1911 Tasting Notes
Sipdown, 142. Another Sil sample! I don’t know if I’ve ever had a houjicha, so I am interested to try this one. I ended up looking up some steeping parameters from Den’s and roughly following them: 1st steep, boiling for 30 seconds, second, boiling for 15 seconds, third, boiling for 30 seconds.
I was first hit by a roasty scent and a bit of spinachy aroma. This is an interesting tea… It’s roasty, but it’s vegetal. It’s not really like a roasty green oolong, which usually have a hint of floral notes. This isn’t totally my thing, for sure; I’m generally not much on roasty teas, and the intense bean/greens notes in this underneath the roast are also not hitting me right. I think if I wanted that combo of flavors I’d go with a traditional tieguanyin. But I’m glad I got to try this one out.
Sipdown, 143. From looking at other “Random Steepings” notes, I believe that this is Sil’s “grocery store puerh”, the tiny little foil-wrapped tuocha. Having bought tea myself in a Beijing grocery store, I know that there is a substantial difference between grocery store tea in China and that in the states. I brewed in my gongfu teapot but it probably was still too big for this tiny tuocha.
I gave this a few rinses because it smelled rather pungent at first (i.e., a bit fishy), but that washed away pretty well. I was left with a smooth, woody puerh that really wasn’t half bad. Granted that shu puerhs are generally not my thing, it was pretty decent. Mostly wood with a bit of earth, a somewhat creamy texture and a hint of sweetness.
Sipdown, 144. Thanks again to JusTea for a sample of this tea. I went to make it this morning to have for breakfast and realized too late that I didn’t have any milk. As I had already brewed it, I sweetened it and had one cup sans milk to try it (pretty much same as last time) then I cooled the rest to have as a cold chai latte later today.
It’s pretty good as a cold latte, but I think I would prefer it thicker somehow. Made with sweetened condensed milk, perhaps. In any case, it’s was a nice, not-to-spicy chai to have this afternoon, and the milk smooths over any astringency from the base.
Sipdown, 145. I could never bear to swap this tea away or throw it out because it was the one tea I brought back from Poland with me. But I really don’t like vanilla and jasmine together (for some reason) so it was hard to drink it up. Eventually I decided to go ahead and cold steep it, because maybe I could take it better that way. It was ok, but still not great. Still, I drank it all, and now it’s gone.
Sipdown, 146. Here’s a true mystery tea… a gold-foil packet of black tea from China from Sil. At least I know approximately what it is! It looks and smells fairly similar to the Tan Yang I brought back from China myself, though with a few less golden tips.
Interestingly, this one smells more chocolatey than I would have imagined, close to Laoshan Black. Definite toasted grain notes, but no honey or caramel. It’s a little more charcoaly than I would prefer, but overall pretty good. I think I steeped it a little strong, which may be contributing to that sensation. Still, an enjoyable cup for the afternoon.
Can’t wait, gotta try the new Blends Club blends! These are all “fall” blends, which apparently means minty and woodsy to Verdant. Ok, sure.
So this tea smells intense dry. Super minty and herby. I am not following the provided steeping instructions because for one I didn’t weight out 5g of the teas to figure out how much that was in volume, and I figured I would try them out at my usual western/blends parameters. Steeped, the tea smells familiar and unique at the same time. First off, with both peppermint and spearmint the main scent is not surprisingly mint. I also get a slight spicy cinnamon/clove note, a slight root-beery note, and a somewhat savory woodsy note. For sure this tea has a lot going on.
I’m going to preface this by saying that I don’t often go for minty teas, but I do enjoy them on occasion. This is very minty for sure, but the rest of the herbs also provide some depth and interest. I have to say, at these parameters the Big Red Robe doesn’t really come through; perhaps that’s the reason for what seems like a large amount of tea in the original steeping directions. I guess there is a “bass note” in this that does strike me as a roasty, slightly caramelly oolong. The dandelion root (I think) provides a light sweetness to the blend, mostly in the aftertaste. I will definitely try this at the recommended parameters as well as cold brewed, as suggested. If you like minty, herby teas you will no doubt enjoy this one!
Sipdown, 147. Every time it goes down, it goes right back up! Thanks to Sil for this sample.
I’ve wanted to try a Sichuan Gongfu black tea for a while now, ever since I fell in love with Bailin Gongfu and Tan Yang Gongfu, and learned there was another type from Sichuan. I’ve been eyeing the one from Teaspring for a while now but never got around to ordering it, so it’s nice to try this one.
The scent reminds me of Bailin Gongfu… grains and molasses, although more grains than molasses. I ended up brewing it a little strong initially, so I diluted it a bit and now it’s quite nice. It’s not as sweet or honeyed as some of the other gongfu black teas that I’ve tried, but it’s tasty and has a nice dark chocolatey bittersweet note. Like dark chocolate chips in a cookie, yum. A pleasant tea for this morning!
I have wanted to try this one for quite a while, but I never got around to making an ATR order. Luckily, I got some from Sil!
This smells familiar to me, but I can’t recall what other tea I’ve had that was similar. It would have been near the beginning of my time on Steepster. It smells like cinnamony and candied almonds, with a bit of pastry. The flavor is nice; it does remind me of thos candied almonds because it is cinnamony and nutty. Is it particularly brioche? I guess it depends on the type of brioche, but I guess I can see it as a pastry-ish tea. Pretty tasty overall, but I find myself wishing for a more interesting base tea, as this one reads as kind of a “plain black” with not a ton of character.
Sipdown, 145. When I first had this I didn’t even look at the ingredients list, so I didn’t realize that it had green rooibos and that the pieces were apple, not pear. Anyway, I cold brewed the rest of my sample and had it today with lunch. It was a pretty decent cold brew, but there was something a little funky about it. Maybe it was just the green rooibos, and I’m not used to the flavor. I wasn’t bad, just a little odd. Anyway, decent, but not particularly exciting.
I am often skeptical of milk oolongs, since many companies seem to be carrying the same, not-that-tasty enhanced-but-claiming-not-to-be milk oolong. This does not to seem to fall in that category because they come right out and say that there is natural flavoring, so I am interested in trying it out. Thanks for sending a sample of this one, Sil!
This is interesting. It has the condensed-milk, buttered popcorn scent of many milk oolongs, but this one delivers the flavor pretty well. There is a hint of fruitiness to the base oolong of this, and the flavoring is creamy without being over the top. I get a kind of tangy aftertastes from this that is nice. That said, this is pretty similar to the other Chinese (not Taiwanese) milk oolongs that a lot of companies sell. Sometimes I wonder if I would be able to taste much difference if I lined them all up and tried them. I do like this one better than some of the others I’ve tried, perhaps they all come from a similar region but different plantations. It is interesting that people seem to react vastly differently to different versions. In any case, I’m not much for these Wuyi Mountain (“Quangzhou”) milk oolongs; I’ll stick with Jin Xuans or ATR’s crazy TGY.