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Recent Tasting Notes
I did 5 infusions.
9 pearls in a 220ml yixingpot.
1: 1min 100C Clear taste of honey and a bit of chocolate aftertaste.
2: 2min 100C A bit long. will shorten to 1:30 next time. still sweet.
added 30 sec per steeping with superresult.
Ill be sure to keep this one in my cupboard.
Up early this morning to go fishing in a friend’s pond. It was almost big enough to be a small lake. Lucky him. The weather was cool (for July) and only enough clouds to keep the sun from making it miserable. Caught several small bluegill. Such a stress busting day. So why am I so tired now? I’m getting there, but I’m not that old… or am I? Sheesh. This lovely tea is my attempt at re-energizing before going to play cards with my parents.
I am trying thee 2014 harvest of this glorious tea today. I cannot tell it from last years leaf. To me that is a good thing. Given the crazy weather last year I wasn’t sure how it might affect the tea. This at least survived very well. The dry leaf always brings images of country fields full of fresh baled hay. Sweet, sour, green fresh. The wet leaf fills my tiny room with an amazing aroma of buttery veggies. The taste is corn, maybe popcorn. It is not so much buttery, though it is there, as it is milky feeling. This is very crisp with an edge that suggest bitter but in a good way. One of the reviews I saw said something like spring in a cup. To that I would agree. A very delicious cup. Time for more.
So I steeped this up and set it on my desk while listening to Emmylou Harris. She is the voice of the angels, or at least I think so. Strange I would think this seeing how most of my music is ’70’s metal (Sabbath, Zeppelin). I found a 5 pack of her early albums today at Walmart. Wow she was really old school country when she started but what a voice. Then I got distracted trying to relearn an old Promise Keepers song our band did years ago that we can’t quite remember how it goes – I refuse to give up. Anyway when I picked the cup up it was almost room temp. Oops! It is buttery, green, and beautiful just the same. And now its gone. Emmylou is still here though ;)
So after the blender mishap you would think I would learn. You would be wrong. I went to fill up my kettle and poured half the water on the table. I guess I am in too big of a hurry to drink tea today.
This one is worth the mess I made. The label says, “Superfine”, why yes, yes it is. Clean and crisp. Much love.
Off to see what I can dump or break next.
After just reading TheTeaFairy’s painful and chaotic start to the day mine is far less dramatic. I woke up this morning around 6:00 and I could taste dragonwell. I love when the mind does that and you just know what tea you are starting with this day. Got up went to the den and thought I should start with milk and toast. I often do this and immediately follow up with tea. Got sidetracked stranding 3 more kerbals on Mun. I didn’t kill them at least. I landed gently but the ship fell over as I hadn’t stopped all the lateral thrust. Honestly I didn’t have enough fuel to get them home anyway. Don’t tell them. They are still smiling thinking a rescue mission is in the works. Silly deluded guys. So at 8:00 as I was about to finally get tea, my wife asked me to take her to the doctor. Nothing serious. She is dizzy and congested like half the people we know. Get out of the doctor, go to the pharmacy, then grab a sandwich to take home from Arby’s. Finally, I am home and go to make tea only to realize my press is too grungy to use. Give it a much needed scrubbing and having my first tea of the day at 2:00 in the afternoon. You know what? It was worth the wait. So very good.
When I first tried this, my thoughts were I preferred the premium version. I’ve realized now the earlier premium was based on water when I was working and the superfine was home water. I have since fixed my home water with a Brita filter pitcher. Day and night difference. Seriously, if your tea always seems a little bland go get a filter. You will not be sorry.
So today I steeped this for two minutes in my press with 176F water. OH MAN! I can smell the butteriness across the room. This is very lightly golden colored and leaning towards green. The taste is so fresh and green. It is buttery and vegetal. A nice bite at the end. An excellent contrast to the smoky lapsang I just finished.
I have changed my mind. This is definitely tastier than the premium. Love! I’ll be sipping this probably until I go to class this afternoon.
This is the first day in over a week I am not frantically running everywhere. I have been very lazy. Finally got around to breakfast and morning tea – at noon – A bowl of rice and a warm mug of this. I think I personally prefer the more boisterous premium version but this is exquisitely smooth. The liquor is so clear and sparkly yellow. The nose is buttery veggies. The late sip and after taste have just a light bite and the flavor really lingers long after the sip is gone. A really tranquil tea for my much needed lazy day.
Just got back from town. It’s cool (my wife says cold). It’s dreary and lightly raining. This was the perfect tea for this moment. It is warm. The taste is fresh and green with enough bite toward the end of the sip, to make you take notice without crossing the line in to bitterness. Really hitting the spot.
Today we went shopping for our very first ever NEW mattress. My wife and I have slept on hand-me-downs our entire lives. We did own a new water bed years ago but that kind of doesn’t count. It will not be delivered for a week or so because we special ordered the foundation. But it is going to be awesome.
In the last month we have paid off the house, the truck, the tractor, and the credit card. The mattress is a small victory celebration. There is still a mountain of medical bills that we hope to conquer next. All this has occurred after I was permanently laid off. It does not add up on paper. All I know is we have been blessed beyond measure.
This is the Spring 2013 production of this tea. The dry scent in the sample bag is slightly sour and reminds me of fresh baled hay. The aroma of the wet leaf makes me think stew beef and buttery beans. The liquor is light yellow green and very clear and bright.
The sip is crisp and fresh with a slight bitter edge with a mineral finish that I find produces a very refreshing mug. There is a milkiness to the feel. The taste is vegetal and what I guess is best described as nutty. I find it more savory than sweet. The aftertaste lingers nicely.
Going strictly from memory (usually not a good idea) of the premium grade I tried long ago I believe this version is brighter with less of a roasty feel about it.
I would not normally think to ice this, but as I was typing my notes the mug reached room temperature and I must say I really liked this cold.
This is a free sample provided for review by Angel at Teavivre. Thank you!
The dry leaves are so pretty – little pearls with streaks of white – that just putting them in my tea strainer feels like a special occasion! The pearls smell wonderfully like jasmine perfume.
I don’t have the equipment to make this perfectly, but I did my best. I brewed one serving in 8 oz of water at approx. 180 degrees for 1.5 mins. The first steep comes out a nice golden color and smells very intensely of jasmine. It’s actually almost too strong. The flavor is a beautiful, delicate green tea with a strong jasmine element. Again, the jasmine is very nearly overwhelming, but doesn’t actually cross the line. This tea is very smooth and leaves an almost minty aftertaste. So far, very enjoyable.
Second steep for 2 mins, approx. 180 degrees. The grassy green tea flavor comes forward, though the jasmine is still strong. Incredibly smooth mouthfeel. The slight dryness of the green tea base and sweetness of the jasmine balance each other nicely.
Third steep! 3 mins, approx. 180 degrees. Still quite a good cup. Tastes about the same as the second steep.
I actually got a good fourth steep out of this, too. It should be noted that this tea is very energizing – more than I have found most green teas to be. Which is awesome, unless you start drinking the tea at 8pm. So I stopped after the fourth cup, but I saved the leaves and will try to make more tea with them later.
If you like jasmine, this is the tea for you. If you don’t, this isn’t a tea that will ease you into it. Personally, I quite enjoyed it and am looking forward to the rest of my sample.
update: I ultimately got SIX good cups out of this! Granted, the last one had to be steeped for a long time and was a tad weaker than the previous cups, but it was still quite good. Very impressive.
5g / 360ml Banko-yaki kyusu
2m @ 80C
Mild but sweetly nutty. Classic Yin Zhen flavour.
Just to little leaf. my satsdard amount for 3 infusions is 4g/100ml.
guess for a single infusion i should steep 5g for 3-4m or 7.5g for 2m.
Will have to try! April is soon here for restocking :)
Man oh man, I recieved this sample from Teavivre quite a while ago. I brewed it a few times and wasn’t impressed. As it turns out, I think I was just brewing it wrong. This is a wonderful tea!
Dry leaves: The dry leaves are “every color” ranging from warm brown to black, to military green, to gorgeous white tips. The leaves are fairly small for an oolong, and have a nice apricot aroma.
Brewing: When I made this tea before, I was not using enough leaf, and the result was a weak, bland brew. It needs more leaf than I would think, it seems to be lighter/fluffier than it looks. This time I filled my gaiwan up about 1/3 of the way with leaves. The spent leaves open up to short and plump in chocolate brown color with a twinge of green. Brews up a gorgeous red-gold liquer!
1st steep: The first steep yields a rich, spicy flavor of apricot, nutmeg, moist butter cake, and pineapple with a slight roasty/woody quality like dry fall leaves.
3rd steep: Around the third steep the tea begins to smooth out with a very slight grassiness and a fresh, cooling mint note that contrasts the overall warm flavor. The tea is mildly sweet and has a creaminess as if milk were added. It flows over the tongue like a rive of warm silk.
7th steep: Around the seventh steep, the fruityness starts to wane, revealing clover leaf, champagne, and citrus tones as well as a pastry-like quality. Very tasty oolong, and pretty resteapable as well.
Ah, I started drinking this cup quite a while ago, forgot about, and ended up finishing it off cold. The honey malt smell came off strongly from the cooled off liquid a lot more than I thought it would. In between my cup of Da Yu Ling Oolong this was like drinking sugar crystals and the lightest, smoothest beer ever. There’s a bit of that peppered-ness too that I always look for.
This is good, and since this is technically a sipdown I should steep it more than once but I’m too distracted by this: http://tonematrix.audiotool.com/
I made a union jack and a dinosaur. Easily entertained. That’s me!
Sipdown, 160. Somewhere along the way I drank the rest of the other sample I had of this but didn’t log it. Ah well.
I went home early today (but still doing work, unfortunately), so I am doing this gongfu while I write. I definitely think I prefer this one western style. The gongfu brewing really brought out the vegetal notes. The first steep was probably 15-20 seconds (no rinse) and tasted like vegetables and sugar, which is kind of an odd combo. Later steeps brought out more of the florals and became increasingly vegetal and less sweet. It was a pretty tasty TGY, but I am getting pickier and pickier lol. If I had to have certified organic (which I don’t really care about), this would be a good pick.
The Teavivre party continues. Thanks once again to Angel and Teavivre for this sample! I am very interested to try this organic superfine tie guan yin verses the “Anxi” (non-organic) superfine tie guan yin I tried yesterday. Will the “organic” make a big difference?
First off, the leaf looks similar but doesn’t smell as floral or sweet. It still smelled really good while steeping, but once I removed the leaf it was more subdued. Yes, it still smells very floral and buttery, but not AS floral and buttery as the Anxi superfine. Same thing with the taste. I feel like if I had not just had the Anxi superfine yesterday, I would think this is a pretty amazing tie guan yin. It is smooth and buttery, with florals, light vegetal notes, and a hint of sweetness. But the Anxi superfine was mind blowing awesome, so this one is just not as tasty to me in comparsion.
Interesting result but not unexpected; I haven’t tried the Organic Bailin Gongfu from Teavivre but I love the non-organic Bailin Gongfu, and from reading the reviews of the organic version I think I would prefer the non-organic. Don’t know why that would be, but thankfully I am not hung up on organic designation for my teas.
Yay! Another generous sample from Teavivre.
I was anxious to try this as I have discovered a bit of a love for milk oolongs, and I wasn’t sure if I preferred flavored over not.
Next time I will try a comparison with this, the unflavored one, and Davidstea’s version (which I am not sure on whether it is flavored or not)
I enjoyed this as much as the unflavored Teavivre offering, but again if I had them side by side I would probably notice the creaminess more in this one.
Limiting my caffeine now so steep 2 will take place tomorrow, hopefully the leaves will be ok overnight at work.
ETA I should add that though my palate is still new and untrained, I have really been enjoying these milk oolongs. Imagine, no additives or fake flavors and they’re still so fresh and buttery and creamy. That’s good stuff.
Steep 2 was a success. Still creamy and buttery and vegetal but not in a way that turns me off (spinach tea is not for me!!)
Steep 3 to follow :)
Sipdown, 136. Gongfu today.
I think I prefer this one western style. Brewed gongfu it has this kinda funky note going on, especially in the early steepings. I say funky not because it smells bad, but just unexpected for a tan yang, to me. It’s almost floral, and while I love floral-added black teas, I tend to dislike black teas that bring their own florals to the party (like darjeelings). I still got a nice amount of honey and grains, but it wasn’t quite spot on for what I look for in a tan yang. I tend to prefer my black teas western style anyway, so it’s not too big of a deal, though.
Mmm, this one to start out the morning. After this I have one pouch of this left which I am reserving for a gongfu session (perhaps this weekend, if it’s not too hot out). I am running out of very easily sip-downable teas… almost everything has 3-4+ servings in it. It is slowing me down but I am still making some progress.
Once I pare down my stash to the basics, this tea will likely have a place in it. I really love a good tan yang, and this one definitely fits that description. Malty, grainy, with notes of molasses, a touch fruity, and basically just very delicious. Definite yum.
I am likely going to bounce off the walls this morning with all of these tan yangs, but I just had to try this one back to back with the others. The steeping parameters, including leaf:water ratio, is consistant across all of these cups.
The first difference I notice about this one is the scent. In comparison to the others, it is less molasses and grains and more fruity, with almost an apricot quality to it. Also perhaps a little yammy; it reminds me of other, non-tan yang black teas I’ve been drinking lately, like a Yunnan or keemun. That being said I still thought it smelled very tan yang-y yesterday, so this is only in comparison.
I would definitely say the flavor on this one is also fruitier. By the way I figured out that when I drank this yesterday my water quality was off; now it is as it should be, and the flavors on this are very present and not flat at all. I definitely get some malty grains, and a bit of caramel, but this is also more dried apricots than raisins. Very sweet on the aftertaste. Neither this nor the Harney have the nutty cocoa notes that my tan yang that I brought back from China has, but those are pretty subtle even in that one.
I would say I marginally prefer the Harney version to this (more molasses and caramel, raisins over apricots), but given the price difference, I am more likely to restock this one than the Harney. It is an exceptionally delicious tea for sure.
I feel so lucky that Angel at Teavivre still thinks of me for sending out samples. I’ve benefitted greatly from their free samples, and am happy to review their teas. This time the sample offering was of their new spring harvest green teas, but she also asked if there were any other teas I’d like to try. I have been wanting to try this one since they released it, so of course I asked for it! Thanks so much for sending it along Angel!
The dry leaf is gorgeous, all curly with lots of golden tips. I am actually now on my second cup of this tea. The first time I used half of one of my little sample pouches for my 12oz mug and brewed it at the steeping parameters I’ve used for similar Fujian blacks (and what they recommend for this tea), namely 185°F for 2 minutes. The resulting cup smelled and tasted nice but was also pretty weak. I was craving more so I used the second half of the pouch to steep it at 195°F for 3 minutes.
This smells lovely, like molasses and grains, which is what I look for in a tan yang. The sweet, caramelly, malty, grainy flavors are all there, but still not quite right in the second cup. The second cup is more robust but the flavors are still somehow muted. I think I need to use more leaf… good thing Angel was generous enough to send two more sample pouches of this tea. Also I now have a full pouch’s worth of once-steeped leaves to resteep and play around with. I won’t rate this one until I’ve played around with it more, but even as it is now it would be in the 80s (which remember on my new rating system is very good). I just have a feeling from what I’m getting now that this is actually spectacular, it’s just my brewing of it that is off.
Very earthy aroma which kind of made me hesitant to try it, but, I’m glad I got over it. This is a nice, ripened pu-erh. It doesn’t taste nearly as earthy as it smells. It certainly does have earthy notes, sort of mushroom-y, sweet notes that are a cross between molasses and caramel.
Here is my full-length review of this one: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/02/21/fengqing-golden-buds-ripened-pu-erh-cake-tea-2005-from-teavivre/