54 Tasting Notes


This was part of my December Obubu CSA Club shipment, along with a sample of Gokou matcha (which smells fantastic). This is a lovely everyday green, the flavor is much sweeter than I was expecting from a tea grade described as being “low” – not as buttery as the other grades of sencha, but still that vegetal “hearty” green tea flavor that steeps into a pleasing bright yellow. I got two great steeps out of my first pot.

The dry leaf is also fun, light greens and dark greens and twigs here and there – a sign that it’s fresh. Reminds me of childhood when my grandfather farmed hay and made handmade brooms. Will hopefully get a pic on my blog up soon.

Once again, a well-crafted tea, even if it’s just a ‘lowly’ bancha. Very grateful that Obubu has made their teas available via the CSA club.

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I enjoyed the original version of The du Hammam, which is a green fruit blend with dates, but the green leaf and the super-sweet date in the blend wasn’t my preference. To my good fortune, I was offered a chance to try the black leaf version of this recipe, which features a wonderful smoky, floral, spicy keemun as the base and swaps the dates for rhubarb.
Fantastic! None of the ingredients overpower each other, it’s fruity without being super-sweet or astringent, and the richness of the keemun just keeps me coming back to my mug. Notes range from floral, red-fruit, spice, and I even detected some chocolate in the sip because the keemun is just that good (no chocolate in the ingredient list).
Definitely worth trying if you haven’t yet – it wasn’t listed in their Theophile catalog, but it’s available on their U.S. website, so it might be fairly new. They have a rooibos version as well that I haven’t tried yet. But I will definitely be ordering more of this Black Leaf The du Hammam.

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I’ve tried a few blends that called themselves white peony, but this has to honestly be the first real Bai Mu Dan I’ve encountered, and I like it. I’m truly not a fan of white tea simply because the ones I’ve tried in past were too delicate to be noticed or would otherwise have to be oversteeped to the point of being bitter to get any flavor to suit me.

Teavivre’s version is truly just a blend of different leaves and buds, the number of white downy leaves had me impressed. It came in a single-serve pack, one pack made a nice aromatic 2-cup pot that was smooth, delicate, but it also had flavor. A bit floral, and a bit of hay.

I enjoyed two pots of it on Thanksgiving day and am reserving the other two packs to sip closer to the other holidays. I now “get” what people who like Bai Mu Dan are talking about.

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This is a decent shu pu-er. I would advise to steep it a bit longer than the directions call for to get the real power of the cup. I tried it by-the-book and then with a much longer steep, and I enjoyed the second version much more, got so much more true flavor from it. Steeping such a compressed nozzle of leaf for 1 minute doesn’t really cut it – it’s a diluted version of it’s true self as the leaves are still trying to come unglued.

With the longer steep I enjoyed the traditional earthiness-ranging-to-spicy flavors, still a bit smoother than I might prefer, but very drinkable. Not bitter, even after a long steep, and no “dusty” notes either, on the flip side. I could see this being a good steep for the morning, when you want that rich, earthy kick, but still need something subtle and easy to wash down.

Pics, my steeping attempts, and other thoughts in my blog review: http://bit.ly/s7zKmj

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As the name might imply, it’s not your typical spicy, winter herbal infusion. It’s got a red berry sweet/tart kick, a bit of citrus, and a smooth vanilla overtone that I really enjoyed. Being an herbal, you can adjust it to be as strong or as subtle as you like. I got two cups out of my serving and it was enough to inspire me to try it in other ways – in recipes, adding it to seltzer or ginger ale. It doesn’t leave your mouth puckering from elements that are overdone – not too much citrus or berry that it overpowers, just enough spice from the star anise that it tastes festive, but not like you’re drinking another version of a chai.
More pics and thoughts (recipe additions I’m thinking of trying out) on my blog review: http://bit.ly/tuNKvd

American Tea Room

So glad you enjoyed. We just made a mulled wine with this and IMHO it came out pretty great.


Can’t wait to get my sample.


I can’t wait to get mine either! : )

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Most TGY’s share the same floral/buttery characteristics but each one leans more to one or the other depending on the oxidation. This is a nice example of a floral-leaning and delicate TGY. I prepared it gong-fu style and the flavor was consistent throughout the four steepings before it started losing power.
That being said, my preference is for a more balanced, robust, buttery version at the start.
Also noticed a few more broken leaves than I’m accustomed to seeing in an oolong, but overall, not bad.
Full notes and pics on my blog : http://bit.ly/vnfzaP

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I’m in my second week of having this tea accompany me nearly all day, and it’s still a favorite. There’s a ying/yang of smooth and and astringent, the very subtle vanilla backdrop ties it together. There’s an aftertaste of citrus, but it’s orange citrus, not lemon or bergamot, which is why it appeals to me. You can taste the green and the black in different sips.
My only problem is that I’m going through my supply so quickly, this is one I’ll need to re-order soon.
My initial/full review with pics (second half of post) : http://bit.ly/tJ9v40

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This was the second of two samples I was sent from Le Palais celebrating their new online web presence for the U.S. This one by all appearances seems to be a best seller, and it’s well-crafted, but it’s an example of why I’m not crazy about green tea blends.

It’s a base of China green, which comes through just fine with the other ingredients. It’s a strong sweet front of citrus, strawberry, and date, but then it turns into astringent and perfumey, which clashes with the sweet/not-sweet qualities of the green tea.

They have what I can only assume is a new version of this tea in a Keemun blend as listed on the U.S. web site. They’ve taken out the dates in that version, so I imagine this might work better in line with my taste preferences, the smokiness of the Keemun being a better match for the citrus/berry/perfume notes.

So if you don’t have an aversion to a perfumey aftertaste, you might enjoy this.

My full review and pics at my blog : http://bit.ly/shse0P


they have such a cute web site


Yes, they’ve done some god things on the site. Beatiful designs.

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This is a black tea that will appeal to the mild child in most of us. It’s more savory than sweet, with a strong topnote of chocolate, some spice, hints of wine as it lingers on the palate. Nothing overpowering in any direction, simply a smooth cup of black tea.

That may be why it’s called gong fu – a nod to it being one of the oldest black teas produced in its region. At some point you learn to do it right, n’est-ce pas?

What’s interesting to me as well is reading TeaVivre’s description of the caffeine content. It’s lower in comparison to a cup of coffee, so it might be a good nightime tea, but that’s also a relative statement. If you’re preparing it “gong-fu” style, that might be a moot point as well.

A really intriguing tea that I would venture to call a possible gateway tea for the hot chocolate drinker in your life who’s looking for something new to try.

Pics and further thoughts in my full review on my blog : http://bit.ly/t131TI

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Many people have described this tea as a bit of a chameleon because it can take on so many different flavor profiles depending on who steeps it, but this example from YuanShiang farms is spectacular, and I’ll describe it as my palate interprets it.

I’ve included a few more pics and info in my blog review here: http://bit.ly/v4Y5Yu.

You can definitely tell that it’s an Assam underneath the processing. Malty, medium astringency, bright. Then there’s the spice, the red and blue fruit flavors, and I detect an aftertaste that reminds of tobacco or leather. It’s very much like a red wine, but with the Assam underneath, it’s that much better!

The Ruby name might refer to the color of the liqueur, but strangely enough it “tastes” like what I would expect a “red” beverage to taste like, whether wine or tea. Not fruity in the citrus or sweet vein, but like a tart raspberry or grape.

And the leaves are long and appear to be delicately rolled or “handcrafted” as the jargon goes.

I guess I have The Global Tea Taster’s club to blame once again for adding another “must have” to my repertoire.


Global Tea Taster’s Club? That sounds like fun!

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Still fairly new to the life-long process of learning and appreciating tea. Got into loose leaf a number of years ago after health concerns cut soda and sugared drinks from my repertoire. I’ve been blogging about and exploring tea more in-depth for the past several years and I just plain enjoy it. I keep an eye out for French tea trends as well, so if you parlez, bienvenue!

My ratings tend to fall into these categories:

I don’t bother discussing teas that I wouldn’t recommend to other folks on some level. Not worth drinking, not worth wasting time, so you won’t see many yellow light scores from me. I will, however, post if a tea is marketed as something it’s not. There are a couple of examples in my tea log.

50-70’s : Fair. Either a quality or grade issue or perhaps not suited to my personal preference. Wouldn’t turn it down if it were a gift, but wouldn’t purchase it for myself.

80’s: Good teas. Enjoyable and well-crafted, but maybe some slight room for improvement or maybe a notch below another of the same type that I’ve tried. Would buy again if the price were reasonable.

90’s: Excellent teas. My personal favorites that I’ve fallen in love with and have been surprised by.

I don’t know that I’ve ever rated a 100, which is why the 80’s and 90’s are more representative of the teas I like and would recommend. A 96 is just about perfect.



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