253 Tasting Notes
Big thank you to Bonnie for this sample.
I am really not in a tasting-note writing mood at the moment, so I apologise, especially to Bonnie, who sent me this lovely tea. I honestly don’t know where to start, I am just brain-dead today. I blame the zombies in town when I had to go in to do some shopping. Yes, the zombie apocalypse has hit Beverley but no one noticed. Hmm, anyway, enough whinging.
The leaves look great with all the colour. I only had a little leaf so I made it in my smallest gaiwan, which was fun. I really don’t use that one often enough. The tea was very pleasant. It felt light and mellow. The oaky flavour was there, as was a light floral note. I’m not sure about the honey though. The lack of honey notes is probably more a lack in my tasting ability. Overall, a very nice tea that I would love to have in my pot again.
Free sample from Teavivre
Opening the packet I am struck by a strong grassy aroma that reminds me of a Dragonwell. Initially the dry leaf looks flat like a Dragonwell too, but then I look more closely and see that it is actually curled on the edges with colours ranging from yellow-ish green to a mid green colour.
Brewing the tea reveals a pale yellowish green liquor with a buttery feel and a grassy/nutty flavour. It is mellow with a sparkly aftertaste, and less pork-chop-in-ya-face than the Dragonwells that I have tried. Yes it is slightly meaty but there is more of the good, light grassiness about it and the aftertaste lingers nicely.
Another good tea from Teavivre and worthy of keeping some in stock for when the mood takes.
Free sample from Teavivre. Thank you.
Opening the packet I thought, “This smells like tea.” What I mean by that is that it smells more like the teas I grew up with, rather than the teas I drink now. Interesting reaction. Is this tea used in English breakfast teas at all? Or maybe one like it is. The leaves are tiny curls of dark brown mixed with golden curls. They look great.
I put 8g in a 250ml pot and set it to brewing according to Teavivre’s instructions. The liquor is thick and dark, a reddish brown colour. The aroma is malty, almost what I have come to expect from Teavivre. No complaints on my part for that. I like it. It lacks the cocoa undertones (or even overtones in some cases) that other black teas I have tried from Teavivre have, but it is great all the same. There is no astringency at all as far as I can tell. The liquor tastes as thick as it smells. It is malty with a fruity Christmas cake flavour underneath. The taste as I exhale after swallowing is sweet and that sweetness lingers on my tongue as a delicious aftertaste. Then the qi hits me and suddenly I feel slightly warmed and relaxed at the same time, especially in my legs of all places. How peculiar!
The second steep is less malty and has more grain to it, but still has all the excellent notes of the first steep. I expect this process to continue with the third steep. I might share that one later, but right now I am just going to enjoy this tea as it deserves to be enjoyed, instead of intellectualising (is that a real word?) my enjoyment of it. When I am not focusing on what I can taste in it, I can feel it resetting my concentration so that I can return to my work with a clear mind, ready to progress on the next section.
Overall this is another excellent tea from Teavivre, but I really do need to eat more sweet potato so I know what they mean in their tasting notes! Still, maybe I can divine that flavour from the next two pots. This sample is large enough for three generous pots, so a huge thank you to Angel and Teavivre. I can’t wait to try the rest of the sample, then I shall have to buy some of this for myself.
I began this yesterday, thinking that I would like a sheng to drink through the afternoon. The dry leaf smells nothing like any of the other shengs I have written about. If anything this tea brick reminds me more of a shu than a sheng. It is earthy and not camphorous (is that a word?). The leaves are dark and look inviting.
Brewing the tea confirms that the taste is more shu than the sheng I am used to. That could simply be that I have not tried many aged shengs. As advertised the mouthfeel is full. There is a pepperiness to the taste that is pleasing alongside the earthiness, and a slightly metallic tang. This is not the stableyard that I refer to so often with shengs. Instead it is more like a freshly turned garden awaiting planting after the rain. A lingering sweet earthiness remains after the tea is drunk and my mouth feels warm. I am not blown away by this tea but it is certainly not bad either. I have enjoyed every cup so far and am on to the 10th steeping without having to increase the steeping time beyond 20 seconds yet. Perhaps it is just that I am not used to this type of storage. Time to buy more teas that have been stored similarly perhaps?
Yay, back to tea tasting after a week in Denmark with only coffee available for most of the time. The coffee was not bad but I did miss the good teas. I took some easy to brew teas with me, which helped but I felt the lack of my water filter, variable temperature kettle, etc! I was able to visit ‘Simply Tea’ in Aarhus where I had a rather nice sheng pu, but overall it really was a coffee-drinking conference. So now I have returned and can control my brewing properly. The first tea I picked out was this Snow Buds that I bought from Canton Tea because I wanted to see how it compared to others that I have had.
The dry leaf is light and grassy, smelling like a sweet summer meadow. It is most aesthetically pleasing to look upon, an olive green leaf with a light white fuzz on the underside. The aroma mellows as the tea brews, developing a nuttier note to it that carries through into the taste. It is light, sweet, slightly nutty and very drinkable. The liquor is a pale straw colour, almost colourless in my cup. The tea resteeps well through the third steeping. I have not tried more. Overall it is an excellent choice for drinking on a hot summer’s day, a bit like today in fact.
Free sample from Teavivre. Thank you.
Wow, opening the packet hit me with a strong aroma. It practically knocked my socks off. The smell is asparagus and pork chops. More asparagus in the dry leaf, which is a dark brown. Then I brewed the tea and the aroma was much meatier on the first steeping. The liquor was as advertised: yellowish green. The leaves turned from brownish to bright green in the hot water, and such dinky little leaves too. Lovely. The taste was fresh, grassy, slightly nutty with a light, sweet aftertaste. There was no astringency that I noticed and it rebrewed well three times. I really enjoyed this one.
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.
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.
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.
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.