364 Tasting Notes
So, nothing against it, but I’m not much of a Valentine’s day type of gal. I much prefer unexpected love days throughout the year :-)
But since today is supposed to be about love (and not about picking up some cheap flowers last minute at a grocery store cause you feel you have too), I chose to do things I really love.
Drinking this tea was one of them. Top 3 favourite tea of all time for me. Discovered Da Yu Ling last year, I keep two from different companies, equally good. Learned that it is grown at the highest plantation in the world, 8500 feet altitude!
This green oolong is similar to some of my favourites Tie Guan Yin, but brings it to the next level.
I’m using the yixing pot I dedicate to fragrant green oolongs. The brew is a beautiful bright yellow colour.
The aroma is breathtaking. I picture a vast garden with luxuriant vegetation all around as I sip on it. Think orchids and lilac scent, mixed up in a twirl of honey and fruity notes. Not sure what’s the specific fruit I get, but it feels like apricot to me.
It’s very sweet, and yet, the finish is minty fresh. Not in your face mint, more of a sweet faint spearmint. The most fabulous phenomena about this tea is how long the taste lingers in the mouth. Long after I’m done drinking it, I can still feel its imprint.
This type of thick buttery mouthfeel always reminds me a silk ribbon dancing in my mouth!
It’s pure liquid gold, but I rarely see people reviewing any Da yu ling at all.
Is there other Steepsterites out there that are as taken by it as I am??
I’ll end this note with a little love story…
It might have been the side effects of the snowstorm, but my cat Happy today was such a little bugger. Dexter (my dog) and I were trying to chill, me having tea and reading a book, him all curled up next to me. Happy likes Dexter’s ears. He’s obsessed with them . He keeps toying with them while Dexter tries to nap. Eventually, Dexter wakes up and gives me the helpless puppy look while Happy takes over his whole head. So what does a 100 pound dog do to an anoying kitty you ask? Well, have a look here:
No worries, although it looks like it, Dexter is not having a “Happy meal”, lol!
Here’s how it usually ends:
As the song goes «…so “happy” to-ge-therrr…»
Yesterday was such a lazy day that I feel just a tad guilty this morning… It’s VERY tempting to do the same today…hmmm, will have to debate on that.
This morning I woke up early and went to the grocery store to pick up some dragon fruits (pitaya). A friend mentioned them in a conversation and I’ve had a huge craving since then.
It’s the most spectacular fruit I know, the fushia skin aroud the snowy white flesh and black dots is just fascinating, isn’t it?
Anyways, I wanted malty and fruity black morning tea to go along. I chose this assam cause I have only one serving left and I know more is on the way, so no need to be all sad about it!
This is a golden tip second flush with a long bud. This tea is one if my favourite assam. It’s very good quality and thanks to Zen Tea, very affordable! It’s on sale right now at 30% that’s why I took the opportunity to replenish.
Because it is second flush, it’s very creamy and malty, with fruity and chocolaty notes.
There’s an earthy/tobacco undertone that makes this tea feel organic.
It’s on the strong side, full bodied but no bitterness, just a little astringent. Very smooth considering it produces such a strong cup. Like pretty much all western brewed assams, the second steep is of no interest to me, I steep the first cup long enough that I extract all the good stuff I need from it, the second steep being just a pale version of the first, I choose not to have it. I do cold steep the used leaves occasionally though. Makes a decent ice tea the next morning.
This tea made my permanent stash a long time ago, and it’s not going anywhere!!
(See previous note)
Reading my book and sipping on this for the last two hours.
I made it the way I really like it when I have all the time in the world for it. I fill the gaiwan with leaves, really, I fill it almost to the top. This tea is light in weight, so for me, that’s the best way to extract all the goodness I know is in there. It might seems like a lot of tea to waist, but it’s no waist when you can brew it for several hours. And the steeps remain rich and flavourful. A good night companion…
This is another one from Butiki I’m hoping will never disappear!
(See previous notes)
OMG is this ever good!
The lovely Sil sent me this pu’erh. I won’t give you an elaborated review of it, cause really, two main notes are the superstars here: chocolate and raisin (oh, chocolate covered raisins???) It’s so obvious, I find it almost hard to believe there’s no added flavouring to it.
I also get some buckwheat feel in the background.
I did a strong brew, cause the smell told me it could handle it. Yes, don’t laugh, the tea does talk to me sometimes, haha! (yeah, I do see a shrink for that, thanks for asking!)
So it’s a little astringent, and I like that, it acts as a flavour booster.
I know not many people appreciate astringency in a tea, I feel a little like an outsider :-(
Hello? anyone else out there who’s a fan?
Anyways, this feels round in the mouth, super rich and decadent. And I have some on the way, so it will be in my cup again really soon!
Sil, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to try this beautiful tea…
Thanks to Dexter3657, I now have a VAST collection of chai to choose from!!
Hey, I know a good morning in a cup when I see one. This screams «good morning, you can’t ignore me so wake up sleepy head!!»
Although there are no chocolate in this blend, it sure feels like a chocolate chai to me. The base must be spectacular on its own.
I really like the depth that peppercorn adds in this tea, in makes all the other flavours pop and tingle like Pop Rock candies!
Once you swallow, you get a warming heat feeling from the ginger. I like that it is not overly spicy, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, they don’t fight with one another, it’s pure harmony in Yu Lu Yan Wonderland :-)
I could definitely see myself ordering this…but I wont, cause it would mean I have to place an order with Verdant, and if I’d place an order with them, it would also mean increasing my stash significantly which I’m suppose to bring down instead!!
Thanks you Dexter for another hit! Love!!
Backlog from yesterday…
Ahhh…Gongfu love in the afternoon…yes, being off work allows me to have tea sessions in the middle of the day if I choose to!
Dexter3657 sent me this generous sample. Me and milk oolong have a history. I have tried several, I like both the scented and the non scented version so I always keep a provision of both from two different companies. I thought I had find my favourite non scented milk oolong and have been sticking to it. Then came along Mandala, and all of a sudden we are caught in a love triangle. Yes this tea just blurred my focus, and made me question my current relationship.
First, the smell of the dry nuggets is quite interesting. It’s a mix of sweet and creamy, almost candy like. No sign of the strong dairy smell you get from a scented version.
As soon I took my first sip, I noted cotton candy on my pad. The sweetness I found in the first two steeps just evoked that. I get some nuttiness and creaminess, but not so much buttery notes. The milk oolong I’m used to is more floral than this one. This is fruitier.
At the 3rd steep, I got less sweets and a slight bitterness.
The 4th infusion brought the sweets back, some more present buttery notes and I got a very distinct fresh and clean mouthfeel, light camphor note, reminiscent of Ginseng oolong.
The subsequent steeps all brought their share of deliciousness and happiness. It eventually evolved in a more fruity and floral taste. I cold steeped the used leaves and 12 hours later, I’m having a delicious fruity and refreshing beverage. In conclusion, this tea is more complex than your average milk oolong. It transforms along the way, giving a lot of unexpected notes. Yet, the usual creaminess of such a tea stays present.
Thank you so much Dexter for this wonderful tea…I am grateful…but my budget might not be!
(Now, I have to hurt some other tea’s feeling by dumping it. Sorry, but a more exciting fellow milk oolong just came into my life and can’t be ignored!)
Kamyria’s review yesterday about the forest inspired me to go have a long walk today and write this review.
By now, you probably know that the forest is my backyard. I’ve written many times here on Steepster about my little adventures and how lucky and privileged I feel when I look outside my window or go for a walk, it never gets old.
This lifestyle is Nature’s gift to me, and that gift keeps on giving as long as I care for it in return. It’s pretty simple and yet, I wish more people could fully grasp that concept. The tea I’m reviewing today also keeps on giving…
I tell you, my snow shoes really get a run for their money this winter. I made my own trail and I try to go as often as possible. There’s a spot that we always stop at. It’s on top of a small hill and a huge rock stands there, under the trees. it is shaped as a loveseat, I call it my rocky chair.
I take a break as I watch my dog Dexter chase squirrels, his favourite sport. They like to tease him and sometimes, I think they’re playing with him, knowing full well he’ll never catch one of them!
The day is magnificent, sunshine coming at me from all directions, immaculate snow everywhere you look at, pine trees with heavy arms from all the snow weighing on them…
When I got back inside, I was freezing and seeking warmth, I love that feeling. My head still felt clear and peaceful from all the beauty I had just laid eyes on, and of course, the right tea amplified that feeling and made it linger a while longer.
I was waiting for a special moment to choose this sheng pu’erh, sent to me by the generous and wonderful Dexter3657. She read on a post that I wanted to experience more with shengs, and offered to send me this one. She wrote that this tea is the highest rated on Steepster, so I read nothing about it, not wanting to be influenced by other reviews.
I used 7g, 5oz yixing pot. The piece of cake is tight and compressed. Quick rinse. Already the aroma brings me somewhere, but I don’t want to go there yet, I want to take my time with it.
I pour the very light coloured liquor, close my eyes and smell, have my first sip.
Sweet sugarcane is what I notice first. Then, a feast for the senses. The smell that comes out of the pot can’t be ignored. I can describe it easily, cause it’s leading me there. If you’ve done camping in your life (most of us did), you have to think about the next morning, when you get out of the tent.
The smokey scent from the firecamp is still in the air, but it’s just a shadow of what is was the day before. It mixes with fresh morning dew, humid grass and moss. Earthy and smokey tones, fresh menthol. Take all these “ingredients”, gather them in a cake, and later, when you hit it with hot water, the memory trap is released and you experience that moment again.
I choose not to describe more. As it happens when I drink something really special, I give in to the tea, not wanting to think anymore but just be in the moment and feel the pure energy. Cha qi. The best thing that can happen. I’ve had these moments before, but not often enough. I plan on having a lot more in the future…
Thank you so much Dexter3657 for wanting me to discover how special your beloved Mandala truly is. You were right :-)
(Cough, Implacinganorderscrewthehiatus, cough, cough)