237 Tasting Notes

77

I bought this sample with my last order to Yunnan as part of my effort to maximise the amount of tea for the postal charge. It’s all done by weight so I spend ages sitting there with the shopping cart trying not to tip over into the next charging bracket. Hours of fun!

Anyway, I started on this sample yesterday, brewing it in my ben shan pot, and it is still going strong after a dozen or more steepings. The sample was basically a chunk of a cake and is quite compact. It has that slightly smoky, floral hay smell that I like. The brewed tea is a light orange colour. It has a fairly strong flavour with a pleasing astringency to it and an enduring aftertaste that leads my wife to say to me “You’ve got pu breath!” I can taste it as I breathe in and out. It’s a bit like honey with some floral notes; sweet, enduring and really jolly good. A beeng or two of this will be going on my wish list.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

So, smoky…floral…honey…hay smelling ‘po breath’ is jolly good? I think it sounds Jolly Good too! (come to think of if I believe someone may have sent me a sample of this that I’m waiting to try!)

Roughage

Could be worse! Could be Yak pu breath!! ;)

Jim Marks

None of the camphorous notes many sheng have?

Bonnie

Yak pu breath are grounds for divorce!

Roughage

@Jim: I guess some of what I was trying to describe could be called camphorous, now that I think about it. The associations I have with the aroma from the shengs I have tried do not immediately bring that sort of description to mind, but it works. Similarly, there are elements that some might call tobacco too. It’s just that those are not my first thoughts. I really need to learn the vocabulary of pu and employ it for clarity of communication! :)

@Bonnie: Please don’t tell Karen that. She has not objected to my Yak pu yet.

Jim Marks

I claim to represent nothing normative in terms of pu language. :-)

I’ve described sheng in the past as the smell that a cabin in the woods in the sun which hasn’t been disturbed for some years smells like. It is something that, if you’ve smelled it, you’d know exactly what I mean, and if you haven’t, will have no clue at all.

I find that if I brew sheng with a lot of leaf, these biting, camphor like notes come out, but if I brew with scant leaf, they don’t.

Roughage

Is there a pu norm? Yikes, I hope the pu police don’t come for me! :-D

I’ve noticed that a lot of people seem to talk about pu in terms of tobacco and camphor. I’m still drinking this one (8g of leaf in a 170ml pot. No idea what that is in old money but it seems to be going on forever) and your mention of camphor makes me think of it when tasting the tea. There are definite camphor and tobacco notes, but they are the same notes that I would have described as being like the warmth and wecloming aroma of the stableyard! I guess it’s all down to the associations we have with particular things. :)

Love your description of the cabin in the woods. It all goes to show how personal tea tasting is.

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97
drank Silver Buds Yabao by Verdant Tea
237 tasting notes

Thank you to Bonnie for this sample. You are most excellent, m’dear.

It looks like bits off an ear of wheat. Well weird, so naturally I wanted to taste it, but I have held off until I was in a fit state to do so properly. So, I have set up my books and laptop in the kitchen next to the kettle and am getting on with some work while taking time out to enjoy this tea. I should probably focus solely on the tea until my eyeballs are swimming but that is not practical, alas. Enough of my wittering on. What’s it like?

The aroma of the wet leaf reminds me of pine resin and freshly baked oat biscuit (that’s cookie to some of you!) with cinnamon. Behind that is a hint of spring, apple blossom and fresh rain. Yikes, look at me going over the top with the descriptions! The liquor is practically clear too. And the taste? There’s that pine again, something peppery at the back of my tongue, a hint of apple and a lingering sparkly, peppery aftertaste. It reminds me of champagne in tea form. This is feelgood tea. I love it and it is going on the shopping list.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

So glad you do! I’m fond of it too and enjoy’d you letting go as you should. After all you are a son of the North and could drink this on the moors. I think it’s champagne too but a bit more mystical. Try it chilled.

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86

Free sample from Teavivre. Thank you.

On opening the packet I did my usual thing and stuck my nose right inside, before breathing in deeply. There is a warmth to the aroma of the dry leaf. My first thought is of hay, but tempered with the smell of fresh wheat, newly harvested and threshed. This aroma develops into something slightly malty and a bit flowery when the tea is brewed. The taste of the liquor is sweet and mellow. There are chocolatey undertones here, but little of the maltiness of other similar teas. Instead it is lighter and the unmalted grain flavour comes through. I’m not sure I get the fruitiness that Teavivre’s site tell me is there, but the sweet, mellow, grainy flavour is very good, and the aftertaste lingers pleasantly on. I like this tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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95

Sample from Bonnie. Many thanks.

The dry leaf is smoky. It reminds me of a winter’s day in the mountains. The campfire is burning (as is dinner, probably), the skis are stacked for the time being and the sun is out. Or maybe it is the smell of the smokehouse with racks of meat hanging in the rafters being cured. It really is that sort of smell. Very strong but utterly lovely.

Drinking the tea, it is smoky, sweet and there is depth to it as waves of flavour break on my tongue. In some ways there is too much going on for my fuddled brain to sort it all out. It is fantastic though. As I drink the tea a beautiful lethargy comes over me. I am calmer and more relaxed. It is also somewhat cooling. It’s odd really. I feel kind of spaced by this tea but not in any unpleasant way. I have thoroughly enjoyed this tea and I’m off to make more right now.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Aha my buddies at HL will be pleased that on this opening day of the Olympics good ol LS
from our shop in Fort Collins has been a hit with you there in the UK!

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71

Thank you to Bonnie for this sample. Muchly appreciated.

This is another summery tea. The pineapple is present without being overpowering and I can taste the oolong behind it. The whole package is light, easy to drink and very tasty. I am on my third steeping of it and it is still very nice. Good stuff.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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78

Thank you Bonnie for this sample.

I needed more than my usual caffeine kick this morning and thought I would try this. I’m not familiar with guayusa at all, so this sample beckoned for that reason to.

The lemon smell was lovely and sweet when I opened the packet. The aroma of the brewing drink was the same. Nothing too intimidating there then. Then the taste of the brewed leaf is creamy and lemony, not bitter, just right. It’s novel for me is this guayusa but I reckon I might well get used to it! Let’s hope the caffeine kick helps me too. I have a lot of writing and editing to do today and I need all the help I can get! :)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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88
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
237 tasting notes

Sample from Bonnie. Thank you, Bonnie, you have done me a great service with your excellent tea samples.

Dark leaves when dry. Unfortunately I cannot watch them steep easily now because I dropped my small glass teapot on the kitchen floor yesterday and it is now in a thousand pieces in the bin. :( When steeped the brew gives off a malty aroma (I seem to be calling every black tea I try at the moment chocolatey and malty!). There are dark cocoa notes in there too that enhance the whole aroma. The taste is more cocoa than malt. It’s really good. I’m sitting here holding the liquor in my mouth trying to work out everything that is going on here and trying not to laugh at memories of sitting with Benedictine in my mouth as the delicious pain builds and you eventually have to swallow before slurping down your coffee. Hmm, anyway, back to the tea. More cocoa than chocolate, malty, the aftertaste endures nicely. I could definitely drink this one regularly.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Poor glass pot! Mine has a plastic overcoat thing or I would have broken it long ago!

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89
drank Yunnan Black by Peony Tea S.
237 tasting notes

Free sample from Peony T S

First off I would like to thank Peony for including me in their shipping experiment. I received three very generous packets of tea in a very short time from them. I hope the experiment was worth it for Peony, because it certainly was for me.

So, I drank this last night and am only now getting around to writing it up. The dry leaf is a beautiful golden colour. Sticking my nose in the packet I get a whiff of hay. It’s that lovely smell of fresh hay that you get when stacking it in the barn. I think there is a bit of molasses in there too, so maybe it smells like the feed room when mixing up the horse feed more than the barn. Yes, that’s about right. I love that.

Drinking it, I am struck by its resemblance to Teavivre’s Fengqing Dragon Pearls. That’s probably not a surprise because the packet tells me, now that I look at it, that the tea is from Fengqing. The tea is malty, sweet and mellow. There is a hint of chocolate behind the maltiness and a smidgin of something citrussy. Most of all, though, it is smooth and thick. It seems like the perfect after dinner tea in many ways and could replace my post-prandial black coffee. I really like this tea and I managed to get three good steeps out of the pot too.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

You sound like your old self again! Rested! Sounds like a delightful Yunnan malty cocoa mellow tea! (I’ve been ordering this late afternoon at Happy Luckys with a ginger molasses cookie and it’s a pretty sensual experience!) I had to look up post-prandial you word dropper!

Roughage

But surely everyone uses post-prandial, although usually in the context of having a nap! :)

Bonnie

No in my case it would be post-prandial dishes.

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96
drank Laoshan White by Verdant Tea
237 tasting notes

Another sample sent to me by Bonnie. Many thanks for the generous selection and especially for this tea.

This was not what I expected from a white tea. I made it as per the directions on the website and took a sip. Prime steak! Yes, that’s right, the first flavour that hit my tongue was a high quality steak flavour. Then it settled down into a more pea-like vegetal flavour. This was nothing like any white tea I have had before. It was meaty yet smooth, sweet and silky. It gave me a prickly feeling on my tongue and the aftertaste was delightful. I resteeped it half a dozen times and each cup was as good as the last. Better yet, it has left me all relaxed like a good massage might. This tea is most excellent.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

Yes, most excellent! Glad to share this with you!

Hesper June

Oh,My!
A steak and massage?
Sign me up;)

Bonnie

Hesper June Ha! You’re right! But we’ll have to fly off to England!

Hesper June

Bummer! I guess I will just have to order the tea then:)

Roughage

Sorry to have got your hopes up! I reckon the tea is better than any massage I would give, anyway!! ;-)

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77
drank Chocolate Orange by DAVIDsTEA
237 tasting notes

Thank you, Bonnie, for yet another interesting sample. I would not normally choose a flavoured tea when there are so many flavours of unflavoured tea, but Bonnie sent me a sample and it would be rude not to try it! ;-)

Opening the bag, I am met with a strong chocolate and orange smell. Interesting. So, the liquor is a beautiful orangey-red colour, becoming close to a dark chocolatey brown as it fills up the cup. It smells of chocolate. The orange is almost an undertone. Tasting it, the chocolate dominates once more, but this time the orange and the earthy notes of the puerh are more dominant too. There is even a slight hint of chilli spice. I like this. It is like drinking a Terry’s Chocolate Orange with added puerh. Yes, I don’t think I would want to drink this every day but I could definitely see getting some of this in for an occasional treat.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

I told you I was sending you some of everything. I picked out things that I knew you didn’t have but were pretty popular with many on Steepster. This was my very first introduction to Puerh. Without it, I would never have ventured into puerh at all!

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Bio

I am a historical consultant, Vikingologist and tea enthusiast! To be honest, I have always liked decent tea, but in 2011 I started working at learning what good tea really is. I continue to expand my horizons and discover new teas with the aid of my chums on Steepster, much to the chagrin of my wife, who despairs of my enthusiasm.

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

East Yorkshire, England

Website

http://ruarighdale.wordpress....

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