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Recent Tasting Notes
This is a queued tasting note.
Steeped up two of the bricks Western style in a fairly large pot for myself and a friend; we both quite enjoyed the tea. Enough so that we steeped it a second time, as well. Personally I think this is really delightful and smooth with a rich sweetness, of molasses, cocoa and maybe brown sugar, a deep earth/petrichor type note, a mineral like taste, and a sort of clean woody note. It’s the sort of tea that seems really appropriate to be drinking by the gallon on a dark, stormy night when the rain is just pouring down and their’s thunder and lightening abound.
In fact, it’s supposed to rain this week so I’m crossing my fingers SO HARD for a hell of a storm so I can take full advantage of my porch and have a session of this in the pouring rain. I want it so badly. That said, Gong Fu was definitely better than Western steeping so when that heavy rain session hits that’s how I’ll be brewing this one up.
And so begins the Pu’erh journey…
Over Christmas, one of the presents I got was $75 towards whatever I wanted on Camellia Sinensis (‘cause my family knows it’s one of my favourite tea companies, and they’re Canadian so no shitty exchange rates) and I fully took advantage of that to buy several different kinds of Pu’erh to further explore this complex and interesting tea type. And, on Tuesday that tea arrived! Actually, a lot of tea arrived – I received my orders from Red Leaf Tea, Teaware House, and Camellia Sinensis all in the same day! Well, I immediately had to try something so I brewed up one of the mini bricks in my new gaiwan from Teaware House!
Now, I don’t think I’ve ever had Jingmai before – and someone here on Steepster (who definitely knows more about Pu’erh than I do) told me it’s odd to see a Jingmai shou so I had weird/low expectations brewing this one up. I really, really enjoyed it though! I only did six infusions because it was after two in the morning and I was already starting to feel tea buzzed on top of just plain exhausted so I decided it was in my best interest to cut the session early and just go to bed before I was too wired/slap happy to sleep properly.
This was really smooth with a rich, thick mouthfeel and a sort of softness to it. Every sip was really round, and pleasant – I don’t know why I expected more ‘bite’ or astringency to this, but I didn’t find it nor did I really miss it. I could really ‘feel’ the tea on the roof of my mouth and middle/surface of my tongue.
The flavour was also delightful; it was much sweeter than I think I’ve experienced with a lot of pu’erh! Right from the start of the infusions this had really consistent notes of honey, molasses, earth, and a dark fruitiness. That fruitiness later became more intense and picked up a more distinct fig/date flavour as well as a dark cherry-like note in the last few infusions. I also found this had an almost ‘oat’ like flavour as well. Quaker sells a ‘Honey Oatmeal’ (or something close to that) flavour and that in particular is a little like what I thought this was tasting like. The last few infusions were definitely more woody, as well.
This was so tasty! And to be perfectly honest, I’m just so incredibly psyched for my next session with this one because it was so lovely! It just makes me all the more excited to try the rest of the different Pu’erh I picked up from Camellia Sinensis…
This is one of the Black Friday teas I ordered through Amoda. The idea of this blend seemed intoxicating.I butchered the beautiful bag in trying to open it: the instructions give a pull strip which takes you to ripping the pouch, but how to rip is unindicated, so I ended up with the plastic open/close zip strips on the same side. However, I may have proceeded correctly but had a faulty bag to begin with. I hate that. It forces one to run around hunting up an extra tin. Who has an empty tin at this time of year?
Anyway, the smell of the dry leaf is intoxicating too. Quite divine really. The leaf contains plentiful coconut bits and fat pineapple shreds. Pretty blend.
The taste is lovely, but a bit less lovely than one would imagine it would be. To me, the melding of flavours is less smooth than I would like. I don’t quite know how to explain it. It is as if each sip contains disconnected flavours: pineapple, coconut, and tea. Each flavour comes through clearly on its own. There is also the slightest bit of imitation flavour coming through at the end of the sip. Not so much as to tamper with the overall experience, but still.
Perhaps the second steeping will give up a smoother experience.
On the second steeping, the coconut creaminess and flavour come through far more prominently while the pineapple steps into the background. A far milder but still enjoyable cup. The imitation flavour disappears completely.
I may add the slightest bit of Lapsang Souchong to a cup at some point to see how it works with a bit of smoke.
Flavors: Coconut, Pineapple
I’m not sure if I knew there was wintergreen in this tea when I got it, but I’m REALLY happy with it. OM NOM NOM.
Quite fresh, but with a really delicate wintergreen freshness, not peppermint or spearmint. It’s kinda like pine forests on a crisp day with snow on the ground. Kinda.
Finished off as a cold brew. This is truly a tea representative of ambrosia: it tastes like sweet, fresh honey, dew, and Spring time flowers. The flavour is clean, and the mouthfeel like silk. I don’t know if this is a tea I’d have picked out for myself either, so I’m very thankful for Camellia Sinensis’ inclusion of it as a free sample.
It didn’t last nearly long enough. I’m sure I’ll likely be buying more for myself, as it’s something I fell hard for very quickly…
This is a queued tasting note.
I had a weird/wonky Gong Fu session with this tea, which Camellia Sinensis added a generous free sample of into one of my orders this year.
It wasn’t the tea itself that was weird; just how I prepared it. I only had two infusions and then I just sort of, well to be perfectly honest, just forgot about the tea? I don’t even remember why: I was taking notes on the infusions and then I must have started cooking or watching TV or something else and the tea just sat there. But anyway, here are the notes I took for those two infusions:
- GORGEOUS leaf!!!
- Sweet, honey notes! Like ambrosia? Most dominate flavour
- Very light/gentle overall with a delicateness to it
- However, despite that the flavours are NOT subtle
- Also has notes of spring flowers, red fruits and white peach
After those delightful, wonderful Gong Fu infusions I popped the leaf into a mason jar and cold brewed the leaf (when I finally did remember I was drinking tea) so as to not waste it and get the most out of leaf which clearly wasn’t spent yet.
The cold brew was similar in flavour notes to what was observed in the Gong Fu infusions, just even sweeter and richer with more honey notes and more sweet fruity flavour. However, I also tasted a light finish that reminded me of Easter Buns a little bit? Kind of that sweet, doughy quality with a sort of cinnamon note as well? And of course a fruitier glaze but that easily melds with the honey and preexisting fruit notes.
I definitely look forward to further, more conscious exploration of this tea.
This one comes from OMGsrsly and I have to thank her for sending it, because it was really interesting and unusual. With the frequency of orders I make with Camellia Sinensis you’d think that I’d have tried this since it was on my wish list for so long, but for whatever reason I never grabbed any. Probably because you have to buy this one in a larger quantity.
I have so many thoughts about this one though…
First off; the health warnings! They’re a little unnerving, no? I mean the pregnancy warning is fine: I have no plans to get pregnant anytime in the immediate future. The parts that concern me are that longer infusions can cause bad cramps and frequent consumption is recommended against. I mean, I’ve certainly been known to lose track of how long I’m steeping something (and how long is "too long). As well, what if I absolutely LOVED the tea? I’d have to ration when I drink it? Not my favourite concept.
When it boils down to it though, this is just super unique tasting and very enjoyable though. There’s such a striking familiarity to the flavour; and yes I can break down that flavour into recognizable notes of citrus/lemon, cedar, camphor, grass, and under ripe green melons but that’s not it. There’s also a thickness to the mouthfeel that makes this really rich despite a more supple/mild flavour and it leaves my lips just slightly sticky?Like I’ve just had something to eat with lots of honey it. There’s something about how those individual notes and textures come together as a “whole” that makes me feel like I’m experiencing Deja Vu.
Sil touched on this too and to some extent I agree with her: it kind of tastes like early morning fresh air. There’s a crispness and naturalness to it that just reminds me of the outdoors. A lot. There’s something else to it too; but I just can’t place it. It makes me feel a little nostalgic and sad, though. Yet, in that sort of silent sadness there’s a peaceful and calming quality. Have you ever just burst into tears and cried? It’s not a pretty thing, but then at the very end when you’re finally done crying you feel so good.
Describing flavour in emotions is a tricky thing but one I’m compelled to do in this moment. Anyway; props to this tisane for tasting wonderful and almost making me have an emotional epiphany and breakdown.
Yay, a green rooibos. I get mostly pineapple from this one, with maybe the slightest hint of banana. I could see papaya being really good in here. I also wish I could have gotten the coconut. I don’t really taste it. But granted, I have a cold right now. Maybe I’m not getting the most out of this. I also let it steep for close to ten minutes so the flavours should be as strong as ever.
I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy more but it’s really good for what it is.
It’s been a busy, and tiring week at work! I’ve built up a whole week’s worth of missed reviews, so time to crack into those before I have class in a few hours…
And speaking of class, I finished this tea off as a “cold infused juice” which was an optional recipe for the class I’m currently taking, which is tea and food pairings/cooking with tea. Basically, I just cold brewed a larger than normal amount of tea straight into some orange juice. As someone who’s already very comfortable with cold brewing it was impossible to resist trying this out. It’s something I’ve actually been curious about even before this class.
I picked out this tea because I thought the strong floral/rose notes of the tea would really compliment the orange. And it totally did! The flavour pairing was a really solid choice, and I’m happy with coming up with it all on my own instead of following the ‘guide’ of tea/food pairings we received in class. While it IS nice to have that as a reference, I think coming up with good pairings is definitely a skill and one I want to master without a major crutch.
The only issue, I’d say, was that the orange juice was still very strong and while I definitely did taste the tea there was still a lot of competitive flavour from the juice itself. That’s an issue because cold brewing this way already takes a lot more leaf than a normal cold brew would and cold brews ‘eat’ leaf really quickly already. I’m going to try this again, for sure, but I need to play around with how I’m using my “juice” base. I don’t know if that means I’ll use a different kind of juice or if I’ll cut it first with water but some more experimentation is definitely coming.
As for the tea itself; for one I didn’t actually pick out myself to order (it was a free sample) I was really quite happy with it and I’d be tempted to get more with my next absolutely inevitable Camellia Sinensis order. It’ll depend on whether it’s available in sizes smaller than 50g because I wouldn’t want that much. If I can scoop up 25g I’ll be getting more.
Flavors: Floral, Rose
Freebie sample from my last Camellia Sinensis order!
Today in tea chat I had Oolong Owl pick something for me to brew up that I hadn’t tried before ’cause I was feeling indecisive and this is what she chose. So, prior to and during class today I brewed this tea Gong Fu in one of my gaiwans.
It’s a really interesting tea: I don’t have a ton of experience with Chinese blacks. Admittedly, I think I lean a little more towards Indian blacks but I’m open to learning and exploring and trying new things. I wasn’t the most technical about this session; but really when am I ever when it comes to brewing Gong Fu? I much prefer to just drink in the moment and go with what feels right rather than take a more technical/precise approach. There’s a time and place for that, but sometimes tea is best as an experience.
Seven infusions in total:
Infusions one to three had a very dry, astringent initial mouthfeel but none of the infusions were actually bitter. All infusions except for maybe the last one were quite rose flavoured which was a different experience. I’ve definitely drank my fair share of floral blacks but don’t think I’ve had much experience with ones that taste distinctly rosey and certainly not to this level/degree. I quite liked the flavour, though! Then, the first few infusions were more nutty with a woody undertone; a mix of sort of peanut nuttyness as well as a sweeter almond-like flavour. Both almond skin which has a drier nutty taste and then as infusions progressed a more sweet, marzipan-like nutty flavour. There were honey notes too which seemed stronger as the infusions progressed. The middle infusions had a nice fruity quality to them; kind of like red currants? But the first few and last few infusions lacked this flavour. Faint notes of cinnamon, as well but not consistently throughout steeps.
This was a really interesting, enjoyable tea! I’d have never picked it out for myself either, so I’m definitely thankful that Camellia Sinensis added it to my order. They’re probably just adding random teas as free samples, but occasionally it feels like the samples they toss in are more thoughtfully picked out. Not sure, honestly. I’d definitely brew this again Gong Fu except I’ve already got the remainder of the leaf cold brewing right now in some orange juice as it’s the tea I thought would best work for the optional juice infusion from class this week.
It’s my birthday, so I decided to celebrate with this. I would have preferred some sheng, but this is what was available, so it will have to do. I opened the package and gave these old leaves a whiff. I was picking up some real old tones. I picked up some slight roast, parchment, and just a little bit of dry sweetness. I warmed up my new teapot and cups (Novak :D) and poured these little curls in. The scent deepened into a deep earth and dry minerals. This scent was a lot like a basement in the summer. It’s a good but oddly strange scent. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The steeped leaves had an amazing scent! I really loved the spice, musk, mineral aroma. I picked up some amazing pine resin scent with a background of smoke. The aroma was so good! The flavor was something unique. The taste began drying with some pleasant sour tones. The sip then developed to an intense pine flavor. I got a nice head high and body buzz from the drink. In later steeping I picked up some maple syrup sweetness. I was able to pull only about four good steeping sessions. The session was decent, but it wasn’t all that amazing. I thought that for the price this should be at least somewhat fantastic. However, it was still a good experience, and I still have some to try out. I will hopefully find a better suited birthday tea…
Flavors: Earth, Maple, Musty, Paper, Pine, Pleasantly Sour, Resin, Smoke, Sweet, Wood
Puerh Tea TTB. This tea is excellent. It’s fruity with notes of cocoa. It has very little fermentation flavor left for a 2012 tea. I did not notice a heavy fermentation taste that you might expect in a recent shou. I think I get a slight note of camphor here, but very slight. There are no off tastes or wet storage tastes. Camellia Sinensis must have done a good job of storing this tea. This is definitely one I would look into buying if it is still available. I used a little less leaf on this than my usual because there was only 6.6g of leaf left in the original 15g sample. So I think later steeps were a little weak. Nothing more leaf wouldn’t solve anyway.
I brewed this tea twelve times in a 100ml gaiwan with 6.6g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. I think with a larger amount of leaf this tea would go twenty steeps or nearly anyway.
Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Fruity, Sweet
A very pleasant asamushi sencha: softly marine with a slight roasted flavour in the first infusion, followed by a surprisingly muted astringency in the second. The third brew produces a refreshingly sweet liquor.
First infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz water, 65 deg., 1:00 min.
Second infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, 65 deg., 2:00 min.
Third infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, boiling, 10:00 min.
I spent most of my day drinking this tea.
I bought 50g of it during my last Camellia Sinensis order because I’m seasoning my first ever yixing with Lapsang Souchong and Camellia Sinensis’ version is pretty well reviewed and very affordable. Plus the idea of a “licorice” note present in a LS intrigued me. You can see a picture of my pot here:
Doesn’t the little dragon spout just seem SUPER appropriate for a pot dedicated to smoky/ashy Lapsang? Pretty sure I’ve nailed the “matching the pot to the tea” aspect.
I spent A LOT of time researching the best way to season my pot, which is what I did today, and while I was REALLY tempted to use the boiling in a pot method I ultimately played it cautious and am instead going to be naturally seasoning it through general use. While flavour sucking is the big concern about seasoning a pot that way I figured that LS is such an incredibly potent/strong full bodied tea anyway that some flavour sucking wouldn’t be a terrible thing especially if I just overleafed my first few Gong Fu sessions to compensate. And to be fair, today was my first time trying the Camellia Sinensis Lapsang Souchong but I didn’t feel like much flavour was lost.
It tasted like Lapsang Souchong: strong smoke/ash notes and a defined woody taste as well like described on the website/packaging. Certainly, this wasn’t the sweetest or smoothest LS I’ve tasted (there definitely were NOT licorice notes) but it was enjoyable. Enough so I had at least ten different cups worth. The only reason I stopped making cups was because I had to leave to go do laundry. As well, when is Lapsang Souchong ever really smooth? The first taste ALWAYS slaps you in the face with the harsh flavour. You just have to kind of… settle in to it.
Today was a success though! I loved brewing with my yixing, and I’m very happy with the shape/style of it. I can hold everything comfortably and pour with precision and ease. Already, the desire to purchase another one (or two or three) is bubbling up…
So i laughed a lot when i found this one from omgsrsly in my bag of goodies. Both her and dexter couldn’t drink this one so they sent it along to me. I of course, have saved some so that i can send it along to my tea sister for fun! To be fair, this one doesn’t hit quite the wrong note with me as it did omg and dex. To me, this smelled like carrots that are just starting to go bad. Not sure why it was specifically carrots, but that was my view. This is a really….weird tasting puerh. I haven’t tasted anything like this one before, but i also didn’t hate it straight up. it was just weird.
I had a super fun chance to do a Gong Fu session with my mom and sister tonight. It was a rare opportunity since I typically only share tea with one of them at a time and it’s usually more informal but this time around I picked out one of the samples that Camellia Sinensis added into my giant teaware order and we made more of an occasion out of the experience.
In total, we did five infusions – six if you count the first though we discarded that one/used it to warm and heat all of the cups and Chahai. No one was a fan of the first infusion: it was far too strong and astringent tasting. In fact, I was the only person to finish their cup of the first infusion. Everyone else poured theirs back into the tea tray. The second and third still had some astringency, but were more palatable. My little sister isn’t a huge tea fan (mostly she just drinks sweet dessert rooibos blends) so even getting her to participate at all was a success for me, so we were all quite understanding about the fact she really disliked the first couple infusions. The fact she tried them at all was more than expected. Personally, while I wasn’t paying super close attention to the nuances of the tea (I was just enjoying the experience of drinking it with family) I did notice that these first infusions had a distinct smokiness and underlying sweetness.
The fourth steep seemed to be the sweet spot and everyone’s favourite. It was just so smooth and had a great balance between grassy tones and artichoke-like notes and sort of peachy sweetness. My mom has actually been to China, and participated in tea ceremonies there and compared this infusion to the tea she was served in China and holds as the ‘best tea she’s ever had’. And my sister finished the entire cup of tea; which was a BIG deal. The last cup had a lot of flavor deterioration, sadly, and so we decided not to push with any more infusions.
I should also mention, that during the entire session we were nibbling on broken chunks of DAVIDsTEA’s Red Velvet Cake infused milk chocolate bar. I thought having something to accompany the tea would be nice, and would also be a little more enticing for my sister. I also remembered from the Science of Taste module I did in my Tea Sommelier course that milk chocolate was a good pairing with some green teas. I think the combination did work well; as long as you took small nibbles of chocolate both flavours could be tasted on the palate and enjoyed instead of overwhelmed.
So for anyone who doesn’t know already; I’m currently getting my Tea Sommelier certification which I’ve been paying for primarily through an education fund my grandparents set up for me. Since I didn’t go to University/College after graduation and have no immediate plants to they were ok with me tapping into this fund for the Tea Sommelier certification courses. I’m done about three/eight now, and I decided that at this point I was interested in purchasing some more traditional teaware – and my Grandma OKed me taking some money from that fund to do so! That’s the long story version of my saying, “Recently I made an order with Camellia Sinensis for some teaware and they included several free teas such as this one”.
Personally, I’ve never really sought to purchase an EG blend from Camellia Sinensis; I do enjoy Earl Grey but not enough to need more than one good kind on hand (and currently I’m loving the Liquid Proust’s Peach vs. Bergamot twist on the traditional Earl Grey) and when I’m ordering from Camellia Sinensis, which I frequently do, it’s more for the interesting and often unique straight/pure teas they carry or for the teaware.
That said, I’m grateful for the inclusion: I love the fact this Earl Grey is both organic and fair trade as those as aspects of tea I look to support as often as possible. This sample was a sachet style tea bag, and I ended up making it early in the morning before work. I have to say, I thought the dry leaf smelled fairly mild and quite floral and even as it was steeping up I was noticing more floral traits than anything overwhelmingly bergamot-heavy. However, the taste wasn’t bad! I enjoyed how smooth and clean the overall flavour was in addition to the light floral notes and medium concentration of bergamot flavour. There was also a very natural sweetness which I was fond of. That said, I wouldn’t have minded if the bergamot was a little stronger. For people who really LOVE Earl Grey and drink it on a more daily basis this could be perceived as a little light handed.
Overall, not a ‘stand out’ Earl Grey but a solid choice if you’re already placing a Camellia Sinensis order and want to do all your shopping in one place. And like I pointed out, the fact it’s Organic and Fair Trade (and still reasonably priced) makes it a tea easy to get behind.
yay for interesting teas! thanks for sending me this one omgsrsly i am quite enjoying this this afternoon. we tired the dog out at the dog park and then proceeded to make orange cupcakes with marshmallow cream frosting, dry rub ribs and later there will be awesome potatoes and salad in the house too!
this tea is just different. I can’t place the aroma, though there’s a familiarity to it. there’s a slight almost mint, but not mint taste to this one..the taste kind of reminds me of what outside smells like on the west coast…those early mornings on the island when the tide’s going out, it’s rained over night, and you’re walking through the trees on the trails… inhale….breath deeply…that’s what this tastes like. so good.
my other half better appreciate me. We got him a bike before the wedding, now he’s getting a car and he volunteered to dog sit for 4 days…at our place. sheesh! lol the things i let him get away with. Finished off this tea today and it was an enjoyable cup. Still have a bunch of sipdowns i want to try and get through over the next three days. but i’m glad that some of those cups will be tasty cups of tea like this one.
sample from evol ving ness thanks for letting me revisit this one. I think i liked it a little better today – something about the coconut today just hit the spot. it’s still not a tea that i need to keep in my cupboard, as i’m always afraid of the coconut going rancid while it’s in the cupboard. But this is a nice one to have from time to time.
Another one from VariaTEA I was looking forward to trying this one because it’s a favourite of the girls and yet, i’ve never gotten around to ordering it or trying it from them. Sadly, this one fell a little flat for me. It’s a decent coconut black, but i was not getting any real sense of the pinapple – which i think would have made it a much more interesting blend for me. that being said, still tasty and i did enjoy finishing this one up!