1518 Tasting Notes
I ended up using my entire 7 gram sample packet for this pot of Superfine Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong, in part, because the dark little nuggets were so deceptively small. It just did not look like very much tea at all.
In reality, the nuggets unfurl by the third infusion to produce huge, whole, perfect leaves. To my amazement, the volume of the wet leaves filled nearly half the pot! What a stunning metamorphosis!
Equally amazing is the delicious taste of this oolong—all the way through four distinct but equally delicious steeps. The flavor is lightly floral and super smooth like silken cream, fading slightly more with each successive infusion.
I decided to save the fourth infusion to imbibe iced tomorrow as the forecast is for more 90F+ weather.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral
This tea has a more rugged personality than either Mao Fengs or the one other Mao Jian I’ve tried (from Nourishtea). There is a strong, dark vegetal quality but something more as well. In fact, I was struck immediately upon opening my new bag by the scent of something akin to, of all things, … prosciutto!
Today’s batch seemed more vegetal than meaty, but it still had a lot of ruggedness to it. Definitely better for savory than sweet cuisine.
Flavors: Meat, Vegetal
Today, September 3, 2014, was a historic day chez sherapop: her first experience ever of a darjeeling oolong tea!
I had no idea what to expect. First off, the dried leaves are beautifully variegated in color, size, shape, and texture. There are a fair amount of very attractive shiny silken textured tips among some darker, chocolate brown leaves and lighter, grayish-green leaves. The scent of the dried tea is definitely more darjeeling than oolong, but it’s a lighter, less grassy, and less nutty darjeeling.
The brewed tea, was more of a light peachy than a golden amber color, and tasted like … drum roll … darjeeling-scented oolong! Of course the “flavoring” comes from the tea itself, not from anything added. The texture is more like oolong, with the same juicy succulence found in lower oxidation oolongs.
I was very happy with this glass and decided to try a second infusion, since oolongs are always good for multiple steeps. This one was no exception to that rule, so I hereby do fully and truly aver that this darjeeling is an oolong! On the scale of green to black oolongs, I’d say that this is more fully oxidized, but since all darjeeling “black” teas are really oxidized to 90%, I’d guess that this one is more like 60%.
I now have the aluminum test tube set of Le Palais des Thé’s Signature Classics. I bought the green set first, and then I decided to buy the classics as well because I am obsessed with the test tubes. Difficult to believe, perhaps, but nonetheless true…
The good new is that this Margaret’s Hope loose leaf is better than the cotton muslin pillow case version—at least it seemed better today! I should say that I used quite cool water: only 80C, and my usual 3 minutes for darjeeling. The light amber liquor was very tasty and smooth and not at all grassy, interestingly enough.
I should be able to make two more glasses with what’s left in the tube after removing 3 grams today. Then I’ll be using the test tube to store small amounts of tea. I should probably add that I bought these sets from a social-shopping site for a fraction of MSRP.
I am getting ready to expand the HRH Emperor Oliver Custom Blends Collection at Adagio (shoppers: take note! http://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/my_blends_2.html ), so I thought that I’d raise a glass of this yummy white tea blend in His honor on this very humid early evening two weeks before the first anniversary of his departure from the terrestrial realm.
This tea is good. I’m glad that I have a supply of it on hand, as it is currently “unavailable” chez Adagio. Has anyone else noticed that many custom blend ingredients seem to be nearly continuously out of stock?
This is my very first Phoenix Dan Cong experience, also thanks to the great oolong sample pack from Teavivre. I believe that I paid for this set, but I am grateful nonetheless for the opportunity to try such a wide array of fine teas! I’m pretty sure that I’ll end up eventually trying each and every one of their excellent offerings…
I have been focusing on the greenish, low-oxidation oolongs as I make my journey through the vast universe of Chinese tea. This oolong, however, is far more oxidized and produces a peachy-amber color similar to a light darjeeling (since darjeeling is on my mind!). Of course the taste is completely different. I’m not really sure, actually, how to describe this flavor. It tastes about midway between a rich bready black and a smooth and silken creamy green oolong—logically enough!
I love the range of flavors and textures of oolong teas. I’m sure that I’ll be ordering some more of this one after my sample is depleted.
I see that this tea is apparently salubrious as well as tasty (see Teavivre’s note about this). It’s always nice to know that we get extra benefits from drinking teas which are worth drinking for the experience alone!
Our ambient weather conditions in Boston today are empirically indistinguishable from a steam bath, so I figured this would be a good time for my very first iced Earl Grey experience.
I brewed up three filterbags in about 16 ounces of water and observed the liquor becoming progressively darker reddish-brown (read: Assam) over the course of a few minutes. I removed the bags and let the tea “cool” down a bit before pouring some over a glass of ice.
Well, it’s not very good. It’s quite bitter, a problem which I would address in a hot brew with a slosh of cream. Somehow the idea of cream in iced tea does not sound very appealing. It’s not quite a contradiction in terms, and I certainly have imbibed my share of cream-laden iced drinks (Frappuccinos, etc.), but I am debating adding some True Lemon instead, to turn this into a full-on lemon-tinged black iced tea…
update: I added a hefty spoonful of True Lemon and then the brew reminded me of instant iced lemon tea from my childhood in the burbs of a land-locked state. At first I tried to drink it, because I needed caffeine. But then I asked myself: Why am I doing this? I mean, it’s not as though I have some sort of tea shortage chez moi! ;-) I tossed the rest and brewed a new batch of a different tea.
I brewed up another glass of this Namring Estate 2nd Flush Darjeeling from Upton by way of Steepster Select. I’ve been exploring the second flush darjeelings from Golden Tips and was wondering how this would measure up in comparison. I think that it’s not as good, but it’s true that I used only half of my envelope, so 2.2 grams (it contained 4.5 grams) for about 8 ounces of water. I kept the temperature cooler (82C rather than the Steepster Select recommendation of 100C—which is a big mistake, imnsho), and I brewed for about 3 minutes.
The resultant liquor was amber colored and pretty good but not great. I do not believe that darjeelings can be successfully re-steeped, but I tried last time (Steepster Select says on the envelope that it’s good for 3 re-steeps!). It tasted like dishwater, so I’m not bothering this time.
Does anyone in the universe, aside from Steepster Select, recommend that darjeeling be re-steeped? I’ve never read it anywhere. It seems like a ploy to make the program seem to cost less than it does. You do not, my tea-infused friends, get four 12 ounces cups of tea from this envelope. No, you do not.