142 Tasting Notes
Pulled my cake of this out today to see how it’s doing. My storage conditions aren’t really that great (it gets really dry in the winter especially). I wound up picking off about three times more than I intended so I thought I’d try tasting it side by side in my yixing and gaiwan. 10 second rinse, 15 second steeps.
Flavour wise, this seems to be relatively similar to how I last remembered it— slightly smokey, lightly astringent. The stonefruit is still there but it’s more melded with the rest of the flavours. I guess my “throw it in the [unplugged] minifridge and hope it doesn’t get too dry in there” method doesn’t seem to be hurting the tea too much at the very least.
Interestingly, the smoke is more prominent in the gaiwan than the yixing but I get a stronger/sweeter aftertaste from the yixing. I don’t remember the aftertaste being there before. I should probably use my yixings more often though.
I fished a nearly-empty 1/2 oz bag of this from the bottom of one of my boxes of tea yesterday. I’ll be sad to see it go, but at this point I have far too much tea for someone in my current situation (still working out life details/strongly considering getting a terminal degree and therefore need a considerable amount of flexibility/mobility since it’ll be a while before I settle down somewhere permanently— having, uh, 10+ kilograms of tea doesn’t really help with the mobility) so I’m trying to let go of my hoarding tendencies and just drink things without worrying that I’ll miss it or whatever it is that makes me want to hoard tea.
Honestly, the main note I’m getting from this in these early steeps is something like raisins and dates. It’s a little dry in the aftertaste. I’m really not getting any hints of cocoa or chocolate, but then again the water I’m using is considerably cooler than what I’d normally use— waiting for my water heater to boil so I’m using the hot water in my thermos at the moment. Will update if the flavour changes in future steeps with hot water.
This is surprisingly more energising than I expected. I was going after a comfort tea when I went tea-box-diving. I might have to revisit the boxes once I’m finished with this.
Still delicious and flavourful. The fruitiness faded a little, but I think there’s a darker/nuttier edge to it that I didn’t notice before.
Man, I really miss Butiki. I’ve still got a small pile of their flavoured teas to finish up (whoops). I should probably stop hoarding those.
I should probably try and find a replacement Taiwanese Assam for when I finish this up…
Whoops, it’s been a while since I’ve logged anything. I’ve been rather busy as of late what with bumbling through the Real World with this job thing and bills and insurance and whatnot. When I found out I was eligible for a retirement investment plan thing I went full on into “I have no idea what I’m doing” mode for a good week or so until I (hopefully) figured out what to do with that.
Anyway, I think I’m slowly getting the hang of this…
In the meantime, I’ve mostly been sipping on some old favourites and didn’t get around to writing notes of new teas I’ve had as of late. Fortunately I still have some left for most of them so I can revisit and take notes when I can.
I rinsed this one once for 5 seconds and somewhat absentmindledly drank it by accident.
Now I’m on steep 2 or 3. Or maybe 4. I can’t remember which because my hands are on autopilot since my brain yells “MORE” every time it notices the cup is empty. It’s really starting to open up (in flavour and the ball unfurling) at this point though, which makes me think I’m on steep 4.
One orb that I forgot to weigh, 150 ml gaiwan that I tend to underfill. 5-10 second steeps.
Smooth and silky mouthfeel. There’s an edge of vegetal tartness/bitterness to it that complements the hint of floral sweetness and juciness I’m getting. The aftertaste (huigan? ugh I’ve forgotten a lot of terms as well) is quite prominent. Sweet sugarcane, I think? Man, I’ve got to work on identifying flavours better.
It’s been a while since I’ve been properly tea drunk but I think this can easily get me there. I’m feeling pretty tea buzzed right now. I’m feeling surprisingly alert and energetic (a little bouncy) yet calm at the moment.
It’s almost midnight so I don’t know if I’ll steep this to the end tonight or set it aside to dry and then work on it in the morning but there’s still a lot left in this tiny orb!
(Steep #x + 1 : so soothing. Aftertaste keeps getting sweeter and sweeter. I’m taking longer pauses between each sip to just enjoy the aftertaste. Also I’m surprisingly calm/content now considering I was feeling pretty down all day today. Tea is great.)
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.