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Recent Tasting Notes
This was a surprisingly good white tea! Far more body than I ever would have expected in a white tea with pronounce peach flavor. The aroma is a wonderful, gentle floral and fruit combination. So good! This is the first time I’ve ever come across a white tea I want to keep in stock at home.
Flavors: Apple, Peach
I’ve only tried 2 or 3 Tie-Guan-Yins and this one is by far my favorite. As long as you don’t oversteep this tea it has no bitterness though it does have a sort or astringent/dry finish that you’d experience with red wine. There is a pronounce woodsy caramel note to this tea, but I usually can’t steep it more than 4 or 5 times as the flavor has faded too much by then. Brewed in a 250cc Hei Liao YiXing teapot.
Flavors: Caramel, Wood
One of my first oolongs, this is a darkly roasted tieguanyin a very traditional and classic oolong but with a strong nutty kick. Perhaps not Upton’s highest grade of tieguanyin, and perhaps it wouldn’t satisfy some of the most pretentious tea masters of the world but for the incredibly cheap price and great taste this tea is absolutely worth it.
The pricing like all of Upton’s wares are incredible. I stocked up with as much as I could once it came back in season and have been making it gongfu whenever possible. Always left me satisfied.
Flavors: Nutty, Stonefruits
This is a backlog. I wrote down some notes on an index card the first time I tried it. I just found the card and thought that it would only be fair to include the notes. I steeped it in a Gaiwan. I didn’t write down quantity, temp or time. It was bitter the whole way throughout. There was a celery/cilantro/burnt flavor that I didn’t find desirable in the first steeps. When the flavor was pretty much dead there was some caramel and smoothness to it. Certainly less one dimensional sounding than my other tasting note. At the time I remember it not being complex, and not liking it, which is weird given what I wrote about it. Go figure.
I got some samples from Upton and couldn’t resist a black Japanese tea, I never knew such a thing existed. I’m expecting some unique new flavors but no dice. It was a standard black, nothing special. I love tea, so I enjoyed it like I would just about any tea. It pretty much just had a “black tea” flavor. It would make a pretty good iced tea, too. I guess that would be malty. It’s not incredibly expensive but not a bargain either. For the price, there are other teas that are far more complex and interesting. If you can get it for cheap I would recommend it, but unless the yen crashes I doubt that will happen with any Japanese tea.
I’ll do a full tasting note of this later. Just a few thoughts. I got this as a sample from Upton when I was getting some herbals from them. I’ve never done too much with Darjeeling, was curious and they had a lot of them, so I got a few samples.
There was a definite grape must/wine flavor to it, a medium-high amount of bitterness, medium thickness body. Other flavors in there but I drank it a couple hours ago and didn’t get a work break until now, so I forgot them. I enjoyed it. I just steeped up a small amount. About 3g in a 110ml gaiwan and wasn’t filling it all the way for a lot of the steeps (8, I think) steeps lasting between 5 and 45 seconds, temp 180F.
The tea says FTGFOP1 but I couldn’t find one full leaf in there, so that designation shouldn’t be on there. FTGBOP would have been more appropriate. If it is the last of their stock and all that is left on the bottom is broken leaf that should be accounted for in the description. Maybe this is something that is normal with Darjeeling but I was certainly surprised by it. I only spent a few bucks on the sample, so not that big of a deal financially, but I’d really like to know what the tea is like full leaf. I’m guessing less bitterness, which would let more of the flavor shine through, different body, thinner? thicker?
I’d be curious to know what the more experienced Darjeeling drinkers think about the broken leaves?
Here’s a picture of what the leaves looked like.
A sad moment. I’m sipping down the last of my mist valley. Also, an embarrassing moment, since I discovered that I haven’t taken the time to write a review for Steepster.
This tea isn’t great, but is a very good, solid Darjeeling-style second flush tea from Nepal. It is resistant to oversteeping, so when I just dump some in a pot and then oversteep, it still comes out well. Classic Darjeeling taste with a bit of stone fruit.
~7g (try 5g next time)
Smell of the dry tea in the warmed pot is so delicious, delightful. It’s summer. It’s sweet, nutty (odor of baked nutfruit bread wafting out a window?).
Chaqi is strong & bright, like getting hit with a tidal wave of freshwater.
Or a vigorous massage with tingly oil.
Mouthfeel makes the cheeks, then both sides lower, salivate.
Dries up the roof of the mouth, then the front half of the tongue.
The aroma is simultaneously light and rich; gushes up the back and out the nose.
Wet leaves look like freshest red leaf lettuce.
Muji porcelain teapot
2 heaped t
Green! ranging from white to ash green and various shades of brown. Plenty of thinly twist-rolled, hair covered leaves.
Amber liquor. Beuatiful brilliant clarity. Nutty sweet aroma. Easy to drink, light, spring fills mouth.
Multiple infusions (5m, 6m, etc) until sweet water
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Ash, Campfire, Citrus, Smoke
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Astringent, Citrus
Today, I drank the last of this that I had in my stash. I did 2 teaspoons in 500 mL water at 190 for 3:30, which is more tea than I normally use. This is a light oolong with good floral/grassy flavors, and it brews up to a light golden color. I like this one a lot, and will probably get some more at another point in time.
Very even, short, finely twisted wiry strands of tea – since I’m using my black Korean strainer cup, these are the only appearance remarks I’ll bother with for now.
The aroma of the dry leaf has a pronounced sweetness suggesting orange blossoms, vanilla, and rosewater. There are some subtler spice notes as well, hinting at pipe tobacco or even nutmeg. Unique and inviting.
Aromas largely dissipate in the infusion, though their signature remains coherent.
The flavor is very smooth, faintly malty; clean, yet rich. Arguably the platonic ideal of a Medarata Ceylon, where you get a wonderful natural balance between the nuance of Udarata teas and the strength of Pahatha teas. Slightly tannic woodsy finish.
Fairly creamy mouth-feel, this would likely take a splash of milk, and isn’t subject to excessive bitterness when brewed for longer than recommended. In my strainer cup, it yields at least two solid re-infusions when I increased the brew time by a minute each time.
Brewed in my Korean infuser cup, roughly following the directions from Upton.
Auburn liquor has a delicate fall aroma, though I struggle to pick out individual scents. The flavors are likewise subdued – with vague river-stone and floral notes – though the finish is distinctly nutty, bringing to mind walnuts, apricot pits, almonds, or pecans. Muscatel presence throughout reminds you this is indeed a Darjeeling. Velvety mouth-feel, with just enough astringency to dry out the finish (though I’m not sure I’d call this a “brisk” tea).
While this has the delicacy I’d expect from a first flush, it is interesting to note how different in appearance it is, not only to other AV-2 clonal teas, but even to previous incarnations of Castleton Moonlight (e.g. the 2014 first flush, available from JAS-eTea, which is substantially greener).
Made at work, boiled water in microwave. 8 oz water, 1 tsp of tea, 3.5 min brew.
At first I really enjoyed this tea. Had a malty, cocoa-ish vanilla thing going on. Tasted comforting, which is what I’m looking for in tea! Then it started to either become kind of astringent tasting, or I started picking up on the mineral flavor that’s listed as one of it’s flavors on its Steepster page. I don’t think I’m capable of telling the difference between those yet.
Second steep I boiled water in the microwave again, then brewed for 4.5 minutes. I’m getting more of the astringent flavor.
I don’t want to count this tea out because I liked it so much at first taste, and my work set up is pretty crappy. I think I’ll bring it home and use with better water boiled in an actual kettle and see how that goes!
Flavors: Astringent, Cocoa, Malt, Mineral, Vanilla