137 Tasting Notes
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For an unexpected comparison, I just drank Verdant’s Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha the other day, and this is surprisingly similar! Mind you, it is not a substitute. The chocolate nut notes are what remind me of the LBCG, though this has less tea flavor and a light floral overlay. I suppose they are technically both flavored/blended, but my palate tires sooner of these flavors than the at least partly tea-leaf based flavors of the Laoshan. Though I might have really liked this tea in another context, it’s hard to see the point of drinking it with the Laoshan around. And it leaves a ‘flavored’ aftertaste.
It’s nice to be back to oolongs after testing nearly every black under the sun for an upcoming guest. I love their complexity, and this is no exception. Once I get past the basic tea smoke, there is unmistakeable fruit – to the point that it leaves behind a sweet taste on my tongue. And maybe a little minty tingle? Not the flavor, just the tingle. Great stuff.
“…light roasted coffee.” Yes, I can certainly see that. Now that I’ve had the holy trinity of Zhu Rong, Laoshan Black, and Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha, I think I have to make room for all three. Zhu Rong is the lightest of the three, and a delicious, easy going all day tea. I’m not sure I want to ice this one – it might be a touch too delicate for it. Another interesting lesson – I’ve been exploring these and other terrific Chinese black teas at the same time I’m working through an assortment of Dammann Freres flavored blacks. I was optimistic about the flavored teas, since I love the idea of them and am not at all a purist about my tea, but these Chinese blacks are kind of making them look silly. I think I’ll just have to ice all the flavored ones. When I’m craving a hot cup of tea, it’s these smooth blacks that are calling me.
I’m not usually a huge fan of flavored teas. So it’s a bit of a mystery why I’ve ordered several of exactly that from Dammann Freres. This was my first taste, and I’m pretty happy. I mostly taste a warm vanilla, and it’s somehow both obvious and subtle at the same time. It isn’t a fake or chemical-tasting vanilla, but a nice smooth addition to a smooth tea that I’m sure will be terrific iced as well.
Just yesterday I fell in love with Laoshan Black. And now this? This is like Laoshan Black amplified. Everything is just a little clearer, tuned up, louder. In my opinion, even more wonderful. The rock concert version. This is definitely the new poster on my wall. (Can we get tea posters? Maybe a fan mag?)
Blerg. I hate it when I’m out of step with the other reviews. And I was super excited about this blend. I’m just not getting…wait, wait, wait. Whoa. Let it cool. While it’s generally true my teas taste better when I’m patient and let them cool a bit, this is rather dramatic. Oh my goodness, the tea-leaf base notes, spices, and brightness, and warmth…It’s the grown up version of Constant Comment (to return to my supermarket guide to teas). Yes. Yes, I will buy this again. I will drink it hot in the winter and ice it in the summer. I will require all my friends to ‘just try it’.
And with that, I guess I’ve finished my 50th tasting note since joining Steepster on…January 16th (writing this on January 31). * drops the mic * * twitches a little * * googles ‘tea rehab’ *
This is a brisk jasmine green, and there has certainly been a time in my life when that would have hit the spot. Now I find myself craving a warmer, friendlier jasmine but can imagine this might be perfect during my periodic caffeine step downs when I’m missing the wake up call of bolder teas. I bet it’ll be nice iced too, which is exactly what I plan to do with the rest.
So here’s a tip – Don’t buy the sample size. That just doesn’t make any sense. You’ve read the descriptions. You know how sometimes it can be work to dig up the right words to describe the way a tea tastes? It wasn’t work for these reviewers. The flavors everyone keeps talking about are front and center – as in, nearly like a flavored tea. I’m drinking my first Laoshan Black here on a Friday morning, and it’s hitting me the way a great beer – in this case, a smooth, oatmeal stout – can feel on Friday night after looking forward to it for a few days.