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Recent Tasting Notes
The last tea from my box of teas from my Tea Sister Sil.
This will mark the first time since Sil & I first started trading teas that I actually don’t have anything in my collection from her, although for now that is a good thing, as I’m still working on getting my numbers down.
So I’ve actually been avoiding this one, LOL. I know that some people really prize these old teas, but I’ve concluded that I tend to like a fresher kind of taste. This one is ‘essence of an old root cellar’, earthy, musty, with a mineral element. It wasn’t totally undrinkable, and actually I ran it through several rounds before I’d finally had enough. I will say that it made for a substantial dark brew, a deep amber color, but definitely not something I’d want to keep around in my collection.
Happy Turkey Day, Canadian Steepsterites!
While I did most of my celebrating yesterday, I’m still at my family’s house for another day so I’m just drinking the teas I was able to quickly pack up to bring with for the weekend. That wound up just being the teas I already had in the kitchen to work on – which was a lot of oolong.
So, just finished up a few rounds of clue with my sister and mom: I won one of them, but my mom cleaned up during the other rounds. We were playing for probably about two hours – and all throughout I was enjoying a really nice, casual Gong Fu session of this tea. I say casual because I wasn’t really closely monitoring the steep times or water temperatures – just letting the infusions sort of go where they took me.
This was really nice! Very smooth throughout all of the infusions I did (though I’m not sure exactly how many that is) without any astringency or bitterness. Mostly this had a strong, roasty quality supported by strong notes of wood and nuts. A few infusions in I started to get really strong, rich cocoa notes alongside that profile with a sweeter finish. Eventually this settled into a lovely profile of roasted barley, nuts, wood, and cocoa top notes which crossed smoothly into the body and a stewed fruit finish that began with the mid sip. I probably could have pushed the session longer, but we got tired of playing Clue and so the session ended…
Definitely look forward to trying this one again in the future.
So I do NOT drink Pu Er tea. I am just not a fan because to me it tastes like dirt. However, I do try to taste everything that people send me which is a fact my tea twin, Roswell Strange knows. So, when I saw pu er in my tea and music package, I was not overly excited. In fact, I am so dumb in the ways of pu er that I managed to burn my hand trying to rinse this. Stupid me decided to hold the filter in one hand and pour the near boiling water with the other and of course there was splashing and missing and essentially just a lot of pain. So yeah, it was not a good start but not only did RS send this to me, she took the time to pair it with a song so I figured I will suck it up and see how it goes.
As far as pu er goes, this isn’t too bad tbh. I wonder if my taste is compromised since I have a bit of a cold and if that is playing a role here though usually when thats the case, I don’t taste anything at all and yet I am tasting stuff here. To me, its leather. So this is going to be a weird description and I have no idea why but this makes me think of a brown/tannish belt. Smooth and refined. The kind men wore in like the 60s. Somehow, the tea combined with the song is just creating that image. I honestly doubt that is why Roswell Strange paired them and I am thinking the cold meds might be messing with my head but that is honestly what I am coming away with. Do with that what you will :P
Thank you Roswell Strange for yet another share and yet another fun song and tea pairing.
I bought this as a sample at the tea festival, and I’m quite glad I did!
Very nice. Smooth, pungent, and a great balance. The roasted flavour adds a nice contrast to the mild seaweed vegetal notes. I wouldn’t go for this if you’re looking for a “fresh” tasting sencha, as the roastedness made it less so, but not in a lovely muted sort of way that reminds me of a gentle sea breeze. I’d buy it again, no question
Thanks, unnamed tea trader, for sending me this sample. I found this tea really interesting. It is older than me! Not by much, though. It brews like a cross between shu pu-erh, hei cha, and aged oolong. The broth is thick, with notes of must, tang, and a strong astringency that works well. Big tea buzz. Very unique, and close to a dollar a gram, so not an everyday pleasure for most of us. But well worth trying to experience such an old and unique gem.
Is this even the same Pinglin Bao Zhong tea that others are writing about? I am currently too lazy to get up and reread the tea pouch. Edit—I did get up and check the tea pouch and yes, that’s all the label says. I can only guess that this newer batch, purchased July 2016, is a totally different creature than those previously written about. Completely different flavour profile.
Totally coconut, which is being lost on me today as I just had another but different coconut oolong yesterday and I had forgotten how coconut this one is. Delicious coconut which is not quite was I was in the mood for, so I will postpone proper reviewing for another time.
Yesterday, I had an early doctor’s appointment in the city, which meant that I was perfectly positioned to wander over to Chinatown and treat myself to dim sum. A large group, about seven or eight, older men were there, old as dirt, really, and it was a delight to watch them hang out, joke, read their papers, eat, torment the servers, and carry on. Although they were speaking in Cantonese, it was clear that they had great affection for each other and had known each other for a long long time. I wonder how often they have their morning breakfasts together. I suspect rituals and camaraderie like this have much to do with their longevity.
Apart from this group, was an older gentlemen having breakfast alone. He had brought his own yixing teapot, teacup, and huge thermos of boiling water for the gazillions cups he drank with his meal. I. was. dying to go over there and ask him what kind of tea he was drinking, but I didn’t: too embarrassed and concerned about the possible communication gap. After his meal, he dumped his mountain of leaves out onto an empty plate: curly, fizzly, dark. I asked one of my favourite trolley people if she knew what kind of tea that was and she suspected it was heung pin, which we later got translated as jasmine. Yeah, maybe she just felt she needed to give me some sort of answer. It doesn’t necessarily tell me anything about the leaf.
Finished this one off yesterday; another hot Western style mug because I came to the realization that I didn’t actually have enough tea leaf left to do a proper Gong Fu session.
This time around, I really picked up on some malt and and cocoa notes throughout the top of and middle of the sip, although the finish was a bit more muscatel and fruity. Very smooth, and easy to mindlessly drink so I do stand by my initial impression of this tea. Thanks again to Camellia Sinensis for including it as a free sample in one of my orders.
One of the teas that Camellia Sinensis has included as a free sample in one of my various orders from them; can’t remember which one or exactly how old the tea itself is though…
I’m drinking this Western because it’s a rainy/dreary day and I just wanted something black to drink on the balcony and rain watch with. Looking at the dry leaf as I was measuring I was a tiny bit surprised just how green the leaf looked through. Akin to a lot of Darjeeling teas, this demonstrates a WIDE range of colour in the leaf appearance. That doesn’t especially surprise me given that it’s an Indian black tea, but I wish that CS’s website offered more information about this varietal. Currently it offers none…
The flavour is pretty nice; it’s definitely a medium bodied tea which personally are the kinds of blacks that I find most perfect for every day drinking or really thoughtless drinking where you just want to experience the warmth of the tea without really putting a lot of energy into dissecting the flavour. Is there a way to say that it’s the perfect “mindless” tea without that sounding condescending? Because it’s not BAD; it’s just kind of… Well, you know.
As far as flavour notes go this had a range, with none of them really being extraordinarily weak or dominant. Just kind of a mix of all the following: floral, smoke, muscatel, malty, honey, and raisins. Given some of the comparisons I’ve already made to Darjeeling teas, this profile doesn’t exactly surprise me. In fact, maybe I appreciate it a little more so because I’m experiencing it without any harsh astringency or bitterness. I like it! I doubt I’d have picked it for myself either, so I’m happy to have received a sample of it.
EDIT: I was curious, so I’ve looked up the region a little more. Sikkim is a tea growing region very near in proximity to Darjeeling and so it is often marketed as “Darjeeling Style” tea given the similarity in terroir. The Temi Tea Garden is actually the only tea garden in Sikkim as well. Very interesting!
I love learning new tea things.
This is a queued tasting note.
Drank this one as a commute tea this week. I haven’t been sleeping well this week because of tooth pain that wakes me up several times a night so I’ve been savoring as many minutes as I can possibly get in my bed each morning – that means out of all six days I worked this week I actually only made my normal morning cup of tea twice because I haven’t had the time to make tea and catch the bus…
This was good though; I’m glad that the morning I made this I convinced myself to get out of bed in time to actually make myself some tea. It was a bit different than the last time I tried it; definitely not as fruity this tea. There were similarities too though; last time I expressed that I tasted hay notes. This time that was almost ALL I could taste. Specifically, it tasted the way that the timothy hay I feed Eilert (my guinea pig) smells. I love the smell of Eilert’s timothy hay (not enough to taste it though) so it was really enjoyable having it transferred into tea form. Other than that, I mostly just picked up on a bit of nuttyness in the top of the sip which faded quickly. It was pleasant as well though.
I wish I’d been more alert while drinking this so I could have registered the flavour a little more properly, just to see how this compared to last time I had it. I was SO tired though – on the bus that morning there were moments where I was holding the mug and nearly dropped it because I was dozing off and, as I did so, my hands were relaxing their grip. Thankfully I DIDN’T drop it though! That would have been a miserable first time experience on the bus.
From my last Camellia Sinensis order…
- Western style infusion
- Smooth, malty/hay top notes
- A light vegetal body with sweeter fruity/peachy notes
- Finish is playfully nutty; hazlenut/marzipan
- Smooth, silky mouthfeel
I imagine Western brewing doesn’t do this one justice, not that it tasted bad. In fact, it was really enjoyable – but I feel like it hadn’t reached its “full potential”. I definitely look forward to trying Gong Fu in the future.
This started out as creamy and kind of buttery with a hint of raspberry but then developed an intense pineapple flavour that was at first very sweet but then very sour. I have to say I’m kind of loving it! I’m a huge fan of sour and this is definitely quite lip puckering. The first time I had this I found it good but nothing special but I can really see myself missing this when it’s gone — uping my rating!
Flavors: Butter, Pineapple, Pleasantly Sour, Raspberry, Sweet
This was nice, but it didn’t really wow me. I could see myself sipping down quite a bit of it if it happened to be in front of me but can’t imagine actually craving it. There’s a slight citrus note with a hint of raspberry that gives it a slight sour vibe, but I’d like something a little more intense. There’s also a light undertone of sweet vegetation. Good, not great.
Side note, this is surprisingly similar to the Cote d’Asur Garden blooming tea I had the other day but a little less raspberry-y.
Flavors: Citrus, Pleasantly Sour, Raspberry, Vegetal
If you could package up the feeling of summer and camping into a tea, this would be it. There is the smokiness of the campfire, which gradually merges into a smoky bacon note. There’s a hint of sweet corn, which I find so typical of white teas. Finally, and most surprisingly, there’s a strong marshmallow note with a hint of chocolate. S’mores in a cup. The notes are subtle, to be sure, and I don’t think this tea would be for everyone, but I rather enjoyed it.
Flavors: Chocolate, Corn Husk, Marshmallow, Smoke
My first oolong (not counting some of DAVIDs’ crazy blends that hardly count), and I’m happy to say I’m really enjoying it. Wonderfully light with a prominent butter note and complementing floral and grassy notes. I can see the hint of pine nut as well (one of my favourites). All in all, very nice!
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Grass
Had a short and very casual Gong Fu session with this one spaced out over two days. All in all only like six steeps; I could probably have gotten more but I’m not big on drawing out green tea sessions since I’m not really big on green tea either. I mostly just wanted to have a taste of the tea since CS was nice enough to send me a free sample of it, and now I’m happy to add the rest of the sample into the GCTTB.
Didn’t pay super close attention to this one if I’m being honest; but I remember that the mouthfeel was thicker and almost more creamy than your typical green tea and the flavour was quite grassy with a bit of nuttiness in the first day’s infusions. Day two I don’t really remember observing that quality so strongly.
The description says it tastes like fiddleheads and I definitely thought that was interesting ‘cause I’ve never tried fiddleheads, but then I wound up not tasting anything different or “out of the ordinary” that I could describe as possibly having the flavour of what I’m told fiddleheads are supposed to taste like. I mean, of course it’s hard trying to identify a flavour you’ve never experienced based on a concept but I still was kind of hoping there’d be something “extra” here.
This cold brew was really floral and fruity in a really fragranced and almost perfume-y way but it wasn’t bad by any stretch. It’s kind of hard to describe, but the way the floral notes come off is almost effervescent in a way – and it reminds me strongly of CS’s (discontinued) Des Roses et Des Bonbons blend; the rose in the two blends must be the same or similar? I definitely think I’m also tasting the white hibiscus though, which presents differently than the garish hibiscus tea drinkers are more commonly presented with.
This is a queued tasting note.
Tried this one hot the other day;
I think I liked the cold brew a little better because the flavours were a little smoother/ran together a bit more seamlessly but the hot cup was good too. This is sweet and fruity in the same way that I get from Sweet Tart candies. Probably the lemon providing that playful, light tartness. However, it’s also VERY floral – in particular quite rosey. In the hot cup there was some disconnect between the floral and the fruit but still both aspects were enjoyable nonetheless.
Flavors: Candy, Citrus, Floral, Hay, Pleasantly Sour, Red Fruits, Rose, Rosehips, Tart
Definitely surprised this one wasn’t already reviewed here on Steepster…
- Cold Brew
- It’s very interesting to me this tea doesn’t have fruit other than lemon or apple
- Because the flavour is like a jumble of red fruits/berries with lemon/citrus
- Very summery, sweet, and rich with a balance of natural and candy like notes
- Kind of reminds me of Sweet Tart candies?
- The hibby DEFINITELY doesn’t read as overly tart or gross
- In fact, it’s a little hard to tell it’s there?
- There’s more rosehip sweetness/tartness than anything else
- Also a floral undertone; but definitely more fruity than floral
- Definitely, as far as the ingredients are concerned, a bit of an enigma?
Nothing quite like the caffeine crash that comes after drinking nine different Western cups of green tea for class…
Yup; that was my early afternoon today: this is my last class/term/module
whatever you want to call it before I have to take the exam to get certified, and it’s all about tea types. This week was specifically centered around Japan (and Vietnam to a small degree) and that meant A LOT of green tea. Boo; fuck that. Green tea is my least favourite type. So, nine cups in about two hours. I felt pretty buzzed after I finished them, but now I’m crashing HARD. Regardless, I figured I shouldn’t have anything else caffeinated for the rest of the night so now I’m having a mug of this one.
Pro tip: if you want the liquor to actually like beautiful and purple and breath taking don’t drink it in a grey mug – pick something glass. ’Cause now it just looks like a disappointing, muddled mess. It still tastes really good though; very strong on the basil notes but with a softening floral sweetness to the undertone.
Kind of one of those word association pairings, to be perfectly honest.
This is a queued tasting note.
Can’t remember which tasting note I said it in, but recently(ish) I said that I have a particular love of basil lemonade. Well, that got me thinking and that resulted in me cold brewing this and then cutting it 50/50 with the remainder of the lemonade I used to make that Jasmine Silver Needle infused lemonade.
I mean, at the core of things, I could probably sum up the experience by just saying “delicious”. But I feel that doesn’t quite do the concoction justice. The strong basil notes of the tea were the perfect savory contrast to the tart and sweet lemonade and it really, really did taste exactly like the fresh/homemade basil lemonade that my Step Mother makes in the summer that’s so good. Just less thick/frothy in mouthfeel, is all. This had the added element of rose/floral notes from the tea, which were largely masked. However, the light floral component that did come through in the taste was just an added element that made this seem more elegant/elaborate and flavourful.