688 Tasting Notes
Dry, this smells amazing. I am thinking of the horse barn at the exhibition but in a GOOD WAY. Sweet clean hay, damp wood, hard working animals and minimal stink. This is contrasting with the cow barn which always smelled much more of excrement. Blech. I have come to really enjoy the smell and taste of hay and damp wood in my teas, and trying to get into puerh seems like the logical next step for me and my tea journay. Black teas and roasty oolongs still make me a happy panda but puerh might offer me just a little bit more.
Because I am a puerh noob I have used a bit less leaf than I probably should have, but that’s okay. Coupled with 95 degree water, I am ready to dip my toes in. I am using my smallish gaiwan and very small double walled cups. I have also broken out my tea feet (tea pet) to get their tea on too.
First steep at 30 seconds. Because of my conservative leaf and temp, I figure I can up the ante on time. I am tasting this one, though I know typically the first steep is a rinse. Not much about this is typical though. The smell is strong and smoky, like tanned hide or salted meat. Smoked wood, tobacco. I am developing an appreciation for a smoky note so this is actually enticing. The flavour is sweeter than the smoke note led me to believe, and taste more like the initial smell – sweet hay, damp hide and a hint of salt. Perfectly drinkable though not my ideal cuppa. Much more earthy than sweet though.
Second steep at 45 seconds yields the same aroma of smoke and salt. The taste is much sweeter though, more sweet hay, less earth. Much nicer, though it tastes a bit light. This is very sippable, the contrast of the taste and the aroma is very interesting. The smoke really develops as the tea cools.
Third steep at 1 minutes results in a brew much like the second, only amplified. I am getting some floral tastes now. I didn’t get any fruit or spices before now but I hardly know what I’m doing and I’m okay with that. This is my favourite so far, the smoke is mellowing out and allowing the taste to dominate the aroma.
Will likely steep more later but taking a break to put together our corn chowder now. General impressions are that this is a nice tea, but not my favourite. Something to enjoy occasionally. Will try it more traditionally at some point (more leaf/less time) and see what I get. Might do a cup western style too.
This is an impressive tea, especially for it’s cost. For a long time, my favourite black tea was the Wild Black Yunnan from Davids Tea. For me, this one is even better. Stronger, bolder flavours with less (read: no) astringency or bitterness. It holds strong through multiple steepings but is so inexpensive that I don’t mind calling it quits at just one steep. I actually prefer it to the other Yunnans that Teavivre offers, as this one has the cocoa and earth POW that I love. I am very glad to have 100 grams on hand, and will re-stock this one rather than the Davids when the time comes. Mmmm!
The beau and I picked up 10 grams of this last March and promptly forgot about it. Though it smells appetizing, I fear the hibby is strong in this one. So many of Davids blends over the past couple years have been lackluster for me, with the notable exception of Berry Good which I adore.
Steeped, this is a coral liquor which smells very tart, like pink lemonade – that would be the hib, I assume. The taste is a shock of tart with some herby flavour in the middle and then all ginger and hibiscus at the end. I am not really liking it but it isn’t the worst herbal I’ve had. I am not getting any strawberry though, which is a definite problem. Strawberry was the selling point for me but all I have is tart ginger. I will try cold brewing the rest, I think, and see how that goes. If nothing else, the beau likes iced tea.
I got a sample of this one a long long time ago and finally had the presence of mind to steep it up today. There is enough there for two cuppas so I have half of it in a filter bag as that stuff looks too fine for my filter. I hate when floaties escape into my tea!
The aroma is fairly strong with cinnamon dominating. Cinnamon isn’t my favourite part of a chai but I do appreciate the necessity, so on we forge. I went through a mega chai phase about two years ago but really lost my taste for it somewhere since then. I am not sure what happened, though I suspect I put too much milk in it at some point and it was ruined by association. I am not a milk drinker and never have been. Blech.
Steeped, I get cinnamon in taste and burn, with some gingery/nutmeggy baking type flavours. There is a bit of heat, but I am not really getting the cardamom which sometimes balances chai out for me. The black tea base is also pretty assertive. I know it is blasphemous, but I don’t really like assams and the ilk. Their strength of flavour is interpreted by my tongue as bitterness, even with the most careful treatment. Then it needs milk, which I don’t like. Hmm, I guess I just figured out why I don’t like chai. :)
Anyway, this is a perfectly respectable chai and if you are a chai fan it will likely impress you. This might make a good latte (which interestingly I do enjoy, if it isn’t too milk heavy) but that is beyond my skills. I’ll just keep sipping.
Gave this another shot in a different way today. I forgot to clean out my Perfect Tea Mug so I put 4 or 5 pearls in a T-Sac and brewed them up for 3 – 4 minutes in a mug. I got a LOT more jasmine than previous infusions, and the black tea came through pretty nicely as well, but without any astringency. I remain a little disappointed by the quality of the base tea and prefer Teavivre’s Black Pearls for price AND taste, but these are definitely a nice change from the usual. I frequently forget how I feel about jasmine but I DO like it and these are a lovely way to get a floral hit. If that base tea were just a bit better..
Another from my box o tea from LiberTeas several years ago. Initially it smells as though it has been scent contaminated with all the rest, but when steeped 2.5 minutes it smells definitely like black tea with light citrus. More like cleaner than fresh fruit, but not unappealing. It looks and smells like a tea that will get bitter if over-steeped so I was careful with the time.
First sips yield a fairly typical black tea that starts out a bit sweet and then goes a bit astringent, with some light citrus in the background. Considering the age and storage of this sample, I am impressed that there are any flavours to distinguish at all. In the aftertaste I get a sense of bergamot but it is very light and not dusty at all the way bergamot can sometimes be.
This is a very pleasant (if mild) cuppa, and I will definitely be able to finish the sample. Yay!
Well, I couldn’t wait until I got home to try this one. The beau is not one for chocolate teas either so I doubt he’ll be bothered. The aroma of the dry leaves makes me think of a Crunch or Krackle bar – chocolate with some puffed rice. The beany malty laoshan black sits underneath all that, holding it together.
I went a bit light on the leaf but gave it extra time to balance out. I remember Laoshan Black as being strong on flavour under most circumstances so I am confident it can handle it. The liquor is a warm sunflower sort of yellow, with strong malt aroma that is tinged with cocoa at the end. I’ve always loved the idea of a genmaicha, but being a hater of green tea I have never really enjoyed it. This could be the way for me!!
First sips yield a fairly typical laoshan flavour. Heavy on malt with some cocoa and honeyed sweetness on the end of the sip. The nibs are working with the natural cocoa flavours of the tea and bringing it out even more. I love that. So far there is nothing here that screams toasted rice for me though. I will report back in a bit to see if that changes but for now this is mostly laoshan with chocolate, and I ain’t complainin’. :)
EDIT: I have had the new batch of Laoshan Black and I must say that I prefer the unadulterated Laoshan Black to this blend. I get much more cocoa from the Laoshan Black than from this one and I prefer the intensity of flavour. I think the addition of the oolong here (while nice) detracts from what I love about the Laoshan. Still yummy though!
Had some of this again last night. This is the first ‘new release’ from Davids in a few years that I have truly loved. We have used nearly 50 g in the last few months which actually is a lot for us. Typically we have different teas all the time but we return to this one frequently.
The first steep always delivers a strong strawberry taste with some earthy tartness in the background from the pu. There is no fishiness – I can barely even tell the pu is there actually. It also delivers a solid second steep though you do lose some strawberry flavour so it isn’t as good, but still worth steeping. This is the tea that has helped me to think I might be able to learn to love pu-erh.
I fully intend to go get a tin of this once our pouch is empty. Yum!
Way to go, Uniquity. This is another tea that I have been hoarding/savouring since ordering it from Verdant. 1.5 years ago. I have another order dreamed up and am just waiting to see if a co-worker wants in so I am really feeling compelled to finally drink up the beautiful teas I got last time. Despite it’s age this has been stored well (score!) and maintains a lovely sweet yunnan smell. I’m thinking more hay than pepper or cocoa. I am likely in a better position now to appreciate this tea than I was when I bought it, so this is for the best, right? :)
Steeped for 3.5 minutes, the beau and I shared a pot while he finishes Silent Hill Downpour. He’s been finishing it for days, but who am I to judge? I’m the “just one more page/chapter/book” girl. After pouring the tea, I even gave a bit to my tea pet (also from Verdant way back when). Aren’t I generous? Steeped, this almost puts me in mind of chocolate cake. It smells rich, sweet and decadent. Sweet hay remains a strong aroma.
First sips are clean and sweet, not as bold as other yunnans but very tasty. I get some light cocoa, and the sweet hay continues to dominate. For now I am going to sit back and enjoy it. Then maybe steep it again. Mmmmm. I think this is one of those teas that would be impossible to over-steep. I feel confident that I could steep this the whole time I drank it and it would only get stronger without ever going bitter. Lovely!
All the talk about maple teas on the discussion boards had me wanting to try this one which I just brought to work last week. I haven’t tried it before but it does have an appetizing maple smell – it’s a bit more Aunt Jemima than maple syrup (if you’re Canadian you will probably understand) but it is definitely appealing.
Steeped, the liquor is quite brown, and has a smell that puts me in mind of boxed pancakes and Aunt Jemima. Again, yummy but not quite the real deal. There is some sweetness that comes off as maple syrup and the tea is very prominent beneath that. They are pretty well balanced with each other but the tea does have a hint of bitterness. I wonder what the base tea is, cuz I think I steeped this appropriately but the bitterness is a bit disappointing.
I would like a smidge more maple in here but it is a very old sample so I may have just lost some flavour over time. A drop of syrup or honey in here would do wonders (if I had any here at work). All in all, very nice.
EDIT to add – this reminds me of a couple Monk’s Blends that I have had. Interesting!