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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve only had a couple of roasted Oolongs before. Maybe the ones I’ve had were poor quality, even though one I had was supposedly good. They mostly tasted like tire fire or burnt rotting wood to me. Not that there’s not a place for that, like having a tea to satisfy an immersion in self contempt, or an occasional anomalous craving, but certainly far from my favorites. This tea… Yeah. This one is delicious.
The first steeps were all intense dark chocolate. The smell, the flavor, everything. I pick up a lot of chocolate in most Keemun, and some ripe Puerh but this is uncanny. If someone blindfolded me and told me that I was drinking hot chocolate made with water instead of milk, I would believe them!
As the steeps went on, the bitter dark chocolate (a very good thing) started to sweeten up. The chocolate was still undeniably present but milder than at first. All of the flavors really lingered a long time, chocolate and sweetness going on forever. The tea started picking up some sweet potato skin flavor. The body, smooth, and creamy.
This beauty was still going, the sweet potato flavor was now in full tuber mode, meaty interior, skin and all. And what better to accompany sweet potato than with marshmallow. Favors of marshmallow roasted over a campfire were now present and picking up with every infusion, as was the sweetness already present in earlier steeps.
The main flavors were now a ghost of their former selves, but the sweetness still held on. The whole time through, the tea was never overly tannic, the dryness being somewhere along the lines of a gentle Keemun, rather than a green Oolong, or a typical black. And I had brewed it up at a higher temperate range, 200 to 205F. Just to see what it’s like, I’ll go lower next time, 180-185. I have to thank LP for including this in the Dark Matter buy, I was pretty close to giving up on roasted Oolong. I could have kept this going for a few more rounds of hot water with lingering sweetness, but it’s time to stop watching Star Trek and get outside. Even if it is taking my taste-buds to strange new places, where I have never gone with a roasted Oolong before, it’s beautiful outside!
I used 2.7g of leaf in a 160ml Easy Gaiwan, a little less than half full, so about 60ml or 70ml. I steeped it at 200F to 205F. The infusions were flash steeps for the first 4 steeps, between 10 to 30 sec for the next 6, then a minute and up for the remaining 6 to 8, the last few being a few minutes each. (I didn’t do an exact count)
I’m still working my way through the Sheng Olympics teas.
I was fully prepared to dislike this tea. It didn’t help that I’m drinking it the morning after a session with 2014 Last Thoughts, which is one of the best teas I’ve ever had. However, this tea stands up to the comparison.
I started out a bit disappointed. The dry leaves consist of fairly tightly compressed small chunks. Not the whole leaves I’ve come to expect from premium teas. The first steep was light in color, with a mild aroma reminiscent of butter. The taste was light and viscous, with an incredible feel in the mouth. As I sipped that first cup the tea just grew on me. Every sip seemed a bit better than the last. I’m sure this was in part due to the extremely powerful cha qi, which started in my chest and arms and is now a whole-body experience, on a par with the Last Thoughts.
The flavors are mild, reminding me of some green-style oolongs I’ve had in the past: butter, straw, and hints of flowers. Strong, long finish, which is probably part of the reason why each sip seemed to improve.
Third steep is a bit darker: medium straw. Nose is still modest, but now is spice rather than butter. The taste is completely different: strong spice character, with the older, buttery flavor barely visible underneath. I like this flavor almost as much as the first, and give the tea credit for added complexity. The viscosity is still there but there is a bit of sharp bite riding on top, and a subtle bitterness underneath, which extends into the finish. I’m not a fan of bitter teas, but this is just a hint, adding interest. The fourth steep had the same characteristics as the third, but more integrated.
I don’t recall the exact price this tea sold for, but recall it was reasonable. I suspect that purchasers got fair value despite the marketing hype. If it hadn’t sold out I’d be buying some.
Thanks for this in your sale, TheLastDodo! I thought this sounded decent, as the base gets a high rating, but I’m not sure I like the base or the blend. I usually like smokey teas but this one isn’t for me. It’s not too smokey but the black tea itself is light. The other ingredients weren’t very noticeable but otherwise quite odd and didn’t seem to play well together. Hmm. Maybe I just don’t get these ingredients.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps // few minutes after boiling // 3 min steep
Not my favorite cup of tea. The more and more raw pu er I try the more and more I’m not sure I like it. This one has a strong tobacco aroma from my gaiwan, although there is little to no aroma from the liquor. The first infusion has a light color and a light, sweet taste. There are hints of dark fruit. Perhaps plums or cherries. The second infusion brings forth a tobacco taste and slight dryness in the mouth. The taste increases and the liquor darkens ever so slightly to a muddy green. The third and fourth infusions brought forth an almost smoky green tea flavor much like a gunpowder. Anyways, we’ll see what my next sheng brings…
Flavors: Plums, Smoke, Tobacco
Funny, I thought I’d already reviewed this tea but apparently I didn’t. Well, Laoshan Black is one of my overall favorites so far. I got it in a sampler set from Verdant and then placed another order just so I could get more of it. It’s complex, smooth, and pleasantly flavored. As you can see from all the flavor notes suggested by other people, it certainly has a lot of different layers. One of my favorite things about it, though, is that it actually does taste like chocolate (among, as I said, many other things). It always makes me sad when a description says chocolate and then I can’t find any chocolate notes in the tea itself. Anyway, in addition to chocolate, today I’m getting some malty notes and maybe some roasted chicory flavor . . . et cetera.
On the savory side of the spectrum. The rinse smelled like baked macaroni with cheese, bacon, and bread crumbs. The taste is pleasantly sour and smokey, with a dash of oregano and some sweet syrup. I can’t shrug off the bacon. It’s there. I’m not crazy. I’m not.
Flavors: Maple Syrup, Meat, Muscatel, Smoke, Wood
From my giant order of Verdant puerh with OMGsrsly. Rinsed, with short 15 second steeps.
I’m normally not a puerh (shu or sheng) person so when I actually come across one I enjoy it’s amazing. Kind of like expecting rabbit poop but finding 24 carat adorned chocolate amazing.
This shu is on the simple side of awesome, which is cool because awesome comes in many different varieties. Smooth and creamy, it tastes of all things rice, and has that dark tangy-malt aspect that I associate with stouts and ports. Delicious.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Malt, Rice
Having a cup of this while I rewatch Doctor Who. I finally cleaned out enough room to open my boxes of Verdant Tea. Now of course I have no room again but that’s okay as at least I have plenty of tea to drink!!
As for the tea itself it was really quite yummy!
One day I’ll go exploring and learn to appreciate the darker varieties of oolong. For now it just tastes like a green oolong except it’s also tangy sour and the malt of roasted grains (also think the non-waffle ice cream cones). It’s simply not my thing right now.
Flavors: Floral, Malt, Stonefruits, Vegetal
This was a wonderful black tea. Overall it was very mellow, mild, and smooth.
I steeped this near boiling, around 200 degrees, in my gaiwan with 5g of tea. The first infusion brought forth a light orange liquor with a light black tea taste and hints of chocolate. It is almost sweet with no astringency. The aroma is sweet and fruity, almost like cherries.
The second and third infusions darkened the liquor to a golden orange color. Still light for black tea, but very beautiful. The taste was smooth and creamy, with increasing notes of chocolate and a slight astringency reminiscent of a Golden Monkey. The flavor becomes much more well balanced with equal notes of savoriness and sweetness.
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Sweet
The scent of the steeped leaves is a curious combination of leather, cinnamon, and smoke. The actual tea tastes warm and toasty, a good bit mineraly, and slightly bitter. I drink it every now and again, but it’s nothing I’d purchase more of in the future.
Flavors: Mineral, Roasted
Came as free sample with my order, and was confused and excited, Yancha my favorite but in black tea form? The tea is superb, all the right notes of a black with the malt caramel and some attributes of Yancha on the oolong side with orange flower. Well done
March TotM is again pu’er, this time from Qianjiazhai, rather than Xingyang — as was perhaps already obvious by yesterday’s tasting note about shu. The sheng offerings start with this 2015 and work back to a 2010, and I’m going to do them in reverse age order so that I can experience the maturity growing as I go.
The first steep here is extremely soft & subtle. I’m afraid that lingering toothpaste may be convincing me there is more camphor here than there really is, so I’ll hold off until steep the second before getting too serious.
Now the sharpness of young sheng comes out in steep two.
Steep three actually has an emerging sweetness.
aaaaaand then the phone rang and I over steeped it.
Thankfully I have more leaf and will pick this up in a few days.
One of the first oolongs I’ve tried outside of a Chinese restaurant, so my palate is not well developed. I steeped this in my gaiwan with 5g of tea and 180-200 degree water.
The first and second steeps were reminiscent of fields and meadows. The aroma was sweet and smelled of hay and honey. The initial taste was very strong and bold, with notes of butter, fall leaves, foliage, and a dominant honeysuckle taste.
The third steep lost some of the initial sweetness and fruitiness, moving more towards the hay and fall flavors. It tasted almost like brown (dry) grass and honey.
The fourth steep brought an increase in savoriness. The sweetness yet again was lower, while a slight astringency creeped in.
The fifth and final steep brought a loss of much flavor and the realization that it was time to say goodbye to these leaves. It was very much full of hay, honey, and butter, but much more mild than before. Everything was subdued.
Overall I really enjoyed this tea and would recommend it!
Flavors: Butter, Hay, Honey, Honeysuckle