247 Tasting Notes
I wanted a black tea and succumbed to the blandishments of the tea aisle in Sainsburys at the weekend. “How bad can it be?” I thought to myself, “It’s in their Taste the Difference range and it says it is leaf tea.” Well, I should have expected the packet full of fannings, but I was deceived by the statement on the packet that it was leaf tea. I suppose that is technically true, but it’s not really the leaves I wanted. The instructions on the side of the packet don’t give much confidence either, but I know better than to trust those anyway. Well, the first cup was made as they suggested and it was bitter. Too strong, no flavour. That’s a point, where is the ‘depth of flavour’ you claim for this tea, Mr Sainsbury? Your advertising blurb is rubbish. The only flavour is a slight maltiness that is tasted as if almost at second or third hand. The second cup was made at a lower temperature and with less tea for a shorter time. That was better. I’ve got it sussed to the level where I can make a reasonable cuppa out of this but it really is not the quality tea that their branding makes out. It’s not even an everyday tea really, just drinkable in need. I was not expecting anything stellar, but I really did hope for an everyday tea. I guess all those decent teas I have been drinking have improved my palate well beyond anything that a supermarket is likely to stock. It must be time to start saving up again so I can order something decent. In the meantime I should try to make some quiet time to enjoy the puerhs that I have lurking in nooks and crannies around the house. Time is the problem, alas. They are good teas and require attention and time that I feel I do not have much of.
Thank you to Teavivre for this free sample.
When I opened the packet I thought it looked like a packet of tiny, dark brown worms. The leaves are small and slightly curly, quite tippy in fact. The dry leaf smells of dark chocolate while the wet leaf and liquor are heading more towards milk chocolate. The liquor is thick and black . It tastes extremely smooth and mellow with elements of leather, malt and cocoa. It reminds me very much of a good breakfast tea. This is not my favourite tea from Teavivre, but it is another solid offering with much to give in terms of depth of flavour and complexity.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Leather, Malt
Thank you to Bonnie for sending me this tea. It has languished in the cupboard until today when I found it tucked at the back. The leaf is dark green and twisty. It brews up to an olive green leaf and a pale soup. The colours are great and the aroma of the liquor is green beans and spinach. The aroma carries into the tea with vegetal notes, green beans and a touch of spinach. It is creamy and quite filling. Thank you, Bonnie. This is a good green tea and quite different from most that I drink. I would be very tempted to try brewing this one with an ice cube, Gyokuro style. I bet it would be brilliant.
Flavors: Cream, Green Beans, Spinach, Vegetal
Thank you to Teavivre for this free sample. I’m just sorry it has taken me this long to make time to try it.
The dry leaf has a thick milky floral aroma. As the nuggets open, the teapot (a glass one) I can see that the soup and leaf together take on an electric green colour that is really exciting. The liquor is pale green. It smells more creamy than the dry leaf and the floral notes are enhanced. The mouthfeel is milky and the tea is sweet and vegetal. The sweetness continues to develop on the tongue after swallowing. Overall, this is a light, refreshing tea that is perfect for warm summer days like today. Definitely a good choice.
Interestingly, I wrote about this tea two years ago. It is instructive to see how my descriptions have changed in that time.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral
Thank you to Teavivre for this sample.
It does not take much guessing to realise that this is a Yunnan tea. It immediately reminds me of the Fengqing Dragon Pearl and Golden Monkey teas. The dry twisty leaves are a lovely mix of dark chocolate brown and gold. They give off a malty, chocolate aroma when dry. Upon steeping the aroma changes to floral, cocoa and honey aromas. The tea itself is sweet with caramel and honey notes, and the chocolate carries through from the liquor into the aftertaste. Underneath it all is the promised sweet potato, beefing the flavour up and giving the tea body and a creamy mouthfeel. The aftertaste endures nicely, with the aforementioned chocolate notes and more sweet potato as the tea cools. It has good depth to it and brings on a pleasing though light cooling sensation to the body. Overall, this is yet another great tea from Teavivre. Actually, I don’t think they have sent me a dud tea yet. May that record long continue.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cocoa, Flowers, Honey, Sweet Potatoes
Making it in a teapot this time around. The resultant experience is still superb but quite different from the gaiwan. This time it is thick and fruity, reminding me of bread and butter pudding with a slight note of custard on the side. I really like this tea.
Once more I return to the LS. It is familiar and comfortable like my old Norwegian woolly jumper. The campfire and pine elements seem just perfect for celebrating the Norwegian national day (17th May, in case you come to this note late. : ) ). It is the bicentenary of the signing of the Norwegian constitution and you can find out a little more on my blog if you wish (http://ruarighdale.wordpress.com/). It also provides links for further exploration. I recommend having a nice cup of suitably Scandinavian tasting tea while you read. ;)
I was sent a sample of this tea by a fellow Steepsterite and it has sustained me through today. It’s a sheng, and it smells like a sheng: hay and horses to my nose. The liquor is a yellowish amber and smells sweet, but not strong. It tastes sweet too with a smokiness that I liked, but the promised cha qi did not appear. Never mind. I’m convinced that cha qi is more about your relationship with the tea than it is about inherent qualities of that tea. Even without that, I enjoyed this tea and it has sustained itself well through the day. I am still getting a smoky sweet liquor after about a dozen cups although I am now up to a 1 minute steep. Still that’s pretty good. I’m off for another cup now and then a large glass of port before bed. :)