877 Tasting Notes
You know what is the best part of cooler weather? It isn’t the sweaters and fuzzy blankets, it isn’t the pristine snow and blustery rainy days, and it is not the warm mugs of tea used for heating my hands…no, the best part is definitely how clingy Espeon is. Unlike Tao, she has short hair and is perpetually cold…just like me! So we spend as much time snuggling and using each other as warming devices, she keeps my lap warm during the day and snuggles up with me at night. When it is warm she turns into an aloof long cat, but when it is cold, she is tiny and cuddly…and gets very upset with me when I have to get up. Clearly I need one of those cat slings so I can walk around without disturbing her.
Today it is time to look at Eco-Cha’s Dong Ding Oolong Tea (Fall 2015), aka, possibly my favorite Oolong ever. I have looked at several harvests of this tea, and plan on looking at many more in the future, because I have an addiction to Dong Ding Oolong. Partially because it is my go-to feel good tea, it is very much so like the consumable, liquid, version of that soft snugly kitty in your lap, it is the perfect combination of comforting and delicious. The first thing I notice when I pop open that exciting seal (other than the woosh of air, so much fun) is the aroma, wafting from the leaves. It is a delicious blend of toasted sesame and grains, honey, and a delightful nuttiness. It is both sweet and harvest like, evocative of autumn and yummy, especially if you are a huge fan of honey sesame candies like I am.
Into the gaiwan the leaves go for their happy soaking, it is always fun watching the leaves unfurl and the tiny bubbles popping out of the leaves as they do. The aroma of the soggy leaves is sweet and toasty, notes of cashews, toasted wheat and barley, gentle notes of squash, a touch of roasted sesame seeds at the finish. The liquid is sweet buttery heavy grain toast, sesame seeds, honey, and delicious gentle smoky pine resin. Grains meet winter forest with a side of fireplace, see this tea really is pure undiluted comfort!
The first steep is gentle and smooth, and delightfully warming. It starts with creamy and sweet buttery notes, and moves quite quickly to toast, it is like warm honey butter on toast. There is a gentle spice note like nutmeg, and a lingering sesame seed note. The sweetness stays in the aftertaste for quite some time.
Second steeping time, the aroma of this steep is strong with roasted grains and honey, cashew and a touch of squash and pine resin. The taste has the buttery, honeyed toast notes of the previous steep, but it cranks things up adding notes of toasted grains, with a gentle pine resin and char note. On the way out of the sip, aka the finish, the note of maple roasted acorn squash blends with a touch of walnuts for maximum yum.
Third steeping and woo, that aroma is getting intense, strong notes of roasted grains and nuts, with gentle notes of smoke and pine resin…with a definite finish of squash…mmm squash. The taste is nutty and roasted, strong grain notes (especially wheat and barley) with lingering notes of gently burnt toast and sweet honey. At the finish there is acorn squash and a pine smoke finish, and a sweetness that sticks around. Many steeps were had, and they were filled with roasty goodness.
Being off of my medicine is an interesting experience, and really having me re-evaluate things about my life. Like how in the name of all things holy did I tolerate the terrible-ness that is the mattress? I know Fibromyalgia (coupled with Aspbergers) makes things more extreme (it is so 90s) especially pain, but wow, that mattress is so uncomfortable. Even though yeah, I am in a lot of pain and I am having to take it easier than I did previously, I am glad to be off the stuff. Since being freed from my medicinal servitude I have only had one splitting headache, instead of the many splitting headaches a day, and the best thing is I have a lot more mental clarity. I consider this a win…though I really need a new mattress.
Today’s tea is from A Quarter To Tea, specifically their Mexican Hot Chocolate blend, because I am a hardcore chocoholic, though alas, I am slowly outgrowing my ability to just gorge on huge piles of chocolate…slowly…I can still eat a whole bag in one sitting, just not two bags, tis the price of growing old. To help ease the transition I seek out chocolaty teas, this one being a blend of Organic Quinlan Oolong Tea, Ceylon Black Tea, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Freeze-dried Marshmallows, Dried Red Chile Flakes, Natural Flavorings. I admit, I have had several spicy chocolate teas, but this is the only one that uses Star Anise, and I have a serious Star Anise addiction, so yummy! The aroma of the dry tea is super sweet, definitely can smell the sugary joy of the marshmallows and chocolate. There is also a good bit of spice, a blend of cinnamon and anise and this distinct chili pepper bite that grows into a nice nose burner. My sinuses are pleased by the tingly warmth.
Into my steeping apparatus the leaves and such go for the steeping, I watch as the marshmallows dissolve away into nothingness. The aroma of the wet leaves is sweet and spicy, notes of chocolate and marshmallows, with cinnamon and peppery warmth, it is a very warm smelling tea. The liquid is sweet and creamy, with notes of malt and a decent punch of cinnamon and pepper, a lingering finish of chocolate wafts from my cup.
Tasting time! I got a couple of good sips of this tea before I gave it to Ben to have a taste…and promptly lost the rest of my cup…he really liked this tea. The first thing I noticed was it has a nice bite to it, the perfect amount of heat…just enough to warm the cold cockles of my mouth but not enough to make me run screaming for a glass of milk. There is also a nice burst of chocolate, sweet spices and marshmallows, and a finish of malt. I liked (what I tasted) of this tea, but mostly loved how Ben just wandered off with it, he is an immensely picky tea drinker, so I am happy when he finds teas he likes. I will have to get more, so he can have the majority of it…and so I can have a whole cup!
I have a confession, I am addicted to those plastic drawer oraganizer…things…I blame my side addiction to organization as the cause for this. It is a dream of mine, one day to have a room separate from my tea/art room that is just a room where every wall is nothing but those stacked up drawers. Perfectly labeled and everything is sorted and probably color coded. It makes me all warm and tingly thinking about it. I bring this up because yesterday on the side of the road Ben found one someone was getting rid of and he brought it home for me, meaning my tea collection is even more organized, this makes for a happy me!
Today we are looking at a fun blended tea from BlendBee, a fun company that has ready made blends and the ability to make your own blends…something I need to try because these are always so fun! Specifically the blend I am checking out is Minty Black, a blend of Chinese Black Tea, Carob Beans, Peppermint, Licorice Root, and Natural Flavoring. I admit I was drawn to this tea because of my fond memories of summer time minty black tea slurping, though as an adult I find I am more drawn to the hot version rather than the iced version, it makes my belly happy. The aroma is pretty intense, this is not a tea to stick your nose into and inhale deeply…unless you have a stuffy nose and want to just clear those sinuses, because wow, mint! So much cooling fresh mint, I feel like I fell face first into a mint plant..and yes I know exactly what that is like. Underneath the pile of mint is some mild malty notes, chocolate, and a touch of sweet licorice root at the finish.
The aroma of the now quite soggy leaves and other bits is a double blend of mint and cocoa, with sweet undertones of licorice and a touch of malty richness. There is so much mint, lots and lots of mint, though it is not as strong as the mint-splosion that is the dry leaf. The liquid is sweet and minty, cooling with notes of chocolate and mint, with sweet undertones, it smells like a Andes mint…and fun fact, every Christmas I would get a whole bag of those in my stocking as a kid…and they almost always were gone by the end of the day and I would not want them again until next Christmas!
Ooh! The tea is brisk! It combines a brisk black base tea with strong cooling mint, talk about a refreshing tea. After the initial mintiness, it moves to cocoa notes and then a nice burst of licorice sweetness that lingers for quite a while. This tea reminds me of drinking black tea while shoving Andes mints in my face, like imagine the sensation of having the chocolate melt in the tea in your mouth, and that is what this tea reminds me of. It is very refreshing while also being soothing, just the way I like my minty teas.
It is immensely windy today, with nice 50mph gusts and constant 30mph blusteriness. Any leaves left on the trees are going to totally be gone come morning, though I am feeling a great deal of disappointment with the weather. See all yesterday I kept getting notices on the book of faces and on my phone about how the weather today was supposed to be all sorts of hellish, with even the amusing ‘a tornado’ along with the storms, all we got was wind. And no, I don’t find tornadoes amusing (I FIND THEM EPIC!!!) but Accuweather has this hilarious way of wording future weather alerts, if there are severe storms, not chances for tornadoes, no, just severe storms, hail, and ‘a tornado’ and for some reason that cracks me up.
Did you know that Australia grows tea? I did, or it would make today’s tea rather confusing! What-Cha, being my go-to source for rare and hard to get teas is where I decided to go when I wanted to try some Australian grown tea, grown specifically in the style of Japanese teas, using Japanese tea cultivars and using the expertise of Japanese tea experts. Presenting Australia Houjicha Green Tea from Two River Farms in Victoria, a nicely roasted green tea, roasted teas make me happy…especially on blustery autumn days. The aroma, well, it is a roasted tea! Notes of gentle smoke and roasted walnuts, a touch of toasted kelp, and a finish of sesame seeds. It is one of the more smoky Houjicha have I have, and I am ok with that, me likes the smoky teas.
Into my single serve (aka small) kyusu the toasty little leaves go, and I am glad this kyusu has a small screen because tiny leaves are tiny. The aroma of the soggy leaves is savory and toasty, umami toasted kelp notes and strong nutty, smoky notes, much like toasted walnut shells. The liquid is toasty and smoky, with notes of toasted nuts, a bit of sesame seeds, loam, and a touch of roasted kelp giving the brew an umami edge to it.
Tasting time! Using one of my Japanese cups for somewhat thematically appropriate tea gear…alas I lack any Australian tea gear. The tea starts with notes of smoky slightly burnt toast, grainy and a touch bitter, much like a strong grain heavy bread. This moves to toasted nuts, lots of walnuts and pecans, with a bit of sesame seeds. The finish is a toasted kelp, somewhat seaweed savory note that lingers until it finally fades into sweetness. I admit, this is not my most favorite of Houjicha out there, I have had better…and much worse…but what I love is that it is from somewhere totally new and exciting, showing how vast the tea world is.
Today is a day of primer and ooze, so much primer and so much ooze. With the official completion of the Christmas minis that are being mailed away (I still need to varnish them, but not on such a breezy day) I can take a break from painting presents to working on some of my personal side projects. Namely I primed alllllllllll of the ships and terrain and other sundries from Dreadfleet and applied copious amounts of Nurgle’s Rot to my Bathalian and Well of Chaos. In a perfect world I will have Dreadfleet painted by my birthday next week, but I doubt I will get anywhere close to finished…Dreadfleet has a lot of really detailed pieces and I am such a perfectionist.
Enough about my painting shenanigans, it is time for tea rambling, today I am looking at LiShan Oolong from Joy’s Teaspoon! Ah, Taiwanese Oolongs, one of my oldest tea loves, this tea hails from the Yi Ping Chun Tea Garden by master Zhi Xing Chen in Nantou, Taiwan, on…you guessed it, the mountain called Li Shan, a very famous tea mountain indeed. The aroma of the curled up green leaves is sweet and floral with nice notes of lilies, hyacinth, orange blossoms, and a touch of sesame seeds and a delicious undertone of custard. Mmmm custard!
Into my XiShi Teapot the leaves go, and the aroma is so sweet! Notes of custard and lilies, ricecakes and honeysuckles, sesame seeds and a gentle note of green at the undertone. The aroma of the liquid is sweet, that is a definite theme with this oolong, with notes of custard, orange blossom, lilies, and a gentle note of toasted sesame seeds.
The first steep is light in both taste and mouthfeel, a gentle start to a tea I always enjoy for its gentleness. It starts with gentle creamy custard and sesame seed notes and blooms (heh) into a heady blend of honeysuckles, lilies, and a touch of lilac. The finish is a gentle note of vegetation that adds a crispness to the end.
Second steeping brings heady notes of hyacinths, lilies, and lilacs to my nose, with a finish of creamy sweet custard. The mouthfeel of this steep is thicker, much like that custard note that pops up from the first sip, it is rich and creamy, and super sweet. After the initial custardy goodness it moves on to flower nectar, blending notes of lilies, lilac, orange blossoms, and hyacinth. At the finish is the green, with notes of sweet peas and a touch of cooked turnips, it lingers on for quite a while.
Third steep, and you know what, that heady aroma is something else, notes of lilac and hyacinth, with a really great custard sweetness. The taste and mouth is rich and creamy, still holding strong with that custard sweetness, ever have Bird’s Custard? Because that is exactly the kind of custard it reminds me of. This moves on to flowers again, a bit of lilac and honeysuckle which pretty quickly moves to sweet peas and again that touch of cooked turnips. I went on for several more steeps and found this tea was a great accompaniment to painting.
It is a wonderful feeling to test one’s aquarium water and find all the different things you are testing for are at a perfect level. Knowing that the little biome you have is stable and your fish are happy, it is a very rewarding feeling! But on a completely unrelated note (ok not completely unrelated since my fish are named after Planeswalkers) I am waffling on my deck construction again, I am debating going to Black/Green, still full of griefer goodness of course. See if I go Black/Green I can pull a bunch of Golgari cards from Ravnica, my favorite setting and my favorite guild. They are obsessed with mushrooms, that is so my thing.
So last week I got a massive box in the mail of samples (and an outright tin) from Hyson Tea, a company specializing in Ceylon teas. Not only did this box contain a mountain of teabags (which will take me forever to get through) it also included a bunch of company logo swag, so now I have a new massive mug and teaspoons, which is pretty cool, they also have the distinction of being the first company/person/entity to donate to my blog, supporting the fine art of blogging is awesome, and I used the donation to expand my tea book library, because expanding my education is very important.
Today I cracked into the tin of Exquisite Collection ‘Celestial Dimbula’ Black Tea, this tea is a blend of black teas from the Dimbula growing region in Sri Lanka, probably one of the most well known of Sri Lanka’s tea districts, and also one of the oldest tea growing regions, having been first planted in the 1870s. I am not sure of any specific sub-districts or gardens these leaves come from, so this should be taken as an example of the region as a whole. The fairly small, very dark, leaves which look like a mix of Broken Orange Pekoe and Orange Pekoe (this tea is OP, hehe) has a brisk and malty aroma, with notes of oak wood, a tiny touch of tobacco, a faint cardboard-papery note, and an undertone of molasses. The aroma is not overly strong, erring more on the sweet side towards the end of the sniffing.
The leaves have steeped and unfurled a goodly bit, and the tea is now a lovely coppery color. The wet leaves have the aroma of malt and brisk tannic oak wood, blending in notes of topsoil, tobacco, a touch of molasses, and a finish of gentle tobacco. It is brisk and smells like morning, or at least smells like morning tea, it is a familiar smell that I pretty much grew up with. The liquid smells a mix of malt and tannic oak wood, a touch of tobacco, and a metallic coppery note at the finish.
Tasting time! I took this tea straight, as I mostly do with my teas now, except Masala Chai and my oh so indulgent Ostfriesen Tea and occasional Matcha Lattes. The taste is brisk and tannic, strong notes of oak wood, tobacco, malt, and a bright, coppery finish. It has a slightly sweet molasses aftertaste that does not linger overly long. I will admit, this tea was not so much for me, I think…and I feel like a massive tea snob and a bit ashamed of myself for this…this is a tea for casual tea drinkers. Back when I was a little girl, drinking cups of black tea for breakfast with my dad (two sugars and milk, the classic British way) I would have really enjoyed this tea. But I have moved passed that in my personal enjoyment of tea, and there is nothing wrong with either my growth as a tea connoisseur or the tea itself, just different things for different people. To be honest that is one of my favorite things about tea, and one of the reasons I love writing about it…someone is bound to find something they will like!
Today has been a painting day, working on finishing up the miniatures for people’s Christmas gifts, specifically the people whose gifts get mailed away, and I happen to almost be finished. I think that after I finish with these I am going to break into assembly mode and put together the ships from Dreadfleet, the newest addition to Ben and my gaming library. He was a sweetheart and bought it, see a year ago my local gaming shop had a copy of it and I was going to buy it after saving up a good bit of money…and the day I finally had enough to buy it, someone bought it. So we have been hunting it on ebay and found it for a steal, which is awesome since that game has been out of print for a while. Yay for crazy ships!
For today’s tea I am looking at Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s ‘Old Style’ Dong Ding Oolong, a Taiwanese Oolong made in the form that was all the rage thirty years ago, nothing like keeping tradition alive. It is also nice to see Dong Ding outside of my usual sought after roasted form, because you cannot have a good roasted oolong without a good green oolong to start with. And the leaves are big, with hearty stems and rich emerald greens, yeah with leaves this big I am going to need a big gaiwan. The aroma of the leaves is really sweet, buttery and creamy, notes of sesame custard and chestnuts, and flowers. Of course there are flowers, honeysuckle and hyacinth, with very gentle lilac note at the finish. Flowery and sweet, just the way I like it!
So, about that big gaiwan, yeah, it is time for the golden flower queen! The aroma of the unfurling leaves is pretty potent, very strong notes of spicy lilies and hyacinth, with strong buttery undertones, and a gentle vegetation note at the finish. The liquid is wonderfully sweet, strong notes of lilies and hyacinth, honeysuckles and lilac. Underneath the flowery burst is gentle sweet creaminess and a touch of vegetation.
The first steep starts out with a great creamy texture, it is silky and smooth, and that smoothness wanders into the taste as well. It starts with a light creamy taste, like custard and chestnuts (can chestnut custard be a thing?) It then moves on to a cascade of flower nectar sweetness, lilacs and honeysuckles dance over my tongue, with a finish of gently spiced lilies. The aftertaste lingers for quite a while.
Second steeping time, the aroma is sweet and flowery, notes of chestnut and honeysuckles, lilacs, and lilies…lots of flowers going on there. The taste is buttery and sweet, the texture is buttery and thick, it coats the mouth thoroughly. The taste starts with sweetness, honeysuckle nectar and flower blossoms, chestnut sweetness, and a finish of vegetal brothiness that gives a slightly savory finish to the tea.
Third steep, and wow, these leaves, they are so big! I feel like I could wear them as a hat or something, use them as a sunshade on a summer day. The aroma is still going strong with sweet flowery notes, so many flowers, lilacs, honeysuckles, hyacinth, it is like a spring bouquet. The taste is still quite flowery, though the green notes that showed up previously are now stronger, like fresh vegetation and summer growth. Combine that buttery chestnut sweetness and you have a really good tea, I can certainly say this one made me re-think my tendency to prefer roasted Dong Ding.
So I have mentioned it some on Instagram, but realize I have not elaborated here on the blog, or anywhere else for that matter, I have come to a very important and hard decision. I am going off my medicine, no more Gabapentin for me. Yeah, it worked for my Fibromyalgia for a while, but there was the unhappy trend of them not working and the dosage being upped, and the side effects getting awful…til yep, they caused me to have seizures. Turns out I got too much of the stuff and had a nasty reaction, took the doctors a while to figure that one out. I have just had so many nasty reactions to medications that I am done, I am going to try a different approach, especially now that I know I don’t have anything that is going to kill me if I am not super vigilant. Currently weening myself of the meds is a nightmare, my pain level is astronomical, but I have tea, painting, gaming, and a very comfy blanket…so all will be well.
It is time once again to return to Misty Peaks Tea with their 2015 Autumn Pu’er, I was enamored with the 2014 harvest and have half a cake happily stored away (I split a cake with my mom) so I was very happy to sample this years harvest. If I am going to drink a super fresh Puerh I really prefer the autumn harvest, from my (limited when compared to the real pu-heads out there) experience, they are a bit easier on the stomach, some fresh Sheng is practically caustic on the guts. As like last year, these leaves are monstrous, big fluffy beasties that barely fit in my Sheng pot, with nice mottled amber tones and silvery fuzz. The aroma of the leaves is pungent and sharp, with notes of wet hay and bamboo, apricot skin, spinach, sandalwood, and a touch of distant peppery spice. It is a good blend of pungent and sweet, with the woody undertones giving it a bit of a complexity.
Rinse and tea time, as is my usual way with Sheng, sometimes I drink the rinse, but rarely…and that is because in all honestly, my rinse bucket is a bit narsty. The aroma of the soggy leaves is pungent, with notes of wet hay and camphor, a bit of a wet wood barnyard (minus the wildlife) aroma that finished on a touch of spinach and a pinch of apricot skin. The liquid is sweet, notes of honey and apricot mix with camphor and sandalwood, it is a double punch of fruit and resin.
The first steeping is pretty light, a light mouthfeel and a light taste. Starting with mineral notes that move directly to sweet honey and hay with a touch of apricot. It finishes with sandalwood and a cooling camphor note that builds in the middle to a lingering cool finish.
On to the second steep, it takes the notes from the first steep and builds them, the resinous sandalwood notes blend with hay and a touch of apricot. The taste is cooling and sweet, wet hay and honey with apricot and a strong sandalwood note at the finish that lingers.
The third and fourth steep have a lot in common, sweet honey and apricot notes with resinous sandalwood and a strong cooling cedar note. These steeps bring the only bitter that showed up in my steeping, a dry slightly powdery mouthfeel with notes of cooling all the way down into my belly, it is not a super potent bitterness, a very drinkable level of bitter I think. A lingering sandalwood and apricot note hang around for a bit after sipping.
The fifth steep really shined in the aroma, probably the most aromatic of the steeps, strong notes of sandalwood and apricot, cedar, juniper, and even a hint of frankincense. I am noticing this year is very resinous and woody, reminding me of a winter forest, and of course it is quite sweet with never ending notes of apricot. As with last year, I found myself having many steeps and enjoying the crisp notes and clean tastes of this tea.
My education in the fine art of Magic the Gathering continued today. I decided to stop geeking out over the lore and crushing on Jace Beleren (what, I can have nerd crushes) long enough to work on actually playing the game, running my Red Black Griefer deck, destroying all the lands because that technique is just sexy. Something about playing a card that destroys my opponents hard earned lands and destroying their creatures is really satisfying, especially when it involves lots of undead…see I really do have an unhealthy obsession with liches.
Today’s tea is a step into an older love of mine, from my younger days working at a tea and coffee shop…chugging roasted oolongs and eating chocolate covered espresso beans like crazy. This blending of two worlds is none other than A Quater To Tea’s Chocolate Cherry Latte Oolong, a blend of Organic Quilan Oolong Tea, Hojicha Tea, Coffee Beans, Dried Cherries, Mini Chocolate Chips, Chicory, Natural Flavors…as someone who loves blending unusual things, it is safe to say this tea got my attention. As a gesture of awesomeness, use the code GEEKERY10 to get 10% off a purchase of $5 or more, just be sure to use it by December 15th. Ok, tea, and coffee, and other fun things, the aroma…ok wow, this smells like coffee alright! Roasted coffee with creamy chocolate and sweet cherries, it has an underlying smokiness to it as well. The roast is very strong, which I love, it was always my favorite thing about coffee, alongside that intense bitter taste.
The brewed tea smells so good, man, it is intense, strong notes of rich chocolate and creamy sweet cherries with a nice heavy roasted coffee and just general roasted smokey finish. Not a tea sniffing experience for the faint of heart. The liquid is quite roasted and nutty, with notes of cocoa and coffee, gentle smoke, and a nice creamy sweet chocolate finish.
Surprisingly I decided to not make this into a latte, no cream or sugar…mostly because I was out of milk (can you tell I just never drink the stuff? I pretty much get it when I need it for cooking) so if you were hoping for a frothy return to my coffee shop days, sorry about that. I am glad I did not sweeten it though because this tea is sweet! The combination of the chocolate and cherries, with the sweet notes of Hojicha and Oolong make for a quite sweet cup of tea. There are strong notes of coffee, and roast which balance out the sweetness, and the lingering cherry notes add a wonderful finish. Out of the three samples I tried, this one was my favorite, definitely one I plan on getting more of for when I crave coffee on those rare occasions.
It is pretty bizarre to think that 15 years ago, half my lifetime ago today, I left my home in Georgia and never went back. It is a sad story that I have mentioned off and on before and see no need to rehash it, but wow, time is a crazy thing! Hard to believe that it has been exactly half my life since I lived in Atlanta in my house on the edge of the forest…that forest is now long gone, replaced by an apartment complex…sad since it was a sanctuary to a lot of wildlife. I find myself feeling wistful and dwelling on memories, they do not feel as heavy as they once did, mainly I just find myself in awe of the perpetual movement of time.
Time for the weekly tradition of looking at a tea from What-Cha, that most dangerous event of visiting the website, looks like I have more teas to add to my wishlist! It is always fun trying to decide what tea I am going to ramble about each week…something new to me or something from the older pages of my notebook pile? Today comes from the notebook pile, Vietnam Wild ‘Tiger Monkey’ Green Tea a Green Tea from Lao Cai Province in Vietnam. Sourced by Hatvala, whose mission it is to spread the word about the yumminess that is Vietnamese teas, something I can get behind. The more I try teas from Vietnam the more I find them becoming a favorite. I do not know why it is called Tiger Monkey, but I do know it is processed by Black H’Mong families who have the trees growing around their homes, neat! The aroma of the curly green leaves smells like the lovechild of a Sheng and a Dragonwell, notes of chestnut and green bean, asparagus and camphor, sea air and smoke blend together for a nutty, cooling, green sniffing experience. It is not a mellow tea, it is brisk and sharp, yet with a very clean aroma profile to it.
Into my green tea pot the tea goes, so glad I picked this bright red clay because man does it make green teas pop! The aroma of the wet leaves is a bit more vegetal, stronger notes of green beans and asparagus mix with a bit of lettuce for a crispness. Alongside the green is gentle smoke, camphor, and a tiny bit of sea air at the finish. The liquid is delicate, sesame seed nuttiness, green beans, and a delicate sea air note. I admit to loving teas with sea air notes, they remind me of frolicking in the ocean at Bar Harbor, frigid water but so refreshing!
Ah, that is a brisk green! The earlier comparison to a Sheng is not far off, strong camphor notes and a gentle woody bitterness give way to green beans and sesame seeds. The finish is mellow smoke and gentle sea air, and for all that it is a brisk start it is also mellow and refreshing.
Second steeping, honestly I did not notice much change. The taste is a bit more brisk and bitter, a dry camphor bitterness that is like chewing on cedar wood, this gives way abruptly to green vegetal notes and sweet nutty ones that linger for a while, blending with the cool mouthfeel. I went for another steep but I swear someone trolled me and it was the same cup that time traveled. Sometimes teas do not find the need to evolve much in their steeping, and you know, that is alright.