401 Tasting Notes
Wow, this is pretty incredible! I know that my description demonstrates a lack of finesse and creativity in my choice of words, but this is what comes to mind: The taste of lychee is so…lychee!
People either LOVE or HATE lychee. Very seldom you will hear someone say «what, lychee? meh…it’s ok…» It’s usually more something like «Oh, I so adooore lychees!!!!», or «Bleh, lychees are gross little slimy-juicy-perfumy eyeballs». I realize I do possess a strong sense of exaggeration but you get what I’m trying to illustrate, right??
My aunt’s boyfriend was Cambodian. i remember the first time I met with him, I was about 11years old. There was a big crate of lychees on the outdoor picnic table. I remember looking at him peeling those strange little alien fruits. It was such an exotic novelty for me, I was just in awe! He explained that they had been picked only a few days before and he had them specially delivered to Canada. At the time they were really hard to find in regular grocery stores so he had managed to get his own private supply cause that the one thing he couldn’t live without since he had left his country!
He showed me how to eat them, and I fell in love with this gorgeous gift from Miss Nature.
This tea is clean and pure lychee. First, the oolong in itself is deliciously light and floral. And after one sip, lychee goodness invades your mouth in a joyful triumph, cause yes, lychee is the star here, it’s undeniable. I’ve had only a couple of lychee flavoured teas before, black teas so unmemorable that I can’t even tell what the brand was. They usually render a soapy flavour, way too «eau de parfum».
Butiki’s rendition doesn’t do that. Works perfectly with oolong it seems. It’s a burst of juiciness, and as it cools, it becomes even more tasty, and it lingers long after the last sip. Dang, wish I had bought more…I’m glad this is good at least for a few re-steeps!
I love, love reading reviews here… What about that moment, when you read a post and get instant craving for that tea AND you happen to be so fortunate to have a suply somewhere in the cupboard?
Don’t you feel like the luckiest of them all then? (Once you are able find it that is)
It took me a frustrating 5min. Call me crazy (it’s ok, I know I am), but I became obsessed during that frantic search. I had one goal only: FIND IT AND HAVE IT, NOW!!
Premium Taiwanese Assam, you know how much I adore you, but get out of my way, you’re not the chosen one today!
Ahhhh…there it is, one oz left, plenty to make me a gigantic pot!
The bold and the beautiful…with that «in your face» assam taste, (I like to abuse it with steeping time), warm crimson red/copper color, the intoxicating aroma reminiscent of good quality pipe tobacco…(what could she possibly know about good quality pipe tobacco you ask? Well I had a grandpa that I loved very much !!).
That’s the tea I needed and I didn’t even know until I read Terri HarpLady’s post…the beauty of Steepster!
Thank you Terri :-)
(More details on previous note)
Today, I had planned to dedicate my day to drinking my favourite teas.
When I woke up and looked outside I had a shock: the scenery had no pigmentation left in it, only white EVERYWHERE! 60cm added to what was already there… took me hours to get out of the house. The joy of having 4 seasons :-)
Daba, you will be missed… I have tried to extend your life for as long as I could, but sadly, it all comes to an end today.
You have been a good companion, I think I have treated you well, making you my official favourite green tea.
You didn’t sell for cheap, that I remember, but tragically, you are not for sale anymore, that’s right, you’re hometown Butiki doesn’t seem to carry you any longer.
I’d like to think that we’ll meet again in this life, Daba chéri, my cute Lilliputian green tea (see previous note )
This tea order was not eco friendly…The boxes reserved for parcels at the stand where I get my mail delivered are always full (welcome holiday season!!!)
So I end up getting a notice card, drive 30 min. to go pick it up and therefore ditch I don’t know how much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Not proud of myself.
To my small town, I say this: please invest in more mailboxes, I want «greener» tea supplies!!!! (end of rant)
Zen Tea is not very present here on Steepster but it’s a company I like more and more. They don’t carry the biggest variety, but what they have is good at a very decent price. Plus they send 3 generous samples. I could have asked for my own sample choice, but decided, hey surprise me! I appreciate the fact that they have chosen samples according to the tastes expressed by my orders with them. I got some breakfast blend, earl grey and oolong. Now that shows attention to details, thank you very much for that!
I love Oolongs and I lost count of how many I have tried…It never cease to amaze me, how different they are from one another, in taste and in shape.
Tie guan yin will transport you to a rich and luxuriant garden, invading your senses with the mysterious and attractive floral scent of orchid, coating your mouth with silk and butter. She’s a Seductress.
Roasted aged oolong will take charge of your taste buds in a more assertive fashion, almost assaulting your ability to identify its notes. It’s a chameleon, transforming even before you can grasp its true essence. It’s roasty, it’s nutty, its sweet yet slightly bitter, it feels simultaneously cool and warm. He’s a Player.
There’s Baozhong Pouchong , looking so much different from the previous mentioned. Instead of little rolled nuggets, this beautiful tea is crafted in long twisted strands. Almost considered a green tea, the taste is very delicate, floral and sophisticated, and it’s one the most elegant looking of them all… He’s a polished Dandy.
So where I am going with all this you ask? Wiki-oolong or something?
I think, hey, I have seen oolong in any way, shape or form.
And then there’s this fragrant branch thing and I’m baffled. What is this?
I admit, I don’t know what to do with it, I’m intimidated… No one else has reviewed it, so I have to be the first to experiment here. How do I brew this, heck, how do I measure it? I decide I’m going to spend a lot of time with it cause it deserves a traditional Gongfu brew and I opt for the scale, 5g. For a 8oz Gaiwan. I have a feeling it will expend quite a lot.
First and foremost, it visually is stunning, looks like one of those intricate asian artsy tree paintings. It is obvious that the leaf is rolled while still attached to the little branch and I can’t help thinking how tedious this job must be…
I did not research it, so I have no clue what kind a benefit the branch portion will add to the brew.
First steep and the leaves are already unfurling. It’s light and fresh, the smell is a lot stronger than the taste, floral and woodsy bark aroma.
I get floral sweet notes, but in a lot more subtle way than with a tie guan yin.
I feel there’s a light citrus astringency in the background that is waiting to emerge in the later steeps, and that’s exactly how this tea evolves. At the fifth infusion, the floral notes are almost gone and I get that fresh citrus along with musky and more earthy bark vibe. That’s where the branch portion becomes game changer. They have tripled in size and the gaiwan feels overwhelmed now, not much room to breathe! The twigs are no longer wrinkled, having soaked all the water they needed. The leaves are perfectly shaped, not damaged at all, really a beautifully crafted tea
I will be able to sip on this for at least 4 or 5 more infusions I think.
This oolong is a showstopper and it knows it. It enjoys spreading its splendour before your eyes in all its glory. He’s a Peacock.
Writing about tea is an inexhaustible source of inspiration, isn’t is? Sorry for this way too long review!!!! My curiosity and amazement got carried away…
P.S. I wonder if these guys are on Steepster…I think they are the cutest, I love the way they review together :-)
Though I don’t drink as much flavoured tea as I used to, I still keep some variety around and I especially like to drink them during the Holidays.
This is a casual conversation between me and my brother on his last visit (M=me, B= bro)
M: Want something to drink? I’ll make some tea.
B: I’d prefer a beer.
M: I didn’t buy any, I’ll make you some beer tea.
M: Yes, I have a tea that tastes exactly like peach beer, pretttt-ty awww-some!
M: What, you don’t believe me?
B: Not even tempted. Do you have cola, rootbeer?
M: Hmmm…no. Sorry…but…dare I say it…I have rootbeer tea, does that count?
B: Sis, you need to see a doctor, really. I worry. It’s bad. Addictions need to be treated.
M: Well, before we rush to the emergency, sure you don’t want to give peachy beer a try?
B: Either that or tap?
M: Pretty much, yep…
B: Alright, but just to please YOU! Promise this never happened, I don’t want urban legends to start spreading, I have a reputation to preserve, I’m a beer guy and I don’t do peachy girly tea!
M: Oh, common, just quit it Macho Man, we all know you watch General Hospital every day. A little bit of tea won’t kill ya!
B: General Hospital is underrated.
M: Whatever… So? How do you like them now, peachy beer tea?
B: Honest? Tastes just like day after lukewarm flat beer that accidentally got mixed with peach baby food puree during the party. I. Don’t. Ever. Want. To. Drink. This. Again. Please?
(Sorry Stacy, that’s not MY opinion but HIS, remember?)
M: Ah!!!! So you admit it does taste like beer!!! Told you! Please admire and appreciate this as it should. Takes hours and hours of practice and immense knowledge and wisdom to create that kind of magic. Requires tea alchemist skills that only Stacy has acquired. Respect. Remember that, bro.
End of conversation. At this point, we lost it. We are cracking up, crying of laughter.
Me and my brother have always «played» together like this. As any healthy brother/sister relationship, we love to tease each other. His visit was a big surprise, I wasn’t expecting him. He didn’t say so, but I know he came to check on me, to make sure I’m ok. His presence chased away the darkness for a little while. He’s got my back, he always has and I love him so much for that. Family is everything folks…
Cheers bro, love ya!
P.S. To make things clear, I do love this tea!!!
This tea should win a trophy for creativity and originality. It manages to combine savoury and sweet…without tasting weird!
Such an unusual blend, yet it works so well! Potato and tea, who would have thought?
And you can really taste it, there are so many of those cute little white potato dices. They really bring a broth quality to this succulent green tea beverage. Don’t know why, but I think chicken noodles when I drink it, and I might try just that one day, add some shredded leftover chicken breast and cook some noodles in it, would be fabulous!
Love, love the cinnamon in it, so delicate and it really brings the savoury and sweet notes together. I had ordered 2oz of it last spring and I completely forgot about it. But it still tastes as fresh as brand new.
I drank it this morning while eating my weekly peanut butter toasts (I «indulge» in peanut butter once a week, and by «indulge» I mean I transform into a real glutton and eat almost half a jar on that morning, lol!) Do you know potato candies? They are made out of a soft rolled potato mixture with peanut butter layers. Well, I promise you, having peanut butter with this tea tastes almost exactly like those candies (minus the sugar load, naturally).
What a treat this is, possibly one of my favourite flavoured tea of all time!!!!
My inner girly girl needed her fix today, I’m watching one my favourite feel good movie, Pretty Woman!
I know, I know… It’s considered lame by the intellectual community, and you might think it’s old, superficial and unoriginal. But I don’t care, I love it! Hey, I totally endorse my lameness. Julia Robert’s wits and moods bring me joy, that’s all I have to say. ( Plus Richard Gere is easy on the eyes, that’s also noteworthy)
I’m at the classic scene when she goes back (with a hundred fancy shopping bags in her hands) to see that snob sales lady on Rodeo Drive. She hits her with that killer line «You work on commission right? Big mistake, big…HUGE!!!!» ( As I’m watching her, I can’t help wonderering how it would feel like to have this many bags filled with tea instead of clothes, what kind of fancy tea do they sell on Rodeo Drive??? lol)
It made me want to have a pretty and girly tea. A few months ago, I swapped some tea with lovely Ysaurella. She allowed me to try the famous French teas for the first time and I was so grateful for that. I tasted them all, but not showing up on Steepster very often, I ended up reviewing only a few of them. Luckily, I had enough for more than one serving of each, so it’s not too late.
I chose Pleine Lune cause it’s her favourite tea and the smell is just so beautiful.
I had written a little note on the pouch to steep longer next time, so I did. And it was better for me this time around.
It’s such a nice comforting tea. Surprisingly, it’s very mellow and smooth. I say surprisingly, cause when I read the description, I thought it was going to be spicy and bold, but it’s quite the opposite.
Although the almond essence is easily identifiable, it doesn’t take over the black base, which I’m assuming is ceylon here (it’s not specified). I hate when almond flavoured teas taste like this overpowering fake almond extract used in baking).
The background is slightly fruity and spicy. I wouldn’t qualify it as a dessert tea, cause it’s not overly sweet either, it just renders a subtle honey sweetness that feels very natural, which is a very good thing.
This is such a pretty and special blend, perfect companion to watch my movie.
I understand why Ysaurella likes it so much, it was an honour to have the chance to try it again and give it a decent review :-)
How lucky am I to still have a bit of this left?
Sweet snap pea, buttery spinach, creamy corn deliciousness! I get a faint vanilla bean note also. This green tea is one of a kind!
Don’t really know how it compares to the other harvests, I’ve been buying spring harvest for two years in a row. The first year, I thought next year, I’m gonna wait for the summer harvest. But then I get an email from Verdant announcing spring 2013 has arrived and I just can’t wait for the summer harvest cause I crave this tea right now!
Let’s see what happens with 2014 harvest :-)