290 Tasting Notes
The wonderful Chinese Tea Company of Portobello Road, London has a small basket of wonderful samples, each one containing enough tea for one session, and each one costing £1. The teas are packed in convenient small clear plastic bags, so you can see what you are getting before you purchase anything. I got two samples during my last visit, and this is one of them. The lovely proprietress didn’t charge me for them, as I’d bought quite a lot of tea and tea ware while there.
Anyway, the leaves reminded me of Norbu’s Ye Sheng Hong Cha, but they are small and darker. They clearly contain a leaf an a bud, or two leaves and a bud, and great care has been taken not to break them during their processing into black/red tea.
The liquor is reddish gold, like maple leaves in the fall, glowing in the sun.
This is a smooth, smooth tea, with almost a creamy texture, and no astringency. It is sweet, with hints of sweet potato, and honeycomb.
I wish I’d bought an entire pouch of this, but it wasn’t in stock.
As it is, this is a sip down, although I do hope to get at least two more steepings out of these wonderful leaves.
A great introduction to Chinese red/black teas, and a great lazy morning/early afternoon tea.
Flavors: Honey, Sweet Potatoes
Brewed this western style, using a Finum basket. Gave it 3-4 minutes, and it needs that time to open up.
The leaves are long, long, long and blacker than a moonless night. They take time to open up, and patience is required for them to release their exquisite flavors.
This is very gently smoked tea, that tastes like a very, very good Keemun – it has some of the malt/bread flavor to it, with a gentle smokiness that does not feel artificial, but gives it depth and body. There is something of the sweetness of sugar to it, and I did not experience any astringency when drinking it. A great intro to smoked teas,and a wonderful companion for a cold winter’s night, in a large steaming mug, with your hands wrapped around it for warmth.
Norbu did it again!
Flavors: Baked Bread
Had a not so great day at work, so enjoying delicious, delicious tea that I like, and not being adventurous with new tea. This joins the seemingly never ending list of teas that I like that are out of stock:
Piccadilly Blend, F&M
Assam Hazelbank, Whittards
Assam Golden Lion, Butiki
York Tea, Whittards
Lao Cong Zi Ya, Norbu
I like the new tasting note format.
This time I brewed this tea in a Gaiwan, Gongfu style. And suddenly the whipped cream flavor came out. Startling and nothing that I’ve ever encountered in a tea before.
I wish that Verdant still stocked this. Apart from this being one of the most beautiful teas that I’ve ever seen, I really love this flavor profile, and I haven’t gotten it from other dianhongs.
Flavors: Cream, Honey
A friend went on a trip to Seychelles, and as a kind gesture brought me this tea as a gift. It did not look promising, being a very fine grained CTC black tea packed in a plastic bag, stuffed in a rather nice white cloth bag with no description on it other than “Sey Te, Chemical Free Bio-Tea”. I’m assuming that this tea is organic, but there’s no indication of any form of official certification, so caveat emptor.
My best guess is that this tea is a blend of mostly Kenyan teas, possibly with some assam thrown in. It’s almost dust level finely cut, so it is super super strong. Be careful when brewing. Surprisingly, it doesn’t re-brew well beyond the fourth cup, and at the sixth cup its all tired out. I expected such a strong tea to show more stamina ;)
In any case, it’s not totally undrinkable, but it’s pretty bad. I don’t see myself ever picking it up, particularly not on an empty stomach, it’s so powerful. Even after a large meal it made me feel queasy about 30 minutes after drinking. Not surprisingly I did not finish my cup.
If you’re stuck with a choice of this tea or a run of the mill teabag, choose teabag.
Wonderful wonderful tea from Terri! This is a good and smooth Assam, of just the right strength to my liking. It’s not an “in your face” CTC strength, it’s a quiet, power, “I am here” strength. Like a huge oak that’s grown in one spot for centuries and exudes power and permanence.
It’s a very smooth tea, that loves milk, but can be taken plain, if you don’t have an aversion to astringency.
I rushed to Butikis to buy some, only to see that it’s out of stock! Alas, alas, when will my troubles end…
Put this on my shopping list and keeping a hawk’s eye on Butikis site, waiting for a restock.