277 Tasting Notes
Writing this one up from yesterday.
I had a buddy round for a spot of gaming, so we sat and drank a pot or two or maybe three of this while playing. When my buddy first started coming round he drank Yorkshire Tea. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but he picked up on the loose leaf tea pretty quickly and now looks forward to sampling whatever new teas I might have in. This one is not new to me but I had not fed it to him before. Anyhow, it got the thumbs up from him. So, what did I make of it?
The dry leaf has a floral, muscatel aroma typical of Darjeelings. It smells good and inviting. It appears quite chopped with a fair bit of stalk in there too though, which might make some wary. The leaf varies in colour from pale green through dark green to brown, giving a pleasing appearance. Upon brewing, the aroma is again floral and grassy. The tea tastes like a Darjeeling should: light-bodied, crisp, muscatel-like. Then suddenly it hit me, there’s a distinct caramel apple note in there too. Crikey! That surprised me. What was missing was any real astringency. The tea was sweet through to the end. Admittedly, we were not paying total attention to the tea, but all the same, it was a splendid tea and there was a depth and complexity to it that made itself known despite our distraction.
Thank you to Bonnie for this sample.
Not a lot to say here really. It’s good. Drink it. Oh, ok, a bit more detail. Well, I’m on the tenth steep now and it is still great. The taste is a bit of vanilla and cinnamon with a cakey feel to it and there was some earthiness in the early steepings. It is developing well and I am enjoying it a lot.
I threw the last of this sample in a thermos flask today, because I wanted tea on the way to and at university. So, grandpa style brew. It’s a two hour journey down to the university and the traffic can be horrendous, so I always like to have a drink with me in case I stop on the way. Anyway, it stood up to the abuse very well did this tea. It was rich, earthy, mellow and lasted well with top-ups from the boiler in the staff kitchen. Having tested it to destruction and enjoyed the result, I have decided to increase my rating of this tea. I may well invest in more of it now. But first I must test my other teas to destruction too. Which pu shall I abuse next week? ;)
Free sample from Teavivre
I love dragon pearls. The little balls of tea waiting to unfurl in my pot have an aesthetic appeal all of their own. So, when Teavivre sent me this sample I was naturally very pleased. These ones are tight little balls of dark olive with silver tips, a beatiful contrast. They smell strongly of jasmine when I open the packet, a flowery, heady aroma that makes me feel good before I have even drunk the tea.
Steeping the tea for the first time results in an almost colourless soup with a delicate jasmine aroma. The taste is sweet and jasmine-y (well it is a jasmine tea after all!). The jasmine is not overpowering and the tea is lovely, leaving me feeling good and relaxed as I finish the cup. And then, crikey, the tea really hits with a wave of well-being and relaxation that is awesome. Brilliant!
On a second steeping the tea is just as good. The liquor is slightly darker and the leaves have unfurled completely in the pot, but the taste and effect are much the same. Now, if you will excuse me I am going to just sit here and feel suffused with well-being, relaxation and jasmine tea.
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.