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Recent Tasting Notes
When I first started drinking loose leaf tea, I began with black tea with milk and sugar. Someone suggested a golden monkey as being super sweet, so I bought some and added sugar. YUCK! I tried honey. YUCK! I felt betrayed by the tea-recommending stranger.
Then I tasted it plain and went….“Oooooh, this is delicious! It really is sweet on its own.” And I haven’t looked back. Now it is rarer than rare for me to add sugar to tea.
My favorite GM teas are Harney and Sons and Teavivre’s. This is a nice one, too. Much better than Teavana’s! We had it with Inside Out Pumpkin Muffins at tea time today and it was a great pairing. I hadn’t realized how wonderfully Golden Monkey would pair with pumpkin! I simply chose a good plain black tea for starters as usual, but I think I will keep this pairing in mind because a lot of our desserts will be pumpkin theme for the next couple of months.
Today I celebrate that the killer humidity has abated, with gentle cool breezes even. I could have worn sleeves today, it was so nice out.
Sugar cane with the vaguest hint of apricot in the first steep, or so my deliriously contented tastebuds told me. Super fab.
I am on my third steep now and have just eaten a maple sugar walnut tart. Heaven all round.
Flavors: Apricot, Caramel, Sugarcane
This one was way too astringent for me. The vanilla bean and strong cherry undertone of the black tea were pretty nice, but the astringency coupled with the vanilla turned it into something like molasses. It is naturally sweet and the chocolate notes really aren’t too off, it’s just too strong. A splash of milk did tone it down nicely though.
I was going to be patient, but this little package begged to drink. One smell, and I recognized the high mountain peach scent of the dry leaf.
This was a high quality tea that you could Gong Fu or steep Western. The 15 sec rinse yielded a creamy mouthfeel that some might call floral. It was a little bit fruity, maybe something like coconut or peach, but was silky smooth and lubricating. Four more cups later, which will soon be five (that turned to six), and I got a lovely array of flavors. I went from 30 seconds to “over steeping” it quick. The over steep yielded something like the Misty Mountain, and I can only guess that this was a Qin Xin varietal since it has the creamy peach note.
In summary: a lovely high mountain oolong with a great mouth feel, and all the usually awesome dimensions of its varietal. The fruitiness and florals were more subsided than I’ve had in others, but the lilac was incredibly present in the aroma. Mouthfeel dominates with a very light fruity sweetness. I’ve had sweeter ones before, but again, it really doesn’t matter because of the mouthfeel. I would probably use this as an introduction to high mountain oolongs for a newb since it’s so flexible to brew. Not too sure about the price. I am sure of the joy of sampling this, and how awesome Evol Ving Ness is!
Interesting. I decided to Gong Fu this whole sample too since the scent was faint in the bag. I could maybe tell it was a Jin Xuan with ginseng even without the “milk scent” indicating that possibility. Or it could be a Tie Guan Yin with the creamy florals. It’s on the greener side anyway, but still earthy.
The first steep had an interesting taste and smell. Some floral lilacs with a powerful sweet and earthy ginseing, and some creamy hints. The liqour itself was definitely a green milky oolong with the ginseng slowly opening up into a fruity character. The combined profile was like a hot liquid version of a Pina Colada Jamba Juice-but with stronger hints of other tropical fruit. I could be over describing the sweet ginseng-but something like papaya, mango-or barely pineapple.
The next few cups were a swish back and forth from spinach, minerals, to the florals, and the tropicals. A part of me wonders if I was less impulsive and brewed this western with less leaves: that is, if I would have gotten a more subtle tea. I probably would have gotten the same thing, or so I think as I sip.
Glad that this was a sample because I’m not a huge fan of ginseng oolongs. This, however, made me rethink the dimensions that ginseng can yield with a greener oolong. I’m pretty impressed with the topical fruit character that this tea was able to yield, and am glad to have had it. Thank you Evol Ving Ness!
Doncha just love it when you can consider tea as “mediciine”???
I developed a headache earlier and was almost(but not really!) glad for the opportunity to have tea with a purpose. Seriously! Caffeine + tylenol = remedy nods
Anyhow. I decided I wanted to have this iced, with milk and a bit of honey. At first I was kinda regretting it. The flavours weren’t really working for me somehow. But after awhile things seemed to gel and I really enjoyed it! I was definitely sad when the giant mug was empty. So yeah, if you wanna try this baby cold, let it sit for awhile first :)
I guess I’ll have to write a proper review with tasting notes another time. But if I recall correctly, this is pretty mild, malty, and just a hint bready when hot.
This actually came to me from the last GCTTB. Nilgiri isn’t a tea I often see sold as a single estate tea, it’s a type of tea that, like Ceylon, is usually fairly unremarkable and used more often as a base for flavoured teas than as something to be enjoyed plain. But this tea is quite interesting, its flavour reminds me distinctly of a Darjeeling with the drying astringency. It has those grape-y, wine likes notes that I usually get from an offering from Margaret’s Hope estates thousands if a miles to the north.
This is a Tea, that at least to my personal taste, benefits from a light touch with the leafing. Use to much and the malt overpowers any of the delicate nuances found underneath it. It can be quite a potent Tea and easily yields 4 steeps even with lighter leafing. I used @1.5 TSP per 275 ml of boiling water.
Complex spice notes overlay a mix of stone fruit, honey and malt notes mixed with lighter notes of cocoa and biscuit in the first steep. By the second steep, the malt has intensified and the spice is almost floral. The cocoa notes are also stronger in the second steep.
Overall a nice complex Assam with the spiciness I tend to appreciate in my favourites.
I know I just reviewed this tea yesterday , but I saved the leaves from yesterday and brewed them up this morning. I wanted to resteep yesterday but I ended up out of the house most of the day.
I was surprised to taste this today and find that it was just as good as yesterday. That deserves an increase in rating!
I got this in a fantastic package from Evol Ving Ness! Thank you so much!
Normally, Ceylon isn’t generally my favourite base but pair it with vanilla and it’s delicious! I detect slight cocoa and cherry notes in here too or maybe I am just crazy. The vanilla is smooth and tastes natural.
Capital Teas is now on my list to order from! Thanks Evol…;)
Thank you Dexter for the share! I ended up dumping the whole sample in a large mug and it is making for a very nice tea. A bit brisk at the end of the sip but mostly smooth. There is also a touch of astringency at the top of the tea layered onto a more honey/malt base. It’s interesting and has a touch of muscatel but not something I need to keep stocked by any means. Still, I am grateful for the chance to try something new!
I am still sick with a bad cold or flu or something nasty. I might be getting better, but it may be too soon to tell. I was in two different hospitals and two doctor’s offices last week, so likely I picked up all the germs that were on offer.
This is good: the tea, not the germs and the experience.. My tastebuds are still far from a hundred percent, but I am enjoying this one with a teaspoon or less of honey. I imagine it would be good with a generous squeeze of lemon or orange.
I’d like the ginger to be far more intense though. Maybe that will happen when my tastebuds begin to come back.
A bit of upheaval here. Both good and bad chaos all at once.
I know, I know—vague-book much?
When things get crazy in my world, I am not in the mood for experimentation with new teas. I want delicious, and I want reliable. I want to have a good idea of what my cup is going to taste like and do for me.
Hence, this tea. The flavours are pure and straightforward: a beautiful vanilla and ceylon.
When life is complicated, this is my cure. I will save cups of surprises for sane quiet afternoons.
Such vanilla deliciousness!I woke up craving a straight vanilla custard type black tea and yes! -this is it. A big glug of milk provided the custard smoothness. Exactly what I was thinking about as I was making a tea decision this morning. The scent is divine, the taste intoxicating.
I am not a huge fan of Ceylon but this one is wow.
Flavors: Custard, Malt, Vanilla
This is from a sample Christina sent to me. It didn’t look like the type of tea I would choose but I gave it a try this morning.
This tea surprised me. Long dark spindly leaves. The dry leaves had a slight fruity , raisin smell to them. Brewed 2 min at 95C. Pulled out the infuser and what? Green leaves from black tea? Yep, the leaves when infused turned green.
This is not a bold black but it has loads of flavour. Very fruity with a bit of malt. There a slight buttery base in it too. It’s a little like the moonlight teas. It’s just so mild and tasty. So much fruity flavour!
I don’t often reach for blacks. I have to be in the mood for them but this one is one of those blacks that seems to be a bit of a crossover from the lighter teas. I really love this one! I see it’s from Capital Teas and I’ve never ordered from them before. That means Capital Teas may be on my order lists in the future (once I’ve sipped down my teas to a reasonable level.)
Thanks Christina for this one!
Flavors: Butter, Fruity, Malt, Raisins
A very pleasant, middle-of-the-road Ceylon. Somewhat mild, with muted briskness. The initial hints of chocolate and smoke did not impress, but the lush taste of tart raisins in the final brew won me back.
First infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz water, 90 deg., 1:30 min.
Second infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 5:00 min.
Third infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, boiling, 10:00 min.
Quite the lip-smacking first flush, this one. Robust, thick, and full-bodied, it fills the mouth with first flush goodness. Not for those who prefer a lighter tea.
First infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz water, 90 deg., 1:45 min.
Second infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 4:00 min.
Third infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, boiling, 10:00 min.
Well of the three keemuns I bought from Capital Tea Ltd, this one has noticeably smaller, broken up leaves. It brews up into a rich, full-bodied liquor with mild-moderate astringency. The flavour is complex and hard to characterize – a bit of malt, a bit of spice, a bit of wood and dried fall leaves maybe? It’s a good, solid tea and I suspect it would be good with milk. Reminds me a bit of an assam, actually, but with just a hint of smoke if I really concentrate.
Whoa, weird. I had this earlier today and mostly I just remember being surprised that it was a keemun, because it tasted kind of like an Indian/Sri Lankan tea, kind of medium bodied and with slightly floral/vegetal notes. And now I come online and find out it’s supposed to be biscuit and chocolate, lol. Might have to try it again before coming to a conclusion. :)
The leaves of this one are small, curly, dark, and shiny. They remind me a little of Laoshan Black. The scent of the dry leaves is mild and hay-like. The liquor is malty and a sweet, but also has a juicy quality that is quite distinct from the yunnan black I had earlier. I get notes of cocoa, caramel, and burnt sugar. This is quite tasty.
The dry leaves of this one are really lovely – lots of fuzzy golden buds. They’re pretty light and fluffy, so my standard 3g turned out to be 2-3 tsp. The dry aroma is light and a bit spicy. The liquor has a classic yunnan base flavour – rich, malty and earthy… and then there are some spicy and fruity notes in the aroma and at the end of the sip. It does have that creamy mouthfeel from the fuzzy leaves. It’s a very good but fairly typical tippy yunnan black. It’ll be interesting to see how it compares to the other teas in my order. :)