Popular Teas from Norbu TeaSee All 147 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
Okay, so I fell off the wagon on buying tea. But my Mom wanted some of their Pudina Darjeeling Chai and when I got there to check the prices, the Darjeelings were ON SALE! It was practically a moral imperative to order something.
And I’m very glad I did. This is a super good Autumnal Darj. Beautiful dry and steeped, delicious scent. Very, very low astringency, subtly sweet and musky. That said, I did err on the side of Darjeeling common sense and didn’t steep very long just in case. :)
I do however, have 250 grams of it since that was the smallest amount as this is on clearance. So… I can and will share. Or, until the supply is gone, it is 60% off at Norbu and you can get your own 250 grams. :)
Sipdown no. 103 of the year 2014.
After reading some of the notes, I’m going to try using less water this time for the same amount of tea and see what that does. I don’t want to go hotter with the water or longer with the steep, because teaddict warned against this as a way to encourage bitterness.
Less water most definitely makes a difference. The flavor is stronger, and I’m getting an almost Darjeeling-like note, a small amount of grapey sharpness to liven up the overall smoothness. It’s not at all like a silver needle as I’d said in my first tasting note. It has none of the dewy, nectary notes I associate with silver needle. Instead, I’m getting more buttery flavor that has a little of something almost like asparagus.
I wish I had more so I could keep fine tuning. I’m putting it on the shopping list for after I come out of lockdown, if ever.
After a fairly rough weekend at work, I collapsed on the bed at around 7:30PM last night. Which…unfortunately prompted my body to roust around 3AM, thinking it was well-rested. Instead of trying to force it back into submission, I chose instead to sip-speriment.
This is the first hand-rolled Darjeeling I’ve ever encountered. The leaves, frankly, resembled an oolong – only not as tightly ball-fisted. Because of this, I made the twilight decision to “gongfool” the sucker- gaiwan, three cups, and one-minute steeps each.
The results were subtle, sweet, floral- no over-arching spice flavor, to speak of. Very unlike any other Darjeeling first flush I’ve ever tried. At times, it was almost too subtle, but I blame that on the wacky approach I used. A three-minute steep later on turned up a bolder profile.
Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers, Grapes, Honey
I decided to try this one tonight since it’s been staring at me whenever I rummage through my sample bin.
After reading the few notes, I decided to do a super short rinse (maybe 5 seconds?) then a shorter steep. I’ll resteep this later.
After wetting them, I definitely get a cedar smell out of the buds. Not cedar chips, but crushed cedar green “leaf” part. It’s quite gentle. The steeped tea is barely greenish. But it tastes so nice.
It’s a little sweet, thick, a tiny bit green, with a hint of cedar. I like this one. Verdant’s is really piney, which is interesting, but I think I like this one better.
(1.5 tsp 12 oz)
A couple of weekends ago I waded through my tea and pulled out some samples to put into the “to be drunk soon” sample pile. This was one of them.
My first thought was that the leaves are just really, really gorgeous. They have a lot of color variation from medium-dark green to silvery white, and they are, as the description says, for the most part long and twisty.
The sample was in a sealed packet, but the plastic made it difficult for me to distinguish an aroma from the dry leaves. I find that to be the case with all plastic packets, not just the one this was in.
The liquor is a very pale greenish yellow, and the steeped tea’s aroma is faint and a little like sweet grass or maybe clover, slightly floral.
The taste is very light and mellow, not as vegetal as the only other mao feng I’ve had. I almost wonder whether the sample is suffering from age or whether my taste buds haven’t yet adjusted back from the lapsang souchong I had before this (I did attempt to clear my palate, but I might not have done a sufficient job of it). It’s tasting almost like a white tea to me, like a shade or two more intense than a silver needle. But with the same “fresh water” taste. The other notes on this found it to have a more robust flavor, so I suspect user error.
I am going to refrain from rating for now and try it again on a rested palate.
Okay. Again with this one tonight after dinner. I would say definitely spearmint but surprisingly decent despite that. I upped the temp but kept the steep time the same. The tea itself is still pretty light, but still good. The mint is stronger but the tea isn’t bitter yet or dry.
I’ll try the final bit I have left as recommended. :)
This is interesting. Definitely a Darjeeling, definitely mint. Possibly spearmint… which is not usually anything I like. But this is not a bad after dinner cup. It’s very light and you can definitely taste mint but not in an herbal way, there is tea here, too. I would not pick this out as a 2nd flush, but that could either be to hesitant steeping or due to the fact that my palate just can’t pick out the differences unless I have them side by side. I wasn’t really confident in the boiling for a 5 minute steep instructions so I went with less than boiling for about 3 minutes. Luckily, ifjuly sent along enough of this that I can try another cup or two and play with it a bit!
Brewed this western style, using a Finum basket. Gave it 3-4 minutes, and it needs that time to open up.
The leaves are long, long, long and blacker than a moonless night. They take time to open up, and patience is required for them to release their exquisite flavors.
This is very gently smoked tea, that tastes like a very, very good Keemun – it has some of the malt/bread flavor to it, with a gentle smokiness that does not feel artificial, but gives it depth and body. There is something of the sweetness of sugar to it, and I did not experience any astringency when drinking it. A great intro to smoked teas,and a wonderful companion for a cold winter’s night, in a large steaming mug, with your hands wrapped around it for warmth.
Norbu did it again!
Flavors: Baked Bread
Ok, so now for a proper tasting note, because this tea is worth it. This is from my latest order from Norbu Tea, part of what I bought during their 25% off Chinese New Year sale (on until the 31st of January. Go buy some great tea now! I’ll wait patiently until you are done).
One of the reasons that I love Norbu is that they have all these unique and interesting teas that you can’t find anywhere else, and this is one of them. This is an aged oolong that is practically my age, and yet doesn’t have any funky, fishy, musty smell or taste. It is very dark, and has a roasted note to the first steepings, but from the third steep on it takes on a Tie Guan Yin taste, with flowery, slightly perfume-y notes, and some fruitiness that remains with this tea from the start. I used very short steepings, as this tea came out bold during the quick wash, so I was afraid of over brewing it. The leaves unfurl, and they nearly filled my little Yixing teapot (Yunnan Sourcing Green Dragon Egg – wonderful teapot!) by the fifth and sixth steepings. This tea can go on for ages, and you are likely to tire of it before it runs out of juice. There are some cocoa notes to the tea, particularly in the first steepings, and there’s a nice sweetness to it, yet also a complexity beyond what you normally get even from a very good oolong. A tea to remember, and to slowly and methodically savor.
P.S. I’m not a fan of flowery oolongs, so I’m knocking off a few points due to my personal preferences. If you are at all a Tie Guan Yin person or an oolong person in general, you need to try this tea.
sipdown on this one as i’m passing the other half on to one of my tea friends whose preferences run towards white/green etc… ie the full other end of the spectrum from me haha. It’s not because i don’t like this either, but more because i like to share. Staving student with no tea budget and all you know :) As far as white’s go, this is a lovely light, refreshing brew with no floral notes going on! it’s sweet, and tastes more than just warm water to me haha overall another nice one from Norbu :)
sipdown! mwahahah because the other half of my sample is going to go in to Terri’s box so that she can try this one as well. I have to say, these leaves are pretty darn big once they expand through brewing :) this is on the sweeter side of things, without being as distinctively sweet as some of the teas from TTC that I’ve had. it still comes across as a bit of a malty sort of tea but not to the extent of say, Tiger Assam. I am really enjoying this because it’s just a bit different than similar teas that i’ve had.
Norbu (greg) included this one for me because i was trying to find a similar tea to the one i fell in love with from Norbu that they have since stopped purchasing because of the lack of demand in the US. SHAME ON YOU US! :) While this IS a tasty tea, it doesn’t hold the same power over me as the other one. Still though, i enjoy this one a bunch.
Norbu has some excellent customer service for anyone interested, and until the end of January they’re having a 25% off sale :)
An interesting take on Ya Bao, in Sheng format – a kind of combination between toasty white tea and the depth of flavor of Sheng, with a little lemony twist. A very comforting, sweet, mellow drink, that needs several washes and time to unfold its flavors (obviously in a Gaiwan or a Yixing teapot). No camphor taste, for those who avoid Sheng Pu’er for that reason. A nice evening treat to have curled with a book.
End of day relaxation tea, brewed three times in a Gaiwan, and then all merged into a single class cup. Yes, I am sacrilegious, blending East and West with such abandon. But this tea can take it, and the result was as comfortingly “bread-y” as usual.
Still one of the weirder looking teas that I own.
A pot of Norbu Tea Ya Bao was my after-dinner selection this evening. Once again I did a quick hot rinse, but this time I added a bit more of the dried tea to the pot (a cast iron Tetsubin-type), and the brew was slightly darker but still pale. The taste was very much the same, and I continue to struggle with an accurate description.
Others identify this taste as pine or cedar, but it evokes memories from childhood of dandelions—not that I ever ate any of them. There is definitely something weedy about this unique tea… There is just a touch of astringency to it.
Perhaps it simply tastes like Ya Bao! Actually, that would be a pretty funny tasting note to mention in a wine review, come to think of it:
Obscurius per obscurum!
second infusion: this was just as good as the first.
third infusion: I oversteeped this time and found the brew too bitter and less pleasant, so I tossed it.