6 Tasting Notes

80

So in accordance with a suggestion that was made to me a few months back when I asked about TWG Teas, I decided that instead of asking for opinions on the company, I’d stick my neck out and try their tea myself.

I went for a breakfast tea within the price range of below 7 USD / 50g. There were four: London Breakfast, Mediterranean Breakfast, Royal Breakfast, and… forgot the last one. Anyway, the Mediterranean had whole leaves, beautiful things. However, and this might be my tea noob nose, but I couldn’t tell the difference between it and the other three. This one stood out, in a very good way. The smell was… very sweet. In retrospect, it might remind me of Heart of the Old Tree, but a lot mellower.

When I asked about that, the clerk said it was a blend – Chocolate, apparently – and that it was popular with the ladies because of that. While I really liked the look of the whole leaf Mediterranean breakfast, the intoxicating scent of this broken leaf blend won the day.

I bought a pack – the tea parlour felt like I stepped back in time. They used a balancing scale with cylindrical metal weights to measure it. When I commented offhandedly about the use of such “ancient” equipment, my dad told me that these weights are actually more accurate than digital scales or something. I dunno. He’s a doctor. Maybe he knows. I asked about filters because it was broken up and I was worried they’d get past the spoon I use to filter my whole leaf teas. Offered to sell me a reusable cotton one for ~5 bucks, but I decided against it. Figured I’d use a kitchen strainer.

In any case, I steeped it up. Used the Chinese eyeballing method (because dedicated tea thermometers are probably expensive) and set it to “fish eye-sized”. Set my tea timer to 2:30, but between walking from the kitchen counter to the PC and typing in the URL on my browser, I’m betting it took another 30 seconds.

Quarter teaspoon of tea.

Poured myself two cups (one with milk, one pure).

Pure: It has that marvellous scent, still strong. Sort of… roasted, now that I think about it. Roasted chocolate, then? Zero astringency. Rolling it around my tongue, very smooth. Again, zero astringency. I might even call it… dare I say, flat? Did I do something wrong? Still, it’s rather interesting. The lack of astringency is very interesting, if strange…

Ah, no, there it is. Just a mild, barely noticeable drying, only with the cup almost empty.

Second cup is darker, came from the lower half of the pot. Put in some milk, maybe a tsp. Comes off as very caramel-ish now… almost like drinking evaporated milk. It’s funny to say this, but apparently the tea was overpowered by the milk?

I’m guessing it’s probably because I have a habit of stingily using less than half a teaspoon of tea for a whole 350ml teapot.

Still, I think I’ll have it without milk, unless I start using full doses.

Overall a little flat, but I think that’s because I use much less tea than recommended, and steep for less time. Give it a try anyway.

Flavors: Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Roasted, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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95

So it’s not really the first time I’ve tried Wild Monk, but I guess I just forgot to report it the first time. The sweetish, familiar scent that I couldn’t pinpoint before… now that I’ve had the time to properly think and meditate on it, I was reminded of a time back in high school during our senior retreat, when as part of our trip, we visited a cigar factory. As I don’t smoke, that was the only time I was ever exposed to this scent before trying out this Wild Monk…

Reminds me of tobacco. Now, I always found that scent of tobacco quite alluring. I just have health concerns over smoking. So! This tea? It’s a godsend. I can enjoy something that tastes like tobacco, without having to smoke. And dare I say, again, it’s very sweet. It’s my second steeping now. Should be good to keep me up until I finish helping out with my niece’s first birthday party.

Thanks for this great sample, Garret! :)

Flavors: Smoke, Sweet, Tobacco

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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90

One of the two samplers Garret sent to go with Heart of the Old Tree. Earthy flavour. Gives me a nice little tingly feeling in my nose with each sip. Taste-wise, even after 3 and a half minutes, there’s no astringency. It’s earthy. I’m also picking up some kind of… seafood? Can’t quite pin exactly what kind of seafood, either… but it’s not “fishy”. Kind of… shrimpy, or squiddy, or… can I suggest those as flavours?

I close my eyes and take a sip and it brings me to a seaside fiesta, where all the richness of the local community is laid out on a banquet table, ready to be eaten and celebrated. Lovely thoughts.

I guess I really still need to mature as a tea taster to best appreciate this. The flavours aren’t something I can readily identify as immediately as the Heart of Old Tree Shu (and even then, it’s “Sweet” rather than a specific kind of sweet). That said, I now know what kind of tea I want to have with my next seafood trip. And I LOVE seafood. :)

(On a sidenote, I did some scientific testing with my measuring cup, and it turns out my teapot is 350ml, NOT 500.)

Flavors: Earth

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec 0 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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100

My first Pu’er, courtesy of Garret. The family gathered around for this one, so I brought out the teapot and yeah. I don’t have a gong fu set, so we had them in western-sized cups. First thing I noticed was that despite the minute amount of leaf we put in (a lot less than 1 tsp) and the proportionally big amount of water (around 350ml), it still smelled sweet.

It tasted sweet too, in a nice, very subtle kind of way. Compared to the Darjeeling, which has a stronger flavour, say… it’s more of a punch, actually, this sweetness is, as I said, very subtle. I can’t quite place the exact KIND of sweetness, and I’m tempted to say “caramel”, but then that would just be parroting the official description. So I’ll stick to plain and simply, “sweet”. I’m at the third steeping now, and it still tastes sweet.

Suffice it to say that this is only my third tea. Hopefully I’ll be able to better express my findings as my collection grows. And hopefully, as time goes by, I’ll be able to better appreciate this little treasure cake, especially since it gets better the older it gets.

Flavors: Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 0 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
mrmopar

This puerh thing will grow on you….

Norfür

In what sense? I’m already thinking about the next cake. Does that count? XD Or in learning to describe the flavours in it?

mrmopar

Growing to like it and explore more. “Thinking about the nextcake”, it is already started. The “precious” is out there just in more than one cake! :)

Norfür

Thanks! Garrett sent me two samples to go with it, Wild Monk and Noble Mark. Looking forward to examining the differences between sheng and shu. :)

mrmopar

I think you will enjoy both. I am in over my head in tea but I can always sneak a small box in now and then by opening the bathroom window going outside and sliding the package in the open window. Another one is “It’s for the grand-kids”. Sometimes I have to get inventive like oh I finally found this old thing laying around.
Kidding on some of it and not on some.If I can help you any way on your journey just give me a shout.

Norfür

Wow. That IS a lot of tea. Gonna have to start earning some big bucks before I can grow my collection to that level. So far I’ve only got four (six, counting Garret’s samplers).

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85
drank Matcha by Orient Tea Co.
6 tasting notes

I just got my order off a seller from AliExpress. Powder smells like orchid of some kind. Certainly fragrant. Interesting taste. Got a certain grassy astringency while leaving an orchid-like aftertaste… heck it actually reminds me of a local (Philippine) flower called Sampaguita.

Product description page cites source as an “Orient Tea Co” based in Guangdong, that’s all I got on it. My first matcha so I can’t compare it to any established names. But I really like the flowery aftertaste.

Flavors: Astringent, Cut grass, Flowers, Orchid

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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100

My first time tasting real tea. I can’t really describe it that well. I can’t find the right words in the flavour dropdown list. But whatever it is, I’m pretty sure I’m not going back to teabags.

Flavors: Earth, Flowers

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 0 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Tea Neophyte. Terrified but at the same time excited at this whole new world of tea.

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