662 Tasting Notes
Well this is ALL wintergreen this time around! The black tea is hiding under the bold mint flavours, but somehow it all works out. I do get a toothpaste/mouthwash association, but surprisingly it isn’t bothering me. If anything, the dry aroma is my least favouite part of this tea but somehow the bold wintergreen tastes “just right” in conjunction with the other mints and the tea. Not my favourite, but nice to have in the arsenal for days when you get sent to switchboard and have headaches from needing new glasses.
This is not vanilla. It’s barely even chai, honestly. On first smell, this is not super appealing. There is a whiff of vanilla in the aroma, but none of that translates to the taste. Instead I get a bit of astringent black tea and some mild chai. No spices really stand out, but they do work together nicely as a cup you don’t really have to focus on too hard. If this astringency could be eliminated it would be a much nicer cup, but this is okay, as is. This is yet another oldie that I am going to try to force myself through. I need more tea turnover!
To be fair, my stash of this is getting on in age (1 year? 1.5?)but today’s cuppa was just not great. There was no bergamot, and only a light hint of fruit to mask the black tea that went bitter despite only being steeped 2.5-3 minutes. I am thinking that a slightly lower temperature or a bit less leaf than the recommended 1 tsp. might help things, but I’m disappointed that it needs help at all. I am guessing that my evaluation of this today reflects the changes that my tea tastes have undergone over the past year and a half or so. I went through my tea shelves yesterday and am trying to use up some of my older teas, many of which just aren’t my favourites anymore.
Oh my heaven, have I ever under-appreciated this tea! The beau and I have been turning to this a lot lately as a pot to enjoy together. I find it delicious and sweetly lemon, more lemon cream pie than lemon zest – and I like that. For my Canadian friends, this reminds me of Honey Bee from Davids Tea in some ways, though obviously non-caffeinated. Caffeine doesn’t bother me one way or another, but I like the rooibos base (no bitterness, huzzah!) Highly recommended and one of the rare teas I am actually increasing the rating on after having enjoyed it for a few months. I bought the biggest tin available of this (6 oz) when I placed my order, and for once I don’t regret it – this is fabulous!
Continuing the oolong trying extravaganza, I splurged on some of this. Not very much of it, mind you, as it is $10 for 25 g. That makes it the single most expensive tea I have purchased to date. Anywho, on to the tea. Heated the water with my variable temp kettle (so I finally have exact temps!) and steeped it in my gaiwan. To the untrained palate (IE – mine) this is almost indistinguishable from DT’s Tie Kwan Yin.
1st steep (1 minute at 90 degrees) – Mild and unassuming, slight flavour, no bitterness, not very vegetal. Light floral note in there, lightly sweet. A non-steep, really.
2nd steep (2 minutes at 90 degrees) – Much better, there is more flavour here. Slightly vegetal/floral, still no bitterness.
3rd steep (2 minutes at 90 degrees) – Similar to the second, almost has a milkiness (is this what others think of as buttery?) but I might be reaching for that. The beau says the third steep is the best and “clearly tastes different than the other ones.” There is an elusive hint of something underneath it all, almost like a mild spice (sweet cinnamon?)
4th Steep (3 minutes at 90 degrees) – This is a fairly thin steep. I get a hint of the nice sweetish flavour I picked up on in the last steep, but it is quite watery. Not much depth or richness, this will be my last steep. I still maintain I got a hint of spice like cinnamon but the beau compares it to rosemary.
I think I might prefer darker oolongs to greener ones (not surprising, as I don’t like green tea but love black tea) but this is a nice one to have tried. I like that it never got bitter, but I prefer stronger flavoured teas. Again, this is certainly an enjoyable tea but one I won’t re-purchase. Though it was a beautiful tea, with the large leaves completely unfurling after two steeps, there just wasn’t enough there for me. For my tastes, the cheapo Tie Kwan Yin is a better purchase in terms of quality/taste to cost.
This is a tea that has really lowered in my esteem since first tasting. Even just smelling it now makes me uneasy, the bold dark chocolate smell (I don’t like dark chocolate!) is giving me a bit of a headache/upset tummy. Either that or I’m going crazy. I haven’t even brought myself to sip it yet! Can’t wait to have this finished off, I think I might pawn off a few cups on co-workers, that should do the trick.
The taste is not as bad as the aroma seems to me, but it really is not a favourite. If anything it is TOO chocolatey, and I am not feeling the chili love. At least not anymore. This has been my reaction the last couple times I’ve tried it, so I finally admit that this isn’t the best tea for me. I need to learn to stop trying teas at David’s just because I haven’t had them – usually my nose is a solid indication of whether I’ll like a tea or not and this one has always been a little off-putting for me.
Brought the rating down a bit. I love mint teas, so it can be hard to differentiate one pure mint from another in terms of uality or taste. This one is quite bold, and so minty (if you steep it a good amount of time) that it almost seems cold – if you’re not a true mint fan I do not see this being the thing for you. I had a big cuppa this morning as part of my efforts to reieve a migraine (which worked, yay!) and really enjoyed it. I find myself turning to the milder spearmint from Davids Tea more often that not, but the Peppermint definitely has a place in my heart.
Re-visiting this one today. At first sniff, this is a very tart smelling tea. The sort of tart that makes your mouth water in anticipation, if that makes sense. The first sips were surprisingly sweet, and honestly my favourite part of the cup. As it cools the tartness develops but doesn’t take over. A drop of honey might have done well in here but it is perfectly palatable as is. I don’t often turn to berry herbals lately, but if I did this would be a strong contendor. I imagine it would be lovely iced (though I’m not generally a fan of iced tea and it would need to be sweetened). This one does best with natural flavours, and now I am thinking that a drop of lemon juice or even some fresh strawberry or other berry would really take it up a notch too. Now I want to make this a cocktail, in the middle of the workday!
Well, wow! I am not very experienced in oolongs, so please comment with any tips or advice to really get the most out of them. I found that this had strong cocoa notes, and a bean-like aspect. I noted that it reminds me of Golden Snail, and in general seemed similar to a number of high quality black teas that I’ve enjoyed. Done in my gaiwan and wee little double walled teacups. Excess tea used to “season” my tea feet (also from Verdant, love them!)
Steep 1 – Water cooled for 2 minutes after boiling, 30 second steep. Rich and robust, lightly sweet without any bitterness. I got chocolate in the aftertaste. Very enjoyable.
Steep 2 – Water cooled for 2 minutes after boiling, 45 second steep. Leaves are still very closed, liquor is light amber. This steep has less cocoa and is less complex. Still beany, very nice. The beau says it is “earthy green.”
Steep 3 – Boiling water, 1 minute steep. Leaves still tightly rolled, the aroma and flavour are slightly weaker yet again. This is nearly astringent, with a slightly dry mouthfeel. Cocoa flavour is back with a vengeance, the beau says this is his favourite steep.
Steep 4 – Boiling water, 1.5 minute steep. I found this still enjoyable but weaker than I’d like. This will be the last for now.
Very enjoyable experience, a wonderful tea to help break my way into oolongs. Thank you Verdant for including this as a generous sample in my order!
Re-visiting this in an attempt to clean out my stash. Still 1 or 2 cups left from my sample, but getting closer! This 2 or 3 minute steep yielded a flavour more like what I expected. Sweet fruit, goji kick. No tea taste, but the fruit dominates for once. Enjoying this right now, glad to have had a stronger cup! Raising the rating a few points.