596 Tasting Notes

92

Here’s another tea that was stashed away in my fridge for many months. I’ve been trying to sip down what’s left of last year’s green tea. Pacing myself though so I don’t run out before the 2020 spring greens are ready.

It’s been somewhat of a chore drinking through my Laoshan greens as last year’s harvest wasn’t all that great. One of the few bright spots, however, was the Laoshan flat pressed varietal. I liked the Reserve grade version and the first flush turned out to be delicious as well. It’s a fresh, bright tasting tea with crisp florals and notes of soybeans, peas, and bamboo shoots. There’s a soft sweetness rounded out by a nice nutty tone in the background.

While this tea is modeled after dragonwell, the flavor profile is completely different – it’s closer to regular Laoshan green tea. The leaf is itself is darker, and thinner than the large flat blades of dragonwell.

Flavors: Bamboo, Garden Peas, Honey, Nutty, Soybean

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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90
drank Peach Blossom by Rishi Tea
596 tasting notes

Like many other people I’ve been working from home for the past week because of the Coronavirus crisis. Although I hate being confined indoors, it has given me plenty of tea drinking opportunities. This was a sample I received with my Rishi order a while back. I love peach flavored anything and this tea was no exception.

The smell of the tea is incredibly sweet with juicy bursts of tangerine, pineapple, and peach. Brings back fond memories of Teavana’s Fruta Bomba. The taste is less intense than the aroma though. It has a gentle peach-pear flavor that’s light and refreshing. The peach flavoring tastes natural and complements the white tea base nicely. There’s quince in the blend but I couldn’t pick it out in the tea. As someone who finds most flavored teas overpowering, I can appreciate how well-balanced this one is.

Flavors: Orange, Peach, Pear

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

Spring 2019 harvest.

I didn’t realize until I sat down to log this tasting note that I had ordered this tea once before. But it’s okay because that was back when I didn’t have an appreciation for dragonwell nor understood how to brew it properly.

For a tea that’s sat in cold storage for 8 months, this has held up remarkably well. The aroma that this tea presents is a nutty, creamy mixture of chestnut, asparagus, and buttered green beans. The brewed tea starts with a vegetal-wheatgrass like flavor quite similar to matcha. Notes of Napa cabbage, asparagus, and green beans appear as the tea continues to steep. It’s strong, full-bodied, and has a very savory flavor. Very drinkable but not as sublime as the higher end Shi Feng dragonwells I had last year. In fairness I didn’t drink it at peak freshness so who knows how good it might have been.

Flavors: Asparagus, Chestnut, Creamy, Grass, Nutty, Vegetal

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 g 9 OZ / 270 ML

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93

Whoa, this was a lot better than expected. I was originally getting a regular latte with my French Cruller but the marketing hype for Dunkin’s new matcha lattes nudged me to order this instead. I rarely order matcha drinks from cafes and bubble tea shops because they are never to my liking. Either they’re super sweet like Starbucks, taste weird, or made from poor quality matcha. However I enjoyed every slurp of this drink aside from the few clumps of undissolved matcha powder. Nice bright green tea flavor, not too earthy, with just the right amount of sugar to give it a subdued sweetness.

There was nothing fancy to the preparation of this drink at all. They literally just dumped matcha powder in with cold milk and ice and gave it a little stir. That’s it. No fancy whisk or hot water. It’s kind of embarrassing how this ridiculously simple preparation tasted better than the fussy methods I use at home to make matcha lattes. It never occurred to me to add matcha directly into cold water.

So with some inspiration from Dunkin, I’ve been making my own iced matcha lattes at home and dare I say they taste better than Dunkin’s. I start by dissolving a teaspoon of matcha powder in a little room temperature water inside a mason jar. Then add a small squirt of agave or sugar followed by milk. Put on a lid and shake everything till well blended. Drop in a few ice cubes and sip directly from the mason jar. Easy peasy. Soo good and no bitterness either!

Preparation
Iced 1 tsp
gmathis

Generally speaking, I’m not a matcha fan, but I’ve got some sample packets that need to be used or pitched…you’ve inspired me! (Especially with warmer weather on the way.)

LuckyMe

@gmathis, I don’t care for matcha on its own either but I love it in drinks and confectionery. Mixing it directly with cold water or milk though really makes for a smoother drinking experience.

tea-sipper

Oh gosh, I don’t seem to like anything at Dunkin except munchkins. This doesn’t sound bad though!

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90

Finished my sample of this last night. This was a solid Shan Lin Xi with tropical fruit aromas and perfumey florals, typical of this type of tea. Out of the bag, the leaves have a buttery honeysuckle fragrance. Following a rinse, the aroma becomes fruitier with notes of mango and nectar, accented by vanilla and coconut.

The tea opens up with a subtle sweetness and hint of jasmine. As it progresses through steeps, it builds intricate floral layers of lilac, honeysuckle, and wildflowers. Smooth body and a slight fruitiness in the background that complements the florals nicely. I got about 7 steeps out of it.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Mango, Nectar, Tropical

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 69 ML

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79

I normally enjoy Laoshan tea but this recent harvest isn’t doing it for me. It’s got the usual vegetal notes – zucchini, edamame, and cilantro being the prominent ones I picked out – but something about it tastes off, like overripe fruit. It reminds me of pears or honeydew that sat out too long. At the moment, it’s been banished to my work stash where my less loved but still palatable teas go. It tastes better cold brewed or blended with a flavored tea so that’s probably how I’ll drink the rest of it.

Flavors: Coriander, Pear, Soybean, Zucchini

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 g 3 OZ / 96 ML
Inkling

How disappointing! :(

tea-sipper

hmm.. I don’t know if I’m usually noticing an overripe fruit note with this one, but it sounds interesting.

LuckyMe

@tea-sipper, usually this is a good tea but something is a little different about the taste this time. Could also have been affected by keeping it in cold storage

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98
drank Japanese Green Tea by Pokka
596 tasting notes

Picked up a can of this at Mitsuwa last week. This was an exceptionally good canned green tea. It has a crisp, clean flavor with a creamy matcha like mouthfeel and almost no bitterness to speak of. Good balance of umami and sweetness. Those who aren’t into the grassiness of green tea might like this one as it lacks the mossy green taste of sencha.

I liked this a lot better than Ito-En and some of the other bottled teas out there. Maybe it’s just in my head, but green tea in a can tastes so much better than in a bottle.

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88

A respectable and quite drinkable Li Shan but doesn’t exactly set my world on fire. It has aromas of magnolia, cream, and vanilla. The taste is very clean and refreshing with notes of honeysuckles, water lilies, and a mineral sweetness. That said, it tastes somewhat generic and lacks that buttery, thick body of higher quality Li Shan teas. Goes for several steeps and has a nice, meditative cha qi.

Instagram shot: https://www.instagram.com/p/B8hFSwRAuGR/

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Mineral

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 69 ML

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90

Backlog. Finished off my sample of this tea sometime last week. This was a nice flowery gaoshan, smooth with a supple texture in the mouth. Fresh floral aroma with hints of butter and tropical fruit. When brewed the liquor unveils delicate notes of honeysuckles, gardenia, and lily of the valley that linger into the aftertaste. Gives about 5 good steeps before the flavor fades out.

Fushoushan is a pricey tea, up there with the likes of Dayuling. It was certainly enjoyable but not in proportion to the price tag which is usually the case with teas in this range. In any event, I’m grateful that TTC offers samplers that help make these expensive gaoshans more accessible.

Flavors: Apple, Butter, Flowers, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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97

So yesterday evening, I decided I was tired of my usual greens and oolongs and wanted something different for a change. I had this Silver Needle tea many months ago and since then, it had been sitting in the back of my cupboard, sadly forgotten. Though I tend to enjoy white tea, I seldom find myself craving it.

Anyways, it was late and I didn’t want something too caffeinated so I grandpa steeped just 1g in an 8oz glass. The flavor was just as I remembered. Sweet and delicately floral, with a faint hay taste mingled with spice and the feel of freshly laundered linens. It’s light and airy with an almost ethereal velvety texture in the mouth.

Silver needle is one of those teas that ages well. It’s been a little less than a year since I purchased this tea and although the flavor hasn’t evolved much, it hasn’t deteriorated either. It tastes as good as the day I bought it which doesn’t happen with most teas.

Flavors: Floral, Hay, Ocean Air, Spices, Vanilla

Preparation
1 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
derk

I think about this tea often. Hope it’s available this year.

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Bio

My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea many years ago and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and flavored Teavana teas. My tea epiphany happened when I discovered jade oolongs. That was my gateway drug to the world of high quality tea and teaware.

For the most part, I drink straight tea but do appreciate a good flavored tea on occasion. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks have started to grow on me. I’m less enthusiastic about puerh though. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, philosophy, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky

Location

Chicago

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