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Recent Tasting Notes
The dry leaf has a very strong, deep smell. Brewed, it has the maltyness of an assam but without the bitterness or astringency. Pretty much what I expect in a china black. There’s a bit of cocoa in there as well. Sort’ve my everyday favourite, except not at /this/ price.
Brewing this, it smelt strongly Darjeeling. I wish I still had a plane Nepal tea on hand to sniff in comparison, but I finished that up a while ago. I remember it having a more Ceylon smell.
The taste is definitely more Ceylon. Bright and lightly astringent with definite honey tones. The astringency doesn’t hit right at first, but does build up with sips; it’s not sweet, more of a dry tea. Definitely not as sharp and muscatel as a Darjeeling, that seems to have just been the scent.
I don’t think I’m getting much from the wine barrel it was stored in, but that might also just be the afore-mentioned burnt tongue. Definitely not as astringent as the Nepal teas I’m used to though, so I think I’ll enjoy the rest of this.
Edit: This actually steeped up a pretty nice second cup at five minutes.
I took the rest of this sample and made it alongside Balhyocha MLH to do a sidebyside taste test (I knew having two gaiwans would come in handy).
Quite different from MLH. This one had a weaker smell, no real notes of cocoa—it had a pepper flavour that strongly resembled a Yunnan tea. I don’t have any basic Yunnans in my cupboard right now, but if I get any before I run out of this, I’ll do a comparison.
The second steep had a few more similarities to the MLH—more cocoa, slightly dryer. By the third steep though it was a bit sharp, and the cocoa was gone.
It was nice, but “meh” to me in that it was just reminiscent of Yunnan (don’t get me wrong, I like Yunnan teas; I was hoping for more).
Flavors: Malt, Peppercorn
I took the rest of this sample and made it alongside Balhyocha KSH to do a sidebyside taste test (I knew having two gaiwans would come in handy).
This one, I found, had a stronger scent—strong, dry cocoa. The leaves were also smaller than KSH’, but that might just be that the smaller sample bag (I had this one in sample-form and 1oz of the other) for this one crushed the leaves a bit.
It strongly reminds me of Simple Leaf’s Dawn, a tea from Arunachal Pradesh, India (/Tibet, pending claim). But I tend to compare a lot of teas to that one (mostly because I miss it so much). This definitely has some qualities.
The taste is dry but not astringent (I guess powdery); its own sort of malt without any real similarities to Assam or Yunnan teas.
I’ve gotten worse at describing teas.
It’s much different from KSH, and I definitely favour this one. At any rate, my sample’s finished.
The cat woke me at the crack of 8
Begging for water, attention or some other ill-fate.
Since sleeping in was no longer the ideal,
I figured I’d start the day with a liquid meal.
Described as having notes of pumpkin and cocoa. It looks like the name—golden curls, and steeps up fairly light for a black tea, a golden brown. It’s a rather mellow tea. I don’t find it reminiscent of cocoa. I don’t find this earthy. But a spicy pumpkin-like note is there I think. My aunt liked this tea even more than the Yunan Tian Hong we enjoyed yesterday.
It’s a dark, wiry tea. Very reminiscent of a Yunnan, but also reminds me of the one Taiwan black I’ve tried. Dusty, doesn’t really seem to have many notes. Perhaps cocoa (dry, not chocolate). I think I can get what they mean by “smoke”, but nothing that makes me think maple.
I’ve had it a few times already, both in a mug and in a gaiwan. I was gifted with another variety of it, which I haven’t tried yet, but that I think I should steep side-by-side.
A really delightful Sencha. A surprisingly full-bodied, satisfying Japanese Sencha. Sweet and very pleasant to sip. Here is my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/01/31/chiran-sencha-from-o5-tea/
Prologue: It took me for bloody ever to update Steepster with his tea. Ten minutes! That’s ten minutes that could’ve been spent sipping tea. Grrrr….
I originally was saving this for a special occasion, or for when I accomplished something magnificent – like curing cancer of the butt or something. I figured, however, that surviving the work week was just like surviving butt cancer, so, I whipped it out on my day off.
I’ve only heard of (and had) two other teas that were cask-aged. Those were from Smith Tea. I was glad to see that others were taking up this trend. This autumn flush Nepalese was cask-aged in Cab-Franc and Merlo barrels for…I-dunno-how-long.
The result was a tea that smelled vaguely of wine, but mostly of Himalayan black, which was fine. On the taste, it was really hard to tell the difference between the natural muscatel notes of the leaves and the wine-scenting from the barrels. If I were a betting man, I would say they showed up in the aftertaste the most. More Cab-Franc than Merlot (thankfully).
If I were to impart a suggestion on further experiments, I would say to use a wetter barrel when beginning the casking process. Otherwise, this was awesomeness in my mornin’ cup.
Edit: Would you believe this tea was somewhat instrumental in saving my trip to World Tea Expo? Well, it was. http://steepstories.com/2013/02/11/high-fives-to-o5-and-a-world-tea-expo-update/
So apparently 1 minute is a bit too long for this tea (or at least, in the tea:water ratio I used). Sadly, there was some bitterness that impacted the flavour for me. However, I still liked this tea – it was intensely vegetal in both aroma and flavour, and definitely now holds the spot of the most spinach-flavoured tea I have ever tried! It literally tasted like pureed boiled spinach. Which I strangely actually liked….
Thanks for letting me steal a sample out of your package of this, Sil!