143 Tasting Notes
I’m still sipping down some of my Lewis & Clark TTB samples.
1st steep (60s): Leaves still tightly furled. Rich buttery aroma with hints of spice. Light flavor, strong buttery finish. 2nd (60s): aroma of green beans/asparagus. The taste is more of a straw/spice/wood blend. Much less buttery. Finish is still excellent. 3rd (60s): Still good, with flavors similar to the second steep. This probably could have handled more steeps, but I got distracted and reached the point where I didn’t want more caffeine for the day.
This was a really pleasant tea: flavorful with absolutely no off-flavors. It’s not quite my favorite style, but I still enjoyed it a lot.
This is a real “brick” tea. I was afraid I was going to break the blade of my Swiss army knife trying to chip off a few pieces. I wound up with some of the tea as a fine powder: the blade grinds into the tough surface as much as it cuts.
After grinding away at that dark, tough brick, I was surprised at how light and refreshing the first pot was. The nose and taste started out with a strong stone fruit character, but became more woody and somewhat bitter as the 1st cup cooled. Tobacco appeared in the second steep, which was harsh. Later steeps show the nice fruit and became less harsh but were still too raw for me to really enjoy.
In theory, I should put this aside for a few years, but it was so solid that I’m afraid it might take decades for enough air to penetrate the brick. I broke up part of the brick to speed up the process.
I tried this tea again about 3 weeks later and found it much less bitter. I really am enjoying this now. The only difference I can think of is that I used a single chunk from my last break-up, so didn’t have any fine powder.
I’ve been drinking a lot of pu-erh lately, which is fun, but I feel as though all of my non-pu-erh teas are rushing into old age. So, I’m taking a break to try to drink down some of my other teas (all 18 pounds). Yes, it’s going to take a while. I hoped this would be a sipdown, but I have enough for two pots, so it’s a half-sipdown?
On to the tea: I’ve enjoyed this one in the past, though I’m not usually a fan of Ceylon teas. The aroma and taste are good, with a woody flavor and hints of fruit beneath. Astringent without being bitter. It’s like a classic breakfast tea, but with all the flavors just a bit brighter.
From the Lewis & Clark TTB
I don’t think I’ve ever had a fruit tea that tasted as authentic as this one does. On my first whiff, I was struck with a powerful blueberry aroma, with a bit of vanilla reminding me of hot blueberry pie a la mode. The taste is also dominated by blueberry, though the tea peeks through underneath, adding body to the tea.
As the tea cooled, the fruit flavor seemed to fade a bit. Still present, but not so dominant. Possibly, I was just getting used to the flavor? I used sweetener, since I find that it enhances flavored teas.
A friend gave me a sample of this tea and I instantly fell in love. The strong caramel is backed up by a rich, powerful pu-erh with none of the negatives (fish, bitterness) that sometimes accompany pu-erh.I did two 3-minute steeps. For the first, the caramel was dominant, though the tea was definitely present. For the second, the tea dominated, though the caramel was still obviously present.
This tea makes me want to buy more from Angelina’s teas. I’d never heard of them before, but this was really good.
From the Lewis & CLark TTB
This was a small sample, so I had to prepare it Western-style.
This is only my second Dan Cong; I really enjoyed the first so was looking forward to this one. It has a dark, spicy flavor, and long rich finish. Behind the spice, I can detect a sweet fruitiness, but also some bitterness in the finish.
From the Lewis & Clark TTB (delayed)
I needed a kick in the pants this morning, and this looked like just the thing. It certainly delivers a lot of flavor, largely due to the pu-erh base. The taste profile is mostly chocolate, though the puerh provides most of the power behind the chocolate. I thought I smelled nuts when I started to drink but may have been an unconscious comparison to Harney’s Florence tea, which is one of my favorite flavored teas.
This tea certainly delivers on the promise: big bold flavor; not at all subtle; yet none of the off-flavors you can sometimes get from pu-erh. I’m enjoying it. (Note: I added nutra-sweet, which is my usual practice for chocolate-flavored teas).
I’m starting to think that I need to start using two numbers to rate pu-erh tea. The first would be the flavor rating that I use for all other teas, and the second would be the psycho-active rating, or cha qi.
This tea is a great example. I don’t really like the taste, which is still pretty bitter at the 6th steep. However, halfway through this 6th cup (first cup this morning) I have this relaxing “buzz” going on that is probably what people talk about as “tea drunk”. I’m not going to provide a rating on steepster (or seriously propose a two-point system) but my internal rating system for pu-erh become based upon a combination of flavor with qi, but it would be better to use two numbers. This is not the only tea that I enjoyed for qi but didn’t care for in flavor. Of course, a few special teas have both.
So, on to this tea: It starts with a grassy flavor, which is my preference in a green-style tea, but with a little more veggie than I like to see. Very soon into a sip, a very powerful bitterness starts to build and it dominates the taste to the point where very little else is noticeable. I steeped at 185, which I would think would produce less bitterness than at boiling, or my ususal black tea temperature of 200. I’ll try at 175 degrees next time just to see if that makes a difference.
Lewis and Clark TTB #18
Oolong and puerh aren’t very well suited for travelling tea boxes, at least those with a deadline. You need to do half a dozen steeps to get the full picture of the tea, which means you can only do a couple of teas per day.
This tea is a good example. I wasn’t terribly impressed by the first steep: it seemed very dense and dark, like a black tea without a whole lot of character. however, on each subsequent steep, a richer, green flavor started to build, making for a fuller, richer tea. The darkness is still there, but now its more of a cello in the orchestra, providing depth underneath the violins, which dominate.I’m on my fourth steep now and it’s still going strong, Unfortunately, It’s nearly 3 PM, which is my self-imposed deadline for caffeinated tea. As a result, I’ll never know how far I could have taken it.