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Recent Tasting Notes
More snow (sigh).
I decided to brew up a trusted favourite. I think I must always keep a coconut oolong in my cupboard. I haven’t tried one that I dislike, although I do prefer some over others. This is one of those that I like a little more.
Infusion is bright yellow. Upfront taste is toasty coconut. As the cup cools, butter and a touch of salt lingers.
The second infusion doesn’t offer much, but the toasted coconut still makes its presence known.
I received a sample of this from the wonderful miss scribbles – thank you so much.
On the package is quotes she wrote “For those who enjoy dark, astringent black tea” and then added “I guess I like astringent teas……..”
Hmmm I would have to say that I don’t like astringent teas, but as always if someone is generous enough to send me some, I’m willing to try it.
I drank this for the better part of the day at work. I’m beginning to rethink “astringent” – either A> this isn’t astringent or B> I don’t fully understand what astringent is.
I didn’t find this astringent at all (but then I also didn’t find the Ceylon I was drinking yesterday astringent?). So, are my tastes off, or do not understand. At this point anything is possible.
All in all I really liked this – was a really nice tea to have a work today.
I tried this tea one last time to see if maybe I brewed it wrong the first time.
Nope. Still pretty awful tasting.
A friend of mine who tried it said it tasted quite smooth to her, but I ended up giving this one (nearly the whole bag!) away to someone else. Miffed that I spent nearly $9 on this stuff.
Second infusion this time, and instead of adding honey, I tried adding lemon juice to perk up the fruit taste.
It didn’t make much of an improvement. Still tastes like white tea with a weird dusty, musty tone underneath. I think this might be the dried mango asserting itself, as mustiness is something I’ve tasted in fresh mangoes in the past.
I’ll still drink it, but I’m disappointed because the scent of the brewed tea is lovely.
Another purchase from the Toronto Tea Festival, this time from a specialty tea store on Queen East, where all the gentrification is.
Packaging/Instructions: The tea came in a resealable (zip seal) bag. The back label said the tea should be steeped at 170-190°F for 2-5 minutes, with 1 heaping tsp for every 6 oz of water. The bag cost $8.95 for 35g.
Prep: The kettle sat for a few minutes so the water wasn’t boiling. Because the leaves were so big, I used a few heaping spoonfuls in the infuser. About 24 oz of water for what I would guess to be 5 tsp of dry leaf.
Leaf: The leaves are broken into much smaller fragments/pieces than I think is typical for a white tea. Very few leaves are whole, and there are a lot of stems in the mix. On top of that, the tea claims to be mixed with mango, pear, and apple, but I see very few pieces of dried fruit. The blend smells sweet with heavy overtones of pear and even some melon scent, but also quite musty/dusty. It’s definitely a more complex scent than plain old white tea.
1st infusion: The liquor is a nice medium gold, and it smells lovely – the mango smell is strongest. However, it doesn’t taste nearly so pleasant. I really wanted to like this, and I hope that I overleafed it, but right now, this tea tastes very dusty and there’s even a hint of candlewax I’m tasting. I added a small spoonful of honey to heighten the fruit notes, but I don’t think it’s helping any.
I think I’m going to try again in the future and use less leaf to see if that helps.
Every time I drink this tea I think of butterscotch ripple ice cream. I don’t add any sugar to this, it doesn’t really need it – it’s quite sweet on it’s own.
I thought at one time this would become part of my permanent stash. Funny how tastes change and evolve. I won’t have any trouble finishing what I have left, but it is no longer necessary to always have on hand.
Re-steep is not great.
Tea #2 from the TTBA!
Not bad not bad. A nice blend of flavour and tea. Though I can totally see where Sil got the idea to ice this and add honey. Yup, I think this would be fab that way.
But… Hot? I’m really sad to say that I like the David’s tea version of blueberry black better. Because it’s organic? a denser base? heavier flavouring? Has sweetener? (stevia)
I don’t know. Probably all of the above. Shame. I prefer to support the local single stores when I can :(
Edit: When it’s cooled? yeah, not good at all. Dusty.
I figured out how to drink this one today. Cold steep overnight and add a splash of honey. Not sugar or other sweetners – honey. Because man that honey + blueberry = HELLZ YA! Seriously? it’s nearly enough for me to just bump the everlovingjeebusrating out of this one haha. but i won’t because i don’t like it hot brewed as much and it’s a little too picky for me. But the rest of this? brewed like this for sure!
I should like this tea. When I saw it in the AMAZING swap box that scribbles sent me, I was really excited.
I’m not getting much pu’erh, there is some dark base under the sweet caramel, but I wouldn’t have been able to say that it was pu’erh. I don’t think think this is sweet enough. There is a little astringency to it, I find that odd in a dessert tea. Maybe it needs a touch of sugar to bring out the flavors. I’m not sure, what I want to say it that it’s “flat”. one dimensional.
Thank you so much scribbles for sending this to me. Maybe I’m just not in the mood for it tonight. Will try again another night, but my initial impressions of this is just ok.
smells like a divine dessert as it steeps, however if you are a puerh lover (which i am), then you want the flavour to work WITH the puerh and not banish it, which this one did. now, it could be my fault: my standard M/O with puerh is to overleaf and to oversteep… i like it strong! possibly i compounded the over strong flavour because of that. i’ll try another steep and reserve numerical rating until then (i have had A LOT of those in the last 3 days!!!)
if you want a straight up dessert tea, with pudding in your cup regardless of the base then you will enjoy this. seriously, you don’t even need dessert with this one. however, if like me you prefer a flavour that respectfully nods its head to the puerh, you will not like this tea.
atypical flavour breakdown: my wife woke up, stumbled into the kitchen and mutter/snarled (you know when you’re half asleep and everything sounds angry?) ‘what smells like vanilla?’ the smell woke her up in our bedroom 30 feet away. with the door closed.
definitely caramel. reminds me of the kraft caramels from halloween when i was a kid. very sweet. no salt flavour. also no puerh. strong flavour, strong colour… fully opaque (ahem… as opposed to verdant’s 2010 xingyang… you did NOT just hear me make that comparison though!)
i should note that what i do and do not appreciate is not necessarily on par with the goal of the tea blender. a strong dessert tea may be precisely what they were trying to accomplish, in which case ‘mazel tov! mission accomplished!’ …. i just overempathize with puerh. lol.
ARGH!!! i have my guerilla tea buddy SCRIBBLES to thank for this dessert experience. it came in my surprise package this week. THANK YOU!!!
UPDATE: got nothing at all from the resteep. so, i’ll go back to previous statement: if you’re looking for a dessert tea, but it’s not a puerh by my definition. i will continue to abstain from a numerical definition….
Sipdown!! Another sample from sil in my tummy! Ok, well this one is in process of being in my tummy. ;)
It seems that caramel and chocolate make very good companions to pu erh teas. The flavours really stand up to and enhance the rich deep pu erh tones. I don’t really know what difference between toffee and caramel is, except that maybe toffee is more buttery? I dunno.
Just like yesterday, I feel the need to have a caramel or toffee black tea in my permanent collection now, but I don’t know if this is it. I want to look around locally first, before venturing out to thr Internet.
This is pretty good, and pretty close to David’s Coffee Pu Erh (minus the coffee).
I had a tea very much like this one before, and I remember thinking that this tasted a bit like Coffee Pu Erh frm Davids, sans the coffee beans.
This one did have a little more coffee-ish notes than the last one, but not much really. I noticed the pu erh base in this one fairly prominently. It is more of an earthy pu erh than fishy, but straddled that line a bit,
I think that caramel and pu erh are a great mix. I love starting my day with a bold pu erh with some sweet tones like this. It’s a little like a coffee, but not. I might do a rinse next time, just out of curiosity, as this is a strong blend.
Many thanks to sil for satisfying a sweet tooth with this sample.
sipdown! (205) yeah..working from home day! Which means aiming for 200 teas today or a decent dent in things that i have 2-4 cups worth left so that i can get to under 200 by the time we head out on vacation!
I’ve enjoyed this one a bunch, slightly more than the english tea store version, though my memory might just be making me THINK this one is slightly better when it’s not. All that really means is that when i go back for more of my highland blend someday, i can also pick this one up :) As long as you drink it while hot, it’s a great bold, thick, rich caramel tea. More what i love drinking in winter but still one i could drink year round.
Thanks for this one, Sil!
Naturally, I didn’t save my sample of this one from the English Tea Store to compare… but they’re totally the same tea. So, I love the caramelly flavours and wish it was a bit lighter on the pu’erh, but would definitely drink this again (but not keep a great deal on hand as I’d prefer a black blend).
Thanks again to Sil for this sample.
This is an interesting tea, an earthy woody Shu puerh with the addition of caramel. The flavor is rustic & kind of wild, but as it cools it becomes very smooth & sweeter. An interesting tea to sample, a sweet & savory dessert.
Excuse me, my tea & I are headed to the bubble bath. :)
Once upon a time when I had only just discovered flavoured pu-erh someone told me that sweet flavours tends to go very well with that type of tea. It was the first time I had my orange flavoured pu-erh and I can’t remember who it was, but I definitely remember thinking at the time that they were somebody who ought to know what they were talking about.
Since then a long time has passed and the number of flavoured pu-erhs that I have seen have been very limited indeed. And I’ve never seen one of these sweet flavoured ones.
Not until Sil asked me, “what would you like to try?” and I saw this in her cupboard. I’m afraid my reaction might have been ever so slightly undignified. It involved gasping and flailing. I may even have begged a little bit. So yeah, I’ve been looking forward to this one a lot and I’m ever so glad that Sil was willing to share with me.
The aroma of the leaf reminds me of that toffee flavoured black from Le Palais des Thes. It’s obviously not the same base at all, but they both have that smell that reminds me of fudge. I’m not really picking up any notes of the base tea in this one at all. Just fudge. (Actually, that’s quite inspiring. I’d like to try and make my own. How hard can it be? I’d like to try and make my own caramel sweeties as well. We did that in school once, and it was totally easy)
After steeping the pu-erh comes through and mixes well with the toffee notes. I can see already now that whoever it was told me that about pu-erhs and sweet flavours really did know their business. These notes mix so well, it doesn’t feel like it’s added flavouring at all. A bit too much on the sweet side to be entirely natural, of course, but it smells like it could have been if it had wanted to.
If this stuff tastes as awesome as it smells, I’m going to be in deep trouble because I know of no way to source some for myself. I’m suddenly faced with the possibility of my perfect caramel/toffee flavoured tea not being a regular black at all. I mean I thought I’d already found my perfect one. Now I’m concerned that I’m in for a bit of a shock. O.o
So I took a couple of sips and have suddenly found myself at a loss for words. I don’t know how to continue. This has never happened to me before.
Either I’ve actually discovered a new perfect caramel-y/toffee tea, or it has an enormous flaw in order to be a candidate for perfection. And I don’t know which of these statements is true.
This is my very first impression of this tea. Complete ambivalence. How the plock am I supposed to even begin to determine the score??? O.o
I’m going to try and describe my experience of it here. Perhaps that’s going to help me.
I’m getting a lot of pu-erh flavour here. It’s a wood-y, kind of dry flavour without much in the way of earthy notes. It’s not the smoothest tea in the world at all and it feels a bit rough around the edges. I’m even getting something which, under other circumstances, I would describe as borderline pseudo-smoky.
Then the toffee flavour gradually takes over, and we are talking about a very seamless transition here. I really couldn’t say where one notes stops and the other begins. It’s vanilla-y and cocoa-y and it really suits the base flavour. It sort of feels like they’re the same ‘family’ of flavours, if you know what I mean. A bit like how various citrus fruits have very different flavours, but they are still all taste citrus-y.
The flavouring in this one is fantastic, but I’m not completely sold on the base. I would have liked a smoother base, I think, and that is at the root of my ambivalence. I should dearly love to see this exact flavouring on a super-smooth Chinese base, or a friendly Assam, perhaps.
So here I am. Wondering what to do about something I could rate at an absolute top score and feel I had scored it honestly, or I could rate it at 60 and still feel that I been honest. What to do? I’m going to go straight for the middle of the two with a bias towards the higher end because the flavouring is so extremely well done.
Conundrum in a cup.
Even brewed for 2 minutes, this tea is sadly still astringent. A tasty candy-strawberry flavour, but way too much astringency, and since I’m very aware that astringency is entirely unnecessary, I’m not particularly tolerant of it. I think this tea could be pretty tasty with a better base, but unless that happens, I probably wouldn’t pick it up again. Perhaps I’ll add some milk and syrup to this cup; I can see it being pretty tasty if I can mask that astringency, but it’s a little difficult to drink otherwise.
ETA: I do like the second infusion of this one. There’s some flavour in it that I really like… I just so wish there wasn’t astringency!
Thank you Sil! This smells awesome! I could just sit around huffing this stuff, & never drink it, & be happy. It smells wonderful! Flavorwise, it’s ok plain, with an earthy mildly sweet flavor. The addition of caramel really adds to the natural caramel-like essence of Shu. With stevia, which really brings out the caramel flavors, it’s even more delicious!
I tried this one as a cold brew and while it’s still delicious,especially with a splash of sweetner added to it, there are other strawberry teas that i have since had that do a better job of strawberry without the mild astringency that this tea has. I still like it, but i’ll stick to majesteas darker teas i think :)