63 Tasting Notes
This is my first experience with any Tie Guan Yin. So what happens now? Do I get inducted into the Brother and Sisterhood of Tea? Am I knighted, given the Order of the Dragon? Any of that? No?
Well, I like this anyway. I was surprised opening my oolong sampler pack from Teavivre when this one was vacuum-packed amongst the other regular-looking samples in the normal Teavivre large zip pack. Another surprise as I opened the sample itself: it was in yet another smaller clear plastic pack inside the foil pack! You can tell they wanted to take care of this tea. It already has a scent of cooked vegetables, artichoke, I think, and that’s when dry! I can also pick up a little sweet floral and a roasted/fired scent.
As usual, I followed Teavivre’s recommendations of using the whole sample (7g) for 200-250ml of boiling water and steeps of 1, 2 and 3 minutes.
1st steep: The wet leaf is strongly scented: buttery vegetables (artichoke and long-cooked greens), vanilla and orchid. In the cup it’s a light yellow-green and has a broth-like feel to it with a slight astringency. I get flavors of buttery vanilla and orchid with notes of vegetable and mineral.
2nd steep: The leaves pretty much filled the normally generous-sized infuser basket in my teapot, so it was a little tough to judge how much water I was pouring in. As it turned out I poured just right. It’s now a golden color in the cup and feels lighter. The astringency is stronger this time, but not too strong. I don’t get vanilla this time around, but it’s still really buttery with orchid and vegetable flavors. The mineral note is quite a bit stronger too, taking over much of the middle and finish of each sip. That’s not something I’ve had so strongly before, at least not that I’ve noticed. This is a mentally-awakening cup of tea, and that’s always a good thing!
3rd steep: Check it out! I actually got to a 3rd steep! I actually turned over the leaves in the strainer, moving the ones on top to the bottom so that the water would reach them better. I think as a result, this cup was very much like the 2nd steep.
4th steep: I can hardly believe I’m writing this. A fourth steep! Thanks, ashmanra for the commission comment below. :) But everyone, given my track record for not being able to take teas to even a third steep, I think I deserve at least a “Most Improved” ribbon! I had this cup with dinner, so I wasn’t focusing on it so much. But it was still noticeably floral and buttery with the mineral center, even though it had a thinner feel this time.
I liked this. I had read about Tie Guan Yin before, and notes of iodine, mineral, salmon and flint were mentioned. It didn’t sound too appealing to me, but everyone and his dog has had several different TGYs in their tea logs, so I had to try it. Since I got Teavivre’s oolong sampler, I chose to have this organic version first because the “Monkey Picked” version looks like one I’ll like even more. Now I’m really looking forward to it!
I really cannot leave well enough alone in the kitchen! I’m desperately tired this afternoon, so a match smoothie is in order. I’m returning to the boysenberry matcha peach smoothie with some vanilla yogurt added, but this time I threw in a small handful of frozen raspberries too! It’s turned out a really pretty mauve with tiny flecks of raspberry and peach. And before you start to think I’ve killed whatever matcha flavor was there, don’t worry. The matcha is still noticeable and provides a nice depth to the smoothie.
Not to toot my own horn, but the caramel matcha peach smoothie may have just reached perfection. Just like my last one with frozen peaches (with many thanks still going out to Sil ) and that heavenly dash of cinnamon, but today with a couple spoonfuls of the best vanilla yogurt added. It helped immensely in yesterday’s boysenberry matcha peach smoothie, but today, WOW!
Ok, well, I didn’t want to sit too long on the less-than-glowing review of this tea from a few days ago before trying it again. This time I used 7g to match the treatment I gave Teavivre’s Bailin Gongfu and also the same 1, 2 and 3 minute steeps.
1st steep: It’s definitely stronger this time than it was with either the 3 or 5 minute steeps with 2.6g I used last time. It much darker in the cup, feels a little thicker (though not much), and the flavors are richer with freshly baked bread, cocoa and some peach. But it’s also got a stronger bitterness, with some sweetness developing after a while. But at least that means the flavors stick around longer too. This is no where near as deliriously good as the Bailin Gongfu: I don’t get the same flooding tide of inspiration with this tea. Right now I’d just consider this a good, sturdy cup of tea.
2nd steep: Astringency and bitterness seem to dominate this cup, but it’s still drinkable with some sweetness in the middle of the sip. There are flavors of bread with some cocoa.
3rd steep: I added a little honey this time. The dark color of the first two steeps is still there, but not much else. It feels thin. The honey is masking most of the bitterness even though I hardly put enough in to taste it. That’s really all I’m getting here. Just a rather tasteless cup of tea with an intermittent flavor of honey. Oh well.
Backlogging from yesterday.
Hubby was supposed to be out tonight, but he wasn’t feeling well today so he stayed home the whole day and night. But I’d already settled myself into the idea of an evening to myself, so I let him watch football while I went upstairs to read in bed—and have a secret pecan pie-like bar I got from the bakery today! That was guilty pleasure enough, so I had this Turkish Apple to go with it. It’s just refreshing.
Backlogging from yesterday.
Hubby stayed home yesterday, so I used the free babysitting to do my grocery shopping in peace. Coming home I knew I needed a cup of tea, and offered to make some for him as well. I’m determined to get him to a point of asking for tea, rather than me needing to ask him. He said he wanted “something fruity or sweet.” This fit the bill. I made three cups’ worth and we had the first two, but I made myself wait until I finished cleaning the kitchen before I let myself have the last cup. Now there’s some motivation!
I finally remembered to put some sliced peaches into the freezer last night. So, based on Sil’s very good recommendation, I made a caramel matcha peach smoothie this morning! And because I can never leave well enough alone in the kitchen, I added a dash of cinnamon. Wonderful! A fantastic way to start the day!