634 Tasting Notes

83

I drank my sample today and I found it very much in line with Nate’s experience, unsurprisingly. The tea is really very smooth across the board and has no mustiness at all. Ultimately, however, I also found it to be lacking that special something. I’m not sure, it may be a case of a tea that requires multiple sessions to be appreciated and to unravel its subtleties in full.

As for specific notes from my tasting, the first infusion was sweet with a vegetal finish and hints of cream, coriander seeds, and some char-like bitterness. The liquor had a buttery mouthfeel, at times a bit effervescent. The protracted aftertaste was somewhat spicy, but not overly distinctive.

I oversteeped the third infusion, which brought out some metallic sensation akin to a dark chocolate and tree bark flavour. Rest of the session didn’t present too many surprises, the tea got quite mineral at times with hints of dry earth and walnut shells.

Flavors: Bark, Bitter, Char, Coriander Seed, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Drying, Earth, Metallic, Mineral, Spicy, Sweet, Walnut

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 11 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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77

This is a fairly average sheng that’s quite mellow and sweet. Dry leaves smell of apricot flowers, cream, and cherry while after the rinse I get aromas of wood, beeswax and leather.

The taste is sweet above all else, with notes of cilantro, tree sap and stonefruit pits. Lightly astringent finish is followed by a mildly spicy and nutty aftertaste.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Cherry, Coriander, Cream, Flowers, Leather, Nutty, Sap, Stonefruit, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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68

This pu-erh is most memorable for its stupefying effect on the mind, as a result of which I wouldn’t grab for it often (even if I had more than a sample). The fact that it is light bodied doesn’t help its case either.

As for the flavours, I enjoy drinking it, but not more than the average young tea at this price. It carries a flowery aroma with hints of bubblegum, apricots, green pepper, and za’atar.

First infusion has a light taste with no bitterness and notes of cloud ear fungi and white pepper. The following one is somewhat sweet and mineral. There is also a bit of an apricot tartness to it. Mild bitterness develops throughout the session, but it is nothing to behold. I also found some infusions to resemble nocino – a walnut liqueur. The aftertaste is cooling, sweet and spicy with notes of vanilla and green onion as well as a persistent saltiness.

Flavors: Alcohol, Apricot, Flowers, Green Pepper, Mineral, Peppercorn, Salt, Spicy, Sweet, Thyme, Vanilla, Walnut

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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75
drank Georgia MANNA Green Tea by What-Cha
634 tasting notes

I recently received a sample of this tea, along with other ones, in a package from Martin – thank you very much!

It is very smooth and mineral tea with high salinity and a strong grass seed note. As such, my impression is pretty much identical to what derk mentions in her review. If I were to compare this tea to any of my previous experiences (I haven’t had any Georgian greens before I think), the closest would be Lu An Gua Pian – a green tea from Anhui that’s made without buds, just like this one.

Flavors: Grass Seed, Mineral, Olives, Salty, Smooth

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 7 OZ / 220 ML
Martin Bednář

Glad that you liked it! My rating of 85 is truly too high, but somehow I don’t want to change it :)

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76

A fairly standard, but enjoyable FF Darjeeling here. It is quite smooth with very little astringency, and it has a long warming aftertaste.

The aroma is grassy and floral initially, with notes of beech and gooseberry later on. The taste is a bit on the fruity and vegetal side of the spectrum. It displays flavours of pear, courgette, green beans, as well as root beer and brown sugar.

Flavors: Berry, Brown Sugar, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Pear, Root Beer, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal, Zucchini

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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85

This is a nice Yi Wu autumn tea, but maybe just a tad too floral for my liking. However, the aftertaste really is mind-blowing.

Dry leaves exude a sweet, floral scent which furthermore reminds me of sweet bubblegum and candies. Sugar comes up as a note in the wet leaf aroma too, among barn, hot hay and thistles as well.

The taste is somewhat simple, but I like it. At first, it’s grassy and floral – a bit like a FF Darjeeling. There is a strong minerality and bitterness underlying the whole session. In the finish, a cooling sour bite appears, which leads to a pungent aftertaste with floral bitterness and a strong huigan. Some additional flavours I took note of are lillies, honey and gin. The liquor has a good thickness and a mouthfeel that is syrupy and powdery most of all.

Flavors: Alcohol, Astringent, Barnyard, Bitter, Candy, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Honey, Hot Hay, Mineral, Sugar, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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84

[Spring 2019 harvest]

I am not a big fan of Yancha, but I made an order of some decent grade ones from Wuyi Origin some time ago. One reason was to see whether I just don’t like “cheap rock oolongs” and also to understand the category better.

This particular tea didn’t wow me overall, but I have to say it has pretty spectacular aromatics, especially now that the roast has calmed down. Many of the aromas were muddled when I drank it last year. Specifically, dry leaves smell of cherries, rose flowers and sweet wood at first, with some additional notes of ripe bananas, tropical rainforest and limestone in a preheated gaiwan. The wet leaf aroma has a lot of depth and pungency with notes such as hibiscus, peat and chard.

Some of these are quite present in the liquor itself too, notably the flowery and woody ones. Its texture is buttery and metallic, while the taste is bitter and fruity with hints of cranberry, red wine and oak, among others. I found the cha qi to be nice and mellow with a focusing quality to it.

Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h7jfUUSj3M

Flavors: banana, Bitter, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Cranberry, Flowers, Fruity, Hibiscus, Metallic, Oak, Peat, Rainforest, Red Wine, Rose, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 140 ML
derk

Found Psychic on vinyl several years ago. It’s a treasure.

Togo

oh wow, that’s cool! There is a new album coming this year it seems!

derk

Thanks for the info. I am awaiting its arrival!

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86

Shou and black tea doesn’t sound like the weirdest combination, but I still wouldn’t expect it to turn out as well as this tea performs. It is fairly well integrated and balanced overall with more savoury character than a straight black tea would have.

Dry leaf aroma is an funny mix of fish, wooden cabinet, black cherry, and crickets. Throughout the session, the smell has some of more familiar notes from dian hong – malt and chocolate – as well as some notes of fireplace, hazelnuts, maple syrup, and grilled peach.

First infusion is fairly sweet and medium bodied with a creamy texture to it that is a staple of the session. The dominant flavours are in the neighborhood of chocolate and autumn leaf pile. Second steep is more woody with notes of corn syrup and peanuts. The next then brings the savoury and umami aspects, as well as a prominent nutty cocoa bean flavour and hints of cannabis.

The aftertaste is a little biting and this is where the shou character tends to take over the show somewhat. After a short while, the expected earthiness emerges, as well as some vanilla and hints of sour fermentation notes.

I really like the cha qi too, which is very relaxing and (body and soul) melting. I personally wouldn’t bet on this performing great if aged, but what do I know. In any case, it is a lovely tea to drink now.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Biting, Cannabis, Cherry, Chocolate, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Fireplace, Fishy, Hazelnut, Malt, Maple Syrup, Nutty, Peach, Peanut, Sour, Sugar, Sweet, Umami, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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79

This Ta Fu Hou has a classic Dan Cong aroma that’s a mix of floral and stone fruit notes. Various flowers and parsnip emerge after the rinse, but it’s nothing fancy. In the empty cup, I can mostly detect wood and honey.

The taste is quite nice, but once again not overly complex. The profile is nutty, grainy and vegetal with notes of butter and honey. It is similar to a raw pu’er in a sense. The aftertaste is sickly sweet with alcohol-like burning sensation and a bitter bite that turns into lasting and more pleasant sweetness. There are also some malty and yeasty hints emerging over time.

The mouthfeel is bubbly and viscous, but with a lower surface tension that makes it fairly easy to drink, coupled with the fact that the astringency is not over-powering.

The most remarkable is the cha qi, however. It is very strong and heady at first. After a while a strong warming sensation spreads throughout the body as the tea makes its presence felt. It’s a good tea to get lost in your thoughts to.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Flowers, Grain, Honey, Malt, Nutty, Parsley, Stonefruit, Sweet, Vegetal, Yeast

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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92

My impression of this tea mostly parallels Nate’s review. This tea is as good as the best aged shengs I’ve tried thus far, but it is a tad more expensive than those. It also seems to lean a little more on the sour and fruity side of the spectrum. I actually found the mouthfeel to be quite nice – plump and colloidal – especially in the first half of the session. However, the most memorable aspect is the fast, introspective cha qi for sure.

The one thing I found lacking in comparison to some other teas at similar and higher prices was the fact that after steep 6 or so, the tea lost most of its dynamicism and the session became a bit dull. Also, don’t expect an immortal tea, one can push it to get about 300ml/g, but not really more than that.

The taste is sweet and tart throughout, with a leathery and woody undertones. There are notes of sea buckthorn juice, cumin, fireplace, oak and citrus zest. Aftertaste is very long-lasting and not overly sweet. Indeed, the sour flavours linger for quite a while.

Flavors: Alcohol, Fireplace, Fruity, Leather, Oak, Sour, Spices, Sweet, Tart, Thick, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Bio

Currently, I am a PhD student at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario. Apart from teas and mathematics, I enjoy sports and traveling, as well as music of all kinds. Add me at https://rateyourmusic.com/~Togo, if you use that site.

I have been a fan of green tea for a while and I started exploring other kinds of tea in greater depth only in 2017. I rarely drink blends and generally avoid artificially scented teas. Other than that I try to keep it varied.

My rating description:
100 _ Unforgettable tea, an experience that changes your life.
90 – 100 _ Excellent tea.
80 – 90 _ Very enjoyable, I will buy again.
70 – 80 _ I enjoyed it, but I most likely won’t be buying it again.
60 – 70 _ Decent.
50 – 60 _ Average, forgettable.
40 – 50 _ I didn’t really like the tea, but it is drinkable.
0 – 40 _ I would prefer to avoid the tea.

Location

Waterloo, ON, Canada

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