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Recent Tasting Notes
First Pubertea tasting!
I debated not putting up any thoughts on this session as it was very lackluster, and only decided to describe it here after the last couple steeps. Anyways, here’s my first crack at the aged group buy teas: the 2006 YQH QiXiang.
I steeped roughly 5 g’s in an English tea cup using a mesh basket so this was very dilute compared to normal puer preparation. For this reason the first five or six steeps were basically warm water with zero flavor even after the leaves opened up a bit. Becoming frustrated with wasting part of my sample of such a nice tea I started pushing the steeps hotter and longer trying to get notes of something. I got a few generic aged notes from steeps 6/7-11 or so before finally getting what I wanted. By this point I was to fairly long boiling steeps and finally got to know what the tea was about. Even being so dilute and well steeped this tea became a pleasant surprise. The quality material showed itself in these long, hot steeps. A pleasant mouthfeel and thickness was present coating my teeth and leaving a smooth sweetness. I could see this tea giving a good tea drunk feeling with more leaf in less water as I felt a little of this effect late into the day after 16 or so cups. This could also make the tea more interesting hopefully as from what I tasted this tea had a good texture and lingering feeling in the mouth but a very one dimensional taste.
So, my health-seeking/improving journey continues. Saw a naturopath for the first time the other day who suggested, among other things, that I include coconut oil in my nutrition plan. Yeah, I am continuing the One Night in Rio and Brazilian Fruit, as in previous post, now with the addition of a bit of coconut oil. A bit odd, but it works.
I continue to play with the combination of One Night in Rio by Camellia Sinensis, Pineapple Marshmallow by 52teas, and Brazilian Fruit by Mighty Leaf Tea: two out of three, and today three out of three. The possible combinations fascinate me.Today, it’s half Brazilian Fruit and a quarter each of One Night in Rio and Pineapple Marshmallow. I wanted the ka-pow of the Chinese black base in BF, the pineapple and coconut fruit of ONIR, and the marshmallow softness in the PM. Mission accomplished. I added a spoon of honey to bring the fruit out even more.
Today’s random steeping is an Earl Grey from Singell Estate in Darjeeling. The bergamot flavour is light enough to be enjoyable. The scent is milder. Bergamot is a type of orange, but is a little different. It is neither like the lemon or lime that I have freshly squeezed in my tea. The tea itsslf is a black darjerling. I believe the use of this tea as opposed to a more full bodied tea lets the bergamot shine through. The colour is closer to a lighter ceylon.
This is the green tea that I picked up for $10 for 100 grams. I decided to try strong brewing it, so I weighed out 10 g of the tea. 200 mL of water was used at a cooler temperature, around 150 to 160 F.
The tea had a shimmery golden appearance. The taste was vegetal. With sugar, it brightened up, but still was on the oceanic vegetal side.
The second brewing was also vegetal. Although this time there was a strong vegetal / mineral smell. Quite unusual.
By the third steeping the tea had mellowed in flavour.
After reading about Russian Caravan Tea, I decided to try making a blend. This is probably not caravan tea though.
I chose these three to blend:
Darjerling Black (Unknown)
Oolong Supreme (Davids Tea)
Lapsang Souching (Unknown)
I used 1 teaspoon of each tea for my cup. I mixed in 1 table spoon of honey and 3 teaspoons of sugar (roughly). I also added milk.
I was surprised at how incredibly smoky this tea was. It is like the other teas are enhancing the smokiness and enabling me to appreciate the flavours of the wood.
The body of the tea is a bit lighter. The honey rounds it out.
I can’t really pick out any strong flavours. Though the front of my tongue is tingling with unami.
I think traditionally you want to go heavier when mixing with a smokey tea. However, I think this experiment showed that blending with lighter teas can enhance the smokiness.
Now if I had only made some toast and jam to go with this. Ok, second steeping too light and smokey. Tried the toast and jam too.
Today’s random steepin is a food pairing of Humpty Dumpty Cheese Sticks (Puffs really) with Japanese House matcha.
The matcha was prepared with 120 mL of water and one teaspoon of powder.
I choose the cheese puffs based on how long the cheese flavour lasted. You get a real salty flavour.
Reading the ingredient list there is real cheese and also msg which should be interesting with matcha. The idea is to alternate tea and snack as opposed to drinking them together. This makes the matcha super refreshing, but also shortens how long it lasts in taste. You will also feel like you want two bowls instead of one. It goes quickly.
I also like to add sugar to my matcha. I got the acidity of the green tea for sure. The lovely greeness contrasts the orange colour of a cheese puff. There was definitely some good flavour in the matcha, and I do believe the contrast brought it out.
This matcha has been sitting for about a month since it was opened, and I think it may be moving towards a vegetable flavour.
Next time I might try a spicy Dorito. :)
Today’s random steeping is rather unique. Firstly because it uses well aged Bai Mu Dan. And secondly, because of the advanced brewing technique. The idea is to use ice to super cold brew over a long period of time. Simply place the ice in a large bowl along with the tea and cover the bowl. Come back 6 to 8 hours later. The tea is done when the ice is melted.
10 g of aged Bai Mu Dan tea was used to produce only 200 mL of tea.
The resulting liquid had an orange colour to it. There was a definite floral / tea aroma from the bowl. Evrn though the colour waa orange, the tea was smoother than from hot brewing.
You may want to prepare some simple syrup for sweetener. I decided to use honey that I warmed up in the microwave.
Afterwards, I tried to see if I could still make tea. Using 200 mL boiling water on the ice cold leaves extracted maximum flavour. I got the most wonderful hay / grass like tea. It was like a farmers field right after harvest. The tea was orange coloured as well.
The final brewing with hot water gave a more traditional tea taste.
The advantage of this method is that it supposedly brings out the natural sweetness of the tea I think somewhat like icewine brings out the flavour of the grape. I look forward to trying it with green teas in the future.
This morning I decided that I would start the day with two bowls of matcha and a plate of watermelon. I then followed this with a couple of cups of Long Jing and some toaster waffles with syrup.
I really like the combination of matcha with sugar, prepared traditionally, and watermelon. You take a sip of one and then later a bite of the other. I have yet to try it with many other fruits, I am sure it would work well, though. This mornings matcha was dark green and the froth was lighter colour. It contrasts so well with the red of the watermelon. You can also reverse the order with supersweet fruits and leave the matcha unsweetened.
My taste buds were primed by the time I had my first sip of Long Jing. I was in a sort of sudden matcha enduced calm, as well. It was sweet and brothlike with plenty of umami. Really delicious.
I look forward to many years of drinking tea. It has opened up quite a world to me.
Today’s random steeping isn’t so random. In fact, for once, I know exactly what I am drinking.
I actually went out to buy chinese bud tea. Looking at the $15 price made me think twice though. Instead, I picked up 1 KG of raw Ontario Grade 1 honey.
I figured that this would go a lot further than 40g of buds.
For the third steeping of David’s Long Jing, I cranked up the heat to full, and dumped the hot water in 4g of tea.
The brew came out yellow, and I mixed in a tablespoon of honey. If you put in too much honey, it will sour your tea. So what I do is add a couple teaspoons of sugar. You get sweetness plus the florals of honey. Unfortunately this particular honey didn’t overwhelm me with floweriness. Tasting the honey, I get a caramel like flavour with delicious sweetness, it moves to hurting the throat. On the other hand, it does provide quite a bit of taste in the cup.
It was a dark and rainy day.
My cat had positioned himself next to the window,
because he wanted to be as close to the outside
as possible without getting wet.
I took a sip from cup.
A strange grin appeared on my lips
and an insane look of joy
showed in my eyes as I shouted: It’s ALIVE!
I have finally brought my evil creation to life!
There was a smokey smell emanating from my cup,
It reminded me of the day the Quebec forrest burned.
But there was something else in my cup,
A certain darkness that came from the strength
Of ceylon combined with
The fruitiness of assam.
Alone, this wouldn’t have been tasty,
What brought it to life was this:
LOTS OF MILK AND SUGAR!
I know what you are thinking. Who wouldn’t want to cover up the disguting rotted fish odour of puehr tuo cha with chocolate? After all, there us nothing unusual about that.
Well, this one turned out suprisingly delish.
I rinsed the tuo cha for about 3o seconds and threw it in.
Next I broke off 1/4 of a chocholate bar with rice crisps. Tossed it in a bag and smashed
It with a bottle of olive oil.
3 minutes later I had something dark and delicious.
Puehr is filled with funky notes that go well with milk chocolate.
The search continues for an inexpensive, yet tasty green tea to fill my cup.
This time I picked up an unnamed Chinese Wulu for $10 / 100g.
While that is more expensive than the last tin at $6 / 110g,
I think that the tea is tastier.
I used 4 grams and 400 mL of water and got two good steeps out of it.
This might actually be my new everyday green.
I might even be able to eat the leaves from this.
That’s the one thing I love about Long Jing.
Those wok fired leaves are so easy to eat.
The first steeping waa about 200 mL with 4 grams of tea. I had to add a bit of water to make it more drinkable after steeping. Just a plain black tea. Not too exciting.
Second steeping I went for closer to 400 mL. This time the tea really opened up and became delicious, on the tea and citrus side plus something extra. It took quite a bit of sugar to get there, as you would expect with a tea as strong as Assam.
I didn’t get a lot of aroma from this tea.
You should be able to hold a good tea in your mouth and continue to get flavour from it. This assam delivers that.
The colour was orange / red.
Update: This was made for milk and sugar. It’s an Assam all right!
Today was 34 C. So I picked a tea that would remind me of a summer bonfire. It’s odd that we celebrate the heat with even more heat, but in another way it’s accepting of summer.
What I love about this tea is that you can breath the flavour in after drinking it.
The tea base itself was mild and unobtrusive. How can I describe the smoke demons that dance on my tongue. There are so many types of wood to use. Previous teas have tasted like burning green pine needles. Acrid. There was a little of that, but overall it was smooth. Perhaps this was from Wuyi, as there were greens beside this. This is a lot milder than what I have had before. The liquor was a lighter orange red.
The only experience I get like this is real bbq. Smoking ribs, brisket, and pork.
Well, maybe smoked salmon too. And of course maple syrup.I will have to wait for the return of winter and enjoy this while standing on a huge snow bank.
Lapsang Souchong unknown.
Flavors: Smoke, Wood
Second Flush Darjerling
Brewed Lighter Ceylon Orange Colour
BOP I suppose
It’s a nice clean black tea. It’a so easy to drink. The aroma just reminds me of what tea should smell like. So yummy.
Iced it is great too. There was a bit of a dry spot on my tongue because of this tea. Umami?
I was reading someone say they didn’t enjoy darleeling. This tea makes that easy.
Price about $12 / 100 g
I’m drinking an 8 gram raw puerh dragon ball from YS that I got with my order. It’s pretty good—not bitter at all, very vegetal, and a little bit of fruit.
Because I thought it was white tea by the look, and the smell wasn’t strong, I did it western. Now I have lots of very concentrated tea. Looks like I’ll be adding extra water. My friend is coming over soon. He’s usually pretty reactive (calm and spacey) to the effects of tea. I’ll be sure to share some of this with him. :) I did tell him to eat before coming over. Ever since I read on someone’s tasting note that their son passed out after some raw, I’m sure to be careful.
Liquid Proust’s magical sampler mystery teas 1 and 2. (“2004 raw” and “something-or-other mystery Chinese name”).
It’s very helpful to get a good selection of sheng pu-erhs as I’ve had very few, and most of them what I’d refer to as liver-stripping death teas. Haha, to be honest, I hadn’t even thought these would be sheng pu, I had simply assumed shu as that is what I think of when I think pu-erh. Here’s to trying something new.
The two samples I had today I had a few steeps of before giving up. Both had the same odd salty savouriness, almost like I’d used veggie stock or diluted sea water to brew them in.
I was given tea so I’ll drink it all even if it kills me.
(the reccomendation is a yes, if you are offered free samplers then why not?!)
Flavors: Chicken Soup, Musty, Salty
Fujian Shou Mei White Tea Ball from What-Cha
I received this as a mystery white tea. The tea comes in individually wrapped balls. I’m not very familiar with white and definitely not ones that come compressed into balls! The instructions recommend 1 ball/cup of 90C water for 1-2min. However, I wanted to try my new tiny 120mL teapot so I dropped used one ball, 90C, 30s, adding 10s each re-steep.
The wet leaves smell quite medicinal – reminds me of chinese medicine! Fortunately, the brew tasted a lot better. It tastes quite mellow and relaxing. There’s a hint of honey, nuts, and a slight astringency. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much fruitiness that was advertised on the package. However, this was quite a yummy tea!