Sipdown, 218. This one is extra coconutty today! And creamy. I have definitely decided that rooibos is not amongst my favorites, but this is pretty tasty nonetheless. Guess I will have to figure out a different type of tisane for my evenings, although I still have a lot of other herbals to drink through first.
1224 Tasting Notes
Yet another from my swap with KittyLovesTea. Thanks!
I don’t know why I’ve been in a plain oolong/green tea mood lately, but that’s apparently what I’m in. This is actually a white tea, but it fits the pattern. It’s kind of a novelty, tied into little bow-shaped “butterflies”. They call for 10 butterflies per mug (whatever size a “mug” is) in the directions, but I ended up with close to 20 in my 12oz cup, which seemed about right. They definitely did not unfurl all the way in this first steep.
The steeped tea smells softly floral and a bit vegetal. Wow, the flavor is so light and sweet! I am really digging this tea. It has a chestnut note, yum, a soft floral note, which I love, and a light natural sweetness to round it out. I am usually kind of bored with white teas, but this one is lovely. It gets sweeter and nuttier as it cools. The second steep (upon which all the bows untied themselves) is I think slightly more floral, less sweet and less nutty, but still delicious with a great aftertaste as well. I was prepared to be unimpressed by this tea but it was just the opposite! Really quite delightful.
This sample comes to me from KittyLovesTea, thanks! This isn’t a tea I am familiar with and I had forgotten what it was, so I was surprised to see little flower buds and petals in with the dry leaf. Also, I’m happy to see it is a pouchong, which makes me more excited than if it was a green base.
I looked at KittyLovesTea’s note in the nick of time; she says she would brew it for two minutes instead of three, and I set up my timer for three but was able to pull it after only a bit more than two. It smells green and vegetal and a bit floral, but osmanthus has a certain kind of floral aroma that doesn’t really seem floral to me. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but it always seems more like something in the tea than an actual flower.
This tea is a conundrum. When you first take a sip its all sweet and floral and lovely, and then slowly, lurkingly, a light bitterness grows on your tongue, wiping out all the good flavors that were there to begin with, even with a 2 minute steep. It’s built in a way that seems to be a feature of the tea, not a flaw, so I am guessing there is someone out there that likes this combo. I may try cold-brewing the rest of my sample to see what the result is then.
Thanks to Lazey for this sample. I am taking a break from sipdowns (mostly because I have no one-cup sipdowns left) to try some teas I got in recent swaps before I forget who they came from.
They are not kidding when they say there are chocolate curls in this tea. There are tons! And they definitely dissolve and make the tea a murky brown. They do add a certain thickness to the tea, but not quite enough really. It becomes some kind of half-tea-half-hot chocolate mixture. I didn’t really taste the base tea much, although what was there was fine and not bitter or astringent.
All in all this is a pretty tasty tea, but I think I prefer not to have actual chocolate pieces in my tea. A really chocolatey tea doesn’t need them, and they just murkify everything.
The number of varietals of oolongs out there will never cease to amaze me. I got a sample of this one from KittyLovesTea, thanks! I’ve never tried a Huang Jin Gu oolong, unless of course it has another name, which is totally possible.
While it was steeping the most amazing buttery, sweet, floral aroma was wafting out of the cup. It smells amazing and its making it hard to wait until it is cool enough to drink. The flavor is less sweet and buttery than it smelled, but it is still pretty floral, with a lot more leafy vegetal notes coming out. It’s a little sugar snap pea, but not quite so sweet, more like sauteed leafy greens with lilacs. Fresh and green and pleasant.
Sipdown, 219. I got this as a sample with my last Verdant order and decided to try it today. I actually have never tried a flowering tea because I am a tad scared of them. Leaving tea in the water long enough to actually open sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. But I will try this one because it’s Verdant.
I am using my 12oz glass mug for this one. I heated my water and poured it in over the little ball, and then my boyfriend and I watched it slowly unfurl. After a while , when I could see the pink amaranth flower reasonably well, I sniffed and was surprised by an aroma of… well, pretty much green tea. No florals that I could detect. I took a tenative sip and yeah, I don’t get any jasmine here at all. I started sipping it, as it continued to unfurl. The liquor does have an amazingly smooth, thick mouthfeel. The flavor is vegetal, a little grassy, a bit buttery and perhaps a touch sweet. Eventually it fully opened and I started seeing the white jasmine flower as well, then finally the ball of tea sank, but the amaranth flower refused and popped off, still floating. When I poured in more water, perhaps I was not gentle enough because the amaranth flower began to come apart. Also, I don’t know if this is part of the design or not, but now it is on a crazy jasmine flower tether to the tea ball at the bottom, while it floats at the surface. The photos of it expanded on Verdant’s site don’t show it doing that, so perhaps mine was just special. Here’s a photo of my cup for those who are interested: http://flic.kr/p/e2pNw4
The second steep is definitely sweeter, a little more honeyed. I think I was misled by the description that this is a “green jasmine” tea in the name. It is a decently tasty green tea, but I didn’t get any jasmine from it, and its not something I would go out of my way for. Like I said this was my first flowering tea, so it may be that this one is great as a showpiece for people who like to have them for parties and such, because it still tastes good once its done blooming.
Sipdown, 220. The rest of this is going off in a swap to another steepster. I also have to say, whaaa? not logged since December 2011?? That is crazy. I must have drank some in the intervenign time and not logged it.
I always thought I preferred autumn picking Tieguanyins, but looking back at my past tasting note and drinking this now, I am not so sure. I just had the last of my 2011 Spring Picking last week, and even as an older tea, to me that had more buttery notes, more floral notes, and more sweetness. This is still very nice, but I definitely do not find it as amazing as the spring picking. I was going to restock on the Autumn Tieguanyin that just came back into stock at Verdant, but now I am thinking maybe I will wait for the 2013 spring picking.
The second tea I am having gongfu today. I was very intrigued by this tea from the March reserve club. Tieguanyins are probably my favorite type of oolong, but I usually am not super into the aged varieties. But this one was interesting because the description mentions that it was never roasted, and was not taken out and roasted each year like many aged tieguanyins.
The resulting tea has hints of floral aroma along with a sweet breadiness, like a sweet challa or tsoureki (Greek Easter bread). There is definite sweetness in the flavor as well, and it grows in the aftertaste and as it cools. Mmm, sweet bready notes, though a somewhat surprising lack of butter, which I might have expected. In the second steep some tart, juicy appley notes come out to play, and now I get something like an apple pastry. Definitely a unique tea, and I am definitely enjoying it. No roasting for me!
Sipdown, 221. I can’t believe this one doesn’t have more tasting notes! I suppose it is pretty new but there are very few thoughts on this one posted here. I decided to go ahead and use my sample in my gongfu pot.
My first dong ding oolong was a somewhat untraditional one that was completely unroasted, which I really enjoyed. After that I had a few others that had the more traditional roasty notes in them. I almost didn’t order a sample of this one because of that, but it didn’t specifically mention any roasty notes, so I picked it up anyway. The dry leaf on this one smells light and green at first, but upon being warmed a bit a savory note comes out. I initially saved my rinse and tasted it, but this one was pretty light on flavor so I ended up skipping it. The post-steeping, under-the-lid sniff did yield lot of roasted scents.
The leaves did a fair amount of unfurling in the first, 5-second steep. The liquor smells vegetal and a tad savory-roasty. It reminds me of a savory noodle bowl almost. The flavor is pretty similar. There is almost a miso-like quality to this tea, including the greens that float in the miso soup. The promised “pound cake” notes never materialized, but then again I never really expected them to. To me, it is primarily vegetal, savory, and definitely miso-y. This tea is pleasant, but really just not my thing. I’m glad I got a sample though, because I would have been forever curious otherwise!
Sipdown, 222. Cold brewed the rest of my sample of this one.
Iiiiinteresting. It smells like jasmine wine, if such a thing actually existed (now I want such a thing to exist). Taste-wise, it’s kind of surprising… there is almost a savory note to it, like a grassy butteriness from the tea. I may have left this too long in the fridge without straining it, so perhaps that’s why. It kind of takes away from the sightly floral wine flavor, which otherwise is pretty enjoyable. I do still get a sense of crisp, white wine grapes, an alcoholic dryness, and the floral notes of some desserty whites. Bumping my rating a tad because it is definitely better cold, and does a good job with the wine flavor.
Oops, I never added this sample to my cupboard. Sipdown anyway.
Even though I bought my teas in store in San Francisco, they still gave me a free sample sachet with my purchase. I love black currants (cassis) and black currant flavor, but dislike blueberry flavor and only like the actual berries occasionally, so I was feeling kind of meh about this tea.
I agree with others that this smells much more balanced blueberry:cassis when dry. It is unsurprising that I am pleased that the black currant takes over the blueberry in the steeped tea, even though others were not. However, the blueberry is there, in the background, keeping this from pure cassis glory (see how I am biased against blueberry). But I do find it to be a decently tasty berry tea, not too overly strongly flavored or artificial.
Sipdown, 223. This one was just not good today. Even with milk and sugar it had an off, funky taste that I couldn’t stomach. Oh well, it’s gone now!
Sipdown, 224. Lots of new Verdant teas in the collection, and I’ve taken some teas out that will be leaving me in a swap soon, so it almost equalized. This one is new, and now its a sipdown because I decided to use the entire sample that I ordered in one pot.
I don’t usually have much interest in herbals but I wanted to check this one out because I’ve been drinking more of them since I had my cold last week. I’m pretty much over it at this point, but a hit of vitamin C couldn’t hurt. I ended up steeping in a while, but the flavors are still pretty light and subtle. It is nice, though; lightly gingery, herby, earthy, bright and berried. What I think is the goji berries provides such a bright, juicy aftertaste. I don’t know if I would restock on this, but it’s a tasty blend and I’m glad I tried it.
Ok, so this one isn’t a sipdown. I realized I wasn’t really going to be able to sipdown any other teas in one go this afternoon, so I decided to have a cup of this one. I have more of this left than I thought probably enough for 3-4 cups more.
OMG I just got the Verdant email announcing the Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha!!!!! Count me in right away, even though I just made an order from them. :D :D
Ahem. Well I guess they have another order coming their way, since I’ve been waiting for the Autumn Tieguanyin so that I can buy some Earl of Anxi as well, and it is back too. Comforting myself with the fact I will be getting a remibursement for some money I spent recently, and that always feels like free money. :P
I still don’t know how this tea can be so delicious. It is so so chocolatey and nutty. I had been wanting to compare this one to Mr. Bi’s First Picking, and now I can say that the first picking is definitely a bit smoother and creamier than this one. But this is still amazing, and I’m glad that even after I drink up my first picking I can always come back to this one.
Sipdown, 222. Ok, so this one is Verdant, but I cold steeped it last night and drank it with lunch. Thanks to Azzrian for this sample!
After my experience with the Pink Sonoma wine-flavored tea (basically, hot white wine does not fly), I decided to cold steep this one. I have to say I was kind of shocked by the result. Let me first say that this in no way reminds me of any Chardonnay I’ve ever had. So lets just take that out of the mix and go with fruity oolong instead, ok? Because it’s better if you don’t expect Chardonnay. The Pink Sonoma was successful in recreating a wine-like feeling even when hot, but nothing about this tea reminds me of any wine.
So yeah, I was surprised when I took a sip of this and got spice, fruit and caramel from the flavors of this. Heavily in all of those areas, especially spice and caramel, which must have come from the cinnamon and vanilla bean. I feel like it really reminded me of some other tea but I could never place it. Pretty tasty overall, but not what it advertised.
Sipdown (Verdant Edition), 223. I thought this was older than it apparently is (~5 months), but it has been store just with the pouch folded over and clipped down and not in an airtight container, so who knows. I also had very little of this, less than even my usual cup size, so I steeped it a bit longer to make up for it.
Unfortunately I had middle eastern food for lunch, which was not unfortunate at the time because it was delicious, but now I have lingering garlic/onion breath so the aftertaste is a bit shot. Oh well. There is still enough of an aftertaste before the onion comes back that I can enjoy the fresh, sugar snap pea crispness of this tea. This cup even has a slight nuttiness toward the end. I do enjoy greens like this, even though my favorite greens tend toward the buttery/nutty end of the spectrum. But this is so fresh and light it is very nice to drink.
Sipdown (Verdant Edition), 224. This tea is obviously old, given that it is spring 2011 picking. I only had a small amount of it left and I’m not sure why I was holding out on drinking it for so long… hoarding beloved tea impulses, I guess. I only had enough of this one for a western-style mug.
Despite its age, this smells amazing. Sweet and floral and buttery. The flavors are also still amazing, although I know they have diminished a bit. But still, if I can get this much flavor out of it two years on, it is a pretty amazing tea, and it still makes me very happy. Can’t wait until the spring 2013 picking!
Sipdown (Verdant Edition), 225. Today will be drinking almost exclusively Verdant teas, sipping down those that I’ve had for a while, and a few, like this one, that aren’t so old. I am, after all, apparently getting both my Verdant order and March’s reserve club package in the mail today.
I steeped this western style using the instructions for Verdant’s Tong Tian Xiang Phoenix Dancong, which seems to be the non-reserve version of this one. It smells like a roasty toasty dancong oolong, which is not my favorite of course, but still pretty good. Taking a sip, I am surprised by the fruitiness and juiciness; definitely lychee and perhaps some citrus as well. My problem lies with the fact that it is like I am having lychees (yum) and charcoal (blech). I just can never quite get into that minerally, toasted-to-burned taste that dancongs have. Oh well, the rest of this one is earmarked to go to another steepsterite for a sample, so I am counting it as a sipdown.
Sipdown, 226. Another old one! Also, I almost added more rose buds to this one to bump the rose but couldn’t remember how it went, and by the time I loaded the page here to see my old tasting note I had started steeping. Turns out there wasn’t much rose the first time for me. Oh well.
My evening teas have been cold care teas lately, but I remembered I had one pot of this left and decided to go for it tonight, especially since I was feeling better in general today. Plus its mint and lemongrass as well as lavender, so pretty good cold herbals anyway. I need to sipdown two more teas in the next day or so, so that I don’t go up above 230 when my Verdant orders get here.
Minty in an herby way, slightly sweet, lavendery, with perhaps a touch of lemon. A pretty tasty blend, but I stand by my wish for more rose!
Sipdown, 227. Ah, it’s always sad when sipping down a beloved tea. I have had this for forever, though (seriously, this tea is 2 years old), and it of course has diminished from its former glory. Nevertheless, it is still a delicious, sweet, rich jasmine that is really quite amazing. More amazing that it has this much flavor 2 years on. Well I have other pearls for now, not to mention about a hundred other types of jasmine, so it will be quite a while before I would potentially restock this one.
Sipdown, 228. This is one that I have for some reason have had for a while but never got around to sipping down.
Oof, first sip was a little too hot… usually I am not so impatient but I wanted something to drink right away. I feel like there is something stuck in my esophagus low down and it won’t go away, but clearly there is not.
I enjoy this tea, even it if is on the roasty-toastier side of things. I don’t know why I am not a big fan of toastiness in tea, but it seems to be generally the case. Still, this one is toasty in such a way that it works for me, accompanied by a light sweetness. A pleasant afternoon tea.
Sipdown, 229. Thanks to Kasumi no Chajin for a sample of this tea! Awww, African Pygmy Kingfisher (this tea’s featured bird), you are adorable.
A Kenyan oolong sounded really intriguing to me. Even though I typically am not big on dark oolongs, I wanted to try this one just to try it… you don’t see many Kenyan oolongs! Even as an oolong the leaf on this one was pretty small pieces. Steeped up it smells pretty interesting. There are some malty black-teaish notes there, but also a lightly fruity floral scent.
Aww, too bad that I apparently should have followed my gut upon seeing the CTC-ness of the leaf and steeped it a shorter time. These steeping parameters are for the company, but Kenyans seem to have a very different idea than me about what makes a tasty cup of tea. I can tell there are nice notes in there—stone fruit, nuttiness, sweetness—but they are mostly drowned out by the bitterness of oversteeping. Oh well, guess I should have trusted my tea instincts.
Sipdown, 230. Sad to see this one go! It is definitely on the reorder list… the best green Earl Grey I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried quite a few. The biggest thing is how its not just a regular, grassy green tea that usually gets used for flavored tea bases, but a nutty, buttery lovely green that would probably be delicious on its own. Love these discoveries from tea companies that you might not expect!
I have wanted to try this one for a while and finally got a chance to thanks to a swap with KittyLovesTea. Honestly I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, and am just now getting around to trying it!
The scent of the dry leaf is certainly delectible… it smells like sweet sweet pecan pie. Brewed, the aroma is a little more subdued, lightly nutty and sweet. The flavor is also light, but quite well done. It’s one of those teas that doesn’t hit you over the head with its flavors, but instead suggests them to you, only to have them grow and develop in the aftertaste and over the course of the cup. The first major flavor is authentic maple, which then fades to a lightly fruity, oaky oolong. Then the nutty pecan flavor really blooms in the aftertaste, combined with maple to make the flavor of pecan pie filling.
Quite a tasty tea, and I’m very glad I got the chance to try it.