509 Tasting Notes
Hello everyone, I hope you’re all having good weekends! I decided to do gong fu with this tea today because I felt like I wasn’t getting the full potential when I tasted it western-style. I mostly used TeaVivre’s parameters, but adjusted the amount of water to 4 ounces and then used 4 grams of tea, which turned out to be 4 pearls. I also used 200 degree water instead of boiling.
The method: 4g tea per 4oz water, 200 degrees, 10s rinse/30/50/70/90/120s
Rinse (10s): very light, woody, golden raisins (the pearls puffed up but held their shape)
Steep 1 (30s): strong bitter cocoa with some woodiness, burnt sugar (the pearls fell apart completely!)
Steep 2 (50s): very earthy in a mineral sense (licking a rock comes to mind), bitter cocoa
Steep 3 (70s): mellower earthiness, autumn leaves, dark but not bitter cocoa
Steep 4 (90s): very similar to steep 2, earthy and highly mineral
Steep 5 (120s): similar to steep 3, mellow earth with autumn leaves, buttered toast!
So, I was not a big fan of those highly earthy and mineral steeps… In fact, I didn’t finish either of them. Just blegh. My favorites were the first and last steeps, which suggests to me that maybe I should try this again with shorter steeps? Or maybe I’ll just stick to western-style with this one.
Any suggestions for a gong fu method that won’t bring out so much earthy/mineral flavor would be greatly appreciated! I only have enough of this left for one more cup or session… So I want to get it right! :P
I also noticed that there’s a tad bit of water left in the bottom after I drain the leaves. I’m assuming this is okay, since I don’t see how I would get all of it without dumping into a strainer. Would love to be corrected if I’m wrong!
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Burnt Sugar, Cocoa, Earth, Mineral, Toast, Wood
This tea was given to me by TeaBrat. She added it to a swap just out of the kindness of her heart. :) Overall, I find it pretty good, and caffeine-free options are always nice in the evening. I did a shorter steep this time around so the peppermint flavor would be a bit less intense. My only issue with this blend is the stevia – it adds a weird faux sugar aftertaste that I don’t like. I wish they would leave that out and allow people to sweeten it themselves if they choose to. I think a little bit of vanilla would be helpful too, just to give it that sweetness that candy canes obviously have.
I’m happy that I got the chance to try this blend, but it’s not something I would restock. But I’m not the biggest mint fan either, especially peppermint. :P
Edit: I hope I’m not annoying anyone with all of these sipdown notes… I realize they don’t have much substance! Don’t worry, I’ll go back to writing meaningful tasting notes soon.
This one wasn’t roasty enough for me before, so I figured I’d try a longer steep this time around and see if that intensified the toasted rice flavor. Noop. I still taste too much grassiness and not enough nommy roasty toastiness. This was my last traditional genmaicha, but I’m not too upset about it, considering I still have the lovely Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha! And hooray, I’m almost under a hundred teas!
Too bad I have more on the way… hangs head.
Meh, returning to this tea after trying many Yunnans over the past couple (few?) weeks and finding it sub-par. I have clearly been ruined by all of those lovely tippy, golden Yunnan teas I’ve ordered and received (all Nicole’s fault). This just can’t compare. It’s very harsh and somewhat bitter compared to what I’m now used to. I’m not really getting honey, just strong malt and “tea” taste. I tried this one yesterday with the 1/2/4 steep method and while it was improved, it was nowhere near my new favorites…
Oh no… I’m a snob!
(SAD) SIPDOWN! (104)
Aw, my very last cup of this tasty tea (for now). Gotta love the light and delicious pastry notes, the honey, the mild fruitiness. Sigh… Soon it will return to me! I want to try gong fu brewing with this one, since the name pretty much demands it.
I also found out today that Tan Yang Gong Fu (also called Panyang Congou apparently) comes from the same varietal as Golden Monkey! They’re also processed in the same way, apparently Tan Yang is slightly higher grade though. Interesting! They were listed as the same tea in The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook, so I looked it up and found more information here:
Gotta love learning! I will definitely be repurchasing this tea when TeaVivre’s black and oolong sale starts! SOON.
Another lovely fuzzy tea from Nicole. I did the 1/2/4m method tonight, and all three steeps basically tasted the same to me, which is interesting. They all had that nice cucumber/honeydew in the beginning of every sip, and then turned into lovely light bread and pastry notes. There’s definitely a very light floral at the end somewhere, maybe a mild lilac? Overall, this is definitely a unique tea. I would absolutely consider stocking this just because it’s nice and light and refreshing. Lovely for afternoon or early evening. Thanks Nicole! :P
This tea is so delicous. :3 I used water within the recommended range this time around. I’m definitely getting a fruity note that I don’t remember from before, it’s kind of like a golden raisin (sweet and syrupy, but not as intense as a regular raisin). Very lovely. I will definitely be adding this to my list of teas I must repurchase! And I would like to try this with the 1/2/4 method or as a gong fu session. Thanks so much to Nicole for introducing me to this tea and to Yunnan Sourcing in general! :D
Used the yyz method (1m/2m/4m) although I didn’t actually do the third steep this time around. This tea is still very unique, it has that fennel seed herbaceous flavor that I’ve found in a couple others. But I feel like this one is more savory. It’s very dark rye or pumpernickel bread with the seeds over the top. Butter, maybe, but not honey.
Delicious, but not something I absolutely need. :P Thanks to TeaTiff for the sample..
I finished this one off this morning using the new method that I got from yyz! It’s a 1 minute steep, then a 2 minute steep, followed by a 4 minute steep. I am really liking this method. I guess it’s somewhere between gong fu and western-style? I tend to love the lighter/more golden Yunnan teas and this kind of emulates that flavor even with a darker Yunnan. I will definitely be trying this with a lot of my other black teas. Thanks so much, yyz!
As for this tea, it’s a good one. But there are other Yunnan teas that I like as much or more that are cheaper (and more accessible, there is only one tin of this left and then it’s gone forever). Thanks again Nicole for letting me try this one! :)
My stomach is sloshing from all this tea!
This is definitely my favorite of the Della Terra teas I ordered a few weeks ago. A few of the others had really artificial flavors, which were okay for the first try, but after that I found they made me a bit nauseous. This one does have flavoring, but I actually enjoy it. The blueberry is more of a blueberry jam flavor than fresh. The cream is kind of vanilla-ish and it’s definitely stronger than the blueberry, which is okay, but I would prefer if the blueberry were stronger. It’s not overly rooibosy, and I don’t taste the black tea at all.
Overall, a relatively good dessert tea but not a very good blueberry tea, which is what I’m looking for.