Rishi TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Pouchongs retain a top spot in my lineup, as their low oxidation yields delicate flavors, uncluttered with the metallic after-qualities that darker teas can bring. This is a lovely tea with distinctly floral qualities. Rishi cites orchid and lilac. I’ve never smelled scented orchids, but this falls in line with other so-called orchid oolongs. Other florals are hinted, sans the headiness of actual lilacs.
It’s flavor is well worth exploring if you lean towards nuttier, pan-fired Chinese greens (e.g. Dragonwell, Melon Seed) — as opposed to grassier, velvety Japanese varieties (Sencha, Gyokuro). It’s nutty, green qualities are muted and rounded out on the first one or two brewings. Subsequent brewings bring out more vegetative aspects and heighten the florals in my trials. It’s here that a bit of “iron” comes in.
This is my 7th day with this tea, and I’m still experimenting with different temps and times (and oolongs/pouchongs in general), so it’s hard to recommend specifics.
So, I’ve finally moved on from Sri Lankan black and Chinese green teas for the time being. They just didn’t seem to suit the unseasonably hot, dry weather and increased workload I’ve been dealing with for the past week or so. Wanting something I tend to gravitate to in hot weather, I have been exploring the world of Earl Grey.
This Earl Grey is interesting. Rishi uses a base of Dian Hong for this blend, rather than a mixture of Chinese, Sri Lankan, and Indian black teas. The bergamot presence is pretty strong too, although not as strong as some of the more extravagant blends on the market. In the glass, the liquor is a dark amber. Aromas of caramel, toast, malt, honey, and bergamot are immediately noticeable. There also seems to be hints of lavender, cocoa, and ginger in the background. In the mouth, there is a pleasant balance of bergamot and caramel up front, with notes of malt, toast, and mild cocoa rounding things out pretty quickly. The subtle impressions of lavender and ginger that I caught on the nose are present on the palate too, though they remain rather faint. In terms of texture, this Earl Grey is similar to most others I have encountered. It is slight and relatively soapy in the mouth, though I do think it has a bit more body than some. Maybe it’s just me.
In the end, I quite like this particular Earl Grey and would recommend it to fans of the style. I highly doubt it will convert those who dislike these types of blended and flavored teas, but then again I could be wrong. As for me, I could see myself seeking this one out again in the not too distant future.
Flavors: Bergamot, Caramel, Cocoa, Ginger, Honey, Lavender, Malt, Toast
Herbal and Decaf TTB.
I was surprised that this had such a low rating until I tried it. I took the first sip in the kitchen where my mom had just added garlic to the stew, which made for a really weird mix of flavors. I moved to another room and tried again. This definitely has a strong taste of ginger, and some citrus, but they don’t really taste balanced and there’s also some flavors in there that I can’t identify, but really don’t like. I took a few more sips and just decided to toss this one.
Flavors: Citrus, Ginger
I kept this one around for a while before building up the courage to try it. On the first attempt (whisked matcha into hot water), I couldn’t escape the greenness. No matter where I looked: bitter green tea.
This time, I took the advice of many matcha lovers and made a matcha latte with unsweetened soymilk. Lovely! Instead of an unmovable wall of green flavor, the soy allowed the sweetness and nuttiness to come to the surface.
Now that I have discovered what all the fuss is about, I envision many matcha lattes in my near and far futures.
Before I start my review of this tea, please allow me to state that I normally steer clear of heavily floral blends, especially when it comes to green teas. I don’t know why, but I tend to prefer my green teas without any additional flavoring agents. I have always been like this when it comes to specific kinds of tea. Today, however, I decided to venture outside of my comfort zone and sample the kind of tea I would normally avoid. Obviously, I ended up trying this one.
In the glass, the tea shows a greenish yellow hue. The first thing I noticed was the intense scent of jasmine rising from the glass. Wow! This tea initially smells like straight-up jasmine. I now know that I’m really far outside of my comfort zone. Second and third sniffs reveal the expected grassy, vegetal scents typically associated with green teas. I also detect something of a graininess, as I’m reminded a bit of straw.
In the mouth, I get the floral jasmine notes as expected, and to me, they really seem to dominate the entry. Subtle impressions of grain, straw, honey, dried grass, and vegetables emerge around mid-palate before merging with the jasmine notes on a surprisingly well-integrated finish.
Overall, I like this tea. I think for what it is, it is very good. Still, I’m not really sure that this is something I would seek out with any regularity. The tea seems to be really designed to showcase the aroma and flavor of jasmine. On the one hand, it does this very well. On the other hand, there just does not seem to be all that much else going on in this tea. Still, this is not the most heavily floral jasmine tea I have ever had and the integration of flavors on the finish is nice. I think fans of this type of tea would be very pleased with this product, and even though this tea is not really my thing, I can at least appreciate its quality.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Floral, Grain, Honey, Jasmine, Straw, Sweet, Vegetal
After a rough day at work, I just had to unwind for awhile, and so, I spent a little time relaxing at one of my favorite spots in my hometown. This tea was on the menu today, and having had it in the past, I felt the need to revisit it. I have to say that I am glad that I did.
The tea shows a nice greenish yellow in the glass. Very floral, faintly fruity aromas are immediately apparent on the nose. I was reminded of a mixture of gardenias and honeysuckle. Closer inspection revealed subtle aromas of moss, wood, earth, dried grass, and lightly browned toast. To me, this tea just smells like spring.
In the mouth, the floral notes of gardenia and honeysuckle mingle with a nectar-like sweetness and a faint, if rather nondescript fruitiness. Grainier, earthier notes soon follow to balance things out, as brown toast, wet moss, moist earth, and hints of wet wood, dried grass, and roasted barley all join the fray. The finish is mellow and rather short, offering lingering grainy, woody, and earthy notes underscored by floral sweetness. I also thought I detected a very faint buttery note, but it might just be me.
I seem to enjoy this tea every time I seek it out and this time was certainly no exception. This is a very approachable oolong with a mild, yet still rather complex aroma and flavor profile. I highly recommend it to those interested in an easy sipping oolong with enough complexity to keep one intrigued.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Butter, Dry Grass, Floral, Fruity, Gardenias, Honeysuckle, Nectar, Roasted Barley, Wet Moss, Wet wood
My first tea of the day and the first green tea I have had in a long time, I cannot believe I waited this long to try this one. I really need to start drinking more green teas. I used to love them when I was younger.
In the glass, this tea shows a pale green. Aromas of bamboo, freshly cut grass, honey, green beans, squash blossom, soybean, garden peas, and perhaps a bit of honeydew melon are detectable on the nose. This tea smells light and fresh. In the mouth, vegetal and grassy notes are immediately evident, but are quickly evened out by traces of honey, honeydew, and a slight floral, nectar-like note. No matter how hard I try, I’m not picking up on the blueberry, chestnut, or mint flavors that sometimes get mentioned in tasting notes for this tea. The finish is longer than expected, featuring a pleasant mixture of honey, grass, and vegetables.
All in all, this is not the most complex green tea that I have ever had, but I really like it. It tastes light and fresh, but with enough complexity to warrant revisiting regularly. I particularly enjoyed the undertones of fresh fruit and honey that came out after I really started trying to identify individual flavors.
Flavors: Bamboo, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Garden Peas, Green, Green Beans, Honey, Honeydew, Nectar, Soybean, Squash Blossom, Vegetal
Earlier in the day, I decided to make a pit stop at one of the few places in my hometown that serves halfway decent loose leaf teas and avoid weekend work for a couple of hours. Noticing that this was on the menu, I was immediately intrigued. It had been awhile since I’d had a Pu-erh of note, so I decided to make this one my first tea of the day.
The tea shows a lovely dark brownish amber with subtle ruby highlights in the glass. On the nose, the ginger is immediately evident and does not smell artificial in the least. It is obvious that this is the real deal and not ginger flavoring. I also detect subtler aromas of earth, toast, pungent herbs, and a rather heavy, almost caramel maltiness lurking beneath the ginger. In the mouth, the earthy spiciness of the ginger immediately pops, while subtle notes of herbs, toast, earth, and caramel malt develop around mid-palate. There is just a trace of a light smokiness too on which I cannot quite put my finger. The finish is relatively smooth and long with hints of earth, toast, and of course, ginger.
In the end, I rather like this tea-I tend to be something of a fan of most Rishi products. I am, however, going to grade it rather conservatively. First, I tend to like my Pu-erh teas without additional flavoring agents natural or otherwise. I guess I just prefer to experience the complexity and earthiness of Pu-erh on its own. Secondly, I find the aroma and flavor of ginger to be just a little too heavy in this tea. While it is pleasant and provides a little bit of a kick, the heaviness of the ginger obscures the actual aromas and flavors of the tea. So all of this being said, this tea is enjoyable, but to me, it seems a little one-dimensional. Still, I would not really hesitate to recommend it to fans of spicy and/or herbal blends.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Earth, Ginger, Heavy, Herbs, Malt
Cold brewed 4.5 g in 16 oz of water for 24 hours. Always impressed with cold brewing. Cold brew extracted more delicate notes and more accentuated flavors as compared to hot brewing. Still a basic green tea lacking complexity other than vegetal notes. Cold brew yields creamier mouthfeel as well. Tannins extracted well giving it some astringency. I thought cold brewing doesn’t extract tannins like hot brewing, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue here.
Dry leaves give off heavy chocolate and caramel notes. Steeped leaves give off strong notes of steamed green vegatables and that’s it. Flavor is weak, fairly vegetal and light but nothing stands out. Second steeping is almost tasteless.
So far this is my first and only experience with tieguanyin and I am constantly surprised by oolongs and the great variation among this class of tea. The smell of the dried leaves instantly reminded me of houjicha, which dissipated and gave way to dark floral notes when the tea was infused. What connects houjicha and tieguanyin?
The liquor is slightly more orange-brown than, say, a bao zhong, which is indicative of the higher degree of oxidation with the tieguanyin. However, the liquor is still rather pale like honey in hot water.
The flavor sits along the back of the tongue and peaks right before you swallow. Gently exhaling through the nose immediately after swallowing elicits a mature, confident floral aroma. As the liquor cools this floral aroma becomes sweeter and brighter.
Tasting notes: toasted daisy leaves, pewter, dried caramelized onions
I bought this tea because I have Ulcerative Colitis and ginger and turmeric are both pretty well known for their anti-inflammation properties. Plus, I absolutely LOVE ginger.
This tea delivered pretty well for me. The first few sips up front have a sharp bitterness to them. I believe this is part of the turmeric oils sitting on the surface. After the first few sips, that bitterness mostly fades out and I am left with a bit of a bite from the ginger and the trademark throat coating of licorice. Fun bonus though. The licorice coating comes with a lemon flavor. It kind of makes a candy lemon flavor on the throat.
I am not sure how much it will help with my inflammation levels but it won’t hurt. Plus, I really like the flavor of this one. If you aren’t into ginger, turmeric, lemon and licorice this certainly won’t be your tea. But if you DO like those things, this tea should work for you.
Flavors: Bitter, Ginger, Lemon, Licorice
The past few months I have been enjoying a wide variety of Oolong teas, from very green lightly toasted varieties to the deeply roasted and highly oxidized varieties. I first tried this Ruby Oolong from Thailand in a small sampler, then in a larger quantity when I fell in love with the rich flavors, beautiful color and enticing aroma. It is a very comforting tea, reminding me a bit of very good quality Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe), but with interesting notes of cacao and dried black cherry in the background. A very pleasant and adaptable tea that everyone seems to like.
Flavors: Black Currant, Cacao, Dried Fruit
Brewed gong-fu with two generous rinses to try to eliminate some of the fishiness. This to me is not a great ripe pu’er. While it is organic, which is nice, it is made of very small leaf fragments and smells fishy, which to me is a sign of poor technique in fermentation. With a year or two in storage the fishiness will probably dissipate, but it’s not a high enough grade tea to be worth that. Many other options of ripe pu’er are available at modest price points, especially from yunnan sourcing and other chinese-shipped providers. Flavors are earthy, roasted barley, wet moss. Not a lot of complexity. Later steeping are smoother and rounder with less fish.
Flavors: Earth, Fishy, Roasted Barley, Wet Moss
One of the best from Rishi. Brewed gongfu style @ 180-190F. Reminds me of walking through a green forest during a rain shower. Very comforting, less floral than other teas in this style (though still floral) and with more earthiness. Very good daily drinker. While this is not the highest grade iron goddess oolong, it was surprisingly good for Rishi and I am glad good tea is becoming more widely available. Good stuff!
Flavors: Floral, Wet Earth, Wet Wood
Backlog. I was in Chicago over the weekend and ate at a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant—they served this (in bags!) and I was very impressed. The fragrance was strong, and while the taste didn’t quite match it was much better than I would have expected from a bag and from this price point. I thought several times that I must have oversteeped it but it never tasted burned. I resteeped once for two small pots out of one bag. The second pot was easily as good as the first and I got the feeling I could have gotten several more steeps out of it. I may have to get some of this, especially considering how easy to brew it was! I love jasmine teas but don’t drink them nearly enough.