906 Tasting Notes

69

Another 2016 harvest in a sealed sample packet from Leafhopper!

Very sweet, very gentle. Full-bodied and silky. Basically liquid powdered sugar-melon-sweet beany with mild floral and vegetal accents that gives way to a sweet corn, mouthwatering and mineral swallow. Mouthfeel turns creamy right as the aftertaste shows up with sweet corn and apricot, some mild bitterness emerges on the back of the tongue.

So sweet. Simple and very easy to drink. Rating is in accordance with my preferences – I like less upfront sweetness and more bite – but I know many will love this :)

Flavors: Apricot, Beany, Bitter, Butter, Cream, Creamy, Flowers, Kale, Kettle Corn, Melon, Mineral, Nectar, Powdered Sugar, Smooth, Sweet, Thick

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 6 OZ / 190 ML
ashmanra

This one is very good.

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83
drank Lu Shan Yun Wu Green Tea by Teavivre
906 tasting notes

2016 harvest, sealed sample packet from Leafhopper!

Dry leaf is pungent! chestnut, cacao, an impression of cherry pie filling. The look of it reminds me of Laoshan green. I’ve had this as mini-bowl tea 1g:100mL and teapot 2g:190mL, 3/4min. Prefer the bowl.

Let’s see… lemony, roasted chestnut, pan-fried green beans for sure, steamed escarole, gentle floral-powdered sugar high note, underlying umami. Vegetal, salty-nutty-brothy-sweet ending brisk and tart with a light bitterness on the swallow. Aftertaste is at first metallic, turning into a salted citrus rind tingle then apricot to a subtle impression of violet and lavender.

It’s not extremely vegetal or too robust, has a range of flavors that are well rounded. Pretty dang good for 5 years old.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Broth, Cacao, Cherry, Chestnut, Citrus Zest, Floral, Green Beans, Lavender, Lemon, Lettuce, Metallic, Nutty, Powdered Sugar, Salty, Sweet, Tart, Umami, Vegetal, Violet

White Antlers

I initially read this ‘turning into a salted citrus rind tingle…’ as ‘turning into a salted circus ring tingle,’ and said to myself-Damn! derk has really outdone herself with this tea note!!! Needless to say, I was most disappointed upon re-reading. Ah! The joys of dyslexia.

derk

Hehe. Now I feel compelled to come up with an absolutely batty note.

White Antlers

Oh, I don’t think you make notes up. It was fun to take a break from scrubbing the floors, drink seltzer and try to imagine if you were tasting peanuts, sawdust, cotton candy, grease paint, tiger dander, high wire sweat, clown wig fibres or a combination of all of those.

derk

and the pungency of hungover carnies.

eastkyteaguy

There’s nothing like the pungency of hungover carnies. I love the way the combined scents of cheap cigarettes, sweat, body odor, horse manure, deep fried twinkies, malt liquor, unwashed clothing, crystal meth, and bottom shelf vodka just roll off of them as they emerge from their carnival trailers into the July heat. It’s magical.

derk

That was a real LOL I did there.

derk

I think one of my aunt’s was a local carnie for a minute.

Martin Bednář

I am thinking how tastes salted citrus rinds; never had it!. And all others comments me laugh; much needed!

White Antlers

eastkyteaguy-That was an absolutely stunning and spot on sensory picture!

Leafhopper

Derk, I almost didn’t include those green tea samples because they were so old. Glad you’re getting something out of them.

Eastkyteaguy, your comment made me laugh!

tea-sipper

Tasting note and comments on a roll here. I think my Laoshan is about five years old by now…

gmathis

I was just thinking this tea sounds like its own buffet.

derk

Yeh, Leafhopper, I was surprised. No worries, I try anything that lands in my cupboard through the kindness of others :)

gmathis

Now that you mention it, I really do have circus in my DNA! My great aunt and uncle weren’t performers, but were on kitchen and setup crew, traveling on a real circus train. Wish I knew more. I was an afterthought, a decade behind elder siblings, and by then, I guess it was just assumed everyone had already heard all the good family stories.

gmathis

Moral to you young’uns: WRITE THIS STUFF DOWN. IN A BOOK. WITH REAL PAGES. THAT WILL NOT BECOME OBSOLETE TECHNOLOGY.

tea-sipper

That is awesome, gmathis (but not awesome they skipped the stories with you.)

gmathis

(rocking chair creaking) Pull up a chair, honey, and I’ll tell you about how Grandpa won the money for Grandma’s wedding china in a craps game in the attic of their unfinished house and hauled it back from the train in the buckboard…

tea-sipper

:D I had to look up buckboard.

DrowningMySorrows

I don’t think there were any circus folk in my family but there are definitely some stories I wish I knew more about. Certain family members were considered embarrassments for things nobody would bat an eye at now and asking anything about them would get you a “don’t shake the family tree, a bunch of nuts will fall out.”

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94
drank Azure by Chroma Tea
906 tasting notes

Backlog from last night.

This is the kind of evening for which I’ve been saving this tea.  Rainy February nights here in the Bay are like (I really don’t want to say it!) cold November rain in Ohio.  Contemplative, maybe depressing if one possesses that lean.

I want to write so, so very much something poetic about this tea but I’m exhausted.  To further derail my effort, this tea is inducing a mental and physical state that is utterly calm.  

This is a beautifully scented oolong with a dark, woody-grassy-earthy sweet incense aroma of aloeswood and vetiver with smooth integration of the licorice-like star anise and cardamom.  I also smell something dark and fruity; I can’t shake the idea of mulberry. On the sip it transitions to sandalwood then mid-mouth to a general woody-mineral oolong.  On the swallow it moves back to the aloeswood, vetiver, star anise and mulberry, though less pronounced than in the aroma.  Cardamom is noticed in the aftertaste as those flavors slip away.  A zesty tingle and some mouth watering arrive after that and then the cardamom and aloeswood return.

I couldn’t see myself drinking Azure often but this is something I definitely want to keep in my cupboard.  It’s almost medicinal in character (drying, warming, deeply calming) and smells and tastes wonderful.  Try this if you’re an incense fan or seeking an air of the exotic.

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78

Big-leaved sencha and cute little uniform nuggets of toasted rice that havenn’t popped. The aroma smells strongly of toasted rice, so much that it reminds me of sobacha or peanut butter or sesame oil. This is a lighter-tasting sencha than what I’m used to compared to that had with sushi. The taste is a good balance of toasted rice and straw-grass seed-seaweed and salty tang. It’s a little drying but not too bad. The aftertaste is subtle but tastes like buttery caramel kettlecorn with a thin nectar sweetness. Second steep is thicker, sweeter and in general leans much more kettlecorn. Solid overall, but I think I prefer a bolder green tea presence.

Edit: Cameron B. says below it’s bancha, not sencha :)

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Drying, Grass Seed, Kettle Corn, Nectar, Salt, Seaweed, Straw, Sweet, Tangy, Toasted Rice, Toasty

Cameron B.

Their genmaicha is made with a bancha base, and yes it’s definitely mellow.

derk

I could google but I’d rather pick your brain- what’s bancha?

Cameron B.

It’s just a lower grade Japanese green tea than sencha, picked from bigger and more mature leaves, later in the season. It tends to have a more mellow flavor and be a bit more grassy versus vegetal.

derk

Thank you!

Martin Bednář

I wonder how much different is this to the tea bags I have sent?

derk

The green tea taste isn’t as pronounced and it’s overall rather sweet.

Martin Bednář

Thanks; certainly this one sounds better :)

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85

As I was thinking about how to describe this while having a cup over breakfast, I read through the notes and realized Cameron B. painted Sloe Gin Lapsang better than I could. My experience mirrors theirs so why be redundant?

https://steepster.com/CameronB/posts/410015

It doesn’t taste like gin per se but there’s an element to it that does call gin to mind. I’ve never had sloe gin, let alone sloe syrup; I wonder if the elderberries serve as a decent stand-in. Very good savory-smokey-berry blend that you’d be foolish not to steep a second time.

Thanks for satisfying my curiosity, Martin!

Flavors: Earth, Elderberry, Ginger, Jam, Pine, Round , Smoke, Smooth, Tangy, Wood

Cameron B.

Awww you’re so sweet! (blush)

Martin Bednář

You are welcome and I am glad you liked it!

White Antlers

Sloe berries and elderberry aren’t interchangeable.

White Antlers

In the U.S., some companies use beach plums as a sloe berry substitute.

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In the quest to sample all my Menghai Tea Factory/Dayi sheng puerh, I’ve met this tea again.

Not much has changed in the 9 months since last brewed. It is smoother, not quite as biting but still bitter mid-mouth, resinous, then most notably lingering low in the back. I notice now an oiliness giving way to that full-mouthed astringent-drying quality. Ashy damp stone fireplace and peat, a little dry smoked meat, cranberry-currant fruitiness maybe even a little tropical fruit, butter now, baked bread hint, rocky crag again. Camphor King. Aftertaste is dry and moves between fireplace and buttery tropical fruit. This tea absolutely glows in the cup! Th8nks again, mrmopar! I’m looking forward to comparing this to Camellia Sinensis’s supposed 1998 Menghai 7542.

Flavors: Ash, Astringent, Baked Bread, Bitter, Black Currant, Butter, Cranberry, Drying, Fireplace, Meat, Peat, Resin, Smoke, Tropical, Wet Rocks

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85

I had aimed for 3g:300mL. For some reason today there’s a sense of haste within. I mean, I know why: the woes of womanhood and an ear infection on the mend have left me lazy and unaccomplished on my days off. I finally emerged from my cave and made breakfast and tea before the clock struck Finite Noon, that demarcation in the day where if I had not yet shuffled, the entire day might have been lost to frump. I looked at the kettle and deemed the water level ‘enough’ but once poured, it ended up being only 200mL. No fear! Thick and glassy, juicy with beautiful layered astringency that leaves my mouth watering. Just beautiful and clean! Malty-tangy straw-salt and autumn leaf-tamarind, toasted almond, spicy earth, tea rose-geranium-lemongrass floral, delicate red grape aftertaste. Cool, relaxed. Relaxed? Ah yes. Now off to get bloodwork.

Flavors: Almond, Autumn Leaf Pile, Earth, Geranium, Grapes, Lemongrass, Malt, Rose, Salt, Spicy, Straw, Tangy, Thick

ashmanra

Hope you start perking up soon!

Kawaii433

Owwie (ear infection). Feel better soon, Derk!

derk

My ear had an intimate encounter with a q-tip. Lesson learned. I’m fine, thanks for your well wishes.

mrmopar

Hope you feel better soon!

White Antlers

Glad all is well. A few years ago, I had to take myself to Urgent Care because the cotton end of a q-tip got ‘lost’ in my ear. : (

J-P

Good luck with getting that cleared up. Filling up with Ruby Gold sounds like a nice start whatever time of the day.

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73
drank Mint Chocolate Chai by Cuppa Geek
906 tasting notes

derk:

Smells like somebody dropped an Andes mint into dirty chai (chai with a shot of espresso), tastes kinda like a dirty chocolate chai or mexican hot chocolate but with a green tea taste and body. It sips like thin peppermint chocolate that moves into a clean, mineral-dry grass base green tea mid-mouth, then with the swallow, it’s again like that Andes mint dropped in a dirty chai.  I can taste cloves – strongly – but I personally think it’s in good proportion to the chocolate.  I taste a good amount of cardamom, too (I get Turkish cardamom coffee vibes!); a hint of orange zest, no ginger.   The peppermint is clean and cooling in the mouth, but overall the tea is very drying.  Interesting! and kind of true to the name. I like it but it’s just so drying. There’s potential with this blend. Wish I had some koulourakia to dip. It’s your basic Greek butter cookie that people have with coffee.

Kiki:

“Hmmmm.  Is that clooove? hehehe  It smells like some Greek cookies baking in the oven. sips, does a double take HA!! that was a surprise! ooh.  It kinda smells like some incense.  Yeah that’s a surprise!  Am I getting a little chocolate in taste, some carob or something?  I’m getting the clove flavor – numbs your mouth.  Smells like my grandma’s medicine cabinet.  Is it carob and peppermint?  I get like a Tootsie Pop, uh chocolate pop and then a c-cool one.  Maybe it’s mint chocolate, I dunno.”

For the record, the package I received was labelled Mint Chocolate Chip with less ingredients but it’s definitely the Mint Chocolate Chai on the website.

Flavors: Artificial, Candy, Cardamon, Chocolate, Clove, Coffee, Cookie, Dry Grass, Drying, Earth, Medicinal, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peppermint

Martin Bednář

Great comparison!

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drank Vietnam 'Ta' Oolong Tea by What-Cha
906 tasting notes

A Vietnamese green oolong nearly 7 years old, sent my way from Leafhopper. What does this session hold?

The dry leaf smells like… flowers, honey-cooked sweet potato, grass, halva. The warmed and rinsed leaf produce aromas of bitter grass, narcissus edging perfume, butter, halva.

The aroma is mild and floral and smells only of narcissus to me. That leads into the sip, where the tea becomes medium-bodied with a grassy-lettuce-stale herbs note that quickly turns tangy and full of butter. There’s a strong interplay in the aftertaste of narcissus, lemon and butter with the halva-like bitterness that morphs sweeter into the honey-cooked sweet potato of the dry leaf; throw in a dash of cinnamon. Later I notice jackfruit in the aftertaste.

The tea at times has a tendency to be rather drying and unpleasantly catching in the throat. It makes my body feel heavy, rather than the lightness that Taiwanese green oolong can bring.

For being a green oolong of such age, I think it’s held up okay, though to me it’s a stale tea. The tastes and aromas are nice but disjointed. Thank you, Leafhopper, for the opportunity to try!

Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Cinnamon, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Herbs, Honey, Lemon, Lettuce, Narcissus, Nuts, Perfume, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy

Leafhopper

I’m glad that you once again got more out of this tea than I did. I need to stop keeping these samples so long!

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75

From Leafhopper, thank you :)

Dry leaf aroma has very faint notes of hay, orange blossom and myrrh. The aroma of the brewed tea is a mix or orange blossom-malt-chocolate-autumn leaf. The taste has a very floral tea rose lean upfront, followed by smooth autumn leaf-malt a very shy muscatel. Leaves a lasting, drying astringency and malty-orange blossom creaminess after the swallow.

Good middle of the road tea. The flavors are pleasant but muffled.

Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Chocolate, Cream, Drying, Floral, Hay, Malt, Muscatel, Orange Blossom, Rose, Smooth, Spices

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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Profile

Bio

Tea Habits:

Among my favorites are sheng puerh, Taiwanese oolong, a variety of black (red) teas from all over, all teas Nepali, herbals, Wuyi yancha. I keep a few green and white teas on hand. Shou puerh is a cold weather brew. Tiny teapots and gaiwans are my usual brewing vessels when not preparing morning cups western style and pouring into my work thermos. Friend of teabags. Hold the milk and sugar unless we’re talking masala chai.

In my late teens, home-brewed unsweetened Lipton iced tea was the drink of choice to combat cottonmouth. The following years saw the appearance of the odd box of tea from Trader Joe’s. About 4 years ago, walking out of the parking garage where I kept my motorcycle, I came across a move-out dumpster treasure: single serve packets of what I can look back now and say was Wuyi yancha. Yes, I drank dumpstered tea and honestly, that’s what blew the doors wide open.

Preference Reference

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.

89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again. Some could be great daily drinkers.

79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.

69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.

59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possesses off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.

Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s puerh, I likely think it needs more age.

Character Rundown:

Boring pandemic hermit whose only current hobbies besides tasting tea are skateboarding and learning herbalism. Will update as the times change.

Location

Sonoma County, California, USA

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