114 Tasting Notes
I really enjoyed this one. Did two sessions with it – one with the parameters I normally use for sencha (4g in 150mL with 160 degree water, sometimes going up to 165 a couple steeps in) and one with Den’s Tea’s recommended parameters, which seemed a little weird to me (1st steep, 180 degrees for 60s, second steep boiling water for 15s). I liked it both ways, but I think my normal method was a bit better. These leaves smelled nice. Had the classic roasted nutty grass smell of sencha.
1st Session: 60s, 30s, 45s, 90s
The first steep was the best to me, with just a touch of bitterness, good sweetness with vegetal, grass, and roasty notes and a smooth, almost buttery feel. Next steep had a more pronounced vegetal taste, like spinach, with a bitter finish and sweet aftertaste. After this steep, I pushed the temp up to 170 degrees. The next steep was vegetal with a bitter finish and was noticeably more watery. The final steep was just a light and subtle vegetal sweetnes.
Session 2: 180 degree water for 60s followed by boiling water for 15s.
First steep was a bit more pungent in its flavor with an almost sour bitterness – I think that was the grassy flavor, at the front followed by a very deep roasty vegetal flavor. The next steep had some bitterness with a thick, creamy feel and nice grassy flavor. The taste of the cup got better as it cooled down.
Flavors: Bitter, Creamy, Grass, Roasted, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
Hmm, not sure about this one. I got some light grassy flavors and a sour bite that I seem to be experiencing with a few sencha that I’ve had recently. The aroma wasn’t particularly strong, nor was the flavor. I don’t know if the tea I got was past its prime or what, but not sure I’d buy this one again. I have enough to try another session if anybody has any other suggestions. I used 5g, 150mL water at 160 degrees. Steep times of 1m, 30s, 45s, 75s.
Flavors: Grass, Sour
Possible Spoilers for Liquid Proust’s Mystery Group Buy
I drank the first of my mystery teas – the one labeled #3. Not a big shou fan, but I think this one was pretty good. Leaves had a woody camphor aroma, but I didn’t get camphor too much in the flavor. A bit of mouth cooling during the first couple steeps, but not too much. Later it started developing a nice earthy sweetness. I also kind of got some vanilla notes, and one of the mid-steeps gave me a coffee vibe for some reason. It was decently thick, but also died out rather quickly.
I think I can safely say this isn’t the 2015 fake GNWL, not because I know what a real one tastes like, but because this doesn’t taste wet enough to have been piled just last year. Not sure which of the other two it could be yet though.
Flavors: Camphor, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla, Wood
From Dark Matter 2016. I used all 5.5g I got in a 100mL gaiwan with 190 degree water. I did a brief rinse followed by steeps of 10s, 10s, 12s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 60s, 90s.
The dry leaves smelled like dark chocolate to me, with a bit of an added malty note once rinsed. The first two steeps were chocolatey with a bit of a toasted bread note probably from the roast. I think that might be where some people tasted sweet potato. On the third and fourth steeps, the texture thickened up nicely and it tasted like I was drinking creamy hot cocoa with a bit of a malty note in there as well. The flavor stayed in my mouth well after each sip starting from those steeps. As the flavors muted in the final steeps, it took on a bit of an earthy feel to it, with some sweetness but not the overt chocolate notes I had earlier. This was a good tea, and probably not one I would have tried without Dark Matter, as some of Verdant’s prices are a bit steep for me.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Malt
I used 7g in my 100mL gaiwan with boiled water. I could tell this was a quality tea.
Early steeps were light in flavor with notes of straw, apricot, and burnt sugar. Though the flavors were pretty light, the mouth feel of this showed its power. It made my tongue feel fat and tingly, and the feeling traveled down the throat and warmed through my chest. As the session went on, the sugar flavor died out a bit. Got straw, apricot/stonefruit flavors, and a pungent flavor which showed the power of the tea. Mouth feel was thick throughout the session and continued to travel through the body. I would probably consider buying a cake of this if it wasn’t sold out. Darn sample-tease lol.
Flavors: Apricot, Burnt Sugar, Pleasantly Sour, Stonefruits, Straw, Thick
I enjoyed this shou about as much as I’ve enjoyed any shou so far. I did two long rinses to begin with to help get the ball to start breaking up, though the first steep did have a decent amount of funk to it. The ball was about 7.5g, and I brewed it with a 120mL gaiwan and boiling water.
Once the funk cleared it was mostly some sweet woody flavor. Also some kind of sugary caramel notes, but they were second to the woodiness. Picked up four of these, so I’m glad to know I’ll enjoy the others when I get my rare hankering for shou.
Flavors: Caramel, Sweet, Wood
I used 4g of this tea with 150mL of 160F water, later increased to 165F. Steeps of 1m, 30s, 45s, 90s, 2.5m. First steep was mostly some sweet grassy taste with a bit of a sour bite. Second steep was a tad bitter with that same grassiness and sour combination. The aftertaste left in the mouth after sipping was a soft and sweet fruit flavor, reminding me of melon. The remaining steeps were grassy and sweet, with the melon notes at times appearing during the sip, but they had faded completely by the last steep. In the last couple steeps it also tasted a bit salty, like vegetable broth. Possibly just a kind of oversteeped or steeped-out flavor. Pretty good Sencha I thought. Just starting to gain some experience with this kind of tea though :)
Flavors: Grass, Melon, Sweet, Vegetable Broth
I found best results using 4g of tea for 150mL water at 160F for first two steeps, then 165 for the last two, with steep times of 1m, 30s, 45s, 90s. First two steeps were the best, with a noticeable drop off for the third. Flavors are mostly of the sweet vegetal variety, like peas, with some toasted grass notes as well. Every once in a while I taste something that might be described as fruity, but not consistently. Final steeps are a little more just wet-grassy.
Flavors: Grass, Peas, Sweet, Toasted, Vegetal
Got this as part of a swap with JK7Ray – Thanks! Used 3.2ish g in a 60mL gaiwan with 175 degree water.
This is one of the most intensely aromatic teas I’ve encountered. I was surprised by the aroma the first time around – smelled like cinnamon and fruit, maybe raisins, plums, or apples (that might be cuz of the cinnamon, so my mind went to apple pie). The aroma was incredibly vivid and intense – it seemed like some kind of fresh-baked pastry. I couldn’t wait to see what the tea tasted like. Unfortunately, I was a little bit disappointed, not because it tasted bad, but because the intensity of the flavor didn’t come close to the intensity of the aroma. I got sweet, tangy fruity flavors with the cinnamon barely apparent in the first couple steeps. After that, it had some malty sweetness accompanied by dry fruity notes. The leaves looked like black tea once brewed, but I’m not sure whether that was because they were highly oxidized or due to the fact it was made from a purple varietal.
I tried this tea with 185 degree water as well, but it just muddled the flavors a bit, burying the high notes. I should have tried with almost boiling water too, since it looked like a black tea, but I didn’t. It doesn’t seem to be available on What-cha’s site anymore, and I’m not sure I’d want to buy more of it if it was. Aroma was the best part of this tea by far. I smelled the wet leaves for quite a while. Certainly interesting and I’m glad I got to try it.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Fruity, Malt, Plums, Raisins, Sweet, Tangy
One of the six black teas included in the W2T May 2016 club package. I don’t normally enjoy black tea too much, but this one was quite good.
Dry leaves had a vibrant and fruity aroma. More tangy fruitiness once the leaves were wet, along with a bit of smoke. The smoke never showed up in the flavor however. I used 5g leaf in a 100mL gaiwan with boiled water and steep times of 12s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 1m.
The tea was a beautiful reddish orangey-brown color. Early steeps had floral sweet front with a nice and fruity finish that lingered in the mouth for a few minutes after the sip. If I had to describe the fruit, I’d probably say raisins or red grapes. A couple steeps in, a bit of a woody taste developed, which soon transitioned into a kind of malty sweetness, which replaced the floral notes. There was a small amount of bitterness in the first two steeps, but not a lot. The third steep had the most complete and deep feeling flavor to me. Mouth feel was not particularly strong, though it was slightly slick in the mouth. This tea dropped off after around 5 steeps, which was surprising, mostly because I’ve been drinking almost all puerh and oolong lately. The last couple steeps had malty sweetness with some faint, higher notes – remnants of the fruity, tangy, floral aspects – complementing it. One of the best black teas I’ve had, and looking forward to the others included in the package.
Tried it with 200 degree water as well, and it was much the same but a bit smoother with more pronounced fruity and tangy flavors. The bitterness I previously experienced was also gone, but that may have been because I was a bit more careful with the early steeps the second time around.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Malt, Raisins, Sweet, Wood