135 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.
I’ve had this oolong for a while and figured it would be time to revisit it.
The dry leaf smells lovely. Fruity and just a hint roasty.
Very smooth, with a honeylike sweetness. There’s a hint of fruit lingering in the background as well. I seem to be in the mood for lighter teas over the past few days— normally I prefer strong teas that pretty much yell “HI THERE” at my tastebuds with its roastiness/earthiness/smokiness/leatheriness/‘heavier’ flavours (looking at you, Special Dark and Jade Dew). Anyway, this really hits the spot for me this evening.
Got this as a sample from Teavivre several months ago. Thanks, Angel!
Anyway, I’m not terribly experienced with green teas in general— so far, I know that I really enjoy long jing and bi luo chun, but I’ve admittedly done little else in the exploration of green teas.
I’m presently drinking this grandpa style after a random flash steep with my infuser (I changed my mind and decided to go grandpa style right after).
For the flash steep (a large splash of room temperature with 208F water, so I’d guess somewhere around 170F) : Sweet, creamy/buttery, refreshing. Not at all vegetal.
Grandpa style (probably closer to 180F this time): Vegetal, simultaneously savoury and sweet. Somewhat nutty. Light but pleasant astringency.
Overall, I really like it. Light but flavourful and not too subtle. Quite refreshing. I’m very tempted to get more but good grief my tea box is overflowing.