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Recent Tasting Notes
I usually buy from reliable sources (Teavivre, YS and the likes). I recently noticed a couple of nannuoshan’s black tea reviews, with pretty high score. So I thought giving it a try. I’m fond of green teas, so I ordered three samples of them that I got together with the Yixing Hong Cha (that I already reviewed).
The fist of the green tea I tried is the Taiping houkui superior, because I’ve never seen leaves like that, long and flat, with a light texture on them. Moreover the smell is delicate, sweet and very inviting! The the taste changes with each brew: first is a bit grassy, then it becomes more sweet and floral.
I definitely like it and I think I will treat myself to a 50g box to put under the Christmas tree :-)
Flavors: Flowers, Grass, Sweet
This sample came to me via Marzipan and was a free sample from a group order a bunch of Steepster folks went in on. The dry leaf is huge and twisty and gorgeous. The steeped liquor smells amazing- roasty and tangy. I get mostly mineral and lightly roasted flavors with a very faint hint of tart cherry. The aftertaste is long and lingering. I would prefer more fruity sweetness and more floral flavors, but that is probably just a personal preference. I’m normally not a huge fan of this style of oolong. Thanks Nannuoshan and fellow Steepsterites for the sample :)
From the EU TTB – Round 3
I’ve never come across a black maofeng before, so I knew instantly that this was one I was going to have to try. The dry leaves are very fine and curly, like small pieces of wire. They’re black, dark brown and golden in colour, and so very pretty to look at! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.
The resulting liquor is a medium golden-brown. There’s a light maltiness to the beginning of the sip, which is sweet and pleasant. This then opens up into a deeper and slightly more bittersweet chocolate flavour. I’m thinking dark chocolate with a reasonably high cacao content here, but it’s not at all dry tasting. The end of the sip brings a mild smokiness. I’m not usually a fan of smoke flavours in teas, but I don’t mind it here. It’s not overwhelming at all, just a gentle counterpoint that works well with the other flavours.
I’m enjoying this one a lot, and I’m pleased to have had the chance to develop my knowledge of Chinese black teas a little further. A pleasing cup.
This is really very nice. Extremely cocoa, little bit of woodsy, not smoky enough that I notice. Smells malty but not excessively so. A moderate strength with lightness in the sip, if that makes any sense.
I liked it at about 1.5 minutes, although even at 3 it wasn’t overpowering, just a bit stronger with more mineral tang.
I get the wild peppery taste and the tobacco. It’s not bitter but there is a distinct mineral-y tang to it as it steeps for longer periods (And wow, does it get dark when you let it go for more than about 3 minutes! It’s almost black!). The scent is lightly smoky and heavily malty, especially when dry.
I don’t get any subtle notes from this. It’s fine but I have had other Dian Hongs that I prefer. This was part of a group order though and it was super nice of them to include bags for the tea we were splitting so that each of us would have a labeled bag and instructions! So high marks to the company, even if this particular tea is not my favorite. :)
And I think the instructions as printed are somewhat off. The English translation may not be quite right. 6 grams is not the same as 4 teaspoons. I think that 5 grams = 1 teaspoon. The instructions say 6 grams (4 teaspoons) to 1/2 liter of water. That would be either 4 teaspoons per 16 ounces (which is pretty close to how I would normally steep my teas) or 1 teaspoon per 16 ounces (which would be very light for me), depending on which is correct. :) So I may not have hit the recommended parameters. I used 1 teaspoon for 6 ounces. Maybe I overpowered the more delicate notes by overleafing.
I did this by little glass teapot method. :) 30 seconds, 60 seconds, much more seconds. :) Overall, I preferred the 60 sec steep to the others. 30 was far too light and more than a minute was too strong for me.
Hm. I’m not really sure what to say about this. It smelled like smoke in the package. I was extremely hesitant about trying it. I was going to give the whole sample to my mom since she likes smoky teas. But, since this was a free sample from Nannoushan, I knew I had to try it and review it. I’m not going to give it a rating, though, since smoky teas are truly not my bag.
The smoke flavor is much less pronounced than the smell leads one to expect. I get some maltiness but a whole ton of savory, brothy notes. Almost like smoky beef broth. I feel like I should have carrots and other veggies in this for a soup! This is the only tea I’ve ever had that reminds me so much of soup.
I would not reach for this, but I will finish this cup. It’s… interesting.
Oh, I am going to regret not having more than a sample of this. Sweet and smooth, this has notes of chocolate and sweet, ripe fruit. With extreme oversteeping (like 15 minutes or so of having to be on the phone with the mother), it gets hints of a bite but not unpleasantly so. Not sure if this is the first Hong Cha I’ve had or not. I am a fan of this at any rate. :)
I started out with just cooled from boiling water in a little glass pot, tasted at about 15 & 45 seconds (after it cooled off a bit) and it had more caramel notes in the first 2 cups than in the subsequent.
And thanks to cookies for ordering! :)
Here we go again with the infrequent updates. Oh well. If/When I ever get to a period of trying lots of new stuff often, I’ll totally be building another queue.
Anyway, I got this sample with my recent Nannoushan order. I chose it because I don’t think I’ve had this type before, but now that I’ve tasted it, I’m not certain. Now I think perhaps I have but with a different name? There’s just something about it that strikes me as really familiar and I can’t really put my finger on what it could be. I know that loads of Chinese blacks have more than a few characteristics in common and it doesn’t normally make me feel like I must have had it before. This one did though. I got a very distinct feeling of familiarity. Does anybody know of any alternative names? Anglified, maybe?
It’s a very sweet tea. Both in the aroma and the flavour. The aroma has a subtle chocolate-y note to it, but the flavour is very caramel-y. Remember that roasted in muscovado tea that I bought from Yunnan Sourcing? I can’t remember the name of that one right now, but this is how I was hoping that would taste.
This one isn’t particularly grain-y, but it is somewhat wood-y and it’s a quite mild tea. So much so in fact that it probably wasn’t super-suitable for the first cup of the day (YAAAAAAAAAAWN!) but a very pleasant cup even so.
I understand, from questions asked and answered on the discussion board, that this type is sometimes smoked as well. Mine isn’t smoked, but I should like to try a smoked one too some time. I have once had an unsmoked Lapsang Souchong. I wonder if this is what is causing my feeling of having had it before?
I hesitated to give a score that high. But, being the best black tea I have ever tasted, a 98 it seemed to make his case. Leaving two points from the 100 just because it can always improve!
Why I like it so much? First, it smells incredibly sweet and rich. The colour of the infusion is a rich reddish, lighter then I was expecting. The taste is smooth and brisk and the aftertaste lasts for a long time. I had it for breakfast and matched very well with fruits jam and biscuits :-)
Flavors: Caramel, Smooth
We’ve reached the end of the queue!
I suppose that means we’re back to the more sporadic way of posting, then. Okay. I can deal with that, I guess. Maybe. Perhaps I’ll end up sticking to my posting days and build up another queue. We’ll see. It was quite an easy system for me to work with.
Here is another one I got in my recent order from Nannuoshan (which I really must learn to spell. I get confused about the order of o’s and u’s and the amount of n’s involved) and also one that I didn’t feel it was necessary to sample first in order to know I would like it. I’ve had similar to it before, you see.
This is a very chocolate-y tea. Unlike the tan yang which gets cocoa-y but not chocolate-y, this one is completely opposite. Chocolate-y, but not especially cocoa-y. There is a difference between these two. It seems a subtle difference, but once you realise it’s there, you’ll find that chocolate and cocoa are actually very different notes. One is sweet and the other can have more of an astringent touch to it.
Anyway, this one is chocolate-y. More specifically, it reminds me mostly of milk chocolate. In fact, it makes me rather want some. The chocolate note is only right at first, though. It only needs a few minutes of cooling before more notes start developing. The next thing I notice about it is a fruity note in addition to the chocolate. This bring me thoughts round to chocolate raisins.
The next note that emerges, again in only a few minutes of cooling, forms the body of the flavour. Here we have something sort of wooden and pine-y. It’s not really smoky in flavour like pine-y things can often be, but there is a touch to it of just a wee little hint of smoky almost being there.
As it cools even further, the chocolate comes out again. Now that we’ve reached a comfortable sipping temperature, it’s super-chocolate-y and quite sweet.
I would say this was a relatively mild tea. It’s not mild in the way that the flavour is in any shape or form delicate, because there is a lot of flavour in this, but it’s also not really one of those ideal morning pick-me-up teas. (Then again, I also think Keemun is a very strong type of tea while most other people seem to find it a fairly mild type, so what do I know?)
Queued post, written November 3rd 2014
I woke up this morning and knew exactly what I wanted. That doesn’t happen all that often. It’s usually rather a thought requiring process, which is why, when sharing a pot with Husband, I frequently find myself asking what he wants. Eh, that’s not entirely true, actually. It’s more a question of “are you interested in a cup of tea if it’s [type]?” and he usually is, so… Don’t know why I feel the need to ask him really. It’s a bit like at bedtime when the following exchange is common-place.
“Are you amenable to a hot bev?” says he.
“Are you having one?” says I.
“I’ll have one too, then.”
Note, in this house ‘hot bev’ = the cup of herbal we usually drink in bed while reading. Again, I don’t know why I need to ask him. If he wasn’t having one, he wouldn’t be asking me in the first place! Why can’t I just say yes? It’s ridiculous to the point where sometimes I just say, “standard question” instead.
Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent. The point is, this morning I knew precisely which tea to make. I received my parcel from Nannoushan a couple of days ago, but haven’t really touched it due to being poorly. I feel a lot better now. I was quite pathetic on Saturday, but felt more or less back to normal yesterday apart from a great deal of coughing and I see no reason why this should not continue. Time for a most favouritest ever type of tea, and I bought a whole great big pouch of it.
It was lucky, actually, that I hadn’t opened it yet, because as I was walking to the kitchen there was something tickling on my hand. Turned out to be a little spider, so me being me, I had a bit of a squeal, my hand got a bit of a shake and the tea pouch had a bit of a flight across the room… I do not like spiders, especially not when they are sitting on me. shudders
Tea seems no worse for wear though, so I have made myself a cup. I had a look at the brewing recommendations, because even though I usually ignore such things (I know how I like my tea, and it’s not necessarily the same strength they like theirs) it doesn’t mean I don’t look. Can report that the good folks at Nannoushan seem to have a preference similar to mine strengthwise.
Oh! I should point out here that they provide recommendations for two ways of brewing, Western as well as gongfu. That’s pretty nifty.
This smells lovely. There’s a bit of cocoa and a great deal of stone-fruit-y sweetness. Some grain underneath as well, but I’m not finding much in the way of that pseudo-smoke note that I love.
Ah yes, that’s the stuff. And there’s my smidge of smoke too. It’s quite slight in this one, actually. It’s been so long since I’ve had a Tanyang of just about nearly any sort, but I’ve had plenty of Keemun lately, so the funny thing is that only now am I realising how much of a smoother tea Keemun actually is than this one. And I find both to be fairly strong teas. I think it’s because Tanyang doesn’t have that caramel-y touch that Keemuns often have. This tea is more about fruity-sweet than caramel-sweet, but there isn’t too much of it. It’s not something that makes you think ‘ooh peach!’ at the first sip, but if you know what to look for, it’s there.
So the body of the flavour here is stone fruity sweetness, a good deal of cocoa (but not chocolate. Never chocolate) a modest helping of grain and a wee bit of oakyness. It’s lovely. kisses tin