Lochan Tea Limited
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Recent Tasting Notes
I got a good helping of this stuff from Lochan Tea to play with. And play with it, I did. I gongfu’d it, I boiled it, I did a green tea-ish approach with it. Basically, I’ve been rolling in this particular tea for the better part of a week.
But what I hadn’t done was observe the brewing recommendations from another vendor selling the stuff. I looked at the Butiki Teas page, and they recommended a four-minute steep at 170 degrees. That seemed light, but I gave it a shot.
So much going on with this oolong. It’s slightly malty – like an Assam. There’s a grapiness to it – like a Darjeeling. And, oddly enough, there’s a bit of pekoe-ish-ness – like a Nilgiri. On top of that, a bit of white tea character also shines through. It’s like an amalgamation of many different teas and traditions.
For this, the lighter approach is the best approach. So much nuance.
Oh yeah, I also did a guest blog for Lochan Tea about Indian oolongs in general. Go looky, if you wanna: http://lochantea.com/index.php?route=pavblog/blog&id=21
Thank u to Terri Harplady for this sample!! I have never had a tea like this one. I could taste malt in there but couldn’t place the other flavor until I started scrolling thru the flavor and scent choices. It is definitely Autumn leaf pile.
It has a sweet outdoor scent like after you rake leaves and there is lots of moisture in the air to bring out their scent.
I live in the desert now where there is not a lot of that going on so it was nice to remember my childhood when we would rake leaves and jump into them for fun.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Malt
Water: 1000ml at 175°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 1 minute 30 seconds
Dry Leaf Smell: slight vegetal, slight roasty
Steeped Tea Smell: floral, roasty
Flavor: seaweed, salty
Aftertaste: malty and slightly astringent
Liquor: translucent light orange brown
1000ml at 175°F for 2 minutes
Light at first, but as it sat it darkened, interesting
grassy, astringent, metallic, tingly
I re-sell this product.
Guys… I just slept for 13 hours :\ Not what I planned at all. But I decided to sample this from the Traveling Teabox B. I didn’t really know what it was so I just brewed it like a white tea. It turned out nice. It’s very mellow. It has a sweetness to it that reminds me of apples and peaches. The flavors are very delicate but I still like it. I feel like it’s a good fall tea because it’s smooth but crisp with light apple\peach flavor.
I determined that for the rest of today, I would drink nothing but infusions of this tea, and see how far it got me. The aroma of the leaves is very light, as one would expect from a bai mu dan, and somewhat vegetal. I’m also getting some notes of cucumber and perhaps some pear, although to me it is not as sweet as a pear. Perhaps an underripe pear.
I did the first steep longer than I ought to, because sometimes you just have to pick up and cuddle the fussy baby. (I have a confession, fellow Steepsters: I do not typically use a timer for tea. I should, but I don’t. I am sure one day I will pick up a timer at a Dollar General or something and henceforth never be parted from it, but that day, alas, has not come.) ANYWAY. The brew was a medium peridot kind of color, and the aroma was again predominantly cucumber. The taste was very fresh, like sprouts coming out of the ground in the morning, covered in last night’s dew. I could taste the cucumber as well, very watery and juicy.
The second steep was less cucumber-y, but it was still there. The third steep brought the onset of something almost metallic, almost mint-like in it’s aftertaste. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I decided then that three steeps was enough. If my husband was here, he’d probably have steeped it a few more times, but alack, he is not. :(
Anyway, I don’t think I would buy this one, but I’m glad I got to try it. :)
Another from TeaboxB. I honestly had no idea if this was a black, green or white tea. It looks like a green or white but the description calls it a Darjeeling. I thought Darjeeling was black? A search for ‘Okayti’ on Steepster brings up all sorts of teas. Anyway, I let the water cool a while and steeped for three minutes. The cup color looks like a white tea. The flavor is very light with a hint of apple that shows up more as it cools. It’s a very delicate flavor otherwise, that may be too subtle for my palate. It’s decent though! I think this is a white tea, just based on the fuzziness of the leaves. I really don’t like the fuzzy white teas anyway, since this one left a ton of tiny fuzzies floating around in my cup and sitting on my throat. There really isn’t anything Darjeeling about it anyway. Oh well. There is plenty of this in the teabox for everyone else to try to decipher!
Another from Momo’s teabox B! To be honest, if I hadn’t opened up this unopened foil package (and then put the leaves in a sealable baggie) I could swear that these were already steeped leaves! But I guess that is just what Bai mu dan looks like. I cooled the water a while and steeped for 2-3 minutes. The flavor is light but lovely. The steep color is a pale yellow. The flavor seems like a light and sweet pineapple or pear. When the water gets cold it almost tastes like something nutty – pistachios? Very nice! I might take a bit of this one out for later.
As a side note, I have no idea how these Lochan teas from the teabox weren’t already in the Steepster system since they are so good!
A TeaBoxB tea! I woke up thinking I wanted a Darjeeling — definitely not usually my favorite tea, but luckily somehow the teabox has a few to try! This one has that classic Darjeeling flavor, very smooth and very sweet. The cup color looks like a light amber. Probably the nicest Darjeeling I’ve had (not many!) It was perfect for my Darjeeling craving, and I think I’ll save a bit of this one in case of any more Darjeeling cravings (there is a lot in the box!)
I’m a sucker for Darjeeling oolongs. Heck, I’m even a sucker for the one and only Assam oolong I’ve tried. Nilgiri oolongs…um…they mean well. This one out of Bihar is hard to pinpoint. So we’ll start with the obvious.
Do I like it? Oh, hell yes. Character-wise, it has the nuances of a Nilgiri OP (Tiger Hill-ish), but a lot of the fruity bend of a Formosa. There’s also a smoky aspect on the end, but it’s very minor. One thing of note, though, this tasting note was from trying it Western-style. It held up well in a “wrongfu” prep, but not quite as well. Go big and boiled with this one.
It also almost became the subject of a tea fiction story (along with one other Doke tea, a Taiwanese sencha, and two Nepalese whites), the “DVD commentary”-ish blog on that trainwreck can be found here: http://lazyliteratus.teatra.de/2012/10/03/blending-tea-and-fiction/
I really like Lochan Tea, and I dig the family behind it. Their Doke garden also puts out some quality stuff. I received this in a swap thanks to Tea Trade HQ. I was psyched to see that Castleton’s new Moonlight was among the teas delivered. Last year’s Moonlight was my favorite Darjeeling of 2011.
How did this measure up?
Well, I hate to be frank…but not at all. Granted, it was fair, but nowhere near the excellence of last year’s. I’m not sure if something went wrong in delivery, or if I stored it wrong…but the entire gongfu affair started off kale-like and ended up with woodiness – at best. It reminded me quite a bit of a Chinese yellow tea rather than an oolong, which is too bad.
Special thanks to The Purrfect Cup!
I was unable to find this on their site or here on steepster so I created a new one :)
Dry – the leaves smell…well…like fresh leaves…gently scented…barely-there
The liquor infuses to a light brown.
The flavor is VERY fresh leaf/earthy with that astringency (for lack of better word from me at the moment) that you would find in a darjeeling. It tastes herbally but fresh and crisp.
Due to the lack of aroma I wasn’t expecting this powerful ‘smack in the face’ type flavor. But this tea can ‘hit me’ any day!
The leaves are intensely aromatic, spicy, sweet-smelling like caramel; I’ve rarely smelled a tea that’s so enticing. While some Yunnan teas can be overbearing, these buds are flavorful but pleasingly sweet. A backbone of spice makes this tea seem exotic. Rich flavor is what Yunnan Golden Buds is all about, but it’s the kind of taste that you always want to come back to. Especially nice paired with a light biscuit.
A bolder leaf than your typical Castleton, whose leaves is more uniformly chopped with the First and Second Flush harvests. (Their rich Second Flush is a favorite.) The dry leaf is coppery and surprisingly bold, with a generous amount of whitish tips mixed in. But the flavor is predictably special: deep amber color, with a spicy flavor, but I can’t find the Muscatel that accompanies the very best Darjeelings. Deeper and somewhat more complex than the 2nd Flush, this estate can’t seem to do wrong.
This has a greenish, hayish, honeyish scent. Hard to pinpoint but very pleasant.
The taste is also a mix of these. The main flavor is quite green…reminds of spinach or zucchini, but not as heavy. Then there’s the dry, warm, beige taste of hay swirling into the sip after a while. A faint sweetness on the front of the tongue.
The finish is long with the green flavor.
Made at 185 degrees and 2:30 minutes.
This is an earthy Assam. Gives the mental tone of reddish-brown. Slightly burnt tasting, but not overwhelming… just enough of the typical Assam edge to let you know that’s what you’re drinking. It’s mildly astringent.
It’s finish is mostly in the back of the throat, that same dark flavor as the mouthful.
Maybe it’s my taste buds today but I’m not impressed with this tea. It’s rather thin, not very tasteful. What it has it a flat wheat flavor. It calls for sweetener just to give it another flavor for more depth. It has more of an after-taste than what I’d call a finish.
If there was more to the sample I might play around with temperatures and times, but there’s not.