699 Tasting Notes
This is one that I had originally tried years ago when I first got into tea but haven’t really had since. My in-laws LOVE this one and I gave them all we had left, and replenished them a couple times a year. My mother-in-law says it tastes like Strawberry Quick when she adds milk and sugar. After listening to them rave I decided to buy myself another 50 grams last time I was in the city, and I don’t regret it. I was worried it would be too sweet for me now, or otherwise unappealing but I’m thoroughly enjoying this cup.
I steeped it hot and long to maximize flavour from a teaspoon of “leaves.” The result has a bit of tart – beetroot? There is also a distinct nuttiness that is hard to compare. It has a decently thick mouthfeel that makes me think of some sort of blended smoothie with nuts though I don’t know how practical that is. The aftertaste is sweet and also nutty, as if I’ve had a nut flavoured ice cream. I’m on a trail mix kick again lately (we mix our own depending on our moods) and this tea is an excellent complement to that. I also found the BEST honey roasted peanuts at Bulk Barn for cheap. This kind of reminds me of them a little bit, actually. Sweet and nutty with a bit of tart. Yum!
Flavors: Almond, Nuts, Sweet, Toffee
This is one that I didn’t pick up (and wouldn’t have, just because it is so heavy) but the beau has it at work from one of his co-workers and has been adamant that I try it. It’s been sitting on the table for a couple weeks so I finally thought to bring it with me to work and try it out. It is jam packed with what look like fruit pieces and smells yummy, almost like fuzzy peaches (the candy). Sweet, with a hint of tart.
I don’t know much (or anything) about guava so this is a bit of a shot in the dark but the taste is interesting and not quite like other fruit based herbals I’ve had. I honestly expected it to taste of bubble gum as I seem to find many of Davids blends in the last couple years to be bubble gum-y. Instead it reminds me of hot cider but more tart. Maybe hot cider with cranberry or another tart addition. It doesn’t seem to meld together as perfectly as cider, it’s more of a 1-sweet, 2-tart punch. Hot, it’s pretty darn enjoyable. As it gradually cools the flavours come together better and seem more cohesive. It doesn’t taste like hot juice but it is quite sweet.
I’m liking this more at warm than hot, and if I were an iced tea person, I imagine it would be best that way. As it is, this was pretty nice. Not necessarily guava (I get a lot of apple and mango with a bit of rose hips) but quite nice. No bubble gum either, which is awesome.
This tea has become a regular re-stock for me, and one that I have on hand at all times. It also may very well be the one drunk most often, because I find it holds up well to two or sometimes three Western style steeps. I often throw it in and fill the pot for enjoying on my own or with the beau or if I’m working I do up a T-Sac and steep it in my travel mug for a few minutes and save the bag for a second round later on. It does better with the teapot than the T-Sac as there is more room for expansion but even in a tight spot I find it yields good strong flavour. There is some cocoa and nice depth. I never find it bitter and it doesn’t seem to be very tannic because even when black teas are giving me heart times (happens when I get too stressed sometimes) this one doesn’t tend to bother me. It’s a fave!
I seem to remember the price on this one going up a few months ago but even at $14.90/100 grams it is a really good deal. In some ways I even prefer it to my beloved Dragon Pearls, though they do have presentation on their side. I am not an iced tea fan but this is good hot and also at room temperature which is saying a lot for me!
Okay, I’ve finally put all the awesome Steepster data compilations to good use. I went from zero to sicky in about two hours last night and it is hitting me hard and fast. I have to work today which involved getting up at 4:45 so I decided to grab a couple throat soothing teas. Last night Detox (DAVIDS) helped a lot but I wanted some mint today, then remembered this beast. I did not like it when I was well but I noted that it might be really great when sick, so here I am wrapped up in long sleeves, a coat and a scarf with tea, fisherman’s friends, secaris, water and mints. I have already eaten a popsicle. It’s only 8:48. I’m not very impressed with the severity of this cold but I’m hoping it blows out as quickly as it stormed in.
Self-pity aside, I steeped a generous perfect teaspoon in my travel mug with boiling water for 4 minutes or so. Thanks to the data compilation, I know that is approximately what others have done. Very cool. This still doesn’t smell very appetizing but it’s a hot liquid so it’ll help. This time I mostly get ginger with a bit of floral that might be rose or maybe just my confused tastebuds re-interpreting the flavours. I don’t know if it is specifically helping, but it sure can’t hurt. I still don’t like it, but I’ve raised the rating since this is more palatable than my first approach. I saw a lot of notes that honey is good in it and I think that would do a world of good in here but sadly there is no honey at work! I can’t wait to get home so I can curl up with some warm blankets and try this again with a big dollop of local honey. I may just want the honey, but who can blame me?
EDIT: tried it last night with honey. Big mistake. Liked it even less than before. Probably my normal aversion to sweetened tea. Do not try again!!
Had some of this one again today with the beau while enjoying a work day off together. It is beautifully sunny out though still chilly. We’ve got the fire going, video games, books, tea and time to ourselves. Woohoo! On a side note, I feel like I SHOULD put something about the tea at the start on the off chance this is selected as a blurb but that’s not how I roll so I’ll keep on talking about myself at the start for now.
I guess this tea has been around a time or two but when the beau went to Davids this Spring to pick up some Blue Lagoon to try out he was tempted by this as well. Now that I’ve had it a couple times I can say it is too too sweet for my tastes but that is a personal issue. It is actually a good tea, with a nice black base that doesn’t get bitter but also isn’t totally swamped by the flavouring. The flavour itself comes off as peachy to me, maybe because I’ve never eaten a pomegranate and can’t be sure what it tastes like. It would be good iced if I were the sort to drink iced tea. I could probably serve it to my little cousins as iced tea and they would be over the moon because it’s one of those teas that seems more like juice than tea. Not my thing anymore, but still well done unlike others that taste of chemicals or sugar rather than sweetness. This is definitely a result of the candied fruit in here. I used to love candied pineapple but ate too much and now they all taste too sweet to me.
I got an e-mail from Davids that Eastier tins are 3 for 30 in store and we are going to the city tomorrow for record store day and to visit some friends. I see a trip to Davids included in there to scope out some tea to add to the collection. We’re so glad we moved to the country but since I only order online once or twice a year, I miss being able to go to Davids or Winners and find some new tea when the mood strikes me. It’s not often, but seeing all the new acquisitions on Steepster makes me a little jealous! :)
Flavors: Grapes, Peach, Stonefruits
Made this up as well as hot chocolate and apple cider for the brothers. It is a beautiful sunny day here but chilly so a hot beverage is nice. I forgot about it though and steeped it for ten minutes or more. After that, the aroma is a mix of blueberry pie filling and bubblebath. So sweet blueberry but also a bit artificial. Not unpleasant and totally expected. I love Davids blueberry jam but hate the stevia so was excited about this one. I am a bit leery of too much sweet from tbe pineapple though and willing to add some more lemon something to bring it to my liking. The beau and I love blueberry tea but it is hard to do right.
Steeped, it kinda tastes like blueberry baby food. I like it at first, then its too sweet and then I like the aftertaste. I think if I limit the pineapple per cup OR decrease them time OR add extra lemon myrtle or something this could be a good tea for me! I can see how this would be a good iced tea as my cup us cooling and if the beau gets on an iced kick I could have a bit of this but I ammore interested in it hot as that is how I drink my tea.
For now it is good but I need to alter my parameters to make it even better!
Trying this today, another shu. This is one of the first pu I tried a while ago and I remember liking it a lot, thinking of earth, leather and a bit of smoke. This aroma is subtler than the Master Han ones and really pleasant.
Did a ten second rinse then a steep at 15 seconds with boiling water. No combining today! There is no bitterness but there is some depth. Not sweet like the 04 shu and not quite the damp earth and woodiness I remember. It’s a bit more bland than my last couple shu but also bolder, if that makes sense. I get something that reminds me of mushrooms here too.
#2: 20 seconds. Dark colour, warm aroma that reminds me of hay but deeper than green tea. This steep has more sweet notes and reminds me of hay bales in taste as well. Very nice and familiar.
#3: 30 seconds. Dark dark dark! Stronger aroma, flavour is a bit muted. I don’t know why my steeps seem to lose strength so quickly. Maybe I’m being under-generous on my leaf. I’m always worried about bitterness so I tend to under-do it on occasion.
Cutting it off here, as usual, as the brothers want the puter back. Interestingly, of the three I’ve had this week I prefer the Master Han 04 the best. It didn’t impress me initially but I find it more interesting to me than this and the Master Han 02. I’ll have to try the 04 again soon and see if that impression holds up.
Yesterday I was hanging out with Master Han’s 2004 loose shu which I enjoyed but wasn;t wowed by. Today I’m trying out the 2002 to see if I can notice differences. Might help educate me a bit about my tastes and the different flavours and aromas.
I am using the small gaiwan again with boiling water, a ten second rinse and then combined the first two steeps (both 15 seconds) in my small koi cup. The aroma reminds me of mushrooms and damp earth – it poured a sea here so I am used to the wet earth! This isn’t as offensive as the initial aroma of the ‘04 I had yesterday. Taste-wise, this is not as sweet, it has some juiciness but isn’t as bright. This is more earthy and almost has a light coffee edge, without any defined bitterness.
Steeps 3 and 4 were combined in one cup again, each given 30 seconds to steep. I prefer the convenience of combining two steeps but I think I am losing flavour this way. I might try doing two steeps at a time but separate cups so I can just drink them in order. Anyway, this has a little more depth than the first round but the flavours are muddied. I think it’s because of the combo. Darn laziness. I think I’ll call the tasting note quits for now and just enjoy the rest.
At first, I preferred the sweetness of the ‘04 puerh but this one seems to have more depth and body. I can’t quite appreciate the nuances yet, but I did enjoy the tea. I definitely need to try this with each steep done individually. Tentative rating but I prefer the 04 to this for now. I have 2 ounces of this though (accidentally bought it twice) so I can try it many more times.
Two of my brothers are here this week for March Break and one has been throwing up all day so I am doing whatever I can to keep myself safe from the awful germs. I thought maybe some tea would be wise and I had the time to do gong-fu so I decided to open this one. I am not a pu-erh afficianado but I pick it up sometimes so I can try them out. I tend to prefer shu and didn’t want to pick at part of a cake so here I am.
The dry leaf smells nice, very much like black tea with some sweet grassiness in the aroma. I am steeping a heaping teaspoon in my small gaiwan with boiling water. Steep times listed below.
I did a ten second rinse and then ten seconds for the first steep which smells…less appetizing. This is more like wet animals and dung than the nice earthy barn flavour I have come to appreciate. Fortunately the taste is much more pleasant. It is actually surprisingly mild. I am having trouble describing it. There is some sweetness, and something earthy. No wet animals or dung. Yay!
Steep 2 at 15 seconds is much darker, aroma is much like the first, only less unpleasant. More like earth than animals. I don’t know if I am becoming accustomed to it or if the character of the tea has changed. The flavour is lighter than the aroma again, and sweeter than expected. There is some depth and richness but I have a hard time describing it. This is harder than it looks!
Steep 3 at approximately 20 seconds yields another dark cup that smells more like earth after a hard rain. I am liking this the best so far but unfortunately I had a chip between steeps and that is muting my taste buds. This is still sweet and strong, no bitterness or astringency. I do seem to be losing a bit of the flavour so I am upping the time for the next round.
Steep 4 at 30 seconds has kicked back up a bit, earthiness, fresh and sweet. I’m going to stop posting about this one now because not much is changing worth reporting and my (non-pukey) brother wants the puter back.
In general, I didn’t get any bitterness or astringency which I appreciated. The aroma could be overwhelming but the flavour was often a bit lighter in a pleasant way. I am enjoying it, but don’t find it remarkable. That could be my lack of experience or my personal preference but my rating is not to suggest it is a poor quality tea, it just doesn’t knock my socks off. I will try again at some point with even more leaf and less steep time when I have the opportunity to enjoy many many steeps.
Enjoying this one with my grandmother and husband today along with some fresh homemade donuts. The perfect accompaniment! I also got news this morning that I didn’t get the library job I applied for but they DID offer me a better one so this is an exciting day. Tomorrow my brothers arrive for a March Break visit and all is well in the world. Loving the Dragon Pearls and all the good news!