320 Tasting Notes
This tea was only made available for TeaGeek.net members, and I was lucky enough to get to sample some. Most wouldn’t know, but Georgia (the country, not the state) used to have a thriving tea industry. Nowadays, tea is mainly produced by a collection of farmers that go for a traditional hand-made approach. The result shows in the batch. This is a very uniquely-prepared tea. Even when introduced to boiling water, the result is a nuanced, light-colored liquor with a smidge citrus, flowers, chestnuts, and malt. Can’t sing high enough praises for it.
This was my first ever attempt at pairing tea and music. Since that’s more-than-subtly what this tea is asking you to do. I had this berry black blend while listening to Cake. That seemed oddly fitting, and the two paired well. Makes me want to do more tea/music pairings. [ponders]
I don’t know why it took me so darn long to try this tea, which is named after my stomping grounds, but I finally got around to it. I got this in a care package ages back from LiberTeas. It’d been sitting in a tea case for months, unopened. This morning I was desperate for a pick-me-up, so I turned to it. It was black, it was there, and it was new. Done.
As far as black blends go, it was surprisingly even. The Chinese blacks certainly dominate the profile, in my opinion. There may have been a little bit of Darjeeling muscatel on the forefront, but it was nigh on subtle. The rest of the tea’s character was bold, smooth, woody, middling-to-malty, and astringent at the end. A decent enough blend.
Where most cooked pu-erhs on dry smell whiff of fish and marinas, this one smelled like a lightly smoked Lapsang. So far, so good, I thought. I did about a teaspoon of shavings in a gaiwan, four infusions. That hickory sensation was present on the foretaste, followed by an actual earthy element (not a “supposedly” earthy), and ended on a non-astringent note. It confirms that a cooked pu-erh needs to age naturally for about a half-decade before it’s any good…on average.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I brewed this completely wrong. No gawain, no gongfu. I did this straight western-style in a coffee cup. But it lasted three infusions and tasted awesome and winy the entire time. Therefore, I can’t think for a second I did anything wrong. Darn good sheng.
This was a complete surprise. I received this one-off sample in a delivery of white tea from Canton Tea Co. and shrieked in delight upon receiving it. It lasted five steeps and took hotter temperatures well. Albeit still a white tea, it has some of the burly trappings of its blacker brethren.
I had it in mind to duck outta traffic and make a pit stop at Smith HQ today. It was the first such stop in – oh – a month and a half, and I’d heard rumblings about their new line of iced teas. I figured, “It was a summer day, my mood is horrible, and I’m under-caffeinated…ice me.”
The gal at the counter was kind enough to brew up a new pitcher of the stuff and pour me a pint. She had mentioned that it had a sweeter profile than most, which I found odd given that the blend possessed no Keemun, but…whoah…she was right. This was not an iced tea that needed anymore sweetening. Okay, some Southerners will say ALL iced tea needs sweetening, but whatever.
A sweet tang dominated the forefront followed by a robust interchange between malt and floral characteristics. It was like the blend was dueling with itself on my tongue. An Indian muscatel/spice lean was felt along with mild astringency on aftertaste. By golly, what a good blend. Perked me up somethin’ fierce.
Not the biggest fan of bancha or aracha mostly on principle. It’s lower-grade Japanese green tea, almost by definition. However, vanilla seems to bring out something extra beyond the naturally-even grassiness of it. I’ll admit it, there’s a good balance going on here.
Wow, been awhile since I’ve updated here. Oops…
A couple of nights back, I dipped into my stash of Bai Lin for only the second time. Even when brewed quick and without stringent temps/times, it is one amazing black tea. One would expect it – by appearance – to be like a normal Dian Hong, but it has more in common with (fittingly enough) Keemun Gong Fu. It’s silky, honey-like, vaguely sweet, mild on the malt but still there, and only moderately astringent on the finish. I only wish I had more of the stuff.
Not a fan of coffee? Possibly a fan of genmaicha? Sensitive to caffeine? This may be up your alley. It’s a coffee substitute utilizing chicory, roasted rice and roasted peas. It took me awhile to get past the rice, personally. I’m not one for steeping rice…only eating it. However, at a bare-minimum steep (and doses of milk and sweetener), it was a damn good “coffaux”.