237 Tasting Notes

80

Sample from Bonnie. Thank you, Bonnie.

It’s citrussy with a golden orange liquor. It leaves me feeling calm and happy. There’s a hint of something else at the back of the flavour but I cannot for the life of me think what it is. It’s clearly a very nice Darjeeling and I really should learn to drink it, not inhale it. Oops. That hurt a bit. Ok, better now. Let’s try again. Yes, it is smooth and easy to drink. It’s what I expect of a Darjeeling. Not my absolute favourite Darjeeling but definitely worth trying, if you have not already.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Sam is one of the young men who works at Happy Luckys and he likes this tea.It’s one of only three Darjeelings I own.

Roughage

You clearly need more Darjeelings. I shall have to sort out more samples next time I order Darjeelings.

Bonnie

I’m afraid of them. I don’t understand all the first, second flush business and the numbering. It’s like tea bingo. I’m bound to lose. T48 second flush…bingo!

TeaBrat

oooh, I LOVE ’em!

Bonnie

I know Amy loves um…I just don’t understand them?! I don’t know how to pick one out!

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87

Swap from Bonnie. Thank you, Bonnie, this is muchly appreciated.

A parcel of tea samples arrived on Monday (it is now Wednesday) containing a large range of teas. Naturally I was excited to try them all out, but I wanted to finish the samples that Teavivre had sent me first because they had been around longer, so yesterday I wrote them up. Now on to Bonnie’s teas. Where to start? I had no preference and all excited me equally, so I picked a bag at random. It was this Gyokuro.

The leaves were a dark green, like pine needles. They danced in the hot water and an aroma of fresh greens wafted up to me as I waited for the tea to brew. Visually this tea is brilliant. So, on to the tasting. Very nice. It is smooth with quite a thick buttery liquor. The flavour is a bit like asparagus to me. It is very pleasant. Good tea. I think that I have enough to try this under ice next time. That will be an interesting experiment.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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90

Free sample from Teavivre

Back to reviewing teas after a few days off. This is the last of my samples from Teavivre and it is one that was well worth waiting for. I love the flat leaf and bud. The aroma of the dry leaf is sweet and nutty. The tea brews into a light yellow liquor and the taste is smooth, sweet, slightly nutty with a slight vegetal hint. The second steeping is as good as the first. I wonder how the third will be. I am really enjoying this tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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86

Mmm, milky goodness. Enjoying this one more, I think, because I knew what to expect second time around. Thank goodness Teavivre does such excellent large samples. It gives you a real chance to get a proper feel for the tea.

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81

Still enjoying it. That’s the end of the sample though.

Bonnie

Sooo glad you like LS since I sent you some to try from my local shop!

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86

Free sample from Teavivre

Opening the packet I am met with a milky. slightly floral aroma and the sight of beautiful dark green nuggets of tea highlighted by lighter yellowish green elements and some browns. Already I am excited by this tea. It looks great and the aroma is intriguing.

The first cup is creamy and smooth with a strong milky flavour, which seemed to dominate the cup. I’m not sure what else there was in there because I was distracted by the strength of the milkiness.

The second cup has a less overpowering milkiness to it. It is there in the background more as a silky, smooth highlighter for the more vegetal taste that is now coming forward.

I don’t really have enough reference points to describe this tea, I think, but I can say that I have really enjoyed it. I doubt I would drink it every day though. It seems more like a tea to be enjoyed when the mood comes upon me. Thank you, Teavivre, for another great and different tea.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
TheTeaFairy

I love this tea, I have yet to try their «flavored» version of it, awaiting for a sample From Teavivre… it will be even creamier since the milk flavor is added as oppose to this one beign naturaly flavored…

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94

Free sample from Teavivre

I thought I would try this one yesterday and have been trying to find the right words to describe it ever since. Reading through the tasting notes of others, I find little that really describes what I got from this tea. To be honest, I find describing this tea very difficult. Still, here goes.

The tea arrives in the pot as little solid nuggets of green. The remind me of space rocks or some other similar sweets. The aroma is strong and sweet, not like the dry woody smell that I associate with ginseng. It has a toasty quality to it that is not unpleasant and a warm feel to it.

Steeping the tea brings out the warmth and the toasty quality more. The first sip is odd. I had not been sure what to expect and the roasted, toasty quality of the flavour is unusual for me, different from other teas with that roasted flavour. I warm to the taste as I sip the tea more. Once I get past my lack of familiarity with the taste, I begin to notice the ginseng flavour, but sweeter and less woody than I would have expected. The roasting is present still, but I think I can detect aniseed underneath it all and a bit of camphor or eucalyptus. It is really very pleasant but the real strength of the tea hits me only a few minutes after I have finished the first cup. Suddenly my tongue is coated with a warmth and flavour that I can only describe as like a Fisherman’s Friend, a type of menthol lozenge. My tongue is toasty warm in a good way, with the camphor/eucalyptus and aniseed flavours dancing around on it. There is a hint of capsicum to it too that enhances all the other flavours. This aftertaste was awesome and it went on for ages, a good 45 minutes or more. It was really quite incredible. Thank you, Teavivre, for letting me try such a brilliant tea.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Well, did you do multiple steepings? I was with some people who I observed through 3 steepings of this tea and enjoyed the 3rd more than the first. What did you think? I know the powdered ginsing falls off after the first steeping quite a bit. It is nice though.

TheTeaFairy

Gee, you really got me interested in this one, fisherman’s really? Love those! Putting this tea on my list…

Roughage

I did multiple steepings, Bonnie. I enjoyed the later steepings better as a drink but the aftertaste was what really lifted this tea.

Yes, TF (May I call you TF?), Fishermen’s Friends. That is what I got from this tea. It was odd yet wonderful!

Kittenna

Ewwww, I hate Fishermen’s Friends. So much so that even the night where my throat was horribly sore and I was coughing so hard I was gagging, I couldn’t manage to keep one in my mouth because it tasted so vile. Now I’m very apprehensive about trying this tea…

Bonnie

I have NO idea what Fisherman’s Friends are. Unless you mean some drink in a bar!

Kittenna

Gross cough drops :D

Charles Thomas Draper

The best cough drops you can buy. Also a winter surfers friend….

Roughage

Perhaps I should not have mentioned the association this tea brought up in my mind, because it appears to have polarised people into two camps! Don’t be apprehensive, people. Dive in and enjoy the tea for what it is!! :-) Hmm, is that enough exclamation marks? Maybe not!!!!!!

TheTeaFairy

so funny! the power of suggestion, how it can affect one’s perception and create apprehention (oh, way too many «tion» words in one phrase, sorry about that). I’m glad you mentioned it Roughage, since I’m in the «love them» camp! Fisherman’s are the only cough drops I ever buy. BTW, to answer you on the above, no problem with you calling me TF :-)

Kittenna

Hahahaha, I will still try my sample! With apprehension :D

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80

Free sample from Teavivre

The dry leaf has the heady aroma of a high quality florist’s shop (like my wife’s shop! :-) ). The jasmine aroma is strong with an element of hay behind it. The leaves are, well, silvery and very pleasing to look at. They are soft to the touch.

Brewing the tea in my small glass teapot I am rewarded with a jasmine aroma wafting off the leaves and a little forest of needles balanced delicately in the hot water. The liquor is almost clear, the jasmine smell is, how best to describe it, round. Yes, it has a roundedness (is that a word?) to it that transfers to the flavour. The tea is light. It makes my tongue tingle even after the tea has been swallowed. Yet still it has a strong, round flavour that is very pleasant. The jasmine is at the forefront of that flavour and I now feel like I am breathing out delicate jasmine aroma all around me. This is another great tea from Teavivre.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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96

Three new Darjeelings turned up on my doorstep today. It’s almost as if I ordered them!

Anyway, ordered on Tuesday, arrived on Thursday. Thank you, Wan Ling, for getting them to me so quickly. I was torn about which to try first so I put all three boxes in front of me, closed my eyes and picked one at random. After managing to select my desk lamp, a pen and a book, I eventually managed to put my hands on this one.

The dry leaves vary from a light olive colour through to a brownish green. They are whole and curly with a thick floral aroma. When steeped they unfurl to reveal quite a lot of whole leaves. The aroma is still floral, that thick heady scent of a flower meadow, I think. Tasting the tea seems to get every part of my tongue going. It is light, refreshing, floral. There is a hint of something darker lurking in there, a slight astringency maybe, that lends itself well to extending the aftertaste so that I enjoy the tea for a fair while after I have swallowed it. I breathe in and out so that the air across my tongue and the aroma on my breath enhances that aftertaste. This tea makes me feel good and also demonstrates beautifully why Darjeeling is the Champagne of teas. It has that same light, bubbly feelgood factor. I hope the other two are as good or better. I’m positively giddy about trying them!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

I love my darjeelings!

Jim Marks

For all that I’ve heard that this is a difficult year, the first flush all seem to be quite good. I’m so excited for the second flushes which are almost always better.

Bonnie

Lovely visual review! Remind me to play cards with you! (Stick to cooking!) I look forward to the comparisons between all three Darjeelings!

Roughage

Jim, the tea certainly seems to be good. I had heard that it was meant to be a difficult year, but the tasting so far suggests that there are few problems.

Bonnie, we can play cards any time. :-)

Jim Marks

I know that with wheat, ideal conditions produces a very pretty, but nutritionally useless crop. Strain on the plant is what produces protein and fiber.

The Japanese shade their tea bushes to strain the plant, and produce some of the finest tea in the world.

My guess is that it is because of the difficult conditions that this year’s Darjeelings are so good.

Roughage

I had not thought of it in those terms, Jim, but that certainly seems to make sense.

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87

Ok, so I had this again last night. Now I get the baked flavour. I tend to understeep teas because I like more delicate flavours. I steeped it for longer with more leaf and the baked taste came through. Yummy!

Bonnie

Good! Following the recommend steep times on these high end tea’s pays off. The delicate flavor is layered. Instead of it being obvious and flat you have to duck into the rabbit hole!

Roughage

I tend to follow the steep times, but usually err on the shorter side of them where a range of is given. Occasionally I ‘destruction test’ teas by steeping with the max recommended steeping times and amount of leaf. I like that Teavivre provides samples that are large enough for me to experiment in this way. Yay for Teavivre. :-)

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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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