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Recent Tasting Notes
Sipdown! I presumably had some of this previously, but am unsure of where I logged it, since I have no idea which company this is from – it’s just a sample I received from Azzrian a couple years back. Anyhow, it’s pretty old, and probably has lost flavour, but it’s not too bad. It tastes more like a green, unripened peach than a juicy, fresh one, but that’s actually reasonably tasty – the base is somewhat astringent, but not unbearably so. Maybe a tea I would have been interested in trying fresh, but since I haven’t a clue where it’s from… farewell, mystery tea!
My DM was given this tea as a free sample when he bought part of my bday present a few weeks ago – some 1970s Menghai Sheng (aka my favorite sheng). The owner of the store solely wrote “Green” on the package and told him that it was a green tea. To him, someone who knows only a small amount of tea, he thought that she meant it was a regular, ol’ green tea. Nope. Definitely a raw pu-erh… which some people just call a green pu-erh. Smelling the dry leaves indicated that it was younger than the 1970s, however, it seemed to have some age to it. The throat was a mix between a potent 2014 sheng, the 1970s Menghai, and a ZSXZ. I immediately knew that I was in for a treat with this one. The taste was strong yet smooth. It had everything that I enjoy about raw pu’erh – strength, hay, camphor, bark, a bit of roasting campfire, and a pleasant bite. My DM tried a sip from the sixth infusion and complained about it being bitter. I laughed pretty hard at that one. It’s so amazing and unfortunate that people’s palettes are so different. The tea had no hint of bitterness for me. Hopefully, I will be able to pick up some more… and hopefully Lorna will know what tea it was that she gave us!! XD I’m looking forward to a few more infusions with it today.
Thank you VariaTEA for the sample. Unfortunately, the packaging is super nondescript and doesn’t have anything on it to indicate a company (and when I stalked your cupboard I didn’t see anything to indicate where this is from/who this is by) so I feel like I’m really going in blind.
This comes in a teabag (a kinda bigger one though), but despite that I made it in my timolino for work this morning, with some added milk since my milk is gonna expire soon and I don’t want to see it go to waste. I actually didn’t drink this until I got home though; it just wound up being too busy during the day to drink it at work.
Taste wise I mostly just tasted the milk I had added; but maybe a little extra sweet/creamy? I guess I could say there were honey notes and feel confidant about that; but not sure how else to describe this one. It was good overall, though.
And somewhat tea related (just not this tea); I placed my very first Adagio order today! I’m gonna be restocking on three fandom blends that I know I like (one I stock already, just need a top up) but most excitingly I’m getting my very first fandom sampler! The one I picked out for myself is the Hobbit sampler! I have no clue whether I’ll like the teas (looks like many have lots of Spices in ‘em) but the tins are adorable and I’m sure will make the whole order feel justified!
I got some of this tea at my local health food store in bulk. I can’t say I expected much, but this is delightful. I’ve infused this semi-grandpa style. I add three ice cubes to my mug, then slightly cooled boiled water. This tastes like flowers, peaches, and grapes to me. Perhaps I am imagining the grapes because I know this tea is indian and I would assume near Darjeeling, but either way, this is delicious and refreshing.
Flavors: Flowers, Grapes, Nectar, Peach
Cheri gave me a generous 9g sample when we swapped. Thank you!! My first Tai Ping Hou Kui, hence no rating.
Brewed grandpa-style in a glass tumbler.
The color of the dry leaf – on which there are dark criss-cross indentations – ranges from army green to olive green. Each leaf super duper long, some reaching more than two inches. The nose has notes of beans, corn, and peas.
The liquor is full-bodied, smooth, and rich in flavor. Let me tell you, this is greenest of the green teas. It just tastes to green. A good green. At first I get crispy kale and asparagus, and then, as the leaf continues to steep, freshly mowed green grass with a creamy sweetness. The aftertaste evokes lightly-steamed sencha.
This is also a visual pleasure. Three grams is A LOT. The leaves crowd the surface of the water so that there is hardly any open space. Now, there’s no space in the bottom of the glass. The lengthier leaves reach for the top as if they were vines in dire need of air.
A friend brought this back for me as a gift from China. It’s from Taiwan, though.
I’m having it grandpa style, and I think it works really well that way. I just put a bunch in my carry mug, did a quick rinse, and then add more water as I want. I keep the water cooler, in the 160-170°F range. I find that works better for me when doing grandpa so I can actually drink it right away. (Plus, it doesn’t cool off in the carry mug, even though I’ve got the top off. I’m just using the carry mug for the screen.)
A little mineral, which I sometimes like in an oolong, and sweet and creamy. This is a nice tea, especially when I have it this way.
Wow, there’s already a tea page for Keemun by unknown. Nice! I was going to use random steepings, but this works.
Went to a local cafe to relax and read today, and they have quite the list of teas. Probably 50 different ones to choose from! I chose the Keemun, due to my recent love of that tea. They scooped it out of a large canister. Who knows where they source their teas. I did see a few small Kusmi tins on a shelf, but they probably buy bulk teas from somewhere and stash them in the humongous black canisters. Anyhoo, I got a cup of hot water and some loose leaf in a strainer. :)
This Keemun was more prominently smokey, and less chocolate-y than the other ones I’ve had. It was nice to sip on while reading though. I’m in the middle of The Brothers Sisters…pretty entertaining so far.
I grew this myself! O_O it was off to a really slow start this year. Until I added some organic fertilizer. As it turns out, my soil is awful. So I only got a few blossoms popping up last week or so. Last night I decided to stop just admiring the blooms and harvest a few.
I’ve never been a huge fan of chamomile. It usually leaves my throat itchy and tastes unpleasant. Fresh chamomile though, that’s good stuff! It was all honey with a hint of green apple. And only a barely perceptible itch in the throat. :)
Next time I’ll add some chocolate mint. I wanted to try this by itself first. I’m also curious to taste it dried.
I dunno if I’m logging this in the right place. I’ve had malt barely teas before (kinda meh) and I’ve bought a few korean barely teas and they’d come out flavorless. I wanted another go though and was happy to find Korean Barely Tea in the Here’s Hoping Teabox 3.
Awesome timing too, a blogger I met at the World Tea Expo recently made a post on steeping this grainy roasty tea http://thirstyfortea.com/2014/06/13/korean-barley-tea/ and I used her directions of boiling it for 20 minutes. I then put it in the fridge and served cold.
Really good stuff – sweet, roasty with a bit of corny flavor. A sweeter dark roast houjicha. I think I’ll buy more of this stuff next time I’m at my local Korean grocery store (love going there, they always play G Dragon)
I stopped into the local “boutique” tack shop (shop that carries higher end/higher quality horse gear) to get a hug from my friend who owns it. She’d heard I’ve been having a rough go of it, and excitedly handed me a little washi tin with a mysterious toasted oolong inside. She had picked the tea and tin up in separate countries during a backpacking trip through Asia last year but couldn’t remember where the tea itself came from. But she gave me a GIANT hug (I had a bit of a cry) and we hid in her office and shared a pot.
It’s LOVELY. It reminds me of a houjicha mixed with a tie guan yin. It’s toasty rather than fermented, and in lovely little curls which unfurl to reveal a lovely crinkly leaf as it steeps.
I need to search for something similar for when I run out because I can see myself drinking it regularly. Toasty and nutty yet a touch creamy with a fresh finish.
Random acts of kindness. They make crappy days sooooo much less crappy <3
Flavors: Nutty, Roasted, Sweet, Toasty
Thank you Stephen Hockman for swapping! I’d say I’m a fan of the book, the first one anyway (so many books to read I haven’t read the others yet) and haven’t seen the show. Direwolf reminds me of Jon Snow, who is maybe my third or fourth favorite character in the first book, if only he’d just grow up a little bit. :D
This is a nice enough tea though – I see orange peel, lavender and lemongrass in the dry blend. The taste is a punch of fresh lavender so much so it kind of overpowers the blend. It’s nice lavender though. I’m not sure if there is actually bergamot in this one, can’t really taste it. The black tea is mild. I like it, enough to enjoy the couple of teaspoons I have anyway. For an EG it falls short, but if you forget it’s supposed to be an EG, it’s pretty nice. The second steep was just as good.
This is a sample I got from Rie last year. I wasn’t expecting much, as in the time since that swap I’ve realized I really don’t care for green oolongs. But I’m pleased to report that this is probably the nicest green oolong I’ve tasted yet. The unlovely flavors I’ve come to know as orchid and honeysuckle are present, but they’re so much more delicate here than in other green oolongs I’ve had. This still isn’t something I’d keep in stock (and it’s a good thing, since I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on any more even if I wanted to), but I’m surprised to find that I’m genuinely enjoying my cup.
Yes, I completely forgot that I said last time I would actually weigh this one before making it.
I just did a bunch of tea, at 180° for 90s.
And I took a picture for Cwyn this time, too. https://www.flickr.com/gp/cheri0627/5696am
So it’s not the most beautiful of the teas that I saw in pictures, when I googled it, but it’s not as bad as some. It’s got whole leaves and buds, but most are broken leaf pieces.
it still tastes good. Light and vegetal, slightly sweet.
I should weigh it next time, and let it steep for longer, but whatever. I liked it this way.
This is a gift from a friend who was making frequent work trips to China. He’s changed companies, so no more trips to China for him, and no more tea direct from China for me. Ah well. It was nice while it lasted.
Mine is not in the packaging pictured here, but it is unknown. I have no clue anything about it. The only bits I can read on the package are TaiPing HouKui and 3-5 twice and 90°C. It is in a really nice tin that unfortunately was dented in transit. It still seals nicely, so at least I can store it in that.
So I guessed 3-5 minutes at 90°C based on the above information.
This is underleafed. It’s really hard to measure these leaves. I tried about 2t-ish but the leaves are not measuring friendly. Whites are easier to measure. I guess I should have pulled out the scale, but my husband is working on a project in the kitchen, and I had no space to work. As I’m basically out of water now (he’s doing a plumbing project) I can’t try again.
I will write up a better review once I try it weighing it. I can tell, though, that I’m going to like this one.
It’s a good thing because I’ve got a pretty good amount of it.
Dexter gave me this sample of an unknown Tie Guan Yin . I found a few people have some unknown Tie Guan Yin teas so I’m posting my review here. Thanks Dexter!
This was a roasty oolong but light roast taste. I would almost say it’s between a light and full roasted oolong but it does lean a lot more toward the roasted side. I had this tea yesterday and can’t remember a whole lot on it but I know I did like it even though there were things about it that are similar to black teas. A good change when I’m tired of the light buttery oolongs.
This is the free tea we have at work, so of course I drink it on the daily! I wish I knew which company it’s from. I should ask my boss. I do know that it comes from a giant teabag that just steeps in the tea machine all day, waiting to dispense the deliciousness. (I should clarify that I work in a restaurant.)
Anyway, I can taste burnt cocoa notes and baked bread. It’s a very good tea. Keeps me functioning throughout my shifts, and the customers seem to enjoy it, too!
Hello Steepster! I have been away from you for a few days, with the business of last week’s moving to the new half of the office plus a 2 day conference for work, and yard work on Saturday. But I have returned, and had a wonderful tea experience yesterday!
I found out that the botanical gardens near my city host Japanese tea ceremonies. This year they are only offering them on 4 days, and yesterday was the first 4, and on top of that, the only day that offered ceremonies in the small tea room (Ro ceremony). Only 5 people are allowed to partake in this ceremony due to room size restraints, so me, my boyfriend, and 3 other people partook in this special event. Matcha tea was prepared in the traditional method with a whisk and a unique bowl for each person, and we ate a sweet (wagashi) before drinking the tea to complement the tea. We were also shown the way to drink matcha in a ceremony, with the turning of the bowl so as to not drink from the front of it, and the etiquette of drinking tea before the person to your left. It was a truly beautiful experience, and the room was absolutely lovely and simple, one scroll on the wall with a simple flower arrangement as the only focal points in the room other than the kettle, a large cast iron one that was sunk in the middle of the floor (in the hearth). This room also had authentic Tatami mats, while the larger one for larger ceremonies had synthetic.
Oh, and the matcha was fantastic! Enough for 3.5 gulps, and it went perfectly with the wagashi! I thought about asking where they sourced their matcha, but was enjoying the ceremony too much to want to bother with questions that might infringe on my sense of tranquillity.
Overall, a beautiful, relaxing experience that I highly recommend if you ever get the chance to experience a tea ceremony. I would love to do one again sometime, and feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to partake in such a lovely event! My boyfriend also enjoyed it immensely. I also learned the 4 principles of Japanese tea ceremonies: harmony, respect, purity and tranquillity. I felt all 4 of these principles and it was wonderful! Afterwards we wandered through the botanical gardens, even though it was snowing, and a lovely feeling of peace settled over me. A great way to spend a Sunday morning!
After trying Verdant’s Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong recently, I wanted to revisit this one and compare. It stands out as almost the polar opposite on the spectrum of smoky teas. The smokiness here is much more mellow and soft, and taking a deep breath of the aroma is highly soothing. The flavor, though, is less smooth than the Xiao Zhong, with a “fuzziness” lent to it by the various roasty elements, and the finish is drier, but it is still quite enjoyable and has a lingering sweetness.
This tea in particular has me thinking about how much presentation affects perception. If I had ordered this through a prestige company, I might be trying to describe all the aromas I can find in it—woodsmoke, tobacco, vanilla cream. If it had been served in little ceramic cups in a dim sum restaurant, as similar teas often are, I might not have paid as much attention to it, or just concluded it was a pretty good crowd-pleaser. So it’s important to appreciate something on its own merits and not how much I might have paid for it…