258 Tasting Notes

80
drank Feizi Xiao by Verdant Tea
258 tasting notes

Received a sample of this from Lion (Thanks!).

I didn’t get a very strong scent from the dry leaves. I brewed this in my gaiwan, just under boiling. After the first 15 second steep, the wet leaves smelled heavily of wet hay. The liquor was a nice caramel brown and had a slightly malty, slightly fruity scent. The taste in the first steep was a bit weak but I kind of suspected that would be the case.

Second steep, 30 seconds. Now the flavor of lychee, malt, and mineral comes to life. Rather enjoying the lychee as I have not had much experience with that flavor.

I continued with steeps of 45s, 1m, 1m30s, and 2m30s. The lychee flavor stayed well through the first 5 steeps with it finally fading a bit on the 6th and last steep. I would describe the last steep of 2m30s as watery, mineral, and slightly floral. I’m sure I could get another steep or two but overall it tasted done to me.

I am pleasantly surprised with the fruity/lychee flavor and coating lingering on my tongue and throat. This wasn’t a strong bold tea but a very subtle tea that presents its flavors to those who stop to look for them.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Lychee, Mineral

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Lion

I really like this tea too. Lychee is one of my favorite fruit flavors because of its slightly floral character. Some friends of mine were trying this tea together with me and we decided that it definitely reminds of lychee if you have it on its own, though compared side-by-side with lychee flavored foods, it isn’t as lychee-like. I also just got to try fresh lychee this week thanks to finding some at a local Asian market (heck Whole Foods even had some this week!) and I would say this tea reminds me more of the fresh fruit than the sweetened canned ones or lychee-flavored foods. I like it either way!

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85
drank Turmeric Ginger by Rishi Tea
258 tasting notes

I bought this tea because I have Ulcerative Colitis and ginger and turmeric are both pretty well known for their anti-inflammation properties. Plus, I absolutely LOVE ginger.

This tea delivered pretty well for me. The first few sips up front have a sharp bitterness to them. I believe this is part of the turmeric oils sitting on the surface. After the first few sips, that bitterness mostly fades out and I am left with a bit of a bite from the ginger and the trademark throat coating of licorice. Fun bonus though. The licorice coating comes with a lemon flavor. It kind of makes a candy lemon flavor on the throat.

I am not sure how much it will help with my inflammation levels but it won’t hurt. Plus, I really like the flavor of this one. If you aren’t into ginger, turmeric, lemon and licorice this certainly won’t be your tea. But if you DO like those things, this tea should work for you.

Flavors: Bitter, Ginger, Lemon, Licorice

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 6 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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So, I have a bag of Japanese green tea. I have NO idea what kind it is. The bag is all in Japanese, my sister gave it to me with the only instructions being, “My friends husband was in Japan and brought back this tea and she gave it to me and I thought you would like it.” With that being said, I am leaning towards it being a steamed sencha? Maybe? It is a very delicate and silky green that has the propensity to turn very bitter, very fast when over steeped. I’ve been doing 170 degrees around 45-60 seconds per first steep. Anything more than that and it goes bitter.

Anywho, I had some extra ginger root and I really wanted a ginger tea this morning. So, I cut up some of the ginger root, a few grams worth, and added it in with this Japanese green and steeped it by my normal parameters for this tea. It turned out really well! The tea and ginger blended nicely. The ginger was there but not too strong (though I wouldn’t have minded if it were stronger). The green tea was its normal silky green flavor with just a hint of bitterness.

Pretty pleased with myself!

Flavors: Bitter, Ginger, Grass, Smooth

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

What a day. Wife is gone for 2 days at a business conference. Both kids had the day off from school. My 4 year old son had to get an abscess on his stomach lanced at 8am. Yup. The good news is that he handled it so well and has been in good spirits and very loving/cuddly all day.

So I decide to reach for this sample that was sent to me a while back with an order. Mandala is usually a pretty good bet when you want a good ripe. I went with a full boil, a 5 second rinse, and a 5 second first steep. The first steep felt very light and airy in my mouth. But for as light as it felt, the flavors were really nice. I detected some malty chocolate as well as some light cherry notes. But, calm down all you cherry cordial fans (myself included). Those flavors weren’t together when I detected them. More like, one sip reveal one and the next sip revealed another.

Second steep, 10 seconds. Earthy smoothness. Still light and airy. There is something on the back of the throat. A coating sweetness. Underhanded, not overpowering. But there.

Third steep, 15 seconds. First off, the smell of the wet leaves is unlike any I’ve smelled in a ripe shou before. I am not sure I can even really describe it other than there is this almost floral like honeysuckle, slightly spicy, sweetness. The liquor on this one has more of a musty taste. Not un-enjoyable but not as good as the first two steeps.

Fourth steep, 15 seconds. Held back a little on this one due to the flavor of the last steep. I think it was a good decision. The flavor mellowed out. Now we are getting back to some of the enjoyable flavors from the first two steeps. Light chocolate/cocoa flavor.

Fifth steep, 20 seconds. I am starting to see the bigger picture here on this one. When steeped correctly, this is a light, airy and smooth, consistent drinker. My review will probably stop here, until/unless something else drastically different jumps out at me.

Final Thought: Though this is pretty consistent from steep to steep, it is by no means dull, bland or uninteresting. It has some really unique flavors/and smells. It certainly feels and tastes like a higher quality tea. Very solid.

Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Musty, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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83

I used two of these pearls in my tea pot. I think next time I will either increase the pearls or decrease the water (and also try it gongfu). I really enjoyed the malty-ness with the slight smoke underneath. There was something that gave a slight… numbing? cooling? to my mouth and gums. Very slight and I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if I weren’t drinking it quietly alone. Interesting. Either way, this is a tea that requires further exploration.

Thank you to Nicole for this sample

Flavors: Malt, Smoke

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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72

This tea surprised me a bit. Upon first sip, I made the mistake of thinking this was a weak tea. But after drinking a pot of it, I am realizing that it isn’t so much weak as it is purposefully understated.

Whatever green tea was used here, it has a very buttery, thick mouth feel with little to no bitterness. Both the tangerine and the jasmine are underneath the flavor of the green tea itself. The jasmine hints on the up front of the sip and the tangerine comes out more at the back end of the swallow. My mouth feels coated with delicious creamy green tea flavor.

There isn’t anything that stands up and demands attention. It is a very subtle and drinkable tea. I am ok with this. It is something you can drink and not have to analyze so closely.

Flavors: Butter, Citrusy, Creamy, Green

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 15 sec 4 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83

This was a really good mini tuo. It opened up completely on the second steep (5 sec) after a 20 second rinse and a 5 second first steep.

The main thing that I came away with is that it tasted very clean and silky, creamy, and smooth. A very easy drinker. I can see why they decided to put this tea into a mini tuo. It is a very easy toss, steep, drink type of tea.

Flavors: Creamy, Smooth

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Lion

I love this tea, and have a 200g cake of it. They sent me some of these mini tuos as a sample with it and I dare say the cake is even sweeter and smoother than the tuos. I agree with you that this tea is really clean and smooth.

mtchyg

Oh, I imagine the cake is probably better! Sounds amazing. :)

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90

Yeah… so this is now by far my favorite Earl Grey style of tea.

Malty Golden Snails meets the citrus of bergamont oil? You wouldn’t think it (or maybe you would) but the match is amazing.

Thanks to Nicole for sending me this sample. Now I have to wait for it to come back in stock!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Bergamot, Citrus, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Nicole

While not as malty to my taste, Blue of London by Palais de Thes is an EG with a Yunnan base. Not the same as this, but I like it better than standard EGs.

mtchyg

Thank you for that tip! Off to research :)

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100

Finally getting around to gong fu-ing this. It is so superior this way. Usually is, right? Also, definitely don’t skimp on the leaves and it will reward you. Richly. Huge uptick on the rating now.

Flavors: Cocoa, Mineral, Toasted

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
kevdog19

Gongfu every day. Far superior… Spending the extra time to prepare the tea is well worth it in the end.

mtchyg

Absolutely. I am getting more and more away from western style. I like it for some things occasionally. But gongfu usually produces a better result.

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98

Trying this for the first time tonight. Wow is it a beautiful tea. Drinking this with my wife by the fire place this evening.

1st steep, 20 seconds: Wet leaves give off a strong dill scent. That is amazing! The color of the liquor is a golden orange. The flavor certainly has a slightly sweet dilly type flavor. So unique. And smooth too!

2nd steep, 10 seconds: The wet leaves give off the dill aroma. So fascinating. The liquor itself is a light tawny brown. The flavor seems to be less dilly and a bit more sweet. Wildflower sweet. Not cloying and not quite tart. A tangy sweetness.

3rd steep, 10 seconds: Strap in, baby. Dill is here to stay. And that is fine by me. I should mention this isn’t a dill pickle type of dill. This is more fresh picked dill from your garden. And even then, not overpowering but still definitely in the forefront. And in this steep, the sweetness seemed to finally be it’s equal, dancing along side it on my tongue.

4th steep, 15 seconds: This isn’t going to be too detailed probably from here on out. Why? This stuff is so smooth and delicious that I am drinking it faster than I can really think and type notes on it. The main thought I had from this round is that I would drink this all day long. No problem.

Well, I’m on my tenth steep of this (5 minutes) and it is still pretty flavorful. I might have to buy another cake of this.

Flavors: Creamy, Dill, Flowers, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Lion

I am so curious about this tea! I love Moonlight White and I’m always pretty curious about teas with flowers, as I tend to like them. Will have to give this a try sometime. I recently had to make the tough decision of ordering this or a loose Moonlight White from Bana that I’ve tried before and loved, and I had to go with that one just so the purchase wasn’t a gamble.

mtchyg

I would highly recommend buying a cake of this. For $12, it is a bargain in my opinion. It has that sweetness of white tea but also an earthy, herby (dill plus some) flavor from the flowers.

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Profile

Bio

Michigander, Husband, father of three, lover of tea, books, nature, gardening, and passion. Stay at home dad currently. Previously a preschool teacher.

I have now completed some tea swaps and I am so totally up for swapping! What a cool way to connect with fellow tea lovers and try some new teas. My tea cupboard on here is woefully out of date though.

Black tea has been my go to tea for some time. Oolongs are good too but mainly roasty oolongs. I’m finding that there are some green and white teas (mostly Moonlight Whites) that impress me lately which they never used to do. I am getting into and developing a taste for Pu-erh. I have tried raw and my Ulcerative Colitis just can’t handle the roughness of it. So I stick to ripe Puerh. I am recently drinking more herbal tea or Rooibos especially STRONG ginger blends. I’m not too picky.

Some of my favorite places from which to purchase tea are Whispering Pines Tea Co, Verdant, A Quarter to Tea, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co, Bitterleaf Tea, and Yunnan Sourcing.

Rating system:
90-100: Some of the best I’ve ever had. I’d be a fool not to keep it stocked as often as possible
80-89: A damn good tea. Not to be missed
70-79: A good tea but lacks the wow factor. More than likely a simple tea that could be an every day option
60-69: Eh. This is okay. Not swill by any means but fairly underwhelming.
50-59: Not really doing it for me. I’ll finish it but please don’t bring me any more.
Below 50: Life is too short to waste on things such as this

Location

Lansing, Michigan

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