101 Tasting Notes
This is my first osmanthus tea. The first time I had it I was expecting a heavy floral flavor like jasmine or rose, but this just has a subtle aroma. It brews up to light yellow green and the small hard pellets unfurl into mostly complete leaves with serrated edges intact. It makes me wish I had some glass brewing vessels.
The tea itself is smooth, silky, and aromatic. There’s a bit of dryness at the end especially noticeable after multiple infusions but nothing unpleasant. I’m rather suprised each time I drink it how enjoyable it is since it’s more delicate than most of my favorite teas.
Another tea I drink at work. I like greens but a lot of bagged versions taste like dust. This would probably not be an exception if not for the spices…they are a bit much and somewhat unbalanced. A lot of allspice maybe? Stash does a decent job with their black chais so I imagine the green base just isn’t strong enough to balance the other flavors. Maybe this was formulated for use with milk and sugar. I’m almost threw my box but I think I’ll look for a herbal version to replace it with.
I know I have an unrefined palate and this probably proves it. I drink this hot, unsweetened, and over concentrated and it’s still one of my regular go to bagged tisanes. I had dropped bagged teas altogether until I switched to a job whose breakroom has only a water cooler and a microwave. So now I need bagged teas available from my local grocery store that I can brew up in a microwaved coffee mug and this is one of the few caffeine free options I have.
It’s tart, citrusy, and oddly sweet. It is not subtle. Would I buy this if not for my work situation? No. But it has character which is enough to put it over the generic bags of tea dust that it sits next to at the grocery store.
Flavors: Citrus, Citrus Zest, Hibiscus, Lemon
Got a large bag of thIs from an Asian grocery, and have been having it iced every few weeks. I think I got a bad bag since it brews up kind of bitter and I definitely can’t brew it as strong as I’ve been able to in the past. Some of the smaller grains are black and burnt so maybe it’s just overtoasted. It’s a shame because I really enjoy iced barley tea. Hopefully I’ll find a better bag before summer.
Had this hot today. It’s probably only the second time I’ve done so despite going through at lest 8-12 oz of it in iced tea over the last few years. It’s fragrant and only slightly astringent even though I used a ceramic strainer which let a few leaves through to oversteep. It’s nice but makes such a crisp clean iced tea that I don’t think I’ll be using it for anything else.
My sig fig brought me a hei cha bing from Hong Kong. I’m not sure what it is since everything is in Chinese characters other than “201305” on the back of the wrapper. It’s chopped leaves with some stems and the cake isn’t pressed super tight so I can pull off chunks with my fingers. I don’t know what’s popular in Hong Kong but regionally I would guess maybe this might be a liubao?
I’m just now starting to get into dark tea so I only had some basic affordable pu erh from Gong fu tea to compare it to. I shop there a lot but they by no means specialize in pu erh which I can’t exactly blame them for since the most interest probably comes from dieters who would drink motor oil if it was said to be ancient Chinese miracle whatever. The flavor of this cake is very similar to the pu erh I’ve had. It’s dark, earthy, with a strange brine flavor. No astringency or bitterness, and it’s good for multiple infusions; at least five even with a rinse and some of the infusions being 2-3 minutes. The leaves after are still dark and distinct despite being cut in small pieces.
My guess is that this is a decent everyday drinking tea. I enjoy it and think it does well as an after dinner tea (so long as I don’t need to sleep anytime soon) and probably would go well with some fatty porky dim sum. I’m very happy with it.
I have this cup in the lovely mandarin color (which is actually a yellow gold). It was the perfect mug when I had an office job since its strainer is much nicer than most mesh ones I’ve seen and truly does a good job even with roobois. It’s all metal and ceramic and the tea staining would whipe out easily with damp paper towels although I don’t use tea and sugar which might help. I would fill this mug up before meetings and set the basket on the lid once I got there. My only small problem is that the lid does slide around a bit as it is all ceramic and sits directly on the metal strainer. I’ve learned to just keep a finger on top of it while I’m walking which usually isn’t very hot due to the thickness of the lid. Also, a white inside might be nice if you judge your steeping on color, but I got used to it and love the bright color too much to just buy the white.
I’m starting to think I’m just not into white teas as I’ve never been wowed by one so I’ve decided not to rate this. This one smells great and the small fuzzy leaves look appealing and when brewed it’s got a lovely aroma and silky mouthfeel…but the flavor is too delicate for me. I’ve doubled the amount of tea, brewed it western style/grandpa style/in a mug with a ceramic strainer, and tried lowering the temp (I think the recommended 195F is a bit high) but it still makes me wish I picked one of my stronger teas.
Part of it could be the quality of my water. With a tea this delicate perhaps filtered water should really be used. And I’ve already found out that the brewing vessels and strainers should really be clean (no brown wire mesh strainers!) unless you want to muddy up the tea flavor. Strangely enough I think the best way I’ve had this tea so far is iced where it’s floral sweetness really comes out.
I’ve owned two of these so far and have been putting them through daily use for the past three years. I’ve yet to find a better way to easily brew large amounts of iced tea from loose leaf. The filter is particularly fine and even does a decent job with roobois. It’s also large enough for most teas to expand but compact oolongs and pureh seem to get a bit cramped. When brewing with hot water be sure to not close the lid all the way as this will cause pressure to build.
I have had minor problems both my fault. One of these sadly bit the dust after a particularly nasty fall that busted open the plastic. These can usually take a drop but the plastic had already been compromised from being used to make cocktails where the limes were placed in the pitcher and smashed with a wooden spoon. This caused hairline cracks to form so don’t smash things in there… The other one now has some of the pour spout chipped off from another drop on to a tile floor when completely full of tea. This has compromised the already finicky pouring. Also, I’ve gotten a lot of tea buildup on the filters and the pitchers itself. Baking soda works decent but it might be time to get some of that magic tea soak I’ve been hearing about since it’s hard to clean inside the narrow filter.