Mark T. Wendell
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Recent Tasting Notes
It’s extremely important that the flavor and quality is completely dependent on how many infusions it has gone through.
First infusion: 4 minutes at 212 degrees:
Extremely dark, purple-brown opaque liquor. Smells of wood and fish. When drunk, produces a very dry texture, almost like drinking sawdust. Very earthy, reminds me of camping in the woods. Warming.
Second Infusion: 4:20 at 212 degrees:
Much lighter in color. Much smoother. Still wooden, but a bit of peppery flavor peeks through.
3rd infusion: 5:00 at 212 degrees: Much paler than last brew; golden. Very smooth. Full-bodied, notes of sweet wood and black pepper. Very satisfying.
The third brew is very satisfying. Tons of earthy character in this tea.
OK, I was initially disappointed that MTW did not have the Pattabong Clonal Queen this year, being a creature of habit, but I bought a tin of the Singbulli Estate believing that MTW knew what they were doing. I was not wrong. I have been enjoying this tea on many afternoons. Like most First flush Darjeeling’s it has that wonderful combination that puts it somewhere between a green tea and a black tea. They recommend a 4 minute steep, I do five because I like a little more flavor and it can take it without becoming bitter. I let my tea water stand for 3 minutes after boiling to not scald the fine leaves. MTW scores again!
Nice! This is crisp and fresh tasting. The fruit flavors are light… quite subtle in fact, but I like that the tea is prominent here. The fruit is sweet with a tartness that starts out very subdued but then presents itself more in the aftertaste.
Going to make some of this tonight for iced tea tomorrow! Looking forward to that!
I first encountered Nilgiri tea on a visit to the Kerala area of the Blue Mountains in India. I collected some Nilgiri tea there, but when I saw this one on MTW’s site I had to give it a try. This is a really fine tea with nice citrusy notes and something I can’t describe, sort of a plum taste. A medium bodied tea that lends itself to drinking without the need for milk to cut the tannin. I am not a fan of using milk in tea so this one suits me fine. I’ve had it for seven mornings not consecutively, and I really enjoy it’s beautiful difference.
Hu Kwa is purported to be the top-notch Lapsang Souchong from Taiwan. Steeping one cup at a time, I use one teaspoon of leaves per cup, and I steep the tea for five and a half minutes in just-boiled water, as per Mark T. Wendell Tea Company’s website. The dry leaves have a very strong smokiness to them, as is normal with Lapsang Souchong. However, with this one, there is a slight undertone of sweetness that can be noticed in the dry leaves. The aroma of the steeped tea is also quite smooth. Past experience with Lapsang Souchong has exposed me to some that were so rough as to suggest that perhaps one should be sitting outside on the ground around a campfire while drinking them, not sipping this noble drink in a more civilised setting.
The five and a half minutes is up, so I decant the tea to remove the leaves and allow the tea a minute or so to cool slightly (scalded taste buds do not make for accurate tea tasting). Heavily smoked is a good descriptor of the taste, but not overly smoked. That strange line of sweetness that went through the scent of the dry leaves is still present in the tea itself. The smoothness of this tea made it quite enjoyable to drink. Smooth and not thick. This tea deserves an 87/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
Thanks again to Geoffrey for sending me some of this tea.
I really do love this tea. It has a beautiful flavor – very rich and flavorful. I love the warm spicy undertones and the hint of sweetness that hits around mid-sip. It is not quite as bold as an authentic Keemun, but, that’s OK… sometimes different is good, and in this case that’s very true. A very pleasant, deep, complex flavor that I’m enjoying immensely.
I have Geoffrey Norman to thank for sending me this tea. Thanks!
This tea confuses me! The appearance of the dry leaves remind me of a Formosa Oolong, and even the brewed liquor smells like a Formosa Oolong. And it tastes more like an Oolong to me than a typical Keemun.
Nevertheless, I am liking it! It has a warm taste to it – not just temperature, but a subtle spicy undertone – and a pleasant smoothness. No bitter taste and very little (as in practically no) astringency. A very pleasant cup.
I think I want to try this one again before I start rating it.
Finishing off the last of these pearls this evening. I do love Jasmine Pearls!
Here’s my full-length review of it, written some time ago but my feelings for this tea haven’t changed: http://www.teareviewblog.com/?p=17616