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Recent Tasting Notes
Well this was disappointing. I have been impressed with Camellia Sinensis so far but this is a huge miss for me, at least as a hot brew. It tastes incredibly artificial and almost has a clayesque flavor that is really putting me off. Every now and then I get a hint of fruit but nothing distinctive and it really isn’t strong enough to redeem the cup. The last of this sample is getting cold brewed or iced but I doubt this is one I will be sad to see go. Still, thank you Roswell Strange for the chance to try this because it is one I certainly might have picked up in an order. Now I know better.
From the Lewis and Clark TTB.
Brewed gongfu-style with gaiwan. Steeping times: 20 sec, 15, 20, 30, 45, 60.
The leaf consists of twisty forest green leaves, whose color brightens when they are first infused. Even though they were picked from the bush long ago, they appear as if their life is retained. At first the aroma is generally sweet and buttery. But as the leaf cools, the notes change: kettlecorn and sweet potatoes with marshmallows (like the Thanksgiving dish), and then squash and zucchini. Each infusion produces a pale green liquor – almost neon – that is medium-bodied, creamy, vegetal and sweet.
This is an unusual-tasting tea. It is similar to a FF Darjeeling (possibly as a result of the hard wither each receives), but with more of a tart tang and fruit-like element to it. A FF Darjeeling on steroids, perhaps.
First infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz water, 90 deg., 2:00 min.
Second infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 4:00 min.
Third infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 10:00+ min.
This is one of my favourite oolong teas. I first tried it at high tea at the “Chateau Frontenac” in Quebec city and fell in love with it. It is creamy and buttery with a hint of coconut and a slightly sweet taste. I brew it Gong Fu style and each steep is delightful.
2. 25 seconds
3. 25 seconds
4. 25 seconds
5. then double the time for each additional steep
95 degrees celsius
Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Creamy, Vanilla
This is a black wulong tea and it is smoky, creamy with a taste of dark chocolate and a creamy taste which is more like a caramel cream taste which appears as it is steeped multiple times in the Gong Fu Cha style.
Gong Fu Cha:
95 degree C water in Gong Fu
Then double each steep
Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Smoke
Quite possibly the best jasmine pearls I have ever tasted. The jasmine flavour is present but not too overwhelming like some. The second steep on this magnificent tea is my favourite. This is the type of tea I love to share with friends
Flavors: Herbaceous, Jasmine
Brewed in a Gong Fu for a total of 8 steeps. The tea is floral, buttery with a taste of pine nuts. It is slightly grassy and it is refreshing. I found the butter and cream taste came out more at the end then at the beginning.
This is how I brewed it:
90 degree Celsius water
first THREE steeps 25 seconds
and each steep after the first three is doubled in time
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Grass, Nuts
We are starting with the 2010 fungus and moving to newer years later. I think I like this more when I drink it on it’s own, not intending to compare it to the others that I purchased. It’s lightly sweet and less astringent that I remember, though I do feel it has a slightly dry finish.
It gives a nice woozy feeling, which I always enjoy!
It’s time, tea friends. Time for the 3rd and final tasting of what me and my TeaFFs affectionately call – Fungus Tea!
I made all years using the same method, which can be found on the 2013 note.
Firstly, this smells incredible. Like grapes and fruit leather, specifically fruit rollups. And not just ANY fruit rollup. CHERRY fruit rollups, which always happened to be my personal fave growing up.
And now, the taste… I’m going in!
Not quite cherry fruit rollup, sadly. This oddly has no sweetness and an astringent finish, which neither of the first two teas had. The 2013 was especially sweet, IMO. Neither the 2011 nor 2013 had one trace of bitterness, but there is some bitterness here. I can only speculate that these were from different makers and different types of original material?
In any event, you must drink it hot! As it cools it becomes significantly less pleasant, and more bitter. The nicer aspects are the aromas and the leather flavors. This also leaves a dry finish on the tongue, which I did not notice on the first two teas.
To sum up:
Buy the 2013. But for goodness sakes, people. LEAVE SOME FOR ME! :p
Buy the 2011. It’s an interesting contrast to the 2013 version.
Pass on the 2010, or just order a small sample at first.
I lucked out because I ordered a huge chunk of the 2013 since it was cheaper, and it ended up being my fave.
Well I still like it, but this is nothing like the 2013 I got from CS.
This is a little smoky and less sweet, though it IS still somewhat sweet. It also has more of an aged flavor. A bit less complex. I like it, but I’m super glad that I ordered a much larger block of the 2013!!!!
I admit that it’s hard to rate this on it’s own merits without comparing it to yesterday’s tea because… DAMN.
Here’s yesterday’s tea! http://steepster.com/Sarsonator/posts/262092
And a pic from today’s session! http://instagram.com/p/sgEEP4PkUy/
This is one of three iced tea blends Camellia Sinensis has recently released for summer. A blend of black tea, green tea, guava, rose, bergamot, vanilla and cornflower it is quite delicious on a hot hot summer’s day (which we are still getting in the bucket loads here in Southern California at the end of August). I cold brewed this overnight in the fridge as per the directions on the bag and was pleasantly surprised with the results. The scent is mildly fruity and the taste is delightfully tropical with a hint of guava. Yum!
No notes yet. Add one?
I prepared this tea Gaiwan style and it was sweet with smoky notes. It is claimed to be cultivated without pesticides which is a good thing. It gets sweeter with multiple steeps and the smoky notes hand on throughout. A great green tea from Vietnam!
Flavors: Herbaceous, Smoke, Sweet, Vegetal
Hmm, something is wrong here. This tastes exactly like my last cold brew, but the smell. Oh, the smell is so bad. I don’t understand why, either! I did literally nothing different with leaf or water amount, and it got an almost identical brew time as the last batch. But for whatever reason this smells like pee this morning.
And I don’t know if I can do it guys; it tastes good – very lemony, a little bit of papaya underneath that, but this smell is really distracting and it’s making my tummy do somersaults. Uhhh…
Anyway, the last little bit is gonna be given to my friend Robyn; I just don’t love this one so I might as well share it with someone else who’ll learn from it and hopefully enjoy it more!
Wow, it feels nice not having a queue! Just gotta log stuff I had today, which wasn’t a lot…
I cold brewed this; the hot brew was really disappointing (but not really bad – just not what I had anticipated) and when I tried it I immediately knew this would be better suited for an iced or cold brewed tea, so that’s the next step I’m taking having this one.
Immediately I’m noticing an improvement, though I’m not sure whether that’s because I’m prepared for the very strong lemon flavour or if it’s because this one is actually better cold brewed. Maybe both. Actually, most definitely probably both.
But yeah; this is still very lemony with other citrus notes to it. It treads a very thin line between tart and sweet, and it’s very natural tasting. Seriously, there’s nothing artificial about this. I almost wonder if it would be enhanced by some sugar or agave; I think that would maybe make it more lemonade like. In addition to the strong lemon/citrus flavour there’s a rawness to it, and only the word “leafy” is coming to mind but I know that’s not the word I want to use. More so, it’s like…
I don’t know. It’s like a dried green leaf, but chalkier and not a leaf. Or chalky. God dammit; I can’t think of the words I want here. Ugh. Fucking lexical gap.
Positive things: I actually noticed the papaya this time. It was really subtle and if I hadn’t been looking I probably would have missed it, but buried under the taste of natural/raw lemons and leaves and stuff was some very mellow papaya adding a touch of sweetness and actually making this seem a little more tropical, like the name suggests it should be.
And VariaTEA I know I sent you some of this so get on it so I can finally compare notes with someone! I need to see whether I’m craving with the raw lemon/leaf thing! Maybe you can capture the idea I have but am so desperately struggling to convey.
Stupid Steepster Server…
Anyway; first review for this blend. Again, no pressure right? Right.
I actually put off placing my Camellia Sinensis order for about two months because this blend was out of stock, and I really really wanted to try it. The day they restocked this, I made my order. It was a very satisfactory feeling. That said, I had a hot cup of this the day my order arrived, and I was definitely quite disappointed by it.
Dry, it smells very very damn lemony. Lemon fucking everything, really. And not in a tart way or a sweet way – but sorta in a “Vitamin C” citrus health pill/acidic chalky lemon crap type way. That’s really a terrible description, but I’m writing this note based on the notes I wrote myself like a week ago, and it’s 2AM and I’m really tired. The words are not coming easily to me.
Steeped, this is still pretty well pure lemon with no noticeable papaya. None. Literally none. Which is crushing, because that’s the aspect of this blend that attracted me to it in the first place. But hey, at least the lemon tastes pretty ok. Like I said, it’s not sweet and it’s not “puckering tart” or anything – it’s just really strong and fairly natural. It reminds me so much, in a hard to describe way, of citrus health drinks or that instant powdered lemonade stuff that comes in little premeasured packs for water bottles. But with the instant lemonade it’s not that taste it reminds me of, it’s the smell of the stuff.
So next up will be a cold brewed version of this. I honestly don’t have the ‘highest of hopes’ but I think, if nothing else, the strong lemon flavour of this blend will be better suited to a cold cup than a hot one. I just want some damn papaya! Just give me a LITTLE. Just a pinch.
Flavors: Lemon, Lemongrass
If you like black earth, leathery, thirst quenching dark, dark chocolate tea then this is the one. Straight up it smells and tastes like black earth after rain. When I added a touch of almond milk it brought out the dark, dark chocolate taste.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Earth, Leather
Hazelnut, butter, vanilla and a slight herbal taste…this is a wonderful tea. One to be steeped in a Gaiwan starting at 30 seconds and then to be enjoyed over and over again in multiple steeps. A delightful tea for a time of pondering…best straight and on its own.
Flavors: Butter, Hazelnut, Herbaceous, Vanilla
This was a sample from dexter It’s a roasty oolong, and while the brewed aroma is that oolongy taste i’m not a huge fan of, this is a really nice brewed cup of tea. it’s not overly bold, but it’s not a wimpy oolong either…sort of middle of the road with a bread like sort of taste to it. I’d be inclined to pick this one up again if i needed a ump to get me to free shipping threshold or something with an order but it wouldn’t be a permanent restock. thanks for sharing dexter!
I should be in bed asleep by now, since I have to get up at 5am, but I just finished making my breakfast & lunch for tomorrow & cleaning up the kitchen, & I wanted to share a few comments regarding this tea.
My beautiful little black yixing arrived from Camelia Sinensis, along with 2 cups I ordered, & they are all adorable. I had a little free time, so I started the seasoning process, using Verdant’s Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong smoked wuyi black.
Also included in the package was a free & generous sample tin of this tea (or at least I think it is this one). I opened the tin, & the fragrance is sweet, floral, fruity, & almond-like.
It steeped into a golden liquor, both floral & fruity, with flavors of Honeysuckle, Vanilla, almond milk, & lychee.
A very lovely afternoon session.