1509 Tasting Notes
The name ‘Chunmee’ always makes me laugh – I mean precious eyebrows? I consider my eyebrows to be a lot of things but ‘precious’ generally isn’t one of them. The dry tea does sort of bear a resemblance I guess – the leaves are twisted into short little curves, though to me it’s still a bit of a stretch.
The tea brews up fairly dark for a green tea, turning the water a sort of dark-golden colour. Right away I can taste the sourness in the description, it’s not exactly gack-worthy but it takes some getting used to. In my head it’s not so much like sour plums as it’s comparable to a crisp, dry, white wine like a sauvignon blanc. The body of the tea is rather grassy and the aftertaste has a touch of sweet that I wish was a bit stronger.
The resteep (@ 3:30 min) is much mellower, but it still has a hint of that dry, grass-like sourness. The sweetness at the end is a bit stronger however – possibly because the other flavour elements aren’t drowning it out.
All in all I’d say that this isn’t my cup of tea (pun not intended…okay maybe a little) although I think that might be down to personal tastes rather than this being a crappy tea – I haven’t really tried enough chunmees to form an option of how this particular tea holds up to others of the same kind.
I got a sample of this tea from Mike to review for his tea blog It’s All About the Leaf. I picked out a couple different Rishi herbals blends to try because I’d discovered that the only non-caffinated teas in my cupboard were pretty muche exclusively rooibos and honeybush. A little variety wouldn’t hurt.
The dry tea smell liked Christmas dinner in a field of peppermint – no really! The scent is a blend of savory sage and mint with no bergamot apparent to my nose. The taste of the peppermint is quite dominant in the tea itself, but the sage and thyme provide a strong counterpoint to it. There’s not a lot of bergamot really that I can pick up – a faint, sweet citrusiness is all I get from it.
I find the whole thing to taste a bit medicinal, like the sort of thing I’d drink if I was sick with the flu. All the same it’s a nice alternative to the typical mint tea and I think it would make a nice drink after a big meal to aid digestion.
This tea steeps up with a fragrantly floral aroma that makes me think of just-opened lilac blossoms. The first steep tastes floral and sweet with an oddly spicy aftertaste that linger on the tongue. The flavour has more body and weight to it than many other green oolongs I’ve tasted.
The resteep (@5 min) is mellower and significantly less floral. That perplexing spicy aftertaste is also absent, but the tea still has a full, pleasent flavour that’s sweet without being cloying.
This is the end of my little sample and I had it plain with a bit of honey added to it which turned out to be really good. The sweetness mellowed out the bite of the hot pepper a little bit, but it didn’t sacrifice the other flavours to do so. It also brought out the flavour of the cocoa nibs a little bit – and if there’s one thing you need to know about me it’s that more chocolate is always appreciated. ;)
I’m still not sure if I’d buy a whole bag of this tea – like I said in a previous entry I’d have to be a specific mood to want to drink this tea. It’s a good novelty tea (or may that’s novel-tea) and I enjoyed having the chance to expand my horizons a bit.
This looks and smells a lot like the Ryokucha that I tried from Samovar – tea leaves and toasted rice kernels covered in a green dusting of matcha powder.
It doesn’t have quite the same full, savory flavour the Samovar version does. This tastes a bit ‘watery-er’ (for lack of a better word – taken by itself the tea isn’t watery) and it has a rather distinct grassy flavour that I don’t entirly care for. Maybe I’ll try cooler water and a longer steep next time.
This isn’t a strongly-scented tea, but white teas generally aren’t. What I can smell is surprisingly authentic – delicate stewed pear with a wiff of spices. Like the scent the flavour is light and dainty. The pear seems like the primary element and it isn’t fake like some fruit flavourings can come across. I think I might like it if the spices were a little bit stronger – I’ll steep the next cup a bit long.
I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes this time which brought out the muscatel flavours more strongly, making it taste a bit more like a typical Darjeeling – though not as bitterly astringent as I’ve found most 2nd Flush or Autumnal teas to be. I resteeped the leaves (@ 4:45min) and while the results were a little bit bland the tea still had the same recognizable flavour-profile as during the first steep.
You know, adding skim milk to this tea doesn’t really do much for me. Yes it lowers the heat of the cayenne pepper a little bit, but it also dulls the other flavours, including the chocolate (oh noses!). I think this is one of the only chais I’ve ever drank that I’d recommend drinking plain.
This time I drank the tea with a dash of honey and a bit more milk added and liked it even better. The sweetness emphasized the similarily to an SBUX pumpkin spice latte, giving the tea a sweet, carmelized flavour to accompany those fragrant spices. It makes for a very rich, and festive-tasting drink without all (or at least most, I suppose there are some in the honey) the calories.
I’m adding this tea to my shopping list – maybe when I’m down in Vancovuer this winter I’ll see about finding a David’s Tea store and picking some up.