101 Tasting Notes
Sip down! This was only a sample but I’m just glad to somewhat be making a dent in my stash before I move. God forbid I end up with a smaller storage space.
I had this cold brewed in a mason jar. I had to strain it before drinking because some of the leaves were still afloat. The more tea I drink the more I really like whole leaves that don’t require strainers. It’s especially nice with these cold brews. The tea itself is golden colored and now has a dry apricot skin finish. It’s very refreshing and probably the way I would want to brew it is I buy more.
From 2015 Dark Matter group buy:
I finally get to try one of these dark matter teas! I’ve been rather busy so I’ve been trying to sip down some of my older teas and sample packs rather than to rush through these and forget what I’ve tasted. I chose this one since unless it wowed me it doesn’t really sound Ike something that I would be interested in and I wasnt quite able to give in 100% attention anyway with making dinner and whatnot.
I was expecting something like a darker TGY but the leaves were in small smooth compact irregular balls with a ruddy dark chocolate color. It definitely smells toasty like hojicha or roasted barley tea. The tea unfurls into very nice whole leaves a only slightly lighter chocolate color than the dried.
I brewed this for 3 steps western style. Just under boiling water with about 1.5-3 min infusions. The first one was mostly toasty. Like pure toast, with an edge to it that almost suggested burnt or charcoal. It wasn’t bad but I started to question if there would be much of a taste difference if any plant matter was so thoroughly toasted. Later steeps still had a lot of toast but actually had some identifiable tea flavor although it was more like a malty black tea than a green oolong flavor.
I think this tea would probably benefit from some shorter steeps to tease some other flavor out from the toast. I’ll probably brew the remainder of the sample in a gaiwan and do so at a time I can pay more attention to it. As is though it’s pleasant enough to drink but not something I would ever buy for myself.
When I found out I wouldn’t be able to attend the Midwest Tea Festival I decided to look into some of the vendors from last year that I would be missing. I decided to order samples first from Singe Origin Teas because I’ve seen good things (plus they have a chesnut tea, which I needed). I ended up “throwing in” the Waverly Tea Estate tea grown in Florida because 1) I’m a plant person and I’ve always wanted to grow my own tea and 2) it would be nice to have premium tea here in the US. I figured I have spent more on Kickstarters that didn’t pan out so I might as well try this.
My tea was picked 5 days ago, and I got my 6 oz in the mail yesterday. I didn’t give any parameters other than “green” so I got a medium rolled and medium pan fried green. I wasn’t sure what to expect and went really conservative for my first brewing temp since I thought it could be a super bitter spring green.
1st steep: 4 grams, 8 oz water, 100 F, 1.5 min infusion
The tea looked really dark in the package so I almost was going to treat it like a toasted tea, but when I got it out I noticed it was actually dark green and had a really fresh green smell like a sencha so I was afraid of going too high with the temp. It brewed a light green gold color and started to smell a little toasty. It ended up having a super silky mouthfeel and tasted sort of light and buttery.
2nd steep: 8 oz water, 125 F, 1.5 min infusion
The first seemed a bit light so I decided to up the temp for this one. It brewed to more of a green color. There was a bit of a butteryness still there but now with more vegetal spinach notes. The toasty notes are now coming out and it’s like a cross between a summer dragonwell and a lightly toasted oolong.
2nd steep: 8 oz water, 125 F, 1.5 min infusion
I kept the brewing parameters the same here. It was very much like the second steep but now with a slightly dry finish.
4th steep: 8 oz water, 160 F, 1.5 min infusion
Whoops, I wanted to up the temperature a bit, but didn’t mean to go this high. I honestly I thought I ruined it. It turned a dark gold color and tasted like a smooth hojicha or even a darkly toasted barley tea, it was a little bizarre. I had a bit more of the dryness at the end.
5th steep: 8 oz water, 140 F, 1.5 min infusion
I just had to find out. It’s gold with a green undertone. It’s still very full flavored and now has a buttery mouth-coating ending followed by a fuzzy dryness.
Assesment: An aromatic, full flavored, chimera of a tea. Not quite like anything I’ve had before, and really resilient to my playing around with brewing parameters. I’ll use up the remainder in a gaiwan session once I have the time. Now that I’m not afraid of getting a super bitter cup I’ll probably start with a temp of at least 140-150.
I got this iced and unsweetened from a davids tea in a mall I was at. I needed to buy more tea like I need another hole in my head, but I was desperate for something unsweetened to drink so I stopped in. I had a look at their tea tumblers but it looked like they have changed suppliers since the construction of their matcha maker compared to pictures I’ve seen online is different. I was less than impressed with it as the button felt shoddy especially for the cost so no knew teaware for me.
I regretted not getting the gyokuro hot as it was super buttery iced. It was still good, but buttery was mostly what I got out of it. It being from the end of the tin and from last years harvest probably didn’t help any. Still they offered to sell me an ounce for 99 cents which I’m still a little sad I didn’t take them up on because of the previously mentioned size of my tea hoard. I’m also semi regretting not trying their quince charming as if it does any justice to the quince flavor I would have enjoyed it immensely. Maybe next time…
Flavors: Butter, Green
I needed to pick up something to drink at a gas station and the tea options are usually slim so I decided to try this. The peach flavor was better than I thought it would be with a much less artificial flavor than the Snapple peach tea. There was also a surprising amount of tea flavor although it was rather one dimensional. My problem with it was how very sweet it was and how every sip was followed by a weird aftertaste. I decided to try it mainly because at 70 calories instead of the usual 120 I assumed that it was a refreshing lightly sweetened pop, but it’s just as sweet if not sweeter than a Coke.After reading the ingredients it’s clear they add sugar AND the artificial sweetener Ace K. I’m a little irritated at this as they make no mention on the label of it. I wouldn’t even had known it was lower calories than other drinks if not for the government calorie label. I guess it’s their way of using the tea health aura to get people to buy “healthy” pop without sacrificing that syrupy flavor people apparently want. I think there’s still room for a refreshing carbonated unsweetened tea out there, but it doesn’t look like Lipton is going to deliver.
Had this at Tiny Diner. It’s always nice to be able to get decent loose leaf at dinner. I chose this one not sure what it was, and could not quite pin down what it was supposed to be. It was sweet, floral ,and slightly fruity. I didn’t get much bitterness but then again I have no idea about how it was brewed other than that it was given to me with the infuser still in the pot. I was surprised to later find out there was cherry flavoring as I rather dislike it but it was subtle here, no cough syrup or cherry coke flavor. Still it will probably be enough to keep me from getting it again.
What an interesting tea! Some of the leaves have so much of the white fuzz that they look like they come from a variegated plant. They brew into small whole leaves and long fuzzy buds.
The tea itself brews up with the lovely scent of a white tea, but with a silky light toasty flavor. There’s not much else I can say other than it was really pleasant and I got three good brews out of it which I found to be impressive for such a delicate tea.
I love these little tea pebbles. It’s such an unusual gray green color from the licorice powder. The leaves unfurl into very crumpled but whole leaves.
The tea is sweet and mellow with a really silky mouthfeel. There’s a floral herbal note that must be from the ginseng. I’ve avoided ginseng containing teas in the past as they are usually sold as being medicinal which both annoys me and doesn’t bode well for the flavor. After multiple steeping the oolong flavor starts coming out and the licorice and go sing starts to fade.
The leaves of this are long and whole with a slight twist. The color is very dark with a twinge of oxidized copper. The leaves brew up into perfect dark brown leaves around 1.5-2 inches long and the color of the tea is light but very red.
The tea tastes like I imagine cherry wood would taste and it ends dry finish. It’s the only nilgiri that I’ve found so far that I really enjoy hot. It’s flavorful but still has that smoothness that makes me think it would be a great crisp iced tea. I got three good steeps out of this before I was forced to abandon my leaves. I’ve got a jar of this cold brewing in my fridge right now so we’ll see how that turns out.
EDIT: Just drank the cold brew it was very lightly colored for the amount of leaf but excellent. It has a buttery finish now, and the large leaves are perfect for grandpa style.
Flavors: Cherry Wood, Malt
Decided to throw a few snow chrysanthemum flowers into my mystery Hong Kong hei cha after reading the chrysanthemum tea thread in the discussion section. Neglected to rinse it first so the brine flavor of the dark tea combined with the strange and inexplicable briney flavor of the snow chrysanthemum to make super brine.
Subsequent steepings were much better with the flowers adding a pretty red color. I didn’t add enough to pick out its flavor, but it did round out the dark tea nicely. I even threw in a few more during the later steepings once I thought the first few were spent.