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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m back from my trip to Minneapolis but we were so busy with my boyfriend’s family that we didn’t get to visit ANY tea shops much less do much sightseeing. Oh well. I’m bummed to have missed both Verdant and Mandala but maybe I’ll be back there someday.
This is from one of the Steepster select boxes, I think from March. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of these yabao type teas. The other one I had was from Verdant a while ago. I steeped according to the package directions and I’m getting a slightly sweet type of drink that reminds me of clover and/or hay. I wish this had more flavor to it… I’m definitely not getting the notes that other people seem to, but I will finish the cup.
(1st steep: 4 min) There is a nice floral aroma to this tea that makes me glad I saved it for an end of the work day tea. There are some subtle fruit notes in this tea. I want to say it is close to melon due to the subtle flavor. It could be because it is summer, but I am thinking watermelon. Additionally, there is a honey flavor which pairs nicely with the fruit. All in all a great tea for a hot summer day.
(2nd steep: 4 min 30 sec) Almost no floral notes from before are present in the second steeping. The fruit and honey are actually stronger in the second steeping of this tea. There is a lovely watermelon flavor when you first taste the tea. This changes to a subtle honey flavor as the tea cools and remains for a short time after the tea has swallowed. I will be coming back to this tea in the future when I have more time to do additional steepings.
Flavors: Honey, Melon
I got this in one of the Stepster select boxes and I thought it was supposed to be a wuyi oolong for some reason so I steeped it up in my xiying I have dedicated for wuyi oolongs. Whoops, I was wrong. So I don’t really think I can do a proper tasting note on this at the moment. It really does smell very flowery and has a nice sweetness about it. I do have another sample left, so I think brewing it in the proper pot or in a gaiwan will give me a better sense of this.
In other news, I can’t get myself motivated to do much since I found out I was losing my job due to my injury. It would be a good idea for me to get more exercise, but my gym is downtown near where my former office is. It takes me longer to get there and back than I would spend exercising. As Nike says — I just need to do it. I think perhaps I have a case of the blahs.
Damn, love me my ooooo-longs. Used a small pot and this tea just didn’t quit with the flavors. Each sip bringing the florals and the honey. There is also a faint hint of almond in there as well. Started to fade after 7 steeps but I’ll take what I can get from this excellent sample.
Flavors: Floral, Honey
Here’s my full-length review on this one: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/04/16/hunan-dark-tea-tea-source/
My first infusion: I could taste notes of fermentation. In my tasting notes, I mentioned that it tasted a bit to me like a grape-y balsamic vinegar that has been thinned with wine. Earthy, but not as earthy as a typical pu-erh. There is a sweet, creamy note to it, I compared it to a vanilla frosting sort of taste. Honey and molasses. Remarkably smooth and mild.
My second infusion: Sweeter than the first cup, but not quite as creamy in taste and texture. Honey notes remain, and I’m noticing mineral and vegetative notes emerging.
A really lovely tea experience.
I had this tea at the Bad Waitress this afternoon- my friends and I don’t usually make it to brunch before noon haha. This tea smells AMAZING- like the blueberry smell from blueberry muffins. It tastes just as amazing too! I added some sugar and the blueberries just popped. Yum. If you like blueberries, you will love this tea.
I received this tea in my March Steepster Select. Let me preface this by saying that I am partial to oolongs!
Opening the packet revealed dark brown, thin and almost wiry leaves that had a gorgeous floral, malty and almost muscat scent. Wow, I love dark oolongs. It is as if they hold special secrets. I used the guidelines written on the small brown packet to brew this tea. After steeping, the liquid was a nice golden honey brown. This one was a complex and absolutely delicious flavor. There is honey. Enough said. Well, there are also darker florals (as in not like gardenias or peonies), malt, butter, and slight vanilla and cocoa. Best of all, there is no astringency whatsoever. This tea withstands multiple steeps, which is another aspect of oolongs that I love. The taste evolves with each steeping.
Flavors: Butter, Cocoa, Flowers, Honey, Malt, Vanilla
I received this in my Steepster Select in March. First, this tea is not like other teas. There are actual large, yellow-white, downy BUDS in this tea. Out of the package, it smelled very fresh and moderately floral. Can I say love at first whiff?
Brewing in my glass vessel, the liquid was a very, very pale yellow-white. Initially I thought that I hadn’t brewed it long enough; however, I decided to just follow the instructions and try a cup! Wow! It was flavorful despite the tea looking so much like water. The hints of peach and floral and green tones in this is delicious. I cannot wait to try the second packet. I have a feeling this will make its way into my wishlist.
I’ve been drinking this while practicing this afternoon. It’s a fermented tea, & I want it to have the chi stirring energies of a Sheng, but it doesn’t. Flavor-wise, it’s red grape peels, maybe a little molasses, & a few sips reminded me of canned condensed milk, but a little sour, kind of like buttermilk in a way. It has a very dry quality to it as well.
I got a sample of this through Steepster select. It has a very mellow flavor, similar to silver needle. It has a light sweetness and is a bit citrusy as well. It’s almost impossible to oversteep. I don’t normally go for white teas and this one didn’t give me any reason to feel inspired. It’s just not interesting enough in flavor for me to want to actually buy some, though I would recommend it to someone who loves white tea.
Flavors: Orange Zest, Peach
An earthy tea, greeting with a light pucker in the front and relaxing into a woodsy finish. Some trace notes of bitter chocolate deep in the undertones adds subtle body. Second steeping reveals a creamy texture and sweeter, fuller body. An enjoyable path to explore as the tea develops over multiple steeps. 7.5/10
A lovely tea with a strange brewing ratio. I used too much water on the first steeping, failing I’ve again to notice the drastic change in water required from usual with the Select packets. With the amount of water adjusted for the second steeping, mellow notes of honey and peach came forth, with a mossy tang rounding out the body. A very well balanced tea, but I was surprised I couldn’t get more flavor out if the giant buds. 7/10
An enjoyable, subtly flavored tea, with light honey notes over a gentle, malty body. Beautiful aroma rounded out the tasting experience. I was noticing a distinct lightness of flavor, but I made two faults: I did not notice the drastic change in the amount of water required versus other Select teas, and so when I first made it in my usual teapot the flavor was seriously washed out. I also brought this tea up to an altitude of 7600 ft to enjoy, and woke the mountain scenery enhanced the experience, I do believe the flavor was adversely affected. Would definitely try again at sea level.
The last new tea from the Steepster Select box (I still have the second packet of each, yet).
The leaves are pale, pale yellowy-green, like a plant that hasn’t received enough sunlight. And they are covered in golden fuzzy hair. I swear it looks like parts from tiny furry crustaceans, like it came off the Kiwa hirsuta, or wooly lobster. It honestly freaks me out a little bit!
It smells grassy, with a hint of apricot.
I brewed it in my gaiwan. If I had not sneaked a peek at the other reviews, I would have thought I underbrewed it – the liquor is pale yellow, like a white wine.
Taste-wise, I am unimpressed. A light aftertaste of grass. I’m not getting any fruit or citrus from it. I let the second steeping go longer, and I get perhaps a little more grass. The leaves don’t expand much, suprisingly. I am not going to bother with a 3 resteep – it’s like somewhat flavored water to me. I know it says it’s “mellow” on the packet, but this is too mellow – it’s like drinking hot water heated in a kettle that didn’t get washed well.
I might try heating the water a bit more if I do try the second packet.
Flavors: Apricot, Grass
Another packet from the Steepster Select box. Opened it up and took a sniff. Smells quite nice and the leaves are a pretty deep green that has almost blue tones to it.
Brewed it up in my all-purpose white teapot, drinking from a small Japanese cup.
Drinking it straight for now, since I have never tried it before.
First cup: it kinda just seems like black tea to me. I can’t detect a difference between it and something that’s “just” a black. I have no idea what “mahogany notes” should taste like, so ignoring that for now. Not getting any grape.
Second cup: ok, I get grape a little.
Third cup: Not unpleasant, and I’m happy to try something pu-erh related that I do not dislike (the track record has not been good thus far), but I don’t really find it to be anything unique about it.
Fourth cup: switched to a mug and did splenda and half & half. Definitely still getting the grape.
Verdict: Not bad but not something that makes me sit up and take notice. Not clicking the “would you recommend” option because it’s not a tea that I would tell anyone “Oh, you have to try this!” but it’s not something I would warn anyone away from – if offered a pot of it, I would have no hesitation in drinking it, I just don’t need it for my cupboard.