1615 Tasting Notes
I made some of this tea cold brewed, and I knew from the beginning that it was going to be bad. I think I never brewed any of this before in part because the dry leaf smells like nasty fake berry cough syrup, but it’s been so long since I opened it up that I had forgotten. I brewed some anyway on the off chance that it would settle down.
I am wondering if the batch of this that I got is different somehow than the ones that others have tried, because this was just bad. Same fake berry cough syrup flavor, along with some fake jasmine flavoring. I took a sip and dumped the rest, and I don’t intend on keeping the rest of the leaf; not only would I not wish this tea on anyone else, it’s also fairly ancient (though clearly that hasn’t diminished this crazy flavoring), and I have been pretty much unsuccessful giving it away anyway. So, unexpected sipdown, 142.
Sipdown, 143. Thanks again to Teavivre for this sample.
This time I brewed the entire sample pouch in my 12oz cup, at the recommended steeping parameters. I did that with my first pouch as well, but my water was off. This time it was totally awesome. The black tea flavor was extra bold, without tasting oversteeped or astringent. It’s rich and a hint cocoa-y. The rose is fairly subtle still, but it is certianly present. It just lets the dian hong really run the show. The dian hong isn’t as earthy when brewed this strong, and the flavors are more complex and interesting. Glad I made my last cup like this, I may actually have to pick more of this up at some point.
I think this is officially the last of the teas I brought back from Paris that I haven’t yet tried. It’s also the third of Dammann’s “Jardin” series of flavored oolongs. The dry leaf on this one smells fruity and very floral, which makes sense since all the flavors listed are a myriad of flowers, most of which I would not be able to pinpoint (acacia? waterlilly? aloe vera?). I think the fruitiness may be coming from the plum blossom.
Steeped, it smells pretty much like a bouquet. In a good way! This is a rich bunch of florals, but I feel like the fact that a lot of them are different from the usual florals keeps things interesting. It doesn’t smell as fruity brewed as it does dry, it’s more pure floral. Despite all of this, it is definitely not overwhelming in the flavor. Smooth, sweet, and floral. It kind of reminds me of Naivetea’s Rose Violet Calendula oolong, but with more florals that are kind of unique and exotic. I also don’t find this one to be overly floral, like I did with that other tea. When I’m in a very floral mood, this will definitely be the tea for me.
I haven’t had this tea in a long time. I am getting ready to send some out in a swap, so I decided to brew some up this morning. I remember the time when I had a huge number of different Earl Greys around, when I was searching for my favorite. Now I only have this one (that’s not some other variant like an Earl Grey cream), if you can believe it.
Yup, still loving this one. It’s a really well balanced Earl, and oh so satisfying. Glad to always have it around when I need it.
I have been craving black dessert teas lately. Particularly caramel/vanilla types, for some reason. At first I really wanted to make a cup of Dammann’s Caramel-Toffee, but then I decided to have a cup of this because I just bought some and I’ve only had it once before.
I orginally wasn’t going to order more of this right now, particularly because I do have the Dammann Caramel, which I love. But that is very toffee, and my first note on this says that I found it to be more dulce de leche. Different caramels are different! So obviously I needed both.
Ok, so I overleafed this cup a bit. Well, it was still delicious, just edging a hair toward astringent. Anyway, I do feel like the vanilla in this is mellowing the caramel to a caramel creme type thing, versus chewy caramel candy or further to toffee. So I do have to edges of the spectrum. This is also a less buttery caramel, but again, more creaminess. Glad to have both, and hopefully I won’t power through either of them too fast.
I drank the second of three sample pouches of this one today. It was quite tasty; the jasmine is certainly present but not super strong, letting the bi luo chun shine a bit as well. I’m quite pleased with this one for an everyday jasmine green type of tea, and one that has a bit more interest than a more generic jasmine green.
Sipdown, 144. Thanks to Stacy for including a sample of this one with my order!
This one sounded interesting to me, but I was unsure about whether I would really dig all the flavors together. Toffee dragonwell sounds amazing, ginger is a plus, but strawberries I’m not huge on (actually it’s one of those things where I love fresh strawberries but not so much in other forms). Thankfully Stacy graceously sends out samples and I asked for this one.
I ended up steeping this for three minutes instead of 2min 30sec because I might have added a bit more than 8oz of water. As it is it it brewed up very pale but also with a good amount of aroma. It smells pretty much like dragonwell and strawberries. Those are the primary flavors I get, too; light buttery and slightly vegetal dragonwell, sweet strawberry, and perhaps the barest hint of a gingery note at the end. I don’t taste any distinct toffee notes, but perhaps they are blending in a bit. Overall a fairly tasty tea, especially if you love strawberries.
Finally back to my teas, yay! I had been waiting for this one to come into stock and then made my order. It’s pretty hyped, but luckily for me I don’t have a problem with auto-disliking something because it is hyped.
The smell of the brewed tea on this one really reminds me of the Mi Xian black, which makes sense because both are made leafhopper-bitten leaves that produce honey notes. I get honey and apricots, I think. The texture of the liquid is nice and robust; it’s smooth and doesn’t seem thin at all. The flavor is sweet and honeyed for sure, with fruity notes. I don’t get a distinct pastry or waffle note from this, but it is certainly delicious. I’ll have to try it at four minutes as well just to see how it turns out (I usually don’t steep black teas for four minutes, but those are the steeping instructions). I am finding that the fruity blacks are not exactly my preferred variety, but I do enjoy this one a lot and I’m very glad to have gotten some.
Sipdown, 143. Cold brew. It seems like most of my sipdowns these days are coming from cold brews… I am pretty much out of 1-2 cup samples and cold brews are a good way to use up a lot of tea at once.
This was a pretty tasty cold brew but not perfect. I’m a lot more tolerant of tea bases that taste off to me when they are cold, but it’s still not quite as enjoyable. But the bergamot and hint of rose is nice.
Finally getting around to trying this one with my new gaiwan that came in the mail today.
I did a bunch of short steeps with 190°F water, combining two steeps at once because my cha hai (serving vessel) is 6oz and the gaiwan yields about 3oz of tea. I definitely enjoyed my session with this tea. I also was just enjoying it while I drank it and wasn’t thinking about it too hard, so I’m afraid this tasting note won’t be too detailed. It was nice and buttery and a touch nutty, perhaps a little less savory than some dragonwells that I’ve tried. Not as much sugar snap peas as the non-flattened Laoshan Green that I’ve tried. My steeps were pretty consistent, perhaps because of the averaging, but it was a nice session.