290 Tasting Notes
Drinking this tonight. I’ve brewed it western style and note the differences in my experience of it from last time I reviewed it. The dry leaf has a warm horse aroma still, but with mild tobacco notes. When brewed up I get a heady thick floral aroma, like a heavily perfumed old lady at the theatre, or a walk in a tropical garden on a warm evening. It is strong and laden with pollen. The brew is sweet with no astringency and coats the tongue thickly. There’s that word again: thick. I’m getting a lot of honeyed sweetness now, and no vegetal notes at all. It’s very pleasant, although I don’t think I could stomach a lot of this level of sweetness and tropical flowers for too long. All in all, I reckon it is developing well in my carefully curated storage, or is that despite my storage technique? (top of the bookshelf in a cardboard box)
I’ve been meaning to try this for a while now and finally got around to opening the box I had forgotten was at the back of the cupboard. Thank goodness I occasionally curate and catalogue my tea stash. So, how was it?
Salty. Very salty. Oh so salty. It’s more like drinking a salty chicken broth than a tea. Next time I shall try adding some sugar to it to see if that kills some of the saltiness. It’s actually not bad, but the amount of salt came as a shock to my system. I suspect that I could quickly become acclimatised to the salt levels if I drank this more often. It would be great to take hiking, because it really woke me up, and was quite filling and energising. I’m going to try adding sugar when I make the next packet to see if that will ameliorate the overwhelming saltiness a little. Despite the saltiness, I enjoyed it and I am looking forward to experimenting with how best to make it to suit me.
My next task will be to get some Yak butter from somewhere (or just use cow’s butter), so that I can make Po Cha fresh for comparison’s sake. I have the Tibetan Flame tea that I am informed is a staple of Tibetans everywhere, so I am quite well prepared. I think it will prove instructive to try it fresh, and having some control over the constituent components can only be a good thing.
Flavors: Chicken Soup, Salt, Salty
Finally on to the last of the Spring tea samples from Teavivre. Thank you for these most excellent teas and my apologies for taking so long to write them all up.
Dry this tea has a spinach aroma, and the long thin needles look great. The wet leaf is a mix of honey and vegetal notes. It brews to a golden liquor that is silky smooth and very clean. The liquor is sweet with umami and more vegetal notes. There is a tiny hint of astringency that is expressed more in the aftertaste than in the initial tasting and the aftertaste is cooling on the tongue. Just the job for a Sunday afternoon as I deal with the effects of a little too much red wine the night before.
Flavors: Honey, Spinach, Umami, Vegetal
Another free sample from Angel at Teavivre.
Also, another tea that I have not yet written up. I sampled this a while back but got distracted before writing a tasting note. Bad me!
The dry leaf is thin and twisty, and dark olive in colour. It smells of hay. Wet, the leaf has a slight hint of umami and asparagus. In the pot it looks like a green cave of tea leaf stalagmites and stalactites as the leaves have vertical and some sink to the bottom. The liquor is a pale peach colour and carries little aroma; just a hint of savouriness to hit and something slightly floral or vegetal. Tasting it reveals a very delicate tea. It is lightly floral, smooth, sweet with a savoury edge. The asparagus notes carry through from the aroma and the aftertaste prickles gently on the tongue in a pleasurable fashion. Not as in-your-face as the Long Jing, this Mao Feng is a jolly good, gentle cuppa that is quite relaxing to drink.
Flavors: Asparagus, Floral, Hay, Sweet, Umami
Free sample from Angel at Teavivre.
Another backlog tea. One day I shall catch up … honest!
This is a great tea. It is all warm, summer day, and savoury sweetness. The summery feel is enhanced by the way the leaf blades dance on top of the water. This makes it particularly worth brewing in a glass teapot.
Both the dry and the wet leaf have a grassy, umami, pork chop aroma. The liquor is very pale green verging on colourless. If you are used to Yorkshire Tea, you could be forgiven for thinking you had been given a cup of plain hot water until you smell the vegetal aroma of the liquor.
The taste is quite complex. It comprises vegetal, spinach notes together with the aforementioned pork chop and a solid nuttiness that gives it a truly full-bodied mouth feel, and this is all underlain by a delicate sweetness. The aftertaste is sparkling and savoury, and lasts well. Yum.
Flavors: Nutty, Spinach, Sweet, warm grass, Umami, Vegetal
This Sunday afternoon is being spent with a sample that I received from TwoDog. Thank you, and sorry I have taken so long to get to it. I often find myself not trying new teas because I don’t feel I have the time to do justice to them, and this one has fallen into that category until now. I still don’t have time to focus solely on the tea but I am managing to enjoy it just the same.
The dry leaf is loose and easily taken apart. It smells warm and has an apricot-sweetness to the aroma. The liquor smells light, floral and fruity. It tastes smooth with a tiny hint of astringency at the back of the throat. There is honeysuckle sweetness that is pleasant and continues into the aftertaste with a spicy sparkle.
The way one enjoys tea seems to depend so much on one’s mood. This is just the right tea for this moment. At $122 per 200g beeng, I cannot afford to buy more of it, but I am really pleased to have had the chance to try it.
Flavors: Apricot, Honeysuckle, Spicy, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass
I bought a couple of bings of this three or four years ago and have been carefully curating them so that they could age properly (or I just forgot they were at the back of the box of tea and drank other stuff). I’ve drunk it occasionally since then but singularly failed to write any tasting notes on it. So, in the spirit of procrastinating over writing up the conference I went to, here, finally is my tasting note on the 2008 Feng Shan Yi Hao. Ta da!!
The dry leaf has that gorgeous aroma of warm horse that I like so much. It is a mix of silver and brown small leaves. There is some chopping but there are also whole leaves in the mix. The liquor is dark orange with a lightly floral aroma. It tastes smooth with a silky mouth feel. There is some astringency and a vegetal note. Sweetness develops in the aftertaste which is of an acceptable duration, but there is also a slightly bitter edge to it. This is not a bad tea at all. In fact, it is quite pleasant, especially when the price is considered, but it will not replace the 2005 Tibetan Flame as my everyday puerh, unless it grows significantly in the next few years.
Flavors: Floral, Vegetal
Continuing with the backlog and thanks to Angel at Teavivre for this sample.
Like the Lu Shan Yun Wu, the dry leaves look like delicate green shavings of green. They have a distinct warm hay aroma that changes to a delicate umami upon the application of hot water. The green becomes more vivid in the pot and a light yellow liquor develops. The tea has a slightly spicy, green bean flavour to it that sparkles on the tongue and leaves a pleasantly sweet aftertaste. The liquor itself is creamy, verging on buttery and very pleasant on a hot summer’s day.
Flavors: Butter, Green Beans, Hay, Spices, Umami
Backlog: Catching up on reviewing samples today. I was sent this tea as part of Teavivre’s spring collection and have not yet written them up. This is a shame, because I enjoyed all the teas in the collection. I’ve also just realised that I sampled this tea two years ago. So, how is the 2015 picking?
The leaves are tiny curls that expand a little in the pot to create a grassy bed in the teapot. It’s times like these that I am pleased that I use a glass teapot for these teas.
The dry leaf has a savoury spinach aroma that is evident in the liquor too. The liquor is a lovely yellow-green colour. It has notes of spinach and nuts with that savoury edge to it, but the flavours are delicate rather than strong. The aftertaste has a slight minty note to it, cooling in the mouth. The vegetal notes dominate the aftertaste while the savoury element lurks on the edges. This is a lovely refreshing tea.
Flavors: Nutty, Spinach, Vegetal