2341 Tasting Notes
Awhile back Invador Zim & I did a trade. I think it was the first month of verdant’s TOTM reserve club, & not everyone got the same teas, but there was enough for more than one sampling. Since we had different teas, we swapped, so that we could each try them all. Thanks Zim!
This is one of the teas I sipped on over the course of the afternoon.
Dry, the leaves had a light roasty scent.
I pre-heated my Gaiwan & let them sit in there for a few minutes, & they took on a caramelized plum scent.
After the rinse, they smelled like smoked umeboshi plums.
The tea was golden in color. I was expecting more of a reddish color, as the dry leaves were tinged so, but once they hit the hot water they really were green.
I’m not a huge fan of dancongs, I might as well admit it. I went through many short steepings, & the flavors that I made note of were incense, a little toastiness, & a perfumey floral edge. There was gentle fruitiness, melon & plum. A little bitterness, a little salt in the aftertaste.
It was a pleasant tea, not something I’d buy, but nice to sample.
Breakfast: A baked sweet potato & chorizo
This tea is bold enough to stand up to a breakfast like that!
It is not loud or bright or acidic, like so many breakfast blends are.
The aroma is a balance of fruit & earth, with a hint of smoke.
The flavor is similar. I drank the first cup straight, & added a little stevia to the 2nd cup, & that’s nice too, bringing out a brown sugar taste & a butteriness in the throat.
Nothing fancy, no special steeping techniques, just a nice balanced cup of tea! Sometimes that’s all I need.
Home from the London Tea Room, I’m enjoying a cup of this blend, which they offer each year around Valentine’s day. The black tea base is bold, but smooth. The flavors of black currants, vanilla, & bergamot are nicely balanced & although I drank the first few sips plain, the addition of stevia really makes all the flavors pop! It’s delicious! My book club buddies are in for a treat!
For those who don’t know about it, Steepster has it’s own bookclub! We’re over in the discussions section, & we are on our 2nd book, The American Heiress. In addition to reading the book, we divided into groups (based on tea preference), & are doing tea swaps to match the book!
This tea came from threewhales! It’s bold & brisk, with a malty character & a bright fruity spiciness. A little on the astringent side for my tastes, but still a good start to my day! Thanks threewhales!
Now I’m headed downtown to the London Tea Room to pick out some teas to share with my book club buddies!
I drink different teas for different reasons.
In the morning I tend to drink bold & rich black teas.
Sometimes I want something green & fresh, sometimes I want something floral or roasty.
Sometimes I want something sweet & flavored like a dessert.
Other times I want an experience, not a flavor. A feeling of introspection, a feeling of ‘this moment’. The feeling of qi flowing through me…
That’s when I turn to this Shu. I love this tea! It is like a revelation every time I drink it. The leaves just keep giving, & I’m certain I’ll continue steeping them tomorrow. It’s not a dessert tea, it is a tea for the moment. It is a tea for all eternity.
I’ve been sipping on this for the last hour or so.
This is the 3rd time I’ve sampled this tea, I think.
I do not taste any chocolate. I taste semolina & cream. There is a nice bold depth as well, kind of a coffee edge, which perhaps could be interpreted as dark chocolate, but that is not what I taste.
Over the course of several steepings the cream became butter, with a nice buttery sensation lingering in my throat.
It’s a pleasant tea, & maybe next time…
Tea of the Month Reserve Club – February
It’s been awhile since I drank Sheng. It’s been 11 days.
Sheng is one of those teas that takes time. The flavors are subtle. You can’t just brew it & drive around running errands. If you did, you wouldn’t appreciate what it has to offer. Plus, Sheng tends to be high in mind-blowing chaqi, & for me, it’s better to enjoy when I’m just hanging out, teaching & relaxing. Which is what I’m doing this afternoon.
Dry, this tea smells a little musty & woodsy, like alfalfa in a cedar chest. The color is gray/green with tan highlights.
The wet leaf smells more of cedar, with a tart citrus aroma.
5G + 4oz (rinse) X 6 seconds
Some shengs (the younger ones I guess) can be very intense & in your face, but the flavor of this sheng is very mellow & mild. Early on there was the tongue-tingling sensations, a vague bitterness that I like, & a very clean & clear resinous flavor. This gradually evolved into an almost citrus like essence, nice & bright.
I love the way I feel right now: clear, clean, alert, intuitive.
One of my adult students was coming for his lesson, & right before he arrived I felt I should brew him a cup of Meditative Mind, a blend from The Tea Spot of white tea, green jasmine pearls, & Rose buds. It’s a beautiful tea & felt right for him. He arrived, stressed, & loved it.
I love Yunnan teas.
That’s not to say that I don’t love other teas, because really, I love them all. But Yunnans seem to resonate with me the most.
I have enjoyed this tea a couple of times now. I’ve used the cup & brewed western style, & I’ve used the Gaiwan.
The dry leaf has a wild & rustic look, which is always appealing to me! The dry aroma smells lightly salty & reminds me of potato chips cooked in olive oil.
The wet leaf has a fruity astringent aroma.
This is not a chocolaty tea. This is not a malty tea.
This is not Laoshan Black or it’s contemporaries.
There is an interesting grape-like sensation down the center of my tongue, a nice creamy texture, mild mouth watering salty sensations, linen mouth-feel, olive oil cooked potato chips, tingling tongue, sweet aftertaste, & here, on my 3rd steeping, a most wonderful sensation of chaqi, flowing in & around me.
Perhaps this is not my favorite black tea. It is not so glamorous as some of the others. But I’m picturing Master Han & his apprentices, climbing trees, picking tea, savoring each moment out in nature, & I suspect that a tea such as this is much more like the traditional teas people have drank forever. A nice peaceful hippy-like vibe now :)
I recycle tea canisters. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I peel off the labels, little Terri decorates a section of paper, & we tape it on as a new label. I have to have at least a couple oz of a tea in order for it to warrant it’s own canister. The reason I’m writing this is to explain why my 2nd cup of Kenyan from LTR ended up being a cup of Bolder Breakfast. The Kenyan is in an old Bolder breakfast canister, & because the canister is square instead of cylindrical, we just decorated a stick on label. So the 2 canisters were side by side, I suppose, & I reached in, grabbing the ‘wrong’ one, didn’t really pay attention while I measured it out, sat down with the cup, breathed in, as I always do, & “huh?”
There are no mistakes in life. I had oversteeped the first cup of Kenyan, & although I drank it, it was somewhat bitter & I was going to remedy that with a 2nd cup. Instead I remedied it with a completely different cup.
Bolder breakfast is both bold & mellow, at the same time. There is chocolate, there is a substantial tea base, the puer is somewhere in the back. It is a contrast from the kenyan, as it doesn’t have that bright fruity element, it’s more of what I’d call a ‘matte’ texture.
A nice contrast.