1692 Tasting Notes
I haven’t had a breakfast tea in a while! At least, I haven’t had it for breakfast. It was an everyday thing back when I had to have radiation treatments every morning for almost two months, but lately I have been having lighter teas mostly, and drinking them in late morning or afternoon. But today, even though it is hot outside and sunny, something about the slant of the sunght coming in the window has me thinking of fall and warming cups of tea.
At first I thought I would have a typical breakfast cuppa with milk and sugar, but then I started wondering what would happen if I made H&S EB using Teavivre’s usual black tea directions, which call for a much shorter steep time. Would it result in a tasteless, weak tea or a more delicate, complex Keemun that tastes great plain?
I am happy to report that it makes a nice, lightly smoky, fruity, malty, lightly cocoa-flavored Keemun.
I used the normal amount of leaf but I cut my steep time to 3 minutes. Maybe my tastes ae changing, too, because once upon a time I couldn’t drink any breakfast tea plain, and I can really see this being delicious a little stronger and still without additions.
I love that Harney’s English Breakfast is 100% Keemun, and that there are so many breakfast blends to choose from so you can suit any mood.
This is a free sample provided by Nuvola Tea for review. Thank you!
As far as I know, this is my first Da Yu Ling Oolong, unless I have had it by another name. Opening the pouch, I sniffed the dry leaves. Buttery! I knew I would like this one.
I rinsed the leaves as they suggest on their site, pouring the water off immediately and letting the leaves have just a moment to awaken. There is a lot of dust and fine particles so I opted to put my finest infuser in the pot, as I knew the little built in strainer wuld not catch the smaller particles. My first steep in my little gong fu pot was 30 seconds. and that was plenty of time! In just 30 seconds this cup is full of flavor.
The liquor is yellow with a greenish cast. The flavor is buttery, smooth, and has a hint of mild tender greens flavor. I thought at first by the dry leaf aroma that it was going to taste very similar to Premium Silky Green by Bird Pick, but it doesn’t. This is more vegetal and has that nice little edge that makes it pair well with food, and gives a long lasting flavor.
The second steep was for forty seconds. The leaves are now well opened up. The liquor is still a solid yellow with green cast. The flavor is unabated. The flavor rises past the soft palate. Do other people swallow their tea and then make a sort of chewing motion to swirl the heat and flavor that remains through their mouth and sinuses? I do, and this tea carries a nice, continuing flavor. There is a slight, dry tingle on my tongue, a bare hint of the astringency that is highly regarded for clearing the palate.
The third steep is 45 seconds. The liquor is a brighter yellow, losing some of its green cast. I am slowing down, as I have consumed 16 ounces already! This is smooth, and I think I detect a light walnut taste now as well, as the vegetal flavor fades. There is a light sweetness rising in the aftertaste. As this cup cools, it becomes sweeter, not more astringent. The butter flavor is very light now.
This is smooth, sweet, has enough body and flavor to go with food, but isn’t aggressive enough to turn anyone off.
I recommend using scissors to open your pouch. This is very well sealed to preserve the flavor and I appreciate that, because freshness is everything with a tea like this, but the strength and elasticity of the outer layer make it difficult to tear and you don’t want to spill any of your leaves!
Thank you, Nuvola Tea, for allowing me to sample your tea!
Edited to add: On giving it a bit of thought, I suspect that this tea had a lot of fine particles due to being sent through post office machinery! When I mail a small amount of tea in an envelope, I always carry it into the post office and request that they hand cancel it and mark it “Non-machinable.” They hand stamp it twice. If you ordered this tea, I don’t think you would have fine particles.
Ah! This is a great tea for a really good day! Hubby got off work early and we drove to Pinehurst – the golf capital of the world where the Rockefellers used to hang out – to go to an estate sale. It was a hot day, but we drove through the empty woods and fields of the military base, where the GPS doesn’t take you because it doesnt work there. We saw few cars, and the road was lined with hillocks of grass and almost completely bordered with pretty little yellow flowers blooming all along the way. We stopped to look at a little church that was built in 1854 and has a graveyard behind it, and now it is all fenced in because the government bought the property in 1922. There it sits, well kept and in perfect condition, quiet and peaceful, surrounded by tall pine woods. No houses for miles and miles! They all went away when it became federal property.
At the estate sale, I found four table toppers, or shawls if you want them to be, for my tea table. They were bought in Iran, and a lady who was in the house told me that she, too, lived in Iran and watched the watched the girls making these tablecloths and beautiful dishcloths by hand, stamping them with natural dyes one color at a time. I bought all four! And they were only $10 each. I LOVE estate sales! There was a collection of actress glass there from the 1870’s! And beautiful blue Chinese tea cups and saucers with the rice pattern to let the light shine through. I would have bought them, but I was concerned about lead.
Then home for our Friday night Chinese takeout. I called youngest and asked if she would make us a pot of tea to go with it, and this is what she made. Magnificent! This is one of the teas that would make the cut if I had to live with only five teas. (Shudder!)
This is so perfectly smooth, buttery, and sweet. Tonight I feel like I am picking up a gardenia note as well. Happy, happy sigh. Happy weekend to all!
I served this at writers’ group tonight. I was trying to keep things decaf since we meet from 6:30 to about 10 p.m., but I wanted it to be GOOD because these are folks who are not as hard core about loose leaf and good tea! The comments….“THAT’S VANILLA!” And “No, thanks, I don’t need to add sugar. This is great the way it is.”
I got so excited about the guests liking the tea that I asked youngest to make one more pot! This is a no fail tea as far as I am concerned. It is so good that everyone I have served it to has loved it.
Tonight was no different. One guest had tried it here cancel before and wanted more. The man whose wife is Japanese said it was very good, and he said he doesn’t praise much tea so if he says a tea is good, it is a big deal.I had two cups. I had made several teas, all decaf, and here I go drinking two cups of caffeinated tea before bed!!! Ah well, Teavivre says on their website that this one is low in caffeine. I sure hope so.
When I ordered this last year, I accidentally ordered the big bag of sachets instead of the loose leaf. I thought I would make iced tea with it all the time, but hubby doesn’t care for many flavored iced teas, it turns out, so it has languished. With the big group that was going to be here tonight, I thought it was the perfect time to make a pitcher. I lightly sweetened it with German rock sugar.
I forgot that all flavored ice teas taste best to me on the second day and later, and I just made it today. Only one guest opted for this tea, and he said it was one of the best he has tasted. I was a little nervous about serving him tea because his wife is Japanese so I figured he would know a LOT of tea and maybe have strong preferences. I needn’t have worried, he liked both teas he tried!
I had a glass of it myself, and as usual, like all flavored ice teas it tasted artificial to me. Tomorrow it will be better. Saturday it will be excellent. I don’t know why, but all flavored ice teas are like that to me.
I saved the leaves from yesterday because I was pretty sure they were not done. They weren’t! Steep four was actually had just by myself, as we only had time for three steeps while my guest was here. And now it feels like an entirely different tea.
This is so creamy and milky, while tasting more like a white tea now but with a great deal of body. My lips are coated and the tea feels thick. There are hints of DragonWell flavor as well! This tea is being a real chameleon!
Steep five is similar, but perhaps just a little thinner, a bit less creamy. This was delicious, Bonnie!
I was SO EXCITED! I got a phone call yesterday from someone wanting piano lessons for their child. I heard a beautiful accent, and was told she was referred to me by another student of mine, and right away I knew it was the Moroccan friend that I had been hearing about! As in, really, truly, Moroccan!
Naturally, I set out my Harney and Sons glasses and had a pot of tea ready! I told her that I didn’t know if this would be authentic to what she was used to, but I needn’t have worried. Ryan, you need to read this! :)
First she was ecstatic that we were going to have tea, second, she loved the glasses and said they made her feel like she was home again, and third, she said the tea was absolutely authentic to what she makes herself. She likes to add a tiny bit of honey to hers, and I gave her the White Gold honey that was recommended by my dear young friend who works at Teavana. She said it was the best honey she had ever had. Soon I will try some of the new honey from the newly added honey room at Tin Roof Teas! Yes, that’s right, they will have a HONEY ROOM!
This is what tea drinking is all about. Over and over, she beamed and told me how happy she was, how she loved the tea, how good it felt to drink tea and talk with someone (she is a homeschooling mom who is with children most of the time and loves to have some adult conversation now and then, just like me!), and how much she felt at home because of the tea, because of the glasses. She told me how she wanted to bring glasses from Morocco but didn’t for fear they would break, but that she brought all the serving pieces. She talked about how the tea tray would be set before the oldest person at a gathering and they would make the tea. There would be three containers for gunpowder green, spearmint, and sugar, and each person would come to the elder to be served. We talked about tea rituals here, and in China, and in Morocco. She wants to come again, and drink more kinds of tea. I will be seeing her once a week now for her daughter’s lessons, but I have a feeling there are also some plain ole’ tea parties in our future! This was a truly great tea day and I am so happy I could burst!
Golden Monkey is a fabulous tea, and this one from Harney and Sons is far superior to the Teavana version to me. This particular year’s harvest was especially rich, full bodied, and dark. Last year it was a wee bit lighter because of the drought, I am told.
My guest said she thought there was almost a molasses taste or something similar. I think of it more as malt and rich, chewy raisins. The tea was paired with apple dumplings from that easy peasy pinterest recipe that has been going around, and it was delicious!
For the apple dumplings, just spoon either Comstock Apple Pie Filling or Stouffers escalloped appled onto a Pillsbury crescent roll, sprinkle liberally with cinnamon (I used Vietnamese), roll up tightly so the juice doesn’t leak out, bake for 12-15 minutes, and serve while warm, drizzled with Hershey’s caramel sauce. Yums!
Uh-huh! Did you see what I just did there? I clicked “Add to Cupboard!” Because I got my Teavivre order! (Well, actually there is another one already on the way, and on Saturday I am ordering that Silver Jasmine Green tea that will be on sale but let’s not talk about that, shall we?)
I have had three monkey picked oolongs – one from thinkgeek, one from Teavana, and this one. This one is the best. Nuff said.