285 Tasting Notes
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.
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.
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.
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.
Free sample from Teavivre
The pearls smelled malty and slightly chocolatey when I opened the packet. They were larger than other pearls I have had. I must say I rather liked the hefty chunk of them. So, out with the infuser mug, which I generally reserve for my jasmine pearls and gunpowder, but that is a practicality decision, not because it brews them best. I was not sure how many pearls to put in, so I plumped for five pearls. The mug is about 200ml.
As I poured the water over them, the maltiness of the aroma increased. Once steeped, I had to wait a bit, because it was really too hot to drink. I am not good at waiting! The first sip told me what I needed to know. This tea is malty with a smooth, thick underlying chocolateyness that is gorgeous. The liquor is reminiscent of dark chocolate too. The sweet aftertaste lingered at the back of my tongue for some time too. Lovely. In some respects, this tea was like drinking a mug of cocoa, but nicer.
In the end, I managed to get four steepings out of the leaf, but the real flavour only lasted for the first two. After that it was slightly chocolatey sweet water.
I generally struggle to find black teas that I really like (other than Darjeelings), but this one definitely hits the mark and will be making a reappearance in my cupboard soon.
Free sample from Fong Mong Tea.
Upon opening the packet the first thing I noticed was the oxygen absorber pad. That’s an interesting bit of attention to detail that I have not encountered before. Then I looked at the little green nuggets of tea. Smaller than I am used to, but the smell is lovely and grassy with a heady undertone of flower meadow that bodes well for the flavour of the tea.
As others have noted, the steeping guidelines indicate a 6 minute steep! I echoed their “Eeps” at that, so I started with 3g of tea in my 140ml gaiwan and an initial steep of 2 minutes. As I poured the hot water onto the tea, I was hit with a beautiful tropical garden aroma that built up as the tea steeped.
1st steep: the flavour was delicate, light and floral. It lacked a little depth, probably because of my short steeping time, but it was still lovely. The nuggets had not fully unfurled by the end of this steep, which may have been part of the problem with the lack of depth.
2nd steep: I increased the steep time to 4 minutes and suddenly the tea was right there. Orchid notes combined with lychee flavours to give a beautiful tea that made my tongue very happy. The sweetness lingered on my tongue for ages and I also noted a calming feeling in my body.
3rd steep: Up to 6 minutes now. The tea tasted lighter than the previous steep but still very pleasant and the sweetness still lingered on my tongue.
4th steep: 6 minutes again. Definitely past the strongest flavours now but the tea still reminds me of a walk in a tropical garden. The leaves have filled my gaiwan and smell lovely and the tea is light and Summery. The sweet aftertaste still lingers. I stopped here for now, but I shall return to the gaiwan later for more to see how long the tea will go on for.
Overall, I really enjoyed this tea and I am pleased that I have enough left over in the sample for another good session. I reckon I shall take the plunge and try steeping it for the recommended 6 minutes next time to see how that works out.
I bought this a bit back when Canton had it on special and finally cracked the beeng yesterday. I’m not sure what I was expecting from it really, although I could not help but compare it to the 2010 Xing Hai that Canton sells for half the price. So, my thoughts?
The beeng smells lovely. I get that people will get a tobacco smell from it. For me, although there is something of pipe tobacco in it, the aroma of the beeng itself is redolent of the stableyard, just like the Xing Hai. It’s a lovely grassy horsey smell that reminds me of good times.
When I picked it apart, I got large leaves with bits of stalk. I mean some of those leaves were huge. Great stuff.
Yesterday I made it in my gaiwan: 3g of tea in a 140ml gaiwan, temp at 95 degrees as recommended on the website. With steeping times starting at 10 seconds and rapidly escalating, I found it to be on the insipid side (or delicate, if you wish to be kind). The flowery taste was there, but I got little in the way of aftertaste or depth of flavour. Shame that.
Today I opted for my dedicated sheng pot (170ml duan ni). I jammed 8g of leaf into the pot, and I mean jammed. Some of the leaves were too large to actually fit comfortably into the pot. I was going for destruction testing this time around, as far as I was concerned. I reckon I did the right thing too. The first steep was 20 seconds. It came out slightly flowery and a bit peaty. Not really fantastic, but pleasant. The second steep was also 20 seconds because I figured the first steep was a wake-up call and I was right. The taste came in a lot stronger. The peatiness and smokiness were emphasised but without killing the floral flavours. It was sweet and only just the right side of bitter. There was an aftertaste that really came into its own on the exhale, at which point my tastebuds started jumping around. Yes, that was about right for me. It reminded me of nothing so much as some of my favourite malt whiskies (without the alcohol, of course!). From that point on it was good all the way through to the sixth steeping, with some mushroom and mineral flavours developing along the way. I had to stop at that point else I shall not get to sleep tonight. Let’s see what it is like in the morning.
It seems to me that this tea likes it rough at the moment. It is robust enough to cope with some harsh treatment, and, for my taste, it needs a bit to bring out the best in it. I look forward to seeing how this tea ages, and will have to get a beeng or two more so that I can ensure a supply for some time to come.
I’ve been drinking this for the past few days but have been having trouble accessing Steepster, so I have not posted before now.
Following on from my previous note, this tea is marvellous. In the short time it has been sitting and airing in my cupboard, my skill at making it has improved and it has mellowed a bit, taking the sharper edge off the smokey flavour and I find that it loves my duan ni pot too. Most excellent. Better yet, it just makes me feel relaxed. The tea is happy and it makes me happy. What more needs to be said?