641 Tasting Notes
For the first time in what seems like ages (it really hasn’t been that long, just feels like it) I got mail! There was an adorably tiny box sitting by my door with China Post labels and a list of the contents inside, which was a teapot! A while ago I did a thing on Influenster that landed me a $25 ebay gift card (and I have another on the way, happy dance) and I was browsing on ebay right before Chinese New Year…for teapots…like I do…and found a shop having a sale on a beautiful little Zi Sha Xi Shi, claimed to be handmade, so I said, why not? I have wanted a Xi Shi for my Green Oolongs for a while (my original Green Oolong pot shall be repurposed for either Bao Zhong or Osmanthus Oolong, I love that pot, but the top handle makes it a giant pain to clean, so using it for a tea I do not drink as much of works for me) because this pots are adorable, I call them sphere pots and have decided that mine is a dude for some reason. Perhaps I shall call it Baron Harkonnen because I am not a good person.
So, it is Thursday, meaning I am cracking open an older notebook and reviewing a tea from my mysterious past (aka, last year) specifically Upton Tea Imports’ “New Style” Fairy Oolong, a 2014 Pre-Chingming Oolong that I had the pleasure of ordering the day it came out (conveniently I was going to place an order with Upton soon and I got an email saying there were new Oolongs, because of course I get alerted when there are new Oolongs) from Hunan. Not really sure why it is called a fairy oolong, it does look similar to a vibrantly green Shui Xian, so maybe that is why? Regardless, I am a sucker for whimsy and Oolongs, so I tossed it into my cart. Holy moly, this is one massively floral oolong, rather heady, with notes of sweet honeysuckle, orchid, and hyacinth. There is also a note of mineral (specifically spring water) and a touch of buttery vegetal, like lima beans. Mmm, lima beans, I really want some now, my mom makes the best and I am hungry.
Into the gaiwan the leaves went, aw, this was back when I only had the one chipped white gaiwan, I now have eight gaiwans, how things have changed in a year! The brewed leaves are so vibrantly green, and very floral. Strong notes of orchid waft from the steamy leaves, there are lesser notes of honeysuckle and hyacinth, but oh man that orchid! The liquid is a blend of buttery, orchid, and a touch vegetal, just a tiny bit of distant beans sneaking in at the end.
The first steep, as expected, starts out rather light and fairly smooth, not as smooth as some oolongs, it has a bit of a vegetal sharpness similar to green teas. The taste is super sweet, like honeysuckle nectar, this moves to mineral and a touch of green at the finish.
Second steep’s aroma is light, sweet, and very orchid heavy, so much flower! The taste is also super floral, it starts out orchid and hyacinth and then moves onto sweet honeysuckle for a delicate finish. This steep was not as complex as the first steep but that flower explosion made up for a lack of complexity.
For the final steep the aroma is still super orchid heavy, but now it is joined by delicate mineral notes, like water being poured on a slab of limestone. The taste starts out buttery and sweet, with notes of lima beans that fade to honey and orchid. Lastly the tea ends with a lingering mineral note with a touch of honey. I really liked this tea, it was super floral and sweet, and that mineral note was awesome, I do not find that in teas as often as I would like. Because apparently I like licking rocks or something like that.
There is some serious derp going on over here, like really heavy derp, I sit at my computer, flipping from tab to tab, in a great attempt to do something and keep getting distracted. Yours truly was having a lot of pain last night and to rectify it I took some muscle relaxers (the only thing I can take for my fibro pain when my daily meds are not strong enough) the pain is much diminished, but the side effect of being in a brain fog is not very fun. Also, I want everyone to know that when I get a new email, my phone goes all Mass Effect and says ‘Assuming Direct Control’ thank you Harbinger, you always make me smile.
Time to get my rambling on! Today What-Cha is taking us on an Oolong adventure to Kenya, with Kenya Hand Rolled Purple Varietal Oolong Tea, yay for purple teas! I find them very intriguing, all of them I have tried get to wear the coveted ‘well that was certainly different’ title. So, just a quick rundown on what makes this tea purple, just in case you don’t know…ANTHOCYANIN! Seriously, go outside and just shout that word, it feels great, from the Greek Anthos and Kyanos, which translates to blue flower, that is all it is, a pigment with a lot of epic science behind it that would take a whole blog post to explain (tempting as that is.) What is most important is this pigment in tea is thought to make it drought and pest resistant, along with boosting the antioxidants, fun stuff! Also I have decided that all purple teas are officially Drow (or Shadow Elves, my dark elves of choice) teas. The aroma of these dark twisty leaves is earthy and sweet, very sweet actually, blending notes of loam and mineral with plums, raisins, and honey. I will admit the earthy notes and sweet fruity notes mixing together are a little odd, though not unpleasant, my nose finds you intriguing oh great dark elf tea.
Brewing time! I am using my funky green gaiwan that does not get enough use lately (poor neglected thing) that I sometimes pretend is a houhin. I love this thing because it holds a lot, good for those days when I want to gongfu up some tea but want a big ol’ cup of the stuff (or several big ol’ cups) again the aroma of the (now wet) leaves can be described as odd but good, like cooked plums, sauteed veggies, and earthiness. Reminds me of eggplant just a little, specifically cooked eggplant, along with a bit of mineral and a hint of salt. The liquid is a fun blend of regular cooked plums, umeboshi (picked plums, delicious) mineral, loam, and salt. It has a sharpness to it along with mellowness from the earthy quality.
The first steep is fairly mild, it starts out with a blend of sweet, extremely juicy, ripe plum, then it moves on to mineral and a touch of loam. Around the end of the sipping experience there is a touch of fruity sharpness that causes a salivary explosion and then immediate sweet, honey aftertaste.
Onward to the second steep! So, this gave me a little bit of a giggle, the aroma of the second steep had a definite plum and mineral note, but it also had a note of cooked collards. Oh be still my heart, the sultry aroma of collards makes my mouth water. It made me giggle because of the many memories I have of my grandfather having to cook collards outside because they stink up the house. Ok, awesome, the tea even has a slight note of collards! It is faint, but just at the beginning there is that delightful earthy green taste of cooked collards. This moves on to cooked plums and then finishes with earthy loam and minerals.
And now we finish with steep number three, which has a very mild aroma, like distant plums and loam with a hint of umeboshi. This steep’s taste is pretty intense, lots of plums and a hint of prunes, very mouthwatering. The plums gradually fade to earthiness that is reminiscent of clean dirt. Yes, it tastes like dirt, but it does not taste dirty, I like the taste of dirt so I found this pleasant, but I could see some people going eww at this. This was a weird tea, it was unlike most Oolongs I have had, in fact it was unlike most teas I have had, I really enjoyed it and will probably be getting more, but it is definitely an ‘I have to be in the right mood for it’ kinda tea.
This is not on the website anymore, so I am assuming RLT no longer carries it, so no blog post, just a random rambling while I sip it. The aroma is nice and toasty, like roasted buckwheat, grains, and sesame seeds. More of a nutty roasted tea than a sweet roasted tea, which I am ok with, because it is a roasted tea and it has to be terrible before I dislike sniffing it. There is also a faint underlying floral tone to it as well.
The wet leaves and liquid have more of a sweet toasted aroma, still very grainy. The first steep is pretty mild, I actually taste the salmon I just finished eating more so than the tea. But after many swallows to wash the fish out of my mouth I can taste slightly sweet grain and a touch of flowery. Pretty mild, but also pleasant.
Second steep is more grainy and roasted, it is an ok tea, not the best ever, but could be a good everyday roasted tea.
FINISHED! Ok, no, I lied…maybe. My army is finished, all my little Prowlers and Reapers are finished, they need to be varnished (waiting for a less damp day to take them out and varnish and photograph them) but, I still have to paint the tiny tiny infantry (ughhhhh so tiny, little 10mm dudes) and finish the basing for my ships. Then I just have the Harbinger, Desolator, and the inevitable other guys who join my army, but there is not as much of a rush since the league starts off at 750 points, and true I can get the Desolator in on that level, it would leave me very short on other little dudes to bring onto the board. Now the real question is, do I get Ravagers or Stalkers for my Harbinger to carry, or do I hold out for the Oppressor’s release. Ben spoils me rotten with all my minis, me thinks he is buttering me up to paint his army.
It can’t be Oolong week without looking at Eco-Cha Artisan Teas, and it is time to finally ramble about Mr Lin’s Lightly Roasted Dong Ding Oolong (Inaugural Winter Harvest 2014) which you all might remember me babbling about back when their Indiegogo campaign went live. And yes, I totally backed them, it was part of my birthday present to myself (and part of my travel money since this was back when I was in PA) I went for the $50 perk meaning I got a fancy new teapot for my collection, not that I seasoned it for this tea, since a roasted tea-pot is already in my collection. This tea is super fancy because it was only available for the backers of the campaign, but future harvests will be available for the general public, which is awesome. This extra fancy tea smells delightful, but I do have a weakness for roasted teas (especially Dong Ding) so it is no surprise that the aroma of this tea fills me with squishy glee. There are notes of toasted sesame, honey, caramelized sugar, distant spicebush flowers, roasted butternut squash, and a finish of delicate orchid. It reminds me a little of Halva and flowers, just the right blend of roasted and sweet to make me swoon.
Into the pot it goes, my much loved and very often used yixing for roasted oolongs. The aroma of the leaves is rather complex! It is a blend of roasted sesame, butternut squash, honeysuckles, orchids, sesame butter, and spicebush. The liquid of the first steep (correctly it is called soup, but that makes me think of soup and confuses my hungry brain) also has a complex aroma, blending squash (again butternut, but with a hint of acorn this time as well) sesame butter and a finish of delicate honeysuckle nectar.
First steep, and yes, I am sitting down, because I expect this tea to knock my socks off…ok, ok, I know it does, since this is from my notebook and I have been sipping this tea a lot. It has become one of my go to ‘I feel bad and need a healing tea’ teas, it makes my soul feel good. First off, mouthfeel, it is very smooth, a blend of buttery and velvety, it coats my mouth without being oily. It starts out sweet and gently toasted, with notes of sesame seeds and honey. This builds to honeysuckles and spicebush, almost to the point of headiness, and then it moves on to butternut squash and honey at the finish which lingers for quite a while.
And the journey continues with steep two, the aroma is strong with spicebush, roasted sesame seeds, and butternut squash. It is still floral (hint the spicebush, even bordering on Asiatic Lily) but it lacks the honeysuckle and is replaced with a stronger roasted note. The taste certainly takes its cues from the aroma! The mouthfeel is still velvety, but it has a tiny edge to it now, it feels like it wakes up my mouth a bit. It starts roasted sesame and honey and then moves to an explosion of spicebush and squash, this then moves on to roasted squash and nuttiness that builds into the finish that lingers. It warms my mouth and body and makes me feel relaxed and heavy.
Third steeping, and the aroma is still delightful, hello spicebush and toasted sesame, hello lily and squash, you are so wonderfully fragrant and I have to be careful to not burn my nose while sniffing you. The taste of this steep is a perfect balance of roasted and floral, sweetness and savory. It has notes of buttery vegetables (like buttery sauteed bok choy) honeysuckles, spicecbush, lilies, squash, sesame, toasted grains. This steep might be my favorite!
So, I end my reviews at three steeps (my personal notes, however tend to be longer) and let me say, this tea has staying power! I have gotten up to seven steeps, with the last couple steeps being me just drinking it grandpa style. I have brewed it in my travel steeper and in a gaiwan and loved both, I have accidentally been distracted and come back to a tragically oversteeped tea and found it still drinkable and really good. Honestly I cannot manage to screw this tea up no matter what I do (not that I am going to try really hard, I do have a limited supply after all) I love this tea, it is a work of art! Totally worth spending my travel money on it, I have absolutely no regrets!
Here I sit with my favorite paintbrush and a pot of Bleached Bone paint working on an Intruder Beta, slowly I finish my army. I am still thinking I might finish my army by the 9th (first day of the league, also the day I go for allergy testing, so that is going to be exciting) I hope that the Intruder Alphas I requested arrive before the league because they are so much better than my stupid Art Deco Pillbugs (it is what I call my Invaders) plus I hate painting them. Something about the way their lines…line up…really just annoy me. Plus they just look cooler, and looking cool while raining plasma on your enemies is very important to me.
So, it is with great joy that I kick off Oolong Week! Oolong might be my favorite kind of tea, sure on some days I prefer a different tea, but I can almost always say on the grand scope that Oolongs are my fave. And what a better way to start of the week of the Black Dragon than with new store Tea Ave! They had their grand opening yesterday, and for those who follow me on Instagram, you know they sent out an amazing promo of three tea samples, an aroma cup set, and a gift card (which when I have spending money again I am so using) so yeah, they certainly got my attention. I decided to start out with Cape Jasmine Oolong, an Ali Shan Oolong (yeah, you remember correctly, that is one of my favorite mountains for green oolongs) scented with Cape Jasmine (which, if I am reading correctly, is a kind of Gardenia) in the traditional way rather than just tossing flowers in with the tea and calling it a day. In my humble opinion, scented teas are far superior to teas with flowers tossed in because you are getting the essence of the flower rather than the added plant tastes you get with flower bits. Anyway, the aroma of this tea is heavenly, it is a thing of beauty, flowery, heady beauty. Seriously, it is amazing. It blends orchid, jasmine, gardenia, honeysuckle, honey, cream…it is like I am a hummingbird and someone gave me a free pass to a conservatory. Yes, I have a weakness for conservatories, they are just so pretty and they smell heavenly…like this tea.
I am using the double whammy of gaiwan and aroma cup set to brew the leaves, and I am pleased to say that I have not once spilled or burned myself while doing the epic cup flip. As a notoriously clumsy person, this is really an impressive feat! The brewed leaves are sweet and creamy, and of course very floral, it blends the aroma of jasmine, orchid, honeysuckle, and gardenia in a heady floral dance. The liquid, ok guys, I am going to be honest, I am at a loss for words, almost. Imagine taking the nectar of these flowers and making a cup of it, it smells just like that, honey sweet and delightfully floral. I spent quite a bit of time sniffing the tea, it was a good way to wait for it to cool.
The flower nectar comparison continues! Good heavens this is delicious, it is of course a bit mild because it is a first steep, but it is delightfully smooth. The creamy notes mixed with the smooth texture gives it a bit of a buttery feel, which makes my mouth happy, it coats the mouth with sweetness and floral notes. And oh those heady floral notes, it blends jasmine, orchid, and gardenia perfectly, it manages to be intensely floral while not being like perfume. First steep is made of win.
Smelling the tea (the aroma cup is so fun! I do not burn my nose as often!) the liquid is much sweeter and headier, there is a flower explosion in my nose! Oh by the flowery heavens this tea is going to haunt my dreams for all eternity, it smells like a steamy conservatory in full bloom, it is sleepy and beautiful. This might be the most girly tea I have ever sipped, I feel like a princess while drinking it, like I am drowning in flower nectar. It reminds me of a combination of a conservatory and my favorite flowers from my mom and grandmother’s gardens in the South. The notes of honeysuckle, gardenia, orchid, and jasmine are so heady, but again, it is not like cloying perfume.
I found the third steep was pretty much identical to the second in aroma. There was more sweetness and the jasmine and gardenia are overtaken by the tea’s natural honeysuckle and orchid notes. So even as the scented qualities fade, the base tea is delightful. The finish is honey sweet and creamy, and it lingers. I won’t lie, I motored through my sample at more or less light speed, I will be buying more of this tea for my collection, it does such amazing things to my brain. It feels and tastes beautiful, and I really do feel like royalty while sipping it.
I think my computer has a grudge against me personally (ok no, it also hates Ben) because it has the most god awful internet connection in my bedroom. Anywhere else in the house is fine, but in the bedroom…where I do my work…it will not connect. It is driving me absolutely bonkers!! I have finally saved enough money to buy Ben’s birthday present (it is a new computer, woo!) and was going to then save up to replenish my dwindling tea stash, but now I have to get a Wi-Fi booster instead. How annoying!! Ah well, life goes on, at least I got to use the phrase ‘I am priming my ovipositor’ today, which is something I never thought I would say, so life isn’t too bad.
Today is the last day of Dark Tea Week, it is also the grand opening of M&K’s Tea Company’s website! Previously they had an etsy store which I had great fun visiting (especially for holiday themed teas) and spent a great deal of time admiring their awesome aesthetic. Last order I placed (back when I was chillin’ in PA with me mum) I was sent a sample of Menghai Lao Tou Pu-erh (Ripe/Shou, 1999) and holy cheese doodles that was a long time ago, I also say that 1999 was one of the best years of my life until recently, seriously that year was amazing. I was going to post a photo of me from that time, but alas I cannot seem to find one, so you must all be content with just imagining me in my gothic glory. But this is not all about me reminiscing, this is about a tea from bonkers forever ago, hailing from Menghai County in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, this tea is a real nugget of fun, no really, Lao Tou means old nugget, a result of piling while being fermented. The aroma of these nuggets is woody primarily, with secondary notes of loam, old oak wood (reminds me of an old oak cask or trunk) a forest floor, and a tiny bit of a meaty-mushroomy-savory note at the finish. This is a very woody shou, not as loamy as some.
Into ye’ ol elephant pot it goes! Not the pot that gets the most use in my collection, but it certainly might be the one with the most personality! The aroma of the nuggets (even after rinsing they are still pretty solid) is a blend of molasses, pine forest loam, oak wood, and a touch of meatiness. It blends woody sharpness and loamy earthiness really well, more balanced than the dry leaves. The liquid has a stronger savory note and a nice mineral note to join the woodiness and earthiness, it is not a hugely complex pile of notes, but it is quite tasty smelling. Happy nose!
Tasting the first steep I can safely say, this is a mellow tea. Smooth and mellow, kinda like the guy who insists on always wearing a towel and has convinced me that Old Spice is the best man soap ever. I am officially making him the mascot of Shou Puerh! Anyway, randomness aside, this tea starts off creamy smooth with notes of loam, mineral, and molasses, It then moves on to woodiness and slight sweetness. Finally the tea ends with a bit of leather and loam, it does not linger in the mouth long, but the lingering that is there is mild and sweet.
So here is the fun part, this tea can go…and go…and go…I legit lost count of how many steeps I had, but the best part is it was like drinking the same cup of tea FOREVER. I could imagine this being a real downer to some, especially if you like each steep to be a little different (or a lot different) and usually I do with some teas. Once in a while I want a tea that I can just sit with and not think, I want a tea that sits like a trusted friend and does crafts with me, plays Minecraft with me, or helps me wipe out humanity while playing Plague Inc (I am so awful at that game) It seems kinda mean to call this a background noise tea, because it is not one to have and ignore, it certainly has a presence, it is just a solid unchanging presence.
OMG I FIXED MY INTERNET!!!! I think…How does everyone like the idea of next week being Oolong week? For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/03/m-tea-company-menghai-lao-tou-pu-erh.html
Hey, there is snow! Yay! I love the snow, it is not a lot, but this winter has just been lousy in the snow department, clearly I should take that one guy who is selling blocks of snow up on his offer. Or not because really, that is kinda dumb. I once had a friend in Australia who wanted me to mail him snow and Oreos, I still find that immensely funny. This was back in the day when saying to your school friends that you have friends from all over the world thanks to the internet got you laughed at, or at the very least not believed, also funny to me! I love the internet, it has allowed shy little ol’ me to talk to tons of people while still being in my comfort zone, go social media!
Continuing Dark Tea week, this one is a quirky Shou (or Shu, ah, dialect) from Life in Teacup, specifically Guevera Shu. Reading Ginkgo’s (the proprietor of Life in Teacup) blog about this tea I was able to learn that he got this massive block of Shu from Taobao because he thought the wrapper was cool, and lets be honest, it is pretty neat. With a large image of Che Guevera, bullet holes and casings and the name AK-47 in bold letters, this puerh is totally metal. Gleaning a bit more info from the blog, the tea is supposedly from Bulang Mountain and an abandoned tea plantation (there seem to be a lot of those that get poached for puerh) and made from larger leaves, in theory this will be a good educational Shu, a way to introduce people to the fine art of ripe puerh without dealing with those really rank ones. So, how does this one smell, that is the important question! Pretty good actually, it is rich and earthy with the expected notes of loam (erring on the side of pine forest loam this time) clean soil, and some mineral notes as well. As a fun little surprise the finishing note is molasses, giving a bit of sweetness at the end.
Time to heat up the way back machine, because this was before the elephant pot was in my collection! Don’t get me wrong, I still love brewing puerh in my gaiwan(s) but using my pot just feels good, plus it helps make it super seasoned, really it is getting so dark! Anyway, rinsing and brewing time, the leaves are really earthy and pretty incredibly sweet, lots of pine sap, wet wood, molasses, and a bit like molasses cookies, which is a little odd but it smells really good. The liquid is sweet loam and molasses, there is also a tiny, tiny hint of camphor giving the warm liquid a tiny bit of a cooling effect.
Woo! This is a delightfully smooth tea on the first steep, no bite at all, just slightly sweet loamy goodness that has a slightly thick mouthfeel. There are also notes of molasses and a touch of cooling, it is neat it starts off warming and then goes to cooling. It is nothing like sheng puerh’s cooling that fills up your mouth, nose, and all the way into the lungs, it is more like taking a breath on a slightly warm day after drinking something warm.
Next up is steep two, the aroma is creamy sweet, blending molasses and pine sap, forest loam and clean soil. Not sure why pine sap comes off as creamy, but to me and my nose, we see creamy (well that went rather synesthesia-ish) The second steep starts off fairly earthy and loamy, there is a total lack of sweet, almost to the point of being savory and like mushroom soil. This changes pretty rapidly to sweet molasses and pine needles, but it does have a more dry affect this time instead of being smooth. It also has a warming, relaxing feeling that imparts a heaviness.
So, the aroma of the third steep has a new player, the notes of molasses, pine sap, and forest loam are still present, but there is also a note of malt at the finish. The taste for the third steep is very similar, the notes are much the same, starting out loamy and earthy, no savory this time, just rich earthiness. After that we get sweet molasses and pine needles. There is no mouth drying, just smooth earthiness that makes my feel very warm and relaxed. This really would be a good introductory Shu, so I certainly agree there!
For blog and photos (Cthulhu helped me with this one) http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/02/life-in-teacup-guevera-shu-tea-review.html
Today is just an awful, awful day. Spock has left us (oh god the tears!!) the dress apocalypse is nigh, my computer is garbage, and I think I have to break my promise to never run ads on my blog. Truly this is a dark day, I am honestly not even sure what to do with myself, the other stuff really was making me blue, but Leonard Nimoy dying is heartbreaking, I love Star Trek, heck I am even debating wearing a Science Officer’s outfit as a wedding dress when I get around to getting married. Spock might have been the first ‘Space Elf’ that I ever fell for, he is just iconic, and his death is tragic, but, at least he did live long and prospered.
So, enough crying into my cat, it is Dark Tea week still, so it is time to venture further into the fermented heart of tea with Wymm Tea’s Menghai Shou (Cooked) Pu-erh In Third Grade 2008. This tea comes from the mountains of Menghai and sits right in the middle of tea grading (seventh grade has the biggest leaves and first is the smallest) this means it is right in the middle of sweetness and woodiness. So the aroma certainly can back that up, blending woodiness and earthiness with a touch of sweet. This is definitely one of those teas that is more earthy and robust than sweet, and the presence of loam and wet wood is strong. It reminds me more of a deciduous forest than pine forest, which usually smells sweeter to me.
And into the elephant pot it goes for a brief rinse and steep, the wet leaves are very earthy, blending loam, wet oak wood, a sharp mineral note (specifically it reminds me of limestone) and a finish of pine needles. The liquid is creamy and sweet, the aroma has a heaviness like lying on a forest floor and enjoying the aroma of loam and wood washing over you. It is a very pleasant aroma, earthy and robust but with a balanced sweetness.
The first steep is very smooth, in both moutfeel and taste. I was impressed by the level of smooth, I did one of those mouth-smacking ahhh moments and just had to lean back in my chair and enjoy for a moment. The taste notes blended earthy notes and sweetness to an almost perfection, notes of loam and wet wood with caramel and pine sap, like I said, it was very smooth.
Take two! The aroma did not change much, it has a little more loam and a little more sweetness, so basically it is the same but stronger. Like the first steep this one is crazy smooth, I feel like I should change the music I am listening to (it is Busta Rhymes, not sure he counts as smooth, though that flow is SICK) because wow, this might be one of the most smooth Puerhs I have had. The taste is still really balanced, with the previous earthy notes I get a bit of a mineral note and with the previous sweet notes I get a bit of fig. The aftertaste is almost honey sweet and it lingers for a while.
Guess what, it is time for steep three, the aroma is much sweeter this time, with notes of pine sap, loam, and honey drizzled figs, it smells yummy. The taste is lighter this time, and oddly not really sweet at all, mostly just earthy and loamy with a distinct hint of mineral at the finish. I sat with this tea for a few more steeps, it did not really change much from this one, just continued to fade. It was a delightfully smooth tea, and never got an edge to it which I really liked.