103 Tasting Notes
I got this in my (very first!) Steepster Select box. I will say, when I looked at the steeping instructions I thought someone must be off their rocker. Even more so when I weighed the amount of leaf in the pouch! 4.35 grams? You want me to use 4.35 GRAMS of loose leaf in 12 oz of water?! That is twice, no, more than twice, what I usually use in my 12 oz pot.
They’re the experts . . . right?
I figured I would at least try steeping the first pouch of each tea according to the instructions included. So, Into the steeping basket it went. All of it. Then two minutes steeping. Then the first sip . . . hmmm . . . not oversteeped or overleafed at all. Nothing really attention grabbing about it though, just a pleasant cup of tea. Light to medium body with a mild, loamy flavor . . . that’s it, that’s all I’ve got.
The second infusion I steeped for four minutes. The color is a bit darker and there’s a slight tough of acridity now with a bit of maltyness as well. This just isn’t speaking to me at all. I like more body to my teas, a bit more complexity and richness of flavor.
Since I usually drink black teas, pu’erhs and dark oolongs this seemed a most appropriate choice for today. Mild, light-flavored, and sweet this is a pleasant tea. I’ll be trying to drink this down more once the weather gets warmer. Green teas and light oolongs just don’t do it for me when it’s cold out.
I think this April Fool joke is on me XD
1.8 g in 12 oz of water. It sure would be nice to have the accurate amount show up in the box down there.
I chose this tea because I wanted something a bit stronger so I could get three infusions from it in my 12oz tetsubin. Usually I would then pour all of it into my giant 16oz teacup (yes, teacup, it is not a mug, it just happens to be the size of one :P) and add a teaspoon of sugar. Unfortunately my giant teacup has an embarrassing little problem: it stains easily and the stains are impossible to fully remove. I do #teaoftheday posts on instagram and between the stains and the size of the thing I just didn’t want to deal with it. There are only so many angles at which you can get photos of a giant cup like that and not have them all start looking the same!
So, I decided to use a smaller cup. That meant forgoing the sugar I would normally put in because I’m lazy enough not to want to go out to the kitchen every time I re-filled my cup and because there is not enough room on my laptop stand for the sugar bowl. It’s a bit (ok, more than a bit) cluttered over here.
This tea doesn’t need sugar.
Maybe going sugarless with my gaiwan use has finally changed my tastebuds enough that I don’t need sugar. Maybe this tea really is that naturally sweet. Probably it’s a little bit of both. Sweet and mild, a touch of some sort of fruit note and a tiny hint of wood. Like sun-bleached, well weathered wood shingles on a misty spring morning.
This takes me back to that little cottage just beyond Cutler. Hidden waaay out beyond miles of blueberry fields on the edge of a little cove. Civilization was left far behind and it was just the sea, the land, and the sky.
1.7 g in 10 oz of water
I give this an 8/10 on the boldness scale. This tea could easily handle a touch of milk and sugar but is sweet enough to drink on it’s ow n. A little woody, a little bit of fruit, and overall very pleasant.
Huh. Apparently this is my 100th tasting note. Took me long enough.
4.25g in 4.5oz water.
Mellow and earthy with a rich, dark liquor. This makes me think of hiking in the woods: towering old trees, leaves from past autumns moldering into loam on the forest floor, moss-covered stones, gurgling brooks plunging down the hillside, scattered sunlight sparkling on their cold, clear depths. In short, it reminds me of home.
This is definitely worthy of seasoning my new yixing pot with.
4.25 grams in 4.5 oz of water.
First infusion (15s) is mellow and sweet with notes of . . . I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not quite floral and not quite fruit. It’s like Spring earth, waking up after Winter and sending forth new growth.
Second infusion (15s) is slightly bitter with a bit of acorn-nuttyness in the flavor.
Third infusion (15s) has less bitterness, a bit of nuttyness, and an astringent mouth-feel.
I’m not really into raw pu’erhs. Perhaps if I set this in the back of the cabinet for a couple years and leave it alone it will be more to my liking.
This is my first experience with a first flush Darjeeling. I do love the soft citrus, almost-floral, sweet smell of the dry leaves. I’m not so sure about the broth flavor though. A little citrus and a lot of green grape, now I think I understand what “muscatel” means. There’s also a touch of bitterness so perhaps 200F was a bit too hot?
Second infusion is quite floral and yes, I definitely need to use cooler water for this.
Third infusion is even more strongly florally-citrus but I still have that bitterness even though I lowered the temp to 185F. Mayhaps it only needs 15 seconds instead of the 30 second infusions I’ve been doing.
Fourth infusion. I just can’t win. I have come to the conclusion that there is too much leaf in this (even though it’s my usual amount for this gaiwan) and I should just stick to using a teapot for 1st flush Darjeelings.
Not rating this because it just wouldn’t be fair to what is probably a perfectly lovely tea when steeped correctly.