Norbu TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Sipdown no. 50 of 2016 (no. 261 total). A sample.
I’ve had this one for a while, obviously, but it was vacuum sealed in its little sample packet and unopened. So when I opened it, a lovely, green floral scent wafted from the packet.
It looks like your basic Ali Shan, green and rolled. This one had some visible stems.
After a rinse, I put this through five steeps in the gaiwan. I did my usual 15 seconds for the first and added five seconds each time, except for the last one where I sort of lost count and probably let it sit for more than a couple of minutes. I didn’t do my usual anal note-taking thing on each separate steep. It’s raining outside and I just wanted to sip and feel the warmth, and enjoy without thinking about it too much.
I haven’t had that many Ali Shans, but I like them. I think I prefer Ti Guanyins, but in general I just like the greener oolongs. This one had a delicate orchid-like aroma and flavor in the early steeps. The liquor started out barely yellow and progressed to a solid, light golden color. The last steep made me think of chestnuts. There’s an interesting note that is a little salty, which mixes things up a bit. But I had to think for a while about what that note was, so it isn’t at all so salty as to be distracting.
Very nice, and though I may regret later not having better notes, I quite enjoyed drinking this without the anal critic in me scribbling between steeps.
Flavors: Chestnut, Floral, Green, Orchids, Salt
Drank this earlier this week and realized that something about older black teas is not as appealing to older oolong. Most of the oolong that are not reroasted tend to lose that roasty head and stronger body, all while creating a refined caramel taste. Black teas as they age seem to just lose some strength and astringency.What I get ut of trying this, which was still alright, is that what I should probably look for is a 3 to 5 year old CTC, Ceylon, or Assam tea to see if they lose the astringency and bitterness.
This tea brew up rather easy and I thought it was an oolong because of the date on it, not very often does a black come to me over 2 years old. Brewed this one up 4 times before I quit it, nothing that important struck me with this though :/
Received a 7g sample of this; trying it just a few days after receiving. ~60mL porcelain gaiwan. It’s been ages since I spent time with oolong, so I don’t remember what I’m doing. (Ha: I should have looked at Norbu’s site, which gives brewing guidelines. Whoops.)
Steeps ~5sec, 8sec, 10sec, 15sec, …
First infusion tastes clear and sweet and a bit roasty in the back of the mouth, with some buttery vegetal oolong-ness. Gaiwan aromas strongly and sharply bitter-grassy-sweet. Second steep more of the same sweet roasty flavours with more creamy rounded body. I haven’t had a lot of oolong recently and this is very nice. The aftertaste is sweet and dry. Third steep, gaiwan aroma becomes notably warm-spicy. Tea a bit more strongly roasty, with a hint of spice and the sweetness at the end. Next few steeps continue in the same direction, with some hints of floral starting to come in.
I suspect the flavours stay similar until it’s steeped out. It’s very nice. May have to order some when I’ve tasted my way through my stash.
Flavors: Roasted Barley, Spices, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass
This 2009 cake has been non-ideally stored — wrapped in paper in the back of a cabinet for the last 4.5 years. Oops.
Used a porcelain gaiwan, 2 ~30sec rinses, let it sit a few minutes while doing chores (leaves opened up nicely). First steep ~10sec, I like the aftertaste better than the taste. Astringency pretty low, though I can’t taste much behind it. Second steep backed off the timing to around 5sec, similar taste, though there’s a bit of a sweet aroma, bit stronger astringency. Third and fourth steeps 10 and 15sec; bit of floral aftertaste. Inside of gaiwan lid smells a bit smoky, a bit medicinal, and a bit vanilla-y? That nice round warm smell that comes with shengs sometimes. Next few steeps seem to be fairly similar, so I gave up early. Not in the mood for this sort of flavour profile right now.
Not really doing much for me. I’ll have to try again; it’s possible my sniffer’s busted due to springtime pollen.
Flavors: Medicinal, Smoke, Vanilla
Sipdown no. 197. A sample.
I am slowly but surely making headway in the oolong sample department, aided by the fact that many of these are single-serving size samples. (Say that 5 times fast.)
This has the tightly rolled medium to lighter green look I expect from this type of tea, but what’s interesting is the aroma of the dry leaves. A really gorgeous floral note in there. Again, it makes me want to say lilac, though I am not great at identifying individual floral notes except for rose, gardenia, and jasmine. I rinsed it and steeped in the gaiwan at 195 beginning at 15 seconds and adding 5 seconds each time.
1. Light, greenish yellow, clear color. Milky, light floral aroma. Mild, light, green taste with a hint of butter and a floral aftertaste.
2. Yellower in color. More milky than floral, and there is a vegetal note. Folks have found asparagus and cabbage notes in this. For me it’s more cabbage than asparagus. Come to think of it, cabbage can have a note that straddles vegetable and dairy. There’s a slight green piquancy to it, as with cabbage so I think that’s what I’m tasting here. But I love cabbage, so to me that’s a good thing.
3. Color is more golden and less green this steep. The aroma has turned quite buttery. The dairy/vegetable straddle note is there and more intense this time, with flowers in the finish.
4. A straight up yellow color. Definitely cabbage in the aroma, more on the green side than the dairy side with that sort of nutty flavor quality that cabbage can have. It’s pretty complex, though. The flavors seem to change from sip to sip, sometimes they’re more heavily floral than others.
5. Brighter straight yellow, smell like buttery cabbage.
The leaves expanded nicely between steeps 1 and 2, and had pretty much completely unfurled by steep four. They steeped leaves are olive green in color and have a bitter green smell, a bit like collard greens.
This is an interesting one. It’s not as sweet and creamy as some I’ve had, more vegetal with that interesting cabbage note. I enjoyed it and its differences. I don’t like it better than some of the tie guan yins I’ve had, but it’s very good and I’d drink it again.
I would love to do oolongs all afternoon, but my taster needs a break as does my bladder. I think I might read for a while.
Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Milk, Vegetables
Thanks for this one, Nicole! I didn’t realize this one was a Darjeeling despite trying this with one teaspoon a while ago. I should have known, because the leaves actually reminded me of a tiny leafed Darjeeling mixed with another black tea. I used two heaping teaspoons this time around. I’m glad only waiting eleven minutes after boiling didn’t ruin this one. (I usually wait 15- 20 minutes after boiling with Darjeeling.) The maple syrup colored brew definitely has a fruity something scent even before taking a sip. To me, the flavor is like a little bit of Darjeeling mixed with a light assam. It is like malty raisins, definitely something juicy to the texture. I think two flat teaspoons would have worked better for this one, as well as waiting a couple more minutes to brew. The second steep was much lighter, since I waited longer to brew it. I liked the first cup better. I have a little bit more in my sample to try to perfect this one!
Steep #1 // 2 heaping tsps // 11 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 18 min a.b. // 3 min
To be honest, I was kind of upset that I pulled this tea out to drink (I have a box of 100+ samples to try so I grab whatever I get first).
Thankfully, this is actually pretty good. Not only is the tea a smooth ride down from my mouth through my throat and to whatever it ends up, it actually taste quite nice. Nice and mellow with a splendid aroma that is faint but pleasant.
I cut this one short at 10 steeps
Really? I filled up my gaiwan for this…I can smell what I call “mall puerh” a mile away, that incense-y store flavor you can find in a million cakes on EBay and Taobao. This is just sad, leathery old poor quality “tea” to which a few young “white buds” have been added in as a sprinkling. Some of the tea is just black leaf along with brown, leathery leaves. You can talk to me all day long about brewing it “cooler,” but nothing will improve this leaf. I can’t believe a company online which is trying to be nice actually would put their name on this cake, but whatever. I’m a person who wants to like a tea, but I’d rather drink dandelion greens from my yard than this.
From the Sheng Traveling Tea Box.
I have an interest in bamboo puerh teas because the method of production is so intriguing – fill sections of bamboo with tea leaves and then steam, roast, dry and age in the bamboo. The bamboo is reported to provide a unique sweetness to the leaves. I am able to appreciate the process by looking at this photo of a farmer making bamboo puerh: http://www.michaelfreemanphoto.com/-/galleries/the-galleries/countries/asia-australasia/china/yunnan/-/medias/ed820fb8-090f-11e0-bee4-852ca0e067a1-bamboo-tea?gallery=b6bf0ad4-0192-11e3-99e7-2bf391fc38b8&hit_num=1&hits=2&page=1&per_page=50&search=bamboo&search_in_gallery=1
The scent of this YiWu dry leaf is sweet with an interesting spicy note. The tea soup is deep dark gold in color. The wet leaves are whole and nearly 2 inches in length. The tongue and mouth feel alive and tingly after the first few sips. The initial taste sensations are earthy and spicy. The honey-like sweetness works well with a light woodiness. A bit of astringency is found in later infusions but not at all off-putting. Interestingly, I did not detect any remaining smokiness in the smell or taste. These leaves produce cup after cup of highly flavored sweet mellow tea. Multi-layered – sweet and woody with a light spiciness. This is a very approachable raw puerh.
Another tea from this morning – i’m still enjoying this one, though i was lazy today – choosing to brew it western with a longer steep. Still a smooth, average puerh. nothing spectacular, but nothing to complain about either. Just trying to drink some of my older teas before an afternoon ride in the sun!
Another tea that i have a bunch of, but haven’t had many opportunities…wait haven’t TAKEN many opportunities to drink. This was one of my teas from today – a woody sort of puerh with a little sweetness to it that made me forget for a moment that i was drinking a puerh. Later steeps take on much more of a black tea sort of vibe.
Oooh. This is FANCY. Thanks Sil for the sample!
And this sipdown puts me at 150! Woooo!
It’s really rich and lightly smoky. I should have had this a few months ago when it was bitterly cold as this tea would be greatly comforting on a freezing night. It’s a little sweet, but I think I’m getting mushroom-y notes in it as well.
Fancy. This tea is fancy.
Thanks Sil! I was surprised by how much I liked this one! It’s very light and refreshing, but still dark enough to give me that black-tea kick that I need! It’s strange, but with the chai/mint combo, I’m getting a bit of a licorice flavour to it, but that just mean that it tastes cool and refreshing. I could easily drink 50g-100g of this one!