283 Tasting Notes

Too busy enjoying this one to write a proper note right now. Suffice to say that the warm grassy aroma of the dry leaf, the honey and citrus aroma of the liquor and the sweet, slightly nutty taste is just what I wanted on a sunny bank holiday afternoon. Teas like this are the reason why Darjeelings are my favourite black teas. Now, I must get back to working or there will be no new berserkjaknowledge being spread around.

Flavors: Citrus, Hay, Honey, Nutty, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon in Cobh and I have survived a trip into Cork. Ye gods, but the train was packed. It’s not that packed during the week when I commute into work! And the streets here are swarming with tourists come for that authentic Titanic experience. So, I am trapped in my flat for the afternoon now, unless I want to dodge people wandering aimlessly, looking everywhere but where they are going. Ah well, at least I have two consolations: 1. the view from my flat is excellent; 2. I have just made a cup of this tea. Combining the two leaves me feeling very relaxed. Better not get too relaxed though or I’ll get no work done …

So, the tea. It’s the 2016 first flush. The dry leaf has the sweet smell of fresh hay. The leaves are a mix of silver, green and brown. The liquor is a golden, champagne colour and smells sweet and floral with malty notes. It has a really silky, smooth, almost glassy mouthfeel. The floral sweetness extends into the tasting, ending in a sparkling astringency in the aftertaste that lasts for some time. It’s really light and refreshing and there is an element of that relaxing chi that I find in some puerhs. I am really enjoying it, so it is a shame that it does not really resteep at all. Nevertheless, two thumbs up; I do like a good Darjeeling and this is definitely good.

Flavors: Floral, Hay, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 7 OZ / 200 ML
Cwyn

I gong fu this estate Darjeeling in very small tea pot. I get a good 6 pours usually. Am not a fan of a lot of Darjeeling but Goomtee estate is the bomb. I feel darn good when drinking the FF, takes 10 years off me for a half hour.

Roughage

I should try gong fu with this one, but brewed it western style according to the destructions on the package. My brewing set-up here in Ireland is not ideal yet though. Still much to organise and too much stuff back home in England.

tea123

If you can’t gong fu you could try wrong fu…

Roughage

Wrong fu sounds a bit like it might be gongfoolery gone bad! :) I need to sort out a smaller teapot here and I’ll be ready to go.

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Surprised not to see this one on here already. Yay, I get to be first, even if it is only a cursory tasting note because I did not sit down and do a full tasting. So, I started the day with Canton’s 2010 Xing Hai, but felt like a change of pace for the evening. I’ll save the rest of the Xing Hai for tomorrow. I’ve now changed to this tea for the evening. It’s a new one on me and I only received it in the post last week. I tried it the day I got it, but was not overly happy with how it brewed. FF Darjeelings are notoriously finicky, and that first trial was a victim of over-enthusiasm and lack of control of the brewing conditions. This second time around is much better.

The first cup came out golden in colour. It was clear, crisp and silky in texture. Light muscatel flavour is there, some sweetness and some dryness. It has many of the characteristics of some light, dry white wines I have had in the past. The second cup I steeped for 3 minutes and that was perhaps a touch too long. The previous flavours were all enhanced but an edge of astringency has introduced itself. I shall steep a third cup for 3 minutes again later and see how it does, but I can definitely state that this tea passes muster for this Darjeeling fan. I’m not completely blown away by it, but I am definitely satisfied.

Flavors: Muscatel

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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90

I’ve broken out this tea for today’s session. It seems to suit the mood. The atmosphere here is relaxed. The town is filling up with tourists arrived on the ferry from France this morning; I waved to them as they sailed past my window while I was eating breakfast but they did not wave back. Still, even with the tourists, it did not feel too busy as I went for my morning constitutional. What with the sun being out, the pleasure boats in the harbour, and the peace and quiet, it’s definitely a day for a relaxing cup of tea and a great view … well, at least for now. I have editing to do later, so it will not be all relaxing in the sun, but sufficient unto the day, eh?

The 2010 Xing Hai seems to be developing nicely. The dry leaf has that warm hay and horse aroma that I so love in a sheng. The liquor is pale yellow. It continues the warm hay aroma but adds notes of honey and heavy pollen. It tastes warm, and sweet. There’s notes of molasses, a slight astringency, a lovely gentle smokiness, and, to finish off, a peppery, sweet aftertaste that lingers for quite some time. As is usual for me when I encounter a tea with good qi, I am feeling it in my legs first. They are relaxed to the point where I am not sure if I can stand up on them. There is a lovely energy to the tea that leaves me content and happy with my place in the world, and not even worried about the work that awaits me later. This moment is enough.

Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Molasses, Pepper, Smoke, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Roughage

So, the smokiness carried on for a long while in this one. I managed to get another eight steeps from it before it turned to sweet water. That’s pretty good going.

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99
drank Anji Bai Cha by Canton Tea Co
283 tasting notes

I just got my first order from Canton Tea Co in about two years. It’s nice having a regular income again! So, anyway, I bought more Anji Bai Cha because I had not had any since last I reviewed it here. I could not wait to try it again, so I ripped open the packet at work and set to. Conditions here are sub-optimal, but no matter, I needed this fix. And, you know what? It was worth it.

The dry leaf is grassy and warm like new-mown hay. The liquor is pale with a citrussy, apple aroma. And it tastes divine. So light and refreshing. There is a hint of umami lifted by a smooth sweetness and that apple that was in the aroma is also in the taste of the liquor. The aftertaste just sparkled on my tongue like a delicate champagne with a slightly spicy finish. The chi of this tea left me feeling so relaxed, almost to the point of being tea-drunk after just one cup.

Very few teas leave me this excited. This tea is awesome and is right there at the top among my favourite teas.

Flavors: Apple, Citrusy, Nutty, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Umami

Whiteantlers

Your review made me happy!

Roughage

Thank you. :)

tea123

He’s back!

Whiteantlers

I am delighted he’s back. I loved reading about berserkers and the reviews of berserker movies.

Roughage

Thank you both. Yes, I’m back and need to catch up on writing about berserker-stuff. It’s good to be appreciated, Whiteantlers. :)

Whiteantlers

Roughage, my ancestry is Scandinavian and there is so little I have found (serious writing/films) in casual search, so yes, you are appreciated. Few things I love more than humor and good writing. :)

Roughage

Scandinavian ancestry is the coolest! :)

It’s not so much film-oriented, but this is my current project: www.worldtreeproject.org
It’s due to be formally launched in November, but will be growing over the summer. Maybe there will be bits on there that are of interest. In the meantime, I have a stack of DVDs that I need to make time to watch and write about. Shame I have some editing to do first. So much to do, so little time. I should probably stop surfing randomly and start doing. Hmmm …

Whiteantlers

Oh boy! Thanks for the link, Roughage. After my years of formal education, the last 3 decades have been very much autodidactic, so this will be a supreme treat to read.

Roughage

Enjoy the site. We’ll be soliciting contributions from the public from about 15th April, so hopefully there will be a lot more for you to lose yourself in soon.

Whiteantlers

The YouTube on berserkers was a delight. I love history presented that way. My sister is in academia as well (different subject matter) and so many of you are real unsung heroes in the outside world. Cheers from a fan! :)

Roughage

I really like that video too. My friend did a good job of summarising my thesis in twelve minutes in an intelligible manner, although some of those that commented on it really seem to have missed the point just the same. I guess there’s a research article in that too! :) Anyway, thank you for appreciating it. Knowing that someone out there has taken something positive away from my work is the biggest boost I can get.

Whiteantlers

I hated history all through school, and as a dyslexic with ADD (before people knew what those things were and Ritalin-ed the creativity out of kids), I spent a lot of time in history class looking out the window or doodling. In my junior year, a teacher put me on the spot, asking me if the class was boring me. I’m a cheeky dyke so I said YES! He asked why and I said it was all memorized dates, place names and things irrelevant to my life. I wanted to know what people wore, ate, drank, where they walked, who they punched, what their horse looked like. The video I watched satisfied all of that and what I have read of your writing does, too. Kudos to you for making so much of the “Distant Mirror” accessible and enjoyable.I raise my tea cup to you.

Roughage

I hated history in school too. It was, as you write, all kings and queens and names and dates, and nothing about the real people. I ditched it and did German instead. It was only when I studied it as part of my university education that it became interesting, because suddenly it was more like CSI: about the facts, the evidence and the interpretation, and there were ordinary people I could relate to in it. That’s when I learnt to love history. It’s also why I went off to be an archaeologist for 20 years. Digging through ordinary people’s rubbish and poo really gives you a sense of the past that school history books do not! Anyway, I’m rambling on too much. I raise my cup back at you. Thank you.

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I bought a sample of this last time I ordered from Teavivre (which was far too long ago, by the way). Finally got around to trying it yesterday at work, now that I have set up a tea station by my desk. New job, new office, new tea station; it’s almost like a new start! :)

So, the dry leaf was woody with a light citrus component. You can tell it’s shu pu with your eyes closed. There was one honking great huge piece of citrus peel in there with the leaf, like about half a tangerine’s worth! The steeped tea smelt earthy with a hint of citrus. I have a pu with grapefruit that I unconsciously expected it to be like, but this one is way more subtle than the grapefruit pu. The liquor was dark, earthy and woody with the tangerine notes coming through to make it a light refreshing drink. It made a nice change from the usual run of teas that I have been making in the office.

Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Orange, Orange Zest, Wood

Preparation
7 g 8 OZ / 250 ML
Kirkoneill1988

hmm… i really thought i had a review of this :( i guess i tried a different year? its tasty though! reminds me of a orange flavored black tea

Roughage

Yes, it’s a bit like a woody, orange-flavoured black tea. Quite refreshing and definitely tasty.

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Can’t believe I’ve not reviewed this tea before. I’m drinking it grandpa style at the moment due to lack of tea-making facilities in my new place of work. It’s strong, smoky, peaty and with a hefty kick. It’s like the Laphraoig of teas. Definitely one for the whisky drinkers.

Flavors: Peat, Smoke, Whiskey

Rasseru

haha Laphraoig. Tbh I dont know much about whisky, but I like that one.

Roughage

It’s a decent whisky is Laphraoig. Even if you think you don’t know much about whisky, you are doing well there. Definite resemblance between it and the FT4.

JC

For non Whisky drinkers, I’d say gargle a couple of charcoal pieces for full effect. :P

Roughage

Pah, JC, that’s hardly the right effect! You need to mix the charcoal with TCP first! :D

Rasseru

I was gonna say TCP haha

Roughage

Great minds think alike, eh, Rasseru, or is it fools never differ? :D

Rasseru

or wise Chinese man say: good whisky taste like cheap medicine

Roughage

But only to those with an undeveloped palate! :P I do like my whiskies to have very high polyphenol levels though. And the best bit is that they are apparently good for you because they rapidly increase antioxidant levels in the blood and eliminate free radicals, although at a slight cost of reduced processing of the alcohol, potentially resulting in longer hangovers. Thus, taken in moderation well-aged malt whiskies are good for you. The research apparently shows that cheap, non-aged whiskies have the reverse effect, so you now have a good reason for buying only expensive whisky. :)

Rasseru

I’m a gin man. Been through quite a few award winners from the last ten years or so :)

Roughage

Sounds good. I was brought up drinking malt whisky, especially the Islay malts, so I am well used to that TCP taste. Wish I could afford the really good ones. :)

Tea and Cheese Lover

I love Islays. When I was 13 I had an unfortunate incident involving a surprise mixture of Old Granddad and Tabasco with my friends blocking this sink. It took until my mid 20’s but a glass of Lagavulin was love at first sip, and an instant recovery from my childhood trauma. I can hack other whiskys these days, but the single malts are the only ones that I can really get in to. Good to hear that they’re healthy for me too!

Roughage

Heh, yes, Lagavulin is a favourite of mine, as is Caol Ila. I just can’t stomach cheap whiskies at all, although Famous Grouse is acceptable. It’s the high content of Highland Park in it that makes it drinkable. The health news about whiskies is particularly heartening, and the fact that Islay malts are the highest in polyphenols also makes them the healthiest. Win, win, if you ask me. :)

Tea and Cheese Lover

Bowmore is my favorite, and a value. Always seems to be the quality of something 50% higher in price. The Legend was in the high $20 (US) range, and was more than passable, Their 18 yr is amazing and under $100 last time I checked. Bowmore Darkest (before they changed it to “Darkest 15”) was the best value I’ve ever found. It tasted like dark chocolate smores slow roasted above burning peat bog! But they stopped making it a few years back. Not Islay, but I’ve always found Glenmorangie to be a great value, too.
As for cheap Whiskies, I can only stomach Old Crow, but that’s a story for another day… involving music festivals and associated debauchery!

JC

Ha! I’m glad I didn’t miss this. I love Lagavulin 16, I love the sweet notes and savory notes under the smoke and that slight medicinal wood that lingers. Try Springbank 12 6in bourbon and 6in peated cask. and Longrow the red.

Roughage

I’m not familiar with Longrow, JC. One for me to look out for. The Sprinbank is a decent whisky but not one I have had often.

Tea and Cheese Lover: Bowmore, yes. Love it. Glenmorangie is what I used to drink as a student when I could not afford anything better. It’s not a favourite of mine, but it is certainly better than Glenfiddich which is what those that do not know my tastes often buy me, probably because it is cheap.

Rasseru

ha. All this talk about whisky – btw this is the best g&t gin I have ever tried (with fevertree tonic) http://www.thedrinksreport.com/media/news/2014/15449-540×335.jpg

other gins have different flavours but this one has energy, perfect for g&t

Rasseru

and I have tasted about 30 of them for my bar

Roughage

Well, at least I know whom to ask if I need gin advice then, although I wonder how much you remember after trying 30 gins (not all in a row, I hope!). :)

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What better tea could you want to go with the grand finale of The Princess Bride? Well, I don’t know but this is pretty darn good for it. It’s a thick dark soup with a strong woody smell. The liquor tastes woody and leathery with a hint of camphor and old books. The aftertaste is sweet and peppery on the edges of my tongue, although it also made my tongue go slightly numb along with my legs. “Hello, tea drunk.” This was a good choice for this evening’s tea and movies session and I look forward to finishing it off tomorrow.

Thank you TwoDog for this sample.

Flavors: Camphor, Leather, Pepper, Wet Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
__Morgana__

Cool. I would love to drink old books!

Roughage

If only it were that easy to acquire the knowledge contained in them! :)

tea123

Did you think this had a raw beetroot taste? I did :)

Roughage

No, I never noticed any beetroot taste at all. I abhor beetroot and would have noticed something as disgusting as The Devil’s Vegetable (as it is know by me in our house). I got no vegetal notes at all. It was all antiquey things like wet wood and old books.

Kirkoneill1988

ahh tea drunk…. the calm relaxed feeling ;)

Roughage

Yes. It always seems to take my legs first so I cannot go anywhere. :)

Kirkoneill1988

that never happened to me

mrmopar

You guys have to explain beetroot to me. Is it like beets we grow over here?

Roughage

Yes, beets. The devil’s own food. Just thinking about it makes me gag. Well, maybe not but it’s the only food in the world that I have found I really dislike.

mrmopar

Thanks you two. I have had pickled beets but no other way.

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No real change from my last tasting note. This tea is the second one for the movies and tea session. Like iocane powder, I have spent years developing an immunity to it, but the taste could come as a shock to any but the Dread Pirate Roughage.

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This is the first tea that I sampled as part of this evening’s tea and movies session. I chose it because it promised to match the early part of the film in texture and mood. I was right. Oddly enough, this is one of the very few teas where the description matches my experience of it. The cha qi is gentle. The leaves are large and mainly whole. The aroma and taste is of a heavily pollen-laden garden on a warm summer evening, floral and slightly grassy. The aftertaste brings with it a light cooling sensation and a slight salivation. I’m half a dozen steeps in and it is still going strong. I only had a sample to try but I shall certainly add it to my wish list now. It’s really good to drink even now. No idea how it will age though.

Flavors: Floral, Grass

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
tea123

One is knocking them out this evening.

Roughage

Indeed, and currently drinking a 1990s Hong Kong style sheng puerh for the grand finale of the Princess Bride. :)

tea123

I look forward to that review in particular.

Kirkoneill1988

i shall try this

Roughage

I think it’s worth it. I’ve noticed that the YS 2014 teas that I have tried seem to carry this heady, warm pollen feel to them.

Kirkoneill1988

pollen feel? i dont really understand this feeling too well :/

Roughage

Hmm, it’s the feeling of walking in a garden on a warm evening with lots of heavily scented flowers around, where you can practically taste the aroma of the flowers. Does that make sense? At its core it’s a heavy, thick floral taste but I associate it with tropical gardens that I have been in.

Kirkoneill1988

hmm, i’ve never been in a tropical garden before but i understand you now

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Profile

Bio

I am a qualified peripatetic berserkerologist peddling berserkjaknowledge at UCC in Cork.

My favourite teas are Darjeelings, sheng puerhs and Anji Bai Cha. I return to these every time, after whatever flirtation with other teas I have been involved with.

I no longer rate the teas I drink because keeping ratings consistent proved to be rather hard work while not really giving me anything in return.

Location

Cobh, Ireland

Website

http://ruarighdale.wordpress....

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