112 Tasting Notes
I really like this tea…. I mean REALLY like this tea. I’ve reviewed it previously here: http://steepster.com/Donkeytiara/posts/247989# but am drinking it again this morning, and even through my back pain, it reminds me that it is everything I think a Yunnan should be. I recently used all my bonus points for reviews on TeaVivre’s websites to buy this tea, and this cup in front of me is making me happy that I broke the bonus point piggy bank to do so. It’s creamy, it’s yammy, it’s grainy, it’s a touch raisiny…. it’s nutty goodness focuses me right in on the cup of tea, making it easy to ignore the chaos around me. It makes me happy.
Flavors: Creamy, Grain, Nuts, Nutty, Raisins, Yams
Yi Fu Chun is described on Yezi’s website as a smoky black tea…I have an aversion to smokiness in tea, as I’ve been chased out of my home twice by wildfire. I don’t exactly associate smokiness with relaxing around a campfire, more like frantically trying to find pets and belongings to evacuate. SO, I was hesitant to approach this sample.
In the packet, the dry leaf smelled sweet and slightly cocoa-y…hmmm….no smoke! Okay then, steep time!
I am wonderfully surprised by this tea. Yi Fu Chun has similar notes to Fujian blacks that I have had before, but the notes are much more restrained. The bottom note is certainly a deep cocoa flavor that sits on the tongue a bit longer than the sip lasts in your mouth. Then comes mid notes of slight malt/grain/cannabis. The top note is a touch of floral, though I can’t quite place it through my allergies today. It is a similar profile to LB by Verdant and Bailin Gongfu by TeaVivre, but dialed in for a warm summer day. I am appreciating the delicateness of these sometimes cloying notes in the humid (yes, today it is humid. Global weather patterns are weirder and weirder these days) summer day in the Southern California arid heat.
Flavors: Cannabis, Cocoa, Grain, Malt
This tea is a great “Intro to Keemun 101” tea. All of the keemun notes are there: the smokiness, the earthiness, the touch of fruit (plum) and mushroom….. there are no extraordinary notes in this tea…but it is a textbook example of what should be found in a keemun, so there is good knowledge in this tea. For a beginner flight, this tea would be perfect. The smoke is subtle, which is very pleasing to my palate (I’ve been through too many wildfires, so smokiness doesn’t mean “relax” to me…it means “run!”) the plum is pronounced enough so that a beginner could be able to start picking out fruity notes in other teas. Overall, this is a nice introductory keemun that I wouldn’t turn away.
Flavors: Earth, Mushrooms, Plums, Smoke
I don’t like flavored teas. I usually end up burping the added flavor for hours after I’m done with the tea, which is about as pleasant as the picture I just forced into your head by typing that first sentence. (ew) So I have put off trying this tea. This is my last Teavivre tea left to try. I couldn’t put it off any longer, so here I sit, staring into the cup.
Dry there wasn’t a blast of rose, only a rose scent (which for me translates to a floral mustiness) that actually blends well with the scent of the dian hong leaves. I DID get a full wee rosebud (about the size of a mini marshmallow) in the sample pack. It was kind of…well… lovely! Hmmmm… maybe this wasn’t going to be as bad as I expected! And guess what?
I almost love this tea! I’ve finished half the cup and I’ve not burped once. I adore TeaVivre’s Dian Hong, and this cup is no exception… the tea is lovely, smooth, no astringency, nice healthy mouthfeel…. and that is usually enough for me. But today it feels like I got the piece of birthday cake with a letter from someones name on it….you know…that sugary hard letter that sometimes had part of the cardboard still stuck to it? Yeah, that! That is what I’d compare this tea to. Getting the cake is great, but when you get something unexpectedly extra, like a letter or a flower on the piece of cake, you feel special. TeaVivre’s dian hong is lovely by itself, but adding the rose (though not something I would want to do every day) made it feel special. I don’t think I’d drink it every day, but I most certainly won’t be giving away the other sample packets I receive, because, hey, sometimes you need to be the one that gets the sugary letter on the birthday cake. And it always makes you smile when it’s you.
Flavors: Malt, Rose, Sweet Potatoes
Gaaaaaah! This is not my cup of tea. It might be yours though. This Yunnan offering from Adagio is a darker leaf than the usual Yunnan, and rolled into wee balls. The smell of the dry leaf is musty and tealike. I missed the yam and apricot smell of my usual cup of Yunnan. First sip was Gaaaaaaah! I wasn’t expecting smoke and oak in my cup of Yunnan, but there it was. There is also more astringency than I like.This is a manlier version of Yunnan Gold. Yunnan Noir should be named Adagio YuMAN, because it’s manly notes speak for themselves. I won’t be finishing this sample.
Flavors: Earth, Grain, Smoke, Wood
When opening the package of tea, I was surprised to find that there was just a hint of greenness in the scent of the dry leaves, along with a nice maltiness. Steeped for a brief 2 minutes, this cup or Rwandan tea gave a lovely balance of baked grain with a touch of malt as bottom notes. There is also a caramel midnote and somewhere in the cup is also a vegetal taste….almost like asparagus and similar to Butiki’s Crimson Horizon tea. This morning I’m just getting a touch of astringency from this tea, which for me is good, as I shy away from very astringent teas. With this Rukeri, Canton Tea Co has found a nice smooth cup of breakfast tea that offers breakfast blend drinkers a bright tasting alternative to start their day. Definitely worthy of a try!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Green, Malt
This tea is a hard one to nail down. The description states " A sophisticated blend of high grade black teas from prestigious estates in Assam, Ceylon, Rwanda and Yunnan." Intriguing? Very much so. Throw the words ENGLISH BREAKFAST in there and I’m all over it. But is a blend of too many teas too much of a good thing? After the first sip, this thought is gone from my mind.
Steeping this was a math test. Because it’s from the UK, all instructions were in different measurements that I was used to, but it boiled down to 2 teaspoons of tea at 203f steeped for 3 minutes. There were a few more “bits” (or what I call residue-due) in the bottom of my finum than there normally is, which made me think perhaps this wouldn’t be as quality as I was hoping…. but quality, schmality, let’s get to the cup!
I can easily identify 2 of the teas mentioned: the Yunnan, which gives this breakfast blend a nice solid base note of earth, topped with honey. The Assam states is presence with the malty/grainy midnote. Perhaps the Ceylon is the brightness that holds the honey as a top note. so what is the Rwandan tea doing? Probably the happy dance, because it’s included in this unique and pleasurable breakfast tea! (my guess is actually the Rwanda adds the biscuit note, but I’m just guessing) This is a tea that all breakfast blend lovers should try. It is a hearty and smooth alternative to traditional breakfast teas, that tastes like no other. If you think you want this tea, you WANT this tea.
Flavors: Earth, Grain, Honey, Malt
Oooooh. This is a wonderful tea. The smell of the golden tippy dry leaf was biscuit-y and malty…and the liquid was dark red with the same fragrance, but now it was warm malty biscuits! I’m learning that I adore second flush assams as long as they are not too astringent, and this tea is one I could love. The malt and sweet biscuit give this Halmari a nice round mouthfeel and a beautiful smooth flavor profile. A solid citizen among Assams. It because even more wonderful with milk and sugar. Seriously, a tea that can make you forget about eating breakfast is an amazing mouthful of tea. I’m going back for seconds.
Flavors: Grain, Malt
When I stuck my nose into the sample packet of this tea I was very please with the aroma that met my senses…. the leaf of this tea has a gorgeous malty smell that has a deeper aroma than the average malty smell…like malt growing in shaded forest….ooooooooh! In the cup, the smell a bit brighter than dry. Dejoo Second Flush is a medium-light bodied tea with a wonderful malty flavor with a slight roasted nut and a touch of a caramel finish. It’s a bit reminiscent of the peanuts you find in Cracker Jack. There is some astringency in the cup, but not enough to completely dry my tongue after each sip…it’s just enough to make me look forward to my next sip…. of malty goodness.
Dejoo Second Flush Assam holds a bit more than the average malty cup of assam does. If you are exploring Assams, this should be on your wish list.
Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Nuts
On a sweltering 4th of July morning, this was the perfect tea to pull out of my samples that I purchased from Teabox. Assam Anandabag is lovely tea to see in the teaspoon…malty tippy goodness was my expectation and malty tippy goodness is exactly what I got! Anandabag isn’t a weighty assam tea, it is a middleweight assam with the lovely smell and taste of malt, cocoa and a touch of grain and a weeny bit if citrus. There was very little astringency which paired really well with the medium mouthfeel this tea created. It ended up being the perfect tea for a hot summer morning when you have that craving for a strong breakfast tea, but don’t want the heaviness that sometimes comes with Assams. Recommended.
Flavors: Citrus, Cocoa, Grain, Malt