564 Tasting Notes
1.5 tso for 300mL water @80C, steeped 2 minutes 30 seconds.
The packet suggests a 3-4 minute steep, which seems a bit long for a green to me, so I’m trying it my way first.
Dry leaf: sweet and grassy and a tiny bit floral.
Wet leaf: vegetal and a bit briny — that scallops note I dislike so much in some green teas — to my surprise.
Liquor is gold with some subtle down and gives a strong door of scallops and butter. I don’t like seafood in my tea, so I’m a bit disappointed. Nowhere on the write-up does it say ‘vegetal’,’ a word which usually signals that scallops thing and warns me away.
Tastes of scallops and brine with butter and a slightly sweet finish. I am detecting no muscat at all.
Not for me.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @95C, Western style, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.
Dry leaves are tiny, curled, and very smooth, alms silly, to the touch. I know about the smoothness because I had way too much on my spoon and pinched some tea back into the bag.
Dry leaves give a strong cocoa scent, with some sweet malt.
Wet leaves are long, and some are still twisted, mostly brown with some dark green. Wet leaves smell of cocoa, malt, and, i the distance, vanilla. (This is not, of course, a flavoured dessert tea.)
Liquor is dark copper. Liquor smells of — you guessed it — cocoa and malt, also soybeans and deciduous trees.
Taste: cocoa and malt, of course, and a bit of soybean, with sweetness and some vanilla notes in the finish. I haven’t tried this year’s batch labelled just ‘Laoshan Black,’ so I can’t comment on any differences between that and this, the Spring Harvest Laoshan Black. I can say this tea gives everything I remember falling for in Laoshan Black.
The finish is very soft.
1.25 tsp for 300mL water @95C, Western style. steeped three minute son first infusion, three minutes thirty seconds on seconds infusion.
I adore smoky teas. This is not a heavily smoked tea at all, not even close to what gets called Caravan certainly not to most lapsang souchongs I’ve tried. (And I love a good caravan and lapsang souchong.) This is classified as a black tea — I think it just barely qualifies, tasting and behaving to my tasting more as a clear dark mineral oolong.
The first infusion has more gentle smoke — more resin than smoke, really — while the second infusion is very mineral and surprisingly sweet with some pine resin and chocolate notes.
Love. Love love love love love.
1tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped two minutes.
I find some of the same scallop-y notes as I found in the Spring Harvest Laoshan Green, but with more butter and green vegetable notes. I’m getting some floral oolong notes cutting through the butter, veggies, and scallops. A lot going on here. Not sure yet if I like it.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes.
Dry leaves are long and twisty, mostly dark with a golden one here and there.
Dark copper liquor.
Well, Damn Fine warned us this would be strong.
And it’s GLORIOUS. Lots of cedar and toast notes, and a rich, almost honey-like finish that announced ‘Yunnan’ in a deep voice. Not a subtle or a gentle tea. It’s not smoky, but it’s close to smoky. It’s got a faint peppery bite that I find in some Yunnans and really like. I’m gonna play with steep times, but I expect this will brew up intense regardless. I love this tea. But be warned: it’s strong.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Biting, Black Pepper, Brown Toast, Cedar, Cocoa, Earth, Fig, Forest Floor, Honey, Oak wood, Thick, Winter Honey
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @85C, steeped five minutes.
The packet suggests using water at 100C, but I find that scalds mate and certainly makes the dried fruit a bit harsh. 85C works much better.
A fresh and bright green mate with lots of candied fruit. Sweet and sunny, with good but not overpowering or sickly ago flavour. Good mate buzz from it, too.
I find Tea Squared in my favourite supermarket. The re-sealable bags hold about 80 grams of tea or tisane, and retail around 8 to 9 dollars Canadian. Worth it, I think.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped 8 minutes 45 seconds.
Yeah, 8:45. I got a phone call.
However, this tea stands of beautifully to a long steep.
Colour on my usual 4:30 steep is much the same as what I have here now, a medium copper that looks like a light Ceylon tea. This is a darker oolong than I usually drink, and it’s got a lot going on: molasses, figs, plums and a few other nots I can’t quite define. Nuanced. No bitterness, not even at 8:45. The shorter steep is much sweeter, but this robust beauty remains pleasant and complex. Well worth a try for anyone who likes oolong, and it might make a lovely foray into oolong for a tea drinker who likes the lighter black teas, like Darjeelings (though this has no astringency).