Warming up today with a blend of maple tea and lapsang souchong, to go along with a bowl of hearty beef and veg soup. Good times! :D
283 Tasting Notes
I’ve had this a few times so far, but didn’t bother to write a tasting note.
Anyway, today used some extra leaf today (not much) and extended the steep time to 4 mins (usually I start with 3). I got a nice strengthened chocolatey flavour, floral notes, and a nice little nip of bitterness. All of those properties combined makes me think of dark chocolate while I sip.
Sometimes when I add extra leaf I dislike the results, but this one turned out favourably. Very happy with this one so far.
From the aroma of dry leaves, I picked up on a nice nutty fragrance. And with the wet leaves and liquor, muscatel and floral notes. There was also something there that reminds me of white tea scent and the “springy” nature of FF.
Onto drinking the stuff, I immediately taste strong bold flavours, astringency sensation, and bitterness (the sort within my liking). Which kind of surprised me, because the aroma from the dry and wet leaves makes me think it will taste very delicate. The aftertaste is quite mellow, with no trace of the bitterness from before.
I can definitely sense the grapefruit flavour mentioned in the description. I think it’s a combination of the bold, bitter, and astringency I’m picking up on.
The second steep was much tamer. Along with the original tea flavour, there is a nice spiciness. I especially liked the experience of inhaling the tea aroma just before sipping. A very captivating tea for the senses.
All in all, I like this experience. It turned out to pack quite a punch, but in a good way. And it was nice to taste a tea from Sikkim, an area so close to Darjeeling, and taste the difference. I may have added a bit too much leaf, so I’ll see about toning down the tiger by adjusting my tea leaf/water ratios.
The scent of dry leaves inside the pouch remind me of that Grape Nuts cereal (like wheat? barley?). Other than that, nothing else really grabbed my nose.
Onto brewing the first cup. Aroma from the liquor and wet leaves makes me think of fleshy tomato and thick wheat bread, with the liquor having more floral and “tea” notes.
Taking in the first sips, I taste notes of malt, wheat, cinnamon, pepper, honey, and “flesh” or pulpy texture in my mouth. With a lingering kind of cinnamon and sour note. Such a lot of flavours in one cup, it definitely gives my mind a lot to think about! Besides the flavour, I really like the fleshy texture combined with the otherwise light body.
In the second steep, the honey aroma really stands out. Tasting the liquor, notes of cinnamon and honey grab my attention right away. Following with the same flavours from the first steep.
At the third steep, the flavour is still staying pretty strong. Just the fleshy texture is fading.
Steeps four to five: Mostly tasting sweetness and spice
Sixth steep: Sweet, muted flavours but still going
Seven and Eighth steeps: Hardly anything resembling tea, mostly just sweet, honey water
Overall I thought this tea was a nice surprise, because I didn’t have high expectations going into this purchase. For me, it was a nice balance of sweet, spices, texture and just enough floral notes. Like a lot of black tea from this retailer, resteeping black tea is totally worth it.
Ending note: This reminds me (minus the sweetness) very much of Camellia-Sinensis’ Zhenghe Hong Gong Fu. So if you’ve enjoyed that one it’s worth checking out Huiming Hong Cha (or vice versa). Also, the sweetness (honey, cinnamon) found in this tea kind of reminds me of the sweetness you find in roasted tea. Perhaps it’s like what I expect a black tea version of Oriental Beauty to taste of. A bit of a bold claim, but at the 2nd steep onward you get a really fantastic sweet/cinnamon flavour.
Today’s tuo cha is cassia seed and ripe puerh (決明子熟沱). I’ve never tried anything with cassia seed before (that I know of), so I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to detect it here. That being said, I let my last tuo sit a while and it still turned out all right, so I’ll do the same with this one. From a quick Google search I found out that cassia seed is sweet, bitter, salty and may be used as a laxative (yikes!) among other things.
Sipping from the first steep, I noticed right away that this had a very “rounded” flavour. Dare I say, rather enjoyable? Maybe ripe puerh is just growing on me. :P Towards the end of the cup, I’m starting to pick up on a saltiness; presumably due to the cassia seed.
Second steep: pretty much the same experience as the first. Found myself sipping, not paying attention to the flavour and getting lost in the moment.
Third steep: Tea liquor is lightening up a bit, but the flavour is still strong.
Fourth steep: Tea liquor is much lighter, like amber orange. Still flavorful and a bit less pungent. Having fun getting to the bottom of this cup while chilling out and listening to DroneZone (SomaFM online radio).
Individual rating: 70ish. I would consider buying more of this to drink, but I think it is considered to be medicinal and not for regular consumption. It turned out to be more enjoyable than the other tuos, but not a favourite.
Final note: I’m starting to enjoy drinking these ripe tuos quite a bit. It’s definitely an evening/all-nighter sort of thing. Having a touch of insomnia at the moment, and I like choosing this over herbal. I like the very grounded feeling puerh gives me.
Finished off my small 25g bag of this. I was hoping to enjoy this (because its kind of cheap), but it just didn’t work out. It’s like meeting someone who looks attractive, and you both probably share the same interests, but then they open their mouth and say something incredibly stupid/insulting. :( I want to like you but I just can’t!
I probably won’t be buying any regular pouches of green tea for a while, and just work with samples until I find something enjoyable. Most of the time when I taste unflavoured teas they have at least one quality I like, but with these last green teas I’ve tried they just leave me feeling disappointed.
Looking inside the bag, I see beautiful long twisted leaves (and this is the small leaf cultivar! lol). So right from the start I decided this was a tea for the gaiwan, because it’s my favourite way (besides glass teapots/mugs) to admire tea leaves.
First sip, suddenly reminded of another Taiwanese tea I’ve tried (Hualien Feng Mi), except this is not as roasted. Then I’m picking up on a menthol/minty like flavour that I’ve heard about before with this sort of tea. There is also this soft malt flavour, but it’s not a “in your face” type of maltiness, it’s more like Ovaltine drink. It has a very smooth texture from the initial sip and an almost fuzzy, chocolatey, velvet aftertaste.
Second steep I’m picking up more of a honey flavour, with the other notes becoming more muted. Same fuzzy, chocolatey, velvet aftertaste (but muted).
At this point I examined the leaves before trying a third steep. The wet leaf is long, thin and has a hard leathery feel to it.
Third and final steep is a bit too muted for my liking. Still picking up notes of honey and malt. Enjoyable, but it can’t compare to the experience from my first steep.
This came along with a Red Jade sampler, so I can’t wait to try that as well. Also I’ll be playing around with the rating by the time I go through this bag (score might go up). So far I’m very fond of it, just not sure if I’ll become smitten by the last teaspoon. ;)
Today’s tuo cha is black tea and ripe puerh (红茶熟沱). Within the first two cups, I’m left feeling underwhelmed. The next two were a bit better, but I’m mostly tasting the ripe puerh (slight bitterness, pungent). I let the fifth and sixth steep for a long time (2 and 4 mins respectively), because I thought the black tea might be hiding in there. ;) To my surprise, it wasn’t entirely horrible at 4 mins (6th steep), but it still mostly tastes of ripe puerh. I can kinda get that “tea” flavour coming out, but it is very subtle. This assortment comes with 2 tuos for each flavour, so I may try longer steeps when I get to its twin.
Individual rating: 60 (Adequate). I would rate it lower (due to my disappointment), but it is still very drinkable.
Side note: all of these tuos are brewed in my 100ml gaiwan. I really enjoy the visual presentation of the leaves when you brew with it, and the ease of resteeping. (Plus it was really cheap! lol)
Finished the evening off with some raspberries and 6 short infusions of Oriental Beauty. A sweet treat (both the tea and the fruit) to end my weekend.
So far I’m really enjoying this tea, but I think it tastes a bit too “rich” and sweet for regular consumption. This sample size I got is working just well for special occasions.
I’ve been drinking this all year, even during the wicked heat waves in Ontario. I love Lapsang Souchong so much, but it’s always more enjoyable when it’s cold and raining outside. Each sip makes me think about sitting around a warm campfire
Smoky, malty, slightly buttery, with a pleasant soft black tea body.
Out of the few LS I’ve tried, this is absolutely my favourite. This company also sells a more authentic (?) and expensive version, but the cheap version suits me just fine. (I’ve tried the other one, and it’s wonderful.) As a plus, this is one of my favourite teas from Camellia Sinensis that doesn’t sell out right away. Finally a word of warning: you’ll either love it or hate it. If you’ve never tried Lapsang Souchong before, I recommend getting a small size (at your retailer of choice)
Today’s tuo cha is isatidis radix ripe puerh (板藍根熟沱). The aroma from the liquor smells a bit different, but upon drinking it I couldn’t detect anything that sets this apart. The puerh was drinkable, but nothing about it really impressed me. A very average/“meh” experience. I brewed it 4 times, and stopped there since it didn’t hold my interest.
Individual rating: 60ish. I’d rate it higher but I can’t taste anything beyond the puerh.
So far my favourites have been sticky rice raw puerh and lavendar ripe puerh. When I’m done going through all the tuo cha, I might buy more of those two in larger batches.
Awww yeah, pumpkin chai and pumpkin tim bits!
Today’s tuo cha is nuoxiang (sticky rice?) raw puerh (糯香生沱).
Anyway, the scent of the liquor intrigued me. It reminds me of corn puffs cereal (seriously). Onto drinking the stuff, it’s actually quite pleasant. There is a sweetness, and refreshing light body to it.
The tuo cha unfurled more on the second steep, and the initial sip was really bitter. It ends on a sweet note (corn puffs!), which I’m attributing to the extra ingredient.
Three and four have the same thing going on, starts of bitter and then smooths out, with a sweet aftertaste.
Individual rating for this is about 75.
Earl Grey is one of the first teas I was introduced to (in bagged from). So I enjoy occasionally having a cup of it and thinking about how different this blend is from the old bagged stuff. DAVIDsTEA definitely loves bergamot a lot! I remember getting to the bottom of the tea pouch and seeing the yellow residue from all the bergamot oil :O
Good stuff, but I get tired of the strong flavours very quickly. I know it’s common to put in milk and sugar, but I’m just not into that stuff (I’m lactose intolerant anyway). So I drink mine bare, usually served along side either a traditional breakfast or a hearty pasta dish.
Used a bit more leaf today, and I like the result. Still has a rose flavour, but now I get some notes of chocolate. There’s a bit of maltiness and fuzz that lingers in my mouth, which I find pleasant. Next steeps had more notes of lichee, just like I experienced in my previous tasting note.
Overall I find the flavours very “rich”, so not the sort of tea I’d want to drink too often. Definitely a nice treat to make up for that ripe puerh and osmanthus from yesterday. :D
Had another one before bed, this time it is ripe puerh and osmanthus (桂花熟沱). I’ve never heard of that flower before, and it could have stayed that way. Yuck! Maybe it’s an acquired taste, but I can’t find anything to appreciate about it. I couldn’t get past the first two steeps.
Individual rating for this would be about 40 (leaves a bad taste in my mouth). The other two ripe puerh I’ve had were ok, so I don’t think the tea itself is horrible.
Today’s tuo cha turned out be more ripe puerh, this time with chrysanthemum (菊花熟沱). One lesson I learned about this one, even before drinking it is to use a tea strainer (the sort you place over the teacup, not to be confused with an infuser). The little bits of flower petals sneak their way out of my gaiwan :|
First steep was ok, a bit light since the tuo cha didn’t break apart.
Second steep is much stronger (yeah it finally broke apart), the ripe puerh and chrysanthemum kinda blend into a coffee like flavour. I noticed this before when I had a similar tuo cha from DAVIDsTEA (which was raw puerh, with bad instructions).
Third steep had a really strong flavour, and was a little bitter (I don’t mind this with puerh). I’m still going at :30 intervals, because the liquor is so dark LOL
Fourth steep, same strong flavour but a bit smoother.
Five and six, I don’t think the tea is awful but I am sure getting sick of chrysanthemum.
About this assortment, through a few ebay postings and another online tea store I can kinda tell by the wrapper colour which one I’m getting. I say kind of because the hue is VERY important. There are quite a few places that sell these assortments of tuo cha.
Including this post, I’ve had 2 tuo cha and they’re both shu. Can’t say I love drinking ripe puerh, but these were enjoyable. Also, I have these little guys inside 2 ziplock bags, and it still has a strong scent. I recommend keeping these away from other tea or scent-sensitive food.
Oh the agony of finishing off a pouch of tea! I used the last 3 teaspoons to make a nice big pot of tea (ok not BIG big, but bigger than what I normally do).
Delicate, silky, muscatel, comforting.
It’s hard for me to use up special tea like this, so I’ll be resteeping the leaves until the flavour says good bye. :) And I can’t wait to say “hello” to a new FF tea next year.
Just got this package today and tried a random tuo cha (there is no English on the wrapper so I never know what I’ll get). It turned out to be ripe puerh and lavender (熏衣草熟沱), which is a surprisingly good combo! I was even able to stomach the ripe puerh for 6 short steeps. So that’s a plus in my book ;)
I had pretty low expectations with this, because I know it’s cheap and flavoured. But the first tuo cha turned out to be pretty good. So far I’m feeling good about this compulsive ebay buy. ($12 for 40 puerh tuo cha).
With the name “Organic Oolong” I didn’t really know what to expect. So the aroma of the freshly brewed tea was a pleasant surprise. Notes of honey, roasted oolong and that kind of cinnamon raisin bread scent really stick out.
The liquor goes down pretty light, but the honey flavour sticks in my mouth. It’s refreshing but leaves a rich texture.
Tea review based on 6 short steeps.
Had this as a to-go tea, nice stuff. Not sure if I’d buy more, but I was surprised at how good it was. (Normally I don’t enjoy flavoured white tea so much)
Never tried Oriental Beauty before, but it’s impressed me from the first sip. It’s so sweet, the honey flavour really weighs down in my mouth like real honey. And then I notice the nice floral notes, and familiar oolong body.
If I had to compare this to anything else, it would be single malt scotch. No seriously, it’s very heavy, rich, and complex on the palate. The general flavour can’t compare, but the feeling I get while drinking it is very similar (minus the harsh feeling of alcohol going down).
Still drinking this and working my way through the 50g bag. Speaking of the bag, this tea is light so it’s taking me a while to go through it all. Which is a shame because I thought to myself, oh after I finish this first flush I can get some second flush or autumnal (d’oh!).
Anyway, still loving how light and refreshing this one turned out to be. It kinda reminds me of my Bai Mu Dan (light, crisp, “spring” veg). And I like the velvety texture of the tea liquor going down my throat. Finally, there is always that familiar darjeeling flavour in each sip. :)
The leaves are a mix of big green whole bud/leaf and some broken bits (not dust). Sometimes I have to play around with time settings/leaf amount to get the brew I like, but it’s an otherwise easy tea to brew (never a disappointing flavour). Looking forward to buying the 2012 FF version of this or another similar looking one.
I’ve been looking for an inexpensive green tea, because I’m not a big fan of green tea and I don’t like feeling guilty when I brew expensive stuff. So, out of what they had at my DAVIDsTEA store, I like this one the best so far. I’m not crazy about it, but it’s a lot better than Yun Cui.