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Recent Tasting Notes
Went on a late night adventure!
It’s currently quarter to midnight or thereabouts and I figured I’d make myself some tea and enjoy it in the backyard – we just had a heavy rainfall and it’s a beautiful temperature out and the fresh smell of petrichor is everywhere drawing me in.
Since I haven’t had this super interesting tea since that first Gong Fu session I really wanted to make it again; it cost my Dad a pretty penny to buy it for me for a birthday gift (something like $30 for an ounce!?) and while I don’t want to just guzzle it down I suppose there’s no good in having it if I’m never going to make it. I opted to steep this western style in a big glass mug, even though I know that’s probably not the best way to enjoy it, since Gong Fu probably isn’t a realistic option outdoors right now. Also; I need to go to bed soon as well so more than two infusions would be a bad idea too. -3g/12 oz. at 80C for 5 min as per Camellia Sinensis’ recommended brewing instructions. -
I got outside and went to the backyard, and it was beautiful but I immediately realized that while I definitely wanted to be outdoors I didn’t want to be still. So, I went for a walk for a couple blocks, mug still in hand, without glasses/contacts in the black of night and drank my tea. I was blind as a bat; and lucky I live in a relatively nice, suburban ‘soccer-mom’ kind of neighborhood where midnight walks are still a safe and ok thing to do. I actually only ran into one person; and they gave me a strange look since I was walking around drinking tea from a mug at midnight(ish) on a Friday, seemingly headed nowhere.
The tea was pretty delightful though; the strongest flavor was a rich, nutty hazelnut note but other notes like chestnut, hay, and a toastier note like barley or brown rice were also present. Some buttery notes as well; nothing excessive. The finish was also a little peppery/spicy as well. One thing I will also note is that it wasn’t as smooth as I recall the Gong Fu being, nor quite as sweet. While far from bitter there was some astringency and sharpness, most notably a dryness in the back of my throat after each sip. To be fair, I did say that I knew this wouldn’t be as good as the Gong Fu session though.
Stream of consciousness review, meaning once I get to the steepings/infusions part of this review I’m just going to be taking note of my initial impressions/thoughts. I initially recorded this as a series of jot notes but have obviously since edited things to be paragraph formatted and easier to read…
This was a birthday present from my Dad; with the expensive price tag that comes along with this one I didn’t think that I’d ever be able to justify buying it but when I was explaining to him why yellow tea is such a big deal and how it’s something that I’ve been dying to explore but, because of the rarity, having a hard time doing something must have clicked for him because he surprised me with 25g!
I should note, the only other yellow tea I’ve had was a flavoured one and definitely not this high of a quality – I think that’s obviously something of note with this review.
Dry smell: From the bag this smell very strongly smells of rich hazelnut with herby undertones. After measuring it out into my gaiwan and being able to smell it closer/more directly I notice those smells and an almost borderline graham like smell. I do think you need to have an at least somewhat refined palate to pick up on it though; I’ve had various family members smell the dry leaf for this one and each of them swears they can’t smell a thing. The smell is so distinct for me though so I can only assume the difference here is that they’re tea plebians/don’t drink tea at all and, well, I’m obviously not and I definitely do.
Visually, the dry leaf reminds me a fair bit of silver needle, but with a more “tarnished” dusty yellow/ light brown colour, and very slightly smaller and more compressed/flat. I think it looks very aesthetically pleasing!
Infusion One – 30 Seconds:
Strong herbaceous and hay notes with a particularly peppery start and just a smidgen of astringency and bite are the first and foremost flavours with a menagerie of buttery vanilla and creamy hazelnut notes offering contrast and softening the tea a touch. There are corn silk notes and very soft roasty ones that fit somewhere into the equation. Fades into a soft, lemony flavour that lingers for a very long time, but only after having swallowed. There’s a lot going on, but it’s very pleasant! The leaf left in the Gaiwan smells like lemon pepper and hazelnut; weird but mouthwatering.
Infusion Two – 20 Seconds:
Smells like pepper, lemon and hazelnut. Less bite and less generic herby notes but still has some grip and some hay notes; it’s much more distinctly lemon pepper in start of the sip fading into roasty notes, vanilla and lemon in the body of the sip. I’m losing some of the hazelnut now as the other flavours get stronger. I tthoroughlyenjoy the transition from savory to light and sweet. It almost reminds me of vanilla lemon sponge cake in the aftertaste but the confectionery component’s not all there. It’s the butter that’s forming that impression, though. Leaf in the gaiwan is very lemony with some hay scent as well. It’s ticking my nose a little and making me sort of want to sneeze. But in a good way?
Infusion Three – 20 Seconds:
Oh wow; the flavour has diminished quite quickly as well as lost almost all the bite/grip. I pick up on a lot of hay notes; it’s quite similar to the flavour profile of your generic white tea/silver needle. There’s some creamy, buttery notes and a faint hazelnut and vanilla flavour. Mostly, it’s a sweet but dull lemon flavour though. This is my least favourite infusion thus far and I think, probably, a good place to stop steeping – even though I think I could get at least one more decent infusion from this I personally don’t push my Gong Fu sessions too long; I’m the sort of person who prefers to experience multiple different teas in one day than spend my whole day drinking a single tea.
Overall, this tea had a lot of really varied flavours to it but I found it so fascinating and enjoyable, and I think I learned a great deal from it. I would absolutely seek out this varietal again; I’m so intrigued to see how other companies’ offerings would compare! It’s quite sad that all of the ones I’ve seen have been so expensive; it’s definitely not one of those teas I can afford to buy from several companies in order to sample/compare…
Personally, I thought the second steeping was the best and had the most range of flavour as well as distinct flavours. Even though I know I said that I feared a novice/less trained palate would have a hard time picking up on the nuances I may have been wrong there; I thought almost all the flavour notes were very obvious. And, I definitely recommend seizing the opportunity to try this one if it presents itself to you!
Flavors: Biting, Black Pepper, Butter, Corn Husk, Cream, Hazelnut, Herbaceous, Herbs, Lemon, Nutty, Roasted, Vanilla
I am so sorry I sent this to you without trying, Dex. OMG this is terrible.
6th rinse and it’s not drinkable at all. Smells and tastes like wet rotting leaves in the forest. Not that I’ve eaten wet rotting leaves out from under a log, but you get the idea.
This is seriously disappointing.
I’m going back to my moonlight cake.
I should go to sleep soon; I know Brenna’s gonna have me up at like 6 or 7 in the morning and at this rate I definitely wont be well rested for that…
Currently she’s half sleep talking and half snoring. It’s kind of weird being able to hear someone else sleeping, if I’m being honest. I mean – Tre is relatively within earshot but enough that I can hear the guttural noises he makes in his sleep. For a while she was talking in her sleep about making me a suit out of rice…
Earlier tonight we played a game called Geek Out with Tre which was fun; I was kicking ass at all things comic book and Tre was doing the same with Sci-Fi TV shows. Brenna owned us both when it came to naming sciences she kicked both our asses. But she was definitely getting upset that she wasn’t doing as well, so I had to throw a few rounds to halt the waterworks. Someday we’ll be ready for Monopoly, but not today. It was fun though!
Anyway, thank you Sil for the sample! I keep seeing this on the CS website and it looks interesting but not enough to order any, so sampling is so very, very welcomed! And, it definitely smells good – a little earthy with a coco puffs cereal sort of thing going on.
The smell is awesome; very sweet and robust with chocolate, vanilla and earth notes. However, it’s not translating into a rich, full taste – though the taste certainly isn’t bad either. I definitely get a rather muddy, thick Pu’Erh flavour with some natural sweetness and a little malt perhaps? The chocolate comes off a little bit powdery the way some French teas do – and the way the malt and vanilla play with this it definitely makes the Coco Puff cereal comparison a lot stronger.
It tasted better as it cooled down; the chocolate and vanilla flavours appeared to get stronger. Because of the way I’m picturing this as cereal, and with the cooled down temperature I can definitely see it working as either a hot or iced latte – if I had more, I’d try it that way for sure. As is, I enjoyed this one even if it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I don’t think I’d purchase it – but I’m happy I sated my curiosity!
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Earth, Malt, Mud, Vanilla
Happily my new teapot set arrived from Camellia Sinensis, and my heart sank to find this 09 tea as the sample in the box. Of all the tea types, Darjeeling is one of my least favorite. So I approached it with some fear and trepidation. My familiar tea experiences are primarily with puerh tea. So naturally I’m far more comfortable with dirty, musty, moldy tea containing dried bugs, pods and pubic hairs. Really I am just not sure what to do with clean tea. Do I rinse it? Or is that sacrilegious?
Neon green in the cup. Tastes like sour corn. Guess I won’t be rating this.
Dry scent is of earth and dark chocolate, I see lots of little chocolate chips in here, it instantly reminds me of a less spiced version of Della Terra’s Chocolate Chai Pu-er. I wonder, if I added a bit of coconut, would I be able to make it taste at all like David’s Tea’s Coco Paradiso? Gah, I loved that tea so much, I miss it!
Not a lot of change in the smell of the wet leaf after it’s steeped here, except for the Pu smell being a bit more pronounced.
I was expecting a bitter edge to this one, but I’m not getting it, there’s barely any astringency, and if there’s a little bit at the end of a sip, it reminds me all the more of dark chocolate. I don’t taste any vanilla at first, but after I swallow, that’s what lingers most. There isn’t a lot of layers to this tea, as far as I can tell, but it’s a good quality, solid chocolate tea. It’s steady and reassuring. This would be an every-day, take to work sort of tea for me.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Earth, Vanilla