158 Tasting Notes
Wow, this definitely wasn’t something I was expecting.
The dry teabag smelled sweet and slightly tart. I’ve never had sea buckthorn before, but I think that was where the tartness came from. However, brewed up, I’m getting a sense of honey or vanilla, with only the barest hint of tartness on the back of the tongue at the end of the sip. There’s a slightly medicinal aftertaste that I’m having a hard time putting my finger on.
This is interesting, but I’ve found that I’m not a fan of vanilla in green teas. But I have only one more teabag left from darby to finish off, so at least I got to try it.
So, about 2 hours ago I found out that a job I really wanted went to another candidate. I’m still upset, and also a little freaked out that it’s taking me so long to find a job.
Anyways. I’m on the hunt for the perfect caffeine-free tea for the evenings, so this is tonight’s experiment. I love the dried smell of this – I smell almonds, cinnamon, vanilla, and overall it smells like a nice pastry.
Brewed, this wasn’t was I expected. I was prepared for it to steep up a bright magenta based on all of the other reviews here, but instead it was a gentle rose, tinted with amber. The smell of the liquor was very true to the smell of the dried tea. I added a bit of cinnamon honey to make sure it tasted nice and dessert-y.
Unfortunately, the taste doesn’t live up to my expectations. I was hoping for sweet, almondy, marzipanny goodness, but the taste was mild, and the aftertaste was sour.
This was a good experiment, though. I have enough left for one more cup, so I’ll see how it is to steep this up with Big Apple to get Apple Pie tea.
Another excuse to use the gaiwan!
So, I’m still fairly new to aged/pu’er teas, and haven’t had a lot of success with white teas in the past. The fact that this is a white tea aged like a pu’er seemed like an interesting challenge.
And oh man, this tea was weird. A good weird, but it was unlike anything I’ve tried before.
Steeping parameters: about 2 tablespoons of leaf (which was composed of big fluffy buds, almost like wheat kernels). A 4-5-oz gaiwan. 24 oz of water brought freshly off the boil and kept in a hot teapot. 6 steeps total, starting at 30s and ranging to 1 minute.
The dry leaf smelled sweet, and I could definitely get a piny, resinous smell. After I rinsed out the leaves, that fresh forest smell was even more apparent.
The first steep (30s) tasted of pine and earth, and even kind of fishy or mushroom-like. It was a nice pale yellow.
The second and subsequent steeps all took on a pale green colour, like pastel or young shoots. The last steep even took on a blue tinge, so it was almost mint or celadon in colour!
All throughout, I tasted pine and the forest – it made me think I was back in my uncle’s cottage up on the Bay of Quinte, with the leaves falling and the damp air (even though there are mostly deciduous trees, rather than coniferous). The liquor made my tongue feel fuzzy over time – it wasn’t quite astringent, but I could sense a sort of velvet fuzziness. The fourth and fifth steeps also brought in an oolong note.
Near the end of the sip, and in the drained leaves left in the gaiwan, there was a floral sweetness that I have a hard time describing. Lily, perhaps? Chrysanthemum? Not sure.
All in all, this was definitely a distinctive blend. I’m not sure if this will be a restock, but I’m happy to send samples to others who are interested. Thanks to De for giving me a generous bag of this, still sealed from Verdant.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Mushrooms, Pine
This was really an excuse to use my porcelain gaiwan. Yesterday I used the stoneware one (thanks again to Butiki) and today I thought I’d use the more delicate one now that I have the new, unchipped lid (again from Butiki!)
I used about 2 tsp of leaf in a 4-oz gaiwan, and made 6 steeps – just enough for one small David’s Tea Bubble Teapot. Boil the water, heat the teapot, heat the gaiwan, rinse the leaves, then put the remaining boiled water in the pot, to be poured out for each steep. Started out with a 20s steep, with 5 seconds added for each subsequent steep.
The dry leaf smelled very buttery and creamy, though not as buttery as Teavivre’s Flavoured Milk Oolong, which is my comparison point. All 6 steeps were pale golden yellow, with the first 2 steeps being the creamiest.
The base was quite vegetal, though, and became more astringent as time went on. I’m learning more about my own tastes when it comes to oolongs, and I believe I like them on the roastier side, rather than the green/floral side. As the steeps increased, I was getting a floral, orchid-like note.
I still have half the sample left to go, but I don’t think I’ll miss this one too much when I finish it off.
I’m finding out that vanilla is one of those flavours in tea that is really picky for me. Sometimes it works, but a lot of the time it doesn’t. Luckily, this blend is one of the ones (the only one, I think) where it works well and adds flavour without making a mess of things.
I didn’t taste much bergamot in this brew, but that’s okay. I’m happy having one less thing in my cupboard.
I coldbrewed the last of this leaf overnight and took the teabag out mid-afternoon today. It was a lovely pale yellow-green. I sipped it then and was pleasantly surprised to find no bitterness at all.
This is much better cold-brewed than served hot. I’m really tasting the lemongrass and pineapple. However, I’m not tasting very much lime or much creaminess – and that’s what I signed up for.
Anyways, this is pleasant, but I’m probably not going to restock.
As soon as I got my gaiwan from Butiki today, I knew I was going to brew this up. I was a disciplined woman, though. Instead of doing it right away, I used this tea as a reward for sending out applications to 5 different jobs. Fingers crossed!
I’ve never brewed with a gaiwan before so I’m not sure if I did this right. I heated the gaiwan and my teapot with boiling water. Then I added enough leaf to make a little mound at the bottom of the gaiwan. Then I did a rinse, but didn’t time it much. After that, 5 steeps total, at approx 15/20/25/30/35 seconds. This is an estimate, though – I don’t have this down to a science.
Anyways, the tea!
Dry, the leaf smelled smoky and sweet, almost like tobacco or leather. Wet, the smell is just intensified. Holy moly, what a bouquet!
The steeps were all fairly similar in flavour – hints of hay, leather, tobacco, and a sweetness near the end that kind of reminded me of jasmine. All 5 times the liquor was a lovely clear amber. It was a tad drying throughout, and the final steep was slightly astringent. The final steep was also the sweetest.
EDIT: I saw TerriHarpLady’s post about this and she was bang-on about the chrysanthemum flavour. The sweetness at the end is very reminiscent of chrysanthemums.
I think I like pu’er teas? Not sure yet. I’ll have to try more. But I loved being able to use my gaiwan. So contemplative. I think it would be best to save this for the weekends though. Sunday morning sounds perfect.
Thanks very much to De and aisling of tea for giving me a package of this to try.
Flavors: Earth, Grass, Leather, Tobacco
Now that I’ve had a few more black teas to compare, I’ve gone back to this one, and I realize I like it quite a bit. The blending of chocolate and nut flavour is well done, and the base works really well here.
This is perfect for a cold, blustery day like today.
Also: my order from Butiki with my new gaiwan and my replacement lid came in! Eeeee!
EDIT: This is tasting note 150! Woo.
Second time steeping this. Still haven’t figured it out.
The first time I did it for 3 minutes at 90C. This time I did it for 2 minutes at boiling temp. Both times it was still not as fruity as I wanted it to be. Vanilla, chocolate and cream flavours still the most present. All I really want is for this to be a black peach tea, but I just can’t get the peach/fruit flavours to come forward.
Perhaps I should use 1 tsp for 8 oz instead?