142 Tasting Notes
For 2014, this is a different tea, and I’m placing it here because the “High Mountain Concubine Oolong” description notes "This farm is located just across the valley and to the south of our Shan Lin Xi source, at about the same elevation. " It seems to be this year’s substitute offering. I was absolutely nutty over last year’s Shan Lin Xi version, and despite knowing full well that concubine tea is inherently a craps shoot year to year, I jumped in an ordered 150 grams (it worked out to about $60USD after discounts and shipping). I just have to say that was a mistake this year. I’ll certainly drink it, and not unhappily – it does have that character – but…the price is simply too much for something that doesn’t knock my socks off. It’s a pretty pale version of last year’s and not particularly special. I suppose it just adds to the suspense over next year’s batch, which I will absolutely still buy. No disrespect to Eco-Cha – I’d rather have a tea that really reflects the conditions on the ground than any sort of technologically standardized version. Not every year can be a winner.
Well, I overleafed it, but I still want to reorder this wonderful sample. It has a briskness that appeals to my inner Earl Grey drinker and still with a delicious sweet/savory creamy green underneath. I’ve been hunting for a jasmine anything to keep on hand, and I think I’ll stop here. We have a winner!
The third and last of my Teavivre spring preorders, and this one is less vegetal, even with a touch of toast. A bit less flavorful than the other two (Hou Kui and Long Jing), but as my cup cooled, I started to taste some creamy florals with almond, so that’s an automatic home run in my book.
My second cup of tea since the Great Detox of 2014. It has a much stronger, greener, buttered-vegetables flavor than yesterday’s exquisitely delicate Hou Kui – both part of my Teavivre preorder. I have never really appreciated Long Jing. I’m just not much of a sensitive soul and require stronger flavors. I don’t know if it’s the recent detox or the fact that this is the year’s fresh batch, but I could drink this every day. There is no shortage of flavor here, and it leaves a delicious aftertaste too.
First there were the two weeks of work craziness when tea consisted gallons of Awake from Starbucks. Then there were two weeks of zero caffeine detox. Now I feel prepared to resume appreciating teas for their flavor rather than solely based on caffeine content. This was my first cup and a beautiful way to drink tea. I had forgotten a cup of tea could calm and not just fuel me. It’s delicate. Deliciously delicate. Savory and sweet – maybe a bit of carrot? Or even carrot tops. Bi luo lovers might like to give this a try.
Very strange. In the same order, I received this, the Creme des Earl Grey, and Green Earl Grey. I cannot get enough of the green and the creme and am slurping them down (and have reordered larger quantities of both). This one… I first tried it cold brew, and it was undrinkable. So, fair enough, I probably over steeped it. I tried it again, normal brew, 4 minutes, and I had a similar result. I taste a faint lemon rather than the more rounded bergamot I prefer. This isn’t working for me.
This is a surprise. My only comparison, or so I thought, turned out not to be apt. The only other leafhopper-bitten tea I’ve had is Eco-Cha’s Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Concubine, which is more of a classic high mountain, creamy, floral oolong. This is very different – almost like a delicate, comforting, smooth black tea. Like a muted, dialed-back Yunnan maybe. I had to double check the package to confirm it is in fact a high mountain, Taiwanese, leafhopper-bitten oolong. I was initially disappointed in the flavor, except…ever find a tea that is somehow satisfying out of proportion to its flavor? This tea feels good to drink. I’ll definitely finish and greatly enjoy this.