912 Tasting Notes
Backlogging tea of yesterday afternoon…..
Very pretty! Long wiry black leaves with rose petals and pieces of citrus peel. Dry leaf smells strongly of chocolate, but there is not much of the bergamot. I will do a more in depth review later, but my first impressions of the brewed tea were heavy on the dark chocolate (definitely not in a bad way, though) and very light on the bergamot and rose. I also had time for only one steeping. I am going to let it sit for a week to see if the flavor oils will blend in a little more before trying it again. Right now, I wish the bergamot was a little more present.
Usual mug method.
Another tea of the afternoon…..
This is the second tea in my recent Dammann Freres order. I am always on the look out for a good Earl Grey. It is definitely my tea preference in the warmer months. I was looking for an Earl Grey at Dammann that was available loose (because the loose teas packaged in a bag are a great value in my opinion!), and this is what I picked because it seemed the simplest Earl in their current offerings. They do have one with Yin Zen white tips in the black tea blend, but this one just looked prettier. In sachets, they also have a plain Earl Grey. Since the blue flowers in this one are cornflowers and not lavender, I figured I would be safe (as lavender is usually a turn off for my palate.)
This is really good! I would call it lower on the bergamot intensity, but not as low as something like Earl Grey Supreme from Harney. It is more like a mellow version of bright bergamot. Let me explain that! My favorite Earl Grey has bright notes of bergamot…kind of an in your face bergamot that leans slightly orangey. You definitely know it is there. That version works because it is on a slightly stronger tea base. Since the tea base here is a little more relaxed, and the bergamot level is perfectly matched to the strength of the base, it is a more mellow and relaxed version of my favorite. No hints of floral on the perfumey side which I don’t like at all, but leaning slightly to the orange side of bergamot. I now count this one among my favorites.
Usual mug method.
Tea of the afternoon…..
I almost typed “second tea of the morning”, but we are getting a slow start today. Yesterday was full of activity, and it ended with going to the Drive In Movie to see “Brave” and the “Avengers”. If you know anything about that kind of movie watching, it means a late night as the second show did not even start until nearly midnight. We are moving a little slow today. The kids slept in until noon. Ahh, Summer. But man we need to work on readjusting our schedule a little!
It took just a little over a week to receive an order from Dammann in Ohio. They provide great tracking, but unless you know French, you will need to type a few things into Google Translate. There are a few fields on the page returned from tacking that did not translate in my browser. I did have to sign for mine, so that is also something to keep in mind.
Onto the tea…I purchased a tin/caddie as well as a 100g bag of Gout Russe. Originally, I was thinking that Gout Russe (the tin) and Gout Russe Douchka (the loose version) were two different teas, but it seems they are the same since the tin actually reads Gout Russe Douchka, too. I wish I had ordered something different, but I do love this one, so I am sure I will drink it. The bags for loose tea are not actually sealed, but the roll up kind with a long bendable tab. They did send a few sachets for sampling.
Wonderful China black tea base with orangey citrus done so well it almost leans slightly foral. I love this!
Usual teapot method.
Tea of the morning…..
My first order from Verdant! I am definitely impressed. I ordered a few ounces of this along with the new Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black. Really, it was the new Alchemy blend that put me over the edge, because this company has been on my list for a long time. I also received a sample of the Yunnan Jin Jun Mei….I was hoping my sample would be another black tea because I completely forgot to request one! I am so excited to try them all as I’m a stuck in a phase where only black teas sound good and my greens, oolongs, and a few whites are probably feeling neglected. I think in this instance, it just makes sense to go with it, rather than forcing myself to drink all of the lovely teas that are not in the category I am craving.
This is rich and wonderful. I get notes of dark chocolate, and even a bit of coffee. It is very thick on the palate for a black tea. While it does not have much in the way of smokey notes like my beloved Keemun Mao Feng, this will definitely need to be renamed my beloved Laoshan Black. It kind of reminds me of Emperor’s Red from Premium Steap and tastes like a more refined version of some of the gong fu blacks I have been drinking. I am thoroughly enjoying it, and a little sad I did not try it sooner.
Mug method with a resteep only minutes away. Just the lightest touch of sweet to bring out the dark chocolate notes, even though this is a black tea that I could drink straight.
Edit to add: Second steep was fabulous. I agree with Angrboda that it is cinnamony! I upped the rating a little. LOVE!
Tea of the morning….
I needed this today. Just enough smoke to wake me up. A good balance of malt and kick. Lower on the cocoa notes and honey notes that I usually drink. A hint of breadiness.
I highly recommend playing around with your moderate to inexpensive teas to come up with something completely suited to your palate. It is like home in the morning, if that makes sense.
Special thanks to ScottTeaMan for the awesome product pic!
Usual teapot method.
Backlogging tea of yesterday afternoon… (SRP #47)
This one is from Dinosara! Thank you for the chance to try this one.
I was not sure what to expect, but with Earl and Grey in the title, I thought it would be something I would enjoy. I steeped it up at least twice, and sipped it a few times, but it did not hold my interest for very long. I don’t think that is completely the fault of the tea. I was not expecting the prevalent notes of vanilla/cream and a perfumy version of bergamot. I think it is just slightly on the soapy side of floral. I am also not in a phase where I like vanilla much. Vanilla seems to be seasonal for me in that I appreciate it more in the cooler months. I am not rating this one as it was a poor choice for timing on my part and I should have at least saved the sample until Fall. As far as it being a cream version of Earl Grey, I do think it an interesting one. I am just leaning toward citrus and berry versions more and more in the warm months.
I am glad to have tried it, though. The perfumy bergamot is probably a deal breaker for me at this point even though it is light.
Usual mug method.
Backlogging tea of the morning….. (SRP #46)
I really do like this one. I almost bought without sampling just because many of those who like similar teas than me are fans of this one. But then I remembered that I had many versions of a good basic black tea in my cupboard at this time. So I opted for a sample to see if it would be good for purchasing at a later date.
For those who are not fans of the smokey notes in Keemun, this one is for you. Lightly chocolatey, malty, a hint of caramel, and a light bit of bite at the front of the sip to make it interesting. I do think it is worthy of having a place in my cupboard, but I need to pare down the stash of good basic blacks for a little while longer. It is going on the list.
Usual teapot method. Lightly sweetened.
Tea of the morning….
And this has come to take up residence in my cupboard. For some who are tea addicted, that might not seem very significant, but I am on the “paring down the stash” phase rather than the ramping it up. Additions to the stash at this point have to be exceptional to secure a place there. I am sure it is just part of the progression.
Leaves are medium length, with a good sprinkling of bright golden tips (brighter than the product photo in my opinion.) Very light on the notes of smoke, but everything else fits the profile of a good Keemun. This one also has a heavier mouthfeel than most of the Keemuns I have been drinking. It was the heftiness and body that made me pull the trigger on the purchase since the last version of Keemun in my cupboard was kind of thin. Yes, this one costs a little more, but it is worth it!
Usual teapot method.
Tea of the morning… (SRP #45)
Leaves are large and loosely packed due to their size and very dark brown. The tea brews up a little lighter than I expected. Not a very red brew, but somewhere more caramel in color. Resteeps well which does help offset the cost a little. Definite notes of honey, but much lower on the cocoa notes that I usually search for on this type of tea. I don’t get as much of a complexity that I would need from a tea in this price range (just over $17 for 80 grams). I would choose Imperial Golden Monkey for a similar flavor profile from Upton at a slightly better price.
Usual teapot method at 4 minutes. Resteep at 5.
Tea of the afternoon….. (SRP #44)
I have had this sample in my stash since last November. Not sure why I have not tried it until now, but I am pleasantly surprised. The tea base is very smooth and complements the almond flavor very well. Yes, pleasantly surprised. I find it very relaxing. And very much like dessert in a cup. I would definitely consider purchasing some.
Usual mug method. Lightly sweetened.