518 Tasting Notes
1,5 tsp plus a punch for 300mL water @10C, steeped four minutes.
This is a second infusion, from leaves I steeped yesterday morning for three minutes. I meant to steep the leaves a a second time yesterday in a travel mug and take it to work, but, as usual, I got distracted. I was a but concerned this morning about re-steeping damp leaves left in a strainer 24 hours in some heat and humidity, but this tea is too good to waste. I added a pinch of fresh leaf and poured the water.
The second infusion was identical to the first. The pu-erh darkness mellowed slightly, but only slightly. A potent and nuanced blend, and a joy to drink.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes Western style.
Yeah, don’t do what I just did. I got distracted — damn it, I need a timer in my study for when I make tea — and my precious sample Laoshan Black is bitter. Cocoa-bitter. It’s still a lovely tea, and I can handle some bitterness, but this expensive error reminds me that good tea is often delicate tea and needed careful treatment.
As it cools, some of the sweeter notes are coming out. Still, it’s over-steeped, and it’s my own fault.
2 tsp for 300mL @100C, steeped four minutes Western style, drunk bare.
Oh, oh, oh.
Liquor is quite dark, letting me know there’s pu-erh in the blend. I can smell the pu-erh, too, and it’s a type of tea I generally don’t care for, but it’s giving heft and depth to this blend. Bready and toasty — roasted grains, and a winey finish that reminds me of some good Keemuns. Some faint Yunnan pepper, stronger in the aftertaste, and some honey notes. Florals in the finish, too. Deep notes of cocoa and sweet potato and minerals. Wow. I’ve never tasted a blend like this.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @98C, steeped four minutes 30 seconds, drunk bare.
Steeped a little longer than usual today … getting a heavier body. No bitterness. Smooth. Many Yunnan characteristics and a bite of Himalayan. Deep honey notes. A good choice for the hot-tea-on-a-hot-day approach to summer heat.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.
The scent reminds me of Super Chocolate. Lots of good cinnamon. The liquor is cloudy and gritty, with globs of fat on the surface from the chocolate and coconut. Visually, this is not appealing at all. Mouthfeel is very smooth, thanks to the melted chocolate, and the cinnamon, clove, and chipotle chile give a pleasant bite. I cannot taste vanilla, or chocolate, or coconut. I pick up some weak back tea. I want to like this, and at my first sip I wanted to spit it out, but I can’t make up my mind. I might appreciate this more on a cold day.
1.5 tsp for 300mL wter @100C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds, sweetened with a DavidsTea Lemon Honey stick.
This delicious black tea, the result of planting Yunnan cuttings in Nepal soil — brilliant idea — already gives off honey notes, so I thought the lemon honey might be okay in here. I don’t like sweet tea; I always want to taste the tea, so I hesitated, only adding one-third of the stick. Eventually I added the whole thing; it’s not very much honey; it IS an excellent amount for bringing out any honey and fruit notes in a black tea.
The honey sticks are quite expensive, when you figure out just how much, or rather, how little, honey you’re getting, but they are very convenient. The lemon oil is excellent.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes, drunk bare.
I’ve not had this blend for a few years. I think the roasted mate in here is new since my last cup.
I often avoid anise, but here it works, its black licorice notes giving some depth the ginger and cinnamon. I can only taste the roasted mate on the after taste, where its often harsh bitterness shows up. (I much prefer green mate.) This tea brews up a bit cloudy, probably because of the ginger, but it’s got a lovely spice heat. I like this blend better than DavidsTea other chais — although Saigon Chai is very good — but I’m not much of a chai fan, as I find the tea bases used are often low quality. I drink this one for the stimulant effects, and for that, it works just fine.