464 Tasting Notes


Used up the last of this; made two cups: one for me and one for my mom.

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Tea is a disk with a ridge across the diametre (like those pills that you can cut in half for a smaller dose). Brewed in gaiwan, ten second rinse.

Dry, I think I can smell the mushroom.

See below for my teatra.de blog ramble about my adventures into Chinatown to obtain this tea and others. Comes with photos!

First steep: Ten Seconds
There’s a deep, very unique smell, slightly spicy savoury. Brewed ink-black, just like the rinse.
Taste isn’t nearly as strong as the smell. Deep, earthy, puehr taste—rounded out a touch savoury, and think I’m getting a bit of astringency in the back as well. Don’t actually know what bamboo, this particular mushroom, nor chrysanthemum taste like (last one: would except floral). Savoury taste probably from the second, maybe even the first. I had a fear that it would tasted “herbal remedy” ish, but that is not the case. There’s a heavyness almost like coffee (saying this having only drunk it once or twice), without the bitterness. Perhaps the ‘roasted’ aspect? Hrm.

Second Steep: Ten Seconds
Sort of forgot about this one and so it cooled considerably before I drank it. A bit sharper, I think—but that might just be because I started drinking it later. Still savoury, earthy. Possibly a bit flatter. Hmm.

Third Steep: Fifteen Seconds
Accidentally let this one go for an extra five seconds.
Taste is sharper, mouth-feel maybe slightly gritty. Still, as always, savoury, maybe not quite as potent as the earlier steeps (done last night).

Fourth Steep: Ten Seconds
Less sharp, overall less potent. Still good.

Fifth Steep: Ten Seconds
Not much change, becoming weaker still.

Sixth Steep: Ten Seconds
The savoury essence has worn off, but the tea is still there. Still brewing rather dark.

Seventh Steep: Ten Seconds
Looks like it’s reaching the end of it’s life, here.


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drank Vanilla Cloud matcha by Domo
464 tasting notes

Finished this off. Delicious, good matcha taste, vanilla sweetness, makes a great latte or shake, but like always can be drunk plain.

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drank Korean Sejak by DAVIDsTEA
464 tasting notes

I like this, for a green tea. It’s definitely different—flavourful, with many different notes. I probably steeped it a little hot.

I think this is what ‘buttery’ really is. It’s also nice and earthy (though not vegetal), with a very subtle mineral taste. Although it’s becoming quite bitter as it cools—will have to make sure I user a cooler steep time in the future.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Phuguri FTGFOP1 by TWG Tea Company
464 tasting notes

Made some more today. Transferred the tea to a nice clean tin, and realized just how fresh it smells. It’s very potent, and reminds me of hay (although much sweeter).

This transferred into the taste this time around too. My initial sips, sweet hay. Sharp astringency already, that’s building as I drink it.

Made it with less leaf and a longer steep time today. And boiling water.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Sakura! Sakura! by TWG Tea Company
464 tasting notes

The dry leaf smells sweet and of cherry.

Accidentally left this for a little bit to talk to my sister.

Brew smells slightly savoury with a hint of cherry (not as strong as dry).

The taste is slightly mineral, wouldn’t say vegetal or buttery. A sweet cherry comes about slightly in the after taste, mostly as I breathe out. Quite slight. I think it would be more noticeable with a second steep.

Edit: Accidentally forgot about it, and it went cold. The cherry is much more noticeable cold. Mmm very nice.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Phuguri FTGFOP1 by TWG Tea Company
464 tasting notes

This had just recently come in, first flush for 2012 (so I was told) (forty dollars! Fifty grams; I think I was tired, I don’t usually make such purchases).

First steep: One level tsp of tea leaf in 100ml gaiwan, 1 min steep (intent: lessen time, more leaf), ~90ºc water.

Wet leaf smelt fruity, floral. Very grapey.

Tasted fresh, floral, and dry (but not biter, although I knew it would become more bitter as it cooled). I don’t drink wine (or any alcohol), so I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand what muscatel tastes like, but I found it like a dry, grape fruit taste.

I was nibbling on toast as I sipped, which it went all right with (I remember a while back there being a post for a toast-and-tea pairing program, will have to check that again).

It’s got a nice tang, almost. The bitterness which came on more as it cooled is, as always (or as I always fine) like walnuts.

(dry, it was much greener than Steepster’s/UrbanTeaMerchant/TWG’s photo, but that may not be from this year)

Twisted green leaves when dry. Bits of white, red and orange mixed in as well. The leaves look very fresh when wet (although quite broken), orange mixed throughout. Many stems. Like other Darjeelings (that I’ve found) (at least with first flushes), it’s implied “black” but is only lightly withered and greener in taste, bordering more in oolong, I figure.

Fruity green, but not quite vegetal, almost fruity and savoury.

Second steep: Two minutes; still smells fruity and floral, almost like wine.

Brewed darker, and taste is much more sharp than the first. More bitter, but it may be because some of the leaves got through when I strained. Bitterness hits in the middle of each sip and trails off to linger in the aftertaste. Not getting the floral and fruit from the first steep.

Overall, not full-bodied. Light, bitter, fruity. Didn’t find a range of notes, but I’m no judge of Darjeelings. It’s nice, and I think I’ll like it on days that I can handle the bitterness. Will probably come back to it.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
464 tasting notes

I’m drinking the very last of this, and trying to make it count.

This is still my favourite black to date. Made it slightly strong (using up the last of the tea leaves/fannings at the bottom of the bag), but still delicious.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Pu'erh Ginger (Organic) by DAVIDsTEA
464 tasting notes

Felt like something sweet so I made a latte, since this has ginger and a good, strong base. Agave nectar used, plus my hand-held milk frother.

Mmm pretty damn good, actually. Added a little too /much/ nectar, I think, but it’s delicious and sweet and with a strong ginger kick (used an extra teaspoon and steeped longer). The pu’erh makes it through the milk as well,; not fishy, gives a pretty unique taste to a latte.

Overall quite good.

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Disclaimer: I work for Murchie’s Tea and Coffee as a taster and blender. I will avoid putting any ratings on teas from them from here on out.

A tea-drinking transgendered Canadian, university graduate, majored in geology (yes, “rocks and things”). I take most of my tea made straight into a mug, although occasionally if I’m not in a hurry (this isn’t often), I’ll have time to sit down with a pot or gaiwan. It’s the highlight of a good day.

My notes are pretty disjointed because I’m absent-minded, and I also keep a teatra.de blog for reviewing and rambling about tea books/publications, and an instagram for photos. Expect nerding about tea production and history on both.

I’m a Doctor Who fanatic (Jon Pertwee, if you were wondering).

“But you should never turn down tea, when it’s offered. It’s impolite, and impoliteness is how wars start.” ~Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann






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