328 Tasting Notes
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)
Initial tasting notes for the second Japanese black tea I purchased from Yuuki-Cha.
A sniff in the Hime Hikari tin turns up different flavours than what I sensed with the Hime Fuki tea I previously tried. It still shares the broken leaf appearance but does not immediately remind me of Qimen in any other way.
Moving on to brewing and tasting the liquor, I first picked up on the sweet honey flavour, followed by apple and grains. The tea body seems to be even softer and less astringent than the Hime Hikari.
I know most people don’t like resteeping black tea, but I enjoy trying it anyway. Here on the second steep, much of the original flavour stayed but it was noticeably weaker. The sweet honey flavour in particular really stands out.
Finally I tried to go for a third steep, but there wasn’t much flavour left in the tea leaves.
I quite like the first steep, and out of the two Japanese black teas I’ve tried this is my favourite. The Hime Fuki has a more unique taste and feel, it just doesn’t happen to be one I am particularly crazy about.
200ml of water in a glass teapot, 1 tsp, 3 steeps (3min, 4min, 5min)
Initial tasting notes for a Japanese black tea I recently purchased.
The tea leaves look small and broken like Qimen. Not that I mind a such thing, just mentioning it.
First I steeped it with the directions that were mailed along with the tea. About 3g of tea and 120-150ml of water at 3mins. I tasted notes of apple, something grainy, astringent and bitter. Not a great start, so I made a new pot and used more water to even out the bitterness; about 200ml of water.
The second attempt wasn’t bitter at all and I was able to focus my attention more on the lovely flavours of this tea; cinnamon, apple, spices, and grains. The tea body itself is nice because there is enough depth and an edge/bite to keep it interesting.
Very tasty tea, but I am not a fan of the given directions (perhaps it works better for their other black teas). Both the tea leaf appearance and flavour remind me a bit of Qimen black teas. So I would recommend this to people who enjoy Qimen types, but also to anyone looking to try black tea from Japan. With the right method, this tea tastes absolutely wonderful. It’s full of flavour and has a charm of its own. It’s a bit pricey but worth getting if you want to treat yourself. :)
First tea: 120ml of water, Second attempt: 200ml. 1 tsp of tea for each cup, 1 steep
This is one of four teas I ordered from Yuuki-Cha. This tea vendor first caught my attention when I was looking around to see who was selling Japanese black tea. Currently there are 4 of those on their website and I bought 2. But what really compelled me to make a purchase (besides extra Christmas cash) were the addition of 2 “oolong-black” teas. And I’m trying one of those as my first to review and taste.
Drinking from the first steep the orange-red liquor has a really really soft feel in my mouth. Then I pick up on a pulpy/grainy texture and some sweetness. Very weird tea. Almost reminds me of Huiming Hong Cha from Camellia Sinensis. What always struck me as strange, was with each sip the tea body was so soft and not astringent at all. It’s like anti-astringent (I know.. not a real word, just work with me!). It’s a strange feeling you’d have to experience first hand.
I then steeped it a second time to see if it would change much. It’s still sweet, and has a pulpy/grainy feel. This time the liquor changes to a dark amber color (lighter than previous). It’s obviously weaker but has enough of the first steep’s characteristics to stay satisfying.
This wasn’t what I expected at all from this tea. To be honest I’m not sure what I expected but this wasn’t it. Not that it’s a bad thing, but this was an interesting tea experience for sure. I would certainly appreciate this tea more if it had a stronger body, but perhaps I’m just being picky. I’ll be sure to experiment with this one to see what flavours I can get out of it.
Anyway, I can see where the name oolong-black comes from now. It has the charm of both. However I think it would mostly appeal to people that enjoy black tea because it is very oxidized. Definitely worth a try if you are looking for something new and interesting.
About 120ml of water in a small glass teapot, 1 tsp (about 2-3g), 2 steeps (3min, 3:30min)