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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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