asian pear, cocoa, blackberry and earth, as well as a slight touch of menthol after the swallow.

This was a very complex yet approachable Taiwanese black tea. The tea liquor produced great body and texture in the mouth. Throughout my lengthy gongfu session, it also remained more or less perfectly balanced. While I do wish that some of the fruitier aromas and flavors had been a little clearer and more assertive in places, that is a fairly minor complaint as this was a fantastic offering overall.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Blueberry, Butter, Candy, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Geranium, Grapes, Green Wood, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange, Peanut, Pear, Raspberry, Strawberry, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Nattie

I love Taiwanese blacks. This one sounds fantastic!

Kawaii433

Omgosh, this one sounds lovely.

eastkyteaguy

This one is a truly great tea and seems to be consistent in quality from year to year. In terms of look, aroma, flavor and mouthfeel, I find that it sits comfortably between a Yu Chi Assam and a Yu Chi Red Jade. It’s not as heavy and minty as a typical Red Jade black tea, but it also is not quite as bready and malty as a Taiwanese Assam.

Nattie

Okay, I’ve added it to my wishlist. Quit selling it to me already :P

eastkyteaguy

Well, now I have to figure out a way to keep selling it.

eastkyteaguy

Oh, the tea liquor is very attractive too. It’s a very rich, clear amber. It looks almost like wildflower honey.

Nattie

Lol, I am too weak to hear this.

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55

Hey, I finally found some time and motivation to get some new tea reviews posted. Of course, it also helps that I have now been able to log in to my account for two straight days. As with everything else I seem to post these days, new is relative. I have such a huge backlog of tea reviews now that I have stopped counting and dating them. This one I think comes from either March or April, but I cannot be certain. Those of you who read my reviews probably know that I am a huge fan of unsmoked lapsang souchong. Since the only other unsmoked lapsang that I had tried from What-Cha was great, I had really high expectation of this tea. Unfortunately, it proved to be something of a let down. It was not exactly bad though. To be fair, it really just struck me as being mediocre.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of baked bread, pine, honey, sweet potato, cinnamon, malt, and chocolate. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of smoke, brown sugar, and roasted peanut. The first infusion introduced a hint of straw to the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of baked bread, pine, cinnamon, malt, sweet potato, chocolate, and brown sugar that were balanced by touches of lemon zest, smoke, grass, straw, red grape, honey, and roasted peanut. The subsequent infusions introduced scents of mineral water, red grape, earth, fig, orange zest, and plum. Stronger and more immediate notes of red grape and grass appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, earth, cream, plum, red apple, fig, orange zest, and pear. I also detected hints of cooked green beans, and black cherry. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering mineral, earth, baked bread, malt, lemon zest, orange zest, and brown sugar notes that were balanced by hints of red grape, pear, grass, chocolate, pine, sweet potato, and roasted peanut.

This tea had a lot to offer in terms of aroma and flavor, and it did have a surprising amount of longevity in the mouth for what I’m guessing was not as high grade of an offering compared to some of What-Cha’s earlier offerings of this type. Unfortunately, the texture and body of the tea liquor were nothing to write home about. Furthermore, the qualities this tea offered were nothing new for this style and have been much better highlighted in other offerings I have tried. In the end, this tea struck me as being a mixed bag. It was not terrible, but there are better offerings of this type out there.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Earth, Fig, Grapes, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Smoke, Straw, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Teatotaler

Have you ever tried Teavivre’s non-smoky Lapsang Souchong Wild Black Tea (Ye Sheng Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong)? Very rich and sweet. It’s like drinking caramel candy! One of the most delicious teas I’ve ever enjoyed!

eastkyteaguy

Unfortunately, I have not. I always tend to think of Teavivre as a place to go for green tea and Tieguanyin. I keep forgetting that they carry a large number of highly rated and popular black teas. The only black teas I have had from them are their Bailin Gongfu, Tanyang Gongfu, and Yunnan Rose Bud Black Tea. I have enjoyed all three and plan on trying more once I free up some more cash. I’ll definitely keep that one in mind. I also hope to try some of their Keemuns because I have been looking for a great Keemun for ages!

Martin Bednář

And I have this one still sealed and un-opened. I have really lots of teas, moreover I tend to buy black teas and then I don’t have tooth for them. I really need to start drinking tea as thirst-quenching drink.

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

Location

KY

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