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Alex Zorach

RateTea Editor

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Member since Sep. 1st, 2009. Reviewed 1274 teas.

Reviews of Teas & Herbal Teas from China

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Picture of Organic Green Dragon

Organic Green Dragon from Mighty Leaf Tea

Style: Dragon Well Tea – Region: China

67 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Jan. 17th, 2017

I was eager to try this because it was the only pure green tea in tea bags sold by Mighty Leaf, other than their hojicha which is roasted and does not taste at all like a green tea.

I wasn't crazy about this tea; if I had to divide all dragon wells into "good dragonwell" vs. "bad dragonwell" this one almost falls be...

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Picture of ZW48: Fuding White Tea Cake

ZW48: Fuding White Tea Cake from Upton Tea Imports

Style: White Tea – Region: Fuding, Fujian, China

73 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Jan. 9th, 2017

I tried this together with Upton's ZW42. I actually liked this one a lot, and not the other.

Brews up a dark, full-bodied cup that, like the other compressed white tea cake, is rather bitter. I find the bitterness more blunt though, whereas ZW42 has a sharp bitterness.

The aroma is strange and hard to describe....

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Picture of ZW42: White Tea Cake

ZW42: White Tea Cake from Upton Tea Imports

Style: White Tea – Region: China

60 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Jan. 9th, 2017

This was the first of two compressed white tea cakes from Upton that I sampled. It was interesting but I'm not sure I'd want to drink this tea regularly. This was a strong tea, unpleasantly sharp but also thin-bodied, and I think I may have brewed it too strongly, wanting a fuller-bodied tea, but by the time I had fi...

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Picture of Magnolia Oolong

Magnolia Oolong from Murchie's Tea & Coffee Ltd

Style: Flavored Oolong – Region: China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Dec. 19th, 2016

This was an interesting tea; I love scented oolongs, and I love trying floral-scented teas other than the usual jasmine, so I jumped on the opportunity to try this one when I saw my parents had ordered some.

The dry leaf is surprisingly dark, looking like a darker-roast oolong, but upon opening the tin there was a s...

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Picture of Hairy Crab Oolong Loose Tea

Hairy Crab Oolong Loose Tea from Murchie's Tea & Coffee Ltd

Style: Hairy Crab Oolong – Region: China

87 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Nov. 16th, 2016

I thought this was a delightful tea. I have tried a Mao Xie before, and loved it, but it was an unbranded type that someone brought me back from China so I was not able to review it. This one was a lot like I remember it: pungent and a bit edgy and odd, but in a way that I liked.

The dry leaf has an aroma that is ...

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Picture of Lapsang Souchong Wild Black Tea (Ye Sheng Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong)

Lapsang Souchong Wild Black Tea (Ye Sheng Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong) from TeaVivre

Style: Lapsang Souchong – Region: Wuyi, Fujian, China

94 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Jun. 16th, 2016

A lovely tea, mellow, and complex, among my favorite Lapsang Souchongs ever sampled. Thank you again to TeaVivre for the sample! This is a traditional Chinese lapsang souchong, it lacks the strong smoky aroma that the more widely-known style of tea popular in the West has. Compared to other traditional Lapsang Souch...

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Picture of Panyang Congou

Panyang Congou from Harney and Sons

Style: Black Tea – Region: Fujian, China

43 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 2/5
Jun. 13th, 2016

This was the most disappointing pure tea I've ever tried from Harney & Sons.

Dry leaf not very aromatic, but the aroma is pleasant. The leaf is pretty, with fine wiry pieces, fairly finely broken...the faint aroma suggests spice and dried fruit, like fig or date.

The brewed cup is surprisingly lacking in aroma. ...

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Picture of Lung Ching

Lung Ching from Harney and Sons

Style: Dragon Well Tea – Region: China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
May. 28th, 2016

I loved this, it's a strong tea, nutty and toasty, but with deep vegetal undertones. I did not tire of drinking it and I could imagine happily drinking this every day.

The dry leaf has a potent aroma that evolves quite a lot as I smell it. It starts off a bit in-your-face, and I found myself slightly taken aback b...

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Picture of Hao Ya A

Hao Ya A from Harney and Sons

Style: Keemun Hao Ya A – Region: Anhui, China

98 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 22nd, 2016

I have had a lot of Keemun, but never before sampled Hao Ya A. The overall experience of drinking this tea was somewhat different from what I expected. It's similar, but recognizably different from the Hao Ya B, and I'm not convinced that I like it better. I like both, and this one is not that much more expensive (s...

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Picture of Hao Ya B (Keemun)

Hao Ya B (Keemun) from Harney and Sons

Style: Keemun Hao Ya B – Region: China

98 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 22nd, 2016

I thought this was an exceptional tea and was my favorite traditional Keemun ever sapmled.

Dry leaf is fine and dark in color, pleasantly aromatic, and the aroma is quite complex, it suggests fruit, spice, and dried flowers, a little like potpourri, with vegetal and chocolatey notes. The smell reminds me of Christm...

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Picture of Keemun Mao Feng

Keemun Mao Feng from Harney and Sons

Style: Keemun Mao Feng – Region: Qimen, Anhui, China

91 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 12th, 2016

I loved this tea. It reminded me a lot of the Spring Keemun from Andrews & Dunham, both in the smell and taste, and the appearance of the leaf.

Mild but pleasant smell to the dry leaf, which looks very curly in shape, little snail-like curls a lot like bi luo chun. Smells sweeter than other Keemun Mao Feng, but st...

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Picture of Yunnan Golden Tips

Yunnan Golden Tips from Harney and Sons

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Yunnan, China

77 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Apr. 8th, 2016

This tea is really strange. I enjoy it most when I don't think of it as a black tea, and I still don't know exactly how I feel about it. I disagree with Harney's assertion that this is "vigorously assertive": to me it lacks the strength and punch of a black tea, and in many respects is more like an oolong or even a m...

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Picture of Golden Monkey

Golden Monkey from Harney and Sons

Style: Golden Monkey – Region: Fujian, China

94 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 24th, 2016

Truly superb! I haven't tried that many Golden Monkey teas, but after brewing this one multiple times, I think it is my favorite. Its leaf is packed with flavor and, although it had the smoothness of other golden monkey teas, I found it had a strength that was lacking from other examples of this style that I had tried...

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Picture of Tippy Yunnan

Tippy Yunnan from Harney and Sons

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Yunnan, China

87 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Feb. 16th, 2016

I thought this an excellent tea and it is definitely among my favorite Dian Hong or Yunnan Red (black teas) that I've ever sampled. It's one of many samples I recently ordered from Harney & Sons.

I chose this for a very cold morning, because I find Yunnan teas to often have a powerful warming quality, and I found i...

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Picture of Earl Grey Black Tea

Earl Grey Black Tea from Teavana

Style: Earl Grey Tea – Region: China

63 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Jan. 26th, 2016

This tea had a pleasant aroma, slightly fruity and slightly perfumey, with a good balance of the beas tea and flavoring. Piquant: bold and edgy, both in flavor and aroma, but pleasantly so. Quite bitter, and with a light astringency in the finish. Potent.

A typical Earl Grey of good (but not amazing) quality. Noth...

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Picture of Oolong Tea

Oolong Tea from Dynasty

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: China

67 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Dec. 20th, 2015

I used to drink Dynasty's tea bags regularly, around 2002-2005, before I got into loose-leaf tea. They're pretty good, and they were my fall-back when I was unable to find Ten Ren's (my favorite oolong in a tea bag, but not widely available).

This tea is only mildly aromatic, and it has a smooth, well-balanced flav...

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Picture of Black King

Black King from Harney and Sons

Style: Black Tea – Region: Hunan, China

100 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Dec. 13th, 2015

Wow, this is a truly exceptional tea.

The dry leaf looks and smells intricate and beautiful: the appearance is fine, wiry leaves with a dusty appearance, a mix of gold and rich brown, and the aroma is very intense, strongly malty, like rye malt, with hints of spice, and the suggestion of sweetness. There's a strong...

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White Peony from Simply Good Tea

Style: White Peony Tea – Region: China

33 / 100 Aroma: 2/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 1/5
Dec. 7th, 2015

This is a late review that I somehow forgot to post; the company is now closed, and the tea wasn't my favorite, but why not share?

Another dud, the second one in a batch of teas that I've otherwise thought offered solid quality and excellent value.

The dry leaf looks unusually wiry for a white peony or bai mu dan...

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Picture of China Black (Orange Pekoe) Organic

China Black (Orange Pekoe) Organic from Frontier

Style: Black Tea – Region: China

37 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 1/5
Nov. 29th, 2015

I brewed this tea multiple times and it consistently disappointed me.

The dry leaf of this tea, which is quite broken, had a weak aroma that reminded me of a fresh loaf of rye bread at a mediocre deli.

When water hit the leaves, the aroma developed into an array of light smokiness, deep vegetal notes, and fruitin...

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Picture of ZG07: Season's Pick Organic Green OP

ZG07: Season's Pick Organic Green OP from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Green Tea – Region: China

77 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Nov. 11th, 2015

An inexpensive tea of surprisingly good quality.

Dry leaf smells wonderful, suggesting fresh and savory qualities of some higher-grade green teas, but also reminding me a lot of raw Pu-erh.

Upon brewing though, there's not as much aroma in the cup as the dry leaf suggests. The brewed cup is light in color and bo...

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Picture of Superfine Jasmine Downy Dragon Pearls Green Tea

Superfine Jasmine Downy Dragon Pearls Green Tea from TeaVivre

Style: Jasmine Pearls – Region: Fuding, Fujian, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Aug. 1st, 2015

This is my favorite jasmine pearls tea that I've ever sampled.

I tried this tea months ago and began writing a review but I realized that I never finished and posted it! Apologies to TeaVivre for the oversight. I had one packet left, so I brewed it up and the tea was as I had remembered it. I was surprised at how...

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Picture of Green Jasmine Tea

Green Jasmine Tea from Heine Brothers' Coffee

Style: Jasmine Tea – Region: China

60 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 4/5
Jul. 31st, 2015

A very bold, strong-flavored Jasmine that is easy to oversteep.

Thank you to RosaMoon for this one, picked up in a shop in Louisville, KY.

Dry leaf is quite aromatic, and unusually dark in color...looks almost as dark as black tea.

Aromatic but not overwhelming. The base tea's character comes through and it r...

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Keemun Panda #1 Tea from Metropolitan Tea Company

Style: Keemun – Region: Anhui, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Jul. 18th, 2015

Served at Notting Hill coffee shop in Lewes, DE.

Very aromatic loose leaf, slightly smoky, typical for a Keemun of good quality.

Brews a rich, mellow cup with a rounded character and strong warming quality. Probably not the best tea for a hot summer day like today, but I was in the mood for it and it was excellen...

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Picture of Jasmine Pearls

Jasmine Pearls from The Meaning of Tea

Style: Jasmine Pearls – Region: Fujian, China

67 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Apr. 29th, 2015

A decent Jasmine tea, which I think is on the expensive side.

Dry leaf has a very intense aroma, with a strongly floral jasmine scent, and also strongly fruity, with a minty note.

The Meaning of Tea recommended a heaping teaspoon, but I sensed that this tea would be strong for my tastes, so I went easy, using a t...

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Picture of Golden Monkey

Golden Monkey from The Meaning of Tea

Style: Golden Monkey – Region: Yunnan, China

37 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 1/5
Mar. 23rd, 2015

This was the worst example of Golden Monkey that I've tried, and the worst example of any golden Chinese black tea. I thought it quite awful and I poured it out without drinking much of it.

The dry leaf is beautiful, and has a very intense aroma of cooked fruit, like raspberry jam. The leaf has a slight dusty qual...

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