Apr 21st, '17, 00:04
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by Alucard » Apr 21st, '17, 00:04

kuánglóng wrote: Really enjoying some of this Brazilian Assam ...
http://what-cha.com/brazil-grandma-umes-black-tea/

This is almost as good as an Assam can get, malty and fruity (citric) with a ceylon-esque briskness, some flowery notes (rose) and surprising throatiness.
I've really enjoyed the black teas I've gotten from What-Cha, as well as red buffalo oolong and the Road to Lincang raw puerh cake produced for What-Cha by Paul of W2T. I'm about up for another order from them so I'll need to add this Brazilian Assam. Do you have a favorite black tea from them?

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Apr 21st, '17, 02:49
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by kuánglóng » Apr 21st, '17, 02:49

Alucard wrote:
kuánglóng wrote: Really enjoying some of this Brazilian Assam ...
http://what-cha.com/brazil-grandma-umes-black-tea/

This is almost as good as an Assam can get, malty and fruity (citric) with a ceylon-esque briskness, some flowery notes (rose) and surprising throatiness.
I've really enjoyed the black teas I've gotten from What-Cha, as well as red buffalo oolong and the Road to Lincang raw puerh cake produced for What-Cha by Paul of W2T. I'm about up for another order from them so I'll need to add this Brazilian Assam. Do you have a favorite black tea from them?
I've sampled a good number of Alistair's black teas but I'm not sure I could name a favorite.
The Georgian teas were surprisingly good, as were the Vietnamese (he still has the 'Wild boar' in stock). Of the Assams I've tried I really like the "Assam Heritage" but didn't care too much for the 2nd flush Gopaldhara DJs - consider me spoiled :lol:
Since you've mentioned Paul's 'Road to Lincang', I liked the 'Lao Shu Bai Cha' (produced by Scott) and the 2016 Jingmai Shengtai (done by William of Bannacha) even better, the latter one is a lot more durable than the fruitier 2015 version, a nice daily drinker.

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Apr 21st, '17, 08:30
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Re: RE: Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by joelbct » Apr 21st, '17, 08:30

ethan wrote:Congratulations, Joel. I am glad that your long pursuit has not been in vain. Thanks for posting, especially since I would not have bet that vendor would be the one to end the disappointment.
I still havent found a perfect classic tippy Assam like I used to, this "pure gold tips Dikom" is entirely different, but yes it's pretty awesome and yes very surprising it was from a vendor who also markets to supermarkets. I confuse Harney with Taylor's of Harrogate for that reason, but in any case sometimes mass-market companies also offer quality specialty loose leaf online. Ito En comes to mind.

I'll have to try what-cha. Have some Assam and Darjeeling samples incoming from Vahdam, and a few other vendors are on my list to try.

Also Ethan, I'll try to save some of that Hojo Tribute Keemun for you, no promises though :)

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Apr 22nd, '17, 00:24
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by stevorama » Apr 22nd, '17, 00:24

YS Wild Tree Purple Black Tea. Spring 2016. Very enjoyable

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Apr 22nd, '17, 10:42
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by joelbct » Apr 22nd, '17, 10:42

stevorama wrote:YS Wild Tree Purple Black Tea. Spring 2016. Very enjoyable
How are those "purples?" IE how do they differ from 'regular' yunnan reds? Curious about them.

A keemun sample I picked up from tea drunk in NYC...

Qi Hong Li Xi Red Mao Feng early spring 2015.

Really good, pretty pricey but happily not disappointing. I just wish the sample sizes were 10g not 5, so I could brew another session.

I'll buy an ounce at some point.

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Apr 22nd, '17, 12:55
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by stevorama » Apr 22nd, '17, 12:55

joelbct wrote: How are those "purples?" IE how do they differ from 'regular' yunnan reds? Curious about them.
The "ye sheng" variety is distinct. Similar profile to the ye sheng pu er tea. The ye sheng pu er tea is not my favorite, but I like this. Pleasant floral notes that remain through multiple steepings. Less malt as compared to other hong cha. A clean feeling tea. This only the second I've tried.

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Apr 23rd, '17, 14:45
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by joelbct » Apr 23rd, '17, 14:45

Drinking Harney's Golden Monkey Fujian.

Quite delicious. Has that mouthwatering, compulsively sippable effect I look for in my tea. Not boring, one of those more complex, interesting Fujian reds.

Nicely priced too at $18 for 3oz, $72/lb. I could see using this as a daily drinker.

https://www.harney.com/products/golden-monkey

Their site has a pretty decently curated selection of quality loose leaf for a brand that makes teabags and that one sometimes sees in (higher end) brick and mortar grocery shops.

Reminds me not to be a snob and write off companies that are accessible to the general public but also offer some 'specialty' loose leaf for us enthusiasts.

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Apr 26th, '17, 22:02
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by joelbct » Apr 26th, '17, 22:02

Hojo's Wild Yunnan and Ancient Yunnan today.

Both excellent, I really like his curation of red/blacks so far.

I preferred the Wild Yunnan, I knew it was special as soon as I smelled the wet leaf. Subtle, complex, unique, not overly tanniney. I wish I had more.

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Apr 27th, '17, 14:06
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by teatabby » Apr 27th, '17, 14:06

Currently loving the Red Blossom Formosa Red, Native Cultivar tea. It tastes like a British tea with sugar and cream - without the actual sugar and cream! It's replaced my morning coffee for the time being... :D

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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by ethan » Apr 27th, '17, 16:02

teatabby wrote: Currently loving the Red Blossom Formosa Red, Native Cultivar tea. It tastes like a British tea with sugar and cream - without the actual sugar and cream! It's replaced my morning coffee for the time being... :D
Welcome to Teachat. Red Blossoms is an impressive vendor for quality, but they are too expensive for me. Cheers

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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by joelbct » May 3rd, '17, 09:59

Drinking some Darjeeling 2016 Autumn Gold blend from Vahdam. Quite nice. Appears to be less fully oxidized than a typical Autumn flush, wet leaf is both green and red, mottled like some Oolongs.

I'm not a Darjeeling expert but I've been quite happy with some of their selection- the Gopaldhara Red Thunder Autumn and the Glenburn Classic first flush 2017 are both excellent and affordable.

As my Assam hunt continues, I am considering ordering from ITI for 2017 2nd flushes.

Their selection appears more thorough than any other I've found, although 2lb min quantity per tea would mean I'd have to find a couple pretty stellar examples, and perhaps trade or sell on the excess. Or maybe even open up some kind of very small, specialized, Assam-specific retail shopify storefront, merely to justify wholesale ordering and sampling. Tho that might just be a headache and more costs than benefits ;) I imagine the NYS and US regulation costs alone of importing and/or repackaging tea for retail would mean I'd be better off giving away the excess.

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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by ethan » May 3rd, '17, 17:04

joelbct wrote:
As my Assam hunt continues, I am considering ordering from ITI for 2017 2nd flushes.
I don't know who ITI is. Are you able to sample before committing to 2 lb. of a tea?

If so, & you are lucky enough to find a "stellar" Assam, you might ask here whether people are interested in getting some from you before you make an acquisition.

I know Ruby 18 is its own category; yet, I have a ?: Does it please you about as much as a stellar Assam?

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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by Bok » May 4th, '17, 01:50

ethan wrote:
joelbct wrote:
As my Assam hunt continues, I am considering ordering from ITI for 2017 2nd flushes.
I don't know who ITI is. Are you able to sample before committing to 2 lb. of a tea?

If so, & you are lucky enough to find a "stellar" Assam, you might ask here whether people are interested in getting some from you before you make an acquisition.

I know Ruby 18 is its own category; yet, I have a ?: Does it please you about as much as a stellar Assam?
For me I have yet to find a black tea that beats high mountain blacks from Taiwan in complexity and depth. All the other blacks seem flat in comparison. I enjoy a good Darjeeling from now and then but they do not make me crave them like a TW black would do.

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Re: RE: Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by joelbct » May 4th, '17, 11:21

ethan wrote:I don't know who ITI is. Are you able to sample before committing to 2 lb. of a tea?

If so, & you are lucky enough to find a "stellar" Assam, you might ask here whether people are interested in getting some from you before you make an acquisition.

I know Ruby 18 is its own category; yet, I have a ?: Does it please you about as much as a stellar Assam?
TLDR: ITI is a/the major US Indian tea wholesaler: http://www.teavendor.com/india/
I will cup their 2017 Assams and order 2lb of the two or three best.
My theory of why hard to find best Assams: There's more high-quality Darjeeling and Darj enthusiasts, so for their Indian tea section, retailers might understandably stock Assam wholesaling at $10-15/lb instead of $20-35/lb. Also, region has had climate issues.



International Tea Importers is a wholesaler of Indian (and other regions) tea, and has been chief sponsor of the World Tea Expo. They have 40 whole leaf Assams listed, 11 grades of Mangalam and 9 of Meleng, 2 of my favorite Assam estates. If I can't find what I'm looking for thru them, I'd be surprised if I can find it retail at all.

http://www.teavendor.com/india/assam?ca ... e&dir=desc

Few US retail vendors appear to stock a broad range of Assams. Jurgen Link who ran specialteas obviously had a good palate for Assams and stocked the best.

The region has been having climate and labor/management issues the past few years. But I have hope that the tea I'm looking for still exists. I'll spend a few hundred if necessary this season to find out.

I've spoken to them about sampling. They have a retail arm, Chado tea house in CA, but prices appear to be, of course, retail, and selection not as encyclopedic, but I'm starting with sampling Chado's 2016 Assams and will report results.

As for black tea in general, our tastes are all different.

I appreciate the softer, subtler flavor profiles of good lightly oxidized, less tanniney Darjeelings, and other regions (Nepal?) that produce similar tea, but to me this is really more like an Oolong than a black tea ;) not what I'm looking for in the morning, for instance.

The Ruby 18 I tried from TS struck me as a bit bland compared to the fuller flavors I prefer in red/black tea: hearty Dian Hongs, Keemuns, Fujians, and tanniney Autumnal Darjeelings, 2nd Flush Assams, and the rare quality Ceylon like top grade special pluckings from Vithanakande.

The Ruby 18 reminded me of Japanese or Hawaiian black tea- experimental, a bit shallow in the flavor profile. Maybe I got an off batch or maybe it's simply supposed to be lighter. I do brew western style, 1mg:100mL leaf:water ratio, boiling, 4:20 brewing time for black/reds.
Last edited by joelbct on May 4th, '17, 11:21, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: RE: Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by Bok » May 4th, '17, 20:03

joelbct wrote:
ethan wrote:I don't know who ITI is. Are you able to sample before committing to 2 lb. of a tea?

If so, & you are lucky enough to find a "stellar" Assam, you might ask here whether people are interested in getting some from you before you make an acquisition.

I know Ruby 18 is its own category; yet, I have a ?: Does it please you about as much as a stellar Assam?
TLDR: ITI is a/the major US Indian tea wholesaler: http://www.teavendor.com/india/
I will cup their 2017 Assams and order 2lb of the two or three best.
My theory of why hard to find best Assams: There's more high-quality Darjeeling and Darj enthusiasts, so for their Indian tea section, retailers might underrstandably stock Assam wholesaling at $10-15/lb instead of $20-35/lb. Also, region has had climate issues.


International Tea Importers is a wholesaler of Indian (and other regions) tea, and has been chief sponsor of the World Tea Expo. For instance, they have 40 whole leaf Assams listed, 11 grades of Mangalam and 9 of Meleng, 2 of my favorite Assam estates. Not sure how up to date their listings are though, because there's a section for 2012/13.

http://www.teavendor.com/india/assam?ca ... e&dir=desc

Few US retail vendors appear to stock a broad range of Assams. Jurgen Link who ran specialteas obviously just had a good palate for Assams and stocked the best.

Also, the region has been having climate and labor/management issues the past few years. But I have hope that the tea I'm looking for still exists. I'll spend a few hundred this season to find out!

I've spoken to them about sampling. They have a retail arm, Chado tea house in CA, but prices appear to be, of course, retail, and selection not as encyclopedic, but I'm starting with sampling their 2016 Assams and will report results.

As for black tea in general, our tastes are all different.

I appreciate the softer, subtler flavor profiles of good lightly oxidized, less tanniney Darjeelings, and other regions (Nepal?) that produce similar tea, but to me this is really more like an Oolong than a black tea ;) not what I'm looking for in the morning, for instance.

The Ruby 18 I tried from TS struck me as a bit bland compared to the fuller flavors I prefer in red/black tea: hearty Dian Hongs, Keemuns, Fujians, and tanniney Autumnal Darjeelings, 2nd Flush Assams, and the rare quality Ceylon like top grade special pluckings from Vithanakande.

The Ruby 18 reminded me of Japanese or Hawaiian black tea- experimental, a bit shallow in the flavor profile. Maybe I got an off batch or maybe it's simply supposed to be lighter.
Must have been a bad batch or outright fake Ruby. I have never had or heard of anyone describe it as light!

It has a quite particular and very fragrant taste easily recognizable as such. Different from the other Taiwanese blacks like gaoshan black which are also very fragrant. They are all on the expensive end what Taiwanese teas concerns, so lots of imitations around.

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