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May 22nd 17 6:30 am
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by joelbct » May 22nd 17 6:30 am

More high-res photos (in better lighting) of that Special Assam Golden Tips from Jay Shree Direct Retail.

High Res Images (Dry Leaf, Liquor, Wet Leaf): http://imgur.com/a/nzJZm

Link: https://www.jayshreetea.com/black-tea/a ... -black-tea

My sinus cold is mostly gone, and I could cup that aforementioned Assam with enough confidence to order a 500g pouch (just $56 shipped to US), and to say it's the best Assam I've had since 2013.

After trying ~10 vendors and perhaps 50 different sku's this past year and in 2015, I think my hunt is over. It's not exactly like the Mangalam/Meleng I used to drink, but about as good, and good enough to be my daily eye-opener Assam.

I hope Jay Shree keeps producing this one, and making it available through their fledgling direct retail site.

Now onto the next black/red hunt. I've got my Assam and Dian Hong dialed in, maybe now I shall look for the best Keemun I can find with a price that I can justify drinking regularly ;) Hojo's Tribute is the best, but $12/session is too much for me, and his regular grade one I'm not sure I like enough to purchase in quantity.

I have 4 different Keemun samples from TeaVivre that I'm working through.

Their "Imperial" Keemun is quite good, but $125 for 500g still comes out to $1/session for me, a bit more than I'm looking to spend on a regular drinker. http://www.teavivre.com/keemun-imperial-black-tea/

May 23rd 17 2:11 pm
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by gatmcm » May 23rd 17 2:11 pm

Just got a hold of a couple FF darjeelings, monteviot and steinthal, would like some advice on brewing parameters, I tend to drink mostly chinese teas, and those, if they're good quality, are usually pretty resilient to most brewing parameters, even greens do relatively well with 90-95º water. I've heard all sorts of parameters for djl, from cooler green tea temps up to near boiling , the ones I have seem to have lots of green bits and the leaf doesn't look too broken(of course I cant truly know that until I brew it).

Edit: the one I was describing above was the steinthal, the menteviot is mostly broken leaf, green in colour with a few silver buds

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May 23rd 17 6:14 pm
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by kuánglóng » May 23rd 17 6:14 pm

gatmcm wrote: Just got a hold of a couple FF darjeelings, monteviot and steinthal, would like some advice on brewing parameters, I tend to drink mostly chinese teas, and those, if they're good quality, are usually pretty resilient to most brewing parameters, even greens do relatively well with 90-95º water. I've heard all sorts of parameters for djl, from cooler green tea temps up to near boiling , the ones I have seem to have lots of green bits and the leaf doesn't look too broken(of course I cant truly know that until I brew it).

Edit: the one I was describing above was the steinthal, the menteviot is mostly broken leaf, green in colour with a few silver buds
Darjeelings can be pretty darn finicky, from my experience 2nd and autumn flushes more so than 1st flushes.
FWIW here's something I do on a regular basis, adjust to taste.
First make sure you have some good water, if in doubt use Volvic for a start.
If I'm alone I grab a ~150-200ml porcelain pot,
preheat, taking care not to overboil the water,
add the leaves (~12g/liter = 1,7-2,4g for above pots)
and start with water around 92°C for 1st flush DJs (slightly hotter for 2nd/autumn flushes)
After 1 minute I swirl the pot once (!), either pour a 20-30ml sample into a porcelain cup or use a tasting spoon, sniff 'n slurp and repeat this process every ~30s until nothing is left - voilà.
Above parameters are just starting points but this method gives me a much better idea about any new tea than what I'd get from a single western steep or xyz forbid the ISO3003 standard procedure (been there, done it countless times :lol: ).

May 23rd 17 6:54 pm
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by gatmcm » May 23rd 17 6:54 pm

I went for about 3g of the monteviot on a 300ml glass pot, 85º water for 3'30'', sadly volvic isn't available in my country but I have national spring waters that are good, it tasted fine, a bit too grassy and astringent but had nice notes of baked goods and fruits, I don't how it is considered a black tea though, the brewed leaves were bright green.
Good idea in taking a sample midway, will do that from now on.

Will continue to experiment as I got a fair amount (50g) but I'm more hopeful for the steinthal one the leaf seems a lot better quality, maybe I'll even try gong fu.

Thanks for the help :D

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May 23rd 17 8:17 pm
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by kuánglóng » May 23rd 17 8:17 pm

gatmcm wrote: I don't how it is considered a black tea though, the brewed leaves were bright green.
Yeah, pretty ridiculous but that's how some folks still perceive it - I'd rather see DJs, especially 1st flushes in their own category. BTW, they used to be less hard withered and more oxidised back in the day but starting at some point in the 70s, due to specific demands from mainly German and French customers they slowly became greener and greener. You can still get some more classic 'old-school' FF DJs here and there but they're pretty rare these days.
Good idea in taking a sample midway, will do that from now on.
Feel free to take a couple more samples than just one, you might miss the best part otherwise (reckless slurping :mrgreen: )
Will continue to experiment as I got a fair amount (50g) but I'm more hopeful for the steinthal one the leaf seems a lot better quality, maybe I'll even try gong fu.
I'm a huge fan of whole leaves myself- the dry leaf appearance doesn't tell you much about the inner qualities of a tea though - you'll never know until you brew them up :)
I've been brewing most teas, including Himalayan leaves and Assams gong-fu style for more than 10 years now and only rarely get out any of my larger pots anymore.

Enjoy your DJs!

May 24th 17 10:54 am
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by gatmcm » May 24th 17 10:54 am

kuánglóng wrote:

Feel free to take a couple more samples than just one, you might miss the best part otherwise (reckless slurping :mrgreen: )

Yeah, realized shortly after I had read your first post wrong :lol:

Tried it yesterday, it's a great method to get to know a tea better, tried gong fu as well, worked nicely, hit a lot of the bass notes nicely without the astringency

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May 25th 17 7:08 am
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by kuánglóng » May 25th 17 7:08 am

2016 Grandma Ume's Black Tea

Well made solid and balanced Assam from Brazil with some barnyardy maltiness, well behaving tannins and incredible durability when gong-fued; no flaws but no particular highs either.

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May 25th 17 6:36 pm
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by joelbct » May 25th 17 6:36 pm

kuánglóng wrote: 2016 Grandma Ume's Black Tea
That's on my to-try list, saw the NHK News profile on her, pretty cool.

Just enjoyed TeaSpring's Keemun Mao Feng. Crisp, delicious, and one of my favorites of 6 Keemuns I've tried this week from TeaVivre and TeaSpring.

Their Keemun Xian Zhen is excellent as well.

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May 25th 17 7:55 pm
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by kuánglóng » May 25th 17 7:55 pm

joelbct wrote:
kuánglóng wrote: 2016 Grandma Ume's Black Tea
That's on my to-try list, saw the NHK News profile on her, pretty cool.
I've watched it too; she's one hell of a comitted tea granny :D
BTW, I have some more Darjeelings (and more of the Tonganagaon Assam) coming in these days - can't wait to sample the heck out of them.

Back to some 2016 FF Risheehat DJ 11 , one of my favorites from last year from one of my favorite FF estates.

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May 25th 17 8:48 pm
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by yshuto » May 25th 17 8:48 pm

Most of the FF Darjeelings I brew, using parameters according to my preferred tastes, result in an Orange to Red tea. The leaves may be green and the resulting teas may not be black but what would be the best way to classify Darjeeling teas? According to color? With Darjeelings, there are some estates offering white tea, some specializing in Oolongs, some with green, and others covering all colors in the tea spectrum. Tried a Monsoon Flush Darjeeling a while ago and it was definitely black in color. Kind of difficult to pin Darjeelings into a specific category. Maybe use the classification of teas produced in the Darjeeling area? But then, some “Darjeeling” type teas are not grown in Darjeeling.

A few years ago, my favorite retailer, Mariage Freres, had a big push to acquire the DJ1 of all the Darjeelings they carry. They backed away from this strategy and now have a two pronged release schedule. In 2016 half of their FF Darjeelings were released during the Spring and Summer months. The other half was released in December. Do you prefer a fresh green taste? Try the FF Ambootia DJ1 or FF Castleton DJ1. Want a slightly oxidized taste? Try the FF Margaret’s Hope DJ40 or the FF Singbulli DJ30. They also have Vintage Darjeelings picked in 2014, 2015, and 2016. I am currently enjoying the taste of their 2016 FF Darjeeling teas released in December. Definitely FF. Not SF or Autumn Flush. They offer a wide variety of Darjeelings and buy enough volume to offer a type of tea for a full year. So if you like “old school” FF Darjeeling teas, you will have a fair number of teas to choose from. MF has Quick delivery and superior customer service. BTW, I don’t work for Mariage Freres. Some drawbacks? No free shipping. No discounts. No sample sizes. As for sizes I always opt for 50g, as it allows me to change up the parameters to extract the best taste of the tea in line with my preferences.

Tried gong fu style brewing a number of times but I still prefer brewing a large 400ml pot. We all have our own favorite ways of preparing the FF Darjeelings and there is no right or wrong method. I add a very small (1/4 teaspoon) of sugar per 400ml of tea. Not just any sugar. The blue spoon brand Mitsui ultra pure large White Crystal sugar.

Happy Brewing!

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May 25th 17 11:36 pm
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by joelbct » May 25th 17 11:36 pm

yshuto wrote:A few years ago, my favorite retailer, Mariage Freres,
Darn. Just when I thought I could go a few months without any additional tea purchases.

Some of these Assams look irresistible: https://www.mariagefreres.com/UK/1-fine ... k_tea.html

As do these China reds... https://www.mariagefreres.com/UK/1-fine ... k_tea.html

The Darjeelings look great too. Sigh.

There goes at least another couple hundred USD... At least the Dollar is strong against the Euro ;)

I might have already spent $1500 on tea so far this year, afraid to tally it. Bit of a spree.

Someone posted this too, for any remaining doubters that Assam produces world class 'enthusiast-level' teas: http://www.theeastindiacompany.com/prod ... ouch-100g/

Thanks for this, though. I'd forgotten about Mariage Freres. My mother took me to their Paris cafe, maybe 7 years before I became a "tea enthusiast."

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May 31st 17 12:15 am
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by chrl42 » May 31st 17 12:15 am

Drinking organic Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong...named Xiao Hong..

grown at high altitude, in Mt.Wuyi

very clean..complete leaves..quite rare black tea to be passed by...

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Jun 1st 17 8:09 am
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by kuánglóng » Jun 1st 17 8:09 am

Assam Heritage STGFOP1 (what-cha)

Reviving old routines, slightly adapted to the early hour I brewed up 1.4g in a pre-heated 120ml porcelain tasting cup and let it steep for 5 mins., pulling small samples with a tasting spoon here and there.
Early on there's a bit of fruit and I got weak but distinct notes of dried banana and turkish cherries. After the 5 mins. there's not much malt to talk about but a well balanced, sufficiently strong generic Assam profile based on a solid fundament with some savory mid-range smokiness and a little astringency that I'd miss if it wasn't there. This is the second cup on an almost empty stomach - no complaints from there whatsoever (surprise) and a less than average caffeine kick, far less than from almost any of my other Assams or Darjeelings which is equally surprising but perfectly alright with me.
Nothing overly complex but a decent, solid, slightly smoky Assam that's easy on the tummy and the nervous system and well worth the money.

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Jun 6th 17 5:56 am
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Re: Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?

by joelbct » Jun 6th 17 5:56 am

Drinking Gopaldhara Wonder FF 2017, late at night, before bed. Amazing.

I didn't used to be much of a FF Darjeeling person, maybe I didn't have good sources. But this year FF Darj has earned a happy permanent place in my rotation. I couldn't imagine not continuing to drink this.

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

by victoria3 » Jun 6th 17 8:04 pm

joelbct wrote: Drinking Gopaldhara Wonder FF 2017, late at night, before bed. Amazing.

I didn't used to be much of a FF Darjeeling person, maybe I didn't have good sources. But this year FF Darj has earned a happy permanent place in my rotation. I couldn't imagine not continuing to drink this.
I read John B's. review of this FF Darjeeling and want to try it, it sounds delishious. How would you compare it too an oolong like LiShan? http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co ... flush.html