59 Tasting Notes
This is a quite mild green tea. More sweet than vegetal. There is nothing offensive about this tea and that is why it is so unexciting. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good. But, it simply doesn’t take any risks that might make it exceptional. It’s super forgiving to brew — almost impossible to make bitter from oversteeping.
I’ve been drinking this tea the last few nights. It’s good, but a little underwhelming. I’ve experimented with different steep times and think that it is impossible to oversteep. In fact, I’ve started to leave my tea strainer in for the whole time I drink the tea. Even so, the cup is still a bit watery. One last point, it’s key to use a really fine strainer. The tea is nearly a powder. Even with my finest strainer, the dregs are pretty thick.
I grabbed the sample that Harney sent me as I ran out the door this morning. Naturally, I got pulled into a meeting while I was brewing this up and over-steeped it. But, it held up amazingly well — it didn’t develop much bitterness. The citrus was very apparent and I picked up some of the ginko. I’d like to try it again with a shorter steep time because I think this tea could really shine.
Billed as a tea to help you kick the coffee habit, I thought I better give it a try. And it didn’t disappoint, but the lack of coffee intake on my part might have more to do with the fact that my coffee press broke and I never replaced it.
Anyway, on to the tea. This tea tastes like a black tea and chocolate blend. In fact, I can’t even tell that there is any puerh in the blend. On the one hand, this disappoints me since I am a big fan of puerh tea. On the other hand, I’m not all that sure how an earthy puerh would blend with chocolate.
Overall, The Tea Spot has done a nice job on this one. It’s a well balanced blend with a think mouth feel. There is a slight bitter undertone that cuts what otherwise would be a tremendously smooth tea. I couldn’t resolve this with shorter steep times and any steeps beyond number 2 generally yielded a pretty watery cup.
I rarely drink darjeeling, but I got this tea as a Christmas present and it is making me rethink that choice. I think my lack of interest in darjeeling because I usually don’t like black teas that much and was under the impression that darjeeling was a black tea. Marketing failure (to me at least)! The other part of the reason was that my dad used to drink Earl Grey and as a kid I, of course, didn’t like it. Then again, I HATED the first shot of Espresso I tasted when I was 9 or 10 and we all know what happened…people used to joke that I was powered by coffee in my old office, seriously. In any case, in time things change!
Wikipedia actually says that darjeeling is technically more of an oolong than a black tea because “almost all of them have incomplete oxidation.” This makes sense to me from the taste as it reminds me much more of a oxidized oolong, than a traditional black tea.
On to the tea…
It steeps up to a nice cherry-wood color with a nice (but weak) floral aroma. It has a really rich taste, but doesn’t have that Muscat wine taste and isn’t astringent at all. Instead, it’s much more like a darker oolong—nutty and velvety with very little in terms of floral notes.
Now this is the kind of pu-erh I love.
The taste of this tea is composed of a really complex web of earthy flavors. It reminds me of being in the forest after is rains. It’s always tough to unravel the flavors, but I get a peat-iness, a weakly smokiness, and a underlying thread of umami.
It brews up to this rich maroon color. I’ve basically been tossing the first infusion that I steep for maybe 30 seconds. Then I usually have 3 good steeps left that I do for 2 min, 4 min, and 6 min respectively.