1946 Tasting Notes
I’ve never actually had a tea from this tea company despite the fact that I walked past their storefront fairly often when I lived in Chicago. Oh, the days before tea-obsession. I have looked at their offerings since then and this one always interested me because I love love hazelnut. Almost as much as almond, heh. A while ago I had a LivingSocial deal to the TeaGschwendner in NYC, but it closed before I got a chance to use it! Lame! I got a chance to swap with Infusin_Susan for this tea, so I’m excited to try it now!
The dry leaf smells kind of like Florence (by Harney) even though this one doesn’t have any chocolate in it. Must be that roasted oolong. I followed TeaGschwendner’s steeping directions even though I normally wouldn’t use boiling water for an oolong. Steeped, the scent is very roasty-toasty and nutty, but the hazelnut really takes a back seat to that strongly roasted oolong smell. The flavor of this one is interesting… the main part of the sip doesn’t really stand out to me, but then the creamy hazelnut comes out and leaves a nice aftertaste. I can’t help wondering how this would taste brewed at a lower temp for a slightly longer time; fortunately I have plenty to experiment with. Thanks again for the swap, Infusin_Susan!
The first time I had this, I really liked it. This cup, however, just seems weak, even after cooling. I used the same amount of leaf as I always do, so I don’t know what happened. What’s there is fairly vegetal with hints of florals, but none of the butteriness from before. Unfortunately I don’t have enough leaf for another cup (what’s left is destined to be “blended” in a cold brew) so I’m sad that this had to be my last experience with this sample since my first one was so good. Oh well.
This is not my first Wen Shan Bao Zhong, but it’s close to it. I had a pot of Harney’s at their tea room in Soho once, and I wanted to buy a couple of ounces of it, but alas they do not sell it by the ounce, only in a tin! Being told “no, we can’t sell you this tea in bulk even though we have it loose in bulk right here” discombobulated me so much that I didn’t even think to look at the tin, which is only 1.5oz anyway.
So my point is that I liked that one, but I haven’t tried any other since then. The dry leaf on this one smells lovely, with a nice floral oolongy aroma. Steeped, a much more buttery aroma shows up. The flavor is very pleasant; floral, vegetal, a bit buttery. There’s an ever so faint whisp of sweetness that shows up at the end of the sip. Really, a lovely cup.
Oh, Monday. I really didn’t want to see your face this morning. Hopefully a new black tea will perk me up a bit. All the Kusmi bergamot blends have been on my list of things I wanted to try for quite a while now, but I still haven’t gotten around to going to the Kusmi store in NYC to buy a sample pack. I was very excited when I saw this surprise sample in my recent swap with Infusin_Susan! Thanks!! This one is interesting because I’ve tried what are basically several of the components of this tea—Kusmi’s Caramel and their Red Fruits—and I love my bergamot/red fruits blend tea from Argentina.
From the steeped tea I get primarily the scent of a red fruits black tea and perhaps a hint of vanilla. There’s a brightness that might be the bergamot poking through, but it’s not a major player in the aroma. In the sip the flavors come one after another… I feel like I get the bergamot first in the sip, bright and citrusy, then a rich red fruits blend, then a vanilla/caramel flavor that blooms at the end of the sip. They all mix together at the end and leave me with quite a nice flavor. I taste more of the fruits than the vanilla/caramel in this, but the latter do round out the flavor and make it fuller and richer. This tea doesn’t knock my socks off but I do really enjoy it, and it confirms the quality of Kusmi’s blends.
This tea comes to me thanks to Infusin_Susan! I wanted to try one of the new teas I got in our swap, and I chose this one because I wouldn’t have to fuss about with water temperature at home. The steeping directions on the sample packet were some of the most detailed I’ve seen. They also only call for 3/4 tsp of tea per 6oz cup, which is a bit low. I think that this is a strong tea and they know it. The bergamot just about knocks you out when you sniff the dry tea. Double bergamot and not kidding about it!
Steeped, the tea is still more bergamotty than most teas at this point, but it has decreased a lot. It’s joined by the smell of a hearty Ceylon base. This tea is for bergamot lovers only, but it is a good one. The bergamot is at no time bitter or astringent; it never gets that weird citrus-pith bitterness that comes out with some strong bergamots. This is a citrusy, lovely bergamot with a nice ceylon base that gives it a cakey feeling. The more I drink it the more I really like it. I have these bergamot candies I bought in Paris, and the after taste of this tea is like eating one of those candies. I’m interested to try this back-to-back with some of my other favorite Earls. Thanks again, Infusin_Susan, for the swap!
I said I wasn’t going to buy any tea (outside of groupons) before I went to China, but I allowed myself to buy a hot cup of tea from the tea shop near where I get my hair cut. It doesn’t count if I don’t add anything to my stash, right? I don’t actually go there all that often, mostly because they seem to be mostly just wholesale blends and these days I dry to buy from places that blend their own tea. One thing I did discover is that they seem to carry Teas Etc.’s Fig Formosa tea, and since the smallest size Teas Etc. sells on their website is 3oz, I will be able to try it from You, Me and Tea in smaller quantity, which is great.
Anyway, I decided to get this milk oolong to go. The dry leaf smelled like your typical milky oolong, creamy and milky and sweet. I had no control over anything to do with the steeping parameters of this cup. The woman making it put some cold water in the cup before adding water from the presumably near-boiling water in her water heater, and it seemed like the timer was going for about 3 minutes.
When I first smelled the steeped tea it totally shocked me. It smelled like straight up vegetable broth, very savory, definitely not what I was expecting. Early on when the tea was still very hot I couldn’t detect any creamy aromas or flavors at all, but as it cooled they came out. In the end the tea was very much like buttered veggies and was decidedly the most un-floral green oolong I’ve ever tasted. It reminded me more of the Bi Luo Chun Green tea I had from Teavivre than any oolong I’ve had. It tasted pretty decent once I got used to it but it just took me a while to get past my initial expectations. I have no idea how much this experience had to do with the steeping parameters, so I’m not going to rate the tea, but I’m also not going to buy anymore, heh.
This is another tea I’m revisiting after a long period of time in which I have tried a lot of different green oolongs. I think I appreciate it better now. It’s vegetal, it’s floral, it’s a little buttery, it’s a little nutty, it’s got that honeyish note that ties it all together. It’s also a hint astringent, but not in a bad way… it’s just on that end of the spectrum rather than the creamy mouthfeel side of it. All in all a very nice tea and I’m definitely enjoying it a lot.
Drinking this tea almost back-to-back with Talbott’s Chocolate Almond Allure really makes me appreciate how much caramel is in that tea. Anyway, this is a tasting note for this tea, not for that one! I really enjoy this tea and it’s super delicious caramel flavor. It’s kind of one of those teas that I like a lot but I don’t know if I would need to keep it around all the time. Of course, I really don’t think I’m ever going to get down to some hypothetical pared-down cupboard of only essentials, and if I was in the Kusmi store in NYC I might pick up some more of this anyway. It really is a lovely tea.
I was running low on this one, but I now have a good supply in my cupboard thanks to my swap with Wonks. Thanks! This really is one of my all-time favorite teas.
An aside: why are there never any tea groupons or groupon-style deals anymore? I used to come across them very frequently, but it’s been totally dead for a while now. I was thinking of it because I discovered this tea company via a Groupon. Not that I need to be buying tea groupons now, but still. I miss them. I’m a deal addict and I haven’t bought a groupon in ages because there hasn’t been anything interesting.