1898 Tasting Notes
I ache. I have been cooking and cleaning all day preparing for tomorrow and I needed a quiet tea break desperately. My husband and youngest daughter said they would like to have a bit of tea as well and we have made three steeps western style so far.
This smelled really nice right off the bat. It is milder in aroma than the amazing and delicious Ali Shan I have been drinking lately that smells strongly of kale. This is buttery and creamy and a little lighter. It is relaxing, just as I wanted.
I asked my husband what words come to mind as he drinks this and he said, “Good.” I meant how would he describe it, expecting him to say “green”, “floral”, something along those lines, but “good” fits the bill. Now time for bed so I can get up and start again early in the morning!
Happy Thanksgiving, All!
Thank you, Teavivre, for the sample to try!
This is a sipdown! I can not believe I have had this tin for almost two years. That happens when you have way more tea than anyone can drink in a reasonable amount of time. I have swapped tea, gifted tea, served tea to crowds, and even loaded up boxes of tea and given it to friends, but I still have more tea than necessary.
This feels like a Christmas-y tea to me, partly because I associate almond flavor with Christmas and winter, and partly because this tea was given to me as a Christmas gift by my daughter’s then-fiance-now-husband. There is a nice fruit flavor with the almond and the base is smooth. This is perfectly drinkable without milk and sugar, though my guests today are people who always add both, and did this time, too. They all liked it very much, though.
One thing I like about the Mariage Freres tins is that you can peel off the clear sticker that has the name of the tea. I clean the tin, add a tea that needs a home, and type up a clear Avery label with the name and stick it on. You can hardly tell that it is a reused tin, and only when you are really close up! This tin has now become home to my Dammann Freres Puerh Gourmand. When we finish that – which will probably be soon – I will add another tea and type another label!
This was a lovely tea, and now I must get on to more sipdowns and then use great restraint on Black Friday!
Edited to add: I just cleaned out my online cupboard here when I finished this tin, but then I discovered five teas I hadn’t added. I went from 150 to 145 and back to 150 again. Ah well!
The last time I had this, it was during writers’ group and I was hustling around keeping the tea cups filled and making more steeps, etc. This time I got to really sit down, take my time, and enjoy!
I tasted this tonight with my son’s girlfriend who only started drinking tea when she met us. My son started her drinking Teavivre’s ripened puerh and tonight I invited her to taste this with me. We warmed my tiny pot, enjoyed the aroma of the warmed leaves, and made a number of short steeps. She was fascinated. I smiled when I smelled this because she is a vegetarian and I know what her favorite vegetables are. I asked her what she thought the tea smelled like and she said, “Steamed kale!” I agree!
I wanted her to get the full experience of a tea tasting, so when I took my first sip I slurped and aerated the tea like I have heard the professionals do when they are shopping for tea. When she sipped it, she gave a nice slurp even though I hadn’t explained why we were doing that.I asked her if she liked it. She said she liked it very much, although she found it very strange that tea would taste and smell like kale. The tea became more creamy and more buttery, losing a bit of the kale aroma and taste as we made additional steeps. She was shocked at the way the leaves had gone in as a little spoonful of pellets and had turned into a bulging mass of leaves. We even took some leaves out and examined them, and tore off a small, soft piece and ate it. I think she will probably be requesting this in the future, so I think I will have to put it on my Black Friday order.
This is one of the best oolongs I have had in a long time. Buttery, vegetal, smooth, and creamy… steep after steep.
Thank you, Teavivre, for the opportunity to try this!
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Kale
This is a sample very generously sent by Teavivre for review. I had to send a message and ask, because my sample as labeled Monkey Picked but the website only showed Monkey King. I was assured they were the same.
I tried this both Gongfu and western, and I think I preferred the western style. I made two steeps of it western, so I did get a lot of tea from these leaves.
This is one of the more impressive teas for growing exponentially when steeped. It looked like a very small amount of pellets that went in the Gongfu pot but after the first steep they were fairly bursting out of the top.
The tea has a very strong aroma, VERY strong, mainly of spinach and fresh leafy greens. That is another area where this one really impressed. You would think it might be a little biting when you experience that scent, but I found it to be one of the softer, greener Monkey Picked style teas I have tried. It is smooth, but if you want a brisker tea you can get it by increasing your steep time carefully just a wee bit, not too much or it will be bitter. Even with Gongfu style I used shorter steeps that the site called for.
I had my second western style pot earlier today. The resteep is a slightly paler yellow and is a little more floral than the first, definitely more subdued.
Thank you, Teavivre, for the opportunity to try it!
We are still working on sip downs and today we finished two tins of tea – this one and Cranberry Autumn. This one will be reordered ASAP. Both are great teas, but Boston speaks to my heart! It is warm and cozy, comforting and dear. The cranberry keeps it from being too “dark” while the almond warms the cup and gives it a quiet richness. Great with a good book or on a rainy day.
I am really liking this tea! I knew the first time I tried it that it was the sort of thing I would find comforting when I wasn’t feeling well. I have had a cold and a small ear infection since our trip to Ireland (which was WONDERFUL and fun!). Nothing too serious but still this tea felt very therapeutic.
I had my first plane trip, my first train ride. I rode a bus for the first time in decades. I rose a tram for the first time. Lots of firsts! And I loved it all. Even running to the news agent ( convenience store) in the middle of cooking lunch in the house we rented to buy pay-as-you-go electricity so I could finish cooking!
I made this both Western style and gongfu. The brew is a lovely amber color, not too dark, but I also may have underleafed just a little. The flavor is a little woody without going too much toward roasty, a really nice base note. There is also a fruitiness, but no green or floral flavor as in some oolongs. It leaves a lovely aftertaste. There is also that note that K S so aptly named Latex, as in the smell of acrylic paint when you take an art class! And I LOVE that aroma!
Making it gongfu it was a bit stronger and brisk, though of course you could use a shorter steep if you don’t prefer it that way. It had nice energy prepared that way for me.
My eldest daughter spent a few days touring Europe while we were in Ireland and she brought this back for my youngest daughter. I believe she bought it in Amsterdam. I don’t now how she finds these tea shops that sell such nice teas, but she always does.
A couple of years ago, she brought us Lapsang Souchong Crocodile by Dammann Freres. This is definitely lighter on the smoke and has a lighter feel to the base, perhaps just because the smoke level is different.
This is very smooth and what I would consider a middle ground Lapsang – not as light as a smokey Keemun but far from tarry. It is a very pleasant Lapsang and we used it as our breakfast tea.
Something about this tea makes me think of comfort for a sore throat, even when I feel fine. I decided tonight I would try it to help soothe my throat before bed. I don’t know why, but lingonberry reminds me of medicine, a good medicine, some kind of menthol or camphor. It smells and tastes like a comfort tea for colds and flu.
The warmth does help, I just wish there was a way to keep sipping hot tea while lying in my back falling asleep. Ah well, one more cup and then I will smear on some Mentholatum and hit the hay. I wish I could pour it in my ear to see if that would open it up…
I’m back! I have been drinking a lot of tea but haven’t posted about it in the bustle of travel and sightseeing. I am back home and jet lagged and caught a cold, so more tea it is.
My right ear is all clogged up feeling and never properly popped after the plane, I guess because I was already congested. Hopefully it will clear soon.
I am so glad I got to actually go to Gurman’s myself! It is in the heart of Dublin in the bustling shopping area. I had looked at the website and chose this one as well as vanilla puerh, but they were out of vanilla. I wanted to mix them to try to get the Dammann Freres Puerh Gourmand vibe.
This is very good on its own, though. The base is a musky and earthy ripened puerh. The caramel flavor is sweet and not too heavy. It resteeped nicely. I had three steeps of it and though my daughter drank a fourth, I thought it looked a little weak based on color. I know youngest and I are going to drink scads of it, so I bought 200 grams. The guy was quite shocked initially when I asked for it by ounces!
I really like this company. I have found some good flavored teas at good prices, and they have been willing to ship their tea to the US, including teas that they have in store but don’t list in their website.