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Alex Zorach

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Member since Sep. 1st, 2009. Reviewed 1411 teas.

Reviews of Teas & Herbal Teas from Yunnan, China

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Picture of Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2013

Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2013 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Aug. 14th, 2014

Hello, concord grape! The dry leaf of this tea smells initially like a sweet, tippy spring green tea, but this is followed by an intense fruitiness strongly suggestive of concord grape. Tea often smells like grape to me, but more often it is the muscatel grape of Darjeeling or Bai Hao oolong, or the deep raisin notes...

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Picture of Ancient Emerald Lily

Ancient Emerald Lily from Rishi Tea

Style: Green Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jul. 11th, 2014

This is the most complex, multifaceted tea that I've tried in a very long time.

Purchased in a whole foods in the relatively new bulk tea section.

Dry leaf is beautiful, intact, and consists of irregularly curved, wiry leaf with both silvery and olive green parts. The dry leaf is strongly aromatic, with a fruity...

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Picture of Shu Pu-erh Classic Vintage Blend

Shu Pu-erh Classic Vintage Blend from Rishi Tea

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

57 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
May. 13th, 2014

Thank you to E. Alex Gerster for this one. I took a while to review it primarily because I tend not to be a huge fan of this type of tea. It looks like it's already been discontinued from Rishi's catalogue. There's no harvest or packing date printed on the container, so I don't know how old this is, but it tastes li...

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Picture of Fengqing Wild Tree Yesheng Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake 2013

Fengqing Wild Tree Yesheng Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake 2013 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

97 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 24th, 2014

Wow. Exceptional, unique. The dry leaf of this smells completely unlike any other tea I've tried...and so does the cup when brewed. The leaf smells like honey and flowers, but with a smoky quality. Definitely the smoothest raw Pu-erh I've ever had that was effectively un-aged (being less than a year old when I trie...

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Picture of 2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea Tuocha

2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea Tuocha from TeaVivre

Style: Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

95 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 23rd, 2014

This is among my favorite Pu-erhs that I've ever sampled.

This cake has a very fine leaf, tightly packed, and is tricky to break apart. I'm glad TeaVivre had already broken it off for me for the sample.

The dry leaf has a pleasant aroma, like caramel with a hint of worcestershire sauce, and still some remnants o...

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Picture of Fengqing Zhuan Cha Raw Puerh Brick Tea 2005

Fengqing Zhuan Cha Raw Puerh Brick Tea 2005 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 18th, 2014

This is just about my favorite age range of Pu-erh: aged but still relatively young.

The compressed leaf is not very aromatic, and is devilishly hard to break apart. Thankfully TeaVivre already broke off this sample for me, but just judging by the texture of the compressed leaf, this one looks like it would be anno...

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Picture of Yunnan Gold

Yunnan Gold from Bare Tea

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Yunnan, China

87 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 14th, 2014

This tastes a lot like other examples of high-quality Yunnan Gold teas that I've tried.

Pyramid sachets are very aromatic!

Upon brewing, produces a cup with numerous subtle aromas. I initially get caraway and rye in the aroma, but then vanilla and caramel. Underneath, there are cocoa tones. Flavor is extremel...

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Picture of Fengqing Old Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2013

Fengqing Old Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2013 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

73 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Mar. 5th, 2014

This tea is the youngest raw Pu-erh that I've consumed to date. Like I'd expect, it is potent, but it's smoother and more drinkable than even some Pu-erh I've tried that has been aged by a few more years.

The dry leaf smells strongly vegetal, with tones of honey and camphor.

Brews a strong-flavored cup with a li...

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Picture of Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Chinese Red Black Tea

Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Chinese Red Black Tea from TeaVivre

Style: Yunnan Red – Region: Yunnan, China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Mar. 3rd, 2014

A fascinating tea, resembling caraway and rye crackers, but complex and smooth. This tea got my attention in an unusual way: most of the high-end Yunnan black teas are gold or pure gold variants, mostly or all tip. This tea had an all-dark leaf.

The dry leaf is very aromatic, with a peculiar aroma resembling caraw...

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Picture of White Night

White Night from Mandala Tea

Style: White Tea – Region: Simao, Yunnan, China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Dec. 29th, 2013

This was among the most interesting of the white teas I've tried, although more familiar and similar to typical white teas than moonlight white. E. Alex Gerster called this tea "sturdy" and I like that; I also want to thank him for providing me with this sample.

Dry leaf has a peculiar aroma, like caramel and overr...

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Picture of Black Pearl

Black Pearl from Mandala Tea

Style: Yunnan Red – Region: Yunnan, China

91 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Sep. 5th, 2013

Top notch! A rich, complex black tea with a classic Yunnan character, yet a unique signature of its own. Great for multiple infusions, and exhibits different characteristics in each cup.

Mandala recommended 2-4 pearls; it looks like 3 pearls is about a typical serving that I'd use for a cup of tea, so that was spo...

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Picture of Mengku Arbor Tree Ripened Puerh Cake Tea ZhenMu LingYa 2007

Mengku Arbor Tree Ripened Puerh Cake Tea ZhenMu LingYa 2007 from TeaVivre

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

70 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Sep. 3rd, 2013

A strange tea, with a lot going on.

Aroma of the dry cake is unimpressive, even slightly unpleasant, but when I brew it, it becomes much better tasting. It looks attractive at least, with a lot of golden tips.

Besides the dusty tones reminiscent of a damp basement (which are most evident before actually sipping ...

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Picture of Ancient Gan Tong Tea

Ancient Gan Tong Tea from Wild Tea Qi

Style: Green Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

94 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Jun. 7th, 2013

A tea that really grew on me. At first I didn't know what to make of it, but after drinking a few cups I found myself loving it.

Dry leaf, mildly aromatic but subdued, becomes intensely aromatic when wet. But I find the resulting cup is again more subdued. Although the leaf is green, the brewed cup is dark in col...

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Picture of Yunnan Breakfast

Yunnan Breakfast from Rishi Tea

Style: Yunnan Red – Region: Yunnan, China

73 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
Jun. 7th, 2013

I was expecting this tea, on the basis of its name, to be basically the same tea as Rishi's China Breakfast, as that tea also comes from Yunnan province. I don't know if it is a different tea, if it was simply a different batch that I tried, or if something about steeping it in a tea bag changed the character, but it ...

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Picture of Fengqing Golden Buds Ripened Pu-erh Cake Tea 2005

Fengqing Golden Buds Ripened Pu-erh Cake Tea 2005 from TeaVivre

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

47 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
May. 21st, 2013

I've had shu (ripened) Pu-erh of this age that I thought was exquisite, like the 2005 Jing Mai Autumnal I got from Tao of Tea, so I know it exists, but this cake didn't do it for me. I had a generous amount of samples, enough to experiment a bit with brewing, but I still didn't like it. The dry leaf has an aroma typi...

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Picture of Fengqing Paddy Flavor Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2006

Fengqing Paddy Flavor Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2006 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 16th, 2013

I found this tea to be a very enjoyable Pu-erh, typical for its age and unusual only in the degree to which it produced a tingling and numbing sensation on the palate.

I received a sample which was a mostly-whole piece broken off a Pu-erh cake. The leaves were largely intact and it was very easy to break apart with...

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Picture of Yun Nan Gold

Yun Nan Gold from Two Hills Tea

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Yunnan, China

53 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
Apr. 8th, 2013

Purchased at the Newark Natural Foods coop in Newark, Delaware. I suspect that this may not have been very fresh.

Aroma is peppery and slightly fruity. Smooth flavor, but mild. Flavor slightly sour. Overall character a lot more like shu (ripened) Pu-erh than like other Yunnan gold teas I've sampled. Upon drinki...

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Picture of Ancient Baked Heart Tea

Ancient Baked Heart Tea from Wild Tea Qi

Style: Green Tea – Region: Dali, Yunnan, China

91 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 21st, 2013

I'm not hugely experienced with Yunnan green teas, but I tend to find them very interesting, and this one was no exception. This tea really amazed me with its ability to deliver infusion after infusion...the leaves seem to hold so much flavor!

Dry leaf is a mix of dark golden green and pale whitish leaves, and has ...

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Picture of Wild Snow Sprout Tea

Wild Snow Sprout Tea from Wild Tea Qi

Style: Green Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

87 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Nov. 29th, 2012

This tea is completely unlike anything else I've tried. It has a lot going on in the aroma, and almost defies description.

I notice a smoky quality, almost like a hint of that campfire smoke of Lapsang souchong, paired with a hint of camphor, like in raw Pu-erh. But upon drinking, it is more floral and honey-like,...

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Picture of Fengqing Dragon Pearl Black Tea

Fengqing Dragon Pearl Black Tea from TeaVivre

Style: Yunnan Red – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Aug. 16th, 2012

In spite of having tried quite a few Yunnan teas by now, this was something completely different for me! Very interesting, although a little bit difficult to brew to satisfaction. The dry leaf, rolled into dense spheres, has only a mild aroma, more suggestive of Keemun than other Yunnan teas.

I first used a small ...

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Picture of Mengku Palace Ripened Golden Buds Loose Pu-erh Tea 2007

Mengku Palace Ripened Golden Buds Loose Pu-erh Tea 2007 from TeaVivre

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

60 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Aug. 9th, 2012

The dry leaf of this looks unusually wiry and tippy for a ripe Pu-erh, with a lot of golden tips. It is quite aromatic, and the aroma is typical for ripe Pu-erh, with perhaps only a faint suggestion of more complexity.

Upon brewing, 1 teaspoon of leaf and 1 minute as recommeded for one cup, this produces a dark col...

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Picture of Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea – Golden Tip

Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea – Golden Tip from TeaVivre

Style: Yunnan Gold – Region: Yunnan, China

77 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jul. 29th, 2012

Dry leaf, consisting almost exclusively of unbroken golden tips, is extremely aromatic and fresh, with the characteristic quality that all black teas from Yunnan province seem to have, but fruitier than normal.

Upon brewing, the leaf turns darker in color and produces a rich brown cup.

Like other Yunnan Dian Hong...

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Picture of Mini Tuo-cha Pu-erh Tea

Mini Tuo-cha Pu-erh Tea from Simpson & Vail

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

33 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 1/5 Value: 1/5
Jul. 3rd, 2012

This tea is ripened (Shu) Pu-erh, which I tend to be less a fan of than raw (sheng) Pu-erh. The dry leaf, when compressed, is very tightly packed, and relatively unaromatic. Upon steeping, it becomes evident that the leaf of this tea is finely broken. The leaf is slow to infuse while still compressed but once the ca...

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Picture of Organic Yunnan Select Dao Ming

Organic Yunnan Select Dao Ming from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Yunnan Red – Region: Yunnan, China

77 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 8th, 2012

Complex and smooth, a bit on the weaker side though. Dry leaf has a strong aroma, characteristic of Yunnan red teas.

Aroma is complex. Moderately smoky, resembling tobacco smoke and smoky green teas (like gunpowder) more than most smoky black teas, also moderately fruity, almost like a Keemun. Flavor unusually sm...

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Picture of Chinese Breakfast™ - Yunnan Black Tea

Chinese Breakfast™ - Yunnan Black Tea from Numi Organic Tea

Style: Yunnan Red – Region: Yunnan, China

67 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Nov. 28th, 2011

A classic Yunnan black tea, unusually smooth for a tea bag. Aroma is complex, with hints of cocoa, wood, and fruit. Peppery finish, characteristic of Yunnan teas.

I recommend a longer steeping time (5+ min). This tea is not as aromatic as a loose-leaf Yunnan, and its flavor is mild so you can steep it for a long ...

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