401 Tasting Notes
ETA: since I wrote this review a few months ago, I have almost gone through the 2oz I bought…Today, I lost count of all the gongfu infusions I made. I’M IN LOVE WITH THIS OOLONG!!
Last Thanksgiving, I won Stacy’s contest for a Gaiwan of my choice. I was super excited and chose one especially for oolongs cause it’s 8oz and it leaves plenty of room the leaves to expend. She knows how happy I was, thanks to her, I am no longer part of those whiny people who “never win anything”! I also bought from her a clear glass cup and saucer that I enjoy using almost everyday, here’s a few pics of both:
Thanks again Stacy, love the Gaiwan, excellent quality and so pretty!
Now the tea. First aged oolong for me. Tommy the Toad’s raving reviews made it impossible for me not to buy it. Thanks Tommy, this is now one of my favorite tea and has helped me relax and focus lately.
Smoky ink black lustrous nuggets, they look like magic pebbles!
The rinse is super caramel and honey sweet with a faint mineral taste. ( yeah, I can help tasting my rinse, sometimes it turns out yummy like this one and it would be such a waste to just throw it!)
1rst steep: OMG! What? Really? Ahhh. I need more, this is so potent!
Fruity, slightly woody, strong burnt caramel. I also get buttery macadamia nuts, I get coffee, there’s so much going on, wow!
There’s also a very interesting texture to it, it feels like a silk ribbon in my mouth.
The smell of the wet leaf is very pungent, an acre smokiness that doesn’t reflect in the taste being so smooth.
The 2nd steep is still honey like, but loosing a bit of its sweet intensity, leaving room for those burnt roasted notes that are trying to emerge more strongly.
What is that “je ne sais quoi” everyone is trying to describe? It reminds me of that honeycomb crunchy toffee my mom used to make out of corn syrup and baking soda. It had a strong taste of sweet burnt caramel and a mineral aftertaste that came from the baking soda, put in there for one reason: create a chemical reaction that made the preparation look like a volcano in eruption! A pan full of lava, how cool was that?
Funny, cause in my adult life, I’m not a huge fan of sugar and desserts, but I have so many vivid childhood memories related to them! Maybe some shrink could explain that?
3 tsp Gungfu style will render about 10 steeps, all better than one another. Just like Tommy says, this tea is “Liquid Love” and is good which ever way you decide to brew it!
Because it is equally as good as it makes me feel, it well deserves a 100 rating!!
There’s something whimsical about this tea. The dry leaves look so pretty and unusual, I’ve never seen this rolling method, very different from oolong.
Before they go for a swim, I take some in the palm of my hand to observe them… they look like little silver grasshoppers about to jump!
I’m always in awe of the craftsmanship that goes into hand rolled tea. I can’t help thinking about ancient times and how luckily for us, some traditions are still anchored and necessary, too extraordinary to die…
They smell very sweet, promising a real treat when infused.
I’m using about 3 gr in a small clear glass gaiwan.
I won’t be describing infusion time cause as I’m getting more experienced with gongfu brewings, I have developed a sense of knowing what’s best for me, so I increase time as a «feel and smell» technique rather than a fixed time parameter. The purists might say I have this all wrong, but it works great for my own tastebuds! However, this method would have been such a disaster on my first gongfu session a couple of months ago :-)
The first steep renders a delicate sweet and floral taste, paired with a «not in your face» grassiness. What a nice morning buzz that is! Unlike oolong, the leaf almost opens up immediately, eager to reveal its splendor to the world!
Second infusion is a little more grassy and crisp, but still sweet . It’s delicate it every possible way, but yet, it gives such burst of flavour. The leaves are now fully opened, I think they are the most perfect leaves I have ever seen. No trace of discoloration on ANY of them… Full, beautifully twisted and unbroken, tender uniform green color, that’s got to tell you something about the way this tea is cared for when harvested…
The later steeps added more bite to the taste, tickled my tongue just a little :-)
I come to the conclusion that this embodies everything I love about green tea in one package. Like a fusion of my 2 favorite greens…
… Pssst…trying not to alert the Paparazzi Tea Press, but I think Mr Dragonwell got married to Mrs Sencha and harvested this Curled Dragon…mmmm, really wonder who it got its curls from!
Happy New Year to all of you! (Better late than never!)
The past few days, it seems that every time I’m about to sit, relax, and enjoy some time on Steepster, something happens! Today was no exception… As I was prepared to write this review I heard a loud weird and abnormal sound… looked out the window…and saw chaos! Our supposedly 4 season solarium had just collapsed under the snow! What a mess! What can I say, it’s been snowing every second day around here since the beginning of December, we just can’t keep up with it!!! On a positive note, we’ve been having lots of fun playing outside during the holidays and it makes us feel very cozy inside!
So, finally, my review of this tea. Since it wasn’t on Steepster yet, I’ve just added it with Teajo’s permission and will be the first one to review on it.
The smell of the dry blend is mesmerizing, yum, so berry-chocolaty! Very promising, my hopes are very high! But I try to keep expectations at a reasonable level, disappointment is often following olfactory ecstasy. Got to keep it real folks!
I steeped as recommended. Wow, heavenly aroma, couldn’t wait for it to cool down! I’ve tried many raspberry teas from larger flavoured tea retailers, and for me, something is always either missing, or shouldn’t be there. But I’m happy to say my quest for the perfect one is officially over, this one is the bomb!
This tea is hands down the best raspberry tea I’ve ever had! And so naturally tasting that is. I’m a big fan of raspberries, I could eat them all the time. To all raspberry tea lovers out there
(and I know there’s quite a few here) I’m telling you people, you have got to try this one!
You know what I like the most about it? It tastes exactly what I spent my money on: a black tea, complimented by raspberry and chocolate flavourings. Bonus: all natural! There. Could it be any simpler than that? Apparently, it is not that simple cause I don’t know how many times I have had flavoured teas not tasting what they were advertised for.
This one is done just right!
Real raspberries are sweet, but a little tart at the same time. I get some of that!
Chocolate is expected to add some decadent twist to the cup. I get some of that!
But what strikes me the most is the tea base. I get lots of that! The richness of full body and fresh full leaf Assam! I am totally under its spell!
See, what I like the most about tea is…tea! I will enjoy a good dessert tea once in a while, but too often, I can’t even identify what the tea base is, cause, well, it’s completely overwhelmed by the other stuff…I understand that there’s a market for that, and that people enjoy having those «desserts» minus the calories. I do too, I have plenty of them in my cupboard! But to me, it’s such a reward when I find the flavours I expect to find, with no fuss, just the bare essence of it.
Teajo seem to care a lot about the ingredients they put in their teas, and they seem to have an understanding of what differentiates a good flavoured tea from superior one: the tea itself !
I’m glad I was able to discover them through their big Thanksgiving sale, I am very impressed so far by their products, but also by their personalized customer service. Thank you Piccolo :-) I will be a returning customer…later that is, I do have to drink tons of tea I already have and keep up on New Years resolution to spend less on tea orders… (no worries, I never keep my resolutions!)
Nothing but sadness and sorrow tonight… That monstrous tragedy that occurred today in Connecticut has left me horrified. The disappearance of all those little innocent children and their mentors has crated a void on this earth that nothing will ever be able to fill.
My heart goes to all their families and close ones…I can’t even begin to imagine the pain they now have to endure…
I just turn to this tea whenever I feel helpless and need to be reminded of the true meaning of life. I desperately needed the reassurance tonight, that if evil does exist, so does greatness and beauty. This tea is proof of that.
Girls night out in Scotland!
One of Della Terra’s that came in a pretty red Christmas box!
I enjoy a good Maté, I like the malty characteristics of the roasted ones. After I opened it, I deeply inhaled as I always do, and went WOH-HO!!! This is bold! Strong smell of fermentation, malt and barley, very «boozy»!I was drawn to it cause I like the unusual, but to be honest, I was scared of how it would taste like! I brewed according to instructions, about 4 min. Expecting a slap on the face, I only got a very mild caress… I put the tea basket back in my cup, and I let it rest for another 2min. Still not enough. It ended up being steeped for a good 8 minutes. So next time, I take note to put a little more than
1 1/2 tsp. in my 8oz cup.
The taste was really good, like malty liquid black treacle, with notes of clove and a very smooth finish. I don’t get much of them but the chocolate and coconut are probable what gives that sweet finish. As for the Rooibos, I wouldn’t have known it was there at all and I don’t mind since I don’t care much for it, aside from a few exceptions.
As it cooled, I picked up whisky notes. I think this blend would be very interesting to experiment with during holiday season, I’m thinking cocktails for sure!
It didn’t hold up for a second steep, I got pretty much all the flavor out of steep one. Maybe multiple infusions will be possible next time when I measure more tea to the cup.
But all in all, this is something I will have again for sure!
Now please skip this part if you have no interest for the story
Friday was girls night out… we went to this nice pub we heard of. We were told it was a nice lounge bar, good chill ambiance and good company.
So we got there with that in mind. We went inside, and…we stopped: what we saw was somewhat distracting. You know when the DJ makes that scratchy noise with the vinyl records? That’s the sound my brain created in my head while trying to process what I was looking at…
There were LOTS of men in that pub, and they all seemed to have the same dress code: KILTS! Yes, ladies, brace yourselves, men in kilts! Turns out, Friday was a special night, some kind of Scottish men gathering. I must say that a kilt on a good looking dude has its charms :-)
We were offered beer immediately, some dark Scottish Ale of course. Now, beer and I are not best friends, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one, it was spicy, malty and woodsy, but very smooth and sweet tasting… which reminded me a lot of this maté!
Well it seems that Scotsmen live by one rule: «Cha deoch-slàint, i gun a tràghadh!» meaning «It’s no health if the glass is not emptied» (one guy actually tried to make me pronounce it Gaelic style, and I told him please just put it in writing, so I really didn’t know if it was accurate, but I checked and it seems to be!!!)
If they mean it for beer, well I mean it for tea!
Our night out wasn’t what we had expected, but we had lots of fun, we even danced on traditional Scottish music!
When I got home, I wanted to spend some time with The Twilight Sad, a fairly unknown but amazing Band from Scotland. (I’ve been on a tunes and tea mood lately) Yes, at 3 in morning, I put on their record full blast (living in the woods has its perks). Mr Right got up: What the …???? Oops sorry! Forgot it wasn’t boys night out! Yes, I am quite fun to live with apparently.
James, the signer has a haunting voice, here’s a good example of that. Hope they get the recognition they deserve one day, in the mean time, they make great tea companions!
(P.S. I know the album cover is dark and disturbing but so is their work, call it artistic approach!)
Happy Tuesday, MASSIVE TEA ORDER came my way today!
Oh, I’m the first to review this one!
Things really got out of control on Black Friday…I just happen to be one of the lucky gal who took advantage of Della Terra 60% off sale and, well, let’s just say that instead of spending less, I just ordered twice as much of what I would have at regular price…that leaves me with 15 pouches to try. Tea binge. And yes, storage has become a serious problem…
I came across Della Terra in the search of a new flavored tea retailer… my long time regular flavored tea shop was a disappointment in the last year of so, I don’t want to bash on them cause they still offer outstanding customer service, but quality is just not what it used to, so I turn to others to meet my standards.
I do enjoy desert tea but I’m super picky… I will try a ratio of ten to find one I really like. With real food, I’m not a fan of anything super sweet (except maple syrup!), but rich dark chocolate is the way to go if you want to win me over. Cherries being among my favorite fruits, I tell you, this tea had me drooling at its name…
Out of all 15 huge pouches, that’s the one that got me on a frenzy, searching like a maniac, tossing all the other bags… I could hear their screams «pick me! pick me!», but nope, Griottes was the chosen one.
I was so hoping it would meet my expectations…and it did just that!!
The dry blend smells fantastic, but I picked just a hint of sourness that got me worried a little. However, it just translated as a hint of tartness, which paired beautifully the richness of the chocolate.
Think plump luscious and juicy cherries dipped in decadent dark chocolate. As simple as that.
I haven’t had one in years, but the wet leaves kind of smell like Cherry Blossom candy bar!
The steep time recommended was 2-3 minutes. I have to mention that was not enough for me, way too watery. I steeped it 4min 30sec to get the richness I wanted.
Having said that, black flavored teas often turn bitter if over steeped, so better start with shorter time and adjust according to what you like.
Great job on this Della Terra!
Ahhhh, a day off after a very busy week end…
Cleaning up the house listening to The Black Keys: Little Black Submarine anybody? The second half of that song makes me backflip and play air drums and guitar in the tub while cleaning it! Yeah, it’s that good!
And I wont even share the silly moves Lonely Boy will have me going for… well…maybe we do know each other enough by now… Just think Cave Man having the very first dance ever on this planet:
Now, need I to specify I don’t look this way, but my moves are pretty darn close!
It is not my place to condemn any style of music, BUT, in a world of BieberMania, good solid bluesy guitar, drum & bass done in such a crafty way that this music appeals to both younger and older generations and makes these guys nothing short of greatness…
The tea to match this music must be on the robust and strong side. Perfect occasion to try that tuocha I’ve been saving for a couple of weeks now.
The mini cake is really well put together, very hard and compressed with a smooth surface. It doesn’t fall apart with manipulation as some other tuocha I have tried. It looks like a real hard candy! Since cleaning up the house doesn’t go well with Gungfu style, I choose Butiki recommended Western brew over the gaiwan today. It is said I should brew 7 min for 18oz of water, so that’s what I do in my glass pot, but I use only 14oz of water.
To my surprise after such a long brew, the tuocha has not completely broken apart. And the liquor is not as dark as I would have expected. It’s sweet and fresh tasting and not «fishy» at all!
I know you puerh lovers out there will be outraged to read this, but to this day, I have never had a puerh that really blew me away. There are some I really like, but not in an «OMG This is amazing» kind of way.
But as I’m getting more and more acquainted with it, having tried lower and higher grades, I now find a HUGE distinction between «earthy» and «fishy». To me, not that long ago, all puerhs had some level of fishiness. This one has none whatsoever. I’m happy to see that my tastings have evolved and that I can now see the difference.
I feel a thickness in my mouth, as if it turned into a beautiful tea syrup. I’ve seen reviewers using «chewy» when I read pu’erh reviews. This feels somewhat «chewy» to me, the way you get that feeling in your mouth after biting in the flesh of a raw mushroom. Oh, I can’t help gulping it down, it’s so good! But then, something in me says STOP !
However good The Black Keys may be to my ears this morning, I have to shut them down and stop everything for a moment…there’s something it this puerh, a fragrance and taste I must identify, it’s like screaming at me to get it right… It reminds me of something fresh and powerful, it has triggered a stir of emotions in me.
And I think of the place I used to spend my summers as a kid…
I know many of you have made forest parallels with the taste of puerh. Here’s mine.
My Grand parents were farmers and therefore lived in a very rural and remote environment. They owned many acres of land and forest. Up to my 14th birthday, I have been lucky to spend almost all my summers there. Me and my cousins used to go play in the dense forest and explore. (Yep, back then, people would not freak out about how dangerous everything was for a kid, so we were lucky to have some freedom, however dangerous it might have been in retrospect!).
Some magic would happen every time! Especially when it rained…we used to lay down on the damp fertile soil, it was spongy and fragrant of the earth…we would open our mouth and try to catch every bit of raindrops that could escape and reach us through the big oak and maple trees…
….it tasted like everything it had sinuously contoured before reaching our mouths, savory and nature like.
We would laugh and then pick some authorized forest food, like «Thé des bois» in french, which is really Wintergreen in english, but if you translate word for word, it is «Tea of the Forest». You can eat its rosy-red berries, they are light tasting and delicious, but if you chew on the leaves, you get a woodsy freshness that invades your mouth. See where I’m going with this? This puerh has that fresh wintergreen feel to it. I’m not saying it really tastes like it, but there’s an imprint of that taste that lingers in my mouth and my soul after every sip. It is so vivid and reminds me of such a happy and carefree stage of my life, it has me all chocked up. Oh, am I making any sense at all?
And why do I always have to write such looong reviews? What’s up with that? My intention this morning was just to have a robust uncomplicated tea while cleaning the house, then write a quick review about it… look where it got me? Let’s face it, I just can’t write short reviews…
I guess I will never be the most prolific reviewer on Steepster, but every one of my reviews leave me with a sense of wellness, so I guess I will continue my Tea-Therapy-Writing sessions in the hopes I won’t bore people to death with all the rambling :-)
As I know there are many other fantastic puehrs out there, this one is the first that totally captures my attention, that’s what I was waiting for to write my first puerh review. And I didn’t even experience it Gungfu stlyle as I know I would have gotten all the layers it has to offer. But it goes to show everyone that you can experience tea bliss in a very simple and unexpected way… For me, it is the validation I was waiting for to continue my puerh journey, Verdant is next on my list for that…
Thank you Stacy from Butiki for such a lovely moment.. I will now call my very alert and healthy 87 year old Granny to remind her of those memories, and tell her how lucky I feel to still have her around…