404 Tasting Notes
Thank you so much Stacy for letting me try this jewel of the mountains!
On this beautiful Easter Sunday morning, I needed the perfect tea. Time to open this coveted oolong sample.
Over the past year, I have developed a profound love for Oolongs. It has emancipated my palate by offering me an infinite range of variety and possibilities.
One thing I love the most, is the anticipation it creates each time I try a new one. Oolongs are so different from one another, on so many levels. (I realize this is fact for most teas, but I find it to be particularly true for Oolongs.)
It goes from the % of oxidization, the roasting process with the aged ones, the way it is rolled, the way the leaf unfurls, the climate it is grown in, all the way to the insect that will ignite the sweetest defence mechanism. No surprise that Oolong is on my list of this world’s greatest wonders!
Gungu brew will allow me to experience all its subtleties.
The look: beautiful unbroken leaves that unfurled rapidly. The infusion is bright yellow, almost phosphorescent, it is worth pouring in clear glass to appreciate all its nuances.
The taste is so sweet and delicate. The fragrance brings the image of a rare and fragile flower, a unique gem timidly revealing its splendour. One sip and I’m transported in altitude, at the top of the highest unattainable mountain peak. If I could take a bite out of a mellow fluffy cloud, I’d imagine it would taste just like this tea.
It is slightly vegetal, fresh notes of flowers and citrus. It is exquisitely balanced by a sweet buttery mouthfeel that lingers for a long time.
Not long enough though, cause I feel sadness when it’s all over after 6 steeps…
The fact that Mr. Right unapologetically salivated all over it (sorry for the mental image, it happens on very rare occasions) helped in my decision to immediately place an order with Butiki!
Happy Easter everyone!
Who said white teas had to be bland?
The smell of the brew: I get lost in it, tea drunk at first sniff! Oh, I could just bathe in its holy water!
It has a round texture, feels like a cloud of pudding in my mouth!
Of course, I can’t deny the freshly cut hay, it dominates this first infusion. It’s sweet and slightly flowery. Beautiful pale yellow nectar. I’m slurping it like there’s no tomorrow, thinking my 4oz Gaiwan is way too small, I’d rather have a gigantic pot of this! But as they say, with great patience comes great rewards!
Brings more sweet, honey like flavor with hints of citrus and melon in the background. I can see this being an excellent iced tea.
The later steeps are still sweet, but they also kick in with a peppery aftertaste, nice addition to the already complex symphony of flavors, it gives it a second life. It’s definitely very potent.
In conclusion, this is white tea with an attitude , some kind of a white boy with a James Brown swag signing «I got soul!!»
To me, Earl Grey is the father figure of all tea. A solid dude that you can rely on at all times.
Always there to support you, loving you and hugging you when you need to. Keeping things simple and comforting cause you know exactly what to expect.
This Earl is a very good illustration of that. Not all Earl Greys are created equally, they often are unbalanced, bergamot kicking a little too strong.
The balance on this one is perfection! The bergamot is done just right in a non bitter way, leaving plenty of room for the excellent assam base to shine through. It’s creamy without any vanilla flavouring addition.
This is my go to tea of the morning when there’s no time for fuss, knowing I won’t have to compromise on the quality.
Thank you Teajo for giving me a good Papa Earl to rely on :-)
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!)