240 Tasting Notes

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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87

Free sample from Teavivre

Small nuggets of green leaf curled into balls with a vegetal aroma when I opened the packet. The smell promised good things. The first steeping yielded a vegetal flavour, creamy on the palate. It reminded me of asparagus and was very pleasant. There were floral undertones to it, although my wife noticed them more than I did. It’s always interesting getting her view of teas, and it really highlights the differences in our palates and experience of the tea. The second steeping had less of the asparagus flavour and was smoother with the floral notes coming to the fore. I did not really get the baked taste that is meant to be there, but that could just be me thinking it is something else, just a variation on the way I perceive the flavours. We got four steepings out of this tea before we called it a day. Lovely tea. I would be very happy to have this one in the cupboard for regular usage and shall probably get some on my next Teavivre order.

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

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81

Free sample from Teavivre

It’s a wet and windy day here. It’s raining stair rods and I find myself looking for something to brighten the day up. Most of the samples I have are oolongs and green teas, and that did not suit my mood. Fortunately, Teavivre must have seen today coming because they packed me up with this Lapsang Souchong. Opening the bag I am greeted by a beautiful and not overwhelming smoky aroma. Hmm, smoky bacon crisps I think. It’s definitely a meaty smell and the tea is the same: smoky, sweet with a slightly sour aftertaste that perfectly complements the other flavours. Three steeps in and I am still getting all of this. It reminds me of camping and cooking over an open fire. I like this lapsang souchong. It does not blow me away with the range and depth of flavours. It does give me a sense of a reliable tea that will always bring comforting thoughts of open fires and sleeping under the stars. The flavours are very well balanced so there is enough depth to keep it interesting too. Good one, Teavivre.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

There are other things that I do with this tea other than drink it. I steam broccoli and other veggies in LS. Just put some in a t-sack or whatever you wish. Makes the house smell good too! My local tea shop has the best LS I’ve ever had. Multi-dimensional and a little sweet. The smoke is there but you can still taste the underlying tea. I have another that is tempered with a bit of orange peel and some freeze dried Jasmine puffs. Very smooth.
If you’d ever like any samples of tea from me, drop me a personal note. I’ll follow you…

Roughage

Those all sound great ideas. I think I shall have to experiment with cooking with LS. I have been thinking about using other teas to cook with, so it is not too great a stretch to use LS as well.

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90

Free sample from Fong Mong Tea

This is the last of my samples from Fong Mong and I had high hopes of it based on my experience with their other teas. I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed.

The floral aroma that wafted off the tea both when I opened the packet and when I brewed the tea was lovely. The first steeping had a heady scent of tropical gardens that made me want to dive straight in. The tea itself was sweet and floral with a buttery feel. A slight vegetal hint lurked behind all that goodness and the buttered corn that others have commented on was definitely present. With all those heavy flavours and aromas the tea was still light and easy to drink.

The second steeping was like the first but with more vegetal flavours coming through while the third had largely lost the floral elements and had a stronger vegetal note still.

The leaves in the pot were whole and still joined to the stalks in pairs mostly with a couple of threes. They looked lovely and really spoke to the quality of this tea.

Overall, I really enjoyed this tea. It was like a floral assault on my tongue that left me grinning with delight at the end of each sip. I could certainly see my way to keeping a packet of this in the cupboard ready for use at all times. I would also love to try brewing it gongfu style to see what else I can get from it.

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

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85

Free sample from Fong Mong

Lovely tea. There, that’s all I need to write. It isn’t? Ok, well, upon opening the packet I got that proper oolong aroma, which immediately got me excited. The 6 minute recommended steeping time made me go “Eep!” as with the Blue Jade from Fong Mong. Still, I followed the directions and soon a lovely aroma was arising from my teapot. Impatiently I tapped my foot and waiting while the tea steeped. Then I got to taste it. It was light and creamy on my tongue. There was a definite fruity note to it with a sweet, slightly floral aftertaste that really came to the fore as I exhaled. Fresh, tasty, definitely one to keep in stock. I really liked this tea.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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73

Free sample from Fong Mong Tea

I was curious to taste this tea because it sounded like something completely new to me. Opening the packet, I was hit with a malty aroma and could see that the leaves were large.

When I began brewing the tea I got more of the minty aroma coming off it. So, malt and mint. What would it taste like? There were undertones of other black teas I have drunk in this cup, but the dominant flavour was mint with a bit of malt. If anything the minty flavour was too much for me but I decided to resteep the tea with a slightly shorter steeping time and see what came up. I was able to reduce the mintiness a bit and that helped my enjoyment of the tea. Overall, I was not sure about this tea. It is clearly good quality and the flavours are there as advertised, but it did not enthrall me despite that. Now that I know what to expect from it, I think I need to experiment a bit with brewing parameters to get the best from it. Perhaps I shall learn to like it more, or perhaps it is just not to my tastes. Still, as I wrote before, it is a good quality tea and others may enjoy it more if the flavours suit them better. Thank you, Fong Mong Tea, for the chance to try this one.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Profile

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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