111 Tasting Notes
Got this in a great swap with Christina some months back, and it’s different in a good way. The flavors pull together well, a buttery-textured toasted rice/hazlenut with a peek of vanilla/caramel. Reminiscent of Chicago Tea Garden’s Sticky Rice Puerh Tuocha with a whiff of vanilla/caramel added. Resteeps well.
This would be a perfect tea to share for an evening in front of the fireplace. Full, soft, comforting and yet a little complexity.
Never been a fan of tahini, always choosing the hummus that has the lowest amount of it, but that changed when I tasted a ‘craft’ tahini at this year’s veg fest in DC… “Soom” Tahini (from Philly) was sampling theirs at a booth and the flavor just floored me: it was superb, malty/roasty/nutty, and almost sweet. Delicious right off the spoon!
So I picked up a jar as a treat for my sis-in-law, who’s Israeli, but then she confessed she’d never use it so it sat on my counter for a few months just taking up space as I mulled over who else might enjoy it. Yesterday I said whatever, opened the jar and spread it on toast with my favorite local honey. OMG so good, and it’s mine. This morning it went on toast with fig butter, another Win.
So about this tea. Trying to clear out my ‘just pretty good’ teas since I don’t have enough space, pulled out the Russian Morning planning to flavor it with a little brewed Vanilla Commoro left in the fridge last night. Went a little heavier on the leaves and steeped it longer, about 4 minutes, and found it tastes great plain – - so boosting my rating and the Commoro goes back in the fridge. Plus, ends up it is a surprisingly perfect accompaniment to my new breakfast toast. If I ever open a bed & breakfast, this tea/toast combo goes in the rotation, no question!
(Good flavor for one steep only.)
Nosegasm. More than the visceral “mmmm!” that spontaneously accompanies an exploratory inhale of a new tea, this was actually an “ooooh!” I think this is my highest rating ever for the brewed fragrance of a tea. Seriously as much as I wanted to taste it I was impelled to just continue inhaling it for a minute. In a sublime zen-pleasure kind of way.
Ok, moving on … I wanted to compare this to another Fujian today, Teavivre’s Bailin Gongfu. Brewed both at 3 minutes at recommended temps and quantities.
The Bailin Gongfu was more chewy and caramelly, and had a bit of a lychee note. The WP Fujian was more malty. Where the BG was chocolatey, the WP is a cocoa nib (as Dinosara noted) or much darker chocolate, as well as a noticeably lighter flavor and mouthfeel. The slight smokey note of the BG was absent in this one.
Both evolve well both with cooling down and on the second steep, though the BG held more flavor on the latter. The BG has a longer, richer aftertaste with a bit more astringency to it.
The WP Fujian maintains a malty, cocoa nose while the BG has as a bit of what I can only identify as a whisper of earl grey fragrance that I find in some non- earl grey teas. Why does that bergamotish perfume appear when i’m not expecting it?
Side by side tastings would’ve been a good move but I ended up brewing them sequentially by the cup to keep it simpler. Next time!
A generous sample from Tao Tea Leaf that I’m delighted to have received because it is so good. I’ve actually only rated a few teas this high. It has a fairly rich flavor and extra smooth and satisfying mouth feel. Deep fruit notes, apricot and lychee. Since I don’t sweeten my teas, when I run across one like this that’s naturally sweet it is extra special. Honey-ish sweetness but softer and smoother than honey. Compared to this tea, honey seems tart. It’s a beautiful flavor, not a lot of complex notes but more like beautifully harmonic chords. I’m putting this in my favorites box for times when I can use a flavor-smile.
The second steep had a consistent flavor profile though far more subtle than the first.
A bit seductive that this is the tea served at such an upscale NY hotel, and it was recommended at the Harney store, but it’s my least favorite of their teas that I’ve tried. To me, it lacks interesting flavor, kind of, as Marlena mentioned, bland. I like the concept of blending different types of teas together, but it just fell flat in the cup.
This is the second bitten-leaf tea I tried from Green Terrace, and I loved the other, Eastern Beauty, rating it one of the best teas I’ve had. Not so much a fan of this one, though. Brewed aroma is a nice honeysuckle that somewhat carries through to the flavor, however I am finding the flavor to be somewhat thin. Plus it has a fair amount of astringency.
Writing this review in exchange for Green Terrace’s “Tea for Reviews” sample offer, so I regret not being able to write a more positive review but have to be straight with my fellow Steeps. I did also love the 3rd sample I tried, Li Shan Black, review forthcoming, so overall I am definitely glad to have had the sampling opportunity from Green Terrace.
I didn’t want the first steep to end. So enjoyable. I think CameronB nailed it with golden raisin, and to that I’d add cooked golden raisin, maybe simmered in a very light rum then baked into one of those slightly custardy raisin croissants, only not that sweet. A bit of malt and very faint dried apricot. But not that sweet. Almost umami. Smooth with just the faintest passing astringency.
2nd steep (Western) is quite a bit weaker and picks up a bit of fresh apple.