971 Tasting Notes

90

It is too late now for anyhting caffeinated, so this seems like a good option. I just received a box of samples from derk, so I am excited to try them out, this will be the first one of them.

The first thing I notice is how pretty these look. Obviously, they are not leaves, so the look is always going to be unusual, but very few flower buds are this cute I reckon.

The smell is mostly what I would expect from Chrysantemum, although a little more citrusy and vegetal than the properly grown flower scent I am used to. It also doesn’t really have any of the thick pollen smell. I get reminded of my grandma’s house :)

I really like the mouthfeel of this tea. It is farily thick and at the same time somehow feels as if the tea just disappeared in my mouth – so light. In terms of taste, there is surprisingly a lot of balance. It is sweet, sour, a little medicinal and herbal (reminds me of Almdudler/Rivella and cough sirup). The particular notes I get are not so pronounced, apart from the obvious flowery taste, I also found this leafy taste that derk identified as curry leaf. I am a bit ashamed to admit it, being passionate about cooking and into curries, but I actually never came accross curry leaves. To me, that note is reminiscent of fenugreek leaves.

Another satisfying aspect of the tea is the long cooling and sticky aftertaste. It is sweet and peppery overall and doesn’t seem to change a whole lot initially. Quite a bit later on however, once the pungent sweetness disappears, I get a strong floral sensation coupled with the spicy feeling in the throat that still persists some 10 minutes after drinking. I wonder how many infusions I can get out of this. It has been mentioned that it lasts long, but I need to go to bed soon. Maybe I will cold brew it overnight, or just leave it for a morning continuation of the session.

As far as tisanes go, these Chrysanthemum buds are absolutely awesome, I will be looking to get more. I also have to thank derk for sending me this (among all the other lovely teas), because it is surely a hit!

Flavors: Black Pepper, Citrus, Flowers, Herbs, Medicinal, Pepper, Plants, Sour, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 15 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 240 ML
derk

Every time I drink this, I think about South Indian food.

Bluegreen

What a tempting review. I want, I want, I want. I have been looking on tisanes offered by YS for a while, including this tea. They are not particularly numerous but all of their herbs/flowers in their tea blends tasted very fresh and robust. So, I guess I know what my next order from Yunnan Sourcing will largely consist of.

tanluwils

I recommend brewing them in a glass vessel or chahai to appreciate the beauty of these golden flowers as they’re suspended in their own soup. Quite stunning to watch as one drinks. This one definitely passes TeaDB’s “mom test”.

I can see where one might get curry leaves from the nutty notes in the tea. It’s definitely nothing like conventional Chinese chrysanthemum tea.

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92
drank MMU02 by Material Matcha Uji
971 tasting notes

I think I like this one more than the MMU01 at the moment. It’s not as sharp, but strong enough and yet somewhat subtle. The mouthfeel is not completely smooth, but it is close. It starts of fruity and relatively sweet, the bitterness arrives mostly in the finish, but in moderation. Aftertaste then evolves from slightly sweet to peppery and vegetal until it becomes more tangy and fruity. The astringency is almost unnoticeable, although obviously there is some in the background.

Flavors: Broth, Fruity, Green Pepper, Pepper, Sweet, Tangy, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 g 2 OZ / 45 ML

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84

This is quite a delicate tea. It has the characteristics of other teas of similar kind, but less robust and upfront. Overall it’s not as sweet, which I like. The taste is more tangy with some coffee bitterness. Mouthfeel is light and not very coating, with a noticeable astringency that comes after swallowing – another slightly unusual thing about this tea. I actually like the astringency there, it’s not overpowering at all. It is complemented by the more nutty and spicy aspects in the protracted and very nice aftertaste. The aroma of the tea has the expected dark chocolate and malt notes, but there is also a coffee smell that’s at least as pronounced.

This seems like a very good choice when you want a Yunnan black tea that’s more subtle and delicate and don’t mind a lighter body.

My favourite thing about this tea must be the aftertaste. It is really long and evolving. It has some notes of bread, sweet potatoes, chilli, ale, citrus zest and cold brew coffee, but not really all at the same time.

Flavors: Astringent, Bread, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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90

I used a lot of leaf this time, as it was the last bits of my sample and I didn’t want to break it in two light sessions. However, since I didn’t break it up much, it took a while until the leaves properly opened up. When it did though, I got treated with powerful and delicious infusions.

Let’s start with the smell though. Before the rinse, the aroma is quite woody I would say. As the leaves open up during the session, there are more complex and strong aromas unraveling. I still get the woody tones, like pine and sauna. But there is also some smoke and orchid. In the empty cup, I can smell something between a meadow and a field, there are hay and honeycomb aromas too.

The taste is brothy (mushroom), sweet, buttery, medicinal and bitter (mostly due to the amount of leaves I used). There is definitely a strong tobacco note to it that stays in the mouth. Astringency and sourness arrives in the finish, while the long aftertaste is somewhat spicy and has a decent huigan.

The mouthfeel is a mixture of milky and brothy, and with decent thickness. The body is not the fullest, but given the price of the tea, I cannot really complain.

Don’t get fooled by the price! This is a really good tea, not lacking in any way, apart from maybe the body. That’s really a minor point though. The tea has a pungent and pleasant smell; strong, evolving and memorable taste; long aftertaste; ok mouthfeel; and a powerful cha qi. It’s most definitely the best sheng in the ~10 years old category that I have tried thus far.

Flavors: Bitter, Broth, Butter, Hay, Honey, Medicinal, Mushrooms, Orchid, Pine, Sap, Smoke, Sour, Spicy, Sweet, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
derk

Yasss, making me look forward to my sample.

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86
drank Safari Oolong Hand-picked by beTeas
971 tasting notes

The style of processing seems similar to a Dan Cong oolong, although it’s not quite as aromatic. Admittedly, the price is also lower though.

Overall, it has the qualities of Dan Cong oolongs as well. The smell is slightly floral and reminiscent of forest floor, especially the conifer forest kind. The tea is medium bodied with buttery mouthfeel. The taste is round, balanced and quite mineral. There is a decent bitterness and tanginess and the aftertaste is also decently strong with floral and sweet notes. Throughout the session the tea becomes a little more fruity. In particular, I get some dried fruit flavours.

This is the first oolong from Africa for me, but I found it very enjoyable, even though maybe it lacks the complexity of high end oolongs.

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Forest Floor, Mineral, Raisins, Sweet, Tangy

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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79

I will inevitably be comparing this to the 2017 version of this tea, which I reviewed recently (and which seems to be sold out now).

The smell is sweeter and more fruity, but overall slightly weaker and less memorable than the 2017 one. It has some notes of roast meat and after late steeps also sauna. In the empty cup, I get a strong beeswax aroma, just like with the 2017 tea.

The taste is quite vegetal and bitter, but not astringent. I think it’s slightly less sweet than the 2017 version, but there is a strong honey flavour to it. I do also get pine note again, but it’s kind of general conifer like, maybe also reminiscent of spruce? Aftertaste is not so exciting, there is some dry grass flavour, as well as a general bitter and slightly sweet feel. It seems to be dying out somewhat fast, before some sweetness returns again.

Body is medium, and the mouthfeel I would mostly characterize as sticky, buttery and on the thicker side (considering the price). It induces a tingling sensation on the tongue. I feel that the cha qi might be stronger than from the 2017 version, although that’s very hard to tell, as I have only done a few sessions with each.

The price at the moment is 0.1$/g, which seems adequate to me. I don’t think I will be getting a cake, but it’s a decent tea without any obvious flaws overall.

Flavors: Bitter, Dry Grass, Fruity, Honey, Meat, Pine, Sweet, Vegetal, Wood

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

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94

This is one of my favourite black teas, it compares very well with the “Feng Qing Ye Sheng Hong Cha”, another favourite of mine.

It has a beautiful smell, full body, pleasant and decently strong taste, and no astringency. The price is very good too. Really, it’s hard to imagine what more could you want.

As for the particular characteristics, it is quite a malty tea, but not as sweet and lacking the chocolate notes (I nevertheless do get a bit of cocoa beans flavour, especially in the finish) of many tippy Yunnan and Fujian red teas. The taste is definitely more balanced compared to those. It is tart, robust and sweet. I aslo get woody notes of cedar and barrel aged liquors. The aftertaste is strong and protracted, with hints of spices like star anise and cinnamon.

Importantly, the mouthfeel is not lacking in any way either. It is soft, velvety and full-bodied! If you like black tea, definitely get this one, the price is more than adequate!

Flavors: Brandy, Cedar, Cocoa, Malt, Molasses, Rum, Spices, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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74

This is a very temperamental tea, as others have pointed out as well. Finding the right brewing parameters is a challenge. This time I used half a cake (about 4g) in a 180ml clay teapot to retain the heat. I did 4 infusions with progressively extended times. First one started at about 1.5 minutes, which was a little too short in retrospect given that I didn’t do a wash.

The tea started off very light-bodied and thin. I only got a vague grassy and fruity notes and constrictive, milky mouthfeel. Later infusions fared bettter, but still I would say the tea was fairly light tasting and thin, especially the second one. The mouthfeel did become more coating and somewhat powdery though. I got a mix of fruity notes like banana & pear and vegetal/grassy ones. The aftertaste was quite long, fragrant and cooling, with a touch of coffee bitterness. It also induces a burning sensation in the throat. I enjoyed the aftertaste a lot. In the last, fourth infusion, the taste changed again, displaying more of its nutty side.

Not a bad tea at all once it gets going, but I have a feeling the price is a little too high for what it has to offer.

Flavors: Coffee, Fruity, Grass, Nuts, Pear

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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81

Due to the small size of both the tuo and the leaf particles, this tea has aged much more than an unbroken one would. The young edge is mostly gone by now. Because of the small particle size though, you have to be careful with the steeping times and reduce them accordingly. If you do so, you can get a flavourful and medium bodied tea with controlled levels of bitterness and astringency.

I found this tea to have quite an interesting and unuaual smell for a sheng. It especially reminds me of molasses and cooked milk, but I also get some black pepper and thyme notes. The mouthfeel is also somewhat milky and powdery.

The overall taste profile is on the sweet and bitter side of the spectrum. Nothing exceptional, but a good body with balanced taste combined with the price means this is a great sheng for everyday drinking. Suitable for work as well, because the cha qi is not too strong. I was also pleasantly surprised by the prolonged and enjoyable aftertaste that is somewhat spicy.

1 tuo gives me about 10 (~100ml) infusions and that’s without really pushing it.

Flavors: Bitter, Black Pepper, Milk, Molasses, Spicy, Sweet, Thyme

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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75

This is a subtle and mellow tea, not too strong in either aroma or taste. Smell is thick, heavy and damp with notes of pickle, grilled corn and (roast) vegetables. The taste is medicinal, grassy and floral. There is a bit of honey, but the dominant flavour is the one of dry grass/hay. Bitterness and astringency ares mild initially, but the astringency picks up steam considerable throughout the session. The mouthfeel is buttery, numbing and quite dry in the finish.

Overall, I found this sheng to be quite pleasant and easy to drink. However, it didn’t seem very complex. The cha qi is very strong though, especially considering it’s an autumn tea.

Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Corn Husk, Dry Grass, Floral, Hay, Heavy, Honey, Medicinal, Popcorn, Vegetables

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

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Profile

Bio

Hi, I am a researcher in math, physics and computer science. Apart from teas and mathematics, I enjoy sports and traveling, as well as music of all kinds. Connect at https://rateyourmusic.com/~Togo

I had been drinking Japanese green tea for a while before discovering the world of tea 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

Innsbruck, Austria

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