1609 Tasting Notes
This is an oldie from back when I very first got samples of Teavivre’s teas. I have had quite a few jasmine teas in my stash at any given point, so I haven’t gotten around to drinking it much, which is a shame.
There is still a fair bit of flavor in this tea, and it is still quite a lovely jasmine. I brewed it somewhat strong today, but its still pretty smooth. Very jasminey. I may take the rest of the opened pouch home to cold steep as I love a good cold jasmine.
Operation drink old teas continues. I have a pile of this tea but only a small amount of it is old; I have some much newer ounces of it that I got on sale a few months ago. But this cup is from the old stuff, which I should use up.
This is one of my favorite blends and one of the few reasons that I have to shop at Teavana. I just never have found another blend that mixes almond and rose so well. Luckily I feel like this one has aged fairly well. The rose has taken the biggest hit, I think, but there are still a lot of delicious almondy cookie notes in this, and it makes up for it. A tasty tea this morning, hopefully it will perk me up a bit.
Hmmm, this one is also old, and as a white tea I would expect it to age worse than its black counterparts, but I wouldn’t have expected it to gain an odd bitter note. I wonder if its the coconut? Other people have complained about coconut teas going rancid after a while (coconut oils not as shelf stable I guess?), so I wonder if this one is suffering the same fate? It doesn’t smell off or rancid though. That would be very sad if its the case. It did stay good for quite a long time, I just seriously neglected it.
Well, it was ok, just not as good as it once was. I wonder if I can steep it for less time and tame it a bit. Also will try cold steeping, as I always liked this tea cold steeped.
Operation drink up old teas! I’ve been doing well with sipdowns (very well, since I’ve cut my cupboard in half since the beginning of the year), and I will still be going after them, but I also realized I need to start really drinking down some of my older teas. Some of those I have only a bit of left, some of those I have a large amount. This is one that I have had for apparently about 2 years now, but I actually got some fresher tea of this about 5 months ago (and it was probably not old when I got it). So I think I have about two ounces of this, an ounce that is ~5 months old and an ounce that is ~2 years old, all mixed together.
Well, it seems to be doing ok. This was super flavorful and rich. Sweet sweet almond, this time it reminded me of an almond cookie. Yum. Plus the tart, juicy cranberry. This really is one of my favorites!
Sipdown, 135. Cold brew.
So I had been using some large tea sacs for cold brewing my teas because it makes cleaning up in the morning easier. I got a pack of them in a gift set and I never use them because in hot brews I can taste the paper, but I figured cold brews might work better. I did wonder why it was so hard to get an optimal cold steep on a green tea since I used to get awesome cold steeps on greens back in the day. Then I started running out of the sacs so I started cold steeping with the leaves floating free in the glass again. I would never have thought that the tea sacs would make a difference in the finished product, but somehow the seem to! This cup was green and jasminey and perfect, with no hint of bitterness. Total yum! No more tea sacs for me, in any use.
I think the splendor of this one is fading. The flavor is no longer rich, but thin and most of what’s left of the fruitiness is the tartness and a slight bitterness. Oh well, it’s two years old and almost gone. Taking the rest of this one home to cold steep.
Some teas age better than others, although most (excepting puerhs of course) seem to fade at about 2 years. I sorted my cupboard by date added and it looks like I need to get moving on some old Harney (because they do fade pretty hard after 2 years) and a few others. I have some Dammann teas that are 2 years old now, but they are miraculously still lovely.
Sipdown, 136. Gongfu today.
I think I prefer this one western style. Brewed gongfu it has this kinda funky note going on, especially in the early steepings. I say funky not because it smells bad, but just unexpected for a tan yang, to me. It’s almost floral, and while I love floral-added black teas, I tend to dislike black teas that bring their own florals to the party (like darjeelings). I still got a nice amount of honey and grains, but it wasn’t quite spot on for what I look for in a tan yang. I tend to prefer my black teas western style anyway, so it’s not too big of a deal, though.
I got up early this morning to go birding and climbed a lot of big hills. Saw a baby Barred Owl, which was amazing. But now I am exhausted; it’s warm outside but cool in our house; all of these things seemed appropriate for a white tea, and I admit I have been quite curious about this one. I recently decided, upon tasting several whites from Teavivre, that Silver Needles are my favorite type of white tea.
The dry leaf on this is some of the most gorgeous leaf I’ve ever seen. The leaves are ‘plump’ and large, and covered with the softest downy covering that felt like the finest velvet. Beautiful. I don’t have a gaiwan and can’t justify a purchase of the one I want right now, so I decided it would be fine if I brewed this one in my ru kiln gongfu pot. My rinse was almost colorless but I took a sip anyway… you never know when a tea will provide an amazing rinse. This one was not super flavorful, but it does have some light, creamy, hay notes popping through as well.
Even my first steep at 10 seconds was quite light in flavor, although it was quite tasty. I think I had expected more sweetness from this, but instead it is more like a dry white wine. The flavors seem like they should be sweet but the tea itself is not. I do think I get a sense of marshmallow from this, though it’s more the pillowy-ness than sweetness. Later steeps were thicker, more squashy and also more like clover honey. I am getting a bit of the breadiness that I have gotten from silver needles in the past, but not a lot. A nice, smooth white tea that isn’t too hayish nor too green. I did get some interesting cucumber notes as well in late steeps.
I very much enjoyed this tea, and now I am feeling the buoyant energy of a white tea. What a pleasant afternoon tea.
Sipdown, 137. Awwww, sad. I will miss this delicious tea, although it is hard to be too sad about sipping this down because I have a pile of other delicious green spring TGYs in my cupboard right now.
Just realized that the first time I steeped this one western style I used Teavivre’s instructions (boiling, 2 min), whereas this time I defaulted to my standard western style TGY parameters (195°F, 3 min). Will be interesting to see if it’s noticable!
I’m not sure if the change in steeping parameters made much difference, but this tea is still awesome. So buttery, sweet and floral, fresh and green and lovely. Wow, this just continues to blow me away. I always go out of my way to try the Verdant green oolongs as they are released, and let me say that this is up there with the best of them (like the reserve club first pickings). So good!
I plan on cold steeping the rest of this, but I thought I should try it hot once to accurately assess the flavors and its performance as a jasmine green.
I would consider this to be a fairly middle-of-the-road jasmine green tea, even though they qualify it as “special grade.” The tea base is not very grassy and is actually super smooth and somewhat “thicker” feeling than most green teas I come across. It is moderately flavored with jasmine, being neither overwhelmingly perfumy nor very faint. Actually in the body of the sip itself the jasmine is rather faint, and I mostly taste buttery green tea, but it is certainly present in the aroma and it shows up in the aftertaste as well.
This tea is tasty but there is not really anything exceptional about it. I guess I would put it at a notch above the jasmine green you might get at a restaurant based on the quality of the base tea, but the jasmine itself lacks nuance. You can get amazing jasmine greens at a good price right from China (Teavivre), so why bother with a middle man?