287 Tasting Notes
Sample from Bonnie. Thank you.
This tea scares me. I’ve been put off it because the reviews are all so good, it is rare, and I feared that I might not be able to do justice to it with my tea-making skills. Worse yet, because of all of the above I felt that I needed to set aside a goodly amount of time to appreciate it properly. So, today I decided to take the bull by the horns, gird my loins and leap before looking. I’m glad I did.
I made it in a small gaiwan, thus giving myself enough leaf for another session, and I followed the guidelines of very short steeps. This has worked beautifully. The tea proved to be creamy and mellow. At first I got cherry flavours at the back of it and then it evolved into a winter spices taste that made me think of Christmas. It is lovely and I am pleased that I finally took the plunge. Better yet, I am only six steeps in, so I still have a goodly number of steeps left to drink when I return to it. It will make a fitting reward for getting some work done this afternoon. I had better get writing so that I can enjoy more of it …
I received this as part of my Canton Tea Club membership. Apparently it is not yet available in the Canton webshop, but will be soon. So, I am privileged to get to try it early! I’m neck deep in work with important deadlines looming even as I type, so naturally I dropped everything to try this. So, how was it?
The dry leaf smells overwhelmingly of bergamot. I cannot actually pick out anything else in that aroma. When steeped, it releases the bergamot aroma but there are floral elements too. Steeping seems to reduce the power of the bergamot, which is a relief. It is still there, but it lets other flavours through too. Overall the description that Canton Tea Co gives is about right for me. You can taste the bergamot and the citrussy flavours it releases. There is a floral overtone to it that is quite pleasant too. It is a relaxing tea to drink that makes for a nice treat when you are in the mood.
I received this in my first week of Canton Tea Club, but have not tried it before now. How bad am I? In my defence, I was not up to tea tasting that week or indeed for a week or so after due to colds and being run down. So, today I decided I needed to catch up a bit on my tasting notes and this appealed.
It smells really sweet when you pour the hot water on it and the first taste is all buttery sweetness with a strong floral element to it. I brewed it western style in my small glass teapot and the whole first steeping was like this. Then the butteriness settled down a bit in the second steeping but the sweetness remained. By the third steeping it has settled down to a mellow, sweetly floral drink with undertones of butteriness. It is very nice and I reckon I could probably drink rather a lot of this.
Mmm, toasty. I really enjoyed this and got several good steeps out of it in my small glass teapot. I really need a small ceramic teapot too. Time to start looking for that again, but first this tea. It’s toasty and floral on the first hit, and smooth, so smooth. This is a tea that would be easy to drink all day and I should probably try that with my gaiwan, when I next get another sample. I also need to compare it to Canton Tea Co’s offering, which I received as part of the tea club but have not yet sat down to taste.
This arrived on Friday, awaiting my return from a very long day at university. Funny that, really. Any day I have to drive up and down the M1 seems to be a long day, but this was longer than usual. Saturday I was rushed off my feet with my other job so I have only now been able to sample it. I must say that the Canton Tea Club is a splendid idea. Getting home every week to find a new tea on my doorstep is lovely and a thing to look forward to. I shall have to encourage my relatives to keep extending my membership. Perhaps each of them could pledge to do so as a Christmas present and I could set up a rota!
Anyway, I’m really enjoying this one today. The smell when I opened the packet was most excellent, a brilliantly Christmassy blend that reminded me of various mulled wine recipes I have tried over the years. The orange was dominant and I really liked that. It looks great too. When brewed the aroma was not as strong but the taste is smooth and festive. The mix of citrus, liquorice, cloves and cinnamon goes very well together with the Assam base. My tongue is still tingling with the citrus tang even ages later. Great stuff and definitely one to keep around for Christmas for those that do not want my rather potent mulled wine or have to drive home after dinner.
I spent the day today thinking about Beowulf’s funeral and this tea has helped me. In case you are wondering, the topic for tomorrow’s seminars is Beowulf and we shall be reading the last couple of dozen lines of the poem. It will be hardcore grammar for a large chunk of the seminars but there needs to be time to talk about the text too. It should be exciting, because there is a lot that can be said about just this tiny chunk of the poem. Anyway, this rather lively tea helped keep me focused on the preparation. I hope my students appreciate my effort!
I bought a sample of it from Yunnan Sourcing a while back and finally got around to opening it today. I’m glad I did. The dry leaves are predominantly dark green, the cake split easily into its component parts and I had a grassy smelling pile of largish leaves very soon after opening the packet. I put my usual 8g in a 170ml Yixing pot (green ben shan clay) and brewed away. Several steepings later I was still stuck for how to describe this tea. That seems to be the way of things for me lately. Is this the onset of senility some thirty years or so too early? The tea is sweet and grassy with quite a bite to it. It bounces around in my mouth, never letting me get complacent about it. Just when I think it has mellowed, it jumps up again and gives me a kick. I am really enjoying it and am particularly pleased that YS sells such large samples.
I just restocked this one. Mrs Roughage had commented that she thought she would like yellow teas after seeing a chart that described the differences between all the teas. I used that as an excuse to include it in my newest purchases.
It’s nutty, fairly light and really quite sweet. I still like it a lot. Yum. All that said, my tea tastes are evolving and I have tried a lot more teas since I first drank this, so I feel the need to downgrade its score a bit. That is not intended as a reflection on the quality of this tea, but it is more a comment on my broadened experience since I first tasted this tea. I really feel that I should go back and do a proper comparison of all the teas I have drunk in the past so that I can get the scores more in line with how each tea compares! Ah well, the scoring is rough and ready anyway so maybe I can forego that.
To all the teas I’ve loved before,
Who’ve been delivered to my door …
Today’s tea was this 0532 that I was gifted by The Nameless Steepster. Thank you.
It’s a dark brown mass of leaves in a bag. I forgot to sniff the leaves. Shame on me. My excuse is that I seem to be braindead today. Too much delivering flowers for my wife this morning, methinks. Fortunately, despite the lack of notes on the dry leaf, and my complete inability to type two letters correctly in a row, I am able to get the rest of this down on in 0s and 1s for you to read.
Anyway, the aroma from the wet leaf is a sort of earthy leaf mulch aroma. Quite pleasant really. Not to self: don’t stick nose so close to hot teapot. Ouch! Upon tasting the tea, I am struck by how smooth this tea is. It is really smooth, like they tell you beer is but the beer is never really that smooth. The taste is mineral and earth and the liquor is quite thick, giving the tea a healthy body. There is something else going on as well, a taste I recognise that I cannot put a name too. Perhaps something herby but I really am not sure about that one. Whatever it is, it is really quite pleasant. I like this tea and would be interested to try it again in a couple of years once it has had a chance to age a bit.