I could geekily nitpick that it can’t be a Keemun unless it’s actually produced in Qimen County, but I’m not in a purist mood this morning. The fact that it was a Formosa-borne black tea was merit enough for sipping. Unlike Chinese Keemun, it doesn’t possess the bitter foretaste. In fact, none of its flavor characteristics match up with Keemun. There’s no sweetness and no “orchid”-like comparison. What it does offer is an aged pu-erh’s earthiness coupled with a Formosa oolong’s nutty and pinecone-like flavor. It’s no Keemun Gongfu or Mao Feng, but it still does pretty well.
313 Tasting Notes
This isn’t actually an item that’s for sale. Heck, it isn’t even an item that’s considered ready yet. Rather, I received notification from Smith HQ that one of their lead blenders was playing around with infusing Ti Kwan Yin leaves in actual gin. I love trying knew chimeric creations, especially when alcohol is involved. The taste for this was quite unique. The foretaste was all oolong, but the middle was vastly dominated by the juniper berry tang imparted by the gin. My other favorite aspect was the aftertaste. As in, there really wasn’t one. I’m not a fan of the cotton-mouthy sensation some Kwan Yins leave me with after sipping. This had nothing like that. It was smooth, berry-ish, floral, and light. An excellent first try. Just thought I’d share.
I received this completely by surprise from Shinobicha. He apparently saw me raving about this being on my “Tea Want” list and graciously provided me with a sample. The dry presentation wasn’t all that remarkable – looking and smelling like a CTC-cut black tea, very generic-seeming. That opinion was cast aside upon taste. This has some unusual notes to it – grapefruit, wood, nuts, grass, sweetness. Like a Nilgiri mixed with sencha. Bitterness was also thankfully understated. I can’t say it’s “OH WOW!” like a Yunnan Gold (which is far easier to acquire), but I’m glad to have at least tried it.
This was the goldest of the Golden Monkeys I’ve ever come across. It resembled a Yunnan Gold instead of its other Fujian brethren, which merely had flecks of gold. The taste reflected the visual presentation; autum flush-like malt and muscatel notes and a caramel-honey/apricot finish. It’s a damn good golden cup.
I’m a big fan of chamomile. Unlike many hokey health claims, chamomile has a time honored tradition of doing exactly what it’s supposed to – knocking someone’s arse out. Valerian also holds that honor, although it smells FAR worse. Skullcap…well, I don’t know much about it or what it tastes like. Combined in this dreamtime blend – along with passion flower – the three work well together. Sure, they’re ingredients I could easily do on my own, but I don’t think I’d nail the balancing act as well as the “Sacred” folks did. A pretty good sleepy steep.
No other way to put it. This is THE definitive Earl Grey. British-grown tea (blended with Assam) scented with British-grown bergamot oil. And it sure does taste like it. The black tea base was malty, floral…and balanced absolutely perfectly with the citrus-sour bergamot. A second steep yielded a more diluted bergamoty cup but with no astringency or bitterness. In a word, “Wow.”
Full Review: http://www.lazyliteratus.com/1152
I don’t often use the word “chimera” outside of my sci-fi reading/writing…but this? What the heck?! Just look at the ingredients. If you think those seem diametrically opposed to one another, wait ‘til you smell and/or taste it. As for the aroma: There’s a tug-o’-war at work here, like it wants to be a tropical “genmai” chai. And – to whatever end – it kinda succeeds. On the flavor front? I know I liked it. I know I liked it a LOT. Describing it is another matter. The fruits dominate, spice and toastiness make their mark somewhat, and I still don’t know what bamboo tastes like.
Mao Fengs are a love-it/hate-it steep affair, but I mostly find them “okay”. They were the quintessential green tea that I use as a barometer for others – smack dab in the middle. This is a middle-of-the-road green tea. It has a good smell and taste, but it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd. Slightly vegetal, partially creamy, and all around “eh, it’s there.”
This is as innocuous and inoffensive a green tea as you can find anywhere. It’s not too spinachy, not too grassy…and…well…not too anything. Although it does have a pleasantly grape-like taste on the forefront and only a slight vegetal/creamy finish. Not much to be said about it. It’s about as metaphorically vanilla as some pop stars out there. I find it a rather catchy tea tune.
Not a whole lot to say about this one. It’s a Ceylon with vanilla flavoring. The dry scent is all vanilla bean, the wet…same. Taste-wise, it’s like liking a French vanilla-creamed carnation. Not that appetizing an analogy? Well, it’s the only one I’ve got. A very decent desserty black blend.
I LOVE Darjeeling white teas. They’re about as resilient as a Chinese Bai Mu Dan but with a grape-like character that Himalayan teas are known for. This is one of the poorer examples I’ve tried, though. It doesn’t yield much in the way of taste on only a three-minute steep, requiring at least four to give it the muscatel lean and floral finish. However, by “poor”, I mean by Indian white standards…that still makes it kinda great. Glad to have it in my arsenal.
One of these days, I’ll have a Joy’s tea that I just won’t like. Today isn’t that day. I actually didn’t know what “mahalo” meant until I did some digging prior to reviewing this. It’s Hawaiian for gratitude…and grateful I am that this tasted like it was supposed to – like tropical fruit. There aren’t any subtleties to speak of with this blend. It is what it is, a tropical and annoyingly chipper blend. It’s a morning green tea.
This is a Tie Guanyin that doesn’t lend itself well to a gaiwan prep, which is odd considering MOST oolongs do. At four infusions between thirty and fifty seconds, the palate profile was pretty much the same – pear-like, slightly cottony, and leafy. While I liked it, there wasn’t anything that stood out beyond the first infusion (which was the best). If one were to have this, it works best as a one-shot for four minutes in 190F; the “A-MURR-ican” way for oolong prep.
I had the urge to try something gut-bomby without the guilt. Why not a black tea blend with a double-dose of chocolate? This here blend possessed chocolate chips and cocoa nibs to create something that tasted like an unrefined French pastry. With sweetener, it really shined. And I’m sure it could latte well. No subtleties here.
Been awhile since I’ve cupped a Mao Feng. Last one was a Keemun type. Before that, a couple of years since my last Mao Feng green. This was a crisp, wonderfully vegetal (but not spinachy) and creamy green with a pine note somewhere in the mix. I could easily draw comparison to pre-rain Long Jings as a flavor-sibling. Quite decent.
Still new to the world of Assam teas. Aside from “MALT!”, I usually fail to find nuances. Although, some have varied in their floral or astringent leans. This one reminded me of a Yunnan black in its caramel and honey-like taste. Sure, it was robust, malty, earthy…yadda-yadda…but there was something more to it. A bit of character beyond its caricature. Third best Assam I’ve tried to date.
Like a certain Jim Carrey movie (that I’m sure had something to do with the naming scheme) this exceeded my preconceived pu-erh notions. I had no idea how to identify the scent of this – just like Joy’s Schnozberry blend – but the end result in taste was something like chocolate oranges mixed with lemon. I think? I dunno…
Point is, I liked it a lot.
This was more unusual than the typical Ceylons I’ve tried. The character of it was robust, malty…but in contrast to that also had a smooth, floral delivery. I attribute the oddities to the fact that it’s a low-grown, whole leaf varietal. If the initial aroma doesn’t grab you, nothing will – like chocolate-covered cherries dipped in brandy.
While it seemed odd to be enjoying a tea called “Sunshine Reggae” in the dead of rainy winter, it was a welcome cup of green blending…even though I had no clue where the green tea was in the blend. Lemon (myrtle and -grass) dominated the taste, followed shorty by a spicy-citrus lean from the orange peels and ginger. I was thankful that the chamomile and ginger were understated. Overall, a solid botanical blend.
Tea on nitro. Wow. I had already made my frivolous tea purchase for the month, but a discussion on Twitter between me and three others caused my curiosity to swell. I had heard of GABA teas before, never understood the fuss of it all, and chalked up the health benefits claims to “hooey”…like biodynamics.
For instant gratification, I went to The Jasmine Pearl HQ to test drive the stuff. The host and hostess politely humored my request, and steeped it gongfu-style three times. Each time, the flavor profile was pretty much the same; creamy, fruit-like, mildly leafy, and zero oolong “chalkboard-on-tongue” feeling. And it packed a wallop of strength each steep.
I’m not sure if it did anything to my…uh…“neurotransmitters”. I was still hurling expletives at rush hour traffic on the way home. But I felt good while do it, if that says something.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I bought this yesterday simply for the fact that it had “Gold” in its name. Given my recent lucky streak with golden tipped teas – including a Golden Tipped Assam – I thought Darjeeling could turn out something equally noteworthy. I was wrong. For the most part.
This is a very average autumnal flush. The brew smells interesting enough on splashdown – yielding the quintessential muscatel nose and a light liquor – but that’s where the magic ends. On taste, it is crisp (which is nice), minimal in its astringency (also nice)…and that’s about it. Very middle-of-the-road, this Darjeeling autumnal.
When I received a sample of this, it was under the title Cranberry Orange Vanilla…but the website calls it Cranberry Autumn. And the aforementioned namesake belonged to a rooibos blend. This was certainly not that.
It is as it advertises to me, high on the fruit-creamy lean, not as much on subtlety. But I kinda love that about NecessiTeas stuff. They’re out there like the most extroverted tea on the market. This one is well within those regs.
Oh, Jin Cha, how you’ve ruined me. I had a note for this up from several months back, but it was in error. That was actually a note for the Tippy South Cloud – a Dian Hong. Totally the wrong tea. This…was a Yunnan Gold Bud with everything I loved about the tippy tea. Honey-ish texture, fruit-ish lean, creamy finish. No black tea negatives. Again…I should’ve picked up some, but I wanted to try it first. Next time. Next time. Oooooh, so yum!
It’s been a good couple of years since I’ve had a kukicha. I remember liking it a lot (much more so than genmaicha), but the opportunity to have one never surfaced. I’m glad I selected this for review because it made for a wonderful creamy/nutty, rainy afternoon cuppa more reminiscent of an unrefined Chinese green. It has more nuance than your average Shizuoka sencha – a bit more going on than just “grass”. I would gladly turn to it again if hard-pressed to decide on a good, smooth green.