1155 Tasting Notes
Sipdown no. 190. since I’ve started counting sipdowns. A sample.
Ten more sipdowns to 200. Sadly, I will not have even made a noticeable dent in my tea stash after hitting 200. I’m wondering at what point I’ll actually see it start to look smaller? Just for fun, I think I’ll try to make a prediction when I actually do hit 200.
Though I haven’t made much of an overall dent, I am getting to the end of the Life In Teacup samples. I have one more oolong sample from them (I think) after this and a few pu erh samples. I have mixed feelings, of course. These oolong samples have been lovely, and part of me is sorry to see them go. On the other hand, I got to enjoy them, finally. And it’s not like it’s the end, either. I did buy some oolong from Life In Teacup and have most of that left in my stash as well.
But anyway, this tea. I looked up what the competition grading meant and found this:
Apparently, this won fourth place in an oolong competition.
I’m also slightly confused because I’ve had a Dong Ding from Life In Teacup which I thought was terrific and a Cui Yu, which I also liked. Not sure what makes this both?
I put this through my usual five steeps starting at 15 seconds and adding five seconds per steep. The tea comes in tightly rolled dark green balls that smelled foresty to me. It steeps to a clear pale yellow-light green.
I’m not usually at a loss for descriptive terms, but I’m having something of a tough time describing the aroma and taste of this one. It’s certainly not a dark roasty toasty oolong though it has a hint of roastiness. Nor does it seem to be a purely green oolong. I mostly get a sort of raw nuttiness in the aroma and flavor with some floral notes around the edges and a hint of milkiness. It’s extremely mild and smooth.
Very enjoyable, albeit somewhat hard to define. I wonder whether if I’d used hotter water I would have got more of the amazingness out of it that I got out of the Dong Ding of a couple of days ago?
Flavors: Floral, Milk, Nutty, Roasted
Tried this today western style in the Breville.
Kind of odd-tasting. Sort of like green tea, but not completely. Not really like a green oolong, or a roasty oolong. A bit roasty around the edges, perhaps. There’s a sort of weird floral flavor to it, like a jasmine note. Not sure where that is coming from as this isn’t flavored. I like jasmine, but I guess I prefer it when I’m expecting it to having it show up as a surprise.
Will try it hot again in the gaiwan. But I suspect I’ll be drinking most of this cold, as it’s quite nice that way.
Sipdown no. 189. The rest of the sample.
Made a big honking pot of this on the stove top using Premium Steap’s Organic Black with Coconut as extra black tea. Yes, my stove won’t click problem of yesterday has been solved. As has my outlet problem. The gremlins were messing with me but fled when the BF turned things on. Go figure. Internet is still flaky, though.
Definitely improved when made this way, so I’m upping the rating. However, still my least favorite of the Adagio chai samples. The additional coconut benefited this in my view as I can now taste the sweetness of the coconut where as before it got tangled up with the lemongrass and they sort of cancelled each other out. On the other hand, the reason I drink chai is for the chai spices, especially cardamom. The chai spices are very background here and not very strong.
1000th tasting note! It only took me six years to get here. :-)
I wanted to steep something really special for this occasion. I thought about one of the various wonderful French teas in my cupboard, but decided I had had enough flavored black for one day. I’ve been on a Yunnan kick for a few days now, so I thought I’d look for a highly rated Yunnan I have but hadn’t yet tried.
I have tin no. 23 of this limited edition of 150. Inside the tin, long forest green leaves predominate with some lighter blonde colored tips adding visual interest. The dry leaves smell a bit chocolate-y, a deep, dark, rich fragrance.
I decided to steep at the average preparation parameters rather than the five minutes at boiling recommended on the tin.
I got a clear, dark maple colored liquor with a warm sweet aroma — a bit less sweet than the other yunnans I’ve tried recently but still reminiscent of molasses with some chocolate notes around the edges.
The flavor is quite smooth. No back of the throat grab with this one. Medium bodied, and a bit lighter than I’d expected (might try boiling and longer steep next time). The flavor isn’t overly sweet or sugary in the sip, but has some sweetness in the finish and aftertaste. The funny thing is, I can’t really identify a flavor note in this. I can mostly define what I don’t taste. Unlike some yunnans, I’m not getting a peppery flavor, nor am I getting something I’d call malty. There is something bready about it, maybe a rye note, and while the cocoa note in the aroma gets stronger as the tea cools I only taste it a tiny bit. I’m not getting tobacco or cannabis or any of the other things folks have mentioned.
Some of the other yunnans I’ve tasted recently have had more depth and complexity, but part of that could be preparation, and a lot of it could also be that my expectations of this one were exceptionally high. I’m going to withhold final judgment until I’ve played with it more, but right now, I’m thinking this is quite good but not as spectacular as I was hoping. Ah, well.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Molasses, Rye
Sipdown no. 187. The rest of the sample.
This was one of the black savant samples that I set aside a while back because I really liked it. Now that I’m trying to drink the stuff I like with equal frequency with the stuff I don’t like as much, I decided there wasn’t a lot of reason to keep this one around getting older.
The morning started badly. Not only are two of my power outlets out in the kitchen, the stove (which is gas, with a spark ignitor) wouldn’t stop clicking yesterday because the element got wet from my tea kettle being overfilled and spitting water into the burner. The BF got it to stop, but now it won’t click at all and has to be lit with a match. Not to mention my internet connection, which gets flaky every time it rains here, has been on permanent flake with the wet weather over the last few days. Geez.
At least this tea is nice. I wonder whether my palate has changed, or whether the tea may have faded a bit because I don’t think now I’d rate it as highly as I did before. Mostly because I’m detecting something that tastes metallic or minerally in this. Or perhaps like raw potato, which tastes minerally to me. There’s still a bread-like quality but I’m not getting a lot of smoke or sweetness and instead getting these other notes. It’s still enjoyable and I’m not going to mess with the rating because I’m not sure of the reasons for the change in taste. It could just be me. Sometimes things taste different to me from day to day.
I’m thinking about what to drink next for my big 1000th note!
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.