137 Tasting Notes
Grandpa brew all the things!
It’s been a ridiculously busy few weeks and March doesn’t look like it’ll be fun at all. I’m out of the country for about two weeks for a class and have so many things to turn in/submit when I get back. I’m computerless in the meantime, since my laptop’s been out of commission for months (I do all of my writing on my desktop). I doubt I’ll be able to properly type out papers on my phone, haha.
Anyway, I’ve been grandpa brewing the hell out of anything that I can get my hands on in the morning over these last few weeks. Quick note of things brewed in my 12-oz Thermos Tea Tumbler, all water temps at 195F. Leaf quantities all ‘eyeballed’ but definitely on the lower end of everything, since the leaves just sit in the tumbler all day. I lug a 40 oz thermos around in my bag alongside the tea tumbler and top off the water when it gets low (half or 2/3rds gone).
Verdant’s Laoshan Roasted Oolong – use very, very small quantities of it. Roasty, chocolaty, with a cocoa bitterness that becomes more of an overwhelming burnt chocolate when too much leaf is used. Lasted for a full day— it got uncomfortably bitter for me the morning of the second day so I dumped it and went for fresh leaves.
White2Tea’s 2014 Bulang Lao Cha Tou – really sweet (molasses or brown sugar type sweetness with a touch of powderiness that reminds me of Special Dark), about 4-7 rinsed nuggets will do for an entire day. Got a sample of it from the tea club a week or two ago and immediately ordered another 100g that just came in this weekend, and now I wish I’d gotten even more just because of how convenient it is. This lasted for a day, but I probably could have pushed it to two days with hotter water on the second day.
Mandala’s Not-So-Mini-Tuos – dropped one in the mug, gave it a quick rinse, and off I went. Really bold/hearty and earthy, and the first mugful or two were really strong for me. Halving the mini tuocha might be a good idea next time. This lasted me for two days.
Mandala’s Pu Wen coin – I really loved this one grandpa style. It’s tied with W2T’s Chocolate Mini Shu and Bulang Laochatou in terms of tastiness/convenience when busy. Unfortunately, it’s the priciest of the three so I’m trying to save the ones I’ve got. Lasted two days.
Mandala’s Rou Gui – fruity and sort of cinnamon-y, mildly roasty and ‘bright’. A pinch or two of leaves lasted for about a day— the flavour started weakening near the end, so I don’t think it could have gone for two full days.
Yesterday I thought I’d try grandpa brewing the last square I had from White2Tea’s Tea Club. A quick rinse, and then the little square sat in my tumbler for a few hours as I sipped from it.
Unsurprisingly, it was a really, really strong brew. Dark, earthy, wet rocks. It was a little too intense for me during the first round of grandpa brewing that I poured half the tumbler into a mug and filled the mug up with hot water, which helped a lot. There was a pleasant, light sweetness to it. It was surprisingly crisp and refreshing, like how I’d imagine drinking from a stream would taste.
I have a tin of this on its way. At some point, when I have time (ha), I’ll have to do a proper gongfu side-by-side tasting with the ‘98 White Tuo. There’s something kind of familiar about this tea that made me think about the White Tuo.
For some reason, bergamot and I don’t always get along when it comes to tea. It’s quite hit or miss with me. I picked up an adorable sample tin of this sometime a year or two ago— it came as part of a sampler set. Though the teas were definitely of good quality, I wasn’t a huge fan of most of the others. However, I rather liked this one.
Smooth and sweet black tea base. The flavouring isn’t too overwhelming— the bergamot is tempered a little by the lemon, lime and subtle orange blossom notes. Quite comforting, like being wrapped up in a warm blanket.