161 Tasting Notes
This tea is all about the malt.
The leaves are pretty…like little black and gold threads. The dry leaves have a very potent smell. Sharp and malty. The smell is so powerful; I backed off the steeping time a little because I thought the tea would be too strong.
The initial taste is very flavorful, but all malt. Then, somehow, it disappears and the tea is just…tea. One second “malt explosion”…the next second “plain, regular tea”. There isn’t any of the chewy, caramel or raisin-y qualities that I somewhat expected. This is a perfect example of a tea that “needs more cowbell”. It’s a good tea. It’s just missing a little something extra to make it stand out. Hunan Black Buds is too thin…barely “medium bodied” in my opinion. I don’t think this tea could ever be bitter, no matter how long you steeped it. Big points for that. I’ll continue to play around with the parameters and see what happens. This isn’t a tea failure; it’s just a little disappointing.
Monday morning tea success!
And much needed too! My office Bigwig will soon be arriving. You know the type, right? The Bigwig lives in a totally different state and has no idea how to do your job, yet is in charge of “suggesting” and then implementing their ideas on how to do your job better. Of course their “suggestions” only add to the number of steps you already take to do the exact same thing…thus causing a major pain in your butt and making you wish you could transport them back to their office…or better yet, some awful frozen tundra of doom? Yeah, I thought so.
So, how about this tea? :)
My first whiff of the liquor resulted in mostly roasty toasty notes, but also a light fruit smell. I’m not quite sure what type of fruit it is, but it’s juicy smelling. That’s right…juicy smelling. That same juicy note comes over in the taste as well, albeit in the aftertaste. The taste progression goes a little something like this: roasty toasty, mineral-y, OOLONG, juicy. The juicy effect actually made my mouth water. Crazyness. I’ve never had a roasted oolong quite like this one. It’s quite delicious. I’m glad I ordered a large tin. Nom nom nom!
More H&S to come!
In honor of today’s Steepster Select, I’m drinking a cup of Dancong Aria. I honestly didn’t know that I had any until I noticed the “in cupboard” icon lit up. Oh cool…tea that I don’t remember buying. A sure sign of owning way too much leaf! :)
Dancong Aria is…different. It has a natural sweetness but also slips into a dryness like a white wine. There is sharpness to the smell and taste that I do not care for. Maybe it’s the notes of orchid? It’s just…“ok” in my book. sips Man, that astringency is killer. Dancong Aria is not smooth. I’ll just put this back into my “to be swapped” drawer.
On a happier note, I love reading all of the interviews for Adagio’s Roots Campaign. I wish more companies would do this. The tea tastes a little better if you know the story and people behind it.
Wonderful, wonderful tea. I could drink this every day. Delicious caramel-y, malty, and burnt sugar…-y flavors. Just plain good. Andao is 2 for 2 on awesome teas in my opinion. I finished up all of my oolong from them and this pack of Yunnan is about 1 cup from being gone. It would hurt me to de-cupboard them…so it looks like I’ll be placing an order tomorrow. Good thing it’s payday. :)
Holy bitter tea, Batman! This tea isn’t just bitter…it’s bidd-ah! Yikes! (And I drink my coffee black.)
The description says that the liquor should be “brilliant reddish brown”, but I’m getting opaque dark brown. Unless I hold it up to a light, it looks like a cup of black coffee…if not darker. The tea smells like most pu-erhs in my book. Sharp smoke with a thought of barnyard. Nothing fishy, thank goodness. The taste progression goes a little something like this: Bitter. Smoky. Barnyard…and finishes bitter and earthy. I also pick up some dark tobacco hints. Like a good maduro cigar before it is lit. Not bad for a pu-erh, but still not a tea that I’m in love with. This particular pu-erh tastes a little thin to me. Perhaps I’ve grown too accustomed to chewy, bake-y teas. I’m not appalled, so I guess this can be seen as progress as my venture into the pu-erh world continues.
Thank you SoccerMom for your generous samples. I will be trying this again.
It’s an Eight Immortals kind of day. I’m having nothing but problems with my customers today. Problems with my sales reps. Every phone call…a problem. I just found out that I’ve got to go back to Canada for a week next month. That’s cool and all, but I just got back from a week in New Jersey and I’m ready to chill out for a little while. Sorry, I’m nothing but complaints.
But the tea…is good. No complaints in that department. :) The first steep started my morning. The second steep went perfectly with my spicy Thai lunch. And I’ll start in on my third steep momentarily. I didn’t notice the oily feeling as much this time around…but it is “heavy” for an oolong. Eight Immortals has all the components I like in an oolong, but they are slightly muted. I could go with a little more boldness. But all in all, this is a very good oolong. I’m keeping the rating at 90.
After a full week of working in NJ, I am so happy to be home and surrounded by tea again. I have a quick story regarding this tea and airport security. I’ll start off by saying that I ALWAYS get pulled for “random” searches. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that my maiden name is Syrian. (I chose to hyphenate when I got married. Perhaps not the greatest idea in hindsight.) Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah…Random search, my ass! And I look white!…mostly. So I get pulled…they go through my purse, my laptop case, etc. In my purse they find my sample of Golden Bi Lou. I recently received the sample in the mail from Chicago Tea Garden and thought it would be a great size to take on my trip. I DID think to include the slip of paper that came with the tea. (I think this is the only thing that saved me.) While the airport security folks are rubbing various cotton swab pads on the inside of my purse, another security guy dangles the bag in front of me. I told him that it was tea. “Loose. Leaf. Tea.” I guess he’d never heard of it. He thought it was a type of drug. I told him about the slip of paper in my purse that describes the types of tea, steeping times and so on. I pointed out that there was a website on the slip that could further aid the situation. I don’t know if they went to the site or not, but about 5 minutes later they let me go. And I got to keep my tea!
That being said…I really did like this tea. The malty taste comforted me once I got back to my hotel and settled. Maybe it tasted better because of the ordeal I went through to bring it with me. This isn’t the heaviest Yunnan I’ve tasted, but it was quite pleasant. I think I prefer my Yunnan with a little more punch. There was a nice earthy taste and light sweetness to the tea, but I mostly remember the malt and the cute fuzzy leaves…and the fact that it never got bitter in the slightest. I’m very happy with this sample and curious about reading the posts from those that chose the Sticky Rice Pu-erh Toucha. That was the other tea I debated getting the sample of.
Side note: I love how the Golden Bi Lou leaves look! I keep staring at the picture on Steepster like it’s one of those “Magic Eye” prints that were big back in the day. It’s so cool that some of the leaves are in focus and the others are blurry. Great tea photo!