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Alex Zorach

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Member since Sep. 1st, 2009. Reviewed 1429 teas.

Reviews of Teas & Herbal Teas from China

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Picture of Royal Kuan Yin Tea

Royal Kuan Yin Tea from Foojoy

Style: Tie Guan Yin – Region: Fujian, China

57 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 5/5
Jul. 1st, 2010

Astonishing quality from such an inexpensive teabag!

With a single 5-minute infusion (shorter leaves a bland cup--the finely-broken leaves are packed tightly in the teabag and the flavor does not diffuse quickly) I found an amber colored cup with a mellow, subtle aroma and smooth flavor. In my experience, only good...

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Picture of China Pu-Erh Standard

China Pu-Erh Standard from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Pu-erh Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

63 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jun. 30th, 2010

I don't particularly like black (ripe) pu-erh, but this is probably the one I've liked most, among loose varieties. It has a fresher taste, with more bite. There are some herbaceous tones in the aroma, although the dominant character is still dust and earth. Much more flavorful than other loose black pu-erh I've tri...

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Picture of Jasmine Blossom Tea (Green Tea)

Jasmine Blossom Tea (Green Tea) from Stash Tea

Style: Jasmine Tea – Region: China

63 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Jun. 29th, 2010

The aroma is honey-like, like pouchong tea more than the crisper green tea. Less jasmine in the aroma than some jasmines, but it's definitely present. Mellow and warm.

The flavor, however, is intense: remarkably sweet, but also with a biting bitterness (especially if you brew this one too long). I would recommend...

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Picture of Ben Shan Oolong

Ben Shan Oolong from Life in Teacup

Style: Ben Shan Oolong – Region: Anxi, Fujian, China

63 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 4/5
Jun. 24th, 2010

I made two infusions of this tea. I found, using longer brewings, it's only really good for two and then most of the flavor is gone. I used 3 min. and 6 min.

For the first infusion, the aroma is floral and orchid-like, like many of the greener Anxi oolongs, but there's a depth and warmth to it that I've found is a...

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Picture of 2010 Mt. Wu Dong Red Tea (black tea) Dan Cong

2010 Mt. Wu Dong Red Tea (black tea) Dan Cong from Life in Teacup

Style: Dancong Oolong – Region: Guangdong, China

67 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
Jun. 16th, 2010

Very unlike any other dancong I've tried. The dry leaf of this dancong has a savory, smoky quality, but is nonetheless recognizable as a dan cong. The aroma of the dry leaf is reminiscent of some Darjeelings (ones that I am not a fan of, incidentally). Not even a hint of floral or fruity qualities.

Upon drinking ...

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Picture of Tie Guan Yin traditional charcoal roast

Tie Guan Yin traditional charcoal roast from Life in Teacup

Style: Tie Guan Yin – Region: Anxi, Fujian, China

70 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jun. 9th, 2010

A very aromatic tea, full of flavor, but light.

The aroma has a lot of different elements to it...the dominant tone is a woody quality...there is also a strong fruitiness, which I'd describe as most closely resembling apricots, and a lot of floral tones--most closely resembling the floral character of some black tea...

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Picture of Bai Ya Qi Lan Oolong traditional green style Superior Grade

Bai Ya Qi Lan Oolong traditional green style Superior Grade from Life in Teacup

Style: Qi Lan Oolong – Region: Anxi, Fujian, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Jun. 5th, 2010

I've only had dark Wuyi Qi Lan oolongs before, and I like them very much, so I was eager to try this greener one. I've heard that in general, more tightly rolled teas are higher quality, and this tea was rather loosely rolled, with the leaves taking up a lot of space. But the aroma suggests otherwise...the dry leaf h...

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Picture of Large Leaf from Old Trees Pu-erh

Large Leaf from Old Trees Pu-erh from Chicago Tea Garden

Style: Pu-erh Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

77 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Jun. 4th, 2010

I really enjoyed this tea.

I tried brewing this in two different ways...one, as recommended, more leaf, shorter steeping times. The second, using less leaf, but longer steeps. I had much better results with this second method using longer steeping times (I recommend starting with 2-3 minutes and going from there)....

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Picture of Oolong Tea

Oolong Tea from Wei-Chuan

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: China

47 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
Jun. 2nd, 2010

Overall, slightly flat...typical for a relatively generic oolong from a big box of teabags. Full-bodied...aroma is toasty and roasty, has some depth but also is a little bit reminiscent of cardboard. Some bitterness.

I've had a lot better oolongs from teabags. But this stuff is still better than a lot of the stuf...

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Picture of Golden Osmanthus Oolong (Huang Jin Gui) traditional style

Golden Osmanthus Oolong (Huang Jin Gui) traditional style from Life in Teacup

Style: Golden Osmanthus – Region: Anxi, Fujian, China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
May. 28th, 2010

Mostly floral fragrance. This is the first huang jin gui I've tried, and it really does resemble osmanthus flowers in aroma, but I find it has a very different overall character from osmanthus-scented tea. Also, unusual among light, aromatic, greener oolongs I've had. This tea has some interesting surprises.

I tr...

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Picture of Three Kingdoms Mao Feng Green Tea

Three Kingdoms Mao Feng Green Tea from Teavana

Style: Mao Feng Green Tea – Region: Fujian, China

63 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
May. 23rd, 2010

This is a very mild and sweet green tea, similar to Teavana's Pi Lo Chun but less aromatic and perhaps slightly grassier. Pleasing but bordering on bland and boring if brewed as instructed. I find that with a very long steep time (8+ min), however, it acquires nuances in the aroma that are absent otherwise...includin...

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Pi Lo Chun Organic Green Tea from Teavana

Style: Bi Luo Chun – Region: China

63 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
May. 20th, 2010

Aroma is grassy and fruity. The aroma is light and very pleasing...not the most complex I've had for a green tea but certainly very enjoyable. Flavor is very smooth...almost no bitterness and only the faintest hint of astringency if you let the cup brew for a very long time.

I settled on a very different method of...

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Picture of China Oolong

China Oolong from Twinings

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: China

50 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Apr. 28th, 2010

The first sip of this oolong was delightful, but upon drinking a whole cup of it I wasn't as much of a fan. Significantly lighter than a black tea, the aroma is very floral, bordering on perfumey. Upon drinking more than a few sips, however, a lot of unpleasant qualities develop...there's a sourness, and some off qua...

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Picture of Jasmine Mao Feng

Jasmine Mao Feng from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Jasmine Tea – Region: China

47 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Apr. 20th, 2010

Very strongly aromatic...aroma is sweet, very floral but less perfumey than some Jasmines. There's almost a hint of wintergreen in the aroma. It's also fairly vegetal and a bit fishy. The aroma strikes me as a bit strange and has some unpleasant characteristics to it.

Very smooth flavor, sweet, with absolutely no...

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Picture of Triple-Cup Extra Green

Triple-Cup Extra Green from Foojoy

Style: Green Tea – Region: Zhejiang, China

70 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 12th, 2010

Aroma fresh and grassy, with a hint of toastiness and a faint suggestion of mint. Very delicate flavor: I'd call this one slightly brisk but not bitter. Remarkably full-bodied given the lightness of the flavor. The astringency builds somewhat upon drinking it but even by the end it's still enjoyable.

This tea is ...

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Picture of 'Wu Yi' Water Fairy Oolong

'Wu Yi' Water Fairy Oolong from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Shui Hsien Oolong – Region: Fujian, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 9th, 2010

While I'm not normally a fan of "fake" teas, I'm eager to try ones that are honestly presented as imitating styles originating in other regions.

Aroma is very toasty, more like roasted Yerba Mate than other roasted teas. Nutty and earthy, with a sweet aftertaste that lingers. There is actually a lot of complexity ...

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Picture of 2005 Jing Mai Autumnal

2005 Jing Mai Autumnal from The Tao of Tea

Style: Ripened (Shou) Pu-erh – Region: Lancang, Yunnan, China

89 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Apr. 8th, 2010

(Lot # Bing-Autumn10612-01)

This is my favorite shu/shou (ripened) Pu-erh of all time.

I did not enjoy this tea at first but it has since grown on me after drinking about a third of the cake. I found this tea to improve considerably as it has continued to age. Interestingly, I find it tastes more like aged shen...

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Picture of Pai Mu Tan Imperial

Pai Mu Tan Imperial from Upton Tea Imports

Style: White Peony Tea – Region: China

47 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Apr. 6th, 2010

A darker white tea. This doesn't even resemble ZW56, Upton's other organic Pai Mu Tan offering. Much darker; if you just gave it to me I'd probably guess incorrectly that it was a Shou Mei.

Aroma is mostly of autumn leaves, with only a hint of peony and a faint suggestion of some other vegetal tones. Also, unusua...

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Picture of China Jasmine Green Tea

China Jasmine Green Tea from Foojoy

Style: Jasmine Tea – Region: China

57 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 3rd, 2010

Weak Jasmine aroma, even relative to other teabag Jasmine teas. Flavor is sweet, gentle, with almost no bitterness and with only a hint of sourness. Aroma is honeylike, like a pouchong, but weak and not terribly interesting.

This tea scalds very easily if brewed with water that is too hot. Be sure to use water we...

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Picture of Osmanthus Oolong Se Chung

Osmanthus Oolong Se Chung from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Osmanthus Tea – Region: China

93 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 29th, 2010

I love this tea. Se Chung is absolutely my favorite style of oolong, and my favorite Se Chung is Upton's ZO10, so I was eagerly anticipating this one, and I was pleased to find a rich, complex tea that added a completely new element to the mix. I can't say whether I prefer this or the unscented tea more. They're ver...

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Picture of Huo Shan Yellow Buds

Huo Shan Yellow Buds from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Huangya – Region: Huoshan, Anhui, China

63 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 2/5
Mar. 23rd, 2010

This is the first yellow tea I've sampled and in many respects it resembles a green tea.

The aroma is fairly rich; there are some of the grassy tones that characterize many green teas, but these are weak and in the background. A bit peppery like Upton describes, and also a bit perfumey. Subtle, but with a lot of d...

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Picture of Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales from Twinings

Style: Black Tea – Region: China

53 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 22nd, 2010

Fairly light overall, especially compared to Twinings' other black teas. There's some complexity in the aroma, in my opinion, more than their other black teas with the exception of their Ceylon (my favorite). Smooth...less astringency or bitterness. I find you can steep this one a little longer without it becoming t...

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Picture of Tie-Guan-Yin Oolong First Grade

Tie-Guan-Yin Oolong First Grade from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Tie Guan Yin – Region: China

67 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 16th, 2010

The tightly curled brown leaves unfurl only partially when brewing...producing a tea that's completely clear and golden in color.

Complex aroma, strongly suggesting apricot, and also having some skunky tones, and a hint of olive. Smooth, mellow flavor, contrasting with the aroma, which suggests a sharper tea. No as...

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Picture of Floral Tie-Guan-Yin Superior Grade

Floral Tie-Guan-Yin Superior Grade from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Tie Guan Yin – Region: China

73 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Mar. 15th, 2010

Aroma very much like a Dong Ding Jade Oolong, very floral, but with a faint hint of a woody quality absent from those teas; this tea tastes very slightly more oxidized. Very smooth, but leaving a tingling sensation in the mouth. The aroma is very pleasing, but not terribly complex.

Using Upton's instructions I bre...

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Picture of Tie-Guan-Yin Oolong 2nd Grade

Tie-Guan-Yin Oolong 2nd Grade from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Tie Guan Yin – Region: China

67 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
Mar. 11th, 2010

Aroma is subtle and complex, but on the weak side: mostly of peach, with some weaker earthy tones. Flavor is tangy, with little bitterness. The aftertaste has a mild astringency. Thin-bodied.

Following Upton's recommendations I found worked alright--for a first cup. However, I tried to brew a second cup and ther...

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