518 Tasting Notes
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped six minutes 30 seconds, drunk bare.
Yep, lost track of time again. The tea did not get bitter. It did get POTENT. I am very awake right now. Holy snappin caffeine kick.
Excellent blend of black teas with lapsing souchong. Smoky, but not overpoweringly smoky. A big leap from India black tea. I can see this one becoming a favourite.
1.5 tsp for 300mL @100C, steeped four minutes thirty seconds, drunk bare.
I love smoky black tea. I’m not crazy about tarry tea. There’s a big difference.
This one’s a blend of three teas plus lapsang souchong. I am trying to pick out the other three. I’m guessing a Keemun, a usual component in a Russian Caravan, and maybe a Ceylon? There’s a sunny brightness here that’s often missing from Chinese black tea. Sweet notes in the finish. A smooth feel. Smoky, but not suffocatingly so. I think I’m in love.
1 sachet for 300mL water @100C, steeped too long because I got all distracted, maybe 6 minutes. Drunk bare.
That this tea is not bitter, but rich, after an over-steep, tells me a lot.
I think I’ve tried this before, this and London, and I wasn’t thrilled with either one. Tonight, Paris has an agreeable heavy and smooth mouthfeel. Something smells a bit artificial, almost like the grenadine flavouring in a Monks’ Blend — artificial vanilla, probably. It’s … odd to me, but I like the tea base better than I remember.
1 sachet for 300mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds, drunk bare.
I’ve ordered this tea loose from Harney and Sons but have yet to receive a shipping notice… been almost a week since I ordered … a bit concerned.
Meantime, I found it in sachet form at a big-box bookstore. A Canadian-law-mandated bilingual instruction label covered up the side if the tin that would tell me WHERE the tea is from … I was pleading with the rainy sky this would be the same Keemun blend as is sold online. Peel … peel … peeeeeel … got the label off. “Ingredients: China black tea.”
The leaves in the sachet are tiny and wiry, with maybe one gold tip in the whole bunch. That’s fine. I am desperate for some Keemun, for some toasty Keemun, and so far, everything’s looking good.
The dry sachets give off a faint grapenuts scent, and a classic China black tea scent.
It’s got Keemun. Toasty gorgeous Keemun!
And as I was typing this note, I got the shipping notification for my Harney and Sons order. UPS says I’ll have my order Nov 12th. Hmm. We’ll see.
I’ve read this is a 100% Keemun blend. It certainly seems to be. Toasty and woody notes, a tiny bit of smoke — like a charred casket, not like a roaring fire — plus bread and flower notes. Lovely. Very comforting.
2tsp for 300mL water (very fluffy tea, guess-timating here), steeped four minutes 45 seconds, drunk bare.
I’ve deliberately not made this tea for a while, so I could experience it again like something new.
Liquor is honey-coloured. Lots of sweet potato notes in his cup, and a fuzzy tingling from the down on the leaves that gets into the liquor. Clean, sun-baked earth. A joy to drink.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, rinsed, steeped 45 seconds.
I admit it: I’ve never done the super-short steeps on oolongs before. Why? I am greedy. I want all the oolong RIGHT NOW. Sometimes that works for me.
Tonight, what’s working better is a quick steep on this amazing tieguanyin. I am getting much more orchid and fruit than I ever have before, on my greedy Western 4-minute steeps. And cream. Oh, my: this smells like a quangzhou milk oolong. Exquisite.