364 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!!!
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 :-)
This is the only yellow tea I’ve ever tried, so I can’t compare it with others.
It’s been a staple in my cupboard for over a year now, I reordered twice, so it’s not just a novelty liking, me do like this tea! But it’s hard to describe since I have no reference point.
I drink Sencha on a regular basis, one of my favorite green tea. Though I’m a firm believer that people should have their tea which ever way they like it, I just choose not to add anything, with the exception of a few flavoured teas. But if I was a cream and sugar lover, I’d say this tea tastes like Sencha with a big dash of both!
Of course, it’s only to illustrate how naturaly creamy and sugarcane sweet it is.
How would I know what creamy-sugary Sencha really tastes like, I hate cream… Yes, I’m that boring girl who drinks soy, almond and coconut milk, snacks on seeds and gets excited by leafy greens…please don’t resent me, I promise I can be decadent from time to time!It’s a beautiful tea, delicate yet very tasty, just not in an assertive way. Smooth, zero astringency, not floral, just slightly vegetal.
To me, it’s definitely closer to green than it is to white tea. But you know when people say they dislike green tea cause it can be bitter or too grassy? Then this is the one to try, I’m tagging it as «green tea friendly».
Non-tea related content:
It’s been 4 years in the making, but today, big puppy Doberman let me clip his nails. (usually requires 2 strong adults at the pet groomer!)
He is terrified of it, and therefore, almost impossible to control. I stopped trying when he was 6 months old cause it was becoming a dangerous task. Why did I wait so long to try again?
Last week, I bought a good clipper. Today, I took it out for the first time, thinking he would just freak out and that I should have spent that money on tea instead. But Dexter looked at it, recognized what it was for, got off the couch and just laid down at my feet. I clipped all his nails, as if it was the easiest thing to do.
With dogs, trust doesn’t happen over night, it has to be earned. Once you have it, you can experience one of the most powerful and unconditional love…just the way he totally abandoned himself to me today, under such a stressful situation, it says it all :-)
Love your puppies Steepster people!
Last week end was Canada’s Thanksgiving. I had a lot to be thankful for at the end of the day and this aged oolong was just another reason.
I’m a fan of roasted aged oolongs, and to me it is no surprise that my two favourites are from Butiki!
This tea is very dear to me, it makes me feel special. Taiwan seems to be the cradle of what I call my Gem tea collection, little treasures I just can’t live without!
The liquor is reminiscent of a citrine gemstone, a glowing sunny amber colour. I strongly recommend pouring in glass teaware to fully admire.
I love the fact that each time I drink this, it feels different from the time before, and I can detect new subtleties. That’s what this tea is all about, nuances. It has a very distinct texture, like a roundness in the mouth. Interesting cause I don’t think many teas have an actual texture. I wrote about Butiki’s 2003 Reserve Four Season Oolong that it felt like a silk ribbon in my mouth. It’s even truer for this aged oolong because of its buttery and creamy attributes.
Unlike other similar teas I have tried, the roasted aspect doesn’t overpower with a strong burnt aftertaste. Instead, it adds just the right amount of complexity. This tea offers so many different layers, I think it has a multiple personality disorder! But they all come together to create the perfect cup…many perfect cups that is, if you choose to brew it gongfu style.
It would be a shame to see Stacy’s info become reality… I sure hope the craft of aging oolong will continue for many years to come.
Warning: Please skip this part if you’re not interested in the «story». (I’ve been away for awhile, but for those who know me, you already know there’s often a story!)
Family came over on Sunday for Thanksgiving, and it was such a beautiful autumn day, we all decided to go to this wonderful hiking river park I’m so lucky to have very nearby. Fall in the Laurentians is breathtaking. We call this time a year «Le Festival des Couleurs» (colour festival), and people come from all over to feast their eyes on nature’s beauty.
My nephew and godchild Gabriel is only 3 years old. He can’t get enough of the outdoors. He’s going through a «fish» phase. When we go visit a new place, he always asks if there’s going to be fishes in the water.
He visited the park we were going to many times this summer. Knowing there are no fishes to be seen in that river, he never asks for them. But for some reason, this time he kept telling me we were going to see fishes. In order to avoid a big disappointment later on, I gently reminded him with all the adult wisdom I could give him that unfortunately, there were no fishes where we were going. His reply to that: «We’re going to see the fishes». Ah! That cute little dimpled smiley face of his!
As we were walking on the riverside, we saw a narrow path heading to the woods. We had never noticed it before and decided to go explore a little. It led us to a small pond with a footbridge built over to cross to the other side. Gabriel was so excited, he said even before we started crossing,
«Come auntie, let’s go find the fishes!» Well what do you know… I was dumbfounded to find swimming on the surface the largest trouts I have ever seen! From the bridge, we could see dozens of them, almost jumping out of the water, probably hoping to get food from us. There are no words to describe the glow I saw in my godchild’s eyes. Lesson learned, I thought. Even when the odds are not on your side, good things can happen if you truly believe they can.
Being sick all summer, I’ve been looking for answers I couldn’t find cause I kept digging at the same spot…it took a 3 year old to teach me otherwise.
It was Einstein who said that insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results. Gabriel reminded me that in order to find my own fish pond, I just had to take a different path. Best thanksgiving ever I’d say.