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Recent Tasting Notes
It’s one of those days you gotta laugh a little. So it’s my Friday off, a day I’d been really looking forward to. So far, my hair appointment for today, which I’d scheduled 24 days ago after needing it for two months, got cancelled; I agreed to go to the bike trail with my parents after we’d already ridden our bikes around the neighborhood, only to get rained on once we got to the trail; and when I went out this afternoon to catch a brief bit of sun, some painful buggy thing got under my shirt and stung me twice ON THE BOOB, both times hard enough to draw blood. So right now, I am sitting in my room, trying not to make Mother Nature any angrier than she already is, with an ice pack wrapped in my crappy tank top and tucked under my bra, listening to this one Parliament song I really should have previewed before I sent it to my bass teacher saying, “I wanna learn this! I think I can do it!” And drinking my keemun.
So. This keemun. I don’t remember it being so smoky the last time I made it. It’s not a good smoke like my lapsang souchong, either. It’s burnt-rubber smoke, in the aroma as well as the flavor. I hope it’s not the influence of the yunnan noir from yesterday and today. There’s a dark fruity? taste that I think I got more of the first time around, but it’s only an undertone. I know there are different grades of keemun; I’m wondering if this is a lesser-grade one. I need to pour it into my clear bowl to look at the liquor, but the impression I’ve gotten is that it’s fairly light. Knocking the rating way down.
Tonight’s another one of those nights that I’m like, “To hell with the caffeine! I’m having me a nice black tea before bed!”
Okay. So this is my second or third time on this tea, so I think I’ve finally gotten enough of a feel to do a review.
Once again, this is my first assam. I really like it. It’s got a deep, warm, “clear” flavor profile. You know how some malty teas taste opaque? This one tastes clear. The honey flavor is definitely there. There’s a mite of astringency on the second infusion, but I had the first infusion several hours ago so I don’t remember how astringent that one was. Not very. It’s a black tea that’s cleansing and comforting at the same time. Upping the rating.
I’m getting more of a flavor this time than I did the first time around. Honestly, the main flavor I get is graaaaaaaass. I’m trying to be a sooper-sofisticatud tea drinker and taste all the subtle little nuances, but all I can really say, apart from a sliiiiiiiiight floral sweetness, is graaaaaaaaass. Light-bodied, white-tea-subtle graaaaaaaass. I would drink my green needle tea if I wanted that. Not a bad tea by any means, but I’ve grown to favor Arbor’s bai mu dan and this just doesn’t match up. I would drink it on the nights I wanted a cleansing taste without much caffeine.
This tea is much better iced than hot. I had it hot the other day and the berry flavor was too strong. It is also less bitter when cold.
I purchased this tea primarily for my husband. Although it is good, I prefer camellia sinensis or anything that tastes good hot (hot cocoa, good coffee…) Gosh, I haven’t had any hot cocoa in forever! It’s summer now though, my least-liked season and not good with cocoa, which in turn really isn’t good for my health anyway, so it all works out. I do miss being a kid, when I could care less. I should be grateful that I had a health-nut father who wouldn’t let me have any sweet cereals but once a week and even then I was only allowed to sprinkle some on top of something healthy. If it wasn’t for him, I would have had no restraint. Brownies and hot cocoa and fruit loops everyday. Ick, Fruit Loops, I can’t stand the thought anymore. Ok, yeah, I’m seriously rambling now. But I’m done :)
Backlog from last night.
So. You know how you’re supposed to be really, really careful when you steep white teas because they’re so easy to overdo? Yeah, well. I did mine last night while I was washing strawberries at 11:15 at night, because that’s what every cool, responsible grown-up does. And I poured the tea over the leaves, forgot, and then had an OH SH— moment ten minutes later. I braced myself for the taste of horridly rotted turkey – but it tasted fine. A bit duller than the first time I tried it, even. But fine.
I have no idea what happened.
I’ve had this many times hot, but this is the first time I cold -steeped it. I like it better this way. It cuts down on that menthol-like taste I find in a lot rooibos and brought out the creamier aspect of the tea. Also the blackberry flavor seemed much stronger. I will have to make it again soon .
My first ceylon. I have been sleep deprived pretty much the whole week before, and today I’m driving to a friend’s place to spend the weekend (incidentally, the same friends who are responsible for my tea addiction!)
Thin, dark leaves that are very easy to handle and measure. Golden amber liquor. Mild sweet aroma (so it smells like a black tea should.) Not really sweet tasting at all; it’s fairly astringent and actually a little grassy, but not in a way that’s off-putting. Tastes British. :P Not bad by any means, but I don’t think it’s going to become a favorite.
EDIT: The flavor got a little maltier the longer I drank it. I started to like it more and more. I’m gonna give it a second try!
The first time I reviewed this tea I brewed it for just 3-min. to minimize the potential for any astringency and was very favorably impressed.
Today, I decided to brew this tea following Arbor Teas’ recommendation: “one generous tsp.” / 8 oz. / 212*F for the maximum of 5-min.
The longer infusion did allow the aroma and flavor to more fully develop. The clear, lively, coppery liquor yields a sweet floral/fruity aroma. The initial taste is very smooth and has a delicate caramel sweetness. There was no hint of bitterness. However, there is a medium amount of astringency in the middle of my tongue.
Next, I tried 1.5 tsp. / 8oz. / 195*F / 4 min. Wow, now we’re talking! The clear, lively, coppery liquor is now medium dark. The aroma is more fruity than floral. The flavor is now very smooth and rich with a definite caramel sweetness. There is no hint of bitterness and only a very mild drying effect on the finish. As my cup cools, the first part of the sip is fruity and is followed by a sweet caramel finish.
The increased amount of leaf produced a stronger aroma, a much richer sip and a solid caramel sweetness. The decreased temperature and reduced time significantly reduced the level of astringency. This is one Indian black tea you don’t want to miss!
Thanks to Aubrey at Arbor Teas for providing this generous size free sample.
Opened the bag and went, “What the hell – citrus?” The smell reminded me of lemon; my dad thought more like an orange peel. Brewed the tea, which became a pale liquor typical of white teas; the aroma of the brewed tea was much more subtle.
I… am going to hold off on rating this tea for now. The taste I’m getting so far is really, really subtle. I get a mite of citrus, and then something that’s really more of a physical sensation than a taste. Maybe I understeeped it, maybe it really is that subtle, maybe my taste buds are numb, maybe it’s because I made the mistake of eating a snack first. Yeah. I think it’s the last one. Dammit.
A sipdown for this one. I think I like my Assam from Butiki better than this one. Not that this is bad at all, but with so many choices I’ll be picky. This assam is heavier on the fruit and not so much on the malty (though it is there). It has similarities to the Golden Yunnan that I also have from Arbor teas. I like Golden Yunnan, but I don’t need two teas that serve the same purpose so I probably won’t be restocking this one. . .but it could happen.
Welp, it’s a gray yucky morning, I have things to run around and do this morning before I go to work, I got to bed too late last night, and I’m still feeling the burn from my first bike ride in 15 years yesterday. Good a time as any to try my first keemun!
This was the tea I was the most excited about in my new order. The leaves are fairly fine, as far as tea leaves go, dark, and sweetish-earthy-smoky smelling. The liquor is a pretty amber color, which surprised me because I was expecting a darker color. Guess not all black teas look red in the cup. Newbie lesson, newbie lesson.
I’m not quite sure how to describe the flavor profile. It’s a bit of an earthy taste, but not like you’re drinking dirt. It’s not malty; maybe just the sliiiiiiightest bit smoky. The item description compares it to wine, but I don’t drink alcohol so I couldn’t tell you. But it’s a satisfyingly deep flavor and a good, solid breakfast tea.