1118 Tasting Notes
Sipdown no. 186. A sample.
I had a different experience of this than some other notes reflect, but I steeped in the gaiwan for short infusions starting at 15 seconds and adding increments of five seconds for a total of five infusions.
I also used water a bit hotter than I usually do for oolongs, mostly because something happened to the outlet where my zojirushi was plugged in and I had to reboil the water. I didn’t have the patience to wait for the water to cool, so I used it as it was on its way down from boiling.
The result was that my experience of this was more like a green oolong than a roasted one, but it was at the same time a bit unusual for a green. The aroma had a sort of a milky floral scent at first but mellowed over subsequent steeps into something that smelled fresh and nutty — but not roasted nutty. More like green (unroasted) almonds. By the third steep, the floral notes were quite lovely. I thought of lilacs, though I’m not sure that’s actually what I smelled, and by the fourth and fifth steeps, I got a whiff of fresh, raw, sweet, warm root vegetable, carrot maybe. A little less pronounced in the fifth steep. Perhaps more like turnip or parsnip. The wet leaf smelled like sweet potatoes to me.
Really tasty and wonderful, but I wonder whether cooler water would have yielded the same flavors. Oh well, I am not likely to find out soon as I’m on lock down. All I can say is this was excellent tonight.
Flavors: Almond, Carrot, Floral, Green, Milk, Sweet Potatoes
Sipdown no. 185. Sample tin. I’m counting this as a sipdown even though I’m pretty sure I have a full sized tin of this somewhere.
This time around, I got the pepper in the aroma, but not really in the taste. It’s funny, having had the Simpson & Vail Creamy Earl Grey, which wasn’t creamy or an Earl Grey to my tastebuds earlier this morning, I am noticing similarities between that and the Troika. Except the Troika is less floral and more citrusy.
A bit of orange, a bit of undefined citrus that for me leans toward lemon, and underneath a smooth, mild black tea base that as I mentioned before seems to be easy on the stomach. Not sure it’s distinctive enough to be a must have, but it’s definitely a very good tea and one that might very well hit a very particular spot from time to time.
Sipdown no. 184. I had a lot of help sipping this down. The kids quite liked it, as did the BF. I had my last bit last night hot. It was too hot for no. 2, who kept dropping ice into it so I put the rest in the fridge for him and he drank it this morning to rave reviews. No. 1 also had some and asked me to make some for him to put in the fridge as well, which took care of the last two bags.
Not a repeat for me, as I mostly got this at the beginning of my tea journey to understand better what plain honeybush tasted like, but if the kid lobby has any say about it…
Revisiting this one today for my first morning tea. I have very much the same impression that I had the first time around, which is that this is a tasty tea. But if I was doing a blind tasting of it, I probably wouldn’t identify it as an Earl Grey. And I certainly wouldn’t identify it as a creamy Earl Grey.
I might identify it as a fruity floral, in the same general category as one of the Kusmi black tea blends like St. Petersburg. I don’t taste vanilla or cream, I don’t taste bergamot. I taste something vaguely fruity that is more of a red fruit taste than a citrus taste, that starts fruity and ends floral. Almost rose-like.
Torn on the rating. It gets a lot of points for tastiness and smoothness, but it doesn’t taste like what it says it is, i.e., an earl grey creme. I’m going to keep the rating where it is. I really like the tea (points up). But it isn’t what I think of as an Earl Grey creme (points down).
Sipdown no. 183. A sample.
Last caffeine of the day. Sweet, green smell in the packet and lovely feathery green leaves. Steeps to a light yellow color with an aroma somewhere between mown grass and steamed peas.
Light, vegetal (still peas, mostly, and some broccoli) in the sip, and grassy in the aftertaste. Pretty much what I expected, though it’s been a while since I’ve had a Den’s sencha, or any sencha, and I really don’t recall what I was thinking in terms of ratings when I rated some of the others. Putting this one on a par with the highest rated in the past.
Another plus: green tea always makes me feel like I’m being so healthy. :-)
Flavors: Broccoli, Grass, Hay, Peas
Sipdown no. 182.
Tried this in my dark oolong yixing today. It’s really the yixing’s maiden voyage, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Interestingly, with the first 15 second steep, I found that the yixing imparted a sort of “roundness” to the flavor for lack of a better word. It manifested as a smoothness in the sip and a freshness and coolness in the aftertaste. I put it through four more steeps adding 5 seconds each time, thinking that the experience might grow from there.
But beginning with the second steep, the new yixing pretty much sucked the tea flavor away and left me with some not unpleasant tasting warm water.
Sipdown no. 181. Another Life In Teacup oolong sample.
This one is pretty special. Unfortunately I’m not seeing it on the Life In Teacup site now. The dry leaves are dark brown and delicate looking, and they smell like your basic roasty highly oxidized oolong, including the sharp darjeeling-y note.
Steeped, they produce a clear, amber colored liquor, with a roasty, nutty (mostly hazelnut, I think, but also suggesting almond), stonefruit (peach, maybe?) aroma.
The flavor is, however, pleasantly unexpected. It’s not the usual roasty dark oolong flavor. It’s remarkably smooth and soft tasting, with an unusual sweetness to it, but not overly sweet.
I am not sure have had a Bai Hao before, but I am now a fan. This is one of the better, if not the best, Taiwan dark oolongs I’ve had.
I steeped this in the gaiwan at 195F for short steeps after rinsing, starting at 15 seconds and adding 5 second increments.
The first two steeps had the lovely sweet, rounded softness to them.
The third and fourth were a bit less sweet and more hazel-nutty tasting but still very smooth.
By the fifth, the softness was still there but there was also a little sharpening around the edges beginning, which I think heralded the leaves being about to reach their limit.
I went ahead and did one more steep after that, by which this was still flavorful but starting to taste more ordinary, for lack of a better word.
Still probably the best Taiwan oolong I’ve tasted to this point, as its rating reflects.
Flavors: Almond, Hazelnut, Smooth, Stonefruits
Only 10 more notes until I hit 1000. Wow.
I’m a little surprised that there wasn’t an entry for this already. I have several samples of ATR Yunnans, and since I’ve been enjoying Yunnans recently I decided to try one of them.
My sample is just called Golden Yunnan. It doesn’t have the word organic in it, but I’m pretty sure this is the same as what’s currently on the ATR site.
The leaves in my packet looked pretty much exactly like the picture on the site, mostly medium-dark green with some golden tips punctuating the green. The dry tea has a surprisingly complex aroma. A little earth, a little tobacco, a little pepper.
Steeped, its a clear, dark reddish brown and has a really mouthwatering sweet aroma that makes me think of molasses or a really dark honey, but also of baking bread.
The flavor is amazingly smooth and soothing, and it immediately calmed my tummy which had reacted to too much black tea this morning before this one. It has a natural sweetness, but isn’t overly sweet. There’s a bit of a fresh bakery bread taste, and if I look for the tobacco note I can find it. There’s that malty quality I find in Yunnans as well, and the characteristic dash of pepper in the finish.
Just a really pleasant tea all around. I’m looking forward to trying my other Yunnan samples from ATR.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Honey, Malt, Molasses, Pepper, Tobacco
I see on the 52 Teas site that there was apparently a rather recent reblend of this, but that’s not the one I have.
In rereading my original note on this, I mentioned that as it was no longer available I’d have to husband my supply. That was the “old” thinking, the save the best for last thinking I’m trying to get away from.
Yay for teas you really really really like! Such a pleasure to drink them, it almost makes kissing all the frogs to get to them worth it. Though I still have tea coming out of my ears, once I get that under control (if ever), I think I’m ready to settle down and standardize on some things. Which isn’t to say I won’t try new things from time to time, just that I’m no longer so much about trying ALL THE TEA.
Which is why it’s unfortunate this isn’t available all the time. It would definitely be a standard in my flavored black tea cupboard if it was. Ice cream without the calories, what’s not to like?
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Nuts, Pecan