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Recent Tasting Notes
Ok, I’m determined to get through a bunch of these Golden Tips samples this week. :) First up: Arya Ruby Darjeeling Organic Summer Black Tea (picked June 27, 2014, FTGFOP1). 3g in 10oz mug for 3min.
Leaves are mostly twisted and dark brown, with a few silver tips. It’s a fairly fluffy tea – 3g was almost 1tbsp. The aroma of the hot tea is really interesting, it’s kind of spicy and biscuity, not quite what I was expecting from a darjeeling! The flavour is complex and a bit hard to describe. There’s the “it tastes like tea” flavour that I usually get from Indian/Ceylon blacks. There’s a blend of fruity and floral notes. There’s a woody richness. It’s a bit sweet and quite smooth, with a bit of astringency building up as I get to the bottom of the mug. Very nice.
I’ve read the other reviews. They seemed positive. For me this is just OK. Today I upped the leaf and used hotter water (205 F), I also lengthened the steep time to 4 minutes. It made the cup less subtle but not leaps and bounds more. This starts out with a peppery bite that isn’t overly intense. Then it fades into a woodsy autumn leaf flavor. There is a hint of fruitiness. I ended up adding sweetener. It didn’t bring out anything new but it did enhance what was already there. I just wish it had more depth or more intensity.
Hmmm. I’m not sure what I think of this yet. I spent close to an hour putting my tea area in shape to do a blog post with pictures. I think I’ll wait now until I prepare this one again. Maybe I under leafed or under steeped. I used 195 F with a 3 minute steep. What I noticed was the leaf in the bag fluffed up after removing some. So really guessing I need more leaf. The flavors are all really light. Nothing else from Golden Tips has been this light. It’s tea, with some muscatel and woodsy notes. Just not enough to call this one, especially since the other reviewers seemed to like it.
I also chose this tea to bring to work today, I guess I was feeling dark this morning with some shou, wuyi oolong, and black darjeeling. I’m not really feeling it though after I steeped it lol. It’s very good, but I should have brought a green to work!
Overall, a nice darjeeling with some subtle sweetness and a slight fruit note (cherry maybe?). I’ll definitely drink this again when I’m feeling like drinking a black!
Flavors: Fruity, Sweet
Taking a very brief break from painting today, which makes me a sad Scourge, but I am still really shaky and loopy from my breathing treatment yesterday. Oh man, I have always hated those things, it has been several years since I was on a respirator, but I remember the side effects lasted for a couple days. Same reason I wait till I am desperate before I do my inhaler, because the side effects are unbelievably unpleasant. I am immersing myself in research, I expected my allergy tests to give me answers, not more questions, so I am doing my thing and taking to the internet in hopes that I can get some information on my supposed chronic sinus infection (and why my sense of smell is so acute if I do have one), why I can’t breathe though I show no signs of asthma activity at the moment, can my allergy tests be a false negative, and if so what to do about it. Luckily I have some medical training so I can read WebMD without thinking I am dying! SO MANY QUESTIONS!!
Ok, enough of the quirks of my body, it is time for tea! Specifically we are taking a trip to India courtesy of Golden Tips Tea! Avaata Supreme Nilgiri Green Tea First Flush (organic) is from a region of India which sadly I do not have much experience with (seriously, I think I have had two teas from Nilgiri, and that is tragic) so trying a green tea from that region is extra exciting. Avaata Estate is a Rain Forest Alliance Certified tea estate, dedicated to conserving vaata, which is Sanskrit for fresh, with this tea being grown above 1,900 feet, all of these things are pretty cool. The aroma of the rather large, pale, leaves is a bit light at first, but some good snuffling brings out the notes of fresh cut vegetation, baking bread, lima beans and green beans. This is another one of those teas that makes me hungry while sniffing it again.
I decided to go for a psuedo gongfu style steeping with this tea, any excuse to use my gaiwan! The aroma of the now soggy leaves is sharply vegetal, blending lima beans and green beans with a bit of kale and baking bread. There is also a faint, distant note of flowers. The liquid is very light, like super faint, with delicate notes of growing things and slightly vegetal.
The taste is unique, like a blend of a first flush Darjeeling and a green tea. It starts buttery and peppery with floral notes and distinct vegetal. There are notes of green beans, lima beans, and a finish of yeasty baking bread. This tea is fairly light, so if you were expecting a super intense tea you might be a bit disappointed.
I decided to go for a second steep to see if it becomes a bit more robust. The aroma of the brewed tea is still really light, not as light as the first, but it does not have a major presence. There are notes of growing things and lima beans along with the tiniest hint of flowers. The taste is more vegetal and less floral, the peppery note is mostly gone, but there are lovely notes of lima beans and green beans, a finish of fresh kale and baking break, the yeasty tones linger. This steep got a bit bitter as it cooled, which is incentive to chug it quickly!
I tried this tea again due to advice on brewing it differently.
This time this tea tastes much better. I used 1 tsp for 10 oz water, at 190 degrees, for 3 min.
It is light amber, slightly floral, in a lightly sweet way. there are light earthy notes. This tea in a way reminds me of a green tea. All in all, a MUCH better infusion than the first brew i tried with a gaiwan.
This is the first ever darjeeling i will have tried, and it comes in a package of 16, yes, 16 darjeeling that i recently received from Marzipan. This will be quite an experience :D
The leaves are small, wiry, and black, or exceedingly dark brown. They smell like clean fall leaves mixed with clean hay.
I started out with one tsp in my 4 oz gaiwan and brewed for 4 min, and it was a little weak to me, so i added another tsp and brewed for another 4 min. This was better.
The color of the liquor to me is quite soft for a black. It is a nice amber, and quite clear.
The smell is that of fall leaves. The taste, for me, was a little underwhelming, sadly. It was pretty much one note, that of fall leaves, and fairly astringent. sadface
Ooh well, there are 15 more samples to try :D and hey, now i have tea to drink again :)
Pretty sure my Xbox 360 is dying, it plays games I have stored on ye old hard drive, but it will not read disks, which is unbelievably annoying. I was in the mood to play Bayonetta, which is probably one of my favorite games (even if playing it makes my hands cry) but nope, no Umbra Witch action for me. To make up for it I watched all the cutscenes for Bayonetta 2, and I can safely say I want Wii U, ok not really, but I want to play that game because AWESOME. It was a good day of painting and watching cutscenes.
Today it is time to take a journey to India thanks to Golden Tips Tea, specifically to the Arya Tea Estate and its Arya Ruby Darjeeling Black Tea Second Flush. This tea estate was set up in 1885 and its specialty teas are all named after jewels, this one being ruby, which is lovely, the gemstone collector in me is happy. The aroma of this tea starts off delicate with sweet notes of raisins and distant flowers, but it builds into loam, dry wood, and spicebush with a bit of roasted peanut and malt at the finish. It is not a very powerful aroma, but it is nice, the woody notes compliment the raisins.
Into my funky steeping vessel it goes, and in the photo it looks like the teafrogs are shunning the steeping vessel, silly things probably want me to use a real teapot. The aroma of the wet leaves is sweet, woody, and warm. Like a blend of honey, loam, wet wood, pepper, and a touch of raisins at the finish. The liquid does not really smell sweet, it is more like fresh broken stems of oak wood, a touch of leaf loam, and a bit of pepper at the finish.
I found the taste to be both warm and soothing, like late autumn sunlight in the late afternoon, the way everything turns a little golden. Granted these kinds of days are only enjoyable to me when not blisteringly hot, the same can be said about tea, not burning one’s mouth while having the tea be at the perfect temperature is a skill. Enough flowery descriptions about how the tea makes me feel, what matters is how it actually tastes. It starts with loam, raisins, and wood, then moves to a tiny bit of pepper and finished with woodiness. This honestly one of the most ‘tea’ tasting teas I have run into, that sounds really strange but this tea tastes like tea, if you were to ask me to picture the taste of a second flush Darjeeling black tea in my mind, it would probably be this. This is the epitome of an everyday kinda tea for me, good for sipping while lounging on a porch.
In appearance the leaves are: long and thin, with a variety of brown, red brown, green colours and silver tips.
They have a dry yet light floral scent with elements of wood, leather and malt.
Once steeped this tea is Baltic amber in colour and has a light, wooden scent.
Flavour is light to medium in strength with some sour astringency. Tasting damp wood shavings, light musk and rich malt with a smoky finish.
As it cools it becomes more astringent and tobacco like.
Overall: It’s a ‘rough’ tasting Darjeeling with astringency and lots of sourness. I’ve had Arya Ruby Darjeeling a few times before and knew what it lived up to what I remember. It’s the sort of Darjeeling that would be good for every day use but not for those special occasions. Quality was good but I wouldn’t say it was amazing, and it certainly is not to my taste.
In appearance the leaves are: long and mostly whole with some rolled and others open. Some are silver and covered in white hairs.
They have a dry yet light floral scent with elements of wood, grass and musk.
Once steeped this tea is light amber in colour and has a light yet crisp and sweet grassy scent.
Flavour is light to medium in strength with sweet grass and floral tones. It’s a little dry which adds a savoury touch and tones down the sweetness. Specifically I can taste: grass, sweet pea, gardenia and wheat. The after taste of sweet flowers lingers in the mouth for a long time.
As it cools it becomes slightly astringent.
Overall: The flavours were nice and pure and I did enjoy the savoury wheat taste, that made it rather unique and different from what I expected. However it did not strike me as amazing, though the quality was very good. I’m trying to think of why it wasn’t amazing but I cannot explain it, something was missing for me…perhaps my love of vegetal and seaweed greens like those found in Japanese varieties have changed my preferred taste when it comes to greentea.
For pictures and more information please view my blog.
In appearance this Darjeeling consists of: small and dark, curly leaves which range from dark brown, to red brown, to green to white.
It has a sweet yet earthy scent of wood and flowers. Also a touch of malt and dry musk .Once steeped this tea is amber in colour and has a dry, musky yet sweet wood scent.
Flavour is rich and dark with a hint of sour astringency. It’s very wooden and musky which lingers in the mouth beautifully. Also reminds me of dry, mixed flowers.
As it cools the wood becomes more like malt and the astringency develops an air of light smoke.
Overall: This was a beautiful Darjeeling that bared heavy muscatel tones and offered the warmth of the Indian sun. A great example of what a second flush Darjeeling should be.
On the grand scale of things this Darjeeling was very nice but not perfect, it was missing the nutty and creamy qualities that I admire. Please keep in mind that it is down to personal preference.
For pictures and more information please view my blog.
This is a third flush Darjeeling. It’s a fine tea nevertheless and the Darjeeling coming from the Jungpana estate is very nice. The aroma is very delicate and it has accents of fruit. My second steeping was floral as well. I am curious about the spring flush now.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity
I’ve already had several cups of restaurant tea and an RTD while straightening out the mods on the latest update to Kerbal Space Adventures. Then I got an uncontrollable urge for green tea. Digging through my out of control warehouse of tea (let’s be honest), I found this one. The shiny gold pouch made me think C-3PO. Then I noticed it was a Nilgiri. I don’t recall ever having a green Nilgiri – or for that matter no more than a couple black teas from this region.
Opening the bag I get malt, sweet hay, and grass. Smells good. The leaf is complete full leaves and buds. They have not been twisted, curled, or broken.
The taste is clean and surprisingly gentle. There is a moment of sharpness that seems a mix of mineral and slightly metallic. It is not really that sharp but in comparison to the gentleness it gets magnified. The taste is sweet grass with a touch of malt and corn, while hot, and more nutty when cool.
I thought it was interesting that the taste just suddenly drops off at the end before a light grassy aftertaste with a touch of good bite steps in. It leaves just a touch of astringency tingling around the cheeks.
This is a quiet tea. Almost as subtle as a white tea. If you like white and greens, this should work for you.
Crunchy leaves as I shake into the tea strainer. Brittle and breaking as I help the leaves in. A quick rinse with 175 degree water. The leaves soften up a bit and become very dark. The aroma of fresh grass being cut from across the park begins to gently fill my nose. I fill the mug full of water and wait, as the leaves softly float to the top, beginning to spread open. I pick up the needy cat between my legs and give him a few scratches and head nuzzles. I walk into the office and turn on the computer, setting down my phone to signal my end destination. A quick pee break and back to the tea. How long has it been sitting here? 2 minutes maybe. I pick up the strainer and look at the color of the water and decide it hasn’t been long enough. 30 more seconds. My daughter is asleep in the bedroom, I have only a couple more moments left before she’ll wake. She’s on the last leg of her slumber and I’m starting to get restless in my wait.
I place the strainer aside while taking a huge whiff of the steam. It smells like a subtle green tea, no offensive aromas off the bat. I inspect the water color, it’s light, very light. I take a sip and walk into the office, sitting down at the computer. Now what do I prioritize first during this delicate chunk of free time?
The tea is as it smells and looks, light. Subtle smells, subtle looks and subtle tastes. No bitterness or offensive tastes. Just a smooth light, hint of metallic taste (probably from the strainer) and notes of soft fresh cut grass out of the lawnmower bag. I keep sipping, wanting more flavor to come fourth. It doesn’t, it stays beneath it’s lightness, like a feather dancing in a gentle breeze. I don’t think it’s one to shout about, perhaps a whisper goes well with this one. A whisper of gratitude and peacefulness. Namaste.
Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass
Marzipan Was nice enough to send me samples of more darjeelings to try. And honestly, I still don’t quite know what to think.
This one is super woody but also like sweet, as if there were honey in it. Darjeelings are continuing to confuse me. xD But yeah…this one is really woody. xD
Thanks for the sample, Marz!
Flavors: Honey, Sweet, Wood
Behind the black is hidden
A sweetness unnamed.
So the wonderful Cheri (Cheri0627) was determined to change my opinion of darjeelings (which, until now, has been in the red), so she sent me a whole BOX of different ones to sample! This is my first tentative try. I also made sure to try and follow Amanda’s (Amanda ‘SoggyEnderman’ Wilson) suggestion about a cooler water temperature.
The dry leaves are very fragrant-a pleasant mix of floral and wood with an emphasis on floral. The wet leaves also smelled wonderful-and strongly! The liquor is a dark burnt orange.
I steeped for 3 minutes and was met with an interesting flavor. Not unpleasant, but I spent the whole cup searching for a flavor that was hiding behind the more standard “tea.” Was it fruity? Nutty? Floral? I settled on sweet, but that’s as far as I got. As it was worth exploring, I tried another steep.
I was planning on steeping for equalish time. But, as happens at work, time got away from me and threeish turned into 6! And as a further disruption, I didn’t get to it until it was cold. For a cooled second steep, I’m impressed with its drinkability. That hidden flavor is still there, but on the very last end of the swallow.
Flavors: Floral, Sweet, Wood
This is very tasty – it is definitely sweet but I don’t get a lot of fruity notes. It is a little like musty apples almost, with how earthy it tastes. I enjoy it, but I always enjoy oolongs. I did two western style steeps and it kept me up long enough to finish my portfolio. Tomorrow I turn it in, and hopefully this time next month I will be a certified teacher. :)