Silk Road Teas
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Recent Tasting Notes
More black tea! This one is from Blodeuyn. I’ve had a couple of Golden Monkey teas in the past, so we’ll see how this one compares to them. The leaves are thin and wiry, and about half golden in color. Dry scent is very grainy with hay and a little bit of honey. I steeped a teaspoon of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Brewed, this tea smells like french fries! There’s also some bread and rich molasses, and maybe a touch of dark fruity aroma. Oh my goodness, it tastes just like french fries! That’s certainly a flavor I’ve never encountered before… There’s some thick breadiness backing it up, and perhaps the slightest touch of honey. Otherwise, all french fries! :D
Flavors: Baked Bread, Grain, Honey, Potato
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Flavors: Chestnut, Freshly Cut Grass, Pine
I received this in my Steepster Select…. I really needed a bedtime tea, and this one hits the spot. Mint is definitely the dominant flavor, but I really enjoy that. There is really not much to add here…it’s just pleasant and minty.
It’s pleasant enough that I ordered 1/2 pound. (Very economical at $7 per 1/4lb).
Origin: Zhejiang, China
Leaf Appearance: Small little twisted pieces that are light to dried grass green. Smells nutty and a little bit like a sweet vegetable , potato, a sweet walnut.
Method: 4 ounce gaiwan, 1 tsp tea, 185F, short quick infusions
Liquor: Light tint of color, light pearl spring green with scents of sweet veggies
Flavor: Nice nutty, sweet, just a hint of leek and potato.
Wet Leaf: Leaves unfurl to be tiny little pretty spring green color and very young young leaves. Very delicate. This is a very nice green tea and has some leaves that look like Anji Bai Cha they are that light green with the veining. Some very tiny and delicate young little tiny tiny buds too. Pretty tea.
From the Steepster Select Box; September, 2014
Flavors: Leeks, Potato, Walnut
This tea was in the Steepster Select box for September. I was quite pleased to see a Chinese black tea in the box, since I tend to love them. The leaves of this tea are medium in size and very dark chocolate brown in color. They smell sweet and malty with strong grain notes. I steeped about a teaspoon of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once steeped, the tea smells very grainy and malty with a lot of sweetness. Yum, this tea is so much crusty homemade whole wheat bread! There’s a fair amount of malt as well, and the loveliest caramelized brown sugar flavor that adds richness and depth. I can taste a touch of that savory dill note that I often find in Fujian teas, and it pairs (unexpectedly) nicely with the hint of cinnamon that’s also present here. Overall, this tea has deep flavor and an interesting and delicious mix of sweet and savory tones. Yum! :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Cinnamon, Dill, Malt
Got this tea in the mail the other day as part of my Steepster Select box and it was a-mazing. The tea was rich and dark with the strong, malty taste of chocolate. It was exceptional and I can’t wait to try all of the other samples!
Origin: Zhejiang, China
Leaf Appearance: Small twisted leaf pieces with smoky and subtle chocolate scent. Color is chocolate brown
Method: Gaiwan-Temp 190F-immediate rinse then short quick infusions
Liquor: Chocolatey scent with smoke, golden orange color
Flavor: Smoke with a tiny hint of chocolate. The mineral as described on the package is definitely there as an undertone. It has a lot of bitter notes to it.
- I really have gotten to where I use the gaiwan as my preferred brewing method so this tea might definitely be a Western brew. It says on the package to brew at 212F in 12oz for 3 minutes so I will try the recommended method in a bit. So take this first review with a grain of salt.
OK,,later this afternoon, I brewed this Western style with the recommended 212F and 12oz water at 3 minutes. It still had a bitter note but it was a balancing bitter note to the chocolate note and mineral & smoky edges. More balanced as a Western brew. The bitter note tastes good and the tea has a depth and interesting flair with all its components in harmony.
Found on the Silk Road Teas sight that this varietal is Mei Zhan. The Mei Zhan varietal is made with a slow growing leaf, grown at high elevations. Prized for its strong, nuanced taste.
Mei Zhan (梅占) is a famous oolong from Anxi in Fujian province, China. It’s a classic oolong varietal with big leaves. This is why it’s sometimes also referred as Da Ye Mei Zhan (big leave Mei Zhan). The tea’s liquor is bright orange with a smooth and flowery aroma. (from Teapedia)
From the Steepster Select Box, September 2014
Flavors: Bitter, Dark Chocolate, Mineral, Smoke
This is the first tea I’m trying from my Steepster Select box! I’m feeling a bit overfull (of water mostly, I’ve had a lot of tea today) so I figured going with a peppermint-based herbal was a good idea. The dry leaf itself looks like a mixture of peppermint and lemongrass with some other grassy-looking herbal things in there. Dry scent is very powerful peppermint! I followed the instructions and steeped for 3 minutes in boiling water.
Once brewed, it pretty much smells like peppermint, but it’s not super powerful, which is nice. I must say, I’m actually surprised that this doesn’t just taste like peppermint! The peppermint is definitely the strongest player, but there’s also lemon, and I also get some other mild herbal-y flavors that I can’t really identify. HA! Overall, not bad, I could see this being nice as a late-night tea.
Flavors: Herbs, Lemon, Medicinal, Peppermint
Thanks to Blodeuyn and scribbles, I have a ton of new black tea samples to enjoy in the mornings! Thanks so much ladies, I really appreciate it! This one is from Blodeuyn. Clearly it’s a completely different animal from the only other black pearl tea I’ve had (from TeaVivre). The pellets are tiny and not really spherical. They’re jet black and somewhat shiny, which makes me think of little beetles and reminds me of the part in Harry Potter when he’s in Diagon Alley and the apothecaries sell scoops of beetle eyes… LOL. Sometimes associations are weird, no? Anyway! The dry scent of this tea is powerful! Strong malt and earth with a little sharp scent that almost reminds me of eucalyptus? Who knows? I steeped mine for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
When I opened my brew basket, they just looked like normal black tea leaves. Amazing! The brewed aroma is still very strong and earthy with definite mineral/smoke notes. I can see this is going to be a kick-in-the-pants kind of tea! The aroma reminds me of shou with its strong earth/wood notes (and it’s very dark in color so that helps!). Wow, this is earth city! And the taste absolutely reminds me of shou as well. It’s very earthy, but with a bit of sweetness. There’s a very present mineral/smoke note along with a touch of wood. It’s a shou masquerading as a black tea! :o
OFF-TOPIC: I miss you, Stephanie! There’s no one here with me in chat in the mornings! D: Hope your vacation is going well though!
Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Smoke, Sweet, Wood
Fujian Province, Zhenghe county. Pre Qing Ming buds picked from Zhenghe Da Bai varietal.
Perfectly picked, beautiful buds that have a fresh sea foam green color and scents of light cocoa and honey.
Liquor is light, clear, golden champagne color with the same essences of light cocoa and honey.
Flavor is really perfect Silver Needle,,,honey, subtle cocoa, cream, dried fruit notes,,,,fantastic.
Hummingbirds and Lizards are having so much fun out in my garden this beautiful Spring morning in the desert and this tea is the essence of Spring!!
So delicious and a lighter tea for this warm desert day. Going to brunch later and Silver Needles is always perfect.
Having more today,,,a necessary tea in life!!!
My morning tea today,,,,only going to be 100 in the desert today!! That’s chilly to us!! lol
yin (Yin2) = silver (银 or 銀)
zhen (Zhen) = needle (针 or 針) 1; or precious (珍) 1
I have this tea all the time but don’t always log it. But today, I brewed up a White Peony next to Silver Needle and the quality of Silver Needle is just the best. It is creamy; equally on the mouthfeel, flavor, and nose. It has a color of creamy champagne. Not a golden color but a creamy color. It has a scent that is vanilla and a tiny tiny tiny touch of ylang ylang. There are subtle flavors woven throughout the vanilla and cream flavor, which today I caught almond which I realize I have been tasting the whole time but failed to notice it properly. It is truly the most exquisite tea to me.
Having a cup this afternoon, always one of my first loves, Silver Needles.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Cocoa, Cream, Honey, Vanilla
Fun Fun!! I tried this tea today because I am making stir fried greens for lunch!! Lol
The dry leaf smells just like when you get sushi, it has a nori scent big time!! Also, even though the name is greens, this tea is little curly brown cuties. Very thin and you can tell that a lot of work went into this leaf.
Steeped for 2 minutes and it created a very light, light spring green liquor with flavors of butter bean and notes of the seaweed but it really doesn’t taste like seaweed like I thought it would.
This green tastes like a lot of green teas that I have tried like Dragonwell, etc. but it is so attractive and I love the name.
Flavors: Lima Beans, Seaweed
This is a very beautiful tea blend that comes in large sachets but I didn’t want to make a large pitcher so I cut one of the sachets open to get enough for two cups out. Plus I could see the beautiful colors inside!!! The dry leaf is so pretty that it is better out of the sachet!!!! It is a dark bancha green tea with blue Mallow flowers and Cornflowers plus Quince fruit. There are little tiny flowers mixed into the pretty blend.
I brewed this first to try as a hot tea and then ice the rest. I am enjoying it so much as a hot tea that I don’t know if I will get around to icing it!!! The liquor is a light green apple color with sweet green apple scents and flavors. It is the quince that is flavoring this so nicely. I have had quince only once and this is what it tasted like to me,,,a creamy green apple flavor.
I iced the second cup and it is pure heaven!!!! This is going to be a lovely iced tea for the hot months here in the desert. Yummy creamy quince flavor and the green tea really takes a back seat to the quince. It just seems to provide the color rather than any vegetal or bancha flavor to this tea.
I really enjoyed this blend!!!!
Made a couple of glasses of iced tea this afternoon,,,very refeshing and unique-tasting with the quince. Yumm
The dry leaves are golden and dark black/brown twisty threads that smell of orange, malt, cocoa.
The liquor smells sweet like stewed fruit, honey, cocoa,,,smells so heavenly.
I tasted this at two minutes and it was really delicious and still see-thru so I took it to another minute. It gave the tea a dark coffee look after that and the flavor was a deep, rich sorghum. I liked both two minutes and three minutes but I think I liked two minutes for this one the best.
Second Steeping—I gave the leaves another steep and stopped at two minutes. Yum Yum this brought out more malt and vanilla to the flavors.
Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Orange Zest, Stewed Fruits, Vanilla
The dry tea is little tiny tiny black twisty threads with golden ones mixed in and it smells like hay or straw.
The liquor smells very different, like sweet raisin bread. It is a dark colored liquor that you can’t see through.
The flavor is smooth, rich, and malty. Though there is a sweet scent, the tea is not that sweet tasting to me. There is no bitterness or astringency. Very good.
Tried a bit of this Gong Fu style today,,,,8 oz porcelain gong fu pot, 190F 15" infusions.
Liquor is a beautiful color, auburn orange clear jewel.
Wet leaves are cut and chopped. Smoky scent.
In the flavor, I was catching just smoke today. It gets better as it cools, but no sweetness and a bit one note really, just smoky.
It may be better served the way I first brewed it, Western style,,,, or I might do longer infusions gong fu style to see if I can pull different flavors from it.
Gong Fu today at 175F and this is still very smoky and one note. I usually believe Gong Fu is the best method for all tea but this one might be better Western style.
Having this one today, Western style in a new cup size teapot with huge infuser, the same size as the pot. I am loving these teapots (I got 3) bc they really let the leaves open up and I am now brewing by the single cup so I can have more of a variety of tea during the day. When I was brewing in my other Western teapots that house 2 cups,,,,I was brewing a pot of tea and the infuser wasn’t reaching throughout the entire pot like my new little cup size ones are. I got them on Amazon, they are Hario glass teapots and they are the bomb!!!!!
As a result,,,,this tea is awesome today. Very sweet and mild. I brewed at 190F for 3 minutes. It has a beautiful red auburn liquor with malt and bourbon scent. The flavor is malt, molasses, smoke, raisin pie,,,yumm.
Having again this morning!!!! Smoke, malt, honey, raisin. Smoke is dominant for me this morning….maybe taste buds are working the smoky side more today lol
Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Raisins, Smoke
Beautiful menagerie of different green colors in the leaves. I love White Peony, it is one of my cupboard staples that I drink lots of mornings.
This one is very good.
Liquor is golden and smells like sweet honey.
The flavor is very subtly sweet and has notes of shortbread or oat bread.
Enjoying this sweet, lovely tea this summer morning!! Always delicious!!
Enjoying good old reliable White Peony bc I just got back from vacay and I have a bit of a cold so I know this will make me feel better and easy to brew makes it simple.
I did a side-by-side comparison of White Peony and Silver Needle today and found that I have not been noting the flavor in both that is Almond! Silver Needle is definitely the best, of course, with the added Cream note that White Peony doesn’t have as much of and White Peony has a more golden liquor compared to Silver Needle which has an all creamy pearl color. I love them both and White Peony is a good travel tea to me, one that is always reliable in brewing, flavor, and not as expensive to bring on a trip.
I wanted this exactly a month later from the last time I had it,,,,must be a moon phase thing mmmmm. Anyway, enjoying this as always. Well balanced, almond, sweet, tiny hint of a pumpernickel bread, good.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Honey