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    Mandala Tea Heart of the Old Tree 2012

    Country of Origin: China Leaf Appearance: varied greens, compressed Ingredients: puerh tea Steep time: 30 seconds Water Temperature: 212 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: light gold +Mandala Tea is one of my go to’s for puerh because they consistently source high quality private label teas. Their smaller cakes provide a chance to explore without breaking the piggy bank, especially for someone who is just getting started. Heart of the Old Tree is one that I had heard a lot about so I was excited to give it a try. The leaves were large and mostly whole with a nice shine to them. It had been far too long since I’ve been able to have…

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    Dachi Tea Co. Oriental Beauty Oolong

    Country of Origin: Taiwan Leaf Appearance: varied green and brown with silver tips Ingredients: oolong tea Steep time: 40 seconds Water Temperature: 185 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: amber Oriental Beauty, aka Bai Hao oolong, is one of my favorite types of Taiwanese teas. It’s one of the few teas that is organic by necessity (at least in the summer) because it requires that the leaves be bitten by leaf hopper insects. I know that might sound a bit gross but bugs chewing on your tea is a very good thing! It starts a slow oxidation process before the leaves are even picked, creating unique flavors and aromas. The leaves of this…

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    Ippodo Tea Co. Hosen Sencha

    Country of Origin: Japan Leaf Appearance: small, deep green Ingredients: green tea Steep time: 1 minute Water Temperature: 175 degrees Preparation Method: kyusu Liquor: bright green Back in October I reviewed Ippodo Tea Co.’s Unro Sencha (for the second time). I was eager to compare it to this one. It always amazes me just how different two teas of the same type can be. The taste was surprisingly mellow. There was a ton of natural sweetness and very little astringency. It still had the distinctive vegetal taste of a sencha but in a very gentle way. A wonderfully savory umami element snuck up on me in the aftertaste. I’ve just started reading Game of…