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Recent Tasting Notes
I have had good Chinese green teas recently and yellow tea has always been at the top of my list so this one really hits the mark in that it immediately presents characteristics of both. There is an intriguing interplay between the brothy, green aspect and an underlying succulent fruitiness. One takes a fleeting prevalence over the other as the flavor moves but in the end any vegetal notes are enveloped and eventually vanquished by a syrupy muscatel.
Dry leaf aroma is of typical warm citrus and the wet leaf smells like a baked plum tart. The liquor strikes immediately with bright, fruity notes that are very forward though not sharp in the least and is somewhat complex without being very deep. The mouthfeel is ultra smooth and lingers with an aftertaste of peach candy and delicate butterscotch. It’s a very interesting tea that has the fruity characteristics of yellow tea and a the soft malt and slightly metallic immediacy of red tea all the while carrying the typical exotic and amiable flamboyance of its namesake.
Considering the story behind this tea (read Ginko’s blog) and the pains taken by the grower to salvage an otherwise devastated crop, we are now privy to what I consider to be a unique gem, albeit cloudy and roughly cut. Enjoy in this cup not only the tea itself but also the deftness and earnest attitude of its producer. Much thanks to Gingko for sharing this with us. For the price I suggest everyone try some as I feel it will be hard not to love and appreciate.
This is a good green tea for the price. At first it is somewhat savory, which fades after a couple seconds to an astringent note, that quickly subsides into a more unique flavor that is somewhat food-like; delicately sweet, it almost reminds me of gingerbread. This is a very subtle aftertaste though.
This is a very interesting Chinese green tea! 90% of the taste of this tea is in the aftertaste – as the tea leaves your mouth, a tangy and somewhat astringent flavor arises from the sides and back of your mouth. There are some savory undertones, but they seem to quickly dissipate. In my experience, this has been much more flavorful than most Chinese green teas – just make sure you like tangy notes!
I had this at a friend’s house this weekend. It’s a nice Oolong. I’m not sure what the ‘Grade II’ is all about, but it’s good. It’s just a hair green tea tasting (almost too fresh), which I prefer a little more rustic taste. I’m not sure if I’d buy it myself, but I’d have another cup of someone else’s!
Clear cup but full-bodied. Aroma is dominantly woody, with some fruity and floral tones, and a hint of skunkiness. The aroma is more reminiscent of more oxidized teas, even black tea, than is common for most oolongs this light.
Good for multiple infusions, even with a long infusion time and less leaf. I like using fairly hot water.
First infusion is fruitier, like apricots. Second is more woody, skunky, and herbaceous. All infusions have a fair amount of bitterness, which I find pleasant.
I’ve had this sample for a while now and I’m finding myself on a rather aggressive, unplanned plan to whittle down my samples. I’d like to reach an equilibrium where I have made enough determinations about what I like and what I can pass on from each company I’ve got samples from so I can start focusing on the nuances of the things that have made the initial cut.
Seems like that is still a long way off, though. I think it’s fair to say I’ve accomplished that goal with The NecessiTeas and am close to accomplishing it with TeaFrog. I’m probably there with Herbal Infusions and The Jade Teapot as well. Oh, and Golden Moon. But I’m a long way away with pretty much everyone else.
I’m looking forward to this, though, because I have yet to have a Life In Teacup experience that has been disappointing. And I have a lot of their stuff left to try.
I could smell smokiness when I opened up the packet. A gentle smokiness, not lapsang or even Russian smokiness. The leaves are dark for the most part, with some lighter brown ones.
The aroma of the steeped tea isn’t noticeably smoky. It does have a warm bread thing going on, though. Very nice. Comforting. There’s a bit of woodiness to it as well.
The taste is really interesting. V. complex. I can taste some smoke around the edges. I am actually visualizing pastrami, strange as it sounds — with that smoky outline/border around the meat. The tea, however, does not taste like pastrami. It has a little initial sharpness, but after the first few sips it is generally fairly smooth, with a sweetness in the tail. There’s that woodiness that was in the aroma, and the warm bread flavor too. The two together have a toasty quality to them. I’d almost say there’s some fruit in there as well. A little apricot maybe? Though it’s smooth and complex, it isn’t full bodied in how I think of that term, it seems more medium bodied to me. The mouth feel has a briskness that militates against a full bodied experience as well.
Another great experience from Life In Teacup. This will go on my shopping list for sure.
This tea came packaged up with the Number 3 brew I enjoyed so much yesterday, thank to RABS and her incredible, creative, ingenious, wonderful Geek Tea Prize. In following the rules of the game, I have certainly consumed this tea within 24 hours but it may be longer for me to have posted this tasting note.
(Parenthetically: my mother in law is visiting and I’m feeling slightly deprived of computer time: I won’t have much access to the computer for the next week but I will be peeking in. We are going to take her on a road trip to meet up with another one of her sons. If you had told me a year ago that my biggest fears and trepidations about a roadtrip would not be car crashes or bed bugs, or a diet of fast food but rather no control over water temperatures for my teas, I may not have believed you). I hope that this deprivation will be good for my moral fibre.
This is a WONDERFUL tea. All of the tasting notes rave about this tea. I am now on infusion 4 or 5 and it’s going very strong. For those who do not like green tea, this might be one to sample. This tea never seems to get that bitterness that some greens have if they are not coddled. Perhaps because it is Chinese instead of Japanese? I am not sure.
As others have written, I can attest: this tea opens up to a floral/vegetal buttery aroma that is simply devastatingly wonderful. It seems to have a lighter touch than many greens in terms of going full-fledged vegetal—that is, I don’t have any sense that there is spinach or asparagus in my tea (are you listening to me, JacquelineM?). At the same time, perhaps paradoxically, I taste this tea as richer and deeper than many greens but more towards the floral side.
Like the An Xi Tie Guan Yin Charcoal Oolong of yesterday, this green counterpart is a miracle of tea growth. This plantation must be a spectacular place. This tea comes in a small package and yet contains within it a full canvas of artistic splendour.
I really have to agree with Morgana: newborn babes really smell exquisite. They have not accumulated bacteria. IF they sweat or burp or engage in other bodily functions there is a pureness to it. Stench is acquired with age! And this tea has that kind of brand-new purity and freshness and lightness. It tastes as if it has never been contaminated with man-made “stuff”. Other-worldly, I would say.
I really cannot thank Rabs enough for her kindness. Life in Teacup will hear from me, eager to place an order, when they return from holiday in August.
Thank you so much to RABS for sending me this. Yesterday in the Geek Contest Game I ruled another “2” and there was no corresponding package left—I had already had my “2”. Today I ruled a “2” again and decided I could give myself another rule of the die. After all, 3 a day are permitted. My next roll of the die yielded a “3”.
This beautiful package contained two tea samples and I’ve only had one at this point. I just finished my first infusion of this oolong. When I opened the package from “RABS” I got very excited at the word “charcoal.” For me “charcoal” is one of those magical words like unicorn and rainbow and cat and miracle and antidisestablishmentarianism. It’s a word that make my heart leap up, as Wordsworth would put it.
And this tea is worthy of leaping hearts! I have had only one infusion and hope that there are more. Before I started to write this review, I went to the web site of Life in Teacup to place a full-blown order. That in itself should tell you, reader, how much I was enjoying this tea. (Note: They are on holiday until August 1st).
The “charcoal” does not produce a deeply smoky tea, but it does produce what I would call a very “savory” tea which intensifies and focuses fruit and flower and nut aromas. This tea offers an intoxicating dance of flavor. The “charcoal” must refer to the way of toasting the leaf or preparing the leaf. There isn’t much real smokiness in evidence. The play of flavors is very delightful. It’s as if I were sitting at the New York City Ballet watching a quick succession of soloists sequeing their dances precisely: first there is a floral: lavender or lilac in sensation followed by a nice earthy nut which gives way to a pluot (plum/apricot) or a peapear (peach/pear) duet or fruits.
This is one of those teas, similar to Dawn by “The Simple Leaf” that seems to have an outrageously wonderful assemblage of natural flavors which mix and mingle on the palate with the precision of trained performers. It’s wonderful! And I am off to do another infusion.
Rabs, I cannot tell you how spectacularly you have delighted me and thrilled my palate. The Geek Day prize has been a smashing hit. It’s sensual impact is incredible: the visual presentation, the aromas, the tastes of the teas, the heart and soul and spirit that went into the selection; along with the playfulness and the randomness. What you have done is true “performance art”.
Resteeps 2 and 3: Strong, fresh, vigorous. Delightful as the first time. I already know what to anticipate so a bit of the “WOW” factor is down, but I would not change my rating at all. I am going to steep number 4 for 4 minutes.
After spending some frustrating hours engaged in work, I looked forward with the keenest of anticipation to playing a round of Tea Geek, thanks to the ever-generous RABS.
Today I rolled a “5” on the die and opened the package with keen anticipation.
And what did I get? My favorite tea ever. If I were held hostage and asked to limit myself to one kind of tea and only one for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t need to think. Lapsang Souchong would be my unhesitating choice. I am addicted to the smoky, tar-like aroma and taste of a Lapsang Souchong. Once you get the addiction and try several different kinds, the variations can be startlingly diverse. That’s a real plus as far as I am concerned. For me, two different Lapsang Souchongs can be as varied and different as a lemon rooibos might be to a Keemun Hao Ya A to another drinker.
Life in Teacup will get an order from me. This Lapsang Souchong is incredible! The aroma is intense and smoky which bodes well. Drinking the tea evokes all the pleasurable smoky, warm, bonfire taste but this has more of a tar taste than any other LS I have tried. And I love the tar with a passion! It’s like cedarwood smoked bacon served with tar and it’s simply delicious.
I really must thank Rabs for introducing me to one of the best Lapsang Souchongs I have ever loved. There are quite a few decent but taste-alike LS teas out there. I love them, but not all of them have a totally distinctive taste. Or, as I like to quote from Randy Jackson, my taste and discernment mentor, Life in Teacup has made it their own.
Utterly delicious, smoky, mysterioso and glamoroso, this tea quickly won a place of pride in my personal Pantheon. Thank you, RABS!
Many, many, many thanks to Rabs for sending this one to me!!!!
First of all, could you believe I haven’t used my teeny tiny oolong pot from Samovar until TODAY?! It took me all this time to realize that it had that twirly piece of metal near the spout to catch the leaves (I kept on thinking “shoot! I can’t use it! I forgot my strainer!”). Anyhoo – long story short – not only do I love it for oolongs but I realized I think unfurling, floating, steeping tea leaves are BEAUTIFUL (it’s only those frightful blooming alien flowers that I find so disturbing).
Doubleanyhoo – I used about a half teaspoon of leaves in my wee pot, 175 degree water, and was all over the map with my steeping times. I did the first two at a minute – then I went up to three minutes for the next two, and now my fifth and sixth steeps are at 5 minutes. Despite my abuse, this tea is delicious. It started out very green, and morphed into a milky, meadowy, buttery delight. Still. At number six!
I can see why people are comparing it to Four Seasons – and I do think it’s similar – but I also think Four Seasons has a little more of that cinnamony nutmegy thing going on, which I didn’t get at all in this one. This one is much more a “fresh buttered greens” to me, where the Four Seasons is more of a “light buttery pastry” to me. Both are pretty darn phenomenal :) and I like them both very, very much!
I’ll edit this post later when I drink steeps 7+ this afternoon!
I also have to reiterate how much I LOVE this little oolong pot!!!!! It makes experiencing the multiple steeps so pleasurable since you are drinking four ounces of tea at a time. Why do I wait so long to try things!?!?!?
And your opinion – do you think a dragon ball is too big for this lil pot? Maybe a 30/45 second steep would work? Any opinions appreciated!
EDIT – I stopped at Lucky 13!!! I think the best steeps were from 3 to, like, 9 or 10!! Very buttery milky green heaven. Even my 13th steep had flavor and appeal. What a great tea day!
The first two times I drank this, I did not like it at all. Nothing particular that I could put my finger on, just an overall “not for me” feeling. I am new to pu-erh an. The rest of the sample sat in my cupboard for about 6 months, until recently I decided to give it one more chance.
The firs two infusions were, again, not to my taste (yes, I rinsed the leaves twice). I either put too much leaf, or else I am doing something else wrong with this tea. It was way to strong, too astringent. (both were 15 sec infusions)
HOWEVER, I somehow pushed through to the third infusion and bam! the tea became something else altogether. It’s fresh and energizing. I can’t stop drinking. I am on my seventh or eight infusion and it just gets better. I’m not good with the flavor descriptions, but this tea is good!
Now I’m still wondering what it is that i did wrong with the first 2 infusions. Anyone?
But I am sure going to be ordering some more of this. And I am going to increase my previous rating.