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Recent Tasting Notes
My weekend was excellent, even though my sleep schedule is totally off now! I enjoyed fighting games and worked on painting, who can ask for more? Sadly though, my happiness is at an end, sort of. The basement has a hellish flooding problem, so there is going to be a lot of noise and a lot of mess this week, with the warning ‘anyone with lung problems shouldn’t be here.’ Bah. So I am going to spend a lot of time outside, meaning no painting, though I am going to hopefully spend a lot of time at the zoo.
Today I am looking at Tealyra’s Da Hong Pao Superfine, specifically it is a Ban Yan Da Hong Pao (because if it was Zheng Yan it would cost a small fortune) see the term Ban Yan comes from Ban Yan Cha, or semi-rock tea (as contrasted with Yan Cha) meaning it is grown outside of the Wuyi National Scenic Area. It is still a Wuyi ‘Yancha’ in style and spirit, but being grown outside of this rather fancy region means us mere mortals can afford it. Good for people who want to drink Da Hong Pao everyday and not as a special treat. So how do these long twisty leaves smell? Like a Da Hong Pao, strong notes of char and tobacco with undertones of cocoa and lots of loam. It smells like the remnants of a campfire on an autumn’s day, a campfire where someone was smoking a pipe and eating s’mores and the air still holds both of those memories.
Time to use ye’ol Yancha pot, and the aroma of the tea leaves is still fairly char heavy, giving the tea a sharpness. There are also notes of loam and black walnuts with a finish of wet limestone. Not terribly nuanced but certainly very strong. The liquid for the first steep has mellowed out a bit on the char, smelling like wet coals and molasses with an accompaniment of walnut shells and a very faint creamy candy note, not unlike molasses candies…something which I am craving suddenly.
The first steep is surprisingly mellow, it starts with a loamy mineral note, like wet limestone and damp autumn leaves after a rain and then bursts into molasses and scotch. The finish is loamy and gently sweet but does not linger long. It was a good first steep but very mild for a yancha, which is usually balls to the walls from the first sip.
For the aroma of the second steep, there are notes of sweet molasses and chocolate with wet limestone and a nice burst of wet coals at the finish. It is stronger than the first steep, but sadly has lost the walnut shell notes. The taste reminds me of strong dark chocolate, just a touch sweet and nicely bitter with a coal and mineral finish. Often when these rock teas have a strong coal and dark chocolate flavor it reminds me of the burnt edge of a s’more you let catch on fire. Tasty but burnt chocolate!
The third steep’s aroma is faint by comparison, just notes of wet leaves and wet coal with a ghost of molasses. The aroma made promises of faintness that the taste fulfilled, this tea has given up the ghost. All that is left is the ghost of burnt chocolate and mineral, like rainwater more than wet limestone. If you want a tea that lingers for a while I say look elsewhere, but if you want a nice char heavy DHP for a fairly cheap price then this one works and fulfills that craving if you are running low on the higher end stuff.
This morning has been lazy but I needed it after my few pints of Guinness last night (I can’t drink like I used to, I’m too old for it now). I hoovered my carb (husband is very messy) and now I’m watching Jurassic World. My treat for doing anything so far is a large pot of tea and I chose this one.
Steeping Western style with roughly 10g combined with 800ml boiling water. Something I intend to keep re steeping throughout the day.
Colour is dark brown.
Scent is toasted hay with flowers and tree bark.
Taste wise it’s rather chocolate like with elements of toasted nuts and a sweet yet light and milky floral aftertaste. Much nicer than I expected and the chocolate similarity is very pleasant. It’s not too strong or sour either considering it’s age.
I had been feeling a bit better and stronger, but things are dipping again. Yesterday, I attended a qi gong class, which should fill me with vibrancy and something positive, but no. Instead, I woke up feeling exhausted and weak. Chronic illness sucks.
I did have a fantastic breakfast though. Leftover Horiatiki salad from Greek Town and some grilled squid I picked up in Korean town. Bizarre but good. I love living in a city where it’s all available in a day’s outing.
Followed breakfast up with this lovely lovely tea.
Perhaps this is a new batch of limited edition Milk Oolong compared to that of previous reviews. The label doesn’t indicate limited edition, but there don’t seem to be other options.
My first steeping was milky cream with the barest hint of vegetal. The second steep, which I left a wee bit too long, is coming through with a very pleasant oolong green, but not too green, flavour with a bit of creamy backup. No sense of mineral or imitation flavours. I look forward what the next steeps bring.
Flavors: Butter, Corn Husk, Cream, Vegetal
Gaiwan. Dry leaf smelled like roasted peas or maybe soybeans.
10s lightly roasted, light peas, slightly sweet brown sugar
15s drying, brown sugar, soybeans. This flavor profile continued 3 steeps before I stopped as the drying effect was getting too intense for me.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Drying, Soybean
This is a queued tasting note.
So, I woke up Sunday morning to get ready for work and I had the biggest craving for lychee. I can’t even express how amazing it felt to not only have one lychee tea in my cupboard but two to pick from! Options, motherfuckers!
So this was my commute tea on Sunday: it was brilliant! The bright, juicy lychee top note satisfied that lychee craving in every possible way and the black base tea underneath is phenomenal as well. It’s natural, sweet and smooth honey, malt and cocoa notes are both a stunning contrast to the juicy, floral lychee but also a wonderful compliment. You’re matching not only the intense rich flavour of the lychee but the intense rich flavour of the black tea. Mmmm!
This is a queued tasting note.
This tea comes from Liquid Proust’s stash sale! A while back we were talking lychee teas and he highly recommended this one to me, so when I saw he was selling it I had to jump on the chance to try it!
I made this in a teacup, using five of the tiny little pearls, and resteeped it twice after the initial infusion. The first was very smooth with an incredibly light, bright and juicy lychee/floral top not practically bouncing off notes of malt, cocoa, and honey from the base tea that composed the body of the sip. It was absolutely delicious, and the juxtaposition of flavour was quite lovely and intense. Subsequent infusions were much the same, though we the lychee flavour fading fairly substantially throughout infusions. The more it faded, however, the more I noticed the floral and honey notes.
Truly, this was a wonderful tea though. Quite worthy of LP’s praise, for sure. I particularly loved the intensity of the lychee flavour that definitely stayed true to the flavour of actual lychee fruit. Mmm!
Today’s the day for trying tea that I didn’t like in the gaiwan to see if a different style of steeping changes the flavor. And I’m mostly over the death cold.
Dry leaf- caramel? Small rolled balls. Dark roast off wet leaves.
30s- sweet caramel, no roasted taste. 45s- more roast, sweet. After that, I got a lot of roast but lost the sweetness of the early steeps. 1min30s serious astringency on the roof of my mouth and tongue. I wish the taste had panned out more. I got lost in the roast.
Flavors: Caramel, Roasted
Jan 25th: You know those teas you buy because the tasting notes sounded good online. This is one of those teas. I think I’ve found out that I don’t care for chai all that much. And caramel doesn’t belong in tea. Dry leaf smells: carmely, sugary, chai. This tea is okay when hot though the flavors don’t come through well. However, once the tea cools, the chai part is fine. It’s the caramel artificial flavoring that is not good. It pretty much ruins the tea for me. I might try it with sugar to see if it can fix the fake flavor.
This is the first disappointing thing I’ve bought from Tealyra. To be fair, the website does say it’s a milder tasting tea, but I found it to be just too bland. Also, I underestimated the sweetness of the honeybush in this… I definitely recommend adding less sugar than usual, as this tea is naturally sweet.
Well after waiting for an eternity last night, my new game finally finished installing and I got to play with dinosaurs in ARK: Survival Evolved. Really though a lot of the game involved me dying in various embarrassing ways, since this game is hard survival and has a bit of a learning curve. Also there are dinosaurs, some of them are real jerks…especial packs of Compys and Dilophosaurus, and the occasional jerk Utahraptor that ‘clever girl’ed me. I am pleased that I managed to never starve to death or die from falling, though as in life my sense of direction is abysmal and I do get lost a lot. One time I got so lost trying to find my way back to my little base camp that I just gave up and wandered to a Spinosaurus to be eaten and re-spawned. Fun times!
Time once again to delve into my never ending backlog of tea notes with Tealyra’s Feng Shui Wellness, an herbal blend of Apple Pieces, Goji Berries, Dragonfruit, Nettle Leaves, Blackberry Leaves, Lemongrass, Orange Peel, Eucalyptus Leaves, Carrot Flakes, Natural Flavoring, Cornflower, and Marigold Flowers. Of all the various blends on Tealyra, I picked this one out because it had eucalyptus, I was having lung problems at the time and that stuff works wonders for me, but I wanted something sweet too, so this looked promising. The aroma of the unsteeped blend mixes cooling and sharp notes of eucalyptus with lemon, pepper, sweet apple, tropical dragonfruit, and the oh so wonderfully honey sweet note of goji berries. It is really quite sweet smelling while also being refreshing.
Giving this tea a steeping, the aroma is now very strong in the eucalyptus and lemon, along with strong herbaceous notes from the nettle, it smells green and fresh. Underneath the herbaceous notes are sweet tropical fruit and honey. The liquid smells a bit tart, it smells like there is hibiscus in here, but there was none in the ingredients…bit they also did not list the red peppercorn so I dunno. The pink coloring and tart notes make me raise an eyebrow, but there is also a good amount of tropical fruit and cooling eucalyptus with a strong citrus note.
The first thing I notice is the mild cooling effect from the eucalyptus, talk about a breath of fresh air, literally, it really does make my lungs happy. This tea is actually really tasty, strong notes of citrus and herbaceous green notes dance with goji berries and sweet yet tart dragon fruit and apple. There is definitely hibiscus in this blend, I taste it with its tart metallic tone, but it is mild so I don’t mind too much. I found this tea was also pretty good cold steeped, and is just best when it is slightly cool rather than hot.
Mmm, I forgot how much I loved this one. Almost a sip down for me, I have just enough left for a bowl brew. I’ll have to add this to my re-purchase list though. This is one of my favorite Jin Xuans. Not the creamy floral type ( à la Green Terrace) I love so much, but the delicious fruity style. Lots of tropical fruit notes swimming in a custard. So so good. Not my everyday preference but I certainly like it enough to keep on hand for times I crave this style.
Flavors: Butter, Custard, Fruit Punch, Mango, Pineapple, Tropical
Dry leaf aroma: Malty sweet with a hint of pipe tobacco.
Dry leaf appearance: https://www.instagram.com/p/_Jx6hglcJs/
Wet leaf aroma: Alfalfa.
Wet leaf appearance: https://www.instagram.com/p/_JyrcDFcLL/
Preparation: Brewed western style in a ceramic infuser mug.
First/only steeping: 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Pleasant malty molasses aroma with a beautiful sable liquor. While hot, the undertones are pure malt and molasses. This Assam definitely stays true to its bouquet! As the cup cools, a sugary astringent aftertaste develops.
This was a delightful Assam to start my day and I hope to be able to keep this one in stock, which is saying something for someone who has so much tea!
You may also read this review and see images on my blog, My Tea Life, at:
Flavors: Malt, Molasses, Sugar
“Gui Hua” is the enchanting aromatic tree that blooms multiple times in China, lovely apricot-peach floral fragrance from the tiny yellow flower is what is blended with this high quality oolong tea. Prepared in the traditional method of scenting tea, the Osmanthus (“Gui Hua” in Chinese) flowers are layered between fresh Camelia Sinensis leaves to absorb the complementary flavor. Sweet, “green”, and peachy, our Gui Hua Osmanthus Oolong is a traditional tea treat you won’t soon forget.
I love Tealyra’s (used to be Tealux) Gui Hua, it is pure, floral and sweet.
Flavors: Apricot, Osmanthus, Peach
I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad Tai Ping Hou Kui but does this tea live up to the Supreme added onto the name? I think not but still a good brew.
First I have to critique Tealyra’s instructions. Use 1 tsp of tea. Really???!! Like how do I get those massive straight leaves in a spoon? They need to revise this and change to weight measurement. Then to steep 2 – 3 min. I think that’s far to long for this tea. I brewed 1 min and even at that time some faint bitterness comes through.
I brewed this in my test tube gaiwan (Love that gaiwan!). 1 min and just eyeballed the amount. It’s fruity- something I always love about this type of tea. A bit vegetal, light sweetness, and a bit of bitterness creeping through. Unless, I need to revise my steeping method, I would say this is not a tea that is “Supreme”. It’s still a nice cup though.
Flavors: Fruity, Sweet, Vegetal