1857 Tasting Notes
This was the second tea I served to my guest yesterday, a lady I met about 25 years ago but never really got to know as we saw each other only rarely, and briefly.
She liked it very much and said she liked the puerh better, which really surprised me. Then she explained that this tea was delicious, but she knew she would only drink it when she felt very stressed and needed something to help her calm down. She wouldn’t consider it an every day tea, and I understand because I use it in just that way.
So she liked it very much, liked the ouerh more for regular consumption, and here is a spoiler….The tea she really flipped over was Yunnan Dian Hong – Golden Tips.
She said she did not consider herself a foodie and felt that she is an old fashioned cook, using just a few spices that her mother used and not exploring new things. Yet she was spot on with all of her descriptions of what each tea smelled like, how it tasted, what it would be good with. I think we have a potential hardcore tea addict in the making!
I waited to pick the third tea for my guest until I had seen her try shu puerh and jasmine silver needle. I used her opinions to pick the final tea, and was leaning toward black tea since she loved the puerh but it had to be just the right one since she had been scared off by a bitter black tea someone else gave her. I called in youngest to help with suggestions. She said, “What about the one we had last week that was so good?”
I turned to my friend and asked, “Do you like sweet potatoes?” “I LOVE SWEET POTATOES!” It was almost a roar! I laughed and pulled this pouch of tea.
This time I got out my tray and tiny teapot with a fair cup. We’d had two teas western style, now she could see gong fu style!
She smelled the liquor and was astonished at the remarkable scent of sweet potatoes, so distinctive. She sipped and said, “This is it! This is my favorite. I liked the others a lot, but this one is perfect. I could drink this all the time.”
She is right. It is a remarkably good tea and I am getting a little low. So I guess that is one more to add to my next order.
Well! this was a bold move, but one I have made successfully before!
A lady was coming over whom I met over 25 years ago, but our interaction has been a once a year email to confirm her address and the occasional “Hi! How are you?” in the grocery store.
I invited her for tea and she accepted. I asked about preferences and she said she liked hot tea but drinks a few herbals and some things from the grocery in bags that she wasn’t really sure what exactly they were. She described a bitter black tea that someone gave her and she hated.
I chose to open with a second steep pot of this puerh! So many people, including myself and some of my friends here, were afraid of puerh at first. I am finding it to be a great opening tea for newbies, though.
Bottom line – we sniffed it, commented on the aroma, I said barn, she said horse manure, we laughed, she drank, she…..LIKED it! A LOT!
It was paired with toasted bread, crusts off, topped with diced German Johnson tomatoes from my garden with Brie melted on top and Sunny Paris seasoning which has the most delicious bits of purple shallots. It was really nice together because the pu held its own with the food. She refilled her cup several times before moving on to the next two teas. One of which totally won her heart….
My best friend has a son who is autistic. Their autism society worker is like family, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer not long ago. She completed her surgery and now has to have radiation, but she is fearful. We invited her over today so I could give her a pep talk and some helpful hints to get through it. (I had it in 2010.) She also asked if drinking tea would help improve her health and prevent a recurrence, so we talked about the benefits of antioxidants, flavonoids, and such in different teas and how they may possibly help. At the very least, replacing sugary drinks with unsweetened tea will help tons! Cancer loves sugar.
She drinks grocery store green tea, but I told her there are things she can actually ENJOY and not just choke down for the health benefits. This was the tea I chose to serve to her today since it has a lot of natural sweetness from the fruits and coconut, and it is so creamy and refreshing whether hot or cold.
The best part was when she said, “I could drink this every day!”
It really is a great tea and I love it especially in the summertime with all of the fruity flavors.
I may have to pick up more in a couple of months when I go to Ireland, but thankfully Gurman’s has fabulous customer service and offered quite a while back to ship orders to the US for us, even the teas that don’t appear on their website but that you know they have in store.
3 tsp. in 22 ounces water, 174F for three minutes
This is a fabulous shu. It is so smooth and creamy, with a thick mouthfeel. There are rich aromas of dark, fertile earth and barn, with a high note of dark cedar, and the taste is sweet and full. I had several cups today, I will be resteeping this tomorrow, and I have a feeling that I will be ordering more very soon. This is one of my favorite flavor profiles in a shu puerh.
Apparently this tea does not exist. It came in a box but the box got a bit flimsy so I put it in a good tin and labeled it as Marks and Spencer – Keemun. And I have had it for a while so it should have already been in my cupboard. Now I find that it isn’t on Steepster and when I google it I can not find that it ever existed. I am pretty careful about labeling my tea, though, so it really should be the right name. Maybe it is just discontinued?
Anyway, I have been making it in large batches as good old sweet tea, Southern USA style. I use about four tablespoons steeped for three minutes in a pot of 212F water, then pour it over two cups of sugar which has 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda added to keep it from going cloudy. Then I add water and ice to bring it up to about five quarts of tea in my large glass dispenser that is kept in the refrigerator.
The leaf particle size is better than dust, but is not whole leaf. I would say most of it is about the size of gunpowder green tea. It makes a decent pot of hot tea but it is really shining cold. It is very, very dark, though, which I thought the family might find off putting, but nope.
Everyone is guzzling it, so I guess I will have to try to get some more when I ….wait for it….GO TO IRELAND THIS FALL! Yes, indeed, I, who have never even been on an airplane, am supposed to go to Ireland in October! I expect I will be coming back with some new goodies from Gurman’s, too! And O’Connail’s chocolates, which you really must try if you ever get a chance.
Maybe I can find out if this tea really exists while I am there…
Backlogging from last weekend: I had this a couple of mornings for breakfast, of all things. Usually matcha and matcha lattes are an afternoon thing for me, often to satisfy the “thungries.” Do you remember that ancient Quik commercial that recommended their product for that?
Those mornings, I had some things to do and my energy levels were not quite up to snuff. I didn’t have time for a sit down breakfast, so I made Carnation Instant Breakfast in vanilla flavor using skim milk. I decided to kick it up a notch by adding 1/2 teaspoon of French Vanilla matcha. It was excellent, and stood me in good stead. Delicious, too, and took the vanilla taste right over the top!
Do you know that song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2? I was singing it every time I had a cup of Keemun tea. I had a memory of what I wanted for breakfast, but I wasn’t finding it. Don’t get me wrong, I had some great Keemuns, but they were either so smooth and fine they were really for afternoon or they were so harsh and brassy I needed milk to tone them down.
But here it is, the very flavor profile I was looking for. I have had a hard time describing the tongue scraping feeling that some teas give. I don’t mean sour astringency, and I usually describe it as the way dry unsweetened cocoa powder would feel on your tongue. But when I saw the mention of “wood” in the company description, I thought of those little wooden spoons that used to come with the rare ice cream cup in the school cafeteria. That is the feeling I mean, the way that wooden spoon felt.
Keemun Grade 1 – I am so glad I found what I was looking for.
I ordered one of the 3rd Anniversary special sample packages when I ordered puerh for my son (and maybe some Jasmine Silver Needle White for me ssssshhhhhhh don’t tell anybody.) This is one of the additional samples I chose.
I drank it with my bestie because she loves the Jasmine Silver Needle and she drinks chamomile just about every night, so I was interested in how she would like it. Also, it is a great opportunity to get friends addicted to new tea so they come and see you more often. :)
I used the whole sample in my 22 ounce pot. When the pouch was opened the aroma of chamomile filled the whole kitchen. It was stronger than if I had straight chamomile! I put the leaves in my display dish so she could she how lovely the tea was before we started steeping. The white tea is so downy, soft, and fluffy, and there are loads of chamomile blossoms and rose buds. Beautiful! But once it sat in the dish, the dominant scent was rose. What a chameleon!
Steeped, I tasted mostly chamomile, but it was made thick and creamy by the white tea. I did not taste very much rose, which is contrary to the experience of one other reviewer.
I resteeped the leaves but I had a student on the way over and lost rack of time. I know I oversteeped it badly, but it did no harm. I drank the whole second pot by myself and didn’t get any bitterness. It’s nice when tea is forgiving!
One thing I know is that this is going in my cart for next order as it is on sale soon. Even though there is caffeine in the white tea, the aroma is so soothing and comforting that I will be craving it on cold evenings this fall.
Edited to add: I forgot to say that this tasted very sweet to me even though we made no additions. Very sweet!
I have had this a couple of times lately but haven’t logged it. Last Wednesday night I drank several cups of it in the evening and was WIDE awake until around 3 am! That may have been the tea, the cake I had with it, or just a fluke.
I had it again today. A friend is moving away and we met for possibly the last time. She has recently become quite sensitive to gluten, so my daughter made some delicious flourless chocolate cookies for us, and I made deviled eggs. It was all we could come up with on short notice that was gluten free! It was good, though, and she really seemed to love it.
This is the friend who thought she disliked tea, and I introduced her to puerh and to Teavivre’s Jasmine Silver Needle and she in turn got her mom totally addicted to puerh. Don’t you LOVE it?
This is a great tea to serve with sweets because it doesn’t compete, it complements. I also like serving it when I think the fats in the food might be hard on the system. I suppose it is preventive maintenance.
This is not a horsey puerh at all, but rather one of the smoothest. It is very mild yet flavorful. We drank two steeps western style in a large pot and the second steep was as good, as flavorful, as dark and tasty as the first. It is not the darkest puerh I have had, but it is indeed very, VERY special.