814 Tasting Notes
It is too hot! The heat of the day is making me sleepy, unsurprising since I only got six hours of broken sleep. Yours truly is trying to get back on a sane sleep schedule to match Ben’s new work schedule so we can interact, it is super hard. My whole life I have fought battles with sleep, the constant debate of forcing my body into a schedule so I can interact with the world (and not necessarily feel the best) or sleep whenever I can, which usually means I have a rotating schedule. Meaning I progressively go to sleep later and sleep later each day, it has a crazy monthly rotation that works like clockwork, which I think I read has something to do with me not getting enough sunlight or something.
Today I am looking at a truly unique tea from Shang Tea, their 2012 Aged White Wu Long Tea. It is part of their monthly Tea Club, though which month will get this tea is a surprise. Now, I have had their White Tea Wu Long (and it is nothing short of epic, think of a mixture of the rich almost muscatel notes of Shou Mei with delicate floral and honey notes of an Oriental Beauty, with the signature clean taste I always associate with Shang’s creations) and I have had aged Wu Long (primarily aged Yancha, but a few others as well) but a compressed aged one is a completely new adventure to me. This tea is very aromatic while being gentle with the notes present, and also very sweet. There are notes of muscadines and honey, a touch of spice and honeyed wine, and a delicate finish of dried tomatoes. The dried tomatoes at the end add an interesting level of complexity to the tea.
I decided to brew this tea in my gaiwan, after giving the leaves a steeping the aroma that wafts out from the damp leaves is really complex, I found myself sniffing it for quite a while, just to make sure I picked up on all the notes! It starts out with green notes of a melon peel and fresh bok choy, it has a crispness to it, the aroma then moves to slightly malty and spicy, with a hint of honey and grapes. See what I mean by complex? The liquid is sweet, blending honey and grapes, with crisp notes of lettuce and a touch of tart green apple and a tiny hint of white wine at the finish.First steeping time and wow, just wow, that is an intensely smooth mouthfeel, almost slippery in its smoothness. This might be the most smooth mouthfeel I have encountered in a tea! The taste is fairly light, starting off with gentle notes of minerals and green apples with a tiny hint of spice. Towards the end there is a distinct note of honey that gradually builds until the very sweet honey filled aftertaste.
The aroma of the second steep is very sweet, with strong notes of honey and grapes, notes of tart and not so tart apples, and just a hint of lettuce crispness and melon rind at the finish. The mouthfeel of this steep is still very smooth, but instead of a slippery quality, the texture is smooth and thick, fully coating the mouth. The taste starts out with a hint of apples and grapes, the apple note quickly leaves and is replaced with rich raw honey, I swear I can almost taste the pollen. Delicate floral notes dance with a touch of spice, and a nice mineral finish. This tea has a warming Qi, in comparison to the more familiar cooling Qi I am used to with White teas, it is the warmth of a spring day rather than the heavy heat of a fireplace, so still suitable for a summer day (convenient since that is when I am sipping this!)
For the third steep, the aroma is richly sweet, strong notes of honey and grapes, with a heavier scent of raisins. There is also a slight note of green and crisp lettuce with a hint of mineral, but those notes are slight, almost like the idea of a smell. The taste gave me a bit of a surprise, where the previous steeps have been primarily sweet, this one starts out with a savory tone to it. Starting out with bok choy and lettuce, this moves to fresh tomato and tomato leaf, and then onto melon rind and mineral notes. The finish is malty with a small explosion of honey that lingers as the aftertaste for quite a while.
On a whim I decided to also try this tea steeped bowl style, it just came to me as inspiration while I was half asleep, I needed to wake up and try it this method as well. The tea starts out sweet with notes of honey and grapes, the longer it steeps (and the more times I top off my bowl with fresh water) it picks up rich notes of malt and mineral notes, reminding me of rainwater. Honestly I think my favorite thing about this tea is how refreshing it is, it was a particularly hot day while I was sipping this tea bowl style, and I never once wished for anything else to quench my thirst, and it had great staying power, I lost count as to how many times I refilled my bowl.
Flavors: Bok Choy, Honey, Lettuce, Melon, Mineral, Muscatel, Spices, White Wine
Hello Thursday! The day of throwbacks, and more importantly, D&D! Tonight I will finally be unveiling my newly painted druid miniature, which is very excited. Sadly I am still having a hard time finding various animals and such since she is shapeshifter, so alas, sometimes my druid is played by a d20.
It is time for a #TBT tea review, rumaging through my old notebooks for long neglected tea notes, and that neglected tea is none other than Golden Moon Tea’s Sinharaja, a Black Tea from Ceylon, grown bordering the Sinharaja Rain forest. Of course by Ceylon I mean Sri Lanka, old habits die hard, not that I am from a century ago or anything. The aroma of the dark leaves is very rich, strong notes of molasses and malt, caramelized sugar, and a tiny bit of nuttiness arise from the now sniffed leaves. After it has been thoroughly warmed by my nose I also got some honey and cocoa at the finish, fun!
Into the steeping basket the leaves went, for their nice sauna visit. Sometimes I envy tea, and then I remember how many hot baths I take, and realized that was silly. The leaves are woody, the aroma reminds me of tree bark, specifically walnut tree, with an addition of molasses and a touch of honey. the liquid is still quite woody, but with an addition of caramelized sugar and molasses with just a touch of yam.
Moment of truth, tasting time! Ok, the actual tasting happened a while ago, but the notes make it seem like yesterday! The taste is very rich, starting off with strong notes of oak and walnut wood and molasses, mixes richness with briskness, waking up the mouth. It then moves on to cocoa, malt, and a touch of honey, with a finish of caramel at the finish. I decided to add cream and sugar, haven’t done that in a while, mostly because I tend to always be out of cream when I want to go all tea additive happy! Adding the cream and sugar brings out the malt and molasses notes and makes them foremost, all of the brisk notes are removed, honestly did not need much in the way of sugar since it was already subtly sweet. Overall this tea is quite solid, a good example of a quality Ceylon tea.
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Honey, Molasses, Oak wood, Sugar, Walnut, Yams
I am food drunk again! It is a thing that happens to me, I eat a big meal and then get loopy, tired, and very much so like I am tipsy. Not really sure why, but I have a full belly, and that is awesome! Just came home from a friend’s birthday, though I have a fierce craving for cake now since the one was not gluten free (obviously, having a GF cake when only one person there has a problem is dumb) and foresee a cake in my future. The real question is what kind, maybe another Matcha chocolate swirl?
Today’s tea from What-Cha is China Anhui Huangshan ‘Yellow Sun’ Yellow Tea, a Yellow Tea that us turning out to be a giant pain to research! See, you look up Huangshan and you get primarily Huangshan Mao Feng, maybe so references to the place, you look up Huangshan Yellow Tea and you get Huoshan Huang Ya, I mean yeah, they are both from Anhui, but still, they are not the same tea! Frustratingly I cannot really find out anything about this mysterious yellow tea, yet, but I intend to devote more time to it at a later day. The aroma of the curly leaves is incredibly nutty, it reminds me of almond paste and sesame candies, combining sweet and nutty. There are also delicate notes of wet hay, sourdough yeast, distant flowers, and a touch of tart cherry at the finish. It is an oddly complex tea that is strange yet very tasty smelling.
Ooh, going to use my super tall gaiwan, I never get to use it because…well…for some reason I tend to forget about it (the shame) which I hope to not do in the future once I unpack all my gear. The aroma of the soggy leaves has taken on a bit of a woody tinge, alongside notes of sesame seeds, and a surprising spiced floral note and fresh tobacco leaves. I am trying to search through my memories, are the blossoms on a tobacco plant spicy, or is it the dianthus my mom had planted nearby? The liquid is fascinating! Notes of sweet nuttiness and gentle spicy mix with cooked broccoli and cauliflower with a finish of chestnut and hay.
So, first sipping time, and…it is really mild. An odd combination of notes that instead of clashing work really well. Starting with delicate notes of flowers and sweet sesame and almonds. This moves to a blend of sweet, wet, hay and greenbeans, and then a finish of wildflower honey and slightly smoked cherries. The mouthfeel was smooth with a touch of cooling similar to a Sheng Puerh.
The second steep brings in notes of primarily sweet nuttiness, blending sesame seeds and chestnuts with a surprising finish of orchids and wildflowers. Again, this tea is really odd yet tasty! It starts out more green this time with notes of broccoli and greenbeans, then it pretty immediately moves to flowers and hay. It has a perfumed like quality where you are definitely tasting more with your nose than tongue. The finish is hay and honey with a lingering fruity note. Again cooling, more so this time.
I am beginning to thing this tea is the result of some tea themed lovin’ between a Sheng Puerh and an Anhui green. The aroma takes on a strong note of hay, along with sesame and a hint of greenbeans. The taste this time starts off nutty again, sweet sesame and almond, this moves to greenbeans and broccoli, and a finish of sweet honey and flowers. There is a lingering coolness that stays around for a while, very soothing. This was an odd yet amazing tea, I love the blend of different notes that you do not necessarily run into together very often.
Flavors: Almond, Cherry, Green Beans, Hay, Nutty, Smoke
Man, I am really enjoying Terraria again, which is kinda funny to me since when I quit last year I pretty much swore to never go back to the game. Not sure if it is my outlook that changed or if the new updates since I quit added that level of balance to the game that I felt was missing. Regardless the reason it has turned into a really distracting time sink, which is good because I am currently on hold with the whole moving thing. Hopefully in a week, maybe two, and since all my painting gear and most my tea gear is packed up, it gives me a really good outlet.
Today’s tea comes from Tea Leaf Co, specifically it is their tea Wish Upon A Star, a very pretty name that I am not really sure matches the tea, but you all know by now that I am always thinking teas and names do not blend perfectly, it is a quirk of mine! The tea is a blend of Tea (specifically some from China) Rosehips, Rose Petals, Orange Pieces, and Natural Essences, I have to admit the idea of rose and orange being blended together fills my mind with a few Persian themed deserts that I am now craving. The aroma is strong with the orange, specifically it smells like dried oranges and zest, with a touch of rosehip sourness, and a nice burst of sweet roses at the finish. If you are a rose hater, I can say that the rose does not overwhelm, it was Ben approved since usually he has to leave when I am steeping rose teas, he is sadly not a fan, but the aroma of this one did not scare him off.
Into ye ol’ steeping apparatus the leaves go! The aroma of the tea as it steeps is pretty orange-y, though once I pour off the tea and sniff the leaves themselves, the rosehips really show off. Strong sour and citrus notes waft out of the leaves, along with a delicate rose note. The liquid is quite mellow, with notes of orange and a touch of roses, with a very delicate note of distant smoke.
The tea is quite delicate, starting off with sweet and juicy notes of orange with a heady rose. Again the rose does not overwhelm, it is not like sitting in a rose garden, more like sitting next to a single cut rose. This moves to a slight sourness from the rosehips and finished with gentle honey sweetness. This tea is rather refreshing, a great summer time tea, I wish the green tea notes would have been stronger, but the orange and rose blended quite well for a seasonally appropriate sip.
Flavors: Orange, Orange Zest, Rose, Rosehips
Weeee, I am lost in antihistamine fog! My allergies are so bad right now that I am in a fugue state from all these meds, clearly I need to figure out another option or just plan on never getting things accomplished. Ok, not totally true, I read two novels back to back last night, so that was kinda fun. I just need to find a non-drowsy allergy medicine, or drink more tea, since that is always an option!
Speaking of tea, it is time for some tea rambling! Today’s tea is Traditional Tie Guan Yin (Spring 2015) from Sanne Tea, a tea that has its origins in China, but traveled to Taiwan in 1890s and has made quite the name for itself there! I suggest giving the website a read, it has a lovely description of the process the farmer, Mr. Zhang, goes through to create the traditionally roasted Oolong. The aroma is like a memory, as I have said in other reviews of Taiwanese Traditional TGY, it was the first Oolong I had and the first tea I really fell in love with, so that first sniff is always very nostalgic. Notes of toast, toasted nuts and toasted bread, a bit of burnt sugar, cocoa, and delightful notes of toasted chestnuts and walnuts. Those nutty slightly sweet notes make me melt in happiness, I am pretty sure that is what drew me to roasted TGY in the first place.
Into my toasted Oolong pot the leaves go for a nice bath! The notes that come off of the thoroughly soaked leaves is delightfully toasted, roasted chestnuts and toasted bread mingle with gentle char notes and mineral notes. The liquid is very similar, notes of walnuts and roasted chestnuts with toasted bread, the mineral and char notes are very light, and at the finish there is a distinct note of orchids.
Oh wow, that first sip is so sweet! Notes of caramelized walnuts wash over my tongue and wow, that was delicious and unexpected, points for possibly being the sweetest roasted TGY I have ever had. Next is notes of toasted bread and delicate distant orchids, with a finish if cocoa and a slightly cooling sensation, which is also unexpected.
The aroma of the second steeping is toasted nuts and delicate spicebush flowers, with a touch of orchid and caramelized sugar. At the finish there is a tiny bit of mineral and char. This steeping is intensely toasted, strong notes of walnut shells, toasted nuts and bread, and a sharp finish of black walnuts with a lingering sweetness.
Third steep, the aroma is still going strong with toasted nuts, walnuts, and spicebush. The end is a burst of minerals and orchids. The taste is less intensely toasted, but has rolled back around to sweet caramelized walnuts. There are still notes of toasted bread and toasted chestnuts, with a delicate finish of orchids and sweetness. Ah, this tea was quite delicious, a wonderful example of a roasted Tie Guan Yin!
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Chestnut, Mineral, Orchid, Toasted, Walnut
In grand ‘me’ tradition, I was super derp on allergy meds last night, so I spent the entire night playing Terraria. Yes, good old Terraria, haven’t heard me talk about that game in forever, because I have not played it in forever! I lost my info when my previous computer died and gave up in frustration, but decided to give it a go again after seeing good things about the recent updates. I have a love hate relationship with that game, there are just so many things going on that I feel overwhelmed, but at the same time, I do love all those options. It is a fun distraction, even if I do die more than I would like to admit.
So, it has been a while since a tea gear review, and it is practically criminal that I am just now getting around to reviewing my travel steeper that goes pretty much everywhere with me. The Libre Black Brush Tea Glass, to sum it up, is a thing of beauty! It is so pretty with its black lid and base and matching black tree branches reminiscent of trees in winter. You are probably saying ‘but Amanda, wouldn’t you prefer the teal one since you are obsessed with teal?’ surprisingly no, I prefer the black because it goes with everything.
Now, on to the pros and cons! The pros (other than it is pretty!) I love that the outer wall is plastic while the inner is glass, meaning yours truly is less likely to break the blasted thing when I inevitably drop it, also it seems to insulate better than the double glass one, meaning less burning of the hands, so yay! The size is great, it allows for the expansion of the inevitable oolongs that I like to drink. Also I am a big fan of the way the lid is set up, being made of two parts, a lid and a filter, and rather than it being a basket it screws on, meaning if I don’t want the leaves in there or something I don’t have to fiddle with a basket.
Not everything is perfect though, I think my biggest complaint is it doesn’t go in the dishwasher! I really like being able to run things in the dishwasher, especially when I have a cold or something for that extra step of disinfecting. I had to buy a special sponge thingy on a stick to clean it, and taking all the washers and such off to make sure I do not get any weird mold growths anywhere is a bit of a pain, especially when I use this thing a lot. Also sometimes the lid does not screw on right and my purse, pocket, or self gets utterly soaked with tea, though I am pretty sure that is user error because I have weak little wrists.
That little flaw us pretty much the only thing that is a problem with this steeper, I love this thing, I get lots of compliments when I take it out and about. I use it for cold steeping as well as just regular ol’ steeping while out and about. I will say it is a bit expensive, but even though I am a total tightwad, I think it is worth it. If I was very wealthy I would buy one of these for all my tea drinking people as gifts.
Remember a while ago I had allergy tests and they came back that I was not allergic to anything? I think that the test might have been incorrect, because I was feeling better! My sore throat and slightly stuffy nose and cough had eased up, then I spent a day outside and then another with all the windows open and I woke up sick again! There are no new things in the house to cause irritation, so it must be allergies, it being so wet this year that it must be mold. I dunno, I am sick of this sore throat, so time to take loopy allergy meds and crank up the air purifier to full blast! On a more fun note, I started a Wedding Registry (because why not, even though I do not even have a set date yet!) and I am having fun trying to figure out what to add. So far there is a cat tower and a vase, progress!
Today I am taking a look at Liquid Proust’s Jackseed Gyokuro a blend of Gyokuro from Wakayama, Roasted Jackfruit Seeds, and a dash of Vanilla. I admit, I found this tea very intriguing! I am a sucker for blends using out of the norm ingredients, I love the imagination and bravery it takes to make and test something like this, and as someone who has dabbled in making bizarre blends…it is hard work! It feels wrong to take something as precious Gyokuro and make it into a blend…or does it? The aroma of the tea is ever so slightly fruity, like apricot and a little like almonds, with a tiny hint of distant vegetation. The aroma is very light, at the very tail end of the sniffing there is a hint of distant sea air, which is fascinating.
It was quite fun watching the tea go from emerald green leaves to vibrantly green once steeped, I just love how intensely green Japanese teas get once steeped! The aroma of the soggy leaves and seed bits is fruity, again the apricot notes are present, add in chestnuts and a touch of almonds for nutty sweetness. Then boom, straight into strong almost salty, buttery, asparagus and kelp, the Gyokuro showed up, hehe! The liquid is pretty mild, not much going on, a touch of green vegetation notes and a tiny touch of nuttiness, really it is very mild.
The tea starts off mild, very smooth mouthfeel and rather thick. Not as thick as I am used to with Gyokuro since I brewed this more Western style than the traditional ton of Gyokuro and very little water method. The tasting starts with buttery asparagus and fresh kelp and sea air, this moves to chestnuts and apricots. It is a little different from apricots, more like a blend between an apricot and banana with a papaya edge, it could in fact, be Jackfruit, but I have not had the pleasure of eating that in well over a decade, and it was only a small taste. Clearly I need to go on another palate expanding adventure! After that burst of fruitiness it moves on to savory again, with a finish of asparagus and a touch of broken hay and grass, which is very subtle. I am honestly not sure how I feel about this tea, I found myself wanting more from the nutty and fruity notes, like they kept teasing me, but on the other hand the subtle wisps of flavor fascinated me, like I was chasing down an adventure, a treasure hunt in my mouth. I am tempted to get more and brew it traditional using my pseudo-houhin and see how the tastes change, a curious tea and a curious experience!
Hello tea friends! I am sorry (not sorry) that I missed out on blogging yesterday, but I was super tired after getting no sleep the night before (unrelated) and celebrating the next day, in case you missed it, I got engaged!!! Ben took me to the zoo as a little going away present before he skipped town for a few days to attend a wedding out of state, and in the Australian bird enclosure while being watched by Ibises he proposed. My ring is quite wonderful, a simple silver band embossed with laurels (yay I finally have laurels!) and very comfortable, and apparently the little sneak bought it months ago when I was visiting my mom in PA, and waited for the perfect opportunity to surprise me, in typical Ben fashion it was all very romantic. I am still in a state of giggly bliss! Now to start planning the Deep Sea Cthulhu Cephalopod themed wedding!
So, giggling aside, today is a day for some Sheng! Specifically Wymm Tea’s Jingmai Sheng Pu-erh From Ancient Tea Tree 2013 First Spring, a Sheng Puerh from Jingmai Mountain in the Lancang Lahu Autonomous County in the southwest of Yunnan. This reminds me of how badly I want several very detailed maps of tea producing regions, that would be so cool hanging in my tea area. So, the aroma of this tea is not much to jump up and down about, the tea is very tightly compressed, so I am not surprised by the rather mellow and unassuming aroma. The notes I do get out of this sample are sweet hay, camphor, a gentle sharp woodiness, and a touch of spinach. It took a bit of sniffing to get those notes, but nothing wrong with a bit of tea snuffling!
Once I gave the tea its first rinse and brew, the leaves livened up a good bit. There are notes of wet oak wood and wet and dry hay, like a barn but thankfully without the animals! There is also a bit of sourness that fades to sweetness, like melon rinds, lastly there is a hint of green beans, specifically fresh uncooked snap beans. The liquid has a sharpness, wet wood and camphor, with a touch of smoke and sweetness.
I apologize for no photo of the first steep, I was unaware that my camera was suffering technical difficulties and ate my photo, all I got was a sad error. After the sharp aroma I was expecting a sharp taste, amusingly not so much! It is fruit sweetness and smoothness from the first to the aftertaste. Starting with honey and hay, moving to apricots, and finishing with a gentle woodiness that does give a bit of dryness at the very end. There is a very gentle camphorous cooling after sipping, but it is very light.
Second steeping! The aroma is not really at all sharp this time, it is sweet and fruity, fresh crisp apricots and honey with a touch of distant smoke. The taste is much thicker, especially in mouthfeel, it is heavily leaden with honey and fruit at the front, this fades pretty quickly to greenness. Notes of greenbeans and grass with a tiny bit of grapes at the finish.
Onward to number three! The aroma is now quite pungent, wet hay and wet leaf pile with a camphor note drift from my cup. What, the? Hey, what happened? It has gone from delightfully smooth and sweet to bitter, just like not entirely ripe persimmons, however the mouthfeel is thick and not dry, interesting! Maybe I steeped it too long, always a possibility (it was 30 seconds at 185 if you are curious) but woo, that was a twist! In me fashion I went for a few more steeps, the next couple were still rather bitter, but fading back into apricots and hay, with stronger camphor notes, so other than that kick in the face at the middle the tea was quite enjoyable!
I had a thrift store adventure today! Feeling the predictable ‘I need to go to the thrift store’ tingly feeling in my brain, weirdest super power ever (though sadly not as useful as my finding lost things super power) so Ben was nice and took me to the store. My usual store did not have anything of interest, sadly, so we went to the other store up the road that never has anything, and lo and behold, there were things! I found a Guan Yin statue, something I have always wanted (but never bought new because it is me and I like getting old stuff at stores) so I was so happy, I did a loud squee. When I was checking out the cashier dropped the statue, knocking the head off, eek! Thinking my beloved statue was ruined, I examined it and saw the head could very easily be glued back on, so I bought it and was given a discount, awesome! I am debating painting it to look like some of the paintings, or all gold to look like a temple statue, one thing is for certain, Guan Yin needs a bath!
So, tis time for tea! What-Cha’s Vietnam ‘Wild Boar’ Black Tea, a tea I bought because boars are kinda awesome. The tea is named by the local hill tribe that picks the wild growing leaves after the boars that roam wild in the hills. The aroma of the dark leaves is odd, I kinda teared up a bit because the aroma reminds me of something from my memories, something very far into them but I could not place it, it was maddening and caused an intense feeling of homesickness. Memories aside (since you cannot really smell those) there are notes of cocoa and malt, with a delicate note of peanuts, and surprisingly wildflowers and a touch of roses, it has a gentle sweetness, but it is mostly from the floral notes, the cocoa is like dark chocolate rather than the sweet stuff.
Into the green gaiwan the leaves go for their nice little bath! The aroma of the wet leaves is rather rich! Notes of malt and oak wood with a touch of peanuts and loam. Distant notes of flowers at the finish with a tiny touch of turnip greens. The liquid is a gentle blend of cocoa and sweet honey with malt and again a touch of flowers.
Whoa! That first steep is robust! It starts off a bit brisk while remaining smooth, a good first thing in the morning tea, will wake you up without kicking your stomach in the process. The taste starts off malty and blooms into an almost coconut milk sweetness and creaminess, toss in some cocoa and honey and well, yum!
The second steep’s aroma is rather diminished from the first steep, only mild notes of flowers and malt remain. The taste is also kinda diminished, but still tasty, notes of malt and creamy sweetness with a touch of cocoa are what stand out, with a tiny mineral and floral taste at the finish. This is a great first steep, with the later ones had more staying power, but eh, sometimes just one steep is not a bad thing. Still trying to find out what memory that smell is evoking, the brain is strange sometimes!
Boo, I lack anything interesting to say, still waiting to move and waiting to stop being sick. So, I shall instead talk about comics, I recently discovered a youtube channel called Comicstorian, it is all about, you guessed it, comics! I am reminded how infuriating Hush’s story is, I prefer my head canon where Hush is actually a Mummy detective, solving crimes and finding a way to get to the Afterlife because clearly someone cursed him…if he could only remember who…I should totally write this. Anyway, Hush is really lame, I wish that he didn’t exist, or that his story would not have ended so incredibly stupidly, it just makes me angry!
Today is an Oolong day, Oollo Tea’s Iron Buddha Oolong. Hello tea that is a gift from Guan Yin, this tea, fun fact, years ago was the type of Oolong that got me hooked on Oolongs and taught me tea could be something more than just a drink, that it could be something that is art. That was a different Iron Buddha from Taiwan, since that was over a decade ago! Anyway, nostalgia aside, this tea is wonderful, that distinct aroma of a roasted Tie Guan Yin, blending toast, roasted chestnut, hazelnuts, baking bread, and just a delicate note of char. This is not a charcoal roasted oolong, so the roasted notes are more like toast than fire, at the finish (after I have been sniffing this tea for a while) is a delicate note of plum.
Brewing the tea in my roasted Oolong Yixing teapot, like I do, the aroma is delightfully toasted. Notes of roasted notes (chestnut and walnut shell) and toasted bread mix with mineral, sweet cocoa, and even a note of roasted coffee. It is really robust! The liquid is a blend of roasted walnuts and chestnuts, a hint of hazelnuts and a tiny bit of toasted bread at the finish.
The first steep is smooth and fairly mellow, starting out with a note of mineral and toasted nuts. Next the taste moves to walnut shells and hazelnuts, with a touch of toasted bread. This moves on to a sweet finish of stone fruit and a tiny touch of char.
After savoring the toasty, mineral goodness of the first steep I obviously had to have more, so on to steep two. The aroma of this steep is nicely roasted, with notes of sweet honey and roasted nuts, with just a touch of grainy bread. The taste is nicely robust, rich roasted nuts and grains, toast, sesame seeds, chestnut, walnuts, and even a touch of oats. There is a tiny hint of mineral at the finish, along with a slight sourness like unripe plums, but that fades pretty quickly to sweet plums at the aftertaste.
For the third steep, the aroma is toasted and not much else, it is toasted grains and bread, with a hint of walnuts. The taste is delicate this time around, roasted notes of walnuts and a finish of honey make up the bulk of this steep. It is nice, but a ghost compared to the previous steep, but being haunted by honey sweetness and walnuts is not a terrible fate!