434 Tasting Notes
Sooo…Shengs are part of my tea no man’s land, having tried just a couple I have very few references when it comes to write a review… I always envy those of you who seem so taken by it (Charles, if you read this, you know I’m thinking of you!)
Following up on my resolution of drinking special teas at non special times, I reached for my special box tonight and fetched this one out.
I’m using 7g and a gaiwan.
Dry, it smells so strongly of spices and raisins, one would think it’s a flavoured blend!
I’m thinking, this will render a similar taste, but not at all! I wont describe each steep as I rarely do, but I’m on the 4th right now and I’m just in awe…
I can already tell this is not a tea that will appeal to everyone though. It has lots of bite and astringency. Loving these characteristics, it’s tailor made for my likings.
I visited an olive oil shop a few months ago in Montréal. They make you sample the oils the way you would for wine at a winery. You get to experience all the subtleties this fruit of the gods has to offer.
This Sheng reminds me of a peppery olive oil I bought.
First, the bite tickles your tongue and your mouth is filled with a nice fresh citrusy and woodsy feeling. Then emerges a round coating sensation that balances everything out.
Now, I know this is a young Sheng, and I have yet to experiment a lot more in order to make up my mind and see if Sheng is a new found passion, but I have this cute yixing pot I’ve been saving for I don’t know what. I have a feeling it will be dedicated to Sheng in a very near future…
Sorry for those seeking a more specific tasting note, but as this happens very often when I come across something new that blows my mind, I can’t give much more as a taste description. This is what I classify as a «feel tea», it gives me clarity and makes me see colours…
As I’m on a leave of absence from work for at least a month, I might start painting again. Haven’t done that in years, and I realize my creativity has been put to rest for way too long…
Thank you Verdant for that.
I’ve been drinking my best teas lately, the ones I usually keep for special occasions.
As I’m going through lots of changes in my life, I realize the way I drink tea is also changing. I no longer want to have over 150 teas to choose from in my cupboard. Don’t want to be a tea hoarder anymore. I want to fully appreciate and take time with what I choose to buy. I no longer want to be disappointed when I remember a certain tea and realize it’s not fresh anymore cause I forgot it was there for the last 12 months!
Doesn’t mean I wont experiment and try new stuff, I’m too curious about tea for that. But I’ve been selling myself short by having too much…Never thought I’d say that!
Now the tea.
Just as its name leads you to believe, this tea is special so I am not saving it, I am drinking the life out of it!
I know I went heavy on the leaf, but this first flush has a lot of character, and that’s a very good thing. Nice golden colour, and fruity aroma. It is packed with taste, mostly peaches and sweet apples at first.
I get a nice fresh citrus astringency that I’m very fond of.
As a blind test, I would have guessed second flush because it’s so fruity. Then, the flower-power hits me, and I am reminded that it is a FF. It’s like a mix, best of both worlds!
The second steep was just as tasty, but less sweet, a little more astringent.
I have several other Darjeelings to review from Butiki, as the Darjeeling sampler was part of my last order.
Sorry I’ve had to neglect Steepster and all its lovely people lately…
Funny how life can take you on a ride. Mine just took such a turn, I will be forever changed.
The last 3 weeks have been hell. I’ve had to isolate myself to cope with what was happening.
I have thrown myself into exercising. This past week, I pushed my body to its limit by doing intense workouts. I just discovered HIIT (high intensity interval training) I am now hooked.
I also biked for 12 long hours yesterday, cross country trails. Meaning, hills, hills and more hills.
My new motto: exorcise with exercise! Yes, my back, my tooshie and my legs are killing me! But physical pain helps put my mind to rest… So as long as my body is allowing it, I’ll keep pushing for a while.
Aside from doing crazy workouts, I’ve kept my sanity by drinking lots of tea as usual.
And now I will catch up by reading my dashboard, as I’m sure your reviews will cheer me up :-)
Oh Well, I just died and went to Tea Heaven on a sunday night all by myself it seems, no one else has logged this tea yet.
This is expensive and worth every penny.
As a high mountain oolong should be, it exudes exquisite floral notes that are invading every corners of my mouth.
It’s a heavy mouthfeel charged with a sweet and buttery aftertaste, coating my throat.
Makes this beautiful elixir very decadent. And the taste lingers, and lingers…
A new gem that I will cherish in my tea treasure chest…
ETA: the leaves are still giving this morning, but as I often notice when I abuse my oolongs the next day, a more mineral taste dominates the cup…I guess something happens when you let wet leaves rest for too long? Still yummy though, but I’m curious and would like to know if someone else has noticed that…
Hello Steepster friends, it’s been a while…
I had plans to go hiking with Doberman Dexter this morning. We woke up at dawn, just the way I like it (yes, I’m a night AND a morning person, not much sleeping going on here, lol) And I realized it was going to be a rainy day. Well, I wasn’t going to let that ruin my plans, so we went anyways.
I go hike to this regional nature forest park we have, it has a big mountain to climb plus you can walk a trail that sinuously contours a beautiful river with lots of rapids. I like going there by myself with the dog, it’s pretty much the only nature park around that allows dogs.
My bright yellow rain coat with a large hood kept me protected from the rain all morning. Turned out to be a lovely day. It wasn’t really pouring. More of a slow dripping, allowing our ears to listen to a beautiful symphony of little noises orchestrated by the sound of each drop of water gently lending on the luxuriant vegetation…ploc, ploc, ploc…
I sat on a big rock, closed my eyes, and inhaled this pure oxygen that you find only in the forest. I couldn’t help thinking about this tea I was going to have later.
When I got back, I wrote a long note to a dearest Steepster friend that I’ve missed a lot (if you read this, you know who you are!!) and made this tea. I felt it deserved a proper evaluation, that’s why I took my time with it.
I was introduced to Oriental Beauty about a year ago, by a friend who brought me as a gift 1/2 pound directly from Taiwan. I didn’t know the brand nor the estate it came from, my friend bought it at a local merchant and was told it was Taiwan’s finest Wenshan tea. I don’t think he lied. I fell in love with it and quickly went through the 500g bag. I had a few samples after that from different vendors but just couldn’t find one that equaled it.
When Stacy gave me the heads up about an upcoming Butiki OB, my heart stopped. Then she said it was going to take a little longer cause she was «being picky». Well, her being picky was great news, it meant I could expect something fabulous!
And fabulous this tea was…
The dry leaf of OB is very peculiar, it is small considering it is oolong. It is referred to as the tea with 5 colours. If you look very closely, you see that some of the silver tentacles are covered with a white duvet. That’s why this tea is also named Bai Hao Oolong, meaning white hair/fur. I notice I don’t see as many white buds in Butiki’s as I did in my Taiwanese Wenshan OB.
I used about 4g for my glazed gaiwan as it is my favourite vessel for Oolongs in general.
First steep renders a bright and transparent golden orange colour. It is very fragrant of red fruits, muscatel and honey. For those «who like to watch», here’s a pic:
Its fruitiness reminds me of Darjeeling, but it’s fuller and rounder with no astringency. The fact that it has such a high level of fermentation and oxidation brings it closer to black tea, that’s one of the reason I like it so much.
I love the automnal rainbow of colours the leaves of this tea presents…rich auburns, browns, greys, and greens, it is stunning to look at. Here’s another pic after 2nd and 3rd steep:
The 3rd steep is a real charmer, a burst of sweet honey notes, created by those little insect bites. There’s a faint spicy note in the background that I can’t really identify, the taste is more concentrated, I get dried fruits, maybe fig or apricot. There’s also a cooling feel in the mouth at the end that lingers for a while. It’s very addictive.
Again, here’s some pics showing a leaf that must have been a feast at some point, judging by the clear chunks missing:
This is a beautiful tea inside out. Oolongs are so exciting, they are the Rockstars of teas.
I almost missed on this one, having placed a Butiki order seconds before It became available for sale. But with her usual courtesy, Stacy fixed everything and I got my precious supply. I’m afraid it won’t last very long…
I realize that most of my reviews (maybe all of them?) are related to food and /or what I did the day I wrote them. Today won’t be any different, sorry!
In the beautiful region of The Laurentians, where I feel so privileged to be living in, there’s a little shop called Le Moulin aux Épices (it means The Spice Mill). I don’t go very often cause it’s a long drive.
Nathalie, the owner, welcomes you in the small cottage style boutique adjacent to her own house. Entering her shop is like walking the ground of the old world Silk Road. It just transports you to exotic lands. Name any spice, she has it.
Along with tea addiction, I suffer from olfactory obsession. The place is not helping me!
I always pick up something that she recommends. This time I came back with some Indonesian long pepper. Shaped as a mini pinecone, this peppercorn exudes perfumes of liquorice and aniseed. I used it tonight in a moroccan Tajine dish. Mmmmm!
What better tea than moroccan mint to end the meal. This is really good, if your a mint lover of course.
I love that Zen Tea is using spearmint instead of peppermint. My all time favourite mint tea consists of adding hot water to a load of freshly cut spearmint. So simple, you just drink and let the vibrant green leaves swirl around. Beautiful to look at and equally tasty.
In this tea, the spearmint provides a natural sweet finish to this fresh combination. I choose to brew it at only 175F. Over that, I find the gunpowder renders a dusty aftertaste that I dislike very much, a taste of dirt almost. I know it doesn’t sound appealing, but trust that it completely goes away when brewed at a very low temperature.
Now this is nowhere near traditional moroccan tea, which is almost unbearably sweet to me since always loaded with sugar. I much prefer these moroccan mint blends, but I wish I had a bottle of orange blossom water handy to make it closer to tradition. That, I really like and I think I might just try it next time!
Almost 1am, just came back from a nice evening with friends, drank the most exquisite Pinot Noir from New Zealand, ended the evening with a decadent Porto. I’m not a heavy drinker, but I can’t resist red wine and good company!
Waited to be at home to get me some decent tea. Muscat grape is screaming at me!
I equally love first and second flush Darjeeling for their obvious distinctions. While I appreciate the more floral, citrusy and earthy taste of the FF, I just die for the rich fruity muscatel that is much more prominent in SF.
This tea just feels like my favourite pair of jeans, it hugs me in all the right places!
The bouquet adds a touch of femininity to the bite I usually look for in a black tea, you just can’t find that in a straight bold Assam. No wonder they refer to Darjeeling as being «Le Champagne des Thés»! This one is so well balanced, I find very little astringency in comparison to some other Darjeeling I own. Just lovely!
The night person that I am will continue sipping on this for a couple more hours, listening to great groovy jazzy music…
My Love is Red, by David Poe (fairly unkown artist that I just adore)
We had no electricity last night. It was cold, rainy and windy, hard to believe it’s the end of may…
Sleepy Mr Right was kind enough to start the BBQ burner at midnight for my pure enjoyment. Had to find a way to boil water for tea!
He gave me the speech about how that was his way of showing me love and it should buy him some points.
«What points?» I ask.
« Well, points to go out with the guys for example.»
« Honey, when did you ever need points for that?»
«Well… true» he admits. (I’m more of a freedom kind of gal.)
«I could keep them in the bank then, you never know, you might change as you’re getting older » he says.
«Well, as you’re getting older just costed you 500 points. Deducted from the 100 points I was about to give you, you now owe me 400 my darling.» See, I can play if I want to.
He gave me his best smile and said he always admired my negotiating skills. Love the guy.
Time for a no-fuss tea, one that will accept any temperature variation, greens don’t stand a chance under those conditions.
Poeple, this is the epitome of good straight black tea. You can brew it western style with confidence, it won’t let you down. It’s as sweet as can be, fruity, honey, bakery like, it has it all. Those leafhoppers sure know how to work their miracles. Don’t want to be judgemental, but if you choose to add sugar in this, something is wrong with you, have your blood sugar level checked out, haha!
It’s full bodied, and the mouthfeel is creme caramel like, that’s the best way I can describe how it feels in my mouth as it cools down to lukewarm.
Butiki’s brewing parameters are also perfect for it. I may have let it steep for a little longer than 4min this time, but no harm done.
I have this old kettle, it took many beatings over the years, it now looks like it was made out of hammered metal! We used to bring it on camping trips, it was put many times directly on the flames of fire camps, I can still smell the smoke on it! That’s the one we used last night. We hadn’t seen this old friend of ours in a long time, and that started some conversations.
We ended up staying outside, freezing to death in the gazebo, looking at old pictures from our early years together. Now, I could lie and tell you we snuggled by the candlelight and that would be so romantic right? But my man insisted on using the mega-power flashlight he just bought from home depot instead. That made him happy. For those of you who don’t already know, I live close to the woods. It did provide acres of light to our backyard’s wildlife. Boys will be boys.
And good tea will add to our book of memories once again. Thank you Butiki.
Thank you so much Ysaurella for this surprise sample!
Once upon a time, there was a Fairy who had given up on Apple tea… She thought she could never find an apple tea that could meet her requirements and expectations.
What she had always longed for, was a tea that could reproduce the juicy and delicious taste of apples, without the company of the harmful Wicked Army of Additives! The WAA had terrorized the world of tea for centuries and was the main cause of discord between tea and flavour.
What she wanted seemed so simple: an apple tea that would simply taste like… APPLES!
Just as the Fairy had finally resigned on the idea, Princess Ysaurella from the heights of her French Kingdom, decided it would be otherwise. The injustice had to stop!
Apple tea should take its place in the wonderful world of Fairies and no longer be a forbidden tea!
From the other side of the ocean, she did everything possible to arrange safe transportation for Pomme d’Amour, and it quickly reached destination to the Fairy.
When the Fairy examined the offering, she remained skeptical: how could a spell that was there for so long could be lifted so easily? How could the WAA be defeated so easily?
As she had nothing to lose, she focused her attention on the infused elixir’s aroma…Oh, the scent of fresh apples! Was it possible? She cautiously moved to the next step and tasted.
Awww … divine potion that finally valued the Apple as the Queen of fruit she really was, allowing her to shine in her beautiful black China-Ceylon robe, without any unnecessary garments such as cinnamon, cake or pie flavours! Just the right amount of sweet and juicy apple taste!
It goes to say that without Princess Ysaurella reconciliation could not have taken place! The WAA was put to rest, and all the Fairies lived happily ever after, sipping their Apple tea.
The End. Thank you Princess :-)
ETA: I had what was left of this sample yesterday and I find myself wanting more tonight, even if I have like a zillion more unexplored teas in the cupboard!! It seems the heart always wants what it cannot have :-(
I had a crappy Monday and thought nothing would make the day better. That was before I got the mail. Yay, a swap from Ysaurella ! Thank you so much for this generous sample!
After tasting this little marvel, I understand better why it is named this way. This tea is so romantic, it’s a flirt in a cup!
This is the epitome of refinement in terms of essence and aroma. I am not easily seduced by flavoured teas, I’m pretty hard to please!
Ysaurella got me dreaming about this tea when I first read her lovely review. Thanks for introducing me to this little treasure from the old world!
This blend does something not many are able to achieve: it provides a perfect balance between flowery, spicy and fruity notes. Love the pink berries, such a nice peppery addition!
I don’t have a detailed list of ingredients, but something in there reminds me of Turkish Delights! I also appreciate the delicate citrus breeze that circulates around all the other flavours. It’s nothing like bergamot, more of a shy lemon :-)
Rêverie d’un soir sur la Néva is simply dreamy… This is the tea I would choose to have at a Café in Saint-Pétersbourg, waiting and longing for my lover…