104 Tasting Notes

80

I had this one again this morning. I was in the mood to try puer tea once again, and this is the only one I currently have on my shelf. Once again, I could taste the cooked spinach and wet wood flavors of the tea—both of which seem to appeal to me more than the last time I had it. I remember having reservations about this when I first had it, but I would actually say I enjoyed it this time—it’s definitely flavorful! I only have enough unused tea for one more session, so I am going to order more puer tea, but I think I will try another product to compare and learn a bit more about puer tea.

Flavors: Earth, Spinach, Wet Wood

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90

Sipdown! I enjoy matcha when I am in the mood for it, but that is so infrequently, and the powder expires so quickly, that it really doesn’t make sense for me to keep it on my shelf. Overall, though, I am still very satisfied with this one! I’d buy it again if I ever get into a matcha kick. Making no changes to my original review and rating.

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90

At first, I wasn’t sure about this tea. The tea leaves are all tightly hand-rolled into small balls, but they took longer than I expected to unfurl in the water. I therefore ended up drinking it grandpa style rather than the Western style brew I had initially started in my teapot.

Once the leaves did unfurl, the leaves were smaller than I expected as well, and looked much more fragile than the firm leaves I’ve found in other hand-rolled oolongs. Closer inspection, though, revealed no stems—my steeping was entirely full leaves (slightly torn around the edges but not broken). That was nice to discover!

The liquor itself has a sweet flavor to it—both floral and nutty at the same time. The floral flavor is stronger than the nutty flavor, but they both are there. It is nuttier than the Tung Ting oolong I drank last week but that adds something extra to this tea. I could see this being a tea that would last through repeated steepings (although I can’t attempt that today).

Overall, I am deeply satisfied with this tea, as the quality shows in both flavor and in appearance. I look forward to coming back to this tea again throughout this spring and summer.

NOTE: The vendor website notes that this shipment was harvested in October, 2017

Flavors: Floral, Nutty, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 8 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

I’ve had this one for breakfast off and on over the past week or two. I really like the smoothness of the Keemun, which balances the harsh Assam. That combination makes it very drinkable—even on an empty stomach. I didn’t get the upset stomach from the tannins that I normally get from straight Assam.

I can (slightly) taste the cocoa flavor with which this tea is marketed by the vendor. Along with that, though, I also find a stronger flavor of cherries. The first time I had it, I noticed the cherries and thought I’d see if that was a one-off—that something in the way that I made it that day caused the flavor. Nope—each successive time I’ve made this tea, the cherry flavor has been there. I didn’t find the maltiness normally associated with Assam teas, but the astringency of Assam is still there.

Overall, it is a great morning blend—strong caffeine, medium-bodied, and not too harsh. The flavor is different enough from most black teas that keeping it stocked in my collection is definitely warranted.

Flavors: Astringent, Cherry, Cocoa

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 9 g 20 OZ / 591 ML

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80

I found this tea in the back of my pantry this morning and thought, “It’s an oolong kind of day today.” Last time I had it, I drank it “grandpa style” and remembered it being quite good that way, so that’s what I am doing again today.

It’s still a great tea—I especially love looking over at my glass tumbler on my desk and seeing the floating leaves throughout the morning. I’ve been neglecting oolongs these past few months while focusing on blacks and greens throughout the day—this tea tells me that I have to remedy that going into these next few months.

Preparation
9 g 20 OZ / 591 ML

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80

This is one that has been on my shelf for about 6-9 months and I had forgotten about it. I first had it as a sample and liked it so much that I ordered a larger quantity. It arrived, and I promptly forgot about it as I wasn’t in the mood for a second flush for a number of weeks. I found it again this week and I am glad I did! It has a smooth mouthfeel with pleasant sweet flavors of Muscat grapes and apricots. It’s a great afternoon tea—light and fruity. Slight nutty flavor as well.

Flavors: Apricot, Muscatel, Nutty, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 9 g 20 OZ / 591 ML

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85
drank Ancient Forest by Art of Tea
104 tasting notes

Sipdown of the last of my Ancient Forest! :(

I hope my local tea shop still has some in stock—I couldn’t find it listed on the Art of Tea website anymore, so I am not sure if they are distributing it.

I will miss this one—it was a surprise find and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

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85
drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
104 tasting notes

After reading so many wonderful reviews of this tea by other Steepster users like Rosehips and ashmanra, I finally decided to include an order for Queen Catherine in my latest H&S shipment. I am so glad I did—this is a wonderful tea!

I steeped nine grams of the dried tea leaves in 20 ounces of near-boiling water for four minutes. The brewed liquor came out very dark—like coffee.

The tea did not have any revealing aromas that I could pick up. Drinking it, though, I was immediately presented with a hint of cocoa flavor behind the tea. There is absolutely no astringency to this tea at all—very smooth and creamy. It has a full mouthfeel to it as well, enhancing the experience with this tea.

I am very happy to have finally tried this tea after hearing so much about it. I was not at all disappointed in the quality and the flavors. A tea this smooth would make an excellent choice for regular/daily drinking and I will be glad to add it into my regular rotation while my tin lasts.

Flavors: Cocoa, Creamy, Smooth

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 9 g 20 OZ / 591 ML
ashmanra

I am always a little nervous when someone tried the Queen based on my love for her, and I am always delighted when they like (or love) her! I am sure you have seen that we like adding a smidgen of Rose Scented now and then for a sweet change and a bit of added foofiness!

teepland

asmanra: That sounds like a wonderful addition to this tea to give it an added boost! The smoothness of this tea would serve as a perfect base for something like this. Thanks for sharing!

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80
drank East Frisian by Harney & Sons
104 tasting notes

A blend of Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon black teas? Yes, please!

I’ve been having this as a morning tea for the past few days and have been deeply satisfied with it. It is a strong, dark tea, sure to wake you up!

I brewed the tea using my usual guide for black tea: nine grams of dried leaves in 20 ounces of near-boiling water for four minutes.

The dried leaves are broken and small—consistently dark with the occasional lighter tip.

I can definitely taste the Assam in the tea—bread-like and malty. It isn’t as malty as a straight Assam, though, so the blending with Ceylon and Darjeeling leaves seem to have tempered the flavor a bit. The tannins haven’t affected me as much, either, so that is plus. I normally don’t drink my teas with cream/milk or sugar, so I always worry about being affected by tannins in my morning cuppa.

Overall, I am enjoying this tea and have worked it into my morning routine, taking turns with a straight Assam, depending on my mood. Given the location and clime from which this tea gets its name, this is a perfect tea for a cold, windy, dreary morning like today.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Toast

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 9 g 20 OZ / 591 ML
ashmanra

This really IS a strong one!

teepland

ashmanra: Yes it is! I can see why East Frisians are known for adding lots of rock sugar and cream to their teas, if this is a reflection of the way they make their tea. :)

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95

This is definitely one of the best teas I have had in recent memory!

I have been drinking this tea in the evenings the past few days, and finally got around to typing up my notes.

I steeped five grams of this tea in twelve ounces of near-boiling water for four minutes. The leaves themselves are twisted, orthodox leaves.

The brewed liquor had a golden color—not as light as what is shown in the picture here, but still light. The aroma coming off the liquor was an inviting blend of apricots, peaches, and muscatel grapes. These aromas all carried over into the flavor of the tea as well, with apricots being the primary flavor I noticed. It also had a slight sweet, floral flavor—not a specific flower as far as I can tell (I’m not good at identifying specific flowers), but floral nonetheless.

Overall, this is an excellent, fruity first flush Darjeeling—very light with minimal amounts of caffeine, which make it an excellent afternoon or evening tea. I will miss this tea when it is gone.

NOTE: My package had a date of picking of March, 2017.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Muscatel, Peach, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Profile

Bio

Husband and father. Librarian. Soccer fan.

My tea habits generally depend on my mood and the season but, in general, my preferred teas are black teas, especially those grown in Sri Lanka and India. I will occasionally drink other types, though.

Unless noted in my review, I brew my tea western style and do not use additives (milk/cream, sugar, etc.).

I am definitely not an expert when it comes to tea, so I apologize if my reviews differ from the experiences you’ve had with any of the teas I have logged.

Please feel free to contact me and let me know if you have a favorite that I have to try! :)

My grading for tea:

100: Perfect.

90, 95: Excellent.

80, 85: Very good.

70, 75: Good.

60, 65: Okay.

50, 55: Meh.

40, 45: Not so good.

0-35: Awful.

Location

Northwest Indiana, USA

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