202 Tasting Notes
I received another parcel of samples from Teavivre yesterday. This is the first one I picked out to write about. Thank you, Teavivre.
The dry leaf is amazing. It is dark green and looks like little twisty shavings of green. It also smells amazing, a really strong and enticing vegetal smell that is a little reduced when it has been steeped. The liquor is a delicate light green colour, again with the vegetal aroma. Perhaps spinach or green beans? It’s certainly something like that. Then comes the real surprise. I was expecting something strong with a hefty kick but the first couple of sips were incredibly delicate instead. It was only as the tea cooled that the flavour developed more towards what I expected. The liquor was heavy but sweet and the nutty element came out as I continued to drink. It was sweet with a lovely slightly spicy aftertaste. Another good one from Teavivre.
There’s no mistaking this beeng cha for anything but a sheng. It has that familiar aroma that I no longer associate with anything but sheng puerh. This carries over into the wet leaf and the liquor. The leaves are large and the beeng is quite loose, making it easy to pick apart, while retaining whole leaves. The liquor is a lovely rich golden yellow colour that really reminds me of nothing so much as a sample! Still, it is one worth drinking!!
The tea itself is quite mild. I suspect I should have brewed it for longer, and I shall try that with the next steeping. It is smooth and sweet with only a slight bitterness, and the real flavour develops on the tongue after swallowing. There is an edge of camphor to the aftertaste, a slightly prickly dryness on the tongue, and an enduring sweetness on my breath. It is really jolly good. I can feel my body cooling and relaxing as I drink it, and the enduring aftertaste enhances that experience. There is a lot going on with this tea and I am really enjoying it.
The last of my free samples from Teavivre. Thank you.
I have high expectations of Teavivre, because the quality of their teas always seems high, even when it is teas that are not to my personal taste, so I approached this tea with pleasure.
The silver and dark green leaves are a pleasant aesthetic change from the flat leaves of the Long Jings that I have had recently. They smell vegetal, or of beans perhaps. There seems to be a bit of hay in there too. When steeped the wet leaf has a slightly savoury aroma, and the liquor, which is a dark yellow, transmutes that aroma to a thick, buttery, beany one.
Tasting the tea, I am struck by the thickness of the liquor too. It feels more like eating than drinking the tea. It is definitely buttery, the beans disappear from the taste and a new fruitiness emerges with a spicy aftertaste that lingers on the tongue. The sweetness lasts for a good while and I can feel myself calming down and de-stressing as I drink it. This is a ‘whole body’ tea. I just wish I could place what type of fruit it is. My expectations have been met and this is another splendid tea from Teavivre.
Free sample from Teavivre. Thank you.
The bright green, flat leaves instantly tell me this is a Long Jing. The aroma of the dry leaf is grassy and pleasant like a spring meadow. Upon steeping, the aroma becomes savoury, as I would expect. It sets my taste buds tingling. The liquor is a lovely greenish yellow colour with a delicate savoury aroma. It is not as robust as others that I have tried, promising a delicate, more gentle experience. Sipping the tea I notice the nuttiness first and the warmth on my tongue. The aftertaste sparkles, for want of a better word. It is sweet and tingly. I think I prefer this to the other Long Jings that I have had. It is less ‘in ya face’ and has greater depth. The non-pareil label is definitely well-deserved.
Free sample from Teavivre. Thank you.
I opened the packet and smelt a rather lovely grassy, late spring aroma. The leaves were light green and looked very inviting. Upon steeping they became a very bright pale green. The aroma from the wet leaf was nutty and vegetal, perhaps buttered squash. The liquor was a pale yellow green, hinting at a delicate flavour and it did not disappoint.
Note to self: Make sure the cup is the right way up before you start pouring.
Once tidied up I was able to sample the tea properly. Although the wet leaves had a strong, pleasant aroma, the liquor was far more delicate. It hinted at both floral and nutty notes and did not hit me in the face strongly with them at all, although these notes became stronger as the tea cooled. It was very refreshing with a lasting sweet aftertaste that made me feel like my breath smelt of spring flowers. Lovely.
Crikey, I got this tea over a year ago and have only sampled it a couple of times. Well, it is young, irresponsible and needs a firm hand. I like it. As I wrote before, it is smoky and slightly sweet, with a bit of astringency that gives it an enjoyable kick. The leaves are chopped and it is probably not the highest quality leaf you ever saw, but it does the job and is making my day go a lot better. For the price ($15/brick) I think it is a perfectly good tea and I am happy with my purchase still. I’ll give it another year and see how it is doing in 2014, although I suspect that teas age slowly in my house (unlike me!).
Free sample from Teavivre. Thank you.
When I opened this packet I was met with a lot of long thin leaves of a darkish hue. The aroma of the dry leaf was like fresh hay that has newly been stored in the barn. Definitely a good smell, then.
I steeped the tea three times in my glass teapot: first for one minute, then two and finally three. The first and second steeps were the best, while by the third steep the tea had definitely faded.
Once steeped, the wet leaves smelt or asparagus, or perhaps that pork chop aroma that I always associate with a good Long Jing. The leaves had lightened to a bright mid-green at this point and the liquor was a pale greenish yellow. When I first started pouring it, I thought it was going to come out almost clear, like my favourite Anji Bai Cha. The dominant flavour was a sweet grassiness and a delicate savoury element, like a lighter Long Jing in many ways. The tea itself was very refreshing and hit the spot beautifully on a warm Summer’s day like today. This is one for the wish list.
Free sample from Teavivre. Thank you, Teavivre.
When I opened the packet and poured out the leaf, it was like pouring out a pile of mid-green combat meerkats, all standing to attention. The leaves were aligned with military precision. Oddly, I found the rectilinear conformity of the leaves pleasing. The dry leaves smelt slightly grassy, but had no strong aroma, but as soon as I added hot water there arose what I can only describe as a meaty aroma: slightly grassy but with a definite pork chop smell, both of which carried over into the tea itself. Lovely. The liquor was a pale greenish yellow and the leaves brightened significantly to a bright green with loads of life to it. The aftertaste endured for ages after the final sip and the whole experience of drinking this tea left me happy.
Overall this is a really nice tea and the only negative point I can find to say is that it did not really have any endurance. I tried resteeping it but the tea was very much at its best on the first cup. Still, that best was a very good best.
This is one of the teas I got as part of my tea club membership. It is from Marionbarie Tea Estate in Terai, West Bengal. It surprises me that no one else has written about it yet, and that I have not written about it yet, because I finished it yesterday. Sadly I cannot buy more because it is not available through their normal web shop.
It’s an odd tea. More than any other tea I have tried, the range of flavours you experience with this one vary depending upon the temperature. Canton Tea Co recommend trying it between 80 and 95 degrees, so I dutifully did so. At lower temperatures it has more of the Darjeeling about it, while at higher temperatures it is more like a black tea. I preferred it at the lower temperatures where I found it to be floral, slightly buttery, light and bright. Oversteeping was a problem as it rapidly became bitter if left too long. At higher temperatures it lost the lightness and was slightly bitter. I was not a fan of brewing it above 85 degrees.
Ah, Steepster, I have neglected you of late. Life does not run in smooth paths and the bumps have thrown me off kilter for a while. Still, I am back and I shall try to post once a week, because that is what I think I can manage. So, excuses aside, I wish to thank Bonnie for sending me this tea. I have been carefully hoarding it ever since. Yesterday seemed like the right day for me to appreciate it, so I chucked it into one of my Yixing pots and brewed away. I gave it a full minute for the first steep and ten seconds for the next two, before increasing the steeping time gradually over the day. I think I managed a good eight or so steep from this one before it became just hot brown water and they were all good. The dominant flavour seemed to be cinnamon and cedar with an undertone of cocoa. There was a slightly metallic tang to it that I have noticed with other shu puerhs, but it was not an unpleasant flavour, just slightly earthy. Two thumbs up.