Aroma Tea Shop
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Recent Tasting Notes
One of two teas I purchased at the Aroma Tea Shop last week. I think the golden monkey is quickly becoming one of my favorite tea types.
Yesterday I had brewed this Western style but this morning I’m using my gaiwan. It seems like 60 seconds is about all I really need in steeping this one. The dry leaves are slender and curved and the aroma is exactly that of chocolate. The tea is a dark reddish orange and is BOLDER than some other golden monkeys I’ve tried.
At 60 seconds, the first steep is very chocolate-y with a slight bitterness in the finish but nothing that puts me off of the flavor too much. I thought maybe I had steeped this one slightly too long.
At 45 seconds, the 2nd steep has mellowed out considerably and still has cocoa notes but with a smoother finish and now I am getting more of the honey sweet aftertaste that the description has. This is an easy tea to sip on plain but is also nice with a bit of soymilk added because then it becomes more of a creamy cocoa.
At 30 seconds, the 3rd steep is definitely lighter and I think I might have preferred the 45 second steep, but it’s always good to play around with your parameters a bit. Here I’m getting a bit more of the sweeter notes I’d associate with a golden monkey.
I will easily be able to get 4 or 5 steeps out of this tea so while it isn’t the cheapest tea I’ve ever bought, it is definitely a good value.
And so the new month begins!
I’m starting the month with 312 teas (which includes the ones I ordered from Verdant that aren’t here yet). That’s 18 less than I started last month with. Somebody asked me why I have so many teas (my overall high was something above 450 a few months ago). The truth is, life is all about art & creativity, theme & variation, at least for me. The pitch of the timer on my stove is ‘B’, the key of the current timer song on my iphone (‘silk’) is ‘c minor’. I know the pitch/key of pretty much everything in & around my home. I like to think of each day as a work of art, in a tapestry that is part of an even larger tapestry, etc. So why would I drink the same tea every day? :)
Tea is also a break, for me, of the constant absorption of sound, & the analysis of that sound. Tea is not silent: there are bubblings, timers, pourings…
But tea is another form of art for me, beautifully complex.
I also have a lot of teas thanks to my many wonderful & generous tea friends, such as Charlotte Zero, who sent this one to me. To honor those friends, I’m gonna start this month by drinking the many teas they have shared. This one is delicious!
another one from terri, though indirectly from Charlotte zero. THIS is fantastic. Golden Needle tend to be hit or miss with me and this is a hit! I am a fan of this..i ended up drinking the cup up and hitting the bottom of it without even realising it. Thanks so much for sharing this with me terri. i think it might need to go on the list for a future order :)
From CharlotteZero! thanks so much! I’ve only got one serving left of Verdant’s Golden Fleece and maybe a few teaspoons of this one will fit that spot in my cupboard. I LOVE the description (it sounded like my very favorite- Butiki’s Hattialli Golden Lion Assam). It sounds like all the flavors I love in a tea. Unfortunately, not quite the same as either tea…
Steep #1 // 15 minutes after cooling // 3 1/2 min
This blend seems to be darker than Golden Fleece. The flavor is light but not as light as GF. Less honey, more sweet potato. Also a hint of tobacco. It’s difficult to describe this one actually. It might have a bit of chocolate when it cools. I’m not really getting any chocolate or apricots as the description mentions.
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 1/2 min
Another nice cup… this one would be in the middle of the Hattialli and the Golden Fleece, flavor-wise. Tasty, but the other two do their thing better than this one.
I had this last night. I brewed it Western style, but I can’t remember the exact specifications. It brewed a good pot of tea, despite the fact that this one is really best using gong fu brewing. I was so tired last night that I didn’t finish it, but it’s still nice this morning. I may keep some of this before sending the rest off to greenteafairy.
Flavors: Honey, Orchids, Stonefruits
I woke up a bit early this morning to attend an 8:30 barrel tasting with our winemaker. We tasted the 2012s.
After drinking wine first thing in the morning, I felt I needed a big pot of a lighter tea to rehydrate me. I chose this one. I was in a rush to get back to work, and I thought my electric kettle was nearly boiling, so I poured the water. My thermometer said the water was only 160 degrees. Oops!
It has been more than a year since I purchased this, so it’s not as fresh as it could be, but it’s still pretty good. The liquor is a bit brownish in color, which usually is a good indicator that I won’t like it. It does have a strong pea aroma, sort of like those big mushy English peas that I don’t like, but sweeter. I can also smell artichokes and nuts. All things considered, this wasn’t a bad pot of tea.
Can’t find a steeping time for this tea so I am just going with my “tea gut” and trying about 2 minutes. At 1 mins it was still a bit too watery tasting. 2 minutes seems to be about right. I was thinking of leaving it in till 3 minutes but didn’t want to end up with bitter tea.
This is quite a unique tea. The coconut flavoring is almost perfectly balanced with the Chinese green tea. It’s good but something is bothering me about the flavor. It’s good but at the same time there is some after flavor that I am finding odd. As I sit here thinking about it I’m pretty sure it’s just the coconut. Believe it or not coconuts can have slightly different flavor depending on when you eat them. This kinda reminds me of the young coconuts we have opened in Hawai’i. Which by the way makes me more impressed with this company. I always prefer real flavoring and real pieces of ingredients to artificial flavoring.
I especially like websites that describe their teas and my tasting is right in step. The flavor and aroma of honey cannot be missed along with the sweet malt tones and a special bourbon soupcon. As advertised absolutely no bitterness and a effortless smoothness from steep to steep.
I used a 4 oz teapot with 5 gm tea. Short steeps and it lasted forever. My brother-in-law is branching into teas so that he doesn’t have that overpowering caffeine buzz from coffee he takes in the afternoon and this tea will suit him just fine.
Several cups later I still love this tea. I have about one serving left and it is the last (unflavored) green tea in my cupboard. I’ve been trying so hard to earn my next tea shopping spree by using up what I have. Now I feel like I still have a full cupboard but nothing good to drink (kind of like the clothing in my closet, lol).
I have many teas that are just so-so and I’ve decided that I’m a princess and deserve only the best (haha). So I won’t drink them. Then, my husband has managed to accumulate a fair number of teas that only he likes, but he rarely drinks tea over coffee, so they sit around taking up my cupboard space, making me feel like I have more than I do. I periodically ask if he still wants to keep one or more of them and he always replies in the affirmative.
Part of my reason for earning the ‘right’ to shop for tea is so that I can justify spending money that I don’t have. As long as there is a sizable number in my cupboard, i can’t do it! boooo.
OK, so I did my Blissed OUT TGY Gongfu style in my new Yixing pot http://yunnansourcing.com/en/teapots/1016-hongmaziniclayqieduanyixingteapot250ml.html. Awesome duo, Rogers and Hammerstein, Torvill and Dean, Sherlock and Watson, well you get the picture. It was a moment, the sun was shining, a brisk fall breeze, and my cat was quiet! I had to use my broiler pan for the tray, but after I wrapped it in a tea towel all was cool. Heated the water in again, a new Hamilton Beach 1.7L kettle (Moriarty) to 190F. Used 6g to 250ml @ 30 sec 1ststp and the result were……..not as great as in my gaiwan. Then the next steeps were a little better. It did last forever though, 10 steeps and then a plunge after lunch in a porcelain teapot for the last brew. Need to take lessons I guess or figure out the right ratio. The tea was less fragrant but still had the great mouth feel and taste. Maybe my Yixing pot is too big or I needed more leaves, I don’t know. Seemed like they were trying to pop out of the top they expanded so much. Live and learn. ‘There is nothing like first-hand evidence.’
I thought it presumptuous of me to try this tea as my first oolong tasting since it is such a highly regarded tea. I have tried a few others but not having known what they were other than TGY. I knew instantly I liked TGY and that’s why I chose this one. I immensely respect the love for tea Haymen De Luz and his wife have and their generosity in bringing these teas to us from Aroma Tea Shop. Opened the bag to see beautiful rolled bright green leaves with the essence of clipped hedge, hay and a floral note. Used 130 ml gaiwan with glass bottled spring water for brewing. 1ststp was about how I remembered the other TGYs I’ve had. 2ndstp and forward the tea just blew my mind. HONEYSUCKLE in a tea cup, who knew. I am so angry that it took to me being 54 years old before I was given this pleasure. The scent of, as Hayden says, gardenias is spot on. I know this is early in my journey into quality teas but i feel a great affinity to this tea. Thank you again Aroma Tea.