87 Tasting Notes
My first yellow tea and… I’m apathetic. I expected something else, something different, something magical. Especially at this price pointed and limited supply. Alas, It never happened.
The dry leaf aroma is very intriguing, it smells of flowers and mandarins. Mandarins are my favorite part but unfortunately they don’t transfer to the brew. The brew… here is where the disappointment strikes. It is completely watered down. I’m drinking water, lightly flavored with Silver Needle. There is a tiny bit of sweet fruitiness lurking in there as well but it is hardly noticeable. Nothing more.
Off to the second infusion. All the fruitiness is gone, Silver Needle flavor is stripped down and only water remains… you get the picture. I feel like dumping it down the drain.
I need to try other yellow teas now.
My main gripe with this tea is its lack of personality. Yes, it has a light floral taste. Yes, it can be infused a few times. Yes, it is a quality tea for the price, it is easy to drink and is quite enjoyable. But there is absolutely nothing to remember it for, it doesn’t stand out. It is very mellow and doesn’t pack enough either flavor or aroma to actually impress. The aroma is particularly weak, sadly, I’m totally missing out on Osmanthus notes. TeaSpring has a lot of amazing oolongs but this isn’t one of them.
If a Darjeeling can taste herbal, this is it. It is surprising how much herbal flavor it has. I’m getting almost something like green tea mixed with herbs and with a Darjeeling brisk bitterness in the end. I don’t mean it in the bad sense though, it is weird but pleasant overall. I quite enjoy it with desserts but can’t drink much without something accompanying it.
Slightly roasted oolong with earthy flavor. I really hoped for promised flowery and honey notes but they never showed up. All I could taste was woodiness and a subtle sweet finish. Aroma was so fleeting that it felt almost non-existant. Falls into “drink and forget” category for me.
This tea is plainly lovely. It smells like a fresh jasmine off a bush and produces an exceptionally smooth, slightly sweet brew. It’s very different from other jasmine green teas I’ve tried because it has virtually zero astringency but still maintains a flowery kick to it, probably thanks to real jasmine flowers mixed into the tea leaf. It’s a bit sweeter than I prefer but very pleasant and refreshing to drink.
The brewing can get tricky, anything above 175F totally ruins the taste, making it bitter. If brewed correctly it easily stands up to several infusions.
I was lucky to get a sample of this tea with my recent TeaGschwendner order and it is an excellent specimen of a First Flush Darjeeling indeed. The sample was kinda on the smaller side but I enjoyed it immensely till the very last drop.
The tea tastes lighter than average FF Darjeeling, even subtle I would say but is extremely well balanced, with a lot of flowery and muscatel notes and just the right amount of astringency. Some dry metallic notes are present as well but are not overpowering at all. And the most important for me is that the brew doesn’t have any sweetness or nuttiness to it which makes it very refreshing to drink.
The price is steep but the tea is well worth it.
When I think about a generic Chinese green tea, this exact flavor profile jumps to mind: slightly sweet and smoky with a vegetal background. There is absolutely nothing memorable about it but it isn’t unpleasant either. This particular tea is also on the mellow side with the dry finish that bites you on the tongue after each sip.
The second infusion is virtually identical to the first and I didn’t like the tea enough to go on with the third. The leaf looks and smells nice, the value is here but still the flavor is awfully boring.
Weird stuff, really. After the first few sips I felt compelled to go the Upton Tea web-site to check if this tea was flavored with mint. I had a strong impression I was drinking a Darjeeling equivalent of Moroccan mint, only lighter tasting. So off I went and there was no mint in there. But the description said “mildly minty character and an interesting green pepper nuance”. Mildly? Really? I think it’s far from mild, it leaves a lingering menthol-fresh aftertaste that makes my mouth tingle for minutes and I am not exaggerating here. I’ve no idea how green pepper should taste like but there is some definite spiciness to the taste as well. And to top this off the brew has a sweet edge to it.
I wouldn’t say it is a bad tea and I appreciate the uniqueness of it but it kinda contains a mix of flavors that should not be mixed together. It feels like a mouthwash, I mean it. Thus a lower rating.
I was lured in by the description mentioning minty notes and green apple. Well, as it turned out minty translates into sweet grassiness and green apple into something fresh tasting but not exactly apple.
Overall the tea really is well balanced, it is on the sweeter side that I usually don’t like in Darjeelings but still is not overwhelmingly sweet for me to discard it totally. And the refreshing notes make a very good addition to the taste, balancing the sweetness and giving the tea very high drinkability. It is a perfect evening relaxing tea without too much flowery taste of FF Darjeeling.