386 Tasting Notes
I got this tea at Boston, mostly because I knew that my favorite Kenya was starting to run out, and I was on the lookout for a restock. This is a CTC tea, on the lower side of tea quality “rankings”, so I found it strange that the company brands it with the following words: “Most connoisseurs drink it as a little luxury after a good meal”. Most tea snobs would likely not be willing to even try a CTC tea, let alone treat it as a luxury, but I’m not a snob, and I decided to let the tea speak for itself.
OK, so DAVIDsTEA got the timing on this one completely off, unless you are trying to get your tea to taste like (bad) coffee. 2 or 3 minutes for this tea is way to much, as like many other CTC teas, it brews on the strong side. At less than a minute it brewed strong enough for me to be afraid of trying it without milk and sugar.
How is it? Not great. It’s drinkable, but it’s nothing to write home about. I actually don’t see myself grabbing it at all if I keep it at home (with all the good stuff), so I’ll bring it to work, for an afternoon caffeine kick, or for the guys that come slouching to my tea stash and asking, “so what d’you have that’s really, really strong?”
Thank you Terri for this sample! There’s actually enough in the bag for three sittings.
This tea has the smokiness of Keemun, an added astringency that isn’t usually present in Keemuns (at least not the ones that I have tried), and less sweetness than in other Keemuns. It also really needs the full three minutes of steep time recommended.
Not my favorite keemun by far, but a nice tea to try out.
PS – Just when I promised myself not to buy more tea (I went a little wild during Verdant’s Black Friday sale, and I had more than enough before it anyway), Norbu Tea has 25% off your order until the 31st of Jan (code: 2014Horse). Bought three interesting new oolongs and their wonderful white bud pu’er. If you haven’t purchased from Norbu yet, I urge you to give it a try. They have some of my favorite teas, and have yet to disappoint me.
It always surprises me to see that I logged this tea so few times in the past, when I’ve had it so many times before. This is my “treat tea” or dessert tea. Verdant had a bit of stock left, and I had a $10 voucher from their Black Friday madness, so guess what I used it for? And for the ultimate decadence, I treated myself to one of Verdant’s lovely caddies too.
The king of all Yunnan blacks, and in my opinion of Chinese black (i.e. red) tea in general, is Dian Hong. Verdant cleverly rebranded it as “Golden Fleece”, evoking ancient myths while separating themselves from other Dian Hong sellers. This is likely the best Dian Hong that I will ever get my hands on, so I think that the branding is justified here. If Verdant has it in stock, hoard it like a dragon’s treasure.
As for taste – there really isn’t anything that I can say at this point that hasn’t been said. Spun sugar and sunshine in a cup.
This Darjeeling tea is strong with the Darjeeling force. It’s scent warns you as you approach that this is not a tea for the feint at heart. It is perfumey, acidic, astringent, and slightly dry, and some sugar does go well to taming it. The diametrical opposite of bass-y teas like Assam, or trombones like Yunnans, or domicile cellos, err.. Ceylons, this is a brash young trumpet that is lively, fierce, unforgettable – but not suitable for all occasions. Drink with care.
Having this now, and it has a fantastic lemony flavour to it. Tried to brew it nice and strong, but no luck. I don’t see this teas as a breakfast tea, or as a tea that would take milk well, but it is a good, interesting black tea nonetheless. Happy new year to all those who celebrate it! Ours was way back in September.
Back to the end of semester study grind for me.
This tea was expensive. Super, super expensive. Which made me hope that it was a real milky oolong, and not one that has had additives thrown in it. I specifically enquired at the Covent Garden branch of Whittard’s if this was the real deal, no flavourings etc, and was told it was. So, I’m going to treat it as such. I’m writing this down because I have been tricked in the past. But I do think that this is the genuine thing this time, not only because of Whittard’s reputation and the knowledgeability of the attendant at the shop, but also because of the way that this tea brewed and re-brewed.
This tea should be called “buttery oolong”. It brews a light orange-yellow, and is silky smooth on the tongue. The yellow green balls of large whole leaves unfurled fully at the third steeping, though they kept growing until the 5th or 6th one. I got 10 steepings of full 200ml cups, each one full of flavour out of a teaspoon of leaves. So an expensive tea, but economical if you re-brew it (and you should!). This tea smells and tastes like good, creamy butter. It smells like butter when dry, the tea “soup” smells like butter, the wet leaves smell like butter, and all ten steepings tasted like butter. The difference between them are with the added flavours that rise in later brewings. If you are a butter person, take the first few cups. Otherwise, take later ones. This tea will not take milk well (very light), is naturally sweet (no sugar needed), not at all astringent, and I have a feeling that it will be hard to ruin it by over brewing.
The only question is: do you like butter?
Yellow teas are a rarity in my cupboard, and in the shops that I normally buy tea in, so when I saw this in The Tea House, Covent Garden, London on my latest visit there, of course I had to snag a 50g packet. The leaves are whole, and huge, and need weighing, to know just how much to use. I brewed it at 70C, as I would a white tea, and the black, light green, yellow, brown leaves opened with a flourish. This tea tastes like a sweet, slightly smokey sheng, with fruit tinges (apricot, a little grape) that round off each sip. The yellow liquid of the tea matches the tea’s name, and makes for a nice evening cup. An interesting experience, which I will likely repeat.