21 Tasting Notes
So, I got this tea because I’m looking for a replacement for my beloved Celestial Temple Peaks that Teavana stopped selling. And this one is pretty close.
The appearance of the dry leaf was encouraging, nice big pieces with the golden buds that are what make a Yunnan tea special. When brewed, the tea is mellow, with a sweet, slightly smokey, slightly chocolatey edge. I approve.
I was distressed on a recent trip home to discover that Teavana has discontinued my beloved Celestial Temple Peaks. When asked what they had that was similar, they produced this Golden Monkey, which is twice as expensive and not quite as good. But the dry leaf smelled about the same as the Celestial Temple Peaks, so I bought some.
The leaf for this has less buds in it than I would like. The tea itself has the honey taste that I like in my black tea, but also has a malty note of which I’m not particularly fond. It also has a tendency to get a bit astringent.
Over all, I prefer it to Verdant’s Zhu Rong Yunnan Black, which was big on the malty taste profile, but not as well as Temple Peaks. I anticipate that I will now have to be on a quest for a new black tea.
(Sorry not to elaborate on the taste profile more. I’ve drunk this maybe half a dozen times now, so I figured it was time for a note, but I believe I’m coming down with something so it doesn’t taste quite right today.)
Hm. What to say about this tea. I’ve been looking forward to trying it for a long time, and I finally got the courage to brew up my little sample today.
The aromas is sweet and malty, like a good black tea should be. The first thing that I manage to pick out of the taste is toasted marshmellows. (I am struck by a sudden craving for s’mores.)
The really unique thing about this tea is the texture that it leaves on your tongue. It does start to taste of spice, and has a taste I can only describe as ‘bright.’ And the aftertaste blooms and linger nearly forever.
But I’m still not sure I like this better than Teavana’s Celestial Temple Peaks. (She said, wincing guiltily.)
First of all, this does smell amazingly, strangely, like chocolate. Good, dark chocolate. There is also something very fruity and floral in the aroma, a very assertive floral that reads to me like marigold.
I’ve always been a fan of Yunnan black teas, because they’re sweet, and this one definitely has that quality. You can also taste the chocolate, which amuses me greatly. The first time I brewed it, though, because I got way too much of that marigold flavor, that coats the back of your mouth in that bitter/sour flavor you get when someone gets the bright idea to make a floral flavored cocktail. However, I think that was a problem with me, not the tea. I used much less leaf, and water that was less hot this time, and that element was greatly diminished, just enough to be intriguing.
(I’m sorry I don’t leave better notes on how I prepare tea. But my kettle only produces one temperature of water (ridiculously hot) and I usually time my steeping by leaving the leaves in until the tea is ‘cool enough to drink’ which is usually four or five minutes? I think? I’m sure some of the purists out there are appalled, mea culpa.)
I know I’ve reviewed this one before, but I just got another batch, and it makes me happy, so I thought I would say something about it. (And I’ve learned a bit more about tea since last time.)
First off, the leaves of this tea are just beautiful. And it smells and tastes exactly the way I think a jasmine should. Nice and floral and sweet. (Yes, I sweeten all of my tea. Yes, I know this is a sin.)
I finally got my hands on my new order from Verdant! And it turns out that all three of the teas I ordered are from Yunnan. Ah well, at least I know what I like. And I get to try a white, a green, and a black from the same region.
So, I think this is the first un-flavored green tea I’ve ever tried. (Other than matcha, but that’s a whole different game.) I brewed this western style, steeping it for minutes, which is longer than I meant to, but I had to stop and find a clean mug.
The aroma of this is very nice, with the roasted pumpkin seeds smell I associate with green tea, and a floral aroma, and maybe something similar to white wine? (Although the whites I drink are very floral, so.)
The taste is very mild, with a floral note my head keeps insisting is jasmine, even though I know this isn’t a jasmine, and a slightly astringent texture. And again, there’s that nice roasted note.
All in all, very good, but not likely to convert me from my black tea drinking ways.
This one brews up strong, a good, forceful black tea, which is what I was looking for when I purchased it. It has less sweetness than Teavana’s Celestial Temple Peaks, and more of a malty flavor. I am also finding the ‘copper’ notes for which this tea must have been named. All in all, an excellent morning tea. I approve.
The descriptions for Verdant’s Laoshan green teas mention a distinctive green bean taste in those teas, and that it was I taste most prominently in this one. This one is rather sweet, and has a very nice smooth and yet crisp texture, but that green bean thing is just not what I’m looking for in a black tea. Or, really, any tea. (I have notes for Verdant’s Elderberry Spiced Pu’er and Big Red Robe, and I liked both of them! I don’t dislike everything, I swear!)
It’s official. I don’t like Chamomile. And unfortunately, the first thing I taste when I take a sip of this tea is a punch of brassy, flowery, chamomile. The mint and chocolate are quite nice, but rather over powering, to the point where I’m not sure what the base tastes like. (But I have some of the Big Red Robe and Laoshan Black on their own, so I guess I’ll find out.) And even though I tossed a good bit of this in a travel tumbler, so the leaves never got removed from the water, it wasn’t strong enough for me. sigh Oh well. My mother will probably like it.