344 Tasting Notes
Since I’ve spent the better part of the weekend knee-deep in flu plague, I’ve been on a white tea kick. However, this Monday morning, I wanted to go for something a little more pu-erh-y. I split the difference and went for this “white bud pu-erh”. I use quotations on that because I’m still unsure what the difference between a white bud pu-erh and an aged white tea are? Neither really go through a wet-piling, and sometimes aged white teas (and young white teas) are compressed into cakes. So, how does one classify that?
That aside, the taste confused the issue further. It resembled – beat for beat – a young, Yunnan-grown Silver Needle. Citrus and herbal notes and all. Toward the finish, it had some of the winy properties of a sheng pu-erh, only rougher – given its young age.
I guess I’ll leave my philosophical question aside and just answer with, “NOM!”.
It’s two days after Christmas, and this arrived with all the fanfare of an opening mailbox door. I noticed the label on the package, and immediately ducked inside. I’d been waiting to try this tea the moment I first heard about it. Heck, I was there during the initial brainstorming session. Over beer!
I’ve notched off a few barrel-scented teas, and this one is the strongest yet. The earthiness of the pu-erh is there, but it’s a runner-up to the rich, strong, smoked fruit notes of the bourbon barrel scenting. Wood, peat, gasoline, earth, and fireball sweetness all took turns pummeling my tongue. And that was just with gongfu-style.
Yesterday, I made a trip out to Smith HQ with my mother. Usually, I end up with a pot of Darjeeling, and she goes for the Lord Bergamot. This time we did TWO pots of Morning Light – a Douglas Fir tips-‘n-rosemary-laden black tea blend out for the holidays. I’ve had fir tipped teas before, and had an earlier variation of this a year prior.
This years was better by a longshot. The rosemary adds a spicy tickle to the woodsy mintiness already in play. Very relaxing and tasty.
We went through two pots of the stuff in about an hour.
Let me state for the record that I don’t normally go for peppermint. I don’t hate it per se; I just don’t care for it. For me, the mint taste is a bit too pungent and harsh. That and it gives me crazy heartburn.
So, when I received this alongside some of the other AdventureTea wares, I dismissed it as yet another peppermint. That changed when curiosity got the better of me, and I opened the bag. Now, I know candy canes are made from peppermint, but I’d never run into a peppermint leaf that smelled exactly like candy canes.
Today, I shared a pot with my mother. I’ll be struck by lightning if I don’t admit that it’s the single most perfect mint herbal I’ve ever come across. I’ve never considered mint a perfect taste, but this Northern Canadian stuff hits all the right marks – clean, refreshing, (obviously) minty, sweet and relaxing.
The perfect Christmas herbal.
Down to my last vestiges of this. I’ve had this tea for almost a year now; I’m surprised I held onto it this long. It was the first aged oolong I ever tried. Can’t say I recognize any remnants of its Oriental Beauty heritage…but it’s still quite fantastic in its own right. The Taiwanese measure tea by the overall sensation, not just taste. And with this one, I can see why.
At first, on initial taste, the aged nature of it is a little oft-putting. But done with short steeps over a period of minutes, it lends something unique and wonderfully medicinal. Oh, and I happen to like the taste of “ancient Buddhist calm”. I can dig it.
I’m at the start of the busiest day at work I’ve had in awhile, and I needed a li’l happy juice calm. Already on my second mug.
Just got this in the mail today. On Black Friday, no less. Oh wait, I just said it was Black Friday one post ago. Oh well, moving on.
Seems to be a Taiwanese sorta day. First a Taiwanese black tea, now a white. Nary an oolong on the tongue. How strange.
This is a very floral and leafy white tea. Brings me back to thoughts of a wild Chinese white, only lighter-bodied and more – I dunno – layered? It almost reminds me of white teas produced in the U.S.
And, yes, that’s tall praise.
Black tea to get me through a Black Friday at work. Fitting. What else could impart some feeling of Zen while corralling Canadian children playing hockey in the hallways. Answer: An aged Taiwanese black tea. This stuff tastes like Buddhist chocolate. Or at least how I imagine chocolate Buddhists would taste.
I’ll stop now…this is getting weird.
It being Thanksgiving Day – and given the fact that I’m working – I figured it a perfect time to down at least two pints of an American-grown tea. Not just American, one grown and processed in my own state. The leaves for this black tea were picked from a small tea garden as part of the Minto Island Growers outfit. J-TEA International purchased a heap of their leaves and processed them into a black tea product. Similar to a Taiwanese black.
This is my go-to tea when I’m on the go. I can steep it forever, and it doesn’t bitter. The taste is malty, sweet, kinda fruity and…well…’Merica.
I even had to visit the garden it was grown from once WITH the tea in question. (http://steepstories.com/2013/08/14/tea-garden/)
Happy Thanks-Teaing, Steepster.
I don’t often say to people: YOU MUST BUY THIS NAO!!! But I’m doing so here. Especially to those of you with palates that lean toward the smoky. This is a sugarcane-smoked black tea from Taiwan, and it tastes just like that description implies. It’s smoky-sweet with a floral sensation throughout, much like a Li Shan black…but without the malty kick.
I can’t sing praises about this enough.
I even roped friends into trying it with me. You can read about that here: http://www.norbutea.com/JinXuanXiaoZhong?category_id=133
Yeah, I was floored.
Been awhile since I’ve talked about a tea on here…and it had to be one I didn’t like very much. Oh well. This one meant well.
This is the first blend that I’ve delved into since…uh…yesterday. (That English Breakfast teabag shouldn’t count!) First impressions: It was a blend. A green tea blend. Specifically, Chinese sencha as the base with orange and red bits strewn about. On smell, it was…well…fruit sugar. Not sure if they were aiming for apples with the aroma, but I got the impression caramel dipped apples. And we’re almost two weeks out from Halloween.
I obeyed the brewing instructions to the letter(ish) – 1 tsp. of blend in a 6oz. steeper cup, infused for three minutes. The water used was “about” 170F degrees. Couldn’t say for certain.
The liquor brewed a pale, somewhat foggy green with a leafy (but sweet) aroma invoking a sense of honey-dipped peanut butter. When I sipped it, I must say I recoiled a little. There was an unwelcomed syrupy texture on the forefront. It settled down, allowing the rest of the tea aspects to shine through, but it was definitely jarring. Like, “flavored tea” jarring. The middle was sweet and lightly floral. Some of the natural grapy lean of the Chinese sencha even poked out like a prairie dog. But…the finish.
No polite way to put it. The epilogue and aftertaste were…soapy. Astringent, still sweet-ish, kinda lavender-y…and just unpleasant. If only everything from the middle and top note had remained. I think that the blended elements themselves could’ve held this infusion up better without the flavoring agents. ]
A second infusion was a drastic improvement, keeping hold of the fruitier aspects, while ditching the soapy palate texture.