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Recent Tasting Notes
Finally getting around to having space in my cupboard to open a few more teas that i haven’t tried. This is one of those sorts of teas. I need to have this one again, to really reflect on it. I remember enjoying it, but i can’t recall why or to what extent. overall a positive tea drinking experience but i’ll have to write a more proper note when i get to having it again.
From the last round of the Great Canadian Traveling Teabox.
Ugh, I don’t know what it is about this tea but I’m really not liking it at all. I’ve had chrysanthemum in teas before but never by itself and the I’m finding the flavour to be rather off-putting. It has a musty, slightly bitter-herb flavour that reminds me very much of how the mums I plant in the garden smell. Bleh, I don’t know if I can finish the cup to be honest.
Took me a while to get around to trying this tea. Bought it quite a while ago. Didn’t gongfu it. Brewed it western style. It is a fairly pleasant tasting tea with light roasted notes, very light. The leaves are green and do not look roasted but that is what I taste.
I brewed this once in an 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 190 degree water for 3 min.
Mmmm, big thank you to Anlina for giving me a sample of this to try. :) I admit, I remembered the “omg chocolate-covered raisins!” description while steeping this, so I was probably a bit primed to taste that, but yeah, this is a very raisin-y tea! It’s also smooth, rich, malty, full-bodied, with some of that classic yunnan black earthiness and a lingering sweetness. Tasty. :)
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Raisins, Sweet
This tea is one that I don’t properly know how to describe. It tastes nothing like a raw puerh, and nothing like a ripe puerh. It is not bitter but the main flavor is not one I would describe as sweet or for that matter sour. It is closer to a salty flavor if anything. Is this what they call umami? I don’t know. I stored this tea in my pumidor with my sheng as Dragon Tea House calls it raw puerh. It does not seem to have taken on the flavor of the sheng in my pumidor. I don’t love or hate this tea but I don’t think I would buy it again if I ever ran out.
I steeped this six times in a 170ml teapot with 11g leaf and 200 degree water. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, and 20 sec. I should also mention that this tea developed the color of a black tea if anything by the second infusion. I think you would get at least ten or twelve infusions out of this tea but I didn’t like it enough to continue after six infusions.
It has the honeyed barley taste I’ve come to think of when I hear Da Hong Pao .For the price this tea makes me very happy , $6.99 for 50g and free shipping so its a good deal. You do wait awhile for shipping though.
Flavors: Honey, Roasted Barley
After years of contract work, consulting, working from home, and other non-traditional work arrangements, I actually have a pretty normal job where most of my days are spent in an office. I have a space that’s mine, but I’m almost always in another room, so I’m travel mugging it, and this has become my go-to tea for travel mug steeping (even though I should be sipping down the way too much tea I already have in my cupboard, I keep ordering more of this.)
This tea is so, so flexible and forgiving, which is a wonderful quality for steeping in a travel mug. I can use two, three or four pagodas for a 16oz cup, steep from 3 min to indefinitely, use 96C water or much cooler and always get a delicious cup that’s not astringent or bitter. It’s also one of the few teas that I find worth resteeping western-style.
Lighter cups are very malty and chocolatey. Long steeps with lots of tea bring out very rich, almost meaty notes, with a hint of tartness. There are lots of faces to this tea and all of them are good.
The flavour and quality has also been consistent over multiple purchases and multiple years, which I appreciate.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Meat
Yesterday my partner and I decided to go on a mini road trip, to see how the landscape is melting and to try out the new truck on some dirt roads. We drove the loop in Nopoming Provincial Park, which is north of the Whiteshell, along the Manitoba-Ontario border. It’s a lot more rugged and less developed than the Whiteshell, and much quieter at all times of year, which, in my opinion, makes it far superior. When I’m camping or in the wilderness, people are the last thing I want around.
The prairies at this time of year are fairly dull. While I generally see them with an artist’s eye, and appreciate the nuances of all the different colours and textures, even those subtle differences are flattened in the post melt, pre bloom of spring. The fields, trees and ditches blend together into a fairly uniform grey-brown, contrasted with the uniform blue and deep green of the sky and evergreens. Add to that the road and the clouds, and you have five colours for this season.
Once you hit Canadian shield, the landscape gets more interesting – shield is always a less subtle beauty than the stark flatness of the prairies (and so utterly flat, in a way that I haven’t experienced anywhere outside of Manitoba.) The rock, interspersed with mixed forest of fir, spruce, poplar and the occasional birch, creates a macro texture, while the lichens covering the surface of the rock, and striations of broken sedimentary rock that protrude along the side of the road add a more subtle and delicate texture. Lakes, rivers and streams frequently abut or cross the winding road that undulates over granite that the road builders chose not to remove.
I sipped a travel mug of this as we drove, prepared earlier. Two pagodas, steeped for five minutes in 14oz of water yielded a rich, deep tasting brew, full of cocoa, malt and sweet potato. A good choice, whose flavour held up well in the travel mug, which seems to inevitably carry some trace of other flavours, no matter what I do.
I got a second excellent steep out of the two pagodas later in the evening, still rich and deep tasting.
The directions on the package recommend three pagodas per cup, but that is without a doubt overkill. Each one is at least the equivalent of a teaspoon of tea, possibly closer to two.
Between sharing these and drinking them often, they’ll be gone soon, and this will be a definite restock. They taste wonderful and the shape is also wonderfully suited to steeping without a strainer, and so, quite convenient.
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes
Oh man these are good! I wasn’t expecting too much – I mostly picked them up because they looked cute and I like Dian Hong, but I’m impressed.
I steeped two pagodas in my 50ml gaiwan in 96C water. I didn’t time any of the steeps, just watched the colour of the tea. The tea soup is a deep mahogany red.
Both the dry leaf and the tea smell rich and malty.
The flavour of this is great – really strong, rich notes of dark chocolate, malt and sweet potatoes. It has that richness that’s edging into bitterness that dark chocolate has, but no unpleasant bitterness like oversteeped or poor quality tea. Super smooth. The first few steeps are quite sweet, and the sweetness fades a bit and the flavour takes on a slight woody edge in later steeps.
After a few steeps the pagodas fully open and fill my gaiwan. They’re not as pretty as blooming teas – the pagodas don’t stay oriented upwards, but it’s still lovely to watch.
I didn’t keep track, but I think I got somewhere between 7 and 9 steeps out of these before I gave up, though I could probably get a couple of more if I was inclined.
I’m so pleased I picked these up!
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Wood
Drinking this again – I had to share some with my sweetie. They literally yelled and scared the crap out of me on their first sip. It was a good yell of surprise, at how much this tea tastes exactly like liquid Glossette Raisins. Sweet, milk chocolate and raisin flavours. So gooood.
Flavors: Chocolate, Raisins, Sweet
Oh this is goooooooood. I will need to taste it again in the future and pay more attention but right now I’m just loving that it tastes and smells like chocolate covered raisins. This is the most raisiny tea I’ve ever had.
Flavors: Chocolate, Raisins
So far I am not too crazy about this tea, especially not for the price I paid for it. Maybe I am partial to Mi Lan Xiangs, but I found this to be a slight bit on the boring side. I don’t think this tea is scented with osmanthus.
I steeped it up in the yixing this afternoon. It has a light, roasted flavor and a gentle floral aroma, which accounts for the osmanthus name, I guess. I tried it with some various steeping times, 20 seconds, 30 seconds, 60 seconds, and around 190F water.
I got some light fruit and floral notes but this isn’t anything special in my opinion. I know dan congs can be fussy, so I will keep trying to see if I can do something that makes it wonderful. With my next batch I will use boiling water only, a bit more tea and very short steeps to see if that makes a difference.
I’m drinking the afternoon tea now. Sample I got from Dragon Tea house. :)
I don’t know what a cassia twig is supposed to smell like, but from the descriptions I have seen on the ’net I guess it is something like cinnamon bark?
I steeped this up in the yixing and it is certainly enjoyable. This is the 2nd Haiwan shu I’ve had recently that has been really nice. It is definitely mellow and earthy with a slight creaminess in the flavor. If you let it steep a bit longer it has a definite coffee type of flavor. Overall I am digging this. A nice shu without much fermentation flavor in my opinion…
Dry leaf: High compression; dark and smoky.
Wet leaf: Thick smoke; fruity; concentrated herbyness. Small leaves – possible plantation material.
Notes: This tea was removed from Dragon Tea House shortly after I ordered it.
The rinse was darker than usual. I could smell smoke when rinsing the leaves.
5s – Light brown liquor. Smells a bit smoky. The smoke is strong, but it is in the background. This isn’t particularly smooth as the flavour drops of early; the smoke lingers.
10s – Light brown liquor. Strong with tobacco smoke.
15s – Darker brown liquor. Tobacco on the sip. There is a surprisingly bright sweetness that gives light to the smoke.
20s –Medium brown liquor. Smoke is still there. There is a nice action with bitterness and the sweet finish. Liquor is thin.
25s – The bitterness is sparkling on the darker base with tobacco smoke in the background.
30s – Ligher brown. Base sheng taste – end of the session.
My 50 gram sample is composed of two small chunks and the rest, the other 80% is dust/tiny pieces of the cake. This suggests to me Dragon Tea House do not take this cake seriously. I found the tea quite boring and do not recommend it. According to the website this tea is no longer available!
Flavors: Fruity, Herbaceous, Smoke
Well, I was right about cold brewing this tea. It is interesting that way.
the cold brewing seems to have brought out more of the roasted flavor to the point where it’s reminding me of a hojicha. But it is also slightly buttery and floral. The bitterness is also a bit more present in the cold brew. I would say overall I prefer it hot with the short steeps because that brings out more of the delicate floral and light fruit notes.