2165 Tasting Notes
I still need to do some notes for the gongfu sessions I had with Equusfell yesterday, but for now I will continue with the cupboard sip-through because I am almost done!! This tea (#–4) represents the Mandala order for smart soak that also included some tea. I had read good things about it, so I threw a small pouch of these cones in the order.
I think I will need to play around with steep parameters for this one. This time, I used 4 cones for 12 oz of water, steeped for 3 min at 205°F, which is close to the given parameters. Actually I steeped it for three minutes, sipped it, and then decided it was too weak so I put the cones back in for a bit. It came out decent, but not as good as I was hoping. I think my downfall was putting it back in. Or maybe I need fewer cones for longer. I dunno, but the main flavors were general earthiness and maybe some dark chocolate, but not very predominantly. It reminds me a good amount of Black Dragon Pearls. I think it needs to be a little lighter for my tastes, and hopefully some sweetness will come out. Fortunately I have enough cones to play around with them a bit.
I had a much better experience, both gongfu and western, with this tea (#–3) than with the rose oolong. It’s been a long time since I had a magnolia oolong, so it’s hard for me to compare, but I did really enjoy this one. After using it in our gongfu session last weekend, I had a little over my normal quantity of leaf, but what was I going to do with half a teaspoon? So I used all of it but lowered my steep time to compensate.
I think perhaps the magnolia works better with the base? Here I get the creaminess from the Jin Xuan that I was missing in the rose oolong. The florals are thick and rich, but in no way overwhelming or perfumy. Just that they have body and substance. Magnolia can be slightly jasmine-y in flavor, I find, and I get hints of it here. A little fruitiness. Overall a very nice oolong.
Finally getting around to more of my Tea Ave samples. By now I’ve tried 2 of 3 (plus a bonus), and this one (#–2) is the last one to try. Funny, since by rights it should have been the first one I grabbed given that I love rose. I’m brewing this one western style using my typical green oolong method. I will take the rest home to gongfu, perhaps this weekend.
Some people may appreciate that this tea has light rose notes. They are definitely present, but playing around the edges. I myself prefer a much stronger rose flavor, since rose is one of my favorites. I could forgive that, however, if the base was anything to write home about. I find it a little meh. Vegetal, a little buttery, but lacking the creaminess I would expect from a Jin Xuan. I will say that I get a little bored by Taiwanese high mountain oolongs, although I have them as the base of a few other scented teas and enjoy them well enough. Even in Tea Ave’s own Ginger Lily, it worked better. I think this one is just so dominant in the flavor, and one-note (vegetal). Maybe it will be more nuanced in gongfu. That said, I drank it easily enough.
The thing that sets me off the most about this is the price. Right now, the sale price is more than double what I would pay for a rose green oolong from Dammann or Taiwan Tea Crafts. Now, I am not one to cast judgement at spending a lot on one tea, as I have done my damage with some reserve teas in the past, but their prices seem a tad excessive to me for the product. I am grateful that they sent me the samples to review (as well as the aroma cup set and such), but I will be perfectly honest in my review: I expect mind-blowing for that price, and this is decidedly not.
My parents gave me this tea (#-1) for Christmas, but I am just now getting around to trying it. I’ve never gotten tea from this company before (in my hometown), but mostly because many of their teas seem to be wholesale blends and not unique to them. This one, however, seems unique. It also doesn’t appear on their website.
I love bourbon, and I love bourbon cream liquor. This tea is pretty tasty, but I don’t know that I would call it a bourbon cream tea. Chocolatey with a bit of cream, yes, no doubt due to the large amount of cacao hulls in the blend. Not sure why bourbon = chocolate. Their Mint Julep black tea, presumably also bourbon-based, also has cacao hulls in it. The most bourbon-y tea I’ve ever had was a shu puer, but that was more the taste of the barrel. I wish for more vanilla/cream in this, which is supposed to be a cream tea. Overall a tasty cup, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to restock it.
OMGsrsly also sent along this one (#0!), and I thank you, but this is a big NOPE for me. I don’t even like sage that much to begin with, and one sip gave me an intense “bleh!” reaction. Could not take any more. Super bitter and super sagey. I even steeped it cooler and shorter than I normally would have because I looked at reviews here before and people said it could go bitter. I don’t even want to know what it would taste like at boiling and 3 minutes.
Another tea (#1) from OMGsrsly! Thanks! At first I thought this had been slightly contaminated by the Blackberry Sage that she also included, but I think I was just smelling the lavender. I was worried this would be too “herby” for me, but the lavender definitely calmed down a bit in the brewed tea.
This is a tea I need to drink fast, when it is still hot. Then it was quite nice, with red berry and bergamot notes, and no bitterness to speak of. But as it cooled the lavender came out and it became a lot more bitter and astringent. Alternately I do need to try it with less leaf, as suggested by the company and OMGsrsly. :)
OMGsrsly kindly sent me samples of a few teas back when she sent me the Divine Temptation, and I just never got around to trying them. I never even properly added them to my cupboard (I did later). Well, here they are now! Thanks OMGsrsly!
This one (#2) is really quite tasty. Very mapley. Maybe not so much taffy? But I don’t know how you would really distinguish “taffy” flavor. I don’t really get much in the way of distinct spices, which is kind of funny, since I definitely see the cinnamon stick pieces in my infuser. Anyway, glad this one got sent my way! It was quite yummy.
I had to skip a tea (herbal, at home), and hopefully I will remember to drink it tonight. But that moves me onto this one (#3) next. Soooo deliciously nougaty. I don’t have much more to say about it except thanks again to OMGsrsly for being my tea mule and getting me more of this delicious tea.
Yummmmmm. How do they do it? How does this tea (#5) taste so much like buttery caramel goodness? They are magicians over at DF, as far as I’m concerned. Never thought I would need two different caramel teas in my cupboard at all times, or that they would be from the same company, but there you go. I also would have thought that I would want to stick to fruits or florals for a green oolong base, but this one also dissuaded me of that notion.
The last time I drank this tea (#6), I said I wanted to try it at a higher temp to see how it performed. And I actually read the note before steeping it, so I remembered to do it! The answer is: not very different? It’s still hugely chocolatey and creamy and sweet, and the base tea is still a little thin. I think I would have been happier if this had been on their usual black tea base instead of a roasted oolong. Still, it is quite tasty.