• Reviews

    Norbu Tea Xi Hu Long Jing – Spring 2012

    Country of Origin: China Leaf Appearance: flat, sage green Ingredients: green tea Steep time: 30 seconds Water Temperature: 165 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: very pale gold Long Jing, otherwise known as Dragonwell, is one of my favorite green teas. The quality of this type of tea can vary widely and fakes abound in the marketplace. Dragonwell is simply not Dragonwell if it does not come from Xi Hu. This tea is in fact an authentic Long Jing and it was very fresh, even though it was from last year’s crop. The taste was sweetly vegetal with nutty notes and a lingering finish. The mouth-feel was slightly thick and there was just…


  • Reviews

    Norbu Tea Gu Zhu Zi Sun Green Tea – Spring 2012

    Country of Origin: China Leaf Appearance: jade green, small and needle-like Ingredients: green tea Steep time: 30 seconds Water Temperature: 170 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: very pale, greenish According to Norbu’s website the name of this tea means “purple bamboo shoot” because while still on the bush, the leaves of this cultivar have a purplish hue and are thought resemble the shape of bamboo shoots. Prior to steeping, it had a wonderfully fresh aroma. I was reminded of opening a fresh bag of sugar snap peas (even before I read that descriptor on Norbu’s site!). The taste was very delicate yet complex and flavorful. It was vegetal and slightly floral with…

  • Reviews

    Norbu Tea Hong Yu Ruby Black Tea – Spring 2012

    Country of Origin: Taiwan Leaf Appearance: large, dark and very twisted Ingredients: black tea Steep time: 30 seconds Water Temperature: 205 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: bright orangish amber I recently bought a bunch of sample sizes from Norbu and could not resist picking this one up. It had been way too long since I have had any of the infamous Ruby #18. The steeped tea had a malty aroma that almost reminded me of a Yunnan. The taste was very difficult to describe. The maltiness continued in the taste along with notes of chocolate, fruit and just a hint of spice. The sweet aftertaste was almost wine-like and lingered long after…

  • Reviews

    Norbu Tea Zhao Lu Bai Cha – Taiwan White Tea – Winter 2012

    Country of Origin: Taiwan Leaf Appearance: large, lots of stems and bud, bright green Ingredients: white tea Steep time: 45 seconds Water Temperature: 175 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: very pale Ever since Geoff at Steep Stories put the idea in my head, I’ve been trying to hunt down a Taiwanese white tea. I was running low on samples to review (GASP!) so I placed an order with Norbu Tea and happily discovered that they had one in stock. The dry leaves were pretty unusual. They were huge and most of them were still in whole bud sets. The taste was soft, light and delicate but grew stronger with each infusion. There…

  • Reviews

    Norbu Tea 2009 Lao Mansa Sheng Puerh

    Country of Origin: China Leaf Appearance: dark, compressed Ingredients: puerh tea Steep time: 30 seconds Water Temperature: 212 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: deep gold Puerh is sort of the last frontier of tea for me. I haven’t explored it much and I find it slightly intimidating. This is the first sheng, or raw, puerh that I have tried. The taste was a pleasant surprise as it was very different from shu, also known as cooked puerh. It was mellow with floral notes and a lingering, sweet aftertaste. I could not believe how green and plump the leaves were after steeping. If it were not for the unusual aromatics, I would have…

  • Reviews

    Norbu Tea Awabancha

    Country of Origin: Japan Leaf Appearance: large, leathery and greenish brown Ingredients: green tea Steep time: 3 minutes Water Temperature: 200 degrees Preparation Method: glass teapot Liquor: pale greenish yellow Awabancha is a fermented green tea that is made by pickling and drying the tea leaves. I have to admit that I was kind of terrified to try this. I have never and probably will never liked pickled foods. But I figured, this is tea so it can’t be that bad, right? I started off with doing a quick pre-wash to soften the leaves as Norbu suggested on their site. I immediately noticed an odd vinegary aroma. After steeping for 3 minutes, I was glad…