263 Tasting Notes
I bought a couple of bings of this three or four years ago and have been carefully curating them so that they could age properly (or I just forgot they were at the back of the box of tea and drank other stuff). I’ve drunk it occasionally since then but singularly failed to write any tasting notes on it. So, in the spirit of procrastinating over writing up the conference I went to, here, finally is my tasting note on the 2008 Feng Shan Yi Hao. Ta da!!
The dry leaf has that gorgeous aroma of warm horse that I like so much. It is a mix of silver and brown small leaves. There is some chopping but there are also whole leaves in the mix. The liquor is dark orange with a lightly floral aroma. It tastes smooth with a silky mouth feel. There is some astringency and a vegetal note. Sweetness develops in the aftertaste which is of an acceptable duration, but there is also a slightly bitter edge to it. This is not a bad tea at all. In fact, it is quite pleasant, especially when the price is considered, but it will not replace the 2005 Tibetan Flame as my everyday puerh, unless it grows significantly in the next few years.
Flavors: Floral, Vegetal
Continuing with the backlog and thanks to Angel at Teavivre for this sample.
Like the Lu Shan Yun Wu, the dry leaves look like delicate green shavings of green. They have a distinct warm hay aroma that changes to a delicate umami upon the application of hot water. The green becomes more vivid in the pot and a light yellow liquor develops. The tea has a slightly spicy, green bean flavour to it that sparkles on the tongue and leaves a pleasantly sweet aftertaste. The liquor itself is creamy, verging on buttery and very pleasant on a hot summer’s day.
Flavors: Butter, Green Beans, Hay, Spices, Umami
Backlog: Catching up on reviewing samples today. I was sent this tea as part of Teavivre’s spring collection and have not yet written them up. This is a shame, because I enjoyed all the teas in the collection. I’ve also just realised that I sampled this tea two years ago. So, how is the 2015 picking?
The leaves are tiny curls that expand a little in the pot to create a grassy bed in the teapot. It’s times like these that I am pleased that I use a glass teapot for these teas.
The dry leaf has a savoury spinach aroma that is evident in the liquor too. The liquor is a lovely yellow-green colour. It has notes of spinach and nuts with that savoury edge to it, but the flavours are delicate rather than strong. The aftertaste has a slight minty note to it, cooling in the mouth. The vegetal notes dominate the aftertaste while the savoury element lurks on the edges. This is a lovely refreshing tea.
Flavors: Nutty, Spinach, Vegetal
Another free sample from Angel at Teavivre. Thank you.
This had an aroma of malt in the dry leaf which was golden and gorgeous looking. I love the colour of this one. The liquor tasted smooth, sweet and malty with a hint of grain. Everyone says ‘sweet potatoes’ of this tea. I’m really going to have to get a load of sweet potatoes and see if they are right, because, judging by how much I enjoyed this tea, I should really enjoy sweet potatoes. I mean, it was rich, sweet, and very moreish. I think this may be my favourite tea from Teavivre’s winter tasting pack.
Flavors: Caramel, Grain, Malt, Smooth, Sweet
I found a sample packet of this in the cupboard and had quite a yen to drink it again. I enjoyed it last time and my previous tasting note still stands. This is one of the reasons I rarely write additional notes for teas: I would really only be repeating myself and life is too short for that. Well … except with repeating means drinking more of a good tea, obviously. It’s a really jolly good tea and I would happily drink more of it.
A free sample for Angel at Teavivre. Thank you
The dry leaf smelt mainly of hay with an undertone of floral scent. It looked lovely: a lot of little twisty black leaves. The liquor was a dark brown with an aroma of grain and a hint of malt. The tea itself was silky in the mouth with a light, fruity taste reminiscent of raisins, plums and honey. It’s a great afternoon tea with no bitterness or astringency. All it really needed was jam and scones to accompany it, and my afternoon would have been complete.
Flavors: Fruity, Hay, Honey, Plums, Raisins
Thanks to Angel at Teavivre for this sample. So, where does all the time go? I spend most of it sitting at this computer writing, so you would think that I would find the time to write up the various teas I have drunk, but, oh no, that does not happen. How embarrassing! It’s just a good job that I scrawl my notes on the tea with pen and paper first.
The dry leaf smells of wet wood, earth and cedar. I brewed it in a gaiwan and poured out a thick and dark liquor. It looked great and tasted pretty good too. The over-riding impression for me was a continuation of the cedar, tempered by leather, a little woodiness and something sweet and caramelly. Is that even a word? It is now. It was smooth and sweet and very enjoyable, although perhaps a little too middle-of-the-road for me. That said, I’m sure this will be many people’s cup of tea.
Flavors: Caramel, Cedar, Earth, Wet Wood
It’s a beautiful, sunny, Sunday here today, so I spent the morning in the garden catching up on my reading (Ryan Lavelle’s ’Alfred’s Wars’, if you are interested), watching the cats play, and drinking this flowering tea. It looks fantastic and I love watching flowering teas open. Better yet, this tea was still light, slightly fruity and very refreshing despite having been in the cupboard a while. A great start to the day and spoilt only by the need to crack on with some work now.
Another sample from Angel at Teavivre, for which I am phenomenally grateful.
So, catching up with writing up the teas once more, I find myself coming to my notes on this one. I brewed it in a gaiwan for a change and felt the extra effort was well worth it.
Upon adding water to the leaf I was immediately hit by a waft of malt and raisins, and the resultant liquor was very dark. It tasted primarily of malt and raisins with a pleasing bitterness at the back of the throat. Apart from this bitterness, the main experience was smooth and mellow, developing more rounded fruity notes as it cooled. There was a hint of winter berries in the colder brew supported by notes of allspice that gave it a Christmassy feel. The aftertaste was thick and sweet. Overall, yet another tea that I would be happy to have in my cupboard in quantity.
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Raisins, Spices
Free sample from Angel at Teavivre. Thank you for this and apologies for taking so long to review it. Life does not always comply with one’s need to taste and write up teas, sadly.
I am always pleased to write about teas from Teavivre because I have never had a dud one yet, and this did not break with tradition.
The dry leaf gave off an instant chocolatey hit when I opened the packet. I tipped the whole sample into my 250ml pot and set to, starting off at a 1 minute steep and adding 2 minutes to the time for each of two subsequent steeps. The liquor was a dark red brown colour and tasted fruity and light when I first sipped it. A dark chocolate taste developed like a high cocoa butter content chocolate (up in the 85% range for the chocolate fiends). Like the chocolate, the taste was thick with cocoa and a bitter edge to it, but it also had an note of warm hay. This developed into sweetness in the aftertaste that I really liked. The resteeps were similar, although the depth of flavour very quickly dropped off despite the large amount of leaf I used. This is another tea that I would happily buy several packets of.
Flavors: Chocolate, Fruity, Hot hay