1694 Tasting Notes
I should probably say upfront that first flush Darjeeling is one of my favourite varieties of black tea, so this one is preaching to the converted with me.
Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/09/12/gielle-1st-flush-darjeeling-black-tea-harney-sons/
I have the reblend version of this tea from maybe a year or so ago? I can’t recall exactly now. I bought it on the strength of some of 52 Teas other honeybush blends, which I was enjoying at the time. I think I was also on a bit of a coconut jag. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.
To taste, I’m a little underwhelmed. The main flavour is coconut, and it’s quite natural and fresh tasting – I have no issue with this. I’m not getting any cheesecake, though, either in terms of cream cheese or biscuit base. What I can taste, quite strongly, is honeybush. It’s sweet and juicy, which would suit an “orange fruit” tropical tea perfectly but just strikes me as really odd here. I was looking for tangy and biscuitty and coconutty. I may try some milk next time, to see whether than tones the honeybush down a little. At the moment, though, I’m not all that overwhelmed by this one. It’s pleasant enough, but it doesn’t live up to the promise of its name.
Today’s white tea of choice. It’s actually warmer today than it has been for the last couple of weeks, so this one actually seems pretty appropriate. The description says that it’s a blend of peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and cherries. There are actually pieces of dried fruit among the white tea leaves, although they look more like berries to me. Hmm. The base is clearly a bai mu dan – with broken leaves and twigs (mostly black-brown) and a few silver buds. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a pale golden-yellow.
To taste, this one seems moderately average to me. While hot, I couldn’t pick out much flavour at all beyond the light floral of the white tea base, and a sort of dustiness I associate particularly with white peony blends. As it cools, I can begin to pick out some nectarine, and maybe a touch of peach and plum, but they’re by no means strong flavours and they’re a little more fleeting than I’d have liked. Possibly I just need to use more leaf, or maybe this one would be better cold brewed or iced. I’ve got enough leaf to experiment a little, anyway, but at the moment I’m disappointed with this one. I had high hopes!
My second 52 Teas white blend of the day – on the strength of Blackcurrant Bai Mu Dan, I had to give this one a try! The dry leaf here is interesting – mostly downy silver needles, but with a few black-brown leaves and twigs. There are dried pomegranate seeds and some whole and some partial dried blackberries. They seem to rehydrate pretty well, judging from the brewed leaf. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees. The resulting liquor is a medium golden yellow, although with little discernable scent.
To taste, it’s pretty wonderful. The pomegranate is the clearest flavour, initially sweet but with a tartness emerging mid-sip, and a mild watermelon-like wateriness to round off. The blackberry plays second fiddle, but it’s also there, and adds a deeper, darker fruitiness and a mild sourness. Both flavours are pretty true-to-life, and they’re a good pairing.
The white tea base is fairly prominent, and adds a dusty-tasting undertone. That’s probably the only thing I’m not quite struck on, but it’s just about possible to ignore it. The fruit flavours aren’t especially strong, but fortunately the base doesn’t overpower them completely.
I think on balance I prefer Blackcurrent Bai Mu Dan to this one, but I’m still pleased with the way this one works as a late summer treat. Possibly it’d work better iced or cold brewed, so that’s probably what I’d try next. It’s a light, juicy, refreshing cup in any case.
This is probably one of the oldest 52 Teas I still have in my cupboard. It’s even got one of the squarish-labels, from before Frank changed printer and they become rectangular. I’m not sure why it’s sat neglected for so long – it’s been summer, after all, with all its perfect white-tea weather. It might be almost over now (it’s so COLD here at the moment), but better late than never with the white tea, I suppose. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.
The dry leaf is mostly black-brown, and a mixture of twigs, broken leaves, and some downy silver buds. Fairly typical of white peony, except the leaves are shredded smaller than I’m used to. I guess that might be why it brewed up relatively quickly, and to a pretty dark yellow-gold. Still, it smells divine so I’m definitely encouraged!
To taste, this is gooooood. So good. The blackcurrant flavour is strong and clear, and reminds me of nothing more or less than hot ribena (although less sugary and chemical). Ribena as it ought to be, perhaps. The blackcurrants are very natural tasting – a little tart, initially sweet but with a sour tang towards the end of the sip. The white tea base is perfect, adding a little sweetness of its own, and a mildly floral accent. The flavour lingers beautifully, making this (to me, at least) pretty much perfection in a cup.
I have a couple of other 52 Teas white blends with me at work today, so I’m eager to try those now! I’m a lot more impressed with this one than I expected to be!
From the EU TTB
Today’s work cold-brew. I used approximately 1 tbsp of leaf in just under 2 litres of water, and left it in the fridge overnight for around 9 hours. The resulting liquor is a pale gold, with a mild gingery scent.
To taste, this is just about as I expected. There’s a mild initial lemon flavour, which is quite sour in the way of lemon zest, but thankfully not too overpowering. The ginger emerges in the mid sip and adds a pleasing spicy warmth which lingers at the back of the throat. Even though I’m drinking this cold, the ginger makes this one seem very appropriate for a chilly early autumn day like today. It’s somehow warming and comforting. The white tea base is pretty perfect, adding just a touch of hay-like sweetness while letting the flavouring shine. This’ll probably be one of my last cold brews this year, so I’m pleased to be ending on a positive vibe. This is definitely one I’d consider purchasing in the future.
From the EU TTB
This is a green tea like none I’ve seen before. It’s almost powdered, the leaf is so fine! I went with a traditional western-style brew since I wasn’t really sure how to approach it – 1 tsp of leaf given 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a bright yellow.
To taste, this is like a rather concentrated green tea. I probably could have made do with less leaf, or a much, much shorter brew time. It’s drinkable like this, though. The flavour is very grassy, almost like a cup full of liquidised fresh cut grass, basically. It’s hard to taste anything else – if indeed there is anything to taste! It’s sweet in a hay-like way, with just the tiniest bit of underlying bitterness. I probably could have avoided that with a more accomplished brewing, though. There’s no astringency, so that’s a point in its favour for sure.
I felt wrong footed by this one, so my impression of it probably isn’t quite what it should have been. Any errors here are mine, though, and it was actually a pretty pleasant cup of green tea once I got used to the intensity of flavour. It’s probably not one I’d return to, though – at least not without some detailed brewing instructions!
From the EU TTB
I’m not a massive oolong fan, as I’m sure I’ve detailed previously. There have been some I’ve enjoyed in my drinking experiences so far, though, so I’m continuing to explore a little in the hope I’ll find a few more. The leaf here is a pretty thing, with colours ranging from white to dark brown/almost black, and all possible hues in between – beige, reddish-brown, brown…it’s very autumnal looking. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 185 degrees. The resulting liquor is a medium yellow-brown.
To taste, I initially taste mostly damp earth – kind of like a forest floor after a heavy rain shower. Not that I typically go around tasting those, but if I did, I imagine it would be something like this. What I should probably say, is this tea tastes like a damp forest floor smells. There, that’s better. There’s a lovely fruitiness in the mid sip – I’m thinking plum, primarily, or maybe a very mild black cherry. The sip rounds off with a woody, resinous note.
I’m really pleased with this one, and it’s a tea I’d happily seek out again if the opportunity arose. I might have to explore more of TeaGschwender once I’ve got my stash a little more under control!
From the EU TTB
I think I’ve got this in the right place – what I’m drinking is described as “Autumn 2014 Premium Jin Guan Yin AA Grade Anxi Oolong”. I think I’ve probably known it for a while, but this is the tea that finally made me realise that I prefer green oolong to roasted. That struck me as odd at first, considering that black tea is such a favourite of mine, but it appears to be the case. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 185 degrees. The leaves are rolled, but they unfurl easily and it’s kind of calming to stand and watch. Just what I need, this week. The resulting liquor is a pale, clear green.
This one is quite thickly floral, and tastes primarily of orchids to me. Underlying that it a mild, buttery vegetal flavour, a little like spinach, and underlying that is a touch of something mineral, like wet rock. It’s so smooth, and so full flavoured – even though typically I shy away from floral-tasting teas, I actually kind of like it here. Oolong will never be my absolute favourite, but I definitely have less against it than I used to. It’s teas like this one that have really shown me that there are things to like about it, and I’d happily drink this one again.
From the EU TTB
I’ve been wanting to try this tea for a while now, but I’ve not placed an order with Tealux in a while so it’s not happened. Thanks to the EU TTB, I now finally have the chance! The leaf here is rolled, and does have a dark black/purple appearance. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown, the scent rather charcoal-like.
To taste, I can immediately tell this one’s not for me. It’s very roasty, with that underlying metallic tang that I honestly can’t stand in oolongs. It reminds me of some of my early experiences with oolong, which almost put me off for good. I had hoped I’d get some of the cinnamon/plum notes this one reputedly has, but sadly not.
Still – another one crossed off the “to try” list.