102 Tasting Notes
2/23/14 Afternoon tea. 5g/12oz/212F/4min 2 steeps. A very enjoyable dark oolong. I wanted a good strong tea for the afternoon, and this fit the bill perfectly. Strong roasty honey/coconut aromas in a lovely deep gold tea. It reminds me strongly of the roasted chestnuts I would buy from street vendors the winter I lived in Chicago. The second steep finished with a light astringency that was really nice.
2/23/14 Vertical tasting, thanks to the awesome guys at Eco-Cha!
I had the rare opportunity to compare the 2012 and 2013 summer crops of this directly. It was a fascinating tasting. The two teas are clearly the same tea, and yet distinctly different – like me dressed for a dinner date vs me dressed for backpacking. Okay… so I’d probably have the boots on either way… but still, different.
The standard – 3g/100 ml gaiwan/200F — starting at 10 seconds, adding 10 seconds each steep. This tea easily supported 4 steeps. It also showed brilliantly brewed western style, with 3g/12oz/200F/1min and a second steep of 3 min.
Overall – Red Jade #18 is an interesting tea. It has a rich savory vegetal umami to it unlike any other black tea I’ve had. It reminds me of sun dried tomato paste. The aroma carries cinnamon and mint.
2012 — A very twisty matte dry leaf. Deep intricate aromas and tastes. This year was Red Jade in the spice market; lots of cinnamon, clove, cardamon, and such a rich umami that my husband said it reminded him of steak.
2013 – Straight dry leaf, darker then 2012. This tea was lighter bodied and less intricate, but the flavors and aromas were darker and more earthy. The savory umami was more direct, almost smoky. A clear light toasted cinnamon note.
My husband loves this tea deeply, and wants to drink it every day. I enjoy it, but it wouldn’t be the tea I picked off a menu to drink.
2/20/14 Another Steepster Select tea. Brewed as per the packet instructions,
1 packet/12oz/212F/3.5min. A nice black tea. Very dark in the cup, with an aroma of brown sugar and wine/grape. Pleasantly astringent without being bitter. I’ll probably add milk to future cups, as suggested.
2/20/14 Steepster Select tea, prepared as per the packet instructions,
A very enjoyable tea, but again, one that I haven’t enough experience with to describe well. The first steep ran a touch bitter, so I brewed the second with 12oz water, and that smoothed it out nicely.
I like getting to try teas out of my normal range!
2/18/14 Afternoon tea with my husband. 1 packet/12oz/212F/2.5min From my Select box! Pretty pretty brew. I enjoyed it very much, though I can’t describe it well since it’s the first darjeeling I’ve drunk in ages and ages. I brewed it as per the instructions on the packet, and it made a nice potful for dH and I to share before he left for work.
2/17/14 Tea failure. I didn’t notice that we’d bought different water than usual until I took a sip of this tea and tasted nothing but flat dishwater. I’m disappointed especially because the leaf smells fantastic, and I am yearning to taste the tea properly but I can’t get for the right water until tomorrow morning. Commence wailing and gnashing of teeth.
2/16/14 Morning pot. 3g/6oz/212F/5min 5 minutes was a little too long for this tea – too much astringent/bitter is overpowering the berry. Still drinkable, just less then ideal. I forgive myself – it’s probably been over a year since I’ve brewed this tea.
2/13/14 Tea for the sick. 1 tuo cha/212F 100ml gaiwan 12oz/4min. These are a perfect single serving size , and brew up a nice dark red liquor. The aroma is woody and barny and good, and carries well into the taste. Supposedly they are different flavors, but so far they’ve all just tasted like shu pu-erh to me. I’ve brewed gongfu style, and western style, and this tea shows well both ways.
I bought these on a whim, because they were so cheap – 3USD for 9, straight from China, with free shipping. I am very pleasantly surprised by how nice they are, and will probably order one of the larger lots.