4 Tasting Notes

drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
4 tasting notes

I’ve seen cocoa in tasting notes for black teas many a time, but none of the others, besides this tea, have really delivered for me. The cocoa flavors and sweetness hit you with the first brew and continue on throughout subsequent infusions, carrying a warm ceylon cinnamon body taste with subtle hints of licorice. There’s no real signs of major astringency, even brewing gaiwan style, holding a good flavor for 8 infusions if not more. Overall this tea has been another really positive experience in my foray into Yunnan black teas, with it being in one of the best in comparison to the others I have tried.

205 °F / 96 °C

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This Bi Lo Chun treated me fairly well, yielding about three to four consistent brews in my gaiwan. It was a fair bit too astringent for me, but that’s my usual experience with this variety of tea. The flavor was excellent thou, with a mellow citrusy base with floral hints that brings honeysuckle and phlox to mind. I can definitely say this quenched my craving for a Bi Lo Chun, this being a solid representation.

180 °F / 82 °C

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I had originally purchased this gunpowder to be used as a base for Moroccan mint tea, as I had access to some wonderful fresh mint growing on the farm that I’m currently employed at. For this the gunpowder performed beautifully, lacking the bitterness I’ve associated lower quality teas of this variety that I’ve had in the past but still presenting that bold and vegetal flavor that I was looking for as my base.

I’ve decided to rate this based on my current drinkings, just as is now that the mint has died back quite a bit and I’m left with 50 grams or so.

Brewing notes: I’ve fallen into a habit, modeled by my usual intake of rolled oolongs, of using a gaiwan packing a little more that I would for an infuser. I put about a tsp and a half in my little 125ml gaiwan and steeped in short increasing durations usually out to 5 or 6 steeps.

Drinking notes: My enthusiasm for this tea come from my notes above about the fullness of it’s flavor and it’s lack of bitterness, but also come from it’s longevity. Every time I’ve drank this tea, brewing it gaiwan style, I’ve gotten consistent flavor and body up to the 5th brew at least. My usual experience with brewing greens in this manner only yields consistency in strength up to the 3rd or 4th steep. That being said, this quality also leads to what detracts from this tea. This is not a tea that will surprise you with each subsequent brew, it has a very mildly astringency with a full bodied vegetal brew and slight dark honey ( I’m thinking buckwheat honey) hints in the aftertaste, which stays very consistent until spent.

Overall, I’m very pleased by my purchase, finding such a pleasing experience with gunpowder a tea that I’ve had mixed feelings about for quite a while. This isn’t a tea that will be novel and exciting thou, but that’s not to say I always look for that in my daily drinkings.

180 °F / 82 °C

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I’m on a journey, not only to explore all the variety camellia sinensis has to offer, but to discover the intimate details surrounding the tools and cultures that allow us to interact with this sacred leaf.


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