What Black Are You Drinking

Oxidized tea
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Balthazar
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Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:11 pm

swordofmytriumph wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:39 pm
What is the difference between the traditionally smoked stuff and the modern stuff? Besides the traditional stuff being better, obviously.
That's a good question that I'm probably not qualified to answer. I might have been a bit careless in using the term "traditional". What I think about when using the term in connection with Lapsang Souchong, is the smoke-drying over pinewood (and not pine tar, as with "tarry lapsang"). Whether or not there are other parts of the processing that are relevant as to whether a lapsang qualifies as "traditional" or not I don't really know.

There's a "Traditional Lapsang Souchong" for sale at a very affordable price at YS, and while it's a decent daily drinker it's nowhere near the quality of the mentioned sample offered by CWS, or the lapsang sold by Jing Tea Shop. I don't think the quality of the leaf is the only difference between these teas. I have a hunch that the processing is quite different, but I don't really know.
Ethan Kurland
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Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:57 pm

swordofmytriumph wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:39 pm
What is the difference between the traditionally smoked stuff and the modern stuff? Besides the traditional stuff being better, obviously.
1.Known for being smoked with pinewood (if memory serves). Using a different wood could change the flavor, but worse than that is the use of essence instead of really smoking the tea.
Another issue is how much care is taken when tea is smoked. To make sure smoke gets to all of the leaves properly must take a lot of work. "Traditional" might mean doing it properly....
Had an unsmoked lapsang souchong from John B. a couple of years back. Was really good & when I checked up on it, decided I better forget who sold it (too expensive for me).

2. Ruby Jade 18: After resting in ceramic caddy for 2 days, this is delicious. Amazing how a tea straight from newly opened packet, can be disappointing; then after breathing for 2 days, can be dynamic & satisfying. Also, I don't forget that I had tried 18 > several times over a few years before I found someone's that was good.
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Shine Magical
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Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:41 am

I’m drinking 2016 Spring Taiwan Wild Red Tea from Tea Masters. I don’t like it very much because when I brew it it either comes out with a dull flavor or an astringent flavor. I am still learning about different types of red tea. Surprisingly I like the tea the most when brewed strong and it cools down in the cup considerably, which gives it a much more mellow flavor where I can pick out some nutty chocolate notes and the astringency tastes more like acidity and lemon. But I like to drink my tea hot, I’m not even really a fan of cold brew. I feel like it would do better in a clay pot than in the thin porcelain I used to brew it in. There was about 5g of broken leaves/dust in the bag which I did not like since it was $1.3/g. Though there was slightly more tea in the bag overall than what I had paid for. It still tastes a lot better than some black teas I’ve been having recently from random vendors I found on Instagram like 180andup, but it’s a little more expensive and I hold Tea Masters to a high standard since I usually appreciate their teas and recommend them all the time.

My favorite black tea recently has been Jin Chan Xiang (Chinese red) from Four Seasons Tea. I got it as a sample and it was very lemon/citrus, I did not realize the mellow flavor I was tasting was cereal until I read the tasting notes online. It felt rather balanced and not astringent, it was also one of the lower grade blacks they carry so I ordered samples of their entire black tea selection, I can’t wait to try it. Here’s my tasting notes from that session.
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Ethan Kurland
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Wed Oct 23, 2019 5:18 pm

Shine Magical, My source for Oriental Beauty wraps that tea oddly in 150-gram packs (not foil) and tapes them tightly shut. It seemed wrong to me, but it is to prevent that kind of breakage. Another source uses the standard foil bags that usually get very tightly closed with vacuum-sealing, but for black tea the bag does not get the air so thoroughly pulled out--again to avoid the breakage. Sorry, to read that at $1.30 a gram somehow your vendor for that did not get it right. I stopped re-packing myself because it is a challenge.
For black tea your post helped me decide to stop seeking new thrills & variety. For black tea I am very happy to enjoy one, over & over; so, why do I bother with others? I will serve Ruby 18 & Ruby 21 to visitors or whatever; & just return to what I know will make me happy or very happy (that difference is enough variety for me--my own subjectivity.) Cheers
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Victoria
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Wed Oct 23, 2019 5:45 pm

@Ethan Kurland which blacks do you love returning to over and over again, your Championship Black and Himalayan Orange? Two very good blacks you have. I agree once I’ve found a few great teas I enjoy having them over and over again as well. The problem though is when that favorite tea is not available due to climactic changes and or supply issues :( I find it’s good to have a few back-up seasonal favorites, and I also continue to enjoy exploring new finds.

Recently, I’ve been enjoying a few blacks from Thunderbolt teas. @pedant started a thread about these Darjeeling teas.
Victoria wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:33 pm
Castleton Tea Garden Darjeeling “Tippy Clonal”, Black 1st Flush FTGFOP1 **good. Nice effervescence

Singbulli Tea Estate Thunder 2018, Black Organic 1st Flush FTGFOP1 *** very good. Pleasant aroma and good flavor profile with many layered notes.

Barnesbeg Tea “Himalayan Queen”, Darjeeling Black Organic 1st Flush 2019 *** good. light, nice mouthfeel, effervescent nutty and lingering sensation. Third tasting; aromatic with rich fruity body.
Ethan Kurland
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Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:09 pm

Victoria, I always like the Lishan black teas that I've drunk for about 3 years. Both are bug bitten (so pesticide-free) & straight camelia sinensis. Championship Black cost about 40% more than the one that I call Sinensis. When I am drinking the cheaper Sinensis, I never think, "Oh, I wish I had Championship Black." So, I question why I also buy the more expensive tea. I do know that if prepared gongfu style, the more expensive C.B. works better; however, I hardly ever prepare tea that way.

I haven't been drinking the HOR. (I have a bit for when one of my sisters visits. She asks for it.) The Darjeeling-type flavors of the HOR that I liked are present in the white tea that I have from Nepal. I drink that often. I also drink Oriental Beauty which gives me some of what I liked in the HOR.
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Bok
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Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:19 pm

Tried two Japanese Black teas, or Wakocha from the Tea Crane: Kumamoto native Wakocha and a Nara Wakocha Benifuki.

What to say? Well it confirmed my previous experiences of Japanese Black teas being not very interesting... they are clean tasting for sure, without the rashness that other Assam-kind of teas often exhibit. Yet nothing much else going on. Ok with food and not paying attention, as a stand alone tea session – meh.

The one from Nara was slightly more interesting in that I detected some Darjeeling-characteristics. When I read up on it, it turns out that the cultivar in question has roots in Darjeeling, so I wasn't far off the mark. Very similar to the Nepali Himalayan Orange, dry leaf smell and the result in the cup.
Ethan Kurland
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Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:25 am

Alishan Organic Black Tea:

This is complex & flavorful; flavors are bold but not harsh. Easy to prepare. I get 3 infusions using a modest amount of leaves for Western preparation.

It is enjoyable, satisfying, interesting, & very good value for $ (especially for an organic tea).
Last edited by Ethan Kurland on Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ethan Kurland
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Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:19 pm

Hehuan Black: What one wants from a black tea (especially a Taiwan black) is provided by this season's outstanding black tea. The flavors are strong & deep. Nothing is amiss (no harshness nor bitterness). The drink is full-bodied, giving one a very satisfied feeling in the tummy. (Great for cold winter days & nights.) Can be steeped quickly or much longer. A modest amount of leaves produce 3 excellent infusions. Wonderfully strong & rich taste that is relatively simple. A pleasure!
_Soggy_
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Sun Dec 22, 2019 5:01 pm

Drinking this Bai Ye Dan Cong black tea from YS. It is probably one of the most intense black teas i've ever had(maybe except Yan Xun Xiao Zhong). Super rich clover honey flavor. crazy smell on it as well. nice weight to the tea without being thick. has nice amount of astringency. I dunno if I like this or not. I wish i got the 2018 as I don't know if the intensity is from the newer processing or what.
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lUKAV28
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Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:49 pm

Today I opened a pack of Japanese black Tea I bought approx. two years ago and totally forgot about. It is Zairai Gokase Black Tea. What surprised me the most when I opened the pack was its looks. It was greenish, partly rolled and with stems so it reminded me more of an oolong than black tea. I caught quite a lot of fruitiness and the taste was almost like drinking grapes juice with really subtle notes of Darjeeling black tea. Aftertaste was more on a Japanese greener tea side though. Not sure if I was catching the grassiness or almond-like notes but something was definitely there. Quite intriguing tea to be honest that will keep me busy in the following days. Here is the picture of the wet leaves and some more info about the tea.
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debunix
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Thu Jan 02, 2020 2:29 pm

Sounds very interesting!
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Victoria
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Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:44 pm

Enjoyed two first flush silver tip blacks today from Thunderbolt Tea:

Castleton Tea Garden Estate Darjeeling “Tippy Clonal”, 2019 1st Flush Black. This is processed as a black tea although it exhibits many aspects of first flush white that I enjoy; slight mineral effervescence, fresh, bright, slightly fruity and sweet. Sweet nutty buttery notes also appear, with complex layers of warming spicy aromatics. The leaves are very small covered with silvery white hairs and have different tones of green, beige, silver and white. This is one of my favorites from Thunderbolt Tea.

&

Singbulli Tea Estate Thunder, Organic, 2018 1st Flush Black from Mirik region (60 miles south of Darjeeling). Since this first flush is over a year old I think it’s probably lost some of its original fresh flavor profile. The much larger twisted tea leaves also have tinny silver hairs, silver tips. The aroma is both floral and fruity, with the liquor having some sweet nutty fruity notes.

Both were steeped according to Thunderbolt recommendation of - 2.5g/100ml/175-185F/3-4min. One in a Kyo-ware porcelain kyusu, the other in a Yohei Konishi kyusu.
Vanenbw
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Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:26 pm

I tried some Laoshan black tea from Verdant tonight. It's sweet and fruity. I really enjoyed it. I don't recall if I ever had back tea before. I used to think the tea they serve in most Chinese restaurants is back tea, and perhaps it is, but it doesn't taste anything like this black tea. I ordered some other black teas from Verdant. It should arrive by Saturday.
Ethan Kurland
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Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:56 pm

Vanenbw wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:26 pm
I tried some Laoshan black tea from Verdant tonight. It's sweet and fruity. I really enjoyed it. I don't recall if I ever had back tea before. I used to think the tea they serve in most Chinese restaurants is back tea, and perhaps it is, but it doesn't taste anything like this black tea. I ordered some other black teas from Verdant. It should arrive by Saturday.
When I tried Laoshan black tea, I loved it. Only several months later I was moving on to other black teas that I preferred which does not mean I will forget how much better the Laoshan was than what I had been drinking before I tried it. Enjoy!
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