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Recent Tasting Notes
Got this tiny specimen from a friend who once gave me the Sabah Tea from her trip in Malaysia, the same place where this mentioned case was brought as well. The first thing she described it was like drinking liquid helium balloons, which frankly tilted my scale completely towards trying it. Would be interesting to mull a piece of foil tasting like helium on one’s tongue, and partially she had it right; it really did carry a remarkably similar taste to it on the first try. Or I just fell a victim to the evil power of self-suggestion and her divine carrot cake. Anyhow.
Now that she was kind enough to shove some of it to me for further examining and devouring, I have found myself mulling over the palate and scent over and over on each sip.
The nagging feel of it possibly being oolong (or at least close to it) grows by every sip. The color of the tea is very pale mixture of green and yellow, and after a couple of minutes it’s definitely yellow without any bitter tones in it, so I could assume it to be either very pure green or oolong. Also the way the leaves were presented reminded me of the earlier tried Tit Kon Yum with rough way of shaping the leaves. The somehow roasted sweetness of it tilts the idea further towards the mighty O instead of G. Very light, maybe even refreshing, and the balloon that was wrapped around my tongue the first time drinking this takes off in the air, giving just a vague sense of..something..lingering on the tongue. A pinch of helium tickling the tonsils, nothing more. The missing floral notes are actually a delightful surprise, as the palate goes down more into ripe fruit, regrettably with a vanishing aftertaste.
The wet leaves give a much stronger sensory stimulus in the nose when compared to the dry leaves and the actual tea and, surprisingly, there is where I instantly find the missing balloons. Up and away, then.
So when my roommate gave me a chunk of her pu’erh a few days ago, she also asked if I wanted to try the other tea she routinely drinks – lotus leaf tea. Apparently you buy a stack of lotus leaves from an asian grocery store, break them into large chunks, and steep them in boiling water to make a herbal tea?
Anyways! Trying it today.
The leaf chunks really had no scent. Maybe a touch like dry leaves, but nothing remarkable, I don’t think.
Upon touching the hot water, the leaves start to release this familiar vegetal smell. Not like that that I’ve gotten from green teas, but it’s familiar. Perhaps it’s just reminding me of broken tree leaves. Or a pile of damp leaves in the fall. Pleasant.
The tea also tastes that same sort of vegetal. Except now, I’m getting an association – with kelp. Dried kelp. Or something along those lines. A little bit salty, almost. Very interesting. Makes me think of seaweed broth or something.
Anyhow, interesting experience! Probably not something I’d choose to drink again myself, but I would drink it if offered.
So one of my roommates (not the aforementioned roommate I often share tea with) is Chinese, and I frequently see her drinking tea, but made nothing of it until one time I saw her breaking off a piece of a round brick of tea to steep. I thought it was kind of cool, but still didn’t think too much about it. She called it black tea; I didn’t question it. Until today. It occurred to me that what she was drinking was probably pu’erh – so I caught her and asked, and sure enough, it is! Apparently her family went into an asian grocery and found the dustiest-looking box of pu’erh they had to buy. To each their own; that wouldn’t scream buy me to me! She offered to let me try a piece and I happily accepted – I love trying new things! She tells me that the way she drinks it is to brew it in boiling water and leave it in the cup as she drinks it, so it gets quite strong. I opted to use half the amount she usually does, and stick it in a teaball so I could remove it after a few minutes.
As it was steeping, I noticed some mildly fishy smells coming from it, along with some rich earthiness. Not unpleasant. Either now that I’m aware that fishiness can be a characteristic of pu’erhs, it concerns me less, or I’ve just grown used to it (from my wealth of experience trying two flavoured pu’erhs from DavidsTea), I’m not sure.
Taste-wise, it’s quite pleasant. Definitely earthy, but nothing like the dirt that the bagged pu’erh I tried a couple days ago was. It’s kind of reminding me of the piece inside a pistachio shell, not part of the edible nut, but coating it and attaching it to the hard shell. Er, I should probably be able to figure out what that part is botanically, but I’m really tired right now. REALLY tired. You’d never know that I just drank a whack of caffeinated tea.
Anyways, that’s what it reminds me of. I’m not tasting fishiness, and that aroma has pretty much dissipated. This is definitely a different sort of tea, but it’s growing on me with every sip. A nice change from flavoured. I’m now looking even more forward to my Verdant order arriving!!
I still have the other half-chunk she gave me; I think I’ll try that one more gong-fu style, including one or two rinses to begin with, since that seems to be the norm with pu’erhs.
I took a picture of the little box; I will try to post it on here (maybe from my phone?!) and perhaps someone can tell me what it is! Or where it’s from! Or something!