2036 Tasting Notes
I love mangosteens but they are just such a hard fruit to find. They don’t travel well, so finding a fresh one in the states is next to impossible, and they just haven’t taken off as a “superfruit” so you rarely find them dried. That extends to tea… I have almost never seen a mangosteen flavored tea besides a few blends from grocery store teas trying to cash in on superfruit status. But I found out that Dammann has a mangosteen black, and I finally got around to ordering some (since CDV carried it).
The dry leaf certainly smells like mangosteen, that hard-to-describe, tropical, peach-passion fruit-banana-pear flavor. There are also clearly chunks of dried mangosteen in the blend. Steeped up, it retains that scent and flavor, with the addition of Dammann’s traditional Chinese/Ceylon tea base (people who dislike that blend will find the same flavor here; fortunately, I love the blend). The flavor is nice, slightly creamy, sweet and tart. Very pleased with the faithfulness to mangosteen here.
This is the only tea that I ordered from JK Tea Shop in larger than a sample size, namely because they didn’t have a sample size option. But I just had to try it, so 50g it is! A black tea made with Jinxuan cultivar? It sounded awesome.
The dry leaf is dark with some golden flecks. It’s not long and wiry, but not quite balled-up either. It smells awesome, like molasses and toasted grains (like molasses-based horse feed if you’ve smelled it… I say that and people think that sounds weird but that stuff actually smells amazing). Anyway, it’s definitely a smell that I enjoy, and one that many of my favorite black teas have.
I decided to do a western steep first, and my default black tea parameters since I’ve never had this type of tea before. The steeped tea smells sweet, a bit honeyed, with some dried apricot notes. It is not unlike some Taiwanese black teas that I have had before, though with a grain undertone. Like some kind of mix between a Taiwanese and Fujian black.
The flavor is sweet and a bit fruity. Definitely reminds me of a Taiwanese black, which I suppose isn’t that surprising considering it’s a jin xuan cultivar, even if it is being grown on the mainland. As it cools there is a hint of bitterness that is creeping out; I’ll have to mess around with the steeping parameters of this. Overall this is pretty nice but not overly special. There is not much to it that would make me choose it over a Taiwanese black.
I was feeling a little off after an early class this morning, so I decided I wanted something lemony. This one popped out at me, haha. I just want to drink my DF teas all the time! Going through a phase I guess. Anyway, this tea made me feel better and was delicious to boot.
I ordered some of this from Cadeau Deco Vendome because I have wanted to try it for a while now. I am always on the lookout for non-hibiscus, non-rooibos tisanes to have in the evening, and this fits the bill. Not to mention: bergamot, orange, lemongrass, rose, and black currant? It’s like it was made for my tastes.
Before steeping the sachet smelled really fruity in an indistinct way, but after steeping the main scents are a bright citrus with a mellowing creaminess that must be from the mallow blossoms. The main flavor is definitely black currant, with a light rosiness primarily on the aftertaste. The mallow gives a hint of creaminess. I am pleased! This will be really nice to have around in the evenings.
Mmmm, it doesn’t really bother me all that much that the bergamot in this one (as in Bergamot Rose LB) is extremely mild. Would I love more bergamot? Sure. But this is quite tasty to me nonetheless. I just love most things on a Laoshan black base, I guess. A lovely, wintery tea.
This is one of the last reserve club teas in my collection (that I didn’t order more of, that is). I had a lovely session with it this afternoon. It was nice to have such a warm, summery green on a rainy (although admittedly not very cold) winter day. Buttery, nutty, and lightly vegetal. I’m not feeling particularly verbose in this note, but you can be sure that I definitely enjoyed this tea today.
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.