311 Tasting Notes
Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
This is a follow up to the last tasting note I made for Waterlilies Fruit “Tea”. The first time I made this I found it way too sour for my tastes but vowed to sweeten it someday. Well that someday is now!
How I prepared it: 4tsp of fruit, 500ml of boiling water, and 1 1/2 tsp of sugar syrup (see google for an easy recipe).
Just the addition of sugar syrup helps tremendously. It’s still tart but in a good way, it’s still here and it adds a nice mouth watering sensation.
Up’d rating because the sugar helped even out the overwhelming tart flavour.
I’ve short steeped this one a few times before but I always got too lost in the moment to write down any tasting notes. Not the best resteepster, but still very satisfying. Okay now onto the tasting notes;
The sweetness in the first steep is very strong, which leaves behind a nice honey flavour and texture at the back of my throat. This black tea body is nice and mellow, with enough (initial) depth to keep it interesting.
Second steep was different, with a strong malty and grains flavour coming out and the sweetness toning down.
Third steep was pretty similar but with a new tart almost bitter tomato flavour appearing. This character is what really reminds me of “real” SML.
Fourth steep had a weird battle for flavour between the tomato and sweet honey. Normally the flavours are just layered or appear at the beginning or end, but the tomato and sweet honey really do fight for my sense’s attention. That’s the best way I can put it.
Fifth steep was very mild with not much of the tea flavour remaining. Just cinnamon, spices and tomato flavour.
Ending on the sixth steep, I mostly just taste sweet honey. It’s not a disappointing cup to end on, but also not interesting enough to warrant a resteep.
I quite like this small leaf cultivar SML, it’s not as memorable or amazing as SML but it’s easier to drink more often. For me, “real” SML has a strong distinct flavour that I find I can’t have too often. My purchase of this also included a small sample of SML which was a great learning experience. And while that extra SML sample is included, I highly recommend trying this out, just to taste how different the teas are.
100ml gaiwan, 2 generous tsps, 6 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)
Up’d rating for the wonderful short steeping experience.
So I didn’t have such good luck with the last tuo, I decided to make a different one: orange peel and ripe puerh (陈皮熟沱)
This tuo broke apart pretty quickly, so even the first steep was very dark. Unfortunately the first through third steeps didn’t have an orange (peel) flavour. I’m not exactly sure what was intended with this flavour but I don’t “get it”. The ripe puerh itself is okay, but didn’t really appeal to me.
100ml gaiwan, 1 tuo, 3 steeps (rinse, 30s, 30s, 45s)
Individual rating: 50s
Tonight I tried green tea and raw puerh (绿茶生沱). Unfortunately it was a disaster and I’ll need to redo the steep parameters sometime for the last tuo.
First steep after the rinse was ok, it had a grassy flavour with familiar young raw puerh character.
With the second and third steeps the tuo broke apart and all I could taste was bitterness.
If anyone has suggestions on how I should steep this, please leave a comment.
100ml gaiwan, 1 tuo, 3 steeps (rinse, 30s, 45s, 1min)
Individual rating: 40s
So lately I have been looking through my tasting notes and finding which teas do not have short steeping notes. I don’t write about every cup of tea I brew, but I like to make one note for long steeps and one note for short steeps. Anyway,
I brewed this tea today and the flavours were pretty consistent up until the third or fourth cup. It doesn’t keep the main flavour of one long steep, but it’s similar enough. And then came the expected downward spiral of weakening tea flavour, but what really shocked me was the CIGAR aroma in my fifth cup.
Whoa whoa whoa, what?!?!
I’m not disgusted or anything but it’s a strange thing to suddenly appear in my tea. I’ve tried some young raw puerh before and that’s given me a similar cigar aroma.
Okay so with these turn of events I had to keep resteeping. The sixth cup had an even stronger cigar aroma. I mean there is a hint of the original tea flavours but this was completely unexpected. By the time I got to the seventh cup the cigar aroma was almost completely gone. I kept resteeping it but the eighth and ninth cups were so weak and full of my original water flavour.
What a weird experience… I almost want to believe my senses just felt like trolling me this morning. ;) I’ll have to try and redo this again sometime to see if I can duplicate the experience. (edit: Tried this short steeped at a later date and it still had the cigar aroma with 5-6)
100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 9 steeps (30s + 15s resteeps)
This tea has been a favourite of mine since the first day I brewed it. It’s also one of the few teas I’ve ever repurchased. For the most part, I like buying a tea once and then moving onto something different. Since it’s a favourite, I opened bag #2 only recently even though I purchased it in August. ;)
Today I prepared 8 short steeps of it in a gaiwan. The first 8 were very flavourful (strong tea body, great roasted flavour) and 9-10 were pretty good too, although I mostly just tasted the sweet and roasted notes. I don’t usually short steep this one but I think I’ll make a habit of it now.
100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 10 steeps (30s +15s resteeps)
See previous tasting notes for more of my thoughts on this tea.
Yep so, I’m still going through these 20 flavours. Tonight’s is mint and ripe puerh, as listed on the wrapper: 薄荷熟沱.
With a combo like mint and puerh I expected it to taste like mouthwash and dirt, but it actually kinda worked out. I did a total of 6 steeps and they were all generally pretty good. The mint flavour was pretty mild, just like a touch of menthol in each sip. Also like most of the ripe puerh in this assortment, it’s pretty tolerable but not amazing.
Not the best out of the 20 flavours but much better than I expected.
100ml gaiwan, 1 mini tuo, 6 steeps (rinse, 15s steep, +15s resteeps)
Individual rating: 70s
Earlier I short steeped the Minami Sayaka, so now I’ll try it with the other oolong-black tea; Sakimidori.
Much like the tea description mentions, this tea starts of very sweet. In this first steep I get a lot of sweet cinnamon and spices, with a smooth velvety liquor texture. All of the flavours are in moderation, nothing is bold or shouts at my senses.
The second steep tasted like it had a bittersweet cocoa thing going on, along with the now familar cinnamon flavour.
Again, this third steep always strikes me as kinda “meh”. Even with the Minami Sayaka I did not find much to praise. Overall it’s much of the same flavours but they are a bit weak.
Then on the fourth steep it becomes more interesting again. The flavours seem a bit brighter and the once smooth velvety liquor texture transforms into a light and refreshing feeling.
Fifth steep still was tasty, with a light sweet cinnamon flavour.
Stopping on the sixth steep, the tea has become weak to the point that it’s not satisfying. If I short steep this tea again I’ll stop on the fifth, because at least that one was still pretty good.
I found the other oolong-black tea, Minami Sayaka to be a better short steeper. Sakimidori starts of sweet but then doesn’t really go anywhere. So my preference for this one would be with one long steep. It’s a very mild, quiet tea, so I’m not fond of the short steep results. Not a bad tea, just not one I’m in love with.
100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (30s + 15s resteeps)
I thought this tea was so nice I made it twice! Although this time I am using a gaiwan and short steeping it. Anyway, moving straight on to the tasting notes:
Sipping from the first steep, the grainy character is very bold. I guess it’s the sort of thing that comes out a lot in the first steep, and since I used more leaves it’s very powerful. The other flavours still quite remind me of Sun Moon Lake black tea, but not 100%.
The second cup definitely smells similar Sun Moon Lake black tea. Drinking the liquor, a tangy/zesty tomato flavour comes out and there is a bitterness similar to biting into tomato seeds.
Third steep was a bit tame, but much like the second steep flavour-wise.
On the fourth steep this tea shifted gears a bit. Now I’m tasting something kinda spicy or peppery, soft malt, and something that almost becomes sweet like cinnamon but doesn’t quite get there. This had less of an edge or power to it than the earlier steeps, but transformed into something with a bit more charm.
The fifth steep was light and refreshing. Overall a much weaker tea but not in a disappointing way.
With the sixth and last steep, what tea flavour remained at this point is sweet with a bit of the grain character. I can’t taste my original water yet, but I think it’s weak enough to stop resteeping.
I liked short steeping this and it sure brought out some nice changes. Following along with today’s theme, I’ll take a break and short steep the oolong-black Sakidori later.
100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 6 steeps, (30s + 15s resteeps)
Initial tasting notes for the second oolong-black tea I purchased from Yuuki-Cha. (If you are interested in what “oolong-black” means, check the extra info I put on this tea’s page)
Looking inside the pouch, the dry leaves shares a lot of similarities with the Sakimidori oolong-black tea and when brewed they expand to big whole leaves. If I had to compare the wet leaf appearance with other teas, it might be similar to Dan Cong oolong. Which somewhat makes sense because these are not rolled into balls.
Drinking from the first steep, it has an interesting zesty/citrus and cherry flavour. Like the other oolong-black, there is a nice grains flavour and feel to the liquor, along with the soft and smooth (not astringent) body. The tea body itself at first shows strong black tea characteristics, but with each sip you get a bit of oolong charm. So more along the lines of drinking a FF Darjeeling, it’s not entirely like a black tea.
Second steep was a bit weaker and gained a sweetness similar to honey. The zesty cherry notes came out a bit more, but the grains feeling to the liquor faded. It’s not very memorable after each sip, but it’s an otherwise enjoyable experience.
If I had to compare this to other teas, I first have to explain that because it’s an “oolong-black” I think all comparisons are one piece of the puzzle. So it reminds me of Sun Moon Lake and also of Dan Cong oolongs, but the similarities are just but one aspect. Along with the Sakimidori oolong-black, I can only really recommend these to people looking to try something strange and new. This isn’t a “must buy”, but a “fun buy”!
Another thing I’d like to comment on here at the end of my tasting note, is how I’ve noticed that the 4 teas I bought from Yuuki-Cha (2 oolong-black, 2 black) all share a grains character. I find this to be highly enjoyable, but it’s worth mentioning here in case you like or dislike this feature.
About 150ml of water in a glass teapot, 1 tsp, 2 steeps (3min, 4min)