2031 Tasting Notes
brandy3392 was generous enough to give me a big ol’ sample of this tea in our recent swap, and I really feel like I made out like a bandit here. The leaves on this are long and very loosely twisted and curled, and they smell nicely floral and green and oolongy. As an aside: I feel like I have a much better handle on the types of tea that are out there and their names, but every once in a while I have a moment where I feel like a total noob for not realizing something, particularly when it comes to the various names for Chinese teas and their English “translations”. Like I totally didn’t realize that Pouchong = Bao Zhong until just the other day… here I am thinking they’re two different kinds of tea, but no.
Anyway, this tea has a very floral aroma when steeped but also a buttery note as well. The flavor is pretty vegetal and buttery, and the floral notes kind of add to the general character but aren’t very distinct on their own. This is one of those teas with it’s own natural sweetness, which is awesome and it’s definitely a character I like to find. Of course just now my nose has decided that it will be unrelentingly sneeze-itchy (you know that feeling right before you sneeze? like that), swollen, and runny, so I’m having a little difficulty with subtle flavors here. I don’t understand why sometimes it’s fine and sometimes it’s not. If it’s going to be sick, I would rather be sick enough that I can at least take the day off, not this miserable half-sick where I can’t justify it. :P
Anyway this is a very tasty tea. Thanks so much, brandy3392!
I traded brandy3392 some tea I wasn’t a fan of for this tea, which she wasn’t a fan of. Even so I was intrigued because I do love almonds and rose. The dry leaf on this one smells very cookie-ish with almond and cinnamon and other bakery-ish aromas, and then a rich, sweet rosey aroma comes out, but still kind of remains separate from the other scents. It is truly the scent of rose candy, like fresh turkish delight, not fresh roses.
I steeped the tea at a cooler temp because that seemed like what people were doing with this tea. I probably didn’t need to go that cool considering my previous experience with Almond Biscotti, but it still turned out fine. In the steeped tea the rose and cookie aromas meld much more and it smells great to me. It reminds me of a middle eastern market/bakery where you would get almondy-cinnamony aromas as well as the scents of rose confections.
I am actually really digging this tea, so thanks a bunch for the swap, brandy3392! It’s not quite marzipan-almondy, but it is very almond-cookie-ish. There is a decent helping of sugary rose-candy flavor; it is actually a hint sweet, which likely comes from various candied agents (almond, violet) in the mix. This actually reminds me more of what I feel like the now-defunct Rose Marzipan Delight tea by Teavana would be like, though I never did try that one. This is totally one of those teas that I kind of hate admitting that I like so much because it is from the evil empire, but what are you going to do? At least I have a nice pouch of it in my possession without ever having to have dealt with the shop!
Ugh, still sneezing, but better than before. And finishing up a sample, yay! I do have to remind myself that I want to save samples of most of my oolongs to try once I get a gaiwan or a gong-fu teapot.
I steeped this one at a slightly lower temp for a shorter time because last time it was a hint bitter. I might have over compensated, but the resulting brew is still a nice yellow and smells pretty strong. One thing I don’t think I got from the aroma last time is another floral hiding underneath the jasmine… it’s that oolongy floral, that green, fresh floral that green oolongs often have. This is plenty flavorful with these parameters, though it still mostly reminds me of a good jasmine green. I definitely still very much enjoy the cup!
Mm, I haven’t had one of my Dammann teas in a while. This tea is so wonderful… floral and almondy. The blend is just about perfect for me. I really want to try more of Dammann’s teas, but for whatever reason ordering internationally is more of a hurdle. I’ve even encountered similar shipping rates on US tea companies shipping within the country (I know, right?… usually I wouldn’t bother, but a lot of times I’ll have a groupon or something and not have a choice), but it’s like there’s a mental block. Of course I’m on a tea buying moratorium right now so it’s not an issue. It will probably just come down to when I actually run out of this tea and am forced to order because I can’t stand it! :)
This morning has been extremely sub-optimal. I’ve been sneezing with an incredibly runny nose all morning, which I hope does not mean I’m getting sick (sometimes I just have yucky, sneezy mornings but they don’t turn into anything), but it does mean my head feels clogged up and awful. I forgot my lunch at home so we had to turn around and go back, and Siri set my timer for this tea for 10 minutes instead of 3 like I told her. On the plus side I got a big box of tea last night from brandy3392! This is one I requested in our swap and she was kind enough to send me a nice big sample of it.
The dry leaf smells very tropical, like some mango/passion blends I’ve had even though this doesn’t have any passion fruit in it. I’ve had jackfruit before but not in a very long time so I don’t remember much about it. The black tea base really comes out in the scent after steeping; it’s strong but it smells really good to me, which is odd because I often dislike the scent of stong plain black tea. Wish I knew what the base tea for this was! The tropical fruit scents hang out in the background.
The tea base is strong but malty and smooth. I am actually getting the tiniest hint of bitterness as it cools, but it’s not too bad. I get a distinct mango note in the flavor but the other fruits seem to blend together. That’s fine, it’s like any tropical blended drink really. I finally realized what the black tea base reminds me of, and that’s the base of Upton’s Rose Congou. This tea seems a little darkly floral to me too, but I don’t know if that’s because I’m associating the base with the Rose Congou. Overall a very nice tea and a good way to start the morning. Thanks again, brandy3392!
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!