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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve been trying with this one…
I managed to get a really wonderful flavor from this the first time I tried it on Saturday night – particularly in the fourth infusion drunk from a gaiwan after the first three were poured for service with 30-60 second infusions. Really smooth, sweet, and a great balance of toasted wood and florals, light sour, and highish medium body. The roast is evident but not charry at all. Rather, it’s a nice sweet/sour balance that’s produced similar to the sort of balanced achieved when making caramel. Many of the qualities of this tea are similar to caramel, in fact… except for not having the taste. The pleasant lingering sour note (think the sour of milk or the aftertaste of fresh orange juice) and mouthwatering effect is really nice and a prolonged brew with cooler water following hotter short infusions seems to really build the sweetness (the pounded rice exterior of mochi and a tad similarity to honey barbecue sauce comes to mind).
Unfortunately, brewing since then in a more controlled manner has yielded less remarkable results. If early infusions are pushed too far by either time or especially heat, it produces an off-taste similar to the smell of water spinach or kale has been boiled in and all subsequent infusions are left lacking intrinsic value and somehow tainted with a bit of a dill taste. I’m getting good results with a double rinse (triple might be good) using 87C water and then waiting a bit and brewing around 80C or a little cooler to drink from.
I love the roasty, classic Tie Guan Yin fragrance and aroma of this. The age isn’t noticeable from the consumer standpoint, though it may be a large function of why it can taste so good at times. Best taste and widest range of flavors I’m getting is when this is made mild while using about 3g in 125-150ml water while not stirring.
Wine grapes and the smell of sunwarmed trees on a cool winter day really comes to mind off this. Buttery impression, too.
Definitely not your new-age light oxidation TGY. Has a sort of rugged or out-in-the-country air about it. Much of this comes from the dry fragrance and wet leaf aroma advertising an piled autumn leaves aroma and sort of a crisp, clean mountain air aroma off the liquor. It’s an aroma I really associate with broadleaf evergreen woody plants in autumn when hiking. a dried-grass toasty note prevails as well. So much of the aromas remind me of the smells of Sonoma County.
Taste tends to be light and sweetish. Much like a light sugar water… I imagine steeping a small chunk of sugar cane in water would taste similar. Doubly so if the cane was tossed in the oven for a little while before hand. Tastes of oak leaves, sedges, and a bit of hay. Telltale orchid, vanilla, and cream-like faint sour of roasted TGY. The acidity is actually a bit like citrus, though, which I don’t think I’ve picked up in a Tie Guan Yin before this one.
I’ll follow this up with another log focusing on specific flavors with a test on the triple-rinse notion.
I’m a big fan of Pu Erh. The Chinese consider this stomach medicine, and as the middle class grows in China, Pu Erh is becoming increasingly popular. This is a problem for us in the West, as supply is limited to start with, and demand is increasing in China and abroad, so supply will be further limited.
That being said, this tea is OK. Some of the flavor qualities of Pu Erh come from compressed cakes of tea, that allow minimal fermentation to take place. This tea is all loose.
Packaging is a bit over the top, and also underwhelmed. The external storage is a hollowed out bamboo container, but inside it’s a plastic bag that can’t be resealed. No logic in that. I look like a drug smuggler when I take this tea out of the package.
The tea itself, when I made it as described, was pretty good. It didn’t have the pungent flavor and scent that is typical to black Pu Erh. It did have a deep red color, and was still enjoyable enough.
I don’t know what lychee is supposed to taste like, but there is a pleasantly musky and sweet scent to this tea as it brews. Almost nutty but juicy, too, with a little bit of floral.
The taste doesn’t hit me as a fruit so much as roses. It tastes like a rose tea. A soft, pretty, gentle rose tea. So I like that but at the same time, I’m not a big rose tea gal. So while this is nice and I enjoy it, there’s no reason this is a must-have for my pantry.
I stumbled across this in my grocery store wanderings and bought it because I liked the tin and I like lichee. Lychee? I think either spelling is acceptable, but I trend with the “y”. Moving on.
This tea is a bit sweet, and the lychee is definitely there. I’m not sure what black tea they used as a base, but at gunpoint I’d guess Ceylon. The shortness of this log is going to reflect what I thought about this tea, because I found it good, but there’s not a lot to say about it. It tastes a bit like lychee, it’s pretty smooth, and it wasn’t bitter. I wasn’t getting a ton of depth from it.
I’ll agree with oOTeaOo, in that I’m glad I tried it but I doubt I’ll get more. If memory serves, it wasn’t cheap, and Samovar offers a much more economical [and in my opinion, tastier] option. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy playing around with steep times to see if I can get more flavor out of this one.
I’ve officially run out of this Lichee tea. This time around, I did not add any milk or sugar. It tastes just fine, but if I had oversteeped it, I would have considered adding it. Dry, there is a vague hint of lichee. I smell mostly the black tea, which is how I like flavored teas to smell like. After steeping, it smells rich, and the lichee is very faint. The color is of very dark honey. When I swish the tea in my mouth, I can appreciate the lichee flavor, which is nice. It tastes a little bitter, which in my opinion, it doesn’t ruin the experience. The aftertaste is pleasant but left my mouth a little dry. I suppose that happens with some black teas I’ve had. Overall, I like this tea. I wouldn’t buy it again, but it was worth trying for sure.
I’m not sure if the one I had was old, but the lichee didn’t show through. I may have gotten a slight taste of it, but the black tea tastes wonderful and overpowers the lichee. I don’t really smell lichee when the leaves were dry either. I first tried this alone then added milk and sugar. It tastes good either way :)