911 Tasting Notes
One of the first “real” teas I ever had was SpecialTea’s Fancy Formosa Oolong. I remember not liking it because it tasted like sweet cigar smoke. This tea has me thinking about trying that tea again. It’s smoky but not lapsang souchong smoky. It’s a sweet, light smoky like cigar smoke. But this doesn’t have the acridity some cigar smoke has. Instead, it is smooth and has no edge to it at all. It’s quite nice and even though I’m still not in love with roasty oolongs, I did enjoy having this one around.
The roasty, salty of this is a great counterpoint to the fresh, sweet and pungent shincha I’ve been downing. While shincha is a spring taste, this one brings fall more to my mind.
I’ve only had one other lychee black tea and I have no idea what lychee tastes like (or lychee blooms smell like). So yeah, slight handicap when rating this tea. On top of that, my brain has yet to fully engage this morning. So take this review with a grain of salt.
The taste is nicely floral. I’m not a huge fan of rose teas and this is very similar to a rose tea, but it’s probably the smoothest, least perfume-y rose-tea-like tea I’ve had. I didn’t really taste the lychee fruit, just the rose-esque finish, but the tea was lightly sweet so I’m thinking that’s the lychee aspect coming through. The tastes of the tea and lychee/rose combine nicely so it doesn’t seem like tea is overlaid with perfume.
Because I’m not a huge rose fan this isn’t something that I’d have to have, but it is very nice to drink and I enjoyed it.
You know, I don’t really buy any bagged tea for myself but every so often (usually when I get Lupicia’s freebie teabag in the mail), I’m reminded of how handy teabags can be, especially when the tea in the bags is the proper stuff.
Apparently I cannot see tea without doing my best to buy some of it. Tonight, I picked this one up. Honestly, I got it because the dry leaves smelled like Samovar’s Jasmine Peach Bai Mudan – and thus also like Kasugi Peach gummy. But brewed up, it’s not as similar. Sure, there’s peach. A lot of peach. But the smell has a little sharp, almost alcoholic edge to it. Perhaps the tangerine?
Where Samovar’s version of a peach-flavored white was Kasugi Peach gummy all grown up, this is more straight gummy. I don’t really get the tangerine except maybe as an added edge to the taste. The peach taste is pretty much the same in the two teas but this one doesn’t have the smooth, soft edges or the subtly fuller taste. Which, while disappointing, is pretty much what I was expecting. It’s not a bad tea and I’m pretty sure I’d like it more if I hadn’t had Samovar’s first.
I’m still on the hunt for non-rooibos-y rooibos. So far, the winners have been Teas Etc’s Coconut Custard, Cuida Te’s Tiramisu and Lupicia’s Green Rooibos. So will Tropical Tea Company’s Mocha Rocha Rooibos be added to this delicious list?
Maybe. It reminds me a lot of Cuida Te’s Tiramisu but with a little less depth of flavor and a little… weaker. It’s coffee-y but mild. If I hadn’t had the Tiramisu, I’d like this a lot more as there really is no rooibos flavor and I appreciate that. I could see this being on the short list of rooibos that I keep around for when it’s required, but ultimately if I had the choice, I’d pick the Tiramisu over this one.
A few thoughts on this tea:
- 1 ounce is not enough. I should have gotten more but it is kind of expensive. Worth it, but the price kept me from getting the metric ton that I truly wanted.
- These leaves seem fresher. This seems to make the richness of this tea more intense.
- And speaking of leaves, they are gorgeous. I’m not a big one for the visual side of tea, but these leaves are so huge and twisty and beautiful that I can’t help but appreciate them.
- I just don’t understand how something can be this dark tasting and still have such gorgeous sweet notes. It’s like rye bread made into syrup. Or brown rice. And the aftertaste is like I’ve been drinking syrup.
- I need to buy more of this. Maybe Tea Hawaii sells it by the pound. (And the husband won’t have a heart attack at spending that much on tea.)
I think 4 minutes is my happy spot for steeping this. At 3 minutes (which Tea Hawaii recommends), the lighter sweetness was hiding but at 4 minutes it comes out more. I’m not getting quite the super-grilled fruit notes because the sweetness is richer than that.
Anyway, my first steep (3 minutes) was more sweet rye bread but the second steep (4 minutes) had a little more balance. Actually, the second steep tastes like a first steep so I find that pretty awesome. No loss of flavor or strength.
The third steep (6 minutes) still seems a little milder, but there is more of the lighter sweetness than the rye bread sweetness so that could be what is giving that impression. Also, this third steep tastes a lot like the first steep from first time I tried this tea. Yay for fresh leaves!
I’ll try for a fourth steep in a bit – I drink this tea really quick and am starting to feel a wee bit caffeinated. To drink it so fast I think means that I really like this tea. But I kinda knew that.
Okay, this has been bugging me. Why is it Premium Steap? Why not Steep? What is a Steap? I feel like I’m missing something. Anyone? Anyone? Buller?
Anyway, tea. Oooh, toasty. This smells like fruits so heavily grilled they are past caramelized and almost into burnt. But in a good way. The taste is a lot milder as far as the toasty, but it is still there. It tastes a lot like grilled peaches and something else… something a little reedy maybe? It’s a very wet taste. There’s no astringency to this, just sweetness and light toasty-ness.
This is a tasty tea and my cup emptied surprisingly quick. I can’t say this something that I require in my pantry, but it’s tasty enough that I would enjoy it if I had some. Since this is so different from my typical, it’s a little hard to rate. I reserve the right to bump it up a bit if I find myself thinking this tea at non-tea times.
Oops, I think I brewed this wrong. I steeped it for 3 minutes but looking around, everything says a max of 2 minutes. I’ll have to try it at a shorter steep next time. I’ll wait to rate it until then.
Anyway, even with oversteeping, this tastes rich, floral, honeyed, delicate and smooth. There’s a very dry aftertaste that, combined with the bright, sweet, dark, rich flavors, brings to mind a white wine.
I’m interested in seeing what this tea does if I treat it a little better!
Nutty nutty nutty. The smell and taste are both very nutty to me, though perhaps that is how I read the malt – either nutty or bake-y? There’s a little astringency on the back end that is close to too much but it is doable, just reminding me a tad of those funny tasting nuts that sometimes pop up when eating a bag of pecans. I added a little sugar and half & half a bit into my cup to see how it goes – it definitely stands up well to the additives and that nutty bitterness is smoothed out which is nice. This is a nice cup, though it doesn’t advance much over ‘typical Assam’ for me.