1523 Tasting Notes
“Reunited and it feels so good… Reunited and it’s understood…”
Okay, sorry for the sappy pop lyrics, but my new tin of Vanilla Comoro has arrived! It’s like a reunion with an old and very dependable friend. That’s because this tea is consistently good. I even debated buying a full pound, but then I realized that it would be better to get a second tin, that way when I buy the loose I’ll be able to split it between the two tins.
Yes, indeed, I am very serious about this bedtime brew! It’s the best for wintertime and now that we are having milder weather, I leapt at the opportunity to enjoy some again. ;-)
This afternoon I tried some of the “test tube” loose-leaf Mao Feng Impérial from Palais des Thés. My first impression was that the dried tea does not look at all like Mao Feng. I’ve tried several different Mao Fengs, and they all have a dark wiry and pretty uniform leaf form. The contents of my aluminum test tube contains every kind of leaf and its mother, brother, sister, father, uncle, and cousin. There were even little broken twigs—like tiny tree branches. Really!
The liquor was pale greenish gold, and the taste was good, but not specifically Mao Feng—at least not to me. I take both the visual and the gustatory evidence to support my conclusion that this is a blend, not a single-origin Mao Feng. To me this seems more like a cross between Tamaryokucha, Long Jing, and Mao Feng (or even Mao Jian)!
A funny thing happened tonight while I was preparing a large Bodum of Numi Chamomile Lemon looseleaf infusion. I opened up the clamp jar, and to my surprise saw a tiny beetle crawling around inside! At first I panicked, thinking that maybe I should throw it all out. But then I did not see any other beetles, and I remembered that Numi teas are all organic. Maybe that’s the price you pay?
Then I started to think about filter bags, and it occurred to me that filterbags may all contain ground up bugs in them, especially since they are made with picked over floor sweepings—or so it seems. What do you think?
Anyway, the infusion was good, and I’m not going to throw the rest of my huge bag away! I haven’t looked inside, though. Let’s hope that there was only that one tiny beetle in the whole batch…
I drank this dragon well from Teavivre earlier today (before two glasses of darjeeling), but somehow I neglected to log it. Which is funny, because I thought quite a lot about it while preparing and drinking it.
Once again, I was surprised at the disparity between the shapes and sizes of these leaves, many of which are quite large and especially broad, compared to the higher-grade dragon well. Why the surprise? Because this tea tastes just as good to me! I really am going to have to do a steep-off one of these days. I’ll need to enlist a friend to mix up the glasses for me so that I am not burdened by expectations. It will be very interesting to see how they measure up sip-to-sip and sniff-to-sniff with no knowledge of which of the two liquors was produced from irregularly shaped leaves (and costs a lot less for that reason, and that reason alone, it seems to me…).
Today’s new darjeeling experience chez sherapop is this lovely Arya Ruby second flush from Golden Tips. The harvest date is June 27, 2014, so not very long ago. The dried leaves are mostly quite dark and spindly, but there are also a fair number of lighter silver tip as well.
The liquor is nearly orange, so definitely darker than first flush darjeelings. The dried tea is incredibly fragrant, with a rich floral and woody aroma. Why this tea could be a perfume! It’s definitely more complex than many of the abstract perfumes being produced today. Well, that’s another story.
The flavor is very rich as well. I’m not really sure how to describe it. How about delicious?
I am happy that these sample packets from the excellent Golden Tips subscription program contain a full 10 grams, which means that I’ll be able to try this tea two more times…
Flavors: Floral, Wood
Here I am once again, back at my private “Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling Autumn Flush 2012 FTGFOP1 from Norbu” blog.
Today’s glass was lovely, as always! I am definitely using this tea as a palate cleanser between green and new darjeelings…
Interestingly, a thread in the forum poses the question whether any Steepsters drink darjeeling. My hypothesis is that because darjeeling is so very easy to ruin by overheating or oversteeping, many people had early negative experiences and assumed (as many neophytes about green tea do as well…) that all darjeeling is bitter and overwhelmingly grassy.
Properly steeped, it’s a wonderful tea!
While drinking this Anxi Benshan Oolong tonight, I began thinking about how peculiar it is that we seek to dissect our tea experience into discrete flavor notes. It reminds me of what I’ve seen a lot of while traveling: when people take pictures of everything all the time and seem to miss out on actually looking at anything, because they are too busy trying to capture it on film. I suppose that the selfie craze and phone cameras have made this sort of behavior quite a bit more common than it was in the twentieth century.
There’s actually a more profound issue here, too. We analyze our experience into small packets to which we can attach words. But they are inadequate to (and in some ways falsify) the larger, synthetic experience. N’est-ce pas?
I had no idea what to expect from this Thurbo Winter Wonder Autumn Flush Darjeeling from Golden Tips, because the leaves look very different from most darjeelings. The color is mainly a sort of sienna brown, with some shades of brownish green dispersed as well, and the shapes are quite variegated, with many open, torn leaves, and fewer compactly twisted longer pieces.
I was a bit surprised, because I’ve been enjoying Margaret’s Hope Autumn Flush (see my mini blog for more on that: http://steepster.com/teas/norbu/47145-margarets-hope-darjeeling-autumn-flush-2012-ftgfop1), but the leaf form is completely different.
I used exactly the same brewing parameters: 3 grams; 10 ounces; 3 minutes at 81C, and to my surprise the liquor turned out bright yellowish orange—much brighter than most amber-colored darjeelings.
The good news is that the cup was delicious! The flavor is definitely different—less nutty than the Margaret’s Hope, but very smooth and enjoyable. Clearly I am a fan of autumn flush, though until recently that was unbeknownst to me. I suspect that many blends include some autumn flush mixed in, but I can now aver ex cathedra that there is nothing third-class about Third Flush Darjeeling! (Well at least not Thurbo or Margaret’s Hope.)