Tribute Tea Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This one gave me a wonderful surprise toward the end that I hope repeats on subsequent tries. I used a gaiwan 1Tbsp/190°/30/60/90. The dry nose had a bit of fresh mown grass to it, but the first wet odor struck me as seaweed, but also lightly toasted, and with something sweet in the background (raisins maybe? or apricot?). The brew was very pale (did I understeep?), just barely sweet, and with a soft lingering finish. Second steep was slightly darker, not sweet and just a bit tannic, but still has some apricot in there somewhere. The final steep threw me for a loop when I came over a bit lemony. No idea where that came from, but it sure was nice.
Flavors: Apricot, Freshly Cut Grass, Lemon, Seaweed, Toasty
Ahhhhh – how true. Today’s tea of choice was a delicious little number I picked up from tributeteacompany.com called “green smile” (or, more precisely, “hari muskan”) from the Nilgiri Hills region of India. My first impression was the fragrance of ripe, sweet apricots when I opened the pouch. It brews into a pale yellow/green color and is subtle but completely enjoyable. And, not to ruin it for you, but, the leaves are hand rolled to resemble actual smiles. I don’t see it on tribute tea company’s website any more but if you want to try this tea, you might want to email them to see if more will be arriving.
I drank this on Monday, before I realized that steepster was out of commission, & although I didn’t take notes, I’ll do my best to share my experience, because Brett was generous enough to send me a sample, for which I’m grateful.
I do enjoy Da Hong Pao teas, & although this one is a lighter roast than what I tend to go for, it’s a lovely cup of fruitiness, perfectly sweet & fragrant with the aroma of apricot & apple, & with a beautiful clean & fresh kind of aroma, almost crisp, like a sweet tart apple.
This is a lovely bi luo chun style black tea, very golden, nicely rolled up into the classic spring snail form. For my first cup, I steeped a tsp for a minute, which was weak. I sampled it again at 3 minutes, & ended up giving it a full 5 minutes. The resulting tea was tasty, like a pale milk chocolate, a little honey, & pastry. I’m also getting that flavor that translates to coriander for me, commonly found in ‘Beauty’ teas.
I gave it a 2nd try, this time using 2 tsp for 3 minutes. The flavors are basically the same, with a little more pastry, a little more honey, etc. This is a pleasant & gentle tea, nicely refined & sweet. I kind of wish, in retrospect, that I had dumped the entire sample into a Gaiwan & given it the gongfu treatment, but I wanted to save some of it for my dear Sil, and so this is a sipdown. Tea Sister, I’ve officially started a new box for you :)
First off, thanks to Brett for sharing a sample of this tea with me.
The leaves are rolled up tightly & are of a chocolate brown, with a warm honey aroma that is very enticing. After steeping, the tea reminded me of honey nut cherrios, creating a mildly sweet & comforting cup, with a hint of cinnamon. The leaves are slow to unfurl, & resteep on & on. Once they open, they are beautiful, dark, & their aroma is like cinnamon & vanilla, &…well…honey nut cherrios!
I don’t think I’ve ever met a tea from Fujian Province that I haven’t enjoyed, & this one is no exception! I enjoy Rou Gui Oolongs, with their sweet cinnamon & caramelized sugar flavor, & this is a nice one, with a slight hint of charcoal in the background.
1 T in 8oz @ 200, for 2 minutes, enjoying this first cup & looking forward to re-steeps.
Thanks Brett for sending a sample! You’re awesome!
Attention Jasmine lovers!! If you crave the soothing flavor of jasmine blossom, you’re going to love this silver needle/jasmine combo… I’m not really a big scented tea drinker, but the unmistakable scent and flavor of jasmine is very nostalgic for me. It takes me back to my early tea discovering days in Hong Kong, when I would travel with a small pouch of ever-convenient jasmine pearls, soaking in the culture and exploring tea houses in search of something new…
The notable point that I would like to make about this tea is its lack of astringency, especially compared to the more common Jasmine Pearl green tea, which is often slightly bitter. When sipping the green variety, I often find myself wrestling with the dichotomy of the jasmine — which I love — with the bitterness of a base green tea — which I do not love… Some people enjoy the bite of astringency though, so that is just my personal opinion.
In this case, the jasmine comes through very clearly… Truthfully, it’s hard to even taste the silver needle white tea, which is a shame, but who cares!
I tried this before and found that shorter infusions are better for extending the infusion potential (# of times) of this leaf. Jasmine releases quite quickly, so 30sec – 1min for the first 2-3 infusions is fine, with longer infusions following that.
Flavors: Honey, Jasmine
A unique bouquet almost bursts with so many flavors, it’s difficult to narrow down exactly what is being tasted… The obvious notes include various types of honey — I taste buckwheat, tupelo, wildflower, but I’m quite certain that my honey palate is hardly delicate enough to make those claims, but anyway..
When I asked a grower why the process of producing Gui Fei went so deep into the summer, he answered quickly… “Oh, well of course, because we have to wait for the bug bite.” I thought that was hilarious. Wait what? The bug bite?? Was he joking? No. The “bug bite” he was referring to was the invasion of green leafhoppers, which alter the chemical composition of the leaf, and apparently impart its unique flavor profile.
Also, I usually give it a rinse and then jump in with 20-30 second infusions, noting that the 2nd and 3rd infusion result in a unusually thick liquor which is sweet and carries a fairly impressive hui gan… Later infusions, say 4-6 will bring more floral and spicy notes, but the sweet fruits lay off a bit.. Also, the leaves don’t seem to want to unfurl, so I’d add 15-30 seconds in subsequent infusions beyond the 3rd.
So all in all, its an oddly addicting oolong, and highly unique, so please try and let me know what type of tasting notes you are able to pull out, curious to hear!
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Honey, Nuts
I’m more of a pure green/oolong drinker but wanted to step outside my comfort zone and (not to sound cliche but) “boy, am I glad I did!!!” This black tea (which is a fully oxodized green tea – rather like a wolf in sheeps clothing in a good way) surprised me with its hot chocolate aroma and full, but not overwhelming, flavor. Due to its enticing aroma, this would make an excellent after dinner tea for anyone who has a sweet tooth and craves dessert after mealtime but doesn’t want the extra calories. This tea just went on my re-order list. and
I should begin by telling you that I am an avid wine drinker but drinking wine at 9 am is generally frowned upon, even by me so I recently began exploring the world of teas. With my wine “training”, the “nose” ( fragrance ) of the tea is a big deal. In my opinion, the aroma either enhances or detracts from the teas actual flavor. This morning, my toughest decision was which of the new teas I just ordered did I want to taste first? (I love the new “flights” or sampler size packets available from the Tribute Tea Company out of Chicago -so much so that I just received about 14 new teas to try!). Anyway, this morning I opted for a green tea called Dragon Crisp and may I just say, I may not get out of my pajamas today!! . WOW, WOW, WOW, this tea is crazy good!!!! When I tore open the packet, I immediately smelled buttered popcorn or freshly simmered basmati/jasmine rice. It smelled so good that I nibbled on a few pieces to see if my nose was playing tricks on me – it wasn’t. While the aroma may be playful, the taste is pure adult bliss. This tea is a must/will buy again as soon as I finish writing this review. WOW, WOW, WOW.
This particular Da Hong Pao — a legend among legendary Chinese teas — is definitely a lower roast that most others… which seems to deliver a bouquet of various fruits, hard to even say which (maybe apple, cherry, peach, apricot, stone fruits?)… It’s a very popular and easy drinker for newer tea drinkers. My parents and grandparents love it, you really can’ t go wrong!
Flavors: Apricot, Dates, Honey, Peach, Plums, Stewed Fruits, Stonefruits
A fine transition for curious Puerh drinkers between the potency and raw vegetal notes of a sheng and the earthier, mellowed smooth notes of a decades-aged puerh leaf. I definitely recommend short infusions and many… I can get 10-12 without much loss of potency, frequently more.
Flavors: Earth, Leather, Pine, Seaweed, Stewed Fruits, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes, Wood