218 Tasting Notes
Tea #3 from the (Mostly) Unflavored TTB
(Note: This is a long review since this is the first puerh I’ve really honestly tried, so I’m rambling quite a bit while I figure it all out. Apologies beforehand.)
So let me start out by saying that I know nothing about puerh (despite reading most everything here on the discussions) other than it’s something that I want to try some day because nearly everyone seems so into it. I’ve had an awful experience with a Chocolate Orange Puerh (DavidsTea I think) and an nearly equally bad experience with a sheng puerh (also DavidsTea come to think about it), but I chalked it up to (then at least) knowing even less than nothing about puerh. Lol! But the experiences have definitely made me rather gun shy about delving into it again.
Months later I’m starting to consider dabbling in it once more (I just got Mandala’s Ripe sampler), because come on, it’s just tea, stop being a coward. And since this box came with a handful of puerh samples, I set them aside for dubious (and slightly almost distrustful if I’m being honest) consideration. Closed my eyes and grabbed one as my next tea and this one came up. Probly not exactly the smartest choice since I couldn’t find anything on how to brew this aside from KiwiDelight’s gaiwan gongfu session. And since I’m being a coward about using the (/hides/) 4 assorted gaiwans I now own (don’t judge. They have the benefit of being pretty. >>;), I just ended up using my brew basket.
So I faked it and kept my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t send me flailing away from ever wanting to try puerh again.
1st steeping – 6g/8oz/30s – (measured on my scale but which was about 3 small-ish chunks) dropped in the basket. I can’t resist saying that the pieces kinda looked kinda like the clods of dried grass I’d pry off my shoes after cutting the grass the day before, back in my younger days when I still had to cut the grass. XD;
Nearly every brewing session/review I’ve read rinses first, so I brought the water to a boil(ish), poured while counting to 5, pulled the basket and eyed the liquid. I didn’t drink it (though I’ve read people doing that just to see), I probably should have just because why not, but I didn’t. Just sniffed it before dumping it out. It smelled earthy and slightly mushroomy and kinda spicy almost. Not at all the fishy smell I was fearing.
So I did a 30s brew on this, pulled the basket and wasn’t too surprised to see that, while there were loose leaves, there was still bigger chunks stuck together. The brew is surprisingly dark (dark clearish amber) and the smell is mushrooms and earth (and if I’m being honest very slightly fishy, but clean and not sour, turn-your-stomach rotten sort of fishy). I have to say that I hesitated big before taking a sip. What if it tasted fishy or rotten or any of the other ‘ugh’ stories about puerh I’ve heard? But I told myself to get it over with coward, and took a sip.
Wow. Earthy and mushroom-y (which is super odd, but at least I like mushrooms, though possibly not as tea) and, after a moment and a second sip, holy cats, chocolate. Dark, kinda bittersweet chocolate. But there none-the-less. Which, despite drinking teas with apparently chocolate notes, I’ve never really been able to figure it out. This note is fleeting and doesn’t really linger, but it’s there for me. It is a bit astringent the longer I sit and sip at it. And my tongue is kinda tingly too. (is that normal or did I find another weird quirk for me?)
2nd steeping – 45s – Wow. I thought the first brew was dark, this one is even darker. Reddish brown instead of amber brown. Same sort of mushroom-y smell. Same sort of taste as the first brew though I’m not really finding that chocolate note in there this time. Just the mushroom and a bit of earth.
3rd steeping – 1min – I think I should’ve tried this first this morning since it just keeps going and I’m getting the urge to want to try something else. But I’ll stick it out. Same smell on this one but taste wise it had an unpleasant metallic tone to it. I actually ended up pouring this one out after a few game sips because I couldn’t get past that taste. Ugh.
4th steeping – 1min 15sec – Last one because I’m pretty tired of drinking this already. Lol! I’m pretty sure it could go for another few rounds still since when I poured the water in, it turned dark almost immediately. Brew has gained a sort of roasted mushroom smell now along with the earth. Metallic taste is gone (or almost, I can kinda taste it lurking in the back) and this is drinkable once more. Huh.
So an interesting experience for this. Good, but interesting. Lol! Definitely a type of tea to start first thing and expect to drink all day, or else set aside for the next day/later. I’m wondering if this tea might be better with multiple short steeps instead of adding time each steeping. I snuck a taste on the 4th steeping at the 30sec mark and it was pretty tasty. Better than I think the end 1min 15sec steeping turned out. Honestly the very first steeping has to be my favorite out of all of these. If I were so inclined, I might try this one again with just straight 30sec steepings the whole way, but I’m not so inclined since this has to go back into the box so the next person to try. Lol! I might (one day) just buy this from puerhshop myself since I guess I can always store it away if I get tired of it, right? Probably the bottom cabinet of my curio cabinet would be best, though I have no idea if that’d be a good place for it honestly.
Tea #2 from the (Mostly) Unflavored TTB
While I guess I should’ve resteeped the Mao Feng I just had, I have too many teas I want to try today (so I just set the leaves to the side, now I see the benefit of having multiple brewing baskets).
I only used a tsp in about 8oz since it seems a special tea and I’d hate to ‘waste’ it if I didn’t like it.
Wow. This has a super malty/bready/honey sort of smell to it. Maybe a bit of cream mixed in. It’s mouthwatering. And I haven’t even taken a sip. Lol.
The first sip is very bready (almost reminds me of eating pita chips weirdly enough), but I don’t think I steeped it enough, or else I used too much water since it was slightly watery tasting to me. I probly pulled a major fau pas and just dropped to steeping basket back in for another 30 or so seconds and that seemed to help. Definitely got rid of the watery taste.
Wonderfully malty and a nice fullness to the sip.
I think I’d like to have this in my cupboard if Yunnan Sourcing wasn’t so daunting to order from. But maybe I’ll bite the bullet and finally place an order.
Flavors: Honey, Malt
Tea #1 from the (Mostly) Unflavored TTB.
So since I’m under a self ban from going/walking anywhere (I strained a thigh muscle at work the other day when a dolly stacked with boxes overbalanced and tried to squash me, then made my calf hurt when I limped on it all day at work the next day) I’m laid up with my leg on a heating pad (Which hopefully will help even though it’s the day after it happened). I figured I’ll try to get through some of the teas I pulled (which is a big pile) and grabbed this one first.
Lately I’ve been getting more into Keemuns in general where I used to be more into Yunnans. Yay for liking new things and blah for phasing out of things I used to like.
So this is smooth with just a faint bit of smoke/wood within the sip. Very pleasant. It’s also just a bit sweet by itself with just a slight edge of something possibly bitter (though a smidge of truvia took care of that). Honestly this was a very nice tea even without the bit of truvia and I think I could drink this one either way. It even stands up nicely sitting on my cup warmer for the last hour while I’ve been Rifting on D3 with my Mom. Though it has gotten the slightest bit astringent during. But nothing that I’m not willing to drink through since the tea is still tasty.
Now I’m not sure I’d make an order specifically for it, but if I was already ordering from Upton I’d likely toss this into my cart. It depends on the state of my cupboard at that time.
But a very nice tea indeed.
I’m assuming that this is the Keemun that I got from Ten Ren’s today, and since there isn’t another listing for a Keemun, I’ll just put my review here and make it my own. XD
And as much as I want to review the actual store, I’ll resist and just stick with the tea.
This review is based on having no idea for brewing parameters and just using my basic 1.5 tsp/12 oz @ 3min Boiling.
The tea definitely has a smoky smell to it brew wise. Not Lapsang in-your-face, but a definite woodsmoke smell.
Taste wise it’s got a nice smoky hint to it, along with a slightly almost sweet note (though that might be just residue from the spoon I was using to slurp since the mug really is too hot still to drink from). Mildly astringent and just bordering on a bit bitter for me. Next time I might do 2:30 min or try a lower temp on the water.
It’s honestly not the train wreck I was fearing it might be with me just guesstimating everything. I liked it better after adding a bit of Truvia to sweeten it, but then I always add sugar to my tea eventually. But this one is good enough to stand on it’s own. I’m not sure how it would handle milk though, not to mention that would be a bit weird to me. Lol!
So yeah, not a bad tea. Not the best Keemun that I’ve had (not that I have a huge worldly experience of Keemun), but I’ll certainly drink it eventually.
Geeze. I’ve had this for awhile and not even tried it. It was still heat sealed and everything and I wanted to get through the stuff that wasn’t first, so I guess that’s a good reason to keep passing over it. But no longer. Mainly because I just grabbed this first and put the container back before I could change my mind. Lol!
I was a bit hesitant about the amount suggested to use, which was 2 heaping tsp for 8 oz, but I went with it anyway, though my tsp were only mildly heaping. Though I did 3 tsp for 12oz instead.
Honestly, it turned out pretty good, though my infuser was almost exploding with leaves. It has a honey-like aroma though I don’t really detect any sort of peach notes that scream ‘peach’. Taste wise it’s slightly roasty, maybe a bit green and has a hint of honey/fruity lurking in the background. There’s little to no astringency and it’s a very mellow/mild tea. My brain seems kinda broke on trying to think up exactly what I’m tasting, so apologies. But I’m on vacation, so I’m allowed a little brain-not-in-service moment. Lol!
I added just a bit of Truvia since I like my tea sweet usually no matter what, but I can’t really tell I even added any. And to be honest, this tea was pretty nice without the sweetner, I just had to add it to see what it would do.
I’m not sure I’ll reorder it, mostly because I’m not sure I can reorder it what with Tazo being absorbed into Starbucks since I ordered this last. But I’ll definitely drink through the bag eventually.
Since the Nutmeg Cream wasn’t a big hit, and I didn’t really feel like something unflavored, I grabbed this out to try. I’ve had it long enough, so to speak, so I figured I’d better get to it eventually.
The dry is cute little Zhen Qu curls with chunks of carrot. I shook it slightly in the bag to mix everything up and got a puff of golden dust in thanks. Lol!
The brew definitely smells of carrot, with a faint hint of vanilla. Sipping at it I get some spice and a perfume-y taste/sensation, but I don’t get carrot cake. The perfume isn’t heavy or cloying. It’s like breathing a mellow, spicy blended potpourri, but in liquid form. (Alright, so maybe not the best description. Lol). It’s not unpleasant to drink, but it’s certainly not what I would expect from something that’s supposed to be modeled after/inspired by carrot cake.
Overall, it’s surprising that this wasn’t spot on like most of Stacy’s blends usually are. Maybe I have a skewed idea of what carrot cake should be? Dunno.
It’s still good and I’d drink it, but it’s not something I’d reach for often.
So Cavocorax had sent me a sample of this and I was pretty jazzed about being able to try it. Especially considering that I very nearly ordered it when it went up for sale on Butiki’s website, but resisted in the end.
There was alot of dust/particles in the bottom of the package. Maybe it was flavoring or something, but I made sure to shake it up so I didn’t miss some possibly vital part of the tea. In hindsight, I should’ve left it alone. XD
For some reason, I had gotten it in my head that this was Hazelnut Cream, so not getting hazelnut in the first sip was a bit of a start. Lol!
I haven’t really had nutmeg much (or really at all if I’m being honest) so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It has a strange sharp/spicy/nutty sort of smell that’s present in the taste. Along with an almost powdery sort of taste sensation. Hard to describe. I do get a sort of cream taste in the background that’s like a smooth undercurrent. Not sweet and adding a bit of Truvia didn’t really do much at all for the tea. There was also alot of particles in the bottom of my cup that I’m pretty sure added extra bitterness, so I guess I should’ve left it settled.
I’m pretty sure that I don’t much care for it, so I’m glad that I didn’t end up buying it, but still glad to try it. Apparently nutmeg is one of the flavors I just don’t care for. Lol!
So this is the second sample I got from Whispering Pines. The last one I had I kinda messed up on the measure so I figured I’d actually measure 1 1/2 tsp (1/2 tbsp) out so then I can have two regular mugs. Well, unfortunately the sample I got had barely 2 tsp in it so I just ended up making the whole sample again anyway. /sigh/ Oh well.
Taste wise I get fruity and kinda smoky, which is very nice. I also get a edge of bitterness which is probly from me using 2 ish tsp for my 12oz mug, but who knows.
I definitely like it better after adding a bit of truvia which tones down the bitterness.
In the end I might order some of this one day or if it’s on sale and I’m putting in an order anyway, but I don’t really feel the need to place an immediate order and hoard all. XD
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