88 Tasting Notes
Backlogging from a couple days ago. Didn’t have time to take down notes then, so will be trying again with a chance to take notes soon. In the meantime, general impressions are that this is delicious, herbaceous, and had a lightly sweet after-taste.
Thank you so much to Ninavampi for sending along this sample!
I really said most I can in my first review of this tea, but I want to repeat one thing in particular.
This is still the most perfectly jasmine-scented tea I’ve tasted. I have come across so many that are just over-scented and over-flavored (in some cases), and it has historically put me off jasmine teas.
Thanks to TeaVivre for proving to me that jasmine teas can be done right to suit my own palate, which seems more sensitive to flavorings and scentings.
After reading my initial review (really more of a horror story) about my experience trying the Tamayokucha green tea from Two Leaves and a Bud, I received an email from the Marketing Coordinator of the company. She was sad to hear about my terrible experience and wanted to ensure that I had an opportunity to make the tea myself for its full true effect.
I just received the package today and was excited to see more than just a few samples of the Tamayokucha, but some of this Assam as well as the “Better Rest Blend” herbal tisane. As I have been quite in the mood for a black tea lately, I picked out one of the Assam samples and brewed it up.
The liquor is a lovely deep amber color and gives a nice malty, bitter aroma. I first tried the tea plain and found it surprisingly smooth. The bitterness in the aroma was mellowed quite a lot and left more of a sweet after-taste than I anticipated. I added some sugar and milk and this was transformed even further into a particularly delicious breakfast tea for me.
Despite the fact that it is a bagged tea, it actually rivals some of the loose breakfast blends I have. Well done, I say!
I received a sample of this tea with my order for the early release Zealong Black. So thank you to Jo for sending it along!
The dry leaf is large and full. It has a sweet malty flavor that I find very pleasant. The wet leaf is smoky and reminds me slightly of a Lapsang Souchong. So at this point, I’m perhaps a bit concerned. I detect a semblance of the same aroma with the liquor.
The liquor is a very light amber. It is much lighter than likely any other pu-erh I’ve indulged in. The first infusion definitely carries the smoky flavor I was smelling earlier. It is woody and reminds me most of a hardwood, I would say.
I can’t say I’m overfond of this first infusion. It leaves too much of a malty, smoky aftertaste for me. With more than a moment, there is something mellower that comes out, but I can’t quite identify it.
The second infusion smells more strongly of smoke, but the flavor in the tea is certainly more mild. The maltiness comes to the forefront and this has become a much smoother tea already. I would almost say mildly chocolatey undertones are present as well.
The third infusion has lost the maltiness, but not the smoke. It is sweeter and of a more crisp flavor now.
Overall, I suppose this isn’t my favorite tea with too persistent a smoky flavor. Yet I did enjoy trying it out and can think of a few friends who will enjoy trying this with me sometime as well.
I went ahead and picked up a sample of this tea along with a number of others from Tea Era when I saw that their samples are just $2 each. I’m an absolute sucker for a tea vendor that sells samples. I’m much more likely to purchase from you in the first place, and infinitely more again in the future.
I’m not normally one for flavored teas, but that was the bulk of their offering, so I decided to give a few of the more intriguing ones a whirl. I love pomegranate, so threw this in the lot!
I decided to prepare this tea gong-fu style. Now, if you read the steeping instructions, you’ll now know that I directly disregarded them. There’s a very good reason for that…. I felt like using my gaiwan. I KNOW! Best reason ever, right?
The dry leaf is perhaps a bit too tightly packed into the sample pouch and the leaves, which are already a bit smaller than I have come to expect, have broken a bit from the pouch. They have a sweet fragrance, though. I’m pretty sure it’s the vanilla and pomegranate. The wet leaves are especially fruity. You don’t really get any of the vanilla, but all the pomegranate. However, I keep saying “pomegranate”, but without reading the description I would not have pinpointed that. It’s almost more… citrusy than that.
In any case, I did at least brew this for longer than I would a typical white tea, closer in accordance with the instructions. Unfortunately, upon tasting, I feel like that was perhaps a mistake. The liquor is a nice amber color and has re-captured the mellowing vanilla. However, it’s a bit bitter and astringent from brewing overlong on my part. For now, I’ll leave it without a rating since I clearly was the cause of the poor flavor. I’ll get it better next time!
And I’ll even follow their posted instructions some day, too!
I really do enjoy pu-erh teas and this one is pretty high on my list. Especially of the ones that I can identify, seeing as I have a few at home I just can’t figure out what company made them!
In any case, it’s been another long, stressful day at work and I felt the need to relax. I had just eaten a large lunch and clocked back in when it became eminently clear that I needed some nice pu-erh to help keep my stomach settled and my senses alert.
Once it was brewed, I smelled the tea and actually said out loud, “Yes! This is exactly what I need!” It was sort of silly. I guess it’s a good thing there aren’t too many people near my desk.
What I love most about a good pu-erh like this is how it transports me. I smell the tea and have a sip and I’m camping in the woods, huddled in a warm sleeping bag as a fallen tree falls apart eaten by termites next to my tent. * sigh * This is where I want to be right now. And this is where I feel like I am when I enjoy this tea.
This is actually my third time drinking this tea. The first was in the Vital Tea Leaf shop with Kenny in Chinatown. After that, I purchased a decent amount of it. The second was just yesterday with a small group of coworkers and we all sat around enjoying this tea very much.
Today, I am enjoying this tea once more and the light, springy aroma of the liquor is perking me up nicely! The liquor itself is extremely light in color, even lighter than most green oolongs I come across. The tea itself is somewhat vegetal and mildly grassy. Most of all, it lightly plays in the mouth with a simple, pleasant, and almost sweet flavor.
I’m definitely fond of this tea and perhaps will like to try other Iron Goddess options from Vital Tea Leaf someday. When talking with Kenny, he described this as a good “everyday” oolong. I think he is exactly right about that!
Upon seeing the opportunity to get an early release black tea from a plantation that specializes in Oolong… I couldn’t resist the offer and spent perhaps a few dollars more than I ought to have in order to be a part of this.
The leaves are large, dark, and gorgeous to me. The scent of the dry leaf is full-bodied and sweet. But not sweet in a sugar or fruit sort of way to me. It’s sweet like a handful of grain.
I opted to brew this gong fu style first in a 100 mL gaiwan. Each infusion was around 1-2 minutes (depending on the infusion), so perhaps I will try this again gong fu style with shorter infusions.
The liquor is a deep amber with a surprisingly mellow aroma. As Dorothy noted, it definitely is malty with a touch of barley. Drinking the tea is smooth. There is no astringency or bitterness to my palate. At first, I couldn’t quite identify what I was tasting. It was robust but mellow. There was a heartiness without being too much.
After a while, I realized that tasting this tea reminds me of tasting craft beers. There are a lot of the same flavors working their way through the tea as I have experienced in beer. It’s almost like there’s a very light hoppy after-taste that I find especially pleasant.
I’m looking forward to trying this again with shorter infusions and again in a western style pot.