1851 Tasting Notes
Ok, after having my gongfu session with this tea today, I can say that I am kind of disappointed in it considering it is supposed to be very high grade.
So first off, the flavor is not very complex or interesting. I look for butteriness, florals, perhaps a hint of fruit, and fresh leafy flavor. The first couple of steeps (post rinse) were kind of bland and almost savory, which is just wrong in an oolong like this IMO. As it progressed I steeped a bit longer and got some florals to peek out, but the savoriness got stronger as well. Then the florals left and there was only spinach soup. When I steeped this western style I thought I had oversteeped it and masked the delicate flavors, but now I see there just weren’t really any delicate flavors to begin with.
Also, I pulled a few leaves out and they were not whole, but rather with raggedy edges and missing ends. No attached leaf-bud pairs, and no intact, non-shredded leaves. Yeah, not the quality I was expecting. Disappointing, but there are plenty of other TGYs in the sea.
I totally did not look at my previous tasting notes for this one and I was convinced that I was going to have a bitter cup… I remembered to underleaf it (relative to what I normally would add) but I definitely brewed it hotter and I initially set my timer for longer. I pulled it a bit early, and it turned out great! Lots of crisp, citrusy bergamot and a substantial (but not too robust) tea base. A good cup to start my (late) morning off. :)
I have to admit, I wasn’t thrilled to see that the January blends club theme was tulsi. I haven’t had a lot of tulsi (and never just tulsi), but what I have had I haven’t been fond of. But I will try it nonetheless!
When I smelled the dry leaf I was a little put off, and I think it must have been the tulsi because there isn’t anything else in this blend that should be objectionable. Fortunately after steeping it evens out a bit and smells better. Herby, cocoa-y, almost minty even though there isn’t any mint in this. It honestly reminds me a bit of the scent profile of the Peppermint Bark herbal. The taste has a lot more oolong in it, and I’m definitely tasting the toasty, minerally flavor of the Wuyi oolong. A bit of cocoa, and a bit of herbal, root beerish flavor. Considering this blend contains a few things I’m not really a fan of (wuyi oolong, tulsi), I don’t mind it too much, but I wouldn’t say that I really like it that much either. Ah well, can’t love them all!
Finishing this one off this afternoon. Steeped in a gaiwan but each steeping combined into one cup. There is something about a snowy day that makes me think of a light, springy green tea. I do enjoy a nice, crisp, nutty green, but I think the “reserve”-ness of this is wasted on me, haha. Perhaps one day I will need to restock a plain green but right now I think my cupboard is fine without one.
I brought this tea home because I planned to do some cold steeping with it… I do enjoy this tea, but I don’t LOVE it, which means I won’t reach for it as much and it will sit around longer. I figured it would probably be really tasty cold brewed and that way it will move through my stash faster. However, this morning I really wanted a black tea I could have without milk and sugar, and I have so few of those at home, so I reached for this one!
And it was quite tasty this morning. Lots of red fruits, a hint of vanilla. It will be good to have at home for drinking on the weekends as well, it seems!
I was originally planning to just sell/trade this tea unopened as I am not much on assams and even less on plain assams. However, this evening I really wanted to have hot cocoa with tea steeped in it and I realized that I didn’t have anything really suitable. So I popped this open… I am thinking I might keep it around for when I need a really robust tea (to have with milk and sugar), for steeping in hot chocolate, and perhaps for cold brewing occasionally.
For the record I tasted this a little bit under the chocolate, and it was assamy. Haha.
Remember how yesterday I was complaining about getting up early to teach? Well I got up an hour earlier than that today to go birding, haha.
Since it was stupid early in the morning, I made some of this cold shaken with milk in the hopes it would give me a boost. I guess it did, but I would have hated to have seen myself without it!
I ordered a sample of this tea because dates! figs! sesame! sounds like a good tea to me. I don’t think I found this one on Steepster beforehand, somehow, because I remember not seeing any reviews. If I had, I might not have ordered it since people talk about smokiness in it and I have no tolerance for smokiness.
The dry leaf smells INTENSE. Very sweet, definitely figs, dates, and nuts. Steeped, the tea started smelling a little smoky, and I was worried. However, this came out ok for me. I think because it’s more of an intense roast/toast than it is a charcoal smoke (which often makes me ill!). Nutty and figgy for sure. It’s less sweet seeming than I might have guessed, but it works. Similar to Toasted Fig, but still unique. I ended up enjoying this more than I thought I would!
My stomach apparently doesn’t like it when I wake up really early, which I have to do almost every Friday to teach an early class. Ugh. When I got out of class I wanted something to settle my stomach and I remembered this has citrus and ginger in it. Perfect.
Sweet, citrusy, with a slight ginger kick. Although I have a lemon ginger on green base, I prefer the (green) oolong base because I feel like it gives more body. This may become a somewhat regular post-class tea on early days.
I had a sachet of this last night at my departmental tea time. I got this along with a few other bags of sachets in my Happy Bag this year. Initially I wasn’t enthused about most of them (although this one I did want to try), but I figured out the perfect use for them! I’ve donated them to tea time because most of the girls there have some fear of loose leaf and never drink the loose leaf I bring. But they seemed more interested in the sachets. One of them had a cup of Chocolate Strawberry Puer and loved it!
Anyway, this tea. I have to say that I was underwhelmed by this. Although the peach flavor was fresh and juicy, it was very light. That normally wouldn’t be a problem for me except that the oolong didn’t seem to have much flavor either. I mean, what was there was very nice, but I wanted more. Maybe I should try two sachets next time (though I’ve never had that problem with Lupicia sachets before). Actually it might be the unfiltered water that we use at tea time. That’s probably it, so I won’t rate it just now. I guess I’ll have to try another sachet of this with filtered water.