Leaf and Spoon
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Recent Tasting Notes
I think this is my first flavored shou. I did do one quick rinse, but mainly it was to wake up the leaves.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this, but damn… it’s really good. It absolutely tastes like chocolate, and the pu is very mild. No dirty flavors!
I added a little maple because chocolate should always be sweet. I had this as my after dinner tea and it was lovely. It’s on the 6th steep and still tastes chocolately. Surely that can’t be natural? But whatever, it’s good!
Method: 1 tsp, 8 oz, 175 degrees, 3 minutes, Forlife Brew-in-mug strainer
Dry Leaf and Brewing Aroma: Bergamot
Flavor: Is there such a thing as an earl white? That’s what I’d call this. I didn’t taste any jasmine, but I liked this tea. I like earl greys sometimes, but often the bergamot is all up in yo face. This is very mild. I like the very gentle bergamot here, and prefer it to most earl greys I have tried. That being said, bergamot still isn’t my fave, but it’s very nice here.
I happily fell victim to Leaf & Spoon’s sale earlier this week and ordered the Golden Monkey, Lemon Ginger Snap, and Ginseng Oolong. Golden Monkey is a house favorite, so I was eager to try L&S’s version and it did not disappoint.
Side note: I’m not a big fan of adding other flavors and fruits to tea. Likewise with beer and I prefer single malt scotch, so I guess I’m a bit of purist that way. It just seems to me that there is so much variety in flavor and texture that can be gleaned from unadulterated tea leaves. I enjoy that for what it is without finding the need to add ingredients. That said, the Ginger Snap (green tea with ginger root, lemongrass, and lemon myrtle) and Ginseng Oolong (oolong with licorice root powder and ginseng root) looked like they would make lovely iced teas. I’ll review those as soon as I brew up a batch. Now, as for the Golden Monkey . . .
When I opened the package and took a deep whiff, those glands at the top of my jaw just woke right up and started to dance. The nose was somewhat-but-not-too sweet and it made me anticipate a nice cup. The leaf appearance lives up to its name. They are more gold than black, and not just the tips either, the whole leaf is a lovely cream yellow. I did note that the brewed leaves did not seem to open up very much, though I only had time for one steep this morning, so I’ll check that next time when I resteep.
Steeping note: the L&S website recommends 212 degrees for 2-3 minutes, but the bag says 4-5 minutes. I steeped for 4 minutes on this first attempt.
The taste is everything I hoped for in this style: softish mouth feel, full flavor from the get-go, and just a faintly astringent after-taste. This is not a full-bodied tea, but it’s got a slight nuttiness with some subtle spice in the back. What sweetness there is comes out more in the aroma than the flavor. I’d happily serve this to friends who are just discovering real tea so they can see how nuanced the flavors can be. Altogether, this is a delightful example of Golden Monkey and I expect I’ll be back for more when this ounce is gone.
This no-fanfare puerh is offered for $5.75 for 1 oz plus a free tin, or $10 for 3 oz. bulk. The tea arrived in a bag inside the tin. Smelled a little plastic from the bag, so I let the leaf sit in the open tin for a few days before steeping. Leaves appear to be a 70/30 shou/sheng. No idea how old this is nor provenance. Brews up very dark red, as described, this has to be the cleanest shou I have ever seen. Thickness of coffee. Slight earthy smell, no fishy odor, one rinse sufficed. Clean taste, but that is all, no flavor of any note other than tea. Long steeping, 10 good short steeps easily, clean but no real character. Would be a trusty tea to offer a new puerh drinker, or for someone who wants the health benefit but doesn’t want to wade through the muck of buying cakes.
Torn leaves with bits of vein. Very bean-y smell, slightly cloudy light green in the cup. Ordinary sencha, marketed as such with no special claim. Not as sweetly floral as the Ashikubo sencha I normally drink from Camellia Sinensis, but the huge difference is price. For 1.76 oz of Ashikubo, I can buy 3 oz of this at the same $15 of my money. I drink a lot of sencha, and this offering from Leaf and Spoon is a bit darker green than other less expensive senchas.
Flavors: Grass, Lima Beans