Silk Road Teas
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Recent Tasting Notes
Tea of the morning, purchased at Bi-Rite grocery in San Francisco. This review is for the mesh teabag form of the tea. The company is Silk Road in California (not the one in Canada).
For a black tea, this is very mellow and easy to sip on plain. I get a nice malty note in the very beginning followed by a gentle cocoa. There is something almost creamy about this, it also seems very pure and light. Devoid of astringency, even in the finish. This isn’t as spicy/peppery as some yunnans I’ve tried. Recommended if you enjoy a smooth and gentle cup you don’t need to bombard with milk & sugar. I’d like to try more things from Silk Road once my budget permits more tea purchasing…
This is my kind of oolong—a little bit roasty, fragrant, sweet, and lightly floral. I don’t get plum initially, but it comes in very nicely in the aftertaste. Just the thing for yet another snowy day. Thanks very much for sharing this with me, CharlotteZero! I wasn’t familiar with Silk Road Teas prior to this swap, but this lovely tea has prompted me to check out their site and I see they have lots of other exciting offerings. Definitely one to keep in mind for a future order.
Assuming that this Golden Monkey is the higher grade variety that Silk Road offers, this tea is really quite a find. Most gold-bud black teas will have about 20% gold buds; however, this tea is closer to 50/50 on the tea leaves to tea buds front.
I was initially brewing this at 200-boiling, however after accidentally brewing it at 180F I realized the true potential of this tea. The lower brewing temperature allows for more of the soft maltiness of the roasted teabuds to shine through, while not allowing the black tea leaves to oversteep and exude their bittering astringency. As a teadrinker who tends to stray away from black teas, this Golden Monkey is one of a kind in the class of gold-bud teas.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Malt
This is a very high quality bouquet-style Dancong oolong. Some times I will brew this tea perfectly and it gives me the chills. The second infusion is always a little better balanced than the first, but the fourth infusion is the prime of this tea.
The infusion yields an amber and gold liquor, the aroma is woodsy and nutty and the taste is creamy like honey and butter, yet also pleasantly minerally with an allusion to tasteful astringencies.
I would highly recommend this bouquet style dancong oolong
Flavors: Butter, Honey, Mineral, Orchids, Raisins, Wood
I didn’t like this tea the first time I had it, but I was hoping I would like it better this time around. The aroma is pleasant, but the broth lacks sweetness and is very drying to my throat. At this point it way just be too old.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Honey, Orchids
Stale and sour. Can’t give a better description because after two sips I threw it out. If you like black tea their Golden Monkey would be a far better choice…albeit at over twice the price…but worth it! Not my cup so I’m not going to give it a number. I have the rest of this 1/4 lb and 1/4 lb Dragon Eyes which I find tastes the same. If anyone wants either of these send me a pm or email and I will ship them to you for free. If no one wants them I’ll dispose of them in my garden like I do with my spent tea leaves.
Chewing on a couple dry strands reveals a dusty (sawdust like) crunchy, mellow taste with the slightest hint of bitterness. The cup that follows is similar in taste. This batch had many more golden buds and was much more dusty than my order last March. I’m guessing it was taken from the bottom of the bin while my previous order was probably from the top. I’ve been out of this tea for a couple weeks and the first sip is like sitting down with an old friend. The cup is mellow and smooth with a nice chocolaty flavor that resides on the pallet for some time afterwards. Brewing the cup for 4 min 15 seconds is my preferred length of time. It results in a chocolaty and malty cup with a texture that coats the tongue. I find 4 minutes results in a slight numbing of the tongue (not unlike a sip of coca tea) which steadily fades. That numbness as well as a hint of dried apples is overpowered by a chocolaty, almost coffee like flavor when steeped for 4 min 30 seconds or more. The longer steep also results in a hint of bitterness that isn’t present when steeped for a shorter amount of time. The tea feels strong in both caffeine and theanine. This along with Silk’s White Peony I prefer to keep continuously stocked. These two along with Mi Xian Black and Caramel Assam by Butiki are by far the best teas to dance with these taste receptors. My first order of a few pounds came with a free gaiwan and a few tasting cups. This act of kindness has resulted in me becoming a life-long customer. With a tea like GM (Jin Hou) it makes that easy. By far, one of the best teas from Silk I’ve had the pleasure of tasting and one I could easily drink for life.
One of my absolute favorite teas from Silk Road. It tickles my tongue with delicious subtle, sweet,smooth and grassy flavor. Sipilicious! _
My preferred steep temp is around 175 and preferred first steep is approximately 1 minute 35 seconds and a second steep for almost 3minutes. Total two steeps only.
The marriage of honeysuckle nectar and clover honey. Sweet and refreshing. Very light and easy to sip quickly. The leaves are very tender and remarkable good quality.
This is a nice greener oolong and complements other more oxidized and roasted types of teas. I like drinking this one along side a sweet Sun Moon Lake black. Sometimes nice going back and forth between the two, fully absorbing the complexity and contrast of the different class of teas. Nonetheless, this tea can be certainly drank by itself with great pleasure.
Chose to gongfu steep this one. Wow – this tea brew a nice clean, thick liquid. The aroma is spicy in its chai-likeness, yet has deep hay notes and a sweet molasses and oats thickness. This tea is pretty remarkable in how it continues to produce several cups without weakening. I may load up on this one on my next purchase. Thank you, Silk Road Teas for including this generous sample with my purchase!
Produces a very rich dark liquor with a smooth mouthfeel. There’s a lot going on in the flavor of this Pu-er. Almost too much I think. I have a hard time picking out anything unique about this tea, other than it has that usual “barnyard” smell. Flavor is roasty and smooth. I’ve accidentally let this tea brew for over an hour, and it never got bitter. I find that it doesn’t rebrew all that well, not because of bitterness issues, but it’s hard to get a similar strong flavor that comes with the first brew.
This is a gorgeous tea with long (1 1/2 to 3") leaf sets. Cups to a pale yellow/green soup with nice thick mouth feel and a fresh, delicate, but noticeably savory (umami) taste. I’m not getting the orchid notes.
I brewed it with warm/hot water (175F?) poured gently over 12 or so leaves placed base down standing straight up in a 4 oz. ball jar. 1st steep (45 sec) was all fresh spring with a bit of mouth puckering. 2nd to 4th steeps with increasing temp and steep times yielding very enjoyable cups. Final steep (#5) with boiling water and drank it right out of the ball jar with the leaves at the bottom.
It’s a delicate tea, and maybe a bit tricky to brew, but has the umami taste of a nice fresh green and the mouth feel of a silver needle white. I’m very satisfied with the purchase.
It smells like water from boiled veggies, like asparagus, chard, and spinach. Not really my favourite tea smell.
My face is probably pretty ridiculous right now. I want to taste this tea, and give it a fair shot, but…
Yeah, ok. It’s green veggies and bean sprouts and it’s SWEET. Weird. I might get through 1/4 of my mug (I steeped it per Silk Road’s normal parameters, which is 1 tsp tea for 2 cups of water).
Umm, thank you, CrowKettle, for sharing this one with me. Definitely not something I’ll be buying myself, but green teas are always worth a try. I’ll be giving the rest of the sample to a friend to try.
I love flowers. Everything about them. Especially the way they smell. I am the guy who literally stops to smell roses…so I am a sucker for good Jasmine. Silk Roads Jasmine pearls have a balanced dry leaf aroma. The Jasmine scent shares the spotlight with a notable “fruity” aroma, like berries or jam. The leaf looks consistent and is really more of a light brown with a striking white stripe that runs along the middle of the pearl. The brown may be due to the fact that Jasmine pearls, while technically green tea, often are slightly oxidized. This helps the tea to absorb the scent of the Jasmine.
The first steep, done with water about 176F, was very light. It tasted like sweet water. Very little aroma in the first cup. On the second steep, I upped the temperature to about 190F (sometimes I forget you can be a bit harder on Chinese greens) and low and behold, I got the depth I was looking for. The jasmine scent was balanced now by a nice “pull” of astringency. The hotter water really brought out the dry taste of the tea. I was trying to taste the actually flavor of the green tea, which is hard to do with so much of what you are getting being Jasmine. The tea itself, even before being scented, is high quality. It had a slight vegetal zing and a savory after taste. Nice.
Ok, so the tea really got interesting after the 2nd steep. The 3rd was the most balanced so far. The leaves, now very open, seemed to really give up the goods. A deep briny liquor and delicate jasmine aroma really worked together. The Jasmine in this tea is not cloying or over sweet as in some lesser quality teas. I liked that the tea and the scent were partners, and not fighting for the spot light. The 4th steep continued the trend and I even drank a 5th too. The color of the liquor was a golden chestnut and the pale green leaves continued to open.
I really enjoyed this…a sophisticated Jasmine pearl is hard to find in the sea of tea thats out there. Try this. You wont be disappointed!
I like this tea, although it’s fairly mild. It has a little bit of the juicy floral flavor I like the best in oolongs of this type, without getting bitter or astringent. It has a lovely sweetness without being cloying. On the other hand, it’s not quite as flavorful as others of its ilk that I like very much. I get four steepings at 195 with out 3-4g in a medium gaiwan from it.
What I had left of this tea was over a year old, so I decided to cold brew a big pitcher of it to use it up. That’s the main reason I don’t usually make my tea iced- it uses up a lot of tea leaves! This is a good thing however, when cleaning out the tea drawer. :-) I will update note tomorrow when I actually get to drink it!
Edit: Hooo-weee I made this a bit strong! Wow..these leaves had a whole lot of punch left!
EW…backlog from last night.
This smelled alright dry, then I poured water over it and immediately it smelled like I was having dead fish shoved up my nose. I’ve never really noticed “fishy” smells to puerh, soooo I guess I’ve been pretty lucky. Something called Camel’s Breath probably should never be consumed. EVER.
I tasted it, which was a horrible move. It tasted bitter and quite honestly like what I would imagine dead fish and camel dung taste like together.
So threw it out, and went to rinse the infuser. One of my friends was two rooms down from the kitchen and asked why the house suddenly smelled like dead fish.
Please, save yourself and your friends, and never buy something called Camel’s Breath. It’s as horrid as it sounds.
P.S. – my infuser has been washed 4 times and soaked in baking powder/vinegar for a few hours and it still smells like death.
Well, I bought this almost a year ago and mostly forgot about it until I found it in the refrigerator this morning. This still tastes fine to me, although obviously it is not at the peak of freshness anymore. Just a very light, sweet and vegetal green tea. See previous notes if interested.