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Recent Tasting Notes
This might be my last tasting note until Tuesday, yipes! I have a long, long trip ahead of me and need to cram in as much hanging out with people and last minute packing as possible…plus most my good tea gear is all packed up. One of the reasons this tea is brewed in my gaiwan rather than my Wuyi special Yixing teapot. The aroma of the leaves is a blend of cocoa, smoke, tobacco, and a touch of fruit. The cocoa note is at the forefront, which is pretty nice. Usually I am used to my Yancha’s having a much stronger kick of char, but I run into milder ones on occasion. The brewed leaves have a stronger char smell, but also a cocoa, bready, and slight frutiness to it. Ooooh the liquid smells super fruity and sweet. Yum!
Very smooth mouth feel and super sweet are the first things I notice, hardly any char taste at all, just sweet plum juice and cocoa. It is pretty mild, but I am using a brewing technique that is different from my usual of boiling water, tons of leaf, and flash steeping.
You know one of my favorite things about this TTB? I can let my tasting notes be freeform, usually I have my notebook and take detailed notes, but if I was to actually blog/write those as a review, it would be a mess. With these I can just let my thoughts flow as I sip my tea. The second steep has a little more of that distinctive char and tobacco leaf taste I am used to, along with some strong fruity notes that just do not quit. It kinda reminds me of Verdant’s DHP in its mildness. Still not sure how I feel about a mild Yancha overall, but I can certainly say this one hit the spot for me this morning.
And now, to go bake a giant brownie!
mmm Red Jade tea smells so good, it smells dark and fruity, like stewed plums and some dark chocolate with a hard to describe sharp undertone that is almost minty but is not…it is certainly cooling. There is also a touch of sassafras, but it is very slight. The brewed leaves take on a tinge of yam, as does the liquid, it is rich and sweet and I cannot wait to sip it. Gotta wait so I don’t burn my tongue.
Delicious, rich and malty with a sweet sassafras taste a bit of plum and some mint-like cooling. The taste is not minty, just the sensation. I love red jade because it is one of the more unique tea tastes I have run into.
The second steep is much the same but richer and has more of a fruity quality to is. Perfect for an autumn evening me thinks
Such cute little spiraled leaves, I did a little rummaging around on the interwebs to find out about this particular Gong Yi and it is usually jasmine scented. This particular batch does not seem to be jasmine scented at all, just smelling like fresh green vegetation. The brewed leaves have a bready, yeasty, almost hoppy quality…it does not really smell like tea, more like sourdough starter! The liquid has more of a fresh vegetation and asparagus aroma to go along with yeasty bread, certainly not a jasmine tea!
That taste is surprisingly mild and sweet, it still has a bready quality, like I just bit into one of those flaky dinner rolls (man I really could go for some bread right now!) but with honey sweetness and a slightly sauteed bok choy taste at the finish. This tea is certainly interesting, not sure I like it or not.
I need some oolong to get me out of my funk, let’s hope old favorite Li Shan will do the trick. The aroma is sweet and buttery with a slightly spicy quality, like spicebush flowers, along with a touch of orchid. The brewed leaves smell spicy, buttery, and fairly mild, more green than floral. The liquid is buttery and sweet, like cream and a touch of spinach. Li Shan can be a complicated oolong sometimes, I think each one I have had has been similar yet different.
The taste, ah, that really does hit the spot! It is mellow and sweet on the first steeping, like honey with a bit of cream and a green quality. There is a bit of a stale, cardboard quality that I picked up once it got a bit chilled, so not going to do that with the second steep. Speaking of, it is pretty intensely floral which fades to buttery smoothness and greenness.
I am using this tasting note for two purposes, ooooh. If you just follow me here and don’t read my tea blog, be warned, I am either unwell or not adjusting to my meds being upped, suitably so that concentrating is just not happening. My reviews would be terrible, so I am taking a couple days off to recuperate/adjust to my meds.
Anyway, tea! The aroma of the dried leaves is nice and sweet, honeysuckle nectar and orchids with a bit of a sweet yeasty smell. Mmm the brewed leaves and the tea smell super heady and sweet, with mainly honeysuckles and orchids, there is a little hint of stems and yeasty bread as well.
The taste is sweet and green, with floral notes that linger. Yum, AliShan never is disappointing.
I feel icky, that means I need a Roasted Oolong to sooth me soul, instead of reaching for a favorite I decided to try something new. The aroma of the leaves is very roasted, notes of tobacco and burnt toast with a tiny hint of burnt sugar. The brewed tea is very roasted, charcoal, tobacco, and burnt toast notes, no notes of sweetness. The liquid is charcoal and tobacco, this is going to be one potent tea!
There is a slight fruity sweetness I was not expecting, by fruity I mean pumpkin…are pumpkins fruit? The taste is a mix of pumpkin and coal, it is unlike any roasted Dong Ding I have ever had…it manages to be unusual and somewhat plain.
Ah, the second steep brings a more nuanced aroma of not so burnt toast, spicebush, and a bit of roasted grain. The taste is pretty bland, notes of pumpkin, charcoal, and spicebush, it is a soothing kinda bland though.
I find it funny how some things can present totally different to me from how they present to others.
Contrary to the other review on this tea I found the scent of the dry leaves to be clean and sweet. While I agree that the brew was not vegetal, I would rather say that while it was slightly on the sweet side, it was more on the more astringent side, especially as you go deeper into the cup. That a thing about some of these, some of them have the tendency to have all the flavor settle towards the bottom of the cup, even if you brew in an entirely different vessel.
While on the deeper side of oolongs, I wouldn’t classify this as roasted. I know, my world of oolongs tend to be separated into ‘green’, ‘roasted’ and ‘not roasted, not green’. Lol. I would say that this is a slightly ‘rounder’ feeling oolong, if that makes sense. It tastes more mature.
Mouthfeel is clean, but taste is lingering (in a totally good way!). There’s little to no dryness. I feel like this is a tea that I wouldn’t necessarily enjoy the process of drinking often, but I enjoy the effects of drinking. The lingering taste and the aroma of this tea is very nice.
I took a late evening nap that ran too long and consequentially was wide awake in the middle of the night even without the aid of any tea. So why not?
This Dong Ding is much less roasted than I’m used to for a Dong Ding oolong. The taste is light as perhaps a tad more mature…. it’s not a green oolong, but it doesn’t have the characteristic roasted aroma and nuttiness I associate with roasted oolongs, well maybe a touch of nuttiness, but light, like sunflower seeds. The liquor is not very sweet and has a touch floral that lends towards the nose.
This tea smells green when you first add hot water, but settles down to a nice not-quite-black tea smell that is subtly floral.
Slightly vegetal and even a tiniest hint of smoke, this is definitely a different experience from the 2013 autumn. I don’t get very much sweetness, but the mouthfeel is still full and smooth. A tad drying though.
The dry leaf was short, a brown-tan color, and slightly twisted.
The brewed leaf bloomed into a slightly larger leaf, but not by much. The color became more green.
The liquor is a light tan color, leaning on the color of brown paper bags, but perhaps not as warm.
I’m no connoisseur of Darjeelings, but I think this tea smells lovely.
The taste is smooth, sweet, and earthy. The mouthfeel is full and not drying.
It’s just yummy.
Try as I might I cannot get much of a smell out of the dry leaves, it could be because I am coming down with a cold my boyfriend so sweetly brought home from work. After steeping, yummm the leaves smell very sweet like fresh hay and ripe cherries. There is a hint of sea air in there as well. The liquid is light, a hint of hay and cherries.
Tasty, tasty! A bit of fresh hay, cut grass, and cherries. That cherry taste lingers in the aftertaste for a while. Has a little bit of a dry mouth at the finish.
Mmm the aroma is so creamy sweet and yummy with notes of dried fruit, cocoa, and roasted peanuts. Ok, that is the aroma of the liquid, sadly the dry leaves had not much in the way of a smell.
The first steep is smooth and very sweet, having a cherry and plum sweetness along with honey and a bit of sweet potato. The second steep is still very smooth and sweet, maintaining the fruity notes but also adding a touch of cocoa. Yum, just what I needed this morning.
This one did not have too much of an aroma, just a bit of toasted nuts and green beans. Steeping the leaves brings out a sharp vegetal aroma, like kale and artichoke. The liquid is green beans and spinach, not a very sweet smelling dragonwell.
This doesn’t taste like any dragonwell I have ever had, it tastes more like a yun wu with cherry and lychee notes and distinct spinach and Brussels sprout taste. There is a tiny hint of the expected toasty taste, but mostly it is all vegetal and slightly sweet.
The second steep has more of the typical toasted sesame and green bean taste that I am used to, but it does still have a strong spinach and Brussels sprout taste, which is a neat take on it. I kinda like it!
So this is a tea that has been on my ‘to try’ list for over a year, I was fascinated by the elevated GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-Aminobutyric_acid ) in the tea. Fun and totally useless fact, my main medication for controlling my Fibromyalgia (and other things…added benefit) is Gabapentin, yep, same GABA! Luckily the amount is pretty small (average 280mg per 100g) so I don’t have to worry about OD’ing or anything. The aroma of the wet leaves is pretty sweet, like burnt sugar, plums, and a touch of toast. After steeping the leaves have a very distinct stewed plums and cherry aroma, it smells more like dessert than tea! The liquid is a blend of stewed plums, cherries, apricot (what is this, a compote?) and spicebush.
How interesting! It doesn’t taste like any oolong I have ever had, it is woody, sweet, and fruity with a distinctly sour cherry finish. Makes my salivary glands happy, though as of steep one I am not sure what I think of the taste. It is really mild but still has distinct flavors. My mouth is confused!!!
The aroma of the second steep is still very fruity and the spice is stronger (why do I suddenly hear sandworms in the distance?) the taste is sweet, not that sourness from the first steep…well, certainly not as strong. At the finish there is still some sourness. The majority of the taste is fruity but there is still not much going on, it tastes almost watered down which is surprising considering the leaves are pushing the lid of my gaiwan up. There is also a slight bitterness at the finish. I still do not know what to think of this tea.
Oooh the aroma on this one is fun! It is floral and sweet like one would expect from an Alishan (for some reason their slightly yeasty sweetness reminds me of destroying angel mushrooms, but I am a weirdo) but with a slightly toasty aroma at the finish. Once I give the tea a short steep the aroma turns almost perfumed with the intensity of the orchid and honeysuckle explosion from the now wet leaves. There is also a gentle hint of spicebush, yum! The liquid is a blend of flowers, toast, and spicebush, it is quite sweet and enjoyable to sniff.
Oh man, that first sip is fantabulous! Sweet, floral, and surprisingly fruity! Like honey and lychees with a healthy dose of honeysuckle nectar. The aftertaste is spicebush. Oddly for a baked tea it doesn’t have any real toasty notes as of steep one.
The second steep somehow manages to be even sweeter, it is very much so like I took a floral oolong and poured lychee juice into it, pretty intense! Like the previous steep it has a spicebush finish to it. I really liked this tea!
There was only a teeny tiny bit of this tea left, enough to make a fairly small cup, so I decided to go western style instead of using my gaiwan. I have really liked western brewed Bi Luo Chun in the past, so I expect tasty things. The aroma of the dry leaves was pretty faint, a distant hint of vegetal and green-ness.
The taste reminds me more of a low quality dragonwell than a Bi Luo Chun, there were strong notes of spinach and green beans with a hint of toasted sesame, I did not get any of the fruity lychee notes I associate with Bi Luo Chun. Even though it caught me off guard, I am ok with that! Luckily I really like those flavor profiles (one of the reasons I have low quality Dragonwell around just so I can quickly chug a cup) so it was not a loss.
Flavors: Green Beans, Spinach, Toasty
Holy mackerel this tea is delicious! It tastes like a blend between a 20yr aged Yancha (shui xian variety) and a Hong Shui…two teas that I am gaga about. The aroma of the dry leaves is pretty faint, a bit of smoke and caramel with a hint of tobacco, the wet leaves come alive with the same aromas but stronger and a touch of distant orchids. The liquid is smoky, burnt sugar, tobacco, and a touch of loam.
The taste is pretty intense…loamy, caramelized sugar, tobacco, smoke…delicious! With each steep it gets sweeter and a touch floral…like the ghost of the possibly floral oolong it was before.
I really need to try more aged oolongs, they never let me down..
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Loam, Orchid, Smoke
I plan on doing as mj did and drink the darjeelings in chronological order. First up – first flush. This tea was greener than I thought it would be. Smallish green and brown leaves. They really bloom up when they steep. The tea ends up being a deep yellow color. It’s a little vegetal and bitter. Reminds me of a mild green tea.
My first from the Butiki TTB2. I’ve never had a purple tea before and it’s definitely something different. It tasted like a mix of green and black teas. It gets vegetal from green and bitter from black. If I didn’t have so many other teas to try I would definitely try this with different temperatures and times.
The leaves again looked pretty much like the other 2nd and autumn flushes- thin, short, and brown. The liquor was a light sienna and smelled earthy and sweet. The taste was similar to the 2011 autumn (wine, earth, oak), but muskier. I’m not sure if muskier is the right word, but that’s as close as I can get right now. Also, it was less astringent than the 2011 autumn flush, although discounting that I preferred the flavor of the 2011 to this one.
Flavors: Earth, Oak wood, Red Wine