326 Tasting Notes
To celebrate our 5th anniversary married together, I prepared one of my husband’s (and mine) favourite teas: Jin Die.
Drinking from the first steep, I’m greeted with the familiar flavours of Jin Die: deep rich, earthy tea body, cinnamon, spices, tomato (not like SML), the liquor ends on a smooth-velvety feeling. An odd characteristic also makes it’s appearance here, the flavour of ripe puerh. It’s not something I expect from black tea, but I quite like it!
The second steep is much the same with some chocolate and pepper showing up.
As I keep drinking through the steeps, the flavour just keeps intensifying. Fifth steep brought out some caramel flavour, and was our favourite steep.
In each resteep the flavour started to weaken very gradually. I could taste the puerh flavour up until about the 9th, and much of the spice notes stayed up until the 15th.
I ended on the 16th steep because I really couldn’t drink anymore tea. It didn’t even have the taste of my water, just really weak, earthy, fuzzy, slightly sweet tea. The liquor had a yellow-amber colour, which is still pretty dark for so many resteeps I think.
Overall, I have always found Jin Die to be an amazing black tea, but this short steeping experience has heightened my enjoyment of it. As of writing this review, it’s my best black tea resteeper (Ying De Hong Cha from Jing Tea Shop had 14, Yunnan Dian Hong golden tips from Teavivre had 12). My husband isn’t obsessed with tea like I am, and he doesn’t always remember the flavour or names of our teas (especially if they are foreign), but Jin Die has left a powerful impression on him and it quickly became one of our favourites.
See previous tasting notes for more of my thoughts on this tea
100ml gaiwan, 2tsp, 16 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)
Up’d rating slightly
Tonight I’m brewing SML in a gaiwan, because I’ve yet to short steep it until now. Anyway,
First steep starts off tasting very mild and friendly, then after a few seconds a rush of flavour comes out. I’m getting a hint of the unique SML flavours here, malt, zesty tomato, vanilla, grains, cinnamon
Second steep it obviously much stronger, with the typical powerful SML flavours showing up.
Sniffing gaiwan lid, the scents made me think of soy sauce and tomato.
Moving onto the third steep, it keeps getting more and more intense. Now there is a minty/menthol flavour coming out. It mixes really well with the existing flavours into something that makes me think of licorice.
At the fourth steep the tea leaves have completely unfurled. Tasting the liquor, the mint is more powerful, along with the existing flavours. I think this fourth cup really tests your tolerance for STRONG flavours.
The fifth steep tasted like the tea flavour was weakening, but it’s otherwise pretty strong.
Sixth to twelfth steeps continued to get progressively weaker, but otherwise I enjoyed the typical SML flavours.
I go into more depth with my earlier tasting note, but in summary: I love SML because it is such a unique tea.
This short steeping experiment worked out nicely, I think I prefer it to the traditional one steep western style. For one thing, I think the menthol/mint comes out better here. As a bonus, the long, twisted dark leaves are a delight to watch in a gaiwan, and the large open mouth of this tea vessel makes it great to sniff the wet leaves.
100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 12 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)
Here’s another one of four Metropolitan Tea Company teas I purchased from Tweed & Hickory. I won’t be reviewing the final one because it’s just Monk’s Blend. Anyway…
I’ve been looking for a good peach tea for some time now. MTC Peach and Apricot black tea was pretty good but I am not a fan of the tea base, and DAVIDsTEA Southern Belle was a disaster. So I decided to purchase this Georgia Peach from MTC because it uses rooibos as a tea base.
Sniffing inside the bag, I’m reminded of the way too powerful peach smell from Southern Belle. The brewed rooibos liquor smells like peach, jolly ranchers, mint, and koolaid (seriously).
I was a bit hesitant to drink this stuff, because I had such high hopes for it. But my fears subsided when I took my first sip. It tastes FANTASTIC! It’s just the peach tea I’ve been looking for! This totally tastes like a peach should, plus it has some other nice flavours associated with red rooibos like mint.
I am 100% satisfied with this purchase. Rooibos has always been a “tea” I’ve liked but never fell in love with. But it works so well here with the peach flavour. The description suggests it’s good iced so I’ll have to try that sometime too.
470ml glass mug, 3 tsp (I use 1 and 1/2 tsp of rooibos per cup), 1 steep
This is another one of the four teas I bought from Tweed & Hickory’s massive online selection of Metropolitan Tea Company teas. I don’t usually buy flavoured teas now, but I still enjoy them occasionally. Mostly though, my husband loves to take black tea to work and it’s also nice to make up a pot of cheap flavoured tea every now and then. I find brewing flavoured black tea to be incredibly easy, which is terrific for whenever I am feeling lazy.
Smelling the brewed tea liquor, I’m reminded of the usual Ceylon base MTC uses, mild creamy vanilla and cinnamon. Nothing unusual and everything I expected so far.
Upon drinking it, my expectations were fully met. It’s a very smooth black tea with vanilla and cinnamon. I’m not usually very crazy about their Ceylon tea base, but this flavour combo works out pretty well.
I actually like this tea quite a bit. I’ve obviously had much better, fancier teas, but Vanilla & Cinnamon just aims to be a simple, pleasurable tea to brew western style. For what it is, I think it’s perfect. If you see this MTC tea in your local tea room, it’s definitely worth trying once. I can see this as being paired really well with some coffeecake!
470ml glass tea mug, 1 steep
This is one of four teas I ordered from Tweed & Hickory. Their online store carries a lot of stuff including a wide range of Metropolitan Tea Company teas.
Anyway, this tea caught my attention because I love Lapang Souchong and omg I love Taiwanese teas! So to figure out how good this tea is or really how much I like it, I’ll be preparing it twice (long steeps and then short steeps).
(1): 200ml glass teapot, 1 tsp, 2 steeps (4min, 5min)
These two steeps brought out a lot of familiar LS flavours. It has the “burnt rubber” flavour that I often find with other cheap LS. The main Taiwanese character I can taste is the menthol sensation, which I am attributing to them using Taiwanese camellia sinensis. The tea body itself was fairly strong in the first and second steeps, I only used 1 tsp and it did not taste too weak. Otherwise it’s nothing extraordinary, I’ve had much better LS before but I still like this tea.
(2): 100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 3 steeps (45s, 1min, 1min 15s)
The first steep tastes pretty good, it has nice malty, smoky, menthol flavours. The tea is very strong given that I only steeped it 45s.
Unfortunately with the second and third steeps, it just tastes like weak tea with smoke and rubber.
I am only slightly disappointed with this purchase. It’s very similar to their regular LS (Lapang Souchong Butterfly #1) and had a lot in common with other cheap LS (like David’s Tea). So for what it is, you could do worse. That being said I would not recommend it to anyone seriously in love with LS. There are so many better LS teas out there sold under the “traditional” name Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong.
Okay, so yes I’m a tea snob. And when I first started drinking tea I would probably consider this one pretty good. But once you’ve tasted how excellent a tea can be (in this case Lapang Souchong) it’s hard to go back.
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)