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Recent Tasting Notes
I just finished my Shakespeare sample of this ::tear:: and it was just as yummy as the first time around for me. I got the same beignet sweetness and smoke-filled oomph. The smoke this time around reminded me of when I’d clean out my fireplace in Colorado: the remnants of a cozy fire. I also got a bit more of an almost metallic-like taste — it wasn’t unpleasant, but it was worth noting since I can’t say that I’ve had that experience with a lapsang before. Just a great smokey tea. TG
Doulton’s Shakespeare: A Tasting Note in 5 Acts
Act II scene 5
“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.”
MacBeth, Act IV scene 1
I consider one of the best parts of MacBeth to be the witches. They cackle, plot and give prophecies that have (said like Robot Chicken’s version of M. Night Shyamalan) a tweest! Plus they inspired the title of one of Ray Bradbury’s great stories (I’m a big Ray Bradbury fan too). They’re dark and naughty, but they aren’t the ones who do all the murdering in the play. Therefore to me this tea embodies the Witches from Macbeth.
I think that Upton’s Black Dragon is the best subtle LS that I’ve had. Having said that, this tea is the most robust wicked-awesome LS that I’ve had. This is a smokier LS, but it’s the smoothest smoky LS that I’ve ever had. It also has an uncanny sweetness that reminds me of Cafe Du Monde’s beignets. The sweetness may be due to residual from my oolong marathon yesterday, but I’ll try this tea again in the near future to confirm that it’s this tea that has the sweet characteristics that I’m attributing to it. This is like the best witches brew ever. So if you’ve had Upton’s Black Dragon (or any other subtle-smoky LS) and decide to further your Lapsang Souchong adventure, then I highly recommend this one as the next step up on the smoke scale. TG
Lapsang Souchong “Cat Sound” Scale: This tea made me go back to my Life in Teacup note and drop the rating a few notches. This also wins over the “Purr like a lion” from the LiT tea.
ETA: I got 4 very good steeps out of this one, but I think the 5th would become too watery.
Backlog: I finished off the last of what I had in my stash. A very good Dragonwell. Here is a link to the full review I wrote of this tea:
This is one of my favorite Dragonwell Teas. I did not brew it “traditionally” – that is, I did not allow the tea leaves to become turgid. I have found that when I brew Dragonwell tea, if I brew the first infusion just 1 minute, I am able to get quite a few more infusions out of the leaves, and I prefer the flavor of the short steeped tea much more than that of the traditional method.
I’d like to think that my relationship with Dragonwell has come a long way since I first tried it some 10 years ago. My first experience was not a positive one, to say the least, and since that time, I’ve learned more about myself as a tea drinker and my preferences, and have experimented a bit to find that Dragonwell is one of my favorite green teas!
The flavor is sweet, only slightly vegetative (not nearly as vegetative as most Japanese greens), and has a very pleasant floral note. It tastes … like spring!
Even though I had said I won’t be rating teas numerically while I am sick, I have chosen to do so with this tea, because… my stores in this tea are getting quite low and I don’t know how long I’ll be sick vs. how long I’ll have this tea to rate it when I’m well. Even if I weren’t sick though, I would rate this one very high, because it is so good and worthy of the high rating.
I’ve been drinking Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon by Upton Tea’s every morning for a couple of weeks and truly love it. Late yesterday I received an order from Narien Teas (ten days from order to delivery and they have a lot of small inexpensive sampler bags).
This one is a bit stronger than Black Dragon when it comes to the smoky effect. Black Dragon has a tad of natural sweetness enfolded in there. I’d call this one a more vigorous, robust smoke flavoured tea. It’s very good. My difficulty with Lapsang Souchongs is that I don’t have the palate to pick out the individual notes very well. I seem to like them all and they provide a bracing start to the day. I have yet to give my heart away to any one brand of LS but I’ve given my heart away to this genre of tea.
The 2008 World Tea Expo offered its guests the first public tasting of the first teas being commercially grown in the US for the high-end US tea market—the green, white, oolong, and black teas of Hawai’i.
However, the tea brewers sadly had to prepare tea for 50, brewing them at too low of temperature, all with the same water, Western style. I thought this an unfortunate coming out for America’s first boutique tea. So when I read that Narien Teas of Florida began distributing the first commercial batch of Hawai’ian green tea to hit the market, called Kilinoe (“Misty Rain”) I jumped at the opportunity to purchase some and give our homegrown tea a second chance.
Kilinoe is grown on Mauna Loa on the big island of Hawai’i. It’s marketed as sustainable and eco-grown, and from the somewhat cultish WWOOF ads I’ve seen online, I do believe it.
In its foil pouch, Kilinoe smells like sugar and cream with a slight vegetal hint. Its long and twisted leaves gave me impressions visual and olfactory of Yunnan maocha fresh off the straw drying mats.
In the gaiwan, it smells strongly of citrus peel and sweet grass. It tastes much the way it smells at first, developing a richer maocha flavor with citrus highlights. The creamy texture hints at white rice.
The aftertaste, while present, disappears sooner than I’d like. About a 5-cup green, in later infusions it tastes so much like a lighter flavored green pu’er that I find it hard to justify the price: at $1 per gram, Kilinoe costs more than any other green tea that has passed my lips. Similarly, my criticisms of Hawai’ian teas at the Expo included dismay at how light they were.
Still, Kilinoe is a pretty good hand-picked boutique green with soft energy and light, non-fishy, non-chickeny flavors. Fans of green tea would do well to spend the $9 on a sample, if only to see the budding potential of Hawai’i’s boutique greens.
I wrote a review for this tea for The Tea Review Blog about a week or so ago, although it’s not yet been published. I really like this Assam. It has a pleasant malty character, but it is quite different from other Assam teas in that it possesses a wine-like quality to it.
I usually prefer to drink this tea in the early evening with my dinner, however, I recently procured a bit of Chipotle Chai Spice from World Spice Merchants, and I was anxious to try some. The Chai spice does not come with tea, it is just a blend of spices that you can add to the tea of your choice, so I just happened to grab this Assam this morning.
The spice has a very bold kick to it – very spicy indeed! I added an ample dollop of honey and I heated and frothed my milk for the chai – this is better than any coffee shop could prepare for me! It has a hint of sweetness – almost a fruity sweetness – but it’s ever so delicate, a bit smoky, but not too much, and a lot spicy. This really packs a punch!
Brewing my last of this tea from Narien. I’m a bit sad that it’s my last! It’s really good.
Has a mild sweetness that is pleasant. Not a strong vegetative presence. It reminds me a bit of a yellow tea rather than a green tea. No astringency, no bitterness – just a very lovely, smooth tea that is absolutely delightful. I am going to miss this one a lot!
I shall miss this one! It is so delightful. Here is my full-length review of it: http://www.teareviewblog.com/?p=11844
Time for my daily Oolong fix! What a delightful time of day it is!
Having a “daily Oolong” is something that is fairly recent for me. I would try an Oolong, fall in love with it (this happens with almost every Oolong I try!) and then I’d put it away and hoard it… deciding it was far too special and needed to be preserved and cherished. Finally, one day I realized I wasn’t doing me or the tea any favors by hiding it away and not drinking it. So now, I celebrate and cherish Oolong in a different way – by trying to make time for it every day!
I have but just enough for another day of this Formosa Pouchong – but oh how I’ve enjoyed it. Buttery, smooth, luxurious mouthfeel! Lovely! So good.
The best part is that more infusions will follow! One of the things I really love about Oolong tea!
OoOoOoOo-long! Delightful! Pleasant aroma – floral, vegetative – much the way I would think a meadow kissed with spring flowers would smell in the morning after a light rain.
Even more delightful than the aroma is the flavor! Floral notes, buttery, even a hint of fruit hits my palate. And of course, a hint of vegetation. Not strong… but it seems to linger lightly in each layer of flavor of this complex cup.
Several more infusions to follow!
Brewed my second infusion of these leaves. I actually brought the water to a boil this time as I wasn’t standing over the kettle to monitor it, so I allowed the tea to cool a bit before adding it to the leaves (I generally will pour the boiling water into a cool teapot, and wait a minute, and I find that this cools the water enough to add to this greener Oolong).
The flavor of the second infusion is very much like the first. Perhaps a little more vegetative quality.
I don’t sweeten this tea – doesn’t need it! Save the sweetener for flavored teas! This one is perfect!
My daily cup of Oolong. I love this!
I just submitted my review of this tea for the Tea Review Blog, although I don’t know when it will be published. The flavor is much like a green tea – fresh and bright, but with delightful, sweet buttery notes as well. Lovely mouthfeel.
I think that this just might be my favorite tea from Narien that I’ve tried thus far.