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D. Gray

Tea Reviewer

Member since Jul. 9th, 2017. Reviewed 24 teas.

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Picture of Zheng Wei Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea

Zheng Wei Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea from TeaVivre

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

95 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Aug. 30th, 2017

I was very impressed by this tea. I wasn't sure what to expect after reading the reviews. But, I was very happy with it.

Firstly, this isn't what I'd call a full-bodied tea. It's not light, either. It's more in the middle. The notes are delicious and strong, but they don't fill up my entire palette. There's a lot of...

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Picture of Fengqing Da Xue Shan (Big Snow Mountain) (2016)

Fengqing Da Xue Shan (Big Snow Mountain) (2016) from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Fengqing, Yunnan, China

90 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Aug. 25th, 2017

I've never had a tea as mouthwatering as this one and the bitterness which prompts it is really quite reasonable and consistent even after brewing it numerous times. It has a light, pleasant sweetness. But, really most of the presence is in a light thrust of bitterness at the start of a sip, which causes my mouth to wa...

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Picture of Nonpareil Taiwan DaYuLing High Mountain Cha Wang Oolong Tea

Nonpareil Taiwan DaYuLing High Mountain Cha Wang Oolong Tea from TeaVivre

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: Taichung, Taiwan

95 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Aug. 5th, 2017

I really loved this tea. It was the furthest I'd ever been in the direction of green oolongs when I tried it, so I was really surprised at the green, umami, mineral flavors. It was slightly buttery and more floral than the Nonpareil Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea. I liked that this one imparted a very relaxed feeling after ...

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Picture of Nonpareil Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea

Nonpareil Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea from TeaVivre

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: Taichung, Taiwan

95 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Aug. 5th, 2017

This is really unique, amazing tea. I really didn't find it all that floral. It was much more green, umami, mineral/salty, and had this buttery, rich body to it that really filled me up. The floral notes were there and ubiquitous, but not all that strong. I really liked that because some oolongs are just too heavy on t...

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Picture of 2016 Gu Hua Sheng

2016 Gu Hua Sheng from Verdant Tea

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

45 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Aug. 5th, 2017

I think that if I were new to young, raw pu-erh and thought that they were all bitter and undrinkable, this might 'wow' me in that it is sweeter, fruity, and definitely can be consumed now. But, compared to other young, raw pu-erh I've tried, it's really not special. It's also higher-priced. And, I really didn't like t...

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Picture of Spring Flat Pressed Laoshan Green Tea (2017)

Spring Flat Pressed Laoshan Green Tea (2017) from Verdant Tea

Style: Green Tea – Region: Shandong, China

40 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 2/5
Aug. 5th, 2017

I didn't try a sample before ordering this one in a 25g bag (my mistake). I was really surprised with how little flavor it had. As with the Spring Laoshan Green and Spring Reserve Laoshan Green, there's a savory profile, though this is more delicate and sweet than the others. But, the notes didn't last for more than a ...

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Picture of Spring Laoshan Green Tea (2017)

Spring Laoshan Green Tea (2017) from Verdant Tea

Style: Green Tea – Region: Shandong, China

30 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 1/5
Aug. 5th, 2017

I didn't try a sample pack of this one before ordering the larger 25g bags, because it was less expensive, so it wasn't a big deal to just order the bigger bags. Well, after trying it, I could see why it was less expensive. I got almost no brews out of this. It's really low-quality tea. Even taking into account the fac...

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Picture of Spring Reserve Laoshan Green Tea

Spring Reserve Laoshan Green Tea from Verdant Tea

Style: Green Tea – Region: Shandong, China

35 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 1/5
Aug. 5th, 2017

I was really impressed with this when I was trying it in a sample pack. I got a lot of brews out of it, it had a lot of really nice savory notes (nutty, umami, mineral/salty, etc.). But, then when I purchased it in a larger amount, it didn't have nearly as much flavor. I stored it in the same way I've stored teas from ...

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1998 Shou Puerh from T Shop

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

80 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Jul. 26th, 2017

This is a good ripe pu-erh. I just think it may need to be brewed differently than I brew other ripe pu-erh, in order to bring out the right flavors. This is because there are two categories of notes that I detected. One was this wet, clean earth after rain set of notes. Then, there was another completely different set...

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Picture of San Mateo Air Dried Loose Yerba Mate

San Mateo Air Dried Loose Yerba Mate from Guayaki

Style: Yerba Maté – Region: Brazil

60 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
Jul. 23rd, 2017

To me, this tastes like what would happen if I steeped leather and tobacco in boiling water. Needless to say, it's not the most desirable tea experience — particularly for someone like myself, who really doesn't like tobacco. This doesn't give me any strange, tingling sensation on my tongue like the smoked yerba mate...

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Picture of Nightlife 2017

Nightlife 2017 from white2tea

Style: Moonlight White – Region: ?????

75 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Jul. 20th, 2017

It's my impression that this is very heavily caffeinated. I know that there's this mistaken impression that white teas contain almost no caffeine, but this just isn't true. Not only is there an article with citations here on RateTea which says that isn't true, there is an article on the Oregon State University site, wh...

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Picture of Scottish Breakfast Leaf Tea

Scottish Breakfast Leaf Tea from Taylors of Harrogate

Style: Scottish Breakfast – Region: Blend

60 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Jul. 20th, 2017

The aroma of this was unique. It was much smoother than other black teas I've tried (including English and Irish Breakfast teas). The flavor was pretty good, though it really seems to want for milk, cream, or non-dairy milk, as it seemed to be missing something to drink it alone. There was only a bit of bitterness and ...

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Picture of Ya Shi Xiang Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong Tea

Ya Shi Xiang Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong Tea from TeaVivre

Style: Dancong Oolong – Region: Guangdong, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Jul. 17th, 2017

The dry leaves look brown and have a lightly roasted scent with notes of sweetness and flowers. This is a bit deceptive because after rinsing, the leaves are a very deep green and don't appear so roasted anymore.

The tea has roasted notes, sweet and floral notes which are reminiscent of gardenia but are sweeter and ...

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Picture of Huo Shan Huang Ya Yellow Tea

Huo Shan Huang Ya Yellow Tea from TeaVivre

Style: Huangya – Region: Anhui, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jul. 17th, 2017

I could taste the quality in this tea. It had an even, rounded, smooth flavor. It was sweet and consistent with notes of sweet corn and sweet peas. It had a richness to it as well. I tasted no bitterness and I don't recall much of any astringency, even after brewing it several times. I enjoyed it, but these flavors are...

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Picture of Premium Tai Ping Hou Kui Green Tea

Premium Tai Ping Hou Kui Green Tea from TeaVivre

Style: Taiping Hou Kui – Region: Anhui, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Jul. 17th, 2017

I was very surprised by the flavor of this tea. It reminds me of yellow tea in that it has a sweet flavor like corn and sweet peas. But, at the same time, it also has citrus notes — mostly lime, but some traces of lemon. I found it very refreshing. There was no bitterness and little to no astringency, even after seve...

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Picture of Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong Tea

Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong Tea from TeaVivre

Style: Milky Oolong – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

78 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Jul. 16th, 2017

To me, this tasted a lot like the FooJoy Tung Ting oolong, but with notes of milk, cream, and at times, almost a custard, that came and went. The floral notes were very similar, like gardenia. I did enjoy those milky notes, but they didn't stick around long. They were present for the first steeping, but were largely in...

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Picture of Fengqing Da Xue Shan (Big Snow Mountain) Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2016

Fengqing Da Xue Shan (Big Snow Mountain) Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2016 from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jul. 16th, 2017

I like this one, but I admit, at this point (July 2017), it is still a bit rough around the edges.

This tea is made with leaves from two different towns and I could taste this when drinking it. It was both sweet and bitter, astringent and mouth-watering. There was this very present duality in it, throughout the enti...

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Picture of Furyu: Awa Bancha

Furyu: Awa Bancha from Yunomi

Style: Bancha – Region: Tokushima, Japan

90 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Jul. 13th, 2017

This is a very curious tea. It is not aged or fermented in the typical manner in which teas are aged or fermented. Instead, the leaves are pickled. (Yes, you read that right.) You can actually smell this right away when opening a package of the tea leaves. They smell a lot like stuffed grape leaves, and the scent is in...

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Picture of Green Tea (Ato-bi process)

Green Tea (Ato-bi process) from ITO EN

Style: Green Tea – Region: Japan

95 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Jul. 11th, 2017

This is some truly delicious green tea. It took me a while to brew it just right. But, with 80C water, with 3/4 tsp of leaves, brewing for 2 minutes 30 seconds, in a 4 oz gaiwan, increasing the time by 30 seconds each brewing, it was delicious. The scent is creamy, sweet, and vegetal. It's not as sweet as gyokuro (shad...

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Picture of Sencha (Sen-cha), Loose-leaf

Sencha (Sen-cha), Loose-leaf from Yamamotoyama

Style: Sencha – Region: Japan

75 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Jul. 10th, 2017

This is one of my go-to green teas for daily drinking. It has a vegetal flavor with some greener, sweeter hints, but really isn't as sweet as fukamushi (green tea with a longer steaming period) or gyokuro (green tea that's shaded before harvesting). But, I like how unobtrusive it is. It's easy to drink this as a drink ...

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Picture of Menghai Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2016 - Monkey Year

Menghai Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2016 - Monkey Year from TeaVivre

Style: Raw / Green / Sheng Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

90 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Jul. 10th, 2017

I really loved this raw pu-erh. I found it to be floral and fruity, with notes reminiscent of lichee, apricot, and peaches. It was lightly tangy and an astringency came on pretty quickly when brewing it at higher temperatures. But, when I lowered the temperature and brewed at 90C, it held out for longer without becomin...

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Picture of Tung Ting Oolong

Tung Ting Oolong from Foojoy

Style: Jade Oolong – Region: Taiwan / Formosa

95 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Jul. 10th, 2017

The scent of this is subtle, but the flavor is really wonderful. It's a lot like gardenias with hints of fruitiness and it sticks around in the mouth for a while. It's a very pleasing flavor and the floral aspect of it is deeper and more grounded than some of the lighter flowery flavors out there that can feel like the...

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Picture of Hoji-cha, Roasted Green Tea (Loose)

Hoji-cha, Roasted Green Tea (Loose) from Yamamotoyama

Style: Hojicha – Region: Japan

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Jul. 10th, 2017

This tea has a beautiful, roasted scent and flavor. Depending upon how it's brewed, sometimes I taste hints of vegetal green tea. Other times, it's largely a roasted flavor without any bitterness and only a slight astringency, if any. It really reminds me of autumn, and it imparts this relaxing feeling that really help...

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Picture of Traditional Yerba Mate Tea Bags

Traditional Yerba Mate Tea Bags from Guayaki

Style: Yerba Maté – Region: Blend

70 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jul. 9th, 2017

This is my first time trying yerba mate. To me, the scent reminds me a lot of tobacco, leather, and hay. There's a smoky quality to it that's in the background, which makes sense because this is smoke dried. The taste has something in it that is vaguely reminiscent of bay leaves or willow bark. Perhaps those who consum...

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