165 Tasting Notes
I just realized I am nine blog posts away from my 200th post, awesome! I will have to do something fancy for my 200th post, maybe I will throw a tea party Other than being on the mend, having some snow flurries, and making stars, it has been a very basic uneventful day. Tomorrow or Friday, however, Ben has promised me a trip to the thrift store to get a new iron, hooray!
Today’s tea is A Rabbit’s Garden by Della Terra Tea, this unusual tea came to me by accident, I ordered the Try Me Sampler and one of the teas I selected were out of stock so they substituted this one. I was a bit miffed because I was really excited for the other tea, but hey, I like trying new things! This tea is a blend of Green Tea, Green Peas, Corn Kernels, Peach Pieces, Carrot Bits, and Lemongrass, this tea truly is a garden in a cup. The aroma is very peachy with corn sweetness, there is an underlying aroma of dried peas and slight vegetal green.The aroma is very sweet, it is like an orchard with peaches and fresh vegetation.
After giving the garden a good watering the aroma of the brewed leaves is still very sweet and fruity, best of all there is no aroma of lemongrass (I still don’t like lemongrass). There is more of a vegetal tone specifically peas and spinach. I have to admit the aroma is a little odd. The liquid is very mild, quite peachy but not as sweet, with a touch of corn as well. As a finishing note there is a bit of vegetal.
The taste is surprisingly good, like really surprising for a tea made out of peas and corn. Imagine drinking veggie broth (made from the instant dip or soup mix that comes in packets) and then immediately drinking peach juice. And having both tastes in your mouth. It is a strange blend of flavors but it not unpleasant. There are notes of peach, spinach, tart lemons, it is very vegetal and very fruity. Once the tea cools the corn adds a bit of a nutty taste, the aftertaste is lemony and sharp and leaves a dryness in the mouth.
Flavors: Peach, Peas
Joy! Celebration! Happiness! I am feeling better today, so much so that I left the bedroom and went back to my beloved tea lair. I am definitely on the recovery and I am so happy about it, I can even taste the nuanced layers in an oolong tea! I am not quite up to doing a tasting since my nose is still pretty stuffed, but I am so glad that I can taste things again that I don’t mind waiting. Luckily I have plenty of notes for just such an occasion.
Today’s tea is another of Shan Valley’s samples, the Black Tea to be precise! This CTC (crush tear curl, a method for processing Black Tea. For all the information you could want on this method of processing, I present this Wikipedia article for your knowledge hunting needs) is made from Black tea from Myanmar, as with the previous Shan Valley tea there are no steeping instructions so I winged it, steeping at 212 degrees for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. The aroma of the tea is quite rich and invigorating, blending strong sweet malty notes with rich nuttiness. It reminds me a bit of the aroma of a strongly nutty coffee, or even one of those fancy coffee tea blends that I have tried once or twice. There is a finishing aroma of roasted peanuts. The aroma of this tea certainly wakes up your nose.
The brewed tea leaves have a both earthy and malty aroma with a finishing sharpness. The sharpness reminds me of strong Kenyan CTC tea, there is a touch of sweetness at the finish. The liquid is bright and malty (and quite a lovely color) with a sweet creamy, almost fruity quality to the aroma.
Tasting time, I am sure this is going to give me a wakeup zing of caffeine, which is good since I was drinking this first thing in the morning. The first thing I notice is how smooth the tea is, it has a tiny bit of bitterness that gives it a bold quality and slight dryness. I have found that CTC teas are really hit or miss with me, actually a lot of them are a miss, usually I find them too abrasive, not necessarily too bitter, but too strong and lacking all subtlety. Usually these teas end up being drowned with cream and sugar because I don’t enjoy them straight. This tea, however, is on the end of the CTC spectrum that I enjoy! The taste is a blend of nuttiness, rich earthy notes, and a sweet finish of fruit. Out of curiosity I added a touch of cream and sugar and it was great, the perfect example of a breakfast tea. It retains its bold strength and rich nutty flavor, the cream adds a level of smoothness that compliments the already smooth tea, and the sugar highlights the fruity finish. If you are looking for a bold tea for breakfast, or want to make the switch from coffee to tea, I recommend this tea. I also recommend this tea for people who are making the transition from generic bagged black (think Lipton and its ilk) to a loose tea, who want a more transitional tea rather than jumping right in to the SFGTFOP Assam or Golden Yunnan type teas.
Flavors: Malt, Nuts
I am writing this from under a mound of blankets and pair of cats, still too sick to get out of bed, but certainly better than I was Saturday. I think my fever has finally broken for good (YAY!!) which means that I will be on the slow mend, personally I am most excited about my sense of smell and taste to return to normal so I can actually enjoy the things I am consuming. The Flu is gross, I do not wish it on anyone, if I am lucky I will be back to semi-normalcy by the end of the week.
Today I am reviewing Mountain Roasted Green Tea by Shan Valley, they were awesome and sent me very generous samples of their teas for review, the samples arrived on Thursday so I was able to get two of them tasted before the sickness took over. My one complaint with Shan Valley is they do not have steeping instructions for any of their teas, so I had to do some experimenting with brewing. The aroma of the rather large dried leaves is both nutty and vegetal, mixing roasted peanuts and chestnuts with the aroma of spinach and a touch of kelp. There is a finish of smokiness.
Once the leaves are steeped the aroma becomes a mix of roasted nuts and cooked spinach, it is mostly roasted nuts and the vegetal quality is mild. The liquid without the leaves is pretty mild, not much of an aroma except faint vegetal and a hint of popcorn.
The first attempt I steeped the tea at 170 degrees for 2 minutes, I found the taste was uninspiring. It tasted faintly honey sweet, faintly vegetal, faintly roasted, and faintly smoky. Faint is the word to take away, clearly I need to try warmer water.
Take two! 180 degrees for 2:30 minutes, the first thing I notice is the aroma of the liquid is stronger, more vegetal and the popcorn aroma is also more prominent. The taste is a bit bitter, like kale, in fact the vegetal tastes in this tea are like a blend of cooked spinach and kale. There is of course a roasted taste to this tea, like roasted chestnuts and popcorn, it has a sweet finish and has a popcorn aftertaste.
Out of curiosity I decided to brew some of this tea in my gaiwan, uncovered, using 180 degree water for one minute. I am not sure how much of it is psychological (because I enjoy it so much) but brewing anything in my gaiwan seems to make them taste better. I found that the flavors were slightly altered, the popcorn roasted flavor was much stronger and the vegetal bitterness from earlier is just plain old vegetal. At the end there is a faint fruity sweetness that pops up and is quite nice. Even though this tea did not make me jump up and down in awe and in a lot of ways was just average, I still found myself brewing multiple cups throughout the day. It has a charming, homey, quality about it that soothed my aching head and sore throat, it was perfect because it was so simple, I didn’t have to think about it at all. The tea tasted good, not at all intense, and kept me hydrated. I can see myself reaching for this tea on days when my allergies or a cold make me crave a mild, unassuming tea.
Yep, definitely been struck down by one of Apollo’s plague arrows, not sure if this is just the worst cold ever or the flu, but I am stuck in bed with an all cold liquid diet. I guess it is really good that I love ginger ale and sherbet, fruit smoothies, and soup. Now I will take a break between dopey cold medicine hazes to update my blog, but don’t be too surprised if I am a bit silent over the weekend.
Today is the last of the Teavivre Spotlight Week (business week of course) and it is Fengqing Ripened Tribute Pu-erh Cake Tea 2013 a Shu Pu-erh made from tea plucked from 50-100 year old large leaf arbor trees in 2006. Lovingly ripened until 2013 in Fengqing, Yunnan. The aroma of this tea is leather and very earthy, like wet loam and a touch gamy. There is a sharp finish like pine needles, the leaves certainly have a strong aroma, though not an unpleasant one.
Once the leaves have been rinsed and quickly steeped the aroma is richly piney and mildly earthy, the leather and gamy quality from the dry leaves has been replaced with fresh pine wood and sweet sap and honey. The liquid has a faintly floral quality and strong notes of pine wood which gives it an underlying sweetness.
The first steep is quite delicate, blending aged orchid (if I was an exceptionally skilled cultivator of orchids I could pick out the specific orchid it reminds me of) that has been flowering for at least a day. It fades to loam and finishes with a slightly bready quality.
The aroma of the second steep is a blend of loam and pine wood with the barest touch of cocoa. The taste is rich and loamy with a bitterness reminiscent of autumn leaves and oak galls. It is the bitterness of earthiness and not astringent, unripe fruit. The aftertaste is mildly sweet.
For the third steeping the aroma is mostly loam with just a hint of pine wood, the aroma reminds me specifically of oak leaves, but I might have spent way too much of my life sniffing forest floors, it is part of mushroom hunting. The taste is a bit more mild than the previous steep blending leather and loam with only a hint of the previous steep’s bitterness, as before there was a sweet aftertaste.
The fourth and final (at least for me) steep has the aroma of loam and that is all. The taste is all loam and leather with strong earthy undertones. The sweetness of the previous steeps is gone and you are left with a forest floor. This is certainly a Pu-erh I would recommend to someone who wants a bold, earthy Pu-erh. This is probably not my favorite type of Pu-erh, but it well crafted and enjoyable.
Flavors: Honey, Leather, Loam, Orchids
I am so very glad that I take notes in my tea notebook and that I tasted the teas I wanted to for this week, because yours truly has decided to catch some sort of nastiness. Either it is a cold, pharyngitis, or allergies (or my immune system playing some perverse game with me), whatever it is I feel awful and I would like it to go away. Sadly this does put a bit of a damper on my enjoyment of tea because my throat is so sore, when tea causes pain to sip you know you are in for a bad day. Luckily my brain seems to be functioning normally, so I can’t complain too much.
Today’s Teavivre tea is Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Chinese Red Black Tea, a Dian Hong without an equal, that is what the Nonpareil part of the name means. Hailing from Yunnan (It seems to be this week’s true theme) and plucked March of 2013, this tea is one of the most famous of China’s red (or black, your preference) teas. The aroma is quite sweet and fruity, a blend of cherries and stewed plums with a little whiff of cinnamon. There are also notes of molasses and a delicate floral finish that smells like violets. The floral note is very faint, reminiscent of a breeze carrying the aroma of flowers from a distant field.
Once the tea is brewed it keeps its stewed plums (and a touch of prunes) and adds a strong note of cocoa, there is also a faint hint of molasses. It smells quite sweet and a bit decadent. The aroma has a warmth to it that is pleasant. The liquid sans the leaf has a honey sweet aroma with a blend of creamy cocoa and light caramelized sugar.
The first steep of this tea has a very fruity flavor blending plums and prunes with a slightly sharp fruity note. Think sharp like the taste of a berry, though there is not a distinct berry taste, just the sensation. There is also a strong cocoa note that fades to a honey sweetness. In a word, tasty!
The aroma of the leaves for the second steep have a strong aroma of honey, cocoa, and plum fruit. The liquid is a sweet blend of indistinguishable fruit and flowers with a finish of honey. The taste is a delicious blend of fruit, honey, and cocoa with a finish of roasted peanuts. The peanut tastes lingers for a sweet and slightly roasted aftertaste.
For the third and final steep I notice that the wet leaves have a slightly spicy aroma similar to the dry leaves, with notes of cocoa and honey. The liquid is faintly sweet with a delicate note of fruit and a slight creaminess. The taste is richly cocoa with a hint of spice and a finish of fruit. The cocoa note is the strongest this time while the others are faint. This tea is mellow, sweet, and enjoyable, some of my favorite qualities in a black tea. The plum flavor and aroma give it a uniqueness that I found very enjoyable.
Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Plums
I had quite the spider related adventure yesterday, sitting at my desk I noticed a leggy specimen scuttling up the curtain, so I snagged a jar and popped it in. Turns out I had no idea what this spider was, it had legs like a crab spider and the body of a baby fishing spider and the coloring of a fishing spider. I was stumped so I posted photos on facebook which made my mom and grandmother worried it was a brown recluse (I live in the Brown Recluse Belt apparently, yikes) and I was pretty sure it wasn’t (what with it being black and gray and not matching in other aspects) but to be sure I posted photos of it on Bug Guide, a great place to get mystery buggies and arachnids identified. They were able to ID him as the Running Crab Spider (I knew those legs looked crabby!) from the family Philodromidae. I think that my basement lair will be seeing a lot more spiders as it warms up.
Today’s tea only has one thing in common with spiders, they both are found in trees. Fengqing Arbor Tree Ripened Puerh Cake Tea 2010 is made from the leaves of arbor trees that are 50-100 years old, I find that pretty awesome. Hailing from the Puerh home of Yunnan, China, this tea was picked in 2008 and given a nice dry storage for two years. The aroma of these compressed leaves has a great blend of loam, wet pine wood, and leather. There is a sweetness about the leaves that resembles sap, specifically pine sap, and a touch of caramelized sugar. I think my favorite thing about Puerh tea is how they seem to frequently remind me of forests, this one has a forest floor quality.
Once the tea is given a double rinse (first time I have ever done that) and steeped the aroma is much sweeter with notes of caramelized sugar and molasses with warm woody quality and a finish of loam. The liquid also has a sweet quality with notes of cocoa and molasses, and finishes on a warm loam and earthy notes.
The first steeping starts off quite strong with a mix of earthiness and loam. The midtaste is like leather and a hint of pine wood. The finish is molasses like and has a sweet aftertaste. This tea has a very smooth start and is quite tasty.
The aroma of the leaves for the second steeping is sweet and loamy, there is a tiny hint of mushroom at the finish really tying in the forest floor imagery in my head. The liquid also is quite loamy but it also has notes of pine wood and leather. The taste is quite strong, rich leather and loam with a warm finish of pine sap that leaves a lingering sweetness in the mouth.
For the third steep the aroma of the leaves is all loam all the time, it is very foresty and quite nice. The liquid however is mostly pine themed, with a blend of wet pine wood and pine needles. The taste of this steep has a bit of bitterness, a bitter earthiness to be exact, but it fades to loam pretty quickly. The aftertaste is sweet and piney.
I should apologize, according to Teavivre’s website this tea can be steeped up to eleven times, but I only got to four because yours truly decided to leave the tea lair for a snack and then promptly got distracted and then fell asleep. I was going to start all over and redo the steepings today, but with my throat being so sore I worry I could not do it justice. The aroma of the leaves is much the same as the previous steeping, as is the aroma of the liquid. The taste however has much stronger pine qualites giving it a woody sweetness that is fantastic. I have become rather enamored of Puerh tea that tastes like a pine forest and strongly recommend this tea if you are a fan of all things pine. I can certainly see this tea lasting for much longer.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Leather, Loam, Pine, Wood
Well it finally happened, I saw the inevitable coming for months now, but it seems the end has finally arrived. My iron has kicked the bucket. Of course it decided to die in the middle of fusing a massive project (luckily it was for myself and not for my shop or worse, a custom order) so my epic tea mat is fused unevenly. It is frustrating but salvageable (I think) when I am able to get a new iron (no idea when that will be, curse you lack of money!!) but I am mostly frustrated because I was feeling inspired to make some awesome perler creations and mini hama creations and now I can’t. Darn. Ah well, at least I still have my origami stars and of course tea to occupy myself with.
Today’s tea from Teavivre is Fengqing Zhuan Cha Raw Puerh Brick Tea 2005 and has the honor of being the oldest Puerh that I have tried. This lovely tea hails from the land of Yunnan, China, an area that is famous for its tea (especially Puerh), it is made from 30-40 year old large leaf arbor tea trees and was picked between May and June of 2005. The aroma of the dry and compressed leaves is sweet like pine wood, loam, and vegetation. It smells like a forest in late summer, mixing abundant growth and decay, humidity and wood. It is a wonderful smell for someone who spent many a day like that deep in a forest drinking up the various aromas that nature provides. I think the best teas are the one’s whose taste or aroma transport you to a place in your memory. Poetic waxing aside, there is a finish of peanuts and cocoa that is extremely faint, almost the ghost of a smell.
Once I rinse and give the leaves a brief steeping the aroma becomes a blend of cooked spinach, rich oak loam, sweet old hay, and a touch of barnyard. This tea took a walking tour of the forest and walked into a farm, a fascinating transition. The liquid is sweet hay in both appearance and aroma, with a sprinkling of pine needles giving it a slightly sharp green and pine sap aroma as well.
Ok, I hope you all are ready because I got a whopping seven steepings out of this tea and I took notes on them all! The first steeping is nothing short of fascinating (I feel I will use this word a lot with this tea) the mouthfeel is thick, not oily, but thick. It feels like with each sip my mouth fills with saliva along with the tea, it is an odd sensation but not unpleasant. The initial taste is faint, like old straw, but by the time it reaches the midtaste it picks up notes of spinach and peanuts. The aftertaste is bold and lingers leaving the taste of faintly sweet peanuts and mild vegetal.
The second steeping has a powerfully vegetal aroma, mixing cooked spinach and beans, it took me a moment to place the specific bean but to me it smells like lima beans. There is also the loam and forest aroma from previously. The liquid, well in my notebook I wrote ‘it smells like hay and liquid gold joy’, I still think it is an accurate description. The taste is still a blend of peanuts, cooked spinach and lima beans, but there is a sourness, like a hint of tamarind, which certainly makes me salivate a lot. It fades to a subtle sweetness at the end.
Third time around the aroma of the leaves and liquid is much the same as the second, except there is a honey quality to the liquid that was not there previously. The taste is a blend of old hay and lima beans with a slightly metallic quality. The midtaste is vegetal like cooked spinach and the aftertaste is sweet and like fresh hay.
The fourth steeping’s leaves are mildly vegetal and fresh hay, not as potent as the previous steeps but still full of aromas. The liquid is honey sweet and fresh hay, golden and pretty. This steep was pretty interesting, there is a bitterness that was not present before, vegetal qualities of lima beans and cooked spinach, it is quite the savory veggie broth. The mouthfeel has gone back to being thick, like the first steep, and the aftertaste is like loam.
The fifth steeping has a faint vegetal and mild, slightly sweet hay aroma to its wet leaves, the liquid has very little aroma, just a hint of sweetness and hay. The taste is initially sweeter, it fades to a sweet vegetal decay (it sounds gross, but think Black Trumpet mushrooms, so yummy) and hay. It now has a dry mouthfeel and sourness to it that lasts into the aftertaste.
The sixth steeping’s leaves have only the aroma of faint vegetal left, the liquid is the same as last steep, faint and barely there. This is the first time the tea starts to loose its footing, it is starting to taste watery with hints of lima beans, spinach, and hay. The aftertaste is faintly sour.
The final steeping is truly the finished tea, there is very little aroma left at all, just the ghost of previous scents. The taste is faint honey sweet hay and a hint of sourness, that is all. This tea was fascinating, I am not really sure I liked it, but I did certainly enjoy the experience. I spent the entire day with this tea and I do not regret it, especially since it gave me a little golden piece of summer.
Flavors: Lima Beans
I have an interesting week planned out for myself. Mostly craft related, I want to do a little perler bead crafting while also folding stars, it is my goal to fill up the large pickle jar I have been working on for the past two weeks. Since I feel like I am trying to catch a cold or something I figure a nice relaxing crafty week with lots of tea is in order. If I am really lucky my other plan of finishing my tea research will be finished this week as well. Good times all around.
Today’s tea starts a week looking at some Black and Pu Erh Teas from Teavivre. Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea-Golden Tips was harvested in March of 2013 in Fengqing County, Yunnan, it is one of the most famous black teas in China, this beautiful gold pile of leaves is the highest grade available. The aroma of this golden tea is a blend of roasted peanuts and cocoa, but it is not the sweet aspects of these things, the aroma is quite savory. There is also a finishing note of beet root that gives the tea a slightly earthy quality.
Giving the teas a steeping in my gaiwan sadly removes the beautiful gold flocking (I know that is not the technical term for the beautiful fuzzy trichomes, but it does seem to fit). The aroma is quite sweet now bringing in notes of cherry and sweet cocoa along with roasted peanuts. The poured off liquid smells buttery sweet and creamy with notes of roasted nuts and a hint of cherries.
The first steeping is quite rich and strong, there is a roasted nuts and dark chocolate quality that leaves a dry mouth and slight bitterness. It almost reminds me of a really high quality coffee (specifically it reminds me of Sumatra Mandheling, the only coffee I still can tolerate) but with a much smoother taste. The tea finished with a sweetness that creeps in at the midtaste and blooms into honey sweetness at the end and lingers.
The second steep has the same roasted nuts and cocoa quality of the first steep but the sweetness shows up significantly earlier. There is still a dry mouthfeel and slight bitterness that wakes up the mouth and makes the taste buds alert and happy. There is also a loamy quality which blends really well with the nuttiness and sweetness present in the tea. I really enjoyed this tea, when I drank it, it was with my dinner, but I can certainly see this as a morning tea.
Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Honey, Loam, Nuts
I had quite the scare Friday night, I dropped my external hard drive and broke the casing, snapping the usb port off, meaning no access to my external hard drive. That is where I keep all my photos, because my computer has this weird quirk that if I try to edit, upload, or look at photos that are not on my external hard drive it causes my browser to crash. It drove me crazy, taking sometimes an hour just to add photos to a blog post, but there was an easy fix. I thought I would be able to get a replacement casing the next morning but Ben was too busy to take me to the store, and was not sure when he would have time. I was panicking because I wanted to update my blog, but he found time today and got me a spare casing in case of emergency. Hooray!
Today’s tea has a delightfully long name, Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Concubine Oolong by Eco-Cha Artisan Teas. This tea has a fascinating story behind it, its production depends on a small insect (a leaf hopper to be exact) biting the leaves of the tea causing the plant to have an immune response giving the tea a unique taste. This tea is slightly different than the other version of bug bitten tea, Oriental Beauty, by having the leaves tightly rolled rather than curled. The aroma is honey sweet with roasted almonds, sesame seeds, and pine nuts. It reminds me of a snack, specifically those delightful candies made from sesame seeds and honey that might be one of my favorite treats ever. This oolong is a great blend of sweetness and nuttiness, there is also a mild hint of peanut butter on the finish.
Brewing the leaves the aroma is still richly sweet but there are now sharp notes of fruit and osmanthus flowers with roasted nuts and a faint hint of lettuce. The liquid once poured off the leaves and out of the gaiwan after its short little steeping has floral notes and stewed veggies, specifically spinach though there is also notes of lettuce (though not stewed since who stews lettuce?) and the roasted nut aroma that has been present throughout.
The first steeping’s taste is quite rich with a creamy, almost oily mouthfeel. The taste is an intensely floral blend on osmanthus and gardenia. The floral tastes fades to roasted pine nuts and sorrel in the middle, that fades to a wildflower honey taste that lingers in the mouth.
The second steeping’s leaves have an incredibly floral aroma blending osmanthus and gardenia (so glad I bought osmanthus flower a while ago so I know what that smell is, it is very distinct!) The liquid is honey sweet with notes of osmanthus and roasted pine notes. The taste is intense! The mouth feel is dry in comparison to the first steep, the floral note is mostly osmanthus now, but the roasted nuts taste is the most prevalent. It fades to sorrel and ends on a faintly sweet note.
The third steeping has a crisp aroma of osmanthus and pine nuts, the liquid smells much the same as the leaves but with a touch more sweetness. The taste starts off with the roasted nuts and sorrel taste which fades to an osmanthus midtaste. There is an interesting finish blending honey sweet and slight sourness, similar to a citrus sourness but without the citrus taste. This tea is quite fascinating and complex, I have had many oolongs that have nutty, floral, or vegetal qualities, but never all of them at once and so distinct. Looks like being nibbled on by bugs really does make for a unique taste, this does not mean I will let mosquitoes bite me during the summer though.
Flavors: Flowers, Nuts
I made an amazing discovery the other day, in 2011 Thundercats got a reboot. Yes, that Thundercats, the ridiculous 80s cartoon (one not based on a toy line, how unique!) with aliens, cat people, MUM RA THE EVER LIVING, and other awesome things that made it one of my favorite childhood shows. I didn’t have high hopes since the He-Man reboot was awful, but so far it has been amazing! It seems more adult (the death toll is astronomical thanks to all out war) the animation is great, and Snarf is an adorable pet instead of an 80s sidekick abomination. I am a very happy geek.
Today’s tea is a heavily roasted Dong Ding from Eco-Cha Artisan Tea. This tea is from Yong Long Villiage just above the Dong Ding (also spelled Tung Ting, translates to Frozen Summit) mountain at 750m and was gathered autumn of 2013. This will be my first roasted Dong Ding, I am excited since I love unroasted Dong Ding, seeing the transition of flavor and aroma will be enjoyable. The aroma is richly roasted like roasted pine nuts and toasted chestnuts. There are also notes of baking bread, molasses, and an underlying sweetness. As a finishing note there is a roasted coffee like aroma that is very faint but still noticeable.
Giving the tightly curled leaves a soak in my gaiwan reveals strongly roasted notes with toasted nuts and mild dried tobacco notes. There are also hints of roasted chicory and a note of floral. Oddly the floral aroma is also roasted, it is hard to describe other than roasted flowers, but it is quite nice and sweet. The liquid is a mixture of honey and molasses with toasted nuts and a hint of burnt chocolate.
The first steeping is as expected quite roasted with delicious notes of roasted nuts, molasses, cocoa, and honey. There is also strong floral notes of osmanthus which blends really well with the roasted and sweet notes. It is very rich and powerful, this is not a steeping that does ballet across your taste-buds, it break dances.
The second steep brings more unfurling of the leaves and an even stronger roasted quality to the aroma, I would even say it is a bit smoky. The liquid also has a much stronger roasted aroma but with honey sweet notes as well. As for the taste, well, it is intensely roasted and the vaguely smoky notes give the tea a slight bitterness that fades to a sweet aftertaste. There is more than just roast and smoke with this steeping, there is also notes of dried fruit and osmanthus flowers.
The third and final steep, well final for me, I am pretty sure this tea has a few more steepings in it but I am starting to slosh around when moving. The aroma of the leaves that are practically pushing the lid off my gaiwan are roasted and with a sharper roasted chicory note along with a definite pine nut aroma. The liquid is also very nutty and a touch sweet. Tasting the tea fills my mouth with roasted pine nuts and a touch of smoky notes. There is also the faint bitterness accompanied with a dry mouthfeel. This tea can best be described as robust, I would reccomend someone who is making the coffee to tea transition give it a try because it has similar qualities but with the recognizable floral qualities of an oolong. This tea was a fun change of pace from my usual unroasted and heavily sweet and floral oolongs, I can definitely see myself seeking this tea out during fall and winter when I want that robust roasted flavor.