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Alex Zorach

RateTea Editor

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Member since Sep. 1st, 2009. Reviewed 1311 teas.

Reviews of Pure Tea (Camellia sinensis)

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Picture of Magnolia Oolong

Magnolia Oolong from Harney and Sons

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: Guangdong, China

86 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Jun. 22nd, 2017

This was my favorite oolong that I have sampled in a long time. After being let down by several oolongs from Harney & Sons, this one hit the spot.

The leaf, which is quite wiry, smells amazing and multifaceted: floral, fruity, toasty, spicy. There's a skunky note and a pleasant bready, baked-good quality. It seem...

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Picture of Mutan White

Mutan White from Harney and Sons

Style: White Peony Tea – Region: Fujian, China

84 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jun. 20th, 2017

I thought this was an above-average white peony or bai mu dan.

Dry leaf smells different from any other White Peony tea I've tried, notes of candied citrus peel, a sort of bittersweet smell, a slight pungency, almost hinting at camphor. I'm intrigued, and eager to try this to see what kind of cup this leaf produces...

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Picture of Organic Assam P.F. Tea

Organic Assam P.F. Tea from Metropolitan Tea Company

Style: Assam – Region: Assam, India

77 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 4/5
Jun. 15th, 2017

Served in Rock City cafe in Rockland, Maine.

This was a very dark Assam with a fairly smoky character. Aroma is strong, malty and fruity, but it is the smoky notes that make this tea stand out. The aroma is interesting and complex, a little like drinking a fine wine.

Flavor is slightly harsh, bitter and with a lo...

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Picture of Green Tea (Loose)

Green Tea (Loose) from Golden Sail Brand

Style: Green Tea – Region: China

48 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 1/5 Value: 1/5
Jun. 9th, 2017

I wouldn't buy this again. I purchased it at the Newark, Delaware Farmer's market out of curiosity. Usually I've had better experiences with teas there, like discovering the remarkably inexpensive and high-quality Tradition brand. This was a disappointment though.

Dry leaf looks dusty silvery-green, looks a lot l...

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Picture of Okayti White

Okayti White from Harney and Sons

Style: Darjeeling White Tea – Region: Darjeeling, India

88 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Jun. 8th, 2017

I liked this one a lot, much more than typical for white teas.

I normally don't like tippy white teas, but I was super impressed by what may be this same exact same tea, or at least a similar one, sold by Golden Tips Tea. Unfortunately, this tea is no longer in stock at either company! It is worth waiting for this...

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Picture of Irish Breakfast

Irish Breakfast from Octavia Tea

Style: Irish Breakfast – Region: ?????

78 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
Jun. 3rd, 2017

An okay Irish Breakfast but overpriced, on the weak side, and I think not quite at the level of Octavia's other teas. Served in Velvet Sky Cafe in Jenkintown, I love this place and miss it so much!

The leaf is not super aromatic, but the brewed cup smells pleasant and strong. Richly malty aroma, with some earthy n...

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Picture of Anji Baicha

Anji Baicha from Harney and Sons

Style: Anji Bai Cha – Region: Zhejiang, China

86 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
May. 31st, 2017

I have read about Anji Baicha for years now, and this is the first time I've ever tried it. I've been very curious about it, especially since I've read that it's among the teas highest in L-theanine, but is prepared rather differently from Gyokuro, the tea I've tried that is also highest in theanine. It didn't quite ...

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Picture of Old Tree Shui Hsian

Old Tree Shui Hsian from Harney and Sons

Style: Shui Hsien Oolong – Region: China

71 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
May. 28th, 2017

The dry leaf has an interesting shape, loosely curly, less long and wiry than most Wuyi oolong. It's intensely aromatic, smelling like roast and fruit; the fruitiness is quite astounding, it's maybe a little like dried peaches or apricots.

The brewed cup is very roasty, with notes of wood and hints of coffee. It's...

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Picture of Pearl Gunpowder

Pearl Gunpowder from The Tao of Tea

Style: Gunpowder Green Tea – Region: Zhejiang, China

66 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
May. 27th, 2017

This was a simple, coolish, fresh green tea with a hint of smoke in the aroma. Gunpowder isn't my favorite style of green tea, but I do enjoy it from time to time.

The dry leaf of this smells mild but pleasant and fresh, dusty with a hint of smoke, some cool herbal notes a little like celery. After steeping I see ...

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Picture of English Breakfast Black Tea

English Breakfast Black Tea from Heavenly Tea Leaves

Style: English Breakfast – Region: Assam, India

85 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
May. 24th, 2017

My roommate got a tea sampler of four teas from this company, Heavenly Tea Leaves, which I hadn't heard of before then, and let me try all the teas. I was really impressed with this one, especially with its combination of reasonable price and great quality.

Dry leaf looks mostly intact pieces of whole leaves, smell...

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Picture of Organic Darjeeling Kalimpong

Organic Darjeeling Kalimpong from Mighty Leaf Tea

Style: Darjeeling Second Flush – Region: Darjeeling, India

78 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
May. 22nd, 2017

I thought this was an excellent second flush Darjeeling, with a fresher and cooler aroma than average, and surprising strength that allowed the leaf to stretch very far. A tea that I like to savor very slowly, not something for if you're in a hurry.

Thank you to Mighty Leaf for this generous sample!

I love the s...

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Picture of Pure Darjeeling

Pure Darjeeling from Wedgwood

Style: Darjeeling Black Tea – Region: Darjeeling, India

62 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
May. 18th, 2017

This is a very dark Darjeeling. I enjoyed it as a change of pace; most high-end tea companies tend to sell lighter Darjeelings but sometimes I like the darker ones. Even though I often prefer the flavor of the lighter teas, I tend to feel better after drinking the darker ones, and this was no exception.

The dry le...

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Picture of Safari Pure Tea

Safari Pure Tea from Ketepa (Kenya Tea Packers)

Style: Black Tea – Region: Kenya

84 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
May. 17th, 2017

I was excited when I saw this for sale at the Everest Indian Grocery Store in Lancaster, PA. I am a huge fan of the Fahari Ya tea from this same company, Ketepa; it's incredibly cheap and remarkably high quality.

This tea was very similar, I think perhaps a little bit better although it's hard to say, because my fa...

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Picture of Anji Black

Anji Black from Harney and Sons

Style: Black Tea – Region: Anji, Zhejiang, China

78 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
May. 13th, 2017

This tea tasted more like a sweet, Christmas-ey baked good than any other tea I've ever tried.

The leaf has such a pleasant fragrance, a rich, buttery, bready, and fruity aroma, like a fruit tart fresh out of the oven, quite remarkable. There's a distinctive smell in the aroma that reminds me of some food from my c...

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Picture of Organic Karigane

Organic Karigane from Mighty Leaf Tea

Style: Kukicha – Region: Japan

76 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
May. 13th, 2017

Thank you to Mighty Leaf for this sample! Overall I haven't been as impressed with the green teas from Mighty Leaf as the black ones, but I like this one a bit more. This was a very atypical example of a kukicha / twig tea, much more full-flavored than I expected.

I was intrigued by how the leaf smells...it smells...

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Picture of Organic Sencha

Organic Sencha from Mighty Leaf Tea

Style: Sencha – Region: Japan

58 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 2/5
May. 11th, 2017

Thank you mighty leaf for this sample! This tea had a very pleasant flavor but was nearly aromaless, although what aroma it did have was nice.

Dry leaf initially doesn't smell great, but when I breathe in more deeply, there's a very pleasant smell that suggests sweetness. The leaf looks fairly large and also rathe...

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Picture of Assam Extra Fancy

Assam Extra Fancy from Mighty Leaf Tea

Style: Assam – Region: Assam, India

89 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
May. 9th, 2017

Thanks again to Mighty Leaf for this sample! Like the other Assam from mighty leaf, I liked this tea from the first sip, but it also grew on me substantially. Another classic Assam, this one of higher grade. It was good the first few times I brewed it, but I found it really shined when I gave it a long steep.

Thi...

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Picture of Rou Gui Oolong

Rou Gui Oolong from Harney and Sons

Style: Rou Gui – Region: Wuyi, Fujian, China

72 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5
May. 5th, 2017

Overall this was more run-of-the-mill than I expected for such a high-end tea. My favorite thing about it was the smell of the dry leaf, the actual cup was good, but not as interesting.

The dry leaf smells incredibly beautiful...multifaceted too, lightly roasty, very fruity, like baked goods, suggesting sweetness, ...

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Picture of Hunan Bloolong

Hunan Bloolong from Harney and Sons

Style: Black Tea – Region: Hunan, China

60 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
May. 2nd, 2017

I got my hopes up for this tea but it was oddly forgettable, disappointing among artisan teas. There's an intriguing sensation of peach when drinking it, but...besides that nothing about it stands out.

The dry leaf smells so good, really rich and pleasing, malty, a sort of warm baked good smell, with notes of spice...

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Picture of Ceylon Kenilworth

Ceylon Kenilworth from Mighty Leaf Tea

Style: Ceylon Black Tea – Region: Sri Lanka / Ceylon

82 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
May. 1st, 2017

Thank you to mighty leaf for the sample! This tea is dark, strong, smoky, and complex. It's like one of those software packages that is really intimidating and hard to learn, but powerful once you get comfortable with it. I found it grew on me and I liked it more each time I drank it.

Wiry leaf smells punch-you-i...

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Picture of Hunan Mao Jian

Hunan Mao Jian from Harney and Sons

Style: Mao Jian Green Tea – Region: Hunan, China

70 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Apr. 29th, 2017

I tend to like Mao Jian teas a lot, and I still liked this one, but it was my least favorite example of it that I've tried. It was unexpectedly smooth but lacked edge or bite, and I think this bite is one of the things that I most appreciate about this type of tea.

Dry leaf is wiry and curved, very dark green. Qui...

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Picture of Assam Golden Tip

Assam Golden Tip from Mighty Leaf Tea

Style: Assam – Region: Assam, India

88 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 22nd, 2017

I loved this one. My favorite mighty leaf tea yet, and an excellent example of a classic Assam.

Thank you Mighty Leaf for this generous sample! I thought this was a pleasantly strong Assam, exactly what I expect from this style and a good example of such. There is something intangible about this tea that makes it...

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Picture of Irish Breakfast

Irish Breakfast from Mighty Leaf Tea

Style: Irish Breakfast – Region: Assam, India

61 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Apr. 18th, 2017

This was a free sample from Mighty Leaf; thanks very much! So far this is the most disappointing tea I've tried from the batch so I wanted to get my review out of the way and move on to the others. I thought this was too thin for an Irish Breakfast, oddly muted; it tasted like something was missing, both in terms of...

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Picture of Assam - Harmutty Estate Black Tea

Assam - Harmutty Estate Black Tea from Simpson & Vail

Style: Assam – Region: Assam, India

88 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Apr. 10th, 2017

This is among the better Assams I have ever sampled, and offered great value. It's super smooth, but with depth. Thank you to Simpson & Vail for this sample!

Curly dark leaf, smells very malty, sweet, very pleasant.

Upon brewing though the aroma becomes much more complex. It smells sweet, fresh, vegetal and he...

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Picture of Chun Mee

Chun Mee from Harney and Sons

Style: Chun Mee – Region: China

69 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Apr. 5th, 2017

Enjoyable but not amazing, not really standing out much among this style of tea. Smoother and less acidic than the norm for chun mee, but also perhaps a bit more boring too.

The dry leaf has a dusty vegetal aroma, slightly smoky, with a few sweet notes, kind of what I'd expect from this type of tea.

Brewed, this...

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