1232 Tasting Notes
Firstly – I want to apologise for not being active on Steepster recently. Unfortunately I caught a bad cold and chest infection which left me without a sense of taste for over a week, including through my birthday too. That left me a little numb and disheartened with tasting (or at least trying to taste) tea and so I took a back seat, finished some tea samples I had already reviewed and did my very best to recover. I believe that now is good time to come back, though my taste may not be perfect to my usual standard it should be good enough, as with my sense of smell also. At least the illness caught me well before my holiday as I leave for Fuerteventura, Spain at the start of next month.
While I was ill I ended up playing through some of my games of which I have accumulated 859 of via Steam. They recently had a sale and I noticed they were offering The Testament of Sherlock Holmes at a reasonable price so I scooped that up and began playing last night. It reminded me of the teas from Adagio that I got around Christmas time, I waited so long for the tins to come back into UK stock. It’s time I tried them.
Starting with Sherlock Holmes, the musky, dark and pipe tobacco smoke scented tea. It’s strongly smoky yet I get a mature and rather debonair feeling about it.
Flavour is rather smooth yet smoky throughout with malt, tobacco and sweet under tones. It’s not too strong, nor smoky nor dry but rather a perfect balance of all so that you can taste each flavour equally. Considering it’s Lapsang Souchong part base it’s milder than I was expecting. There is also a mild spicy after taste mixed in with the smoke.
I rather like this blend overall and admire it greatly. Assam and Lapsang Souching, who would have expected a pleasant union? Well played Cara McGee.
Flavors: Malt, Smoke, Spices, Sweet, Tobacco
Putting my morning frankly: I woke up and packed a bag ready for the gym, prepared a litre of iced Sencha for hydration, did some exercise, almost black out because I pushed myself too hard, did some food shopping, won £1 on a scratch card and am now watching last nights UFC fight. Not a great day so far but I am hoping it gets better.
The raw leaves are a blend of dark brown, gold and red brown colours with some golden tips and sticks present. Scent is earthy, smoky and rather sour.
Steeping roughly 6g of cake
With 100c water
In a 200ml Yixing teapot
Rinse 1 – 10 seconds
Rinse 2 – 10 seconds
Steep 1 – 10 seconds
Once steeped the colour is orange/yellow in colour and bares a smoky and damp earth scent.
Flavour is fairly strong, astringent, smoky and rather dirty, musty. Stronger than anticipated and the astringency carried on in the after taste. Not a great steep.
Steep 2 – 5 seconds
Even stronger and more astringent. Heavily smoky and dry and rich, damp earth and must notes. I’m finding myself pulling a face when I sip.
Steep 3 – 5 seconds
I took a minute sip and screwed my face up. Far too strong and astringent, generally unpleasant and not something I wish to have more of.
I’m leaving it there, this tea was just horrible! Short steeping times didn’t even help with the harshness of this Puerh. Frankly, life is too short to drink bad tea.
Re-visit from 2 years ago.
Still not overly impressed with this Sheng, it tastes musty and old. Compared to my knowledge 2 years ago I now see why, though the leaves are mostly whole they are rather dark too. I tend to prefer silver tipped, large leaf Sheng. This type I consider to be part way between Sheng and Shue which I’m not always a fan of.
Oh well, one or two more servings after this pot and I will know not to re-order.
Thank you Angel for this sample.
My hubby has next week off work which he usually does for my birthday (which is also next week). Hopefully that means we will fit in a lot of tea sessions during this time to help me clear some of my stash.
The raw cake contains whole leaves that are a blend of: dark brown, silver, gold and red/brown. Very high gloss/shine is present and lots of furry silver tips.
It has a sweet yet smoky, wood and earth scent.
Water: 100 C
Pot: Yixing 200ml
Rinse 1 – 10 seconds
Rinse 2 – 10 seconds
Steep 1 – 10 seconds
Colour is light yellow and has a gentle, smoky and damp earth scent.
Flavour is subtle with sweet and creamy earth notes with a hint of smoke. The sweet honeysuckle notes linger into the after taste.
Steep 2 – 10 seconds
Colour and flavour are thicker. The smoke has increased though for the most part it is still sweet and creamy. Slightly dry in the after taste now though the honeysuckle still dominates. Also getting some fresh wood tones and an increase in the cream as it cools.
Steep 3 – 15 seconds
Thicker and smokier with some astringency. Also the dryness increases to the point of being perfumed. Very rich and mineral like, sweet grass perhaps or sweetpea.
Steep 4 – 10 seconds
Creamy, sweet, honeysuckle, thick, smoke. All balanced much better in this steep than the previous two. It’s still astringent but toned down. My favourite steep so far.
Steep 5 – 5 seconds
Soft, floral, sweet and slightly smoky. Another well balanced steep. Not as thick and losing strength though the dryness and astringency have also lessened.
I will continue to steep though out the day but will stop my writing for now.
Overall: The Puerh started soft and sweet which increased in strength rather quickly, with it’s later steeps calming down to bring a more balanced tea. The main flavours were honeysuckle, cream, smoke, sweetpea and wood. It’s a very nice raw/sheng that tastes better over time, put simply.
The leaves appeared to be very nice quality both before and after the steeps, as such I will consider buying a cake of this in the future should I get the opportunity.
Flavors: Cream, Drying, Earth, Honeysuckle, Perfume, Smoke, Sweet, Wood
The powder is light green with white pieces amongst them, dry milk perhaps? It smells toasted and grassy though mild.
Following the instructions on the packet, I put two and a half spoons of Matcha blend into my bowl and added 100ml approx of warm water (around 85C).
Once steeped (and well mixed) the liquid is a light green that looks rather milky and has a toasted grass scent.
Flavour is surprisingly good! It’s sweet and toasted with cream and grass tones. Soft and delicate but I’m really understanding the latte description. Perfect for me as I am allergic to milk and drinking it gives me stomach ache, though small doses is fine. There are little bits in the drink that are chewy, petal like as they are soft. The bits are not great, I would prefer it smooth.
The raw leaves are a beautiful blend of green tones with some yellow stems and brown sticks/twigs present. They smell fresh, sweet and grassy with toasted flowers.
Leaf – 5g
Water – 180ml
Temperature – 65c
Steeping time – 1 minutes
Once steeped the tea is cloudy green in colour and has a warm seaweed and grass scent.
In flavour It’s mild yet sweet with light grass and umami tones that come through in the after taste. Some dryness too.
A second steep reveals deeper grass and seaweed flavours with an increased dryness. The umami is present though remains minimal and slightly perfumed. As it cools I can also taste white cabbage.
A third steep brings out some astringency though it remains full of flavour. Though the dryness is increasing and feels powdery.
Overall: It was nice and the Organic factor made it extra special but I found this Sencha became dry too quickly for my liking.
This Puerh warranted some research as I was not sure exactly what it was. It was a Canton Tea Club arrival from a while ago and I’ve finally got the curiosity to try it. The research shows that this Puerh is from Nan Nuo mountain in Yunnan, China and is traced back to three 600 year old trees that especially produce this tea. The idea of something being so remote sounds very special. I also found out that Maocha is Puerh that has not yet been turned into cakes, it’s known as ‘rough Puerh’. A lot of Puerh farmers drink it ‘unrefined’ such as this sample. Very interesting! Nice little story to go with whatever I’m about to experience.
Lets start with the raw leaves. They are long and whole (width folded in half) with some stem still attached. Also they are a blend of brown, dark brown, green and silver colours which have a lot of hairs and a super high gloss shine. They smell sweet and wooden with some smoke and must present.
Yixing teapot – 200ml
Leaf – 5g
Temp – 90C
First Steep – 15 seconds
Colour is light yellow and bares a light smoke and earth.
Flavour is light, sweet yet smoky and somewhat musty. Though mellow it does have a subtle refreshing after taste that reminds me of licorice.
Second Steep – 25 seconds
Liquor scent is stronger and the smoke seems thick and smog like.
Flavour is more pronounced though still rather soft. Damp wood, earth,licorice and finishing with a sweet and smoky smog.
Third Steep – 35 seconds
No longer light in strength, this steep has some astringency as well as an increase in licorice tones. Not much wood remains though there is still some dampness in taste, along with a new dryness towards the after taste. Almost nutty like pistachio.
Fourth Steep – 40 seconds
Lighter than the previous steep. Remaining sweet and smoky with high licorice freshness and a lingering after taste.
Overall: I really enjoyed this Puerh, I found it similar to the Sheng I had earlier so there are similarities though I found this to be more interesting. It did not have as much flavour as I expected considering steep 4 was weakened somewhat, but that being said I will continue steeping it anyway and see how far I can take the leaves.I took a before and after picture to show you.
It’s something I would consider buying in the future for when I don’t have time to fully commit to a nice piece of Puerh, seeing as I love to steep it for hours.
Flavors: Earth, Licorice, Nuts, Smoke, Sweat, Wet Wood
I’ve been craving Pu Erh for at least a week but have been busy clearing other teas from my stash. Today got to the point that I cannot wait any longer and I must have some Pu Erh.
This is a re-visited steep. In other words I have re-viewed this tea before.
The tea cake is made of large leaves that are a blend of beautiful Autumn colours such as: red, brown, green and gold. These have a high gloss shine/reflection.
Whilst raw it has a sweet and earthy smog like scent, wooden yet smoky and light.
Steeping in my 200ml Yixing Gongfu teapot.
First Steep – 30 seconds
Colour is light yellow with a sweet, smoky yet creamy damp earth scent.
Flavour is light with wood and earth tones that are sweet yet smoky, somewhat matching it’s raw scent. The sweet fog lingers into the after taste.
Second Steep – 30 seconds
Note – At this point the cake is almost fully separated.
Colour is now golden yellow and the scent has matured to newly present toasted hay and an increased dampness, almost musky. As well as the aforementioned sweet and smoky fog.
Flavour is thicker though beautifully sweet and the fog drifts around my mouth, coating everything in it’s path with it’s beauty. Also getting creamy notes which lighten the damp earth and wood. The overall after taste once the fog diminishes is very musky. It’s smoothness is very note worthy.
Steep 3 – 30 seconds
The fog is more defined in the steep, though still sweet yet smoky it is thicker and somewhat musty. I would say the musty quality has overtaken some of the wood and dampness. It feels so rich in my mouth, thick and creamy and completely coating my lips, tongue, cheeks and teeth. Believe we when I say this is a good thing!
This was very delicious, more so than I expected and so much so that I am sad to have only had a sample of it. This was a beautiful Sheng, one of the best I have had the pleasure of tasting. Though I stopped writing at steep 3 I will continue to steep this all afternoon.
The quality was great and the colours of the leaves were equally as nice to look at as they were to taste. Just as pleasing as the first time I tried this.
Flavors: Creamy, Hay, Musty, Smoke, Sweet, Toasted, Wet Earth, Wet wood
A Gong Fu favourite that I am steeping Western style for a change. Not sure if that is pure insanity, but right now I feel like a large pot of tea to use with my pot warmer.
The raw leaves are: long and flat with light twists and stems present, dark brown/red brown in colour and bares a toasted hay and floral scent.
Once steeped the tea liquor is burnt orange, it has a toasted hay, floral and malt scent, somewhat matching it’s raw form.
Strength is medium. I can taste toasted flowers and earth, sweet malt, wood and a subtle hint of smoke. It is rather mellow and smooth, with each flavour blending in well together to create a toasted and earthy mist in my mouth that lingers.
As it cools it becomes a little sour though remains consistent in flavour and strength. Also slightly dry now in the after taste.
Overall: It’s very pleasant, reminds me a little of Oriental Beauty Oolong but more mild. The flavours were pure and quality of the leaves were nice. However, my taste of darker Oolongs such as this one comes from comparison and this will unfortunately not be memorable. I’m also aware it could be down to the steeping, as it did mention to fare well from Gongfu Steeps.
Flavors: Flowers, Hay, Malt, Smoke, Toasted, Wood
I believe this was leftover from the EU TTB round 2 return. It’s been in the bottom of a tea drawer for a while due to an almost repulsion towards Darjeeling tea. I can’t explain why, I get put off some teas from time to time for no known reason.
The raw leaves are an earthy blend of brown, green and red/brown colours which also includes a few silver tips.
Scent is mild and floral with light wood notes.
Once steeped the tea is golden orange in colour with a toasted hay and floral scent.
Flavour is mild/medium in strength with some astringency. Toasted hay and flowers with nuts, musk and dry perfume. Much darker than I expected for a First Flush. I mentioned it being astringent, I think it’s down to the perfume flavour as it’s also sour as well as increasingly dry.
As it cools the musk flavour grows with added smoke and damp earth tones.
It’s a nice Darjeeling though nothing special and not as floral as I tend to like my Darjeeling.