698 Tasting Notes
Life has been challenging for me the last six weeks or so, and now just when I thought I was getting back into some sort of normal routine, it reaches out and kicks you back to the ground.
This is a really nice black tea. It’s reacting well to my weird steep parameters at work. It’s exactly what I need this morning. I’ve overleafed it a bit, and that has caused a little bit of bitterness – but in a good way. Makes it a bit stronger, a bit more breakfast blend ish.
I’m just going to take some comfort from some good tea and hope this day passes quickly.
Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong of Wu Yi Fujian Black tea Spring 2014
Spring 2013 “Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong” of Wu Yi Fujian Black tea
I got both of these in my recent Yunnan Sourcing order. Why did I order two versions of the same tea? I don’t know, I don’t think I meant to, wasn’t really paying attention. That’s ok, I LOVE Fujian black teas and I’m sure I will enjoy both of them, but are they different… Sil asked me to compare them – so here are my thoughts on that.
Again – same as before Davids baskets, Noble cups. I decided that since there are no steeping parameters on the packaging, I’m going to do this MY way. This is how I normally steep black tea.
1.5 tsp/8 oz 95C 5 min
Dry – the leaves are small twisted and BLACK – I think the 13 are slightly larger than the 14 but only SLIGHTLY. They are beautiful and both smell amazing.
Steeped – Both smell the same and both look the same to me. I can’t tell the difference between them.
WOW!!! This is interesting!!! I was fully expecting to write something like – I can’t tell them apart, they are the same tea. These are NOT the same tea.
2013 – WOW!!! hit me in the face with semi-sweet chocolate. A little sweet a little bitter – fantastic!!! This is everything I LOVE about Fujian black tea. This is a lot like Laoshan Black – maybe not quite as good (but then I’m not drinking LB so what do I know) but it’s along that flavor profile. I would be perfectly happy crawling into a corner with this tea and beating the world off with a stick – leave me alone to enjoy my tea..
2014 – This is good – don’t get me wrong, I will drink this. It’s not as chocolaty, more malty, more sweet potato, almost a little grainy, maybe even a hint of grape. I like it but it pales beside the 2013.
That’s my story – this is just my impressions, but in my world 2013 ALL THE WAY , no comparison. But that’s because I adore the chocolate notes, some of you may like the other version better it’s all personal taste.
ETA – I just did a second steep of both of these (95C 7 min). The 2014 is more chocolaty with the 2nd steep, but I still prefer 2013. Both are milder with the second steep but totally drinkable. These are good teas.
Golden Snail Yunnan Black Tea – Whispering Pines Tea Co.
Pure Bud Bi Luo Chun Yunnan Black tea Autumn 2013 – Yunnan Sourcing
I haven’t drank either of these teas before so I’m going into this with no preconceived notions on what to expect.
I am again using Davids steeping baskets in my Noble Cups. Yunnan Sourcing doesn’t really give steeping instructions so I’m going with WP recommendation.
1 tsp/8 oz 95C 3 min
Dry – The YS version is more loosing rolled (less snail like) and has more golden leaves in it.
Dry – The YS version is more fragrant and smells a bit chocolate. WP is more subtle and I want to say fruity.
Steeped – the WP version is lighter in color but more transparent (clear) – YS is darker richer but more opaque.
This is really interesting to be drinking them side by side. These are completely different teas. YS is deeper richer but with less defined flavors. WP is lighter and sweeter, but has definite chocolate notes, smooth creamy, buttery is a good word.
I’m going back to my last comparison – YS is more adult not as sweet, somehow you think this is black tea – WP is more kid friendly sweet, what this black tea?. WP is easy to drink, really tasty, easy to pick out the flavors. The YS is deeper, more complex (in that you need to hunt and think about what you are drinking). I’m on the fence right now – like them both for different reasons. I’m going to re-steep the leaves and see what happens….
Second steep – water still 95C but upped the time to 5 min….
WP is darker this time – that’s interesting, not lots darker but some.
I think that WP re-steeps better – less flavor loss than the YS. Don’t get me wrong, the second steep of YS is still very drinkable, but it seems like a second steep – I’m not noticing much difference between the first and second steep of the WP. The YS has taken on some slight fruity notes – WP is still full of sweet chocolatey goodness.
IMHO – I like WP better. It’s just wins on the yummy factor (I don’t think I’m enough of a connoisseur to appreciate what is probably lurking in the YS version.) YS is bolder, more of a standard Yunnan black tea. It has some punch and would be my choice for a kick in the morning to get going. WP is more desserty – sit down for a quiet moment and enjoy some special tea.
Some people think that price doesn’t belong in reviews but unless you have unlimited funds it has to factor in somewhere. WP is about 3 times the price of YS. Is it fair to compare a Chevy to a Mercedes? Dunno – but with that thought in mind, I think YS is inexpensive enough to drink everyday, nice solid black tea. WP would be more of a special occasion tea for me. It’s not SO EXPENSIVE that I would never buy it again, but it’s a little pricey for every day drinking.
Both these teas could find a permanent home in my cupboard for different reasons.
Harney & Sons – Soba Tea, Roasted Buckwheat
Yunnan Sourcing – Himalayan Black Tartary Buckwheat Roasted Tea
I adore H&S Soba Buckwheat tea. H&S is a bit expensive to ship to Canada. Was looking for another example of this tea. I’ve looked for roasted buckwheat at local health food store but haven’t been able to find any. So, when I saw something that looked similar at YS I was quite excited.
I’ve made a cup of each using the same steep parameters. 1 tsp/8oz 100C 5 min
I used Davids steeping baskets in my Noble cups, so each tea was steeped in the same vessel and I’m drinking it out of the same cup.
Dry – the H&S nuggets are a little smaller and a little darker in color than the YS version.
Dry smell – really they both don’t smell like anything.
Steeped – Again the H&S is slightly darker in color.
Smell – the H&S smells more toasted, the YS is similar but not as strong.
H&S is for sure more toasty/roasted. The YS is sweeter and more grainy. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to articulate how I feel about this. I like them both – if I weren’t drinking them side by side, I’m not sure I would think there is much difference. But I am drinking them side by side. H&S is more flavorful – I think it’s more fun, like a kids cereal. YS is more subtle and more natural – it’s more adult.
I think the YS version would benefit from a longer steep time – I think the bigger nuggets need a bit longer steep time.
All and all I am really happy with my YS purchase, I am going to be perfectly happy drinking this, and considering how cheap it is – that’s just a bonus. Do I like H&S better? yes I do, but only marginally better. I’m not sure what I rated H&S – but right now I’m thinking H&S 95 – YS 92.
Both these teas make me happy.
This is my “dashboard inspired” tea. Roswell was drinking this yesterday and it reminded me that I’m not drinking my custom Adagio teas.
This one is pretty good. It’s caramel, and vanilla as stated – I’m also getting some chestnut that’s not really listed, so I’m not sure why I’m getting that.
I’m not sure I will ever order these again, but they are fun, the tins are cute, and this tea isn’t bad…
I cold steeped this over night in the fridge. I like it better hot. It’s ok cold steeped, but I think the peach gets lost in the green base. I like Cornelia’s peach flavor, and it’s really nice in this when hot steeped, but it’s more muted cold steeped.
Next time, hot steep and then cool for iced tea……