8 Tasting Notes
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a very rosy tea!
Unlike other floral teas I had in the past (which usually remind me of the fresh rain drops on flower petals), this scent is more refined and concentrated. It doesn’t strike me as trying to be bold, young and lively, but instead offers a more sophisticated delicacy that takes time to understand and enjoy. (more like certain wine and perfumes I guess – you could tell someone worked hard to mature it)
The taste is a lot lighter and quieter though – It’s not obvious, but it certainly is not bland. And I like the fact the taste doesn’t overwhelm the scent.
Oh! Use a glass tea pot if you have one! The roses make an especially lovely sight – like gentle kisses dripped on a baby’s cheek, making it all pink and radiant.
Random mumble jumble:
Tea reviews are HARD! I think the goal is to translate something that only your tongue and nose could understand into a collection of abstract/ambiguous words common enough that your audience could experience the same sensations and imaginations that rushed through your mind, which is unfortunately, almost always impossible… :(
ok… so how do we write a tea review of an unpleasant experience?
I regretted my decision the moment I opened the sample bag… well, too late.
The smell was so strong it almost made me cough – as if someone mistakenly woke up the Firebird from Fantasia who furiously burned down an entire forest, but completely leaving out (probably the only pleasant and) crispy smell of charcoal.
Extremely smokey, dry, lifeless and bitter, like an ancient armory full of ragged weapons and moldy manuscripts. (If all the dwarfs ever abandoned Iron Forge from World of Warcraft and let the uncivilized and monstrous dragons take over, it’d smell like this…)
All the other teas I have tried so far were nice – as in they were respectful towards my feelings and would only gently reveal themselves to me at a pace I’m comfortable with. But no, not this one. This one was angry and overwhelmingly expressive – it stuck itself right in my face without asking for permission or announcing its presence in advance. It reminded me of story tellers who refused to sugar coat anything and would only portrait life in its darkest, cruelest and possibly realist forms.
I don’t appreciate that. Well, at least not now.
I drank the tea just so I could say “been there done that”. To be fair, despite of the strong smell, the tea actually tasted quite smooth and silky.
Nevertheless, I am going back to all my fine and dandy teas of good manners…
(been debating whether to put this one up or not … alas here it is)
warning: major digression ahead…
tl;dr: floral+wood scent, rusty taste, honey recommended.
The first smell from the bag was riddled with a note of honey and wood but the taste was actually not as floral as I expected. The liquid was a bit dry and rusty (does this even make sense? probably not…) – it felt as if the tea didn’t want to leave my mouth and was trying to cling on to my tongue for just a few more moments. The hint of bitterness in the after-taste reminds me of the doctor visits I had when I was very young – there was a dark sandalwood desk with creases like the skin of the grand canyon on a miniature map. There was the old doctor who never seemed to smile or pay any attention to his little sick and nervous patient, who wrote scribbles on thin, crisp, and semi-transparent papers that no one could understand but were somehow deemed almost sacred in the small clinic in front of his apartment. From the floor to the ceiling, two of the four walls would be covered by neatly organized cabinets with bronzed handles and tiny drawers full of crunchy Chinese herbs, dried flowers, unknown spices, and sometimes even cicada shells (like Kamaji’s boiler room from Spirited Away). Naturally, this ancient and uncomfortably bitter scent would roam through every corner of the room, making me quietly nervous and agitated. Yet when the doctor’s wife finally handed my mom a small bag of mixed Chinese medicine, I’d feel secretly relieved, knowing that the visit was over, and that I’d be better soon.
Oh but I digress…
I did not appreciate the roughness the tea left on my tongue so for the second cup I added a few drops of honey – granted, the sweetness overshadowed some of the complexity but that was nevertheless a good decision in my opinion. Honey tempered the tea and then it was just a smooth and pleasant ride down.
The floral scent of the tea (before steeping) instantly reminded me of the glacé apricot snacks I had in China, but more pleasantly delicate and subtle – turned out it was cherry blossom instead of apricot. (a quick wikipedia search showed both are part of the Prunus family – I don’t know the scent of cherry blossom well enough to identify it so apricot was a wild guess that coincidentally landed near the target…?) As its name suggests, the tea pays proper respect to the Japanese culture where luscious and bold expressions are considered disgraceful for women whereas silence and obedience are celebrated virtues.
This tea is great for meditation in solitude – the taste is so light you almost don’t realize its presence. But you will definitely notice its absence because you’d miss the fragrance from the back of your throat every time you breathe out – it brings forth the unique freshness from blooming plants (not merely the simple pink sweetness you get from flowers, but with more exuberance – like bamboos growing after a night of rain) – I can’t quite describe freshness as a flavor but I guess it would just be like the way water is not tasteless and sunshine is not colorless.
(I must admit that my senses are too dull to offer the appreciation this tea deserves. But I will try myself. And hopefully I will get better. ✍ )
The smell of this tea was intriguing – not so strong that you’d want to cover your ears with a pillow and cry “5 more minutes please” yet with a tint of citrus flavor just perky enough to lure you out of a drowsy dream. The taste is light, gentle and fresh but the best part comes after you swallow the tea and then slowly breathe out – as the air flows through me, it reminds me of a warm breeze through a forest in early Fall – traversing the light brown and crispy leaves, carrying the sweet reminiscence of the summer flowers, as if they had never faded away.
I never knew waking up in the morning could be so gently cleansing and delightful.