1609 Tasting Notes
Thanks to Sil for this sample! Even though it’s not quite up her alley (bergamot, natch), I thought it might be up mine. Sachets were nice because I brought one to “tea time” today… The girls in my department have been getting together for tea time once a week, which has been awesome but a bit disheartening. I had hoped it would be a good way to spread the tea love and such, but everyone just avoids the teas I bring each week. Whether I bring fill-your-own tea bags or sachets or what, people always just go for the crappy bagged tea. Sigh.
Anyway, this tea. I will rate it once I brew it under better conditions (unfiltered water at tea time) but it was pretty tasty. Like an Earl Grey cream, but the added caramel is really nice. More EGC producers should consider it. There was a hint of bitterness to the base that was not pleasant, but it also wasn’t too bad. All together a nice tea, but not exceptional.
Sipdown, 147. So, Yunomi.us has a thing where you can request free samples for review. You can select two teas, and they do warn you that requests are not guaranteed and they may substitute a similar tea in its place. Fair enough. I requested two black teas because I am curious about Japanese black teas, so I chose two that sounded most interesting (based on the limited descriptions) and sent off my request. I didn’t notice at first that I got neither of the teas I requested. One was a different first flush black tea; I am satisfied with that substitution. The other was this tea. I would not consider banana flavored black tea to be similar to unflavored black tea other than the fact that they both contain black tea. Also, of all the flavors they could have sent me, I happen to hate banana flavoring (I barely like bananas themselves), so this may backfire on them. I know they couldn’t have known that, but they could have played it safer and sent a different unflavored black tea. Also, whether due to international shipping in a flat envelope or initial packaging, this sample was mostly dust, which isn’t promising. (Note that I did just get samples from Teavivre in a flat envelope and the Oriental Beauty oolong in that was not crushed to bits).
The dry leaf smells like banana candy, not shockingly. The steeping instructions provided give a time (2.5 minutes) but not a leaf to water ratio or a temp, so I guessed. I was scared of the tea dust, so I gave it a cooler temp. After one minute the liquor was already very dark, so I pulled the brew basket. Now it smells like banana candy with a slightly grounding background of black tea, but I can’t make out enough beyond the banana flavoring to tell much about it.
Yup, it tastes like banana runts. You know the little fruit-shaped candies, each with a different flavor, and there were the little yellow banana guys? I never see runts around anymore. Although someone did have to use them in an episode of Cutthroat Kitchen recently. Anyway, it tastes like banana runts. And a hint of black tea, mostly coming through as a slight punch of bitterness in the back. I do think that if I liked the type of flavoring used here, I might like the tea itself. But I’ll never really know, I guess. Oh well, hopefully the other tea I got will turn out better.
Sipdown, 148. I’ve had this tea before but I’m glad Sil sent me a sample because I haven’t had it in a long time. Plus I can get a reminder of kind of a base-level dancong before trying some of the reserve dancongs that came in the last Verdant reserve club shipment.
At one point I’m pretty sure thepuriTea’s description for this tea said that it was actually scented with osmanthus, or at least a previous incarnation of it was. Anyway, it was either mistaken or the tea has changed, because now it is definitely just a dancong oolong. Ah! I found it using the internet wayback machine! In November of 2010 their description included the line “Our Dan Cong has been naturally infused with natural osmanthus flowers.” But that has been removed.
The tea smells roasty, a bit woody, fruity, and a bit of crisp mineral-ness. Flavor-wise, the fruitiness really comes to the forefront. Very much a note of sweet stone fruits, but combined with a woody/barky background profile. There’s also a bit of bitterness/astringency to this one, and I’m thinking maybe I should have gone with a lower temp. I do think this is less floral than when I originally tried it, although it is hard to say from two years ago. This is one of those teas that is fine, but not really up my alley. That woodiness is just too much and really takes away from my enjoyment of the other flavors. Interested to see how the other dancongs I have will compare, but this one is (still) not for me.
Thanks to Sil for this sample! So over the course of the last couple hours I have gone from a bit sneezy/runny nose (common in fall/winter mornings for me) to very sneezy/runny nose, to inflamed mucosa and painful eyes. Yay. I better not be getting sick, because my doctoral dissertation defense is in one week.
Anyway, thankfully I am not stuffed up and can still taste and smell tea fine. This smells like a lovely, buttery green dragonwell, which is not surprising because that is what it is. I don’t LOVE dragonwell, but I do enjoy it and it’s one of my preferred types of green tea. This is a quite nice one. It doesn’t really stand out as exceptional, but it is buttery and fresh and green. A pleasant cup this morning.
Sipdown, 149 (new samples acquired last night). Thanks, Sil, for this sample!
This tea is totally blowing my mind. I’ve had a sample of Sun Moon Lake Black tea before, but this tea completely blows it out of the water. I guess this is also equivalent to Butiki’s PTA, and I can see some of the similarities, but this is definitely unique in my mind.
It didn’t seem that exceptional at first, and I kind of started drinking it without thinking about it too much. Then holy caramel! So sweet and soooooo much like caramel! I get it in the scent too now. Fruity, yes, and I agree with cooked fruit, like a jam. But this time the fruit isn’t accompanied by whatever notes usually are in a fruity black tea that I dislike (I have a hard time describing them, but I know them when I taste them). To me, this is almost like a caramel apple with the fruit and caramel together. Caramel apricot? Whatever, it is delicious. It is so smooth and silky. I know I will definitely be ordering from this company in November!
A mystery tea from Sil! It is at least in the database, but otherwise mysterious as it has no tasting notes, nor can I find anything about the company online. But the leaf is interesting because it looks like pretty nice tea leaves with nice chunks of dried pear.
Steeped, it smells nicely juicy with a hint of slight fakeness. I consider pear to be a difficult fruit to get right, and honestly I have to say my expectations are usually pretty low when it comes to random fruit-flavored greens. Green tea has become a difficult to get right when it comes to flavoring for me. The usual sencha base has become not to my taste, and fruit flavoring can so easily taste fake with it, moreso than with black tea I think.
I have to say that this is pretty ok. Yes, cheap sencha base, but the pear is relatively authentic. There is a hint of generic-fruity-flavored-green-tea to it, the kind of thing that pops up commonly in wholesale blends, but it’s decently tasty. I know, I’m very effusive about this tea. I will definitely be cold brewing the rest of it, because cold brewing is often my favorite way to drink flavored green teas!
This is one I specifically requested from Sil (thanks again!). I have, in general, not had much success with MF teas, but am constantly urged to try again with a different blend. This one has a lot of fans, so I figured I should try it out.
Steeped this at Ysaurella’s parameters since I tend to also be very sensative to bitterness in a tea base. My boyfriend correctly identified the scents of chocolate and caramel from across the room, so I guess it’s true to that in aroma. The combo of the caramel with the assam unsurprisingly reminds me a touch of Butiki’s Caramel Vanilla Assam, with added chocolate. Actually it’s almost like added mocha… I do kind of get a hint of coffee to this one. Fortunately not much, because I’m not a coffee person.
First sips are interesting. I am (unsurpringly, I guess) reminded of MF’s Mousse au Chocolat that I tried not long ago. The bittersweetness of really dark chocolate is the most prominent note to me, followed by a creamy caramel. Looking at some of the tasting notes, I absolutely get the coconut that Angrboda was talking about, surprisingly enough! Anyway, whatever else is in there, the bittersweet chocolate is certainly present. I think I like this smidge more than the Mousse au Chocolat just because the caramel here helps to smooth out the bitterness just a hint. I will no doubt be (happily) drinking the rest of this sample with milk and sugar.
Sipdoooooown! 148. This is a triumphant one because it was old, I had a lot of this tea, and it was one I never thought I’d finish. But it’s gone! I have been cold steeping it since I started getting extra sensative to the bitter notes of its lowish-quality base. Cold steeped it was nice, creamy and floral without too much of any one flavor. Next!
Sipdown, 149. Thanks to Sil for a sample of this tea!
I was interested to try this one because I’ve only had one other Mi Xian, from Butiki. I like that one, although it’s not quite my style of black tea as it is very inherantly fruity.
This one is fruity to the MAX. It’s amazing that a tea can be so fruity naturally. Definitely getting similar notes from this as from the Butiki version, which I described there as “cooked, honey-covered peaches”. I think that description applies to this one as well. There is a bit of a zing to this one; not bitterness/astringency, but a slight tartness or tanginess, like the slightly sour skin of a plum against the sweet flesh. Really, objectively I can see that this is a really fine tea. I just don’t crave this kind of fruity black tea. I am, however, enjoying this cup and I’m glad I tried this one!
Sipdown, 150! Thanks to Sil for this tea! (There’s a phrase you will be seeing in 90% of my upcoming tasting notes, since she sent me a ton of new teas). I appreciate you sending me a bit of this tea from Tasty Brew, since she made me intrigued about Rizhao teas. Not sure if this is the same as the Yeah Stick Teas version, but the pack said Ali Express so I will post it here.
I can see where the comparisons to Laoshan Black come from , because the smell is totally taking me right there. Roasty-toasty chocolate, yum. When I first sipped it when it was still quite hot, it had a nice balance of flavors but didn’t really bowl me over. Then it cooled down a bit and holy crap, sweet!! It is amazing, like molasses and chocolate. YUM. It has that flavor of toasted grains that really complements the chocolate, and which I love in a tea. I’m also amazed by how complete these tea leaves are… I’m used to only seeing complete, untorn tea leaves in oolongs, but there a bunch in this tea. So pleased with this one, and I’m glad I got to try it!