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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlogging from last night.
I originally tried drinking this “Chinese style” with the leaves in the tea cup. After battling floating leaves through most of one cup and hardly being able to taste anything except the leaves that kept creeping into my mouth I decided that the Chinese must be either crazy or very skilled & dumped the leaves into my green tetsubin, adding a bit more since the pot is obviously larger than my cup.
Ah, much better. The pale pale gold liquor was vegetal, nutty, and (with a tiny bit of sugar) had a buttery, almost silken, mouth-feel. You know how it feels to drape a heavy silk brocade over your arm and hand and then you turn your arm this way and that to feel how it drapes and swishes, pretending that you are wearing a formal kimono with long, flowing sleeves? Yeah, it was kinda like that.
This tea’s note is gonna have to jump the line in front of my Shakespeare one. Oh, what a joyous tea-drinking day! The Shakespeare tea (to be named later) was a revelation. This tea (I’m not even done with the first infustion) had me doing this (the PG tips intro for those who haven’t seen it — I’d be the monkey): http://www.pgtips.co.uk/
I’ll probaby do some editing on this note later to add info on the further steeping times and give it a rating. I was planning on having a lazy tea/book day and then I got a call to do an interview for a temporary summer library gig to help me get more hours/$. So I didn’t really do anything special with this tea. I plopped the whole packet into my large teapot (I know — sorry fellow oolong lovers, but I needed an oolong STAT and propriety flew out the window), but I did take 20 seconds to rinse the tea.
The smell was like a whammy to my scent memory (both the dry and infused tea). There’s something in my childhood it evokes. I think that I’ve narrowed it down to the church potlucks my family used to go to. They were held in a basement (sorta creepy but cool at the same time), and there was always a section of hot vegetable dishes. That’s this smell mixed with something else. I keep thinking that the something else has to do with early elementary school. I think that it may be the smell of the little boxes I used to keep my pencils, scissors and crayons in (like a cigar-box, but for school supplies). Weird, but true. If I hadn’t had oolong before, then it’d probably scare me off. But sweet baby jeebus on a pogostick: sip one and I was floored. This is oolong joy in my mouth! It’s got depth, a sweetness, a floralness, just yummy oolonginess! TG
ETA: getting ready for the 10th large cup infusion. This is ridiculous (but in a good way). I’ve been drinking this tea since around noon and it’s almost 10 hours later and it’s still pretty dang good. The flavor has definitely mellowed, but I love the sweetness that remains. ::sigh:: I love you tea!
Hmm, I’ll bump this up a little for being a decent mug-brewed tea — I dropped six leaves into a mug and poured hot water over it, and the result was extremely smooth and nicely sweet — but there is still no bergamot to be tasted in it. Maybe I have a batch that missed the flavoring? Although given that steeping for two minutes brings out bitterness and leaving the leaves in the mug for a few hours makes the tea smooth and sweet, there must be something going on in there….
Yeppers — this was my tea of the day. I had a wonderful (if not whirlwind) Thanksgiving in Kansas City where there was a distinct lack of tea. The short turnaround made it not worth bringing all my tea-making items with me. So, these truly are the first cups I’ve had in ::mumble-mumble:: days. I checked Life In Teacup last week and they said that this tea is out of stock and should be back in by the end of November (and then they go on their haitus) – so I really need to keep an eye on their site. I don’t know why, but I had been treating this tea like something crazy-sacred instead of just enjoying it. I’m over it now, but realizing how much faster I go through the packets! TG
Oh, and yeah — I sorta broke my “no new tea until I drink some of my cupboard down” and ordered the Fortnum set from Williams-Sonoma (backordered until the end of next month!). So that gives me a month to do some sip-downs. Heh. And yeah, if you happened to notice — I’ll be breaking my “no new tea” rule for this tea as well. Double-heh.
I’m just gonna sorta sneak in here with my tail between my legs. I’ve finally returned to the land of tea last week when I came down with a nasty head cold. Since then I’ve been drinking this almost non-stop (still as awesome as ever). And with drinking this I naturally thought of Steepster and that I’d kinda fallen off the face of the earth here. And I really feel bad with how I’d been planning to send out gift bags of tea and utterly failed at that after people had shared their mailing addresses with me (so very, very sorry!). Every-once-in-a-while I’d think of that plan and just wanna crawl into a hole and die because of my lack of follow-through :(
Onto happier notes — I am really very happy with how much better this site is running! Six months ago — the last time I posted (eek!) this site ran like molasses for me, taking almost a minute for each page to load. I stop by this evening and holy-molie is it fast! And my stuck “Notices” have finally cleared up! So, huzzah to the Steepster overlords!
So, I’m going to try and post at least once-a-week here. Things are still hectic in my life, but I’m finally getting into a rhythm. And I think my return to tea is a nice indicator of that. However, I won’t be reviewing much new. I am determined to get through lots of my teas in my cupboard before I order any more. Uh, except for the Fortnum teas I just discovered at Williams-Sonoma. Yeah, I’m gonna have to try those. But nothing beyond that. I hope!
I have missed you all and hope that everyone is doing well!
I decided that I needed a yummy zen-like tea to get me through the day. Ah yes, this one hits the spot. I really noticed the butteriness of this one starting with the second steep — it almost felt like I’d applied lip balm (bizarre, but true). This tea just makes me happy from the aroma to the taste to the warm fuzzies it imparts. I lost count of the infusions, but there were many. TG
“Back to basics” day 3. Shockingly, the thought of a black tea this morning had me cringing — and that’s unusual since I’ve gained a love and appreciation for them. I was leaning more toward oolongs when I realized that I hadn’t had my favoritest favorite oolong in awhile. I quickly (well, for mornings it was quick) got out my precious underused yixing pot and a packet of this tea.
I’m only on the first and weakest steep and already I’m reminded why I love this one so much: yummy green freshness that’s gonna evolve into even yummier green floral freshness. This one’s gonna be steeped like crazy today. TG
Happy May Day/Beltane to all! This has been a beyond marvelous day for me: I tried this tea with my new gaiwan and am loving it, and most importantly Doulton’s Shakespeare box came!!!!! I’m just so overwhelmed with tea joy at the moment. But I do need to review this tea before I move onto the amazing box-o-Shakespeare (and it truly is amazing).
Speaking of amazing: this tea is beyond amazing. I’m so glad that I purchased my new kettle and first gaiwan just for this tea. It’s worth it. I’m on infusion #8 and it’s still going strong. I wait until there’s only about 1/4 of liquid left in the cup and then add more water, stir with the lid, and then commence sipping.
Steep 1-3 were all consistent and good. I didn’t feel “FLOWERS!” like other notes I’ve seen, but more like “Spring Meadow” right before the flowers get boisterous. Each subsequent infusion started to do the wonderful “oolong morph” that I highly prize, and on steep #7 it turned into the best sweet floral oolong that I’ve ever had. I’ve mentioned how some oolongs will feel like their sweet yumminess infuses into my tongue? Not only is this tea doing that, but I can feel it all the way to my stomach and that’s a new and unique sensation that I’m loving. So far this is my favorite oolong hands down. I thought that I’d never give a 100 to any tea, but here it is. I will lose my mind if I ever run out of this tea. TG
ETA: It finally started to fade on steep #10.
After 4 hours of sleep last night the thought of trying this tea got me out of bed. It’s my first Life in Teacup tea experience, and lordy-loo was it awesome! I selected this as one of my free samples with my first order.
I opened the cute little packet and was somewhat disappointed with the aroma: it wasn’t as intense as Adagio’s LS. I steeped, and then as I was pouring it into my cup I had the most fun whiff of an aroma: Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! I smell bacon! BACON!!!!! Other people have mentioned smelling bacon with other LSes, but I had never had that experience. I actually was a bit worried to try the tea. But when I smelled the cup I found the usual smokey-yuminess that to me is a LS. No more bacon.
The taste? Nom. Nom! Nom! NOM!!! This is the best LS I’ve had as of yet (I’ve only had 3 others so far). It’s got everything I’m looking for and more: smoky: check. sweet undercurrent: check. not hurting my throat: check. There is a tiny bit of roughness at the back of my throat, but it’s a fine amount. It’s just the best blend of smoky/sweet I’ve ever had. As it started to cool I actually gulped this tea. I had to slow myself down, and that’s never happened with any tea I’ve had. I also sprang from my chair when the timer went off for my second steep (just as great as the first! – only added one minute). You must understand. I am not a morning person. I shuffle around like a zombie impatiently waiting for my soul to reenter my body. Leaping up from a chair is almost unthinkable. And yet, I did. For this tea. TG
To continue my “comparing Lapsangs to cat noises” rating system:
this is the purr of a lion. Just had another LS (Narien’s) that has taken this title and knocked my rating of this one a little down the scale. This tea is now like the black panther I saw at the Audubon Zoo that meowed at me when I spoke baby talk to it. This large cat capable of ripping my throat out meowed just like a house cat. It blew my mind.
Puerh Sample set 1: Tea #2
The leaf is lighter, less dense than I anticipated with an ever so slightly fecal aroma, but not as dark as shu.
3g/3oz just below boiling water, 15 sec rinse and 20 sec 1st steep.
The rinse is light yellow in liquor and light and sweet in aroma. The flavor is that of the liquor w/ no peppery notes that are typical of Yunnan teas- a personal yay for me. :)
Sweet and fresh, like a Darjeeing without the haute aire and sharp looks. What this tea trades in wit it makes up for in humor as the finish rolls softly downward and really lingers outdoing the relatively thin taste of the body.A great tea for when you don’t know exactly what you want. One of those teas that won’t let you forget how good it is but doesn’t require you to really think about it all that much. I could buy a pound of this.
When it comes to Tie Guan Yin, I usually prefer charcoal roast and traditional style. But this one impressed me from the beginning. It is only a Grade 2, which well explains the standards of this tea factory. Later it turned out I fell in love with many of their products.
Modern green style Tie Guan Yin is featured with lighter oxidation, greener dry leaves and more prominent floral/vegetal fragrance. It is closer to green tea than most other oolong products. My observation is, people who love green tea accept modern green style Tie Guan Yin very well. Many people who love Japanese green tea seem to find something they like in modern green style Tie Guan Yin.
Personally, I like modern green style to certain degree, usually appreciate the fragrance, but sometimes feel like to escape when the grassy flavor dominates. I even like grassy flavor when it’s not very strong. But when it gets overwhelming, I can’t take it anymore.
Today, for the first time, I tried brewing this tea in a mug. I was a little worried about the grassy flavor. Normally I use gongfu method to brew this tea, with only 20-30 seconds for each infusion. I wasn’t sure if a lot of grassy flavor would be extracted if the tea were left in a mug for many minutes.
I used about 20-25 grains of dry tea leaves, brewed in a glass mug. I paid price for my laziness. There was some lukewarm water from last night, and I just used it. It turned out too cold for brewing tea, probably only 60C or 140F. The first infusion was merely water taste. But then, starting from the second infusion, the flavor came out nicely. The tea didn’t taste grassy at all, probably because it’s not as strong as in gongfu style. When brewed in mug, the tea tastes very much like a fragrant green tea, with some sugary, metallic flavor that seems typical oolong characteristics.
Overall the flavor is on the light side, but should be strong enough for people who like green tea. Next time, I should definitely use hotter water!
While drinking this tea, I finished the first DRAMA in my life! No, I am not a writer, but merely a lousy student of ENG 200. I’ve been writing craps all this time, choppy, dull pieces that I wish my classmates never know who wrote them. But anyway, I could never imagine writing a DRAMA! Although I’ve been writing junk every day in the past two months, now writing a big chunk, complete piece of structured junk seems worth celebration with a cup of tea! :-D
Yes, I was right: very light and lovely! I can see why Gingko compared it to a green style Tie Guan Yin — it’s got that same flowery sweetness to it. This one seems a bit earthier, but definitely in the same family. It only lasted through a few steeps, but it was really great while it lasted!
This one is good. A bright puerh that opens with a golden raisin sweetness and a pleasant zing similar the taste from the skin of an unripe plum. There is a subtle yet distinct seaweed bass anchoring the taste providing an interestingly meaty aftertaste to go along with the delicious sweetness that lingers well after the cup is placed down.