8 Tasting Notes
I’ve waited a while to review this – never felt like I was getting the brew just right based on other’s feedback. Today, think I nailed it, partly because I let a 62% humidipack sit in with this. Should preface by saying I live in the desert, so relative humidity is very low here.
Western style – hot taste and smell of barley and faint raw pistachios. Flavor follows along on the same notes with a thin mouthfeel that becomes more astringent as it cools. Lemon zest notes that others have mentioned come forward as it cools, as does a general vegetal taste and a dry dustiness and hay. About a halfway through the cup I’m a bit bored.
Flavors: Dust, Hay, Lemon Zest, Nuts, Roasted Barley, Vegetal
Trying a different style – using a 1/4 tuo, rinse, western steep for 7m boiling water.
Finally found the bitter in this one and I like it! That’s flavor country! Bittersweet chocolate and peat on the hot. Oversteeped? Sure, but still tasty! Wild Tree just wants love.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Wet Moss
The compression on these little young green sheng tuos is all over the map – from iron cake rivets to falling apart in your fingers. The same applies to color and consistency of the tea itself. I’ve been toying with how best to brew this for a week or so and now I go with whatever seems most appropriate for the tuo. For the iron ones, I’ve left them whole, boiling water, short brew time. For the loose ones, I break them in half, reduce temp to 200F (93C) and steep for just a bit longer. I’m going to try to go even lower temp in future sessions to try and drive out the best, given that they’re green. Just be forearmed and know that if you oversteep this, you’re in for a bitter pistol-whipping.
Hot smell is fresh hay and warm crackers. Taste of the soup when hot is just a hint sweet, grass and alcohol; clean and inviting at this point. As it cools the smell transforms into jammy, honey, fruit tree flowers, shedding its lighter character for more depth and astringency. That bright fresh grass flavor is still the mainliner, but now alcohol notes are rushing the main stage with some summer floral character and stonefruit.
This is a real gem if you brew it just right, but mediocre if you don’t and it’s persnickety. it’s a pretty good value IMO, organic and from a shop that supports fair trade practices.
Flavors: Alcohol, Floral, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Stonefruits
Tried this one again with a slightly different approach – shorter time brew time, more tea, slightly hotter. Results were disappointing. Brine is the predominant note in this configuration until the cup cooled, giving way to floral and slightly mineral notes. Go long on brew time with this one to draw out it’s best performance.
Light and refreshing with almost no astringency – this tea is delicate yet still engaging without too thin a mouthfeel. Flower and mineral are the predominant flavors, but it doles those out in great balance. Little to no earthy, woody, grass/hay notes in this which I think is a nice departure.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Rose
little knotted leaves smell of kale and unripe melon. The brew smells invitingly polen, floral, honey – a real mood lifter. The soup is pleasantly bitter at it’s hottest point, opening into honeysuckle, pollen, greens, light rye, honey and green melon. Steady astringency provided ample mouthfeel, giving way to hints of sweetness as it cooled. Refreshing and invigorating.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Honeysuckle, Kale, Rye
This cute little tuo is my go-to drink right now. The cakes are generally well packed but still pretty easy to break apart and smell delightfully like, well, pussy. The steam coming off the pour smells even better, like fresh dewy moss and sweet malt. The flavor is rich, changing and maturing as the soup cools; stonefruits and warm bread and a nice backdrop of damp deciduous forest, maybe bamboo? It’s mouthfilling with a gentle astringency.
I like to break this over a bed of Arbor’s Makaibari Oolong right now, which adds astringency and hay notes and I think they compliment each other well.
Flavors: Apricot, Malt, Moss, Mushrooms, petrichor