34 Tasting Notes

72

This is perfect for when I’m gloomy and tired. I didn’t want anything complicated that I’d have to think about, just something simple and comforting. Drank, as usual, without any cup additions. Mildly sweet and maybe a little creamy with an almond extract, rather than roasted almond, flavor/scent.

LENA

I’m a big fan of the almond. Sounds like a good one.

Angrboda

I have a rather nice almond tea actually. So inspiring you are…

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94

They’re furry and adorable!..and delicious. The tea leaves, that is.

I was so excited that the inside of the package actually had some silvery dust and that the leaves were pet-able and feel lovely to the touch. Okay, maybe I’m just creepy. I know the cuteness has nothing to do with the taste, but I like it, so there. The scent in the package is sweet, floral, and herb-y/green/fresh/something I don’t have a word for.

Infusion one (2 minutes) is delicate, sweet, and floral(?). It seems I find flowers in everything, so maybe not. Something makes me think of honey which, I suppose, is floral tasting in its own right. Towards the bottom of the cup, though I’m not sure why, everything gets more intense, especially the sweetness. The sweet taste and curiously strong aroma combined with the thick texture made me think that I must have left something in my mug or something. That’s actually why I didn’t log this until I drank it again, with a freshly cleaned mug, and got the same results. Wow.

The second steep (2 minutes 30 seconds) was similar. I was in class at the time, but wrote a note to myself that it had a sweet, floral scent and an aftertaste I couldn’t quite place. It was mildly herb-y and I asked if it was pungent. I really don’t know. Smooth and delicately sweet strengthens and has whatever quality that is towards the bottom of the cup. Soothing and quiet.

I think I got 2 or 3 more good infusions after that, the last one steeping for around 8 minutes without any bitterness anywhere. I heard so much hype about silver needle, but I honestly didn’t believe it. I’m really glad I decided to give it a try. I was actually a little disappointed with my first sip, since I didn’t taste much for a few moments. After a couple seconds, though, it started to become clear. The dregs at the bottom are my favorite part! It seriously tastes and feels like I added a significant amount of honey or something else thick and sweet. The way the experience changes from the first sip to the bottom of the mug and between steeps is mesmerizing. I’m a fan.

I’m not sure what about it was from the silver needle-ness and what was because of the yunnan-ness, but I really want to take the time to find out. I’m finding it difficult to pace myself with this tea since I want to drink it often, but don’t want to run out quickly. Love.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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65
drank Spring Snail Shell by Andao
34 tasting notes

Does it count as backlogging if I’m copying something I wrote earlier? Part of the reason I write real, paper notes is so I don’t get stuck on steepster when I’m supposed to be doing student-y things. Also, sometimes I’m conducting mini tea tastings in class…>__< I can’t have school getting in the way of tea, come on!

Anyway, I like green tea, but I don’t drink all that much of it plain. Usually my greens are scented and I want to explore the genre more thoroughly. That’s why when I placed my recent order at Andao I was sure to order at least one green to try out. I don’t know how much I’ve actually paid attention to the flavors before. As far as I can remember I’ve never had green tea I didn’t like, yet I’ve never really been in love like I have with scented or flavored varieties.

As I was sitting in class, I noted that this particular tea (when steeped for 1 minute with quite cool water) was pleasant, rich, and nutty. I think of nutty as something like almonds, but without the toasty quality…which could be totally wrong, but oh well. There is a sort of sweet aftertaste that I had trouble putting in to words. I settled on “green”. There are some really slight hints of what might be bitterness, but I can’t decide, that appear towards the bottom of the cup. I’m not sure if that’s from cooling, settling, or buildup of flavors as I drink. Even though I avoid eating while drinking something new, I had this urge to eat something savory and salty…which I did, and it was fantastic!

The second infusion was milder. The nuttiness is toned down, but is still the dominant flavor. Smooth. There’s a slight astringency that makes it feel clean…is there such a thing as an after-feel? Maybe there’s a bit of sweetness, but it could just be the absence of bitterness. I’m not sure if that’s possible, since I also get some slight bitterness simultaneously. There is definite sweetness coming out as it cools, after which the astringency/bitterness come out. I know I use such strong words, but this tea is not jarring at all. The second steep was actually quite gentle.

Overall I found this tea interesting and enjoyable, but I wonder if it’s because I’m still learning and I don’t know better. Either way, I’ll have no problems finishing and enjoying the rest of my 50 grams of it, but I want to do more exploring before I come back again. Now that I think about it, I’m finding it rather difficult to rate teas…I’m terrible at scoring anything, but I feel like I have too much stuff between the two green smileys! What to do?! Am I not being critical enough? Maybe I tend to only drink things I think I’ll enjoy…or maybe I’m just ignoring what I don’t like so much. Argh.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec
teafiend

School should never interfer with tea! Ever. I’ve totally have tea time in class, and instead of finishing my work, I’m jump on here asap. Anyways, this sounds absolutely delicious! I will most certainly aim to try this in the near future.

Hyrulehippie

I feel like school is lucky I have tea! I would never be able to even pretend to function without it. There should be no complaining on its part ;p

It’s late, so it makes sense to personify school. u__u

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79

Alright, I’m not caffeinated as of yet and I’m feeling unmotivated. I think I’m fighting off yet another cold, which is infuriating. I usually only get sick once a year, in the spring, so it’s already annoying enough that I was sick two weeks ago. Now my roommate is hacking up several lungs and I think I’m starting to also.

Even though I’m being lazy I want to log this ASAP. I should have just done it as I was drinking, but I didn’t so oh well. These are essentially just the tasting notes I took.

water heated until small bubbles began to rise.
dry leaf-sweet and slightly toasty
wet leaf-roasty, smoky?

1- 3minutes.Should have given more time, leaves, or higher temperature. Pleasant, but I think it’s a bit weaker than it should be. Smoky, but not overwhelmingly so, and sweet in the sense of dried fruit. Slight astringency. Pleasantly toasty aftertaste. A gulp as opposed to a sip gives a slightly floral quality in the aftertaste. Either I’m getting used to it or the smokiness mellows as the liquor cools. Sweeter. As I get to the bottom of the cup it smells sugary and roast-y.

2-4minutes30seconds. More blended flavors. Equally sweet and smoky. Really pleasant. There’s a flavor I can’t quite place. Nuttiness, maybe? Kind of weak, I’ll need to increase time for the next infusion.

3-6minutes30seconds. Predominantly sweet with hints of smokiness. Probably last good steep, but may be able to get one more.

4-8minutes30seconds. Weak, but drinkable. Sweet with a faint whisper of smoke.

Enjoyable, but I think it needs tweaking. I think there was something else trying to come through in the first or second steep that needs different preparation.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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82

I found that lowering the water temperature (I could feel, but not see steam) brought out my favorite qualities. It was creamy/slightly buttery with a chlorophyll sweetness and herb-y rather than vegetable-y. The sweet and savory were more in balance, the sweetness slightly more prevalent. Really good. o

ETA- I got three infusions out of it with the same sort of trend as the first time. The savoriness decreased with each cup, making it taste sweeter. Also, the buttery quality in the first infusion(1min) became milkiness in the second(1min30), being only slightly present by the third(2min30).

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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95

The update is awesome!

I was a little worried about whether I was rating correctly. I like the slider since now I can show just how much I like something, rather than whether I did or not. It is going to take me a while to get over the numbers, though. Since I’m a student, I keep thinking “75 is a C! I said I LIKED it!”. Having the smileys there is a really clever solution. They help me let go of that mentality of needing a 60 to even be passable.

I’ve been hearing a lot about Yunnan teas and have been meaning to try some. Whenever I heard about the expected flavor profiles it sounded like something I would really enjoy. I feel like I already have too much black tea, but I wanted to try out different types of white tea anyway…I ordered some yunnan gold along with the other stuff…you know, just to get the free shipping.

The dry leaves smell earthy and sweet. It reminds me of molasses. My first steep was for 2 minutes at just below boiling. Gaaah I was so excited! Finally, I’d been waiting for this moment! I thought that after spending the next 10 minutes more or less snorting the wet leaves (they smelled like sweet potato!) that the tea would be cool enough to drink. Nope, I burned my tongue. cry. But that gave me a chance to take in the aroma of the tea. It reminded me of brown sugar or something caramelized.

So when I finally get around to tasting it, it was still a little too hot for me, but I was impatient. At first it wasn’t nearly as sweet as I had imagined, but it did get sweeter as it cooled. I think I know what malty is now, but I don’t know how to explain it. It was kind of like being sweet, like something baked, but not quite. There was something about it that made me think “starchy”. It was really really smooth. I had to go hunting for astringency. I found some, but it was only enough to give the sweet aftertaste a clean finish.

I actually got a total of 5 infusions from this tea! I increased the time with good results. My favorite was probably the second or third one, actually.
2nd steep, 2minutes45seconds- Similar to the first cup, but with more subdued flavors. I wouldn’t say it was weaker, just that the flavors blend together more and don’t come out as much. As I neared the end of the cup I noticed that it smelled really deliciously caramel-y.
3rd steep, 3minutes30seconds- Sweet like something caramelized or brown sugar. So tasty. It was sweet as if I’d added sugar or honey. Any astringency is gone by now.
4th steep, 4minutes30seconds-Still really good. Pretty much the same as the third one, but slightly lighter in color and weaker. It had enough flavor that I had hope for a fifth. There was none of that unpleasant “I give up” flavor that tea leaves give when you won’t get anything else from them. The wet leaves still smelled of tasty.
5th steep, 6minutes- Pleasant, but weak. Still quite sweet, but tasted more like sweetened water than tea. The wet leaves smell like what they are, wet leaves. I think they’ve given me everything. No bitterness anywhere, just smoothness.

I really enjoyed this. It’s actually been the only tea I drank all day, since I could get so many infusions out of it. I’m pleasantly surprised. I thought I wouldn’t be able to justify the cost if I could only get one infusion out of it, but there was nothing to worry about. I thoroughly enjoyed it and want to try every kind of yunnan out there if they even vaguely resemble this one.

I’m happy.

ETA- I wish I’d made the first infusion longer or with hotter water. I feel like I didn’t get as much out of it as I could have. Now that I know there’s really no danger of it getting too bitter I can be more confident.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
teafiend

Oh the student mind set, how it makes real life confusing.
This tea sounds absolutely delish and once I have money (hahahaha I’m in college, I’ll never have money), I will most certainly pick some up.

Auggy

Great review! And I haven’t been a student for years but I still have that same issue of thinking I’m giving a tea I liked a bad grade if I only give it a 65 or something. So yay for the faces!

Hyrulehippie

@teafiend- ya I hear ya on being broke. >__s going to get yelled at by its parents.

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73

Smooth and sweet. The amount of rose is really nice. It’s present, but not overpowering. Pleasant.

This does make me a little sad that I don’t know what congou tastes like, though.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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82

White tea and I are acquaintances. Whenever I have it I think it’s pretty awesome in a superficial sense, but I really don’t know. I hear so much about the complexity and nuances that it sounds thoroughly entertaining. As I’m trying to hone my taste buds I thought now would be as good a time as any to get to know white tea better. I’d really like to become friends.

What worries me a bit, though, is that I can’t get rid of my idea of white tea being soooo serious and entirely to refined for me. I want so badly to get everything out of it that I almost kept waiting for that perfect moment when my palate (which I spell wrong about 2/3 of the time) is developed and the stars are aligned. But I’m impatient, so that didn’t really happen. It’s a lot like how I’m writing this at 3am instead of waiting until I’m coherent.

The wet leaf smelled like some sort of cooked vegetable, which kind of made me worried. I didn’t expect there to be such a savory aroma, so I was pretty confused for a few moments. By the time it got cool enough to drink without burning myself (I’m a wimp, I know) I had worked myself up into a person-shaped pile of apprehension. Maybe I’m not classy enough for this tea. What does it mean if I don’t like it?

But it was fine.

I was fascinated. There were so many flavors in my cup! The first steep (30 sec slightly steaming water) surprised me at its strength. The thick, creamy texture combined with an almost buttery quality reminded me of drinking broth. It was somewhat sweet, but mostly in the aftertaste. The sweetness was more of a sweet vegetable or herb rather than sugary. There may have been a hint of floral as well, but I couldn’t decide if I was really tasting/smelling it or not. Overall quite savory and creamy. I was definitely taking more tea notes than on the film I was supposed to be watching for a class. Oops.

The second steep (1 min) lost some of its savoriness. Without it the sweetness began to come through more. There’s still some of the viscosity, but more along the lines of “milky” than “creamy”. I swear there’s something floral in there. I get the impression of sweet, fragrant herbs.

One mo’ ’gain. I added another thirty seconds for the third and last infusion based on the package directions. Smooth and sweet. Pleasant and easy to drink, but as far as I could tell the complexity was gone.

Overall I was impressed. This tea managed to keep me entertained for quite a while. I’m probably not getting everything out of it, so If anyone has any general white tea tips, or specific ones for white peony I’d really appreciate it.

Auggy

That sounds really awesome. My very limited experience with white tea diverges from yours after the smell. Mine smelled like cooked veggies, but it also tasted like it. I ended up with a strong asparagus & soybean taste that just didn’t work for me. But your review? It tempts me to try again.

Hyrulehippie

There was some veggie taste, but I think more sweet like carrot or broccoli rather than asparagus. I think I can understand soybean, also, but that wasn’t the only flavor.

I really wonder, though, if I was making stuff up. Maybe I wanted to taste lots of interesting things but really didn’t so I imagined it. Either way, it was fun. I think I’ll review it again after I forget a little bit and see if I still taste the same things.

Auggy

I think sometimes that we (as tea drinkers) are insane when we talk about tasting butter or honey or plum or random other edible item. But at least the insanity is easily passed and shared with others.

Hyrulehippie

It really is kinda crazy o__o. I’m really grateful, though, to have people I can be communally crazy with. _ It’s less lonely that way.

takgoti

@Hyrulehippie Meant to say something earlier. Silver Needles have been very good to me, so far as white tea goes. I haven’t really found them to be savory, like you described, but I’ve never had a white peony so what do I know? [Very little.]

@Auggy Ditto. I always feel kind of silly when I start to write stuff like that. And then I feel like maybe I’m overreaching, like HH felt in this note. But by that time it’s usually too late and I’ve finished the cup. To quote my friend Sasa, “Oh wells.” If wine connoisseurs [no clue if I got the spelling on that] can do it, then so can we, damn it.

Hyrulehippie

I also ordered a yunnan silver needle along with the white peony. I wanted at least 2 really different types to try. It was sweet and reminded me a lot of honey, but I didn’t review it since I feel like I need to give it more attention. I’m pretty sure I liked it more than the white peony, though.

Luthien

White Peony aka Pai Mu Tan is the variety of white tea that I’ve had most often and I’ve been drinking it for about five years now. Of all the white teas, I find it the most robust in flavour and the most forgiving if you leave it steeping a bit long. YMMV of course, especially since I’ve never been able to ‘get’ Silver Needle, no matter how many times I try it, or how often it gets rave reviews from people whose tea opinions I respect. g

Hyrulehippie

Do you have a favorite water temperature? I don’t have a thermometer in my dorm, but is cooler generally better?

I’m really enjoying it so far and want to know what I should try next. _

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86

Jasmine and I go way back. It was pretty serious, actually, my first love. We shared so many special moments together. I remember fondly the good memories. I don’t know how we drifted apart. At some point jasmine was my one and only, but my tin ran out. I started hanging out more with masala chai and earl grey, I suppose I got distracted.

Of course we still met every once in a while, and we still had It, you know, that spark. Does it count as a one night stand if you’re still in love? We would be together briefly, but didn’t reestablish our relationship, make it official, until now. Oh, Jasmine, I’ve been a fool!

Since we’ve seen each other last, you’ve matured. Your sweet, mellow nectar is…wait a sec, this is dangerous. This is going to wind up x-rated if I keep personifying tea. Let’s just leave it at that.

The tea itself is mild and sweet with almost no astringency when prepared by the package directions. If there are any real flavors there, it’s covered by the jasmine. The jasmine and the tea actually work really nicely together. I was actually pretty surprised when i realized I could taste both. Maybe it’s a quality thing, but so often you’ll get jasmine tea that tastes like there’s no actual tea in it. I’m not sure how to explain it, but the jasmine is present more of the time than the tea is, but when the tea is there you know it. The jasmine is in the scent, the taste, and the aftertaste, but not excessively in any aspect. The tea is really only there while you’re drinking, and maybe a teensy bit in the aftertaste.

This tea is really fabulous after a meal, especially a heavier one. I had this delicious tofu with sesame oil, but wanted something really clean feeling afterward.

Honestly, I just love jasmine…may we never part ways again.

LENA

Did you drink this from your pink Hello Kitty cup?

Great post! Be careful with that “sweet, mellow nectar” talk. :) I love jasmine tea after large meals too. Mmmm…

Hyrulehippie

Yes, actually. _ It was talking about that cup that reminded me to do a review.

Sometimes I forget that my secret identity as a romance novelist can’t be revealed. I almost incriminated myself.

takgoti

I was going to try to say something clever here, but they all came out being less clever and more just plain dirty.

So I’ll refrain.

Anyhow, jasmine, when done well, is delightful. I’ve had some real clunkers, though, so I’ve learned to tread carefully. This one sounds worthy.

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60

I used too many leaves and it was bleh. o__O in yo’ face bitter.

second steep was tasty though.

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I’m pretty terrible at bios so I don’t think I’ll even try to make it interesting. I’m a college senior majoring in Japanese and minoring in women’s and gender studies. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 8 years or so. I craft and game whenever possible and have been known to give up large amounts of sleep for either.

いつも日本語の練習の時間ですよ!一緒に練習したかったら私に連絡してください。よろしくね。 ^0^ 

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