1909 Tasting Notes
I had been wanting to make an ATR order for a while to get more Milk Oolong, and eventually one of their 20% off sales coincided with some extra money for me, also happened to be when they were offering free samples of two new teas for Steepsterites. I was more interested in Lady Grey than this one, but I chose this one today because the package was already slightly opened (heat sealer didn’t quite seal) and while I didn’t lose any tea, I figured I would go ahead and drink it up.
Let me just say, I’m very impressed. If you want a very lemony black tea, this is the tea for you. But that’s not to say that it is all tart lemon… this tea is amazingly smooth and almost creamy-sweet. It reminds me a bit of a really awesome lemon bar. Mainly I am impressed with how smooth and rich it is; this tea has some heft to it, a thickness to the texture that adds to the sense of creaminess. The black tea doesn’t really stick out, but it provides a nice, substantial base to the blend. Thanks again to ATR for the sample!
Another JK Tea sample! I ordered this one because although I am totally satisfied with my TGY options from Teavivre and Verdant, I was curious. JK Tea Shop sells by a grade system from 1A–6A, 6A being the most expensive and high end. My sample has two vacuum-sealed packets, one of which I am using for western-style brewing now and the other I will use for gongfu.
Unsurprisingly, the dry leaf looks and smells lovely. Tight little balls of dark green shot with streaks of light green, smelling fresh, green, and floral. Steeped up, the florals recall lilacs, thick and heady. A slight vegetal note, and a hint of butter underneath.
I do wonder if my leaf to water ratio was too high this time. I feel like the cup is “too packed” with flavor—bordering on too vegetal—to allow the more delicate flavors to come out. For sure it is floral and very nice, but it’s not as buttery and sweet as Teavivre’s. Will be interested to see how this one comes out in gongfu. I also wish I could try their 6A autumn picking… perhaps another time!
So! Finally healthy enough that I feel like trying some of my new teas. I ordered from JK Tea Shop around Black Friday because I have wanted to try them for a while, but the package came right before I left to travel for the holidays (much like my ATR order) so I haven’t tried anything from it. I’ve wanted to try JK Tea Shop for a while since they are a direct from China seller, and they offer some unique Chinese teas that you don’t find elsewhere. Fortunately they also sell 15g samples on most of their teas (something a lot of sellers in China do not do!). I ordered a number of black tea samples and a few others.
I am in love with the Tan Yang I brought back from China almost two years ago now (Yong Sheng), but I haven’t found another that I love as much to restock once I run out. There are some other good ones (Teavivre’s, Harney’s golden tips), but none that really replace my Maliandao purchase. I am brewing this one like I have brewed the others in the past as a first run.
The dry leaf is promising. Very golden, and smelling like sweet, rich, molasses-y grains. Steeped, the scent is similar… grainy, a bit sweet, and a bit of raisin or prune notes to it. The flavor is good but not strong enough; however, I think that’s a steeping parameters issue primarily. I will definitely use more tea next time. This one is pretty much different from all the other Tan Yangs I’ve tried so far, perhaps most similar to Harney’s, and somewhat reminiscent of Teavivre’s Bailin Gongfu. Fairly malty, leaving a light sweetness in the aftertaste, though lighter than some others (again this may be a steeping issue, however). Molasses notes, primarily, not quite caramel as in the Yong Sheng. More raisin than apricot. A bit of nuttiness (missing in others besides the Yong Sheng).
This is quite good. As for pricing, this is nearly identical to Teavivre’s (both being nearly half the price of Harney’s); unfortunately I don’t have any of Teavivre’s Tan Yang to try back to back with this one, although I will have to dig out my Yong Sheng soon. This one may be a slightly better match.
I ordered this tea because yyz pointed out elsewhere that the description of it is identical to Flocon d’épices. That tea is only sold in an expensive tin, but this one is sold in bulk like their regular teas.
I of course wanted to try it when it came in to make sure it was the same! It’s been a little bit since I had Flocon, but I think it is. I smelled citrus and spices immediately in the pouch, and then that rich, syrupy, figgy flavor in the brewed tea. This cup almost makes me think there is a hint of caramel flavoring in this as well, it’s so creamy. Loving this one, and glad I have 100g of it!
Finishing off this one as well. I thought I was doing better, and I guess I am, but today I have felt overall sluggish and sickly. Teaching for 3 hrs yesterday (and going out in the sub-freezing weather) probably set me back a bit as far as health goes. Sigh. And I get to do it tomorrow too!
Anyway, this tea. Honestly I am enjoying that it is gingery and spicy this afternoon. Snickerdoodle, maybe not so much. But I enjoy it pretty well nonetheless.
I got a free sample of this with one of my recent Teavivre orders because I wanted to try making tea soda with it. So I made a super strong steep of this with a lot of sugar, then mixed with soda water. Pretty tasty! I think perhaps I need to use more syrup and less water because it mainly tasted sweet and a bit tart. I did get a bit of citrusy lemon, which was nice. This is definitely my preferred way of preparing anything with rosehips or hibiscus in it.
I drank some of this last night, and it was pretty tasty. I meant to have the rest of it tonight and drink a different tea right now, but I accidentally dumped it into my already-damp infuser basket, and so was pretty much forced to have it now. I didn’t really want an herbal, though. I thought I didn’t have any plain black tea at home, but then remembered that I had a sample of Kenyan Black from JusTea, so I threw that in as well.
Of course, I don’t think there was enough Kenyan black in that sample for the amount of this tea, so I didn’t really taste it anyway. Oh well, this is a pretty tasty herbal blend overall. Probably should have mixed it with Laoshan black for maximum chocolate factor.
Well the blends box for this month is on it’s way, so I figured I should get through some of the old blends. To make room. Also my Cadeux Deco Vendome order arrived today, so I have a lot moar tea!
Finishing off this tea and it really is cementing the fact that this blend is not for me. I mean, I don’t love chais in the first place, but there is something about this blend that is definitely not working for me. Oh well, can’t love them all!
I maybe possibly am doing slightly better today? I hope. I made a pot of this in the hopes that the spices would make it through my fog. Sweetened with maple syrup and mellowed with milk. Not my favorite but I am also not much of a chai person.
Nothing to do with this tea: There are several people that I talked about doing swaps with after the holidays, but I can’t remember who now. If any of you remember talking about a swap with me, let me know!
I picked up some of this at the farmer’s market in the hopes that it would soothe my throat, and to mix up my “cold teas” options a bit.
Honestly I am so stuffed up I don’t think I really tasted this all that much. It is herby, I know that much. And it did soothe my throat for a bit. Ugh, go away cold.