420 Tasting Notes
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.
This is a very nice Oolong that I got a few years back from Whittards, but still tastes and smells as it did when I bought it. Whittards no longer has it, from what I saw.
This tea does smell and taste a little like peaches, but with an added toasty taste to it. It is silky, not astringent, and without the mineral or grassy taste that some oolongs have. The leaves are huge, so this tea needs a lot of space to unravel. As you re-brew it the fruity tastes become more dominant than the toasted ones.
Thank you Terri! This is a fairly good assam, and I’m trying it plain now. You can feel the caffeine kick, and there is a bit of astringency to this tea. I am drinking it plain, slightly weaker than I would normally drink assam with milk. There’s nothing outstanding about this tea, but does seem like a solid choice for an everyday assam.
Had this at work today. Three quick steeps, and threw out the brew, and then made three cups. I took the third (so technically, the 5th steeping after the first wash). The tea tastes like dried apricots, and is very conveniently packed (which is why this is my “at work” pu’er). It needs sugar or honey to really, really shine in my opinion, even though it is sweet. There’s something about the aftertaste that is still rough and raw, and a sweetener of some kind will take the edge off.
Last cup of the day. This tea smells and tastes like freshly baked bread, or sweet wheat sheaves. It has a completely different flavour profile than Verdant’s Ya Bao, and in my opinion is much, much better. It is smooth and soft, where Verdant’s is harsh and prickly, and it recalls sweet rice or bread or wheat, and not green pines. And for a nice surprise after every sip – open your mouth slightly, and let air waft in.
One of my favourite teas, with a constant place in my cupboard, and my top five. A true evening comfort tea, and an instant pick-me-up.