333 Tasting Notes

86
drank Tie Guan Yin by Heng Xin
333 tasting notes

Finished this one today as well. I think I’ve been a little too adamant on finishing teas in preparation for moving. In truth, it’s going to be a very simple, short-distance move, so really there’s nothing wrong with having a few more teas in my cupboard!

This tea strikes me a little differently every time I have it. My first impression of it, after being used to stronger Tie Guan Yin teas, was that it was very subtle. But there is a complexity to it, floral notes as I noted before, and vegetal but not grassy components as well. The best I can describe it is that it’s very reminiscent of a garden or tree-lined avenue in southeastern China after a late spring rain. Fresh, very vital, with more going on than is evident at first glance.

I’m hoping to get a few more of these basically unknown or even unnamed teas this year. Hard to find or input on this site, but definitely worth trying.

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I’ve been fairly busy the last few days. It’s one of these times when I don’t want to break out the good stuff; it’s hard to appreciate what I’m drinking if I’m sipping on it while working on a project. So I’ve had this tea for the past few mornings. It’s not a heavy-duty black tea, but it does wake you up in a mellow sort of way. The lavender and bergamot are gently present in both the aroma and flavor. Lavender can be too sharp sometimes, but here it’s just right, and the tea itself is surprisingly good for a filter bag. I would call it a soft version of the typical breakfast tea.

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72

As the converse of “cold brew things I wouldn’t normally cold brew”, I steeped this one hot for the first time today. The aroma was very much like warm apple cider, so I was concerned that the tea was going to be overly sweet. But this wasn’t the case, and it came out as a light, smooth green tea with a touch of apple flavor. As a simple, straightforward fruity tea it’s pretty good with a meal.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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82
drank Boston by Harney & Sons
333 tasting notes

Tried this again today as one of my “cold brew things I wouldn’t regularly cold brew” experiments. The result was sweet. Really, really sweet. Just opening the container gave me a full whiff of sugary aroma. The flavor was also quite sweet, with a bit of lingering cranberry, but not as tea-like or rich as it had been when brewed hot. However, the somewhat astringent finish of the hot brew was gone in this preparation, and it was silky smooth.

Overall, I’m not sure I’d try this one cold again. This does seem to be a method for finding out if a blend has more flavoring than I would like.

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82
drank Jasmin Mandarin by Lupicia
333 tasting notes

Got this in this month’s Lupicia newsletter. It’s a pretty standard jasmine green tea. The jasmine aroma is nicely fragrant, though the tea itself is average and slightly bitter. Pretty similar to the tea you get at most Chinese restaurants in the U.S.

I’ve been working on finishing the teas I have, in preparation for moving next month. The mornings have been cooler and grayer of late, which is starting to make all the roasty black and oolong teas seem much more appealing.

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80
drank Tower of London by Harney & Sons
333 tasting notes

Finished this one yesterday. I only ordered the tagalong size, which is five sachets. I’m not sure I love it enough to get it full-sized yet.

This does brew up into a surprisingly good iced tea, one that tastes like it already has lemon and honey added (which may be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences).

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90
drank Shuixian by Unknown
333 tasting notes

This is one of those mystery teas I sometimes end up with from friends and family in China. It has an incredibly rich, woodsmoke sort of aroma and taste, with a little bit of sweetness underneath reminiscent of longan fruit.

When I had more of this, I used to brew up a cup whenever I felt like I needed inspiration. After trying a few more subtle oolongs lately, I think the smokiness in this one is a little too in-your-face for it to be perfect, but it’s still one of my favorites.

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94

Drank up the last of this sample, alas…

This tea is, for me, fine to drink even in the evening; it’s mellow and soothing, and not over-energizing at all. The flavor is still richly complex and difficult to describe, and entrancing in that I don’t feel like having anything else for a while after I’ve drank it. By the way, I shared some of the sample with my dad (he of the innumerable teapots) when he was in town, and it has been family-approved as “something really special”.

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77

Does it count as a tasting note if I cooked with this?

I made tea eggs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_egg) with three sachets of the tea to one large pot of water and half a dozen eggs. The kitchen smelled amazing while I was simmering them. I taste-tested one after simmering, and the mint flavor was distractingly strong, but after keeping the eggs in the broth overnight, the mint was gone and the overall flavor was good. The finished product is fairly similar to traditional tea eggs, and the marbled eggs look quite beautiful.

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82
drank Boston by Harney & Sons
333 tasting notes

This one smells like the winter holidays—cranberry, and a mixture of sweet aromas that reminded me of caramel, though I’m not sure that’s one of the ingredients. There’s a bit of sweet almond in there too.

The tea brews a lighter color than most black teas I’ve encountered. The tea base is mild, malty, and unassuming, and reminds me of Fairmont Maple Maple. The appearance of the leaves in these two blends are very similar as well. The cranberry flavor is distinct and crisp, but this is definitely a “mellow” black tea. I wasn’t sure if I liked this one or Tower of London better, but it gets more points for being unique.

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Bio

Science writer and a cat that learned to type.

I grew up in a tea-loving family, and tea has always been a part of daily life. I’m still astounded by the amount of tea and teaware back home every time I visit! While I’m most familiar with straight Chinese teas, I’m growing to explore and appreciate other types of tea, including blended and flavored ones. A good blend can reflect the thought and creativity that was put into making it, instead of being too sweet or busy in a way that gives the “genre” a bad rap.

Likes:
-most black teas (even lapsang)
-most oolongs, especially Fujian teas, baozhong and dancong
-houjicha
-straight white teas
-citrus
-almond/amaretto
-coconut
-vanilla

Variable (some are great, some not so):
-most green teas
-tie guan yin
-flavored white teas
-assam
-rooibos
-melon
-mint
-grape

Ratings:
90-100: definite repurchase if possible, recommended
80-90: enjoyed, possible repurchase
70-80: fair to good
60-70: fair with some shortcomings
50-60: there’s still a chance I’d take this if it were free
under 50: absolutely not

Location

Southern California

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