Never before has a tea defeated me like this. I went a good seven or eight rounds with this pu-erh – the first five were gongfu-style, the last two were Western. Same leaves each time. It didn’t lapse in strength until steep seven, and even then it still had juice to jolt me. Odd spectrum of flavors, too – peat, oak, wilderness leaf, juniper, strawberries-’n-cream (yeah, you heard right) and earth. This was one tough sip. Totally worth it, though.
313 Tasting Notes
I actually received this before the Purple Tea of Kenya but didn’t get around to it after. A travesty given my love of teas with the word “GOLD!” in them. This bears a lot of similarities to Yunnan Golds both in site, smell and taste. Where it differs is the subtlety of its character. It’s not as “thick” as a Yunnan gold on delivery, instead presenting its berry-sweet, honey-like presence in a fluttery sorta way. It can also take a brew-beating of five minutes far better than a Yunnan can. Approval was met with gusto.
I absolutely love notching a unique tea off my list. I’d been looking for Kenyan Purple Tea for over half a year, and Butiki was one of the ONLY suppliers of the stuff. It lives up to its experimental moniker; as in, it’s a hard one to classify. Part green tea, part oolong, and oddly tisane-ish on taste. I had a tough time coming up with a label. I tried three different temperatures to see which one I liked best. Boiling the ever-loving s**t out of it seemed to fit my palate the best. All in all, though, I really liked it and look forward to more like it in the future.
This offering from Stash had me at three words: Smoked. Assam. Oolong. Two of the most manly descriptors in my tea lexicon….plus the most habit-forming. I did this up both with a gongfu prep and Western-style. Both yield the peaty presence this oak-wood-fired oolong possesses, but the gongfu approach also brings out some of its nuances. Yes, this thing actually has nuances beyond the lip-smack first sip. I liked it quite a bit, but it doesn’t surpass other smoked varieties like good ol’ Lapsang. Peat doesn’t quite outweigh hickory. That said, it’s the perfect cup for cavendish pipe tobacco smokers, whiskey drinkers, and any others who want a burn for their buck.
It takes a lot for me to say a tea is perfect. That and I’ve only ever encountered one perfect Darjeeling. Well, I think that’s been upstaged…by an oolong, no less. Castleton has produced an oolong that is both muscatel and dipped in creamy/fruity/floral nuances. It was a hard tea to identify…and even harder to put my adulation into words. Truly a perfect a cup, in my opinion.
I’ve been wanting to notch off this A-MURR-ican-grown white tea for some time. Luckily, it’s now available for purchase – both at Tea Hawaii and at KTeas. I received this one-off sample amidst a bulk of others, and I’m rather surprised it took me a month to finally get to it. This is a very burly and full-bodied white tea with a complex character. Flavors it evokes range from tropical fruit to volcanic earthiness…as well as the flutteriness of a good Bai Mu Dan. Like all Hawaiian teas I’ve tried, it’s in a league of its own. Not sure for which sport, though.
To quote Hannibal from The A-Team: “I love it when a plan comes together.”
If any of you were paying attention a ways back, I was whining about wanting to try some Iranian-grown tea. Through mysteeeeerious methods, I was able to acquire some. And it lived up to the hurdles it took to acquire it. It’s smoky, malty, fruity, nutty, and just plane pleasant all around…if a bit on the light side.
I would definitely break a U.S. blockade for more.
Full write-up here: http://lazyliteratus.teatra.de/2011/09/06/iran-so-far-for-tea/
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”.
This is the first Darjeeling oolong I’ve ever tried. And if it’s any indication of what else is produced there, I want “MOAR”! I did this gongfu-style so as to take note of the flavor changes, and while it maintained a similar palate between for successive infusions, it emboldened fabulously. I would not prepare this western-style as recommended on the East Pacific Tea website, do this in a gaiwan. You won’t regret the fruit notes. I swear on it.
This marks the second white matcha that has graced my miso soup bowl. Red Leaf’s smelled like…well…white tea – mildly nutty but floral. As for flavor, there really isn’t much to say beyond a simple word, “Awesome.” It was smooth from the start, never presenting a vegetal kick-back like some regular matchas do.
It’s the second black matcha I’ve tried. The first was a Darjeeling/Assam blend with a robust, almost chocolaty flavor with a wonderful texture. This reminded me of a mid-grade, CTC-cut Nilgiri on smell – bitter forefront that transitioned into a floral fragrance. The result after whisking was a thickly-frothed, even-brown liquor with a spectacular aroma. The true beauty of this was in the texture. If the drinker had no taste buds, they’d still find pleasure in the velvety/silky delivery.
On my way home from a job interview, I made a pit stop into The Jasmine Pearl HQ for a bowl of matcha. (Yes, that’s right. Most people stop by normal bars on the way home, I stop for tea. Shush.) While having my bowl o’ matcha, I was coaxed by the owners into trying one of their “bingcha” raw pu-erhs.
I…love…sheng pu-erh. This was an ‘06. Other than that, I don’t know much about it. I can tell you that it had a deep, winy, floral-fruity character on even the first thirty-second infusion…and didn’t deviate from that. While I only had three infusions, I’m more than certain it could’ve lasted more. I wanted to buy an ounce of it, but it wasn’t exactly in the budgetary cards. Next time…next time. Le yum.
I received this from a teashop up in Ontario after having announced (elatedly) that I finally tried Canadian icewine. The purveyor of said shop kindly sent me a sample of their white tea blended with icewine. What is there to say? Well…it lives up to its moniker. Other than not having as strong of a mead-sweet profile as actual icewine, it still does capture the taste. Sweet/sour white wine grape notes and Bai Mu Dan’s naturally grape-y lean compliment each other perfectly. The scenting (instead of flavoring) process lends itself to a more nuanced cup. The best form for this was as an iced tea. One could sweeten it, but it isn’t necessary.
Been awhile since I’ve done any Steepster-ing. Figured the best tea to break the hiatus would be a Shang Tea offering I almost completely forgot about. I looked at other reviews for this, and some complained it was too strong. I think part of that might be the brewing instructions. Shang recommended a 195F water temp and a one-to-two-minute steep. I did it for three minutes in 165F – a white tea typical. What I got was a subtly-scented, jasmine-kissed white with a nuanced and delicate flavor. I’m usually not a jasmine guy, but this more than made up for my bias against its type.
I’ve had sencha paired with cherry blossoms (yum!)…and green tea paired with cherry flavor (yuck). This one is part of the latter category, but distinctly reminds me of the former. The cherry flavor is loud and vibrant, but not overwhelmingly “fake” like some fruit-flavored teas. It also possessed a very nice and creamy aftertaste. A darn good sakura knock-off.
Full Review: New Review: http://www.teaviews.com/?p=28059