25 Tasting Notes
Steeps: rinse, f, f, f, 15s, 30s, 1min, 2, 3, 3, grandpa style.
Sadly, I don’t have much to say about this tea. It looked promising at first – not too tightly compressed, long sivery leaves, honey and floral aromas after rinsing … But the tea itself was consistently bitter with a barely noticable astringency over multiple steeps. Maybe there was some sweet aftertaste in the initial steeps. The body was on the thin side.
It wasn’t a bad tea and the bitterness wouldn’t be an issue if it had anything else to offer.
Maybe it just needs some time to calm down?
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Honey
I had two sessions with this one. First one: rinse, 10s, 10, 20, 20, 30, 1min etc. Second session: rinse, f, f, f, f, 10s, 15, 30, 1min, 2, 4, finished grandpa style.
Early steeps were in both cases aromatic: moss, rosemary, citrus, pears and smoke come to mind. Very bitter and astringent at first, which (I was told) makes for a good aging potential. Slightly numbing sensation in the mouth. Undecided about body: it wasn’t very thick nor watery.
In the later steeps the bitternes calms down a bit in favour of subtle sweetnes and a hint of plum aroma.
Even though this tea is probably not objectively bad, it doesn’t agree with me – the initial bitter kick makes it hard to appreciate the thickness, which is gone in the later steeps when the bitternes wears out.
Flavors: Citrus, Moss, Pear, Smoke
This is an abstract of my notes.
Gongfu with a 100ml gaiwan. Steeps: rinse, f, f, 30, 40, 1min, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5
Dry leaves have that slightly “fishy” fermentation smell. Maybe it would go away had I left it to air out a bit. After rinsing, aromas of sugar, chestnut and caramel emerge. First infusions are pleasantly spicy and bittersweet. Aromas of nuts and leather. Tea forms a sort of “film” in the mouth.
Later infusions are thicker, more viscous. Aromas of caramel and hay.
Flavors: Caramel, Chestnut, Hay, Leather
Gongfu, with a gaiwan. Sample from a “puer starting pack”, courtesy of Liquid Proust. used full sample, which is quite large . I don’t have a scale, but dry leaves fill half of gaiwan. Lots of twigs, but this is to be expected.
Steeps: rinse, f, f, f, f, 10s, 10, 30, 1min, 1.30, 2, 4, 6, and finished grandpa style.
1&2 : faint forest floor aroma, slightly smoky. No funky smells. Lovely dark red liquor, somehow harsh in the back of the mouth. Drying feeling.
3: More viscous. Taste and mouthfeel, which were a bit flat before, are getting more complex. Slightly sweet and malty. Found a hair. At least it’s not curly (That joke has been done to death by now).
5&6: As dark as a stout. Surprisingly clean taste. Bittersweet aftertaste.
9: Bitternes is coming forward (due to longer steeps), leaving a chalky aftertaste. But maybe the insanely hard water over here has something to do with it. I would prefer a bit sweeter brew, but I don’t mind trading sweetnes for a thicker liquor.
12: It is getting thin, sweetnes is back again.
After 12 steeps I am finishing this grandpa style. Overall, I liked this tea. Hard to say anything substantial, since I haven’t had a lot of shou yet (and this is why I am not rating it). I would have liked some more depth and sweetnes, though.
Flavors: Forest Floor, Smoke
First note after quite some time. Gongfu session, with a gaiwan. Tap water, very hard. Steeps; rinse, flash, 10, 10, 15, 15, 15, 10, 10, 15, 10, 1min, 1, 1.30, 2, 2,
First steeps: aromas of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, wood (oak, perhaps?), very sweet taste, spicy almost. Raspy in the throat, warming aftertaste.
Steeps 6 -9 : The brick is breaking apart and tea is starting to get some more body. It is not only mellow and numbingly sweet – some clear maltyness is braking through, accompanied by some bitterness. Warming. Feeling of very relaxed, alert, plus a slight caffeine headache. I should probably take a break at this point and eat something.
Steep 10: pushing it to a minute: I was overdoing short steeps. This one is thick, complex, warming, pleasantly raspy black tea. Slightly drying aftertaste. More of this please!
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cocoa, Hay, Malt, Oak wood
I picked up a sample of this higher quality sencha the last time I was at Le Palais des Thés. The employee sholdn’t have asked me if I wanted any free samples, because preparing them all kept him busy for quite some time.
So today I was in the mood to try something new. As soon as I emptied the sample bag into my clay kyusu (love that high pitched “cling” sound as the dry leaves hit the pot) I started to notice very fresh aromas of cucumber and freshly mowed grass. Sweeter and hay – like aromas appeared when I poured hot water over the leaves. After a minute I poured the tea into my tall glazed ceramic cup (that I made myself). At this point, the prevailing smell was that of cotton candy or bubble gum – strange as it may sound.
As for the taste itself – it was silky smooth, light and only slightly bitter towards the end.
The final verdict – I am not sure. While I like this tea quite a bit, I am stil a newbie and I am not really good at telling apart different taste and aroma nuances. But what bothers me at this tea is the price. I do not thnk it is really worth 15 EUR per 100 g, especially if you are a beginner (as I am). I have drank much cheaper teas that were equally good for me. But I am aware that many sencha enthusiasts would be able to appreciate this tea much more.