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Recent Tasting Notes
So in honor of my Pokemon Challenge, I have deiced that watching the TV show from the beginning is the best idea ever. I am always a slave to nostalgia! At 20 episodes in I can safely say I forgot how much of a jerk Pikachu was at first, and how Team Rocket fails at everything. Good times, good times.
Today’s tea, Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong by Yezi Tea might be more familiar to you with its alternative name, Lapsang Souchong, but it is a little different from the usual run of the mill Lapsang Souchong. Originally Lapsang Souchong was made from the large leaves farther down the stem, smoked over a pine fire, and traded on the Tea Horse Road to places like Russia and Tibet. Now what about the fine leaves and buds at the top of the stem? Those were kept for the high and mighty, and for years not let out of China, they went by the name Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong. Hailing from the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian, the aroma of these delicate leaves is like an aged oak cask that once stored scotch. There are also notes of cocoa and peanuts with a honey sweetness, of course there is a hint of pine fire. The smokiness is distant, the way the air smells when one of your neighbors is using their fire place on a chilly night, or a distant campfire.
Into the gaiwan the leaves go! After their steeping the wet leaves have a stronger smoky aroma with a surprising cinnamon note. There is also the aroma of cocoa, honey, and peanuts with a finish of pine wood. The aroma is quite rich. The liquid is richly sweet and faintly creamy with a gently pine smoke finish.
The first steeping is sweet, delicious honey sweetness with notes of cocoa and peanuts. Of course there is smoke, very gently pine smoke. Again the imagery of a distant campfire fills my mind as I sip it. The mouthfeel is quite smooth, definitely one of those teas that fills up the mouth while sipping.
The second steep’s aroma has much stronger pine and smoke aroma with a much sweeter finish. The taste is wonderfully sweet, starting off with strong honey and raisin notes and fading to more of a semisweet chocolate flavor. There is a rich peanut finish and a pine wood aftertaste. Overlaying the entire experience is a gentle smokiness. This steeping is even more rich than the first and is a wonderful experience.
The third steep’s aroma is almost all pine smoke and gentle sweetness. The taste is so rich, oh man it is incredibly rich! Sweet honey and raisin that fades to cocoa, with midtaste to finish of pine smoke. If you find that Lapsang Souchong is far too potent in its smokiness than this is the tea for you…if you find that you want your Fujian Black tea to have a little more smokiness with its usual sweetness than this is the tea for you. Actually if you like tea in general I would recommend this one!
Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Pine, Raisins
I woke up to awesome news, the Title Update 14 changelog has been released and it is going into cert testing, meaning we could have the update by the end of next week. This newest update has been months in the waiting and I have been stalking 4J Studios diligently, enjoying all the little snippets of info they posted on twitter. The Xbox 360 version is still pretty far behind the PC, but it is slowly catching up. In this update I think I am most excited about the carpet, Nether mobs wandering in through portals, and anvils.
Today’s tea is Jin Jun Mei by Yezi Tea, Jin Jun Mei, also known as Golden Eyebrows Tea , is a black (or red) tea from Fujian, China, and is fairly rare. Jin Jun Mei is one of those teas that make me immensely happy just from looking at the dry leaf. I am a sucker for the beautiful, fuzzy, golden leaves, they look like something from a fairy tale. The aroma of the dry leaves is sharply sweet and a bit fruity, specifically a bit muscatel, there are strong notes of cocoa, caramelized sugar, orchids, and oak wood. It is a rich and bright aroma that wafts from the leaves, and certainly quite sweet. I would say that the aroma is one of the more sweeter Chinese black teas that I have had the honor of sniffing.
And into the gaiwan it goes for a nice, short, steeping! The aroma of the wet (and no longer gold and fuzzy) leaves is not fruity and bright, but is all richness. The aroma evolved into an intense depth with strong notes of peanuts, cocoa, and a faint hint of oak wood. Even though the aroma is no longer fruity it does retain a bit of sweetness, but now it is more of a nutty sweetness. The poured off liquid is quite sweet, like cocoa and honey with a woody quality.
The first steeping is wonderfully sweet and rich, blending the taste of cocoa, honey, roasted peanuts, and a finish of oak wood. I feel I am not giving this tea the credit it deserves, it is one of those that when I sipped it I was lost in the delicious and incredible rich taste, if you would have asked me at the time I was sipping you probably would have just heard me contentedly sigh.
The second steeping, the aroma of the leaves and the liquid is much the same as the first but a bit stronger and richer. The same can be said for the taste, except it has an added smoothness from the mouthfeel, this steeping almost seems to coat the mouth in rich sweetness. The aftertaste on this steeping was a tiny bit metallic which seemed to knock me out of my tea fugue, not a bad thing. This is one of those teas that I could see myself becoming mildly addicted to, perfect for mornings and aftermeals, or just an afternoon pick-me-up. Or before bed, or with a book, or when crafting…really I could be content drinking this tea all day. It has this great quality of being both bold and flavorful while retaining a level of mellowness that does not overpower, it is a perfectly balanced tea.
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Grapes, Honey, Nuts, Orchids
I’ve been boring for what feels like months now, where I just want to dwell a bit on old favorites every day and rediscover why I fell in love with them in the first place. Means a dearth of logging but wonderful tea time as some I feel I almost appreciate more upon revisit. This is a good example. What an excellent tea. This morning was slow going for no good reason at all, and one of those where you wake up having to do approximately a billion little tasks before you can even make your first cuppa. When I finally had a second to do so I wanted it to be failproof satisfying and this fit the bill and how. I’ve had something like 6 cups—I figured I’d waited so long I deserved to do this in the gaiwan and set myself free for 15 minutes, whee—and it’s still going strong, smooth and sweet and clean but rich bordering on hearty. Present but refined. Delicious. Teas that offer so much flavor and depth in a matter of seconds when it comes to steep time still amaze me.
Thanks to Yezi Tea for a sample of this delicious black! Upon opening the sample, I was greeted by a wonderful chocolatey aroma. The tea doesn’t disappoint, and is an excellent example of a lovely, chocolatey, full-bodied black. No astringency, just delicious flavour. Perhaps not the best example of a tea with this flavour profile, but certainly up there. I’d need to compare it with others to really tell.
I’m up early so figured I would dig into this sample from Yezi tea. I’m also a bit lacking in dexterity so I didn’t want to fool around with a gaiwan this morning.
I went for one initial steep via mug method for the first cup. First impressions are that this is lightly fruity with some gentle notes of malt. Very mellow, lacking in bitterness which is a plus for yours truly. It’s easy to sip on plain. I am still sleepy but feel like I notice something creamy in the aroma of this tea, perhaps it’s coconut, hmm.
Second steep I did for 3 minutes to see what other flavors I could coax out of it. It still seems very light and mild with gentle cocoa notes. Other people have mentioned a smoke note and I think I’m getting a bit of that here in the finish. Also still getting a kind of creaminess with this tea.
I’d prefer to drink something mild like this in the afternoon but overall I quite like it. It doesn’t need additions at all but takes a splash of soymilk fairly well. This tea is like an easy going friend.