69 Tasting Notes
The strong smell of the dry leaf scared me a little, so I made a test cup first instead of committing to a whole pot. It smelled something like a wine tea, much more sharp and fruity than I expected from a strictly rose + Darjeeling blend. Turns out I had nothing to fear; the brew has a dark, floral Darjeeling flavor with potent, but balanced rosy taste and aroma. Exactly what I’d hoped for. Yay!
T.C. sent me just enough of this to make a ~20 oz pot of Ontario Icewine, which put uberpressure on me not to screw it up with heat or oversteeping (I ruined a perfectly good re-steep earlier because SQUIRREL). TA-DA, a perfect pot! Lucky me!
After a 30 second brew this is amber-colored and strong, with a fruity, slightly sharp white wine aroma. It has the bright mouthfeel of other wine teas I’ve tried, and the sip is impressively well-balanced (IMO) between the delicate white tea flavor and the wine. I can taste both easily and there’s a harmony of flavor between them I really enjoy.
There’s nothing fake about it, which is usually where a tea and I part ways.
Anyway, the leaves were a little beat up from their trip in the envelope, so there’s a lot of detritus in the bottom of the pot. I have a sinking suspicion that it will be bitter by the time I get to the rest of it, but we’ll see.
I managed to leave most of the swirly leaf powder in the pot. I’m smelling sweet spring flowers now in addition to the juicy wine grape. Yum!
Now I’m sad I don’t have any more. But you bet I’ll try to re-steep it later and see how it goes. Thanks again, T.C.! Great cup.
Another generous sample from Dinosara, which couldn’t have come at a better time. Crappy day, tasty tea. Tea makes everything better.
I couldn’t tell you too much about the actual tea used here. I’m not sure if it’s just subtle, or if the chocolate flavor cancels out my ability to smell! Reminds me a little of sassafras; when I added sugar it was basically identical to a chocolate-flavored Tootsie pop! (I like that flavor, personally, so it’ll definitely be a good one for when I need a candy fix.)
Dinosara sent me a generous sample of this tea (and several others… can you say TEA KARMA?). It smelled like a delicious sweet almond cookie when I opened the bag. Brewed, it had a mild spiced nutty flavor, slight velvet texture, and a sweet tobacco note that strongly reminds me of flavored cigars. Very interesting! Thanks Dinosara! :D
Thanks to T.C. for this sample! Brews up yellow-green and very slightly cloudy (that could be from the broken leaf). Aroma is highly vegetal and sweet, as is the flavor. I used to get these vegetable chips that were basically flash-fried green beans, carrot and other assorted root veggies. This is basically the same flavor profile: a sweet, beany broth. Spinach notes as well. I want to pair it with a slice of salty buttered toast.
Grr! Steepster ate my tasting note. :( I knew I should have copied it before I hit save.
Anyway, I got a box full of awesome today, from the lovely Miss Claire. I smelled all the unsealed teas and had a really hard time picking one to try first. I ended up with this pu’erh…my very first. (OMG, PU’ERH VIRGIN.)
Dry: Orange! Yum yum. Hubby said “YES! Make this!”
Rinsed, then made a 15-second 1st steep, which I gave to the husband.
Then I made a 2nd 15-second steep for myself.
Aroma: Musky earth and an undertone of sweet orange. This will sound unflattering, but there’s a brand of pump soap I’ve used in public restrooms that has a very similar scent profile, only this is cleaner, organic, calm.
Sip: Complex earth & good antiques, compelling orange flavor. Amazing balance. I’m actually shocked at how mellow and pleasant this is, considering my first impression of the steep smell.
Finish: Slight cooling effect that lingers on the palate for a long time. Also, I feel effing fantastic. What is this? Is my tea spiked? :O
In summary: Great first pu’erh! I’m intrigued and very satisfied. Teas like this are the reason for tea ceremonies. I can’t even imagine just tossing back a cup of this without a thought, like I would a coffee or breakfast black.
I usually brew blacks for 3 minutes, so I ignored the instructions that said 4-5. FOLLOW THEM DIRECTIONS. This is a really nice tea, but the flavor at three minutes was a whisper compared to a longer steep. Delish.
PS. Do not attempt tasting notes right after eating guacamole ’n onions.
My kid had a bad day, so I made a strong pot of Strawberry Vanilla and whipped it with hot milk and sugar. I also put mini cocoa marshmallows on top (the little crunchy dehydrated kind. I love those things). I’m pleased to report he feels better now.
This is definitely best as a dessert tea. I don’t add too much sugar, though, because I don’t want to pay for everyone to get new fillings done every six months…just enough to make a slightly sweet and pleasant strawberry latte.