1851 Tasting Notes
One of the few non-black teas from my Dammann/Instant Thé order. I went back and forth about picking this one up and eventually decided yes because I love passion fruit and florals, and have been liking white tea more lately. There are not really steeping directions for this one, just a suggested time but no temp. So I went with my now-default white tea temp, and 3 minutes.
At first I thought I had ruined this cup because when it was still pretty hot it had a sharp bitter flavor. But somehow, against the odds it mellowed out and by the time the cup cooled a bit it was basically gone. Still, I think I will brew this one at a cooler temp next time. The white tea didn’t give the hayish, honey flavor of some of the whites I’ve been having recently, more just a very light base for the flavoring. This is passion fruit and apricots, and it is nicely fruity… perhaps more passion fruit than distinct apricot, but nice nonetheless. Not particularly strongly floral, but they provide a nice accompaniment. I’ll hold off rating until I brew this one again, but right now it’s a like not a love.
Back to normal days at work, and normal tea habits. Also back to working my way through my Dammann teas. I ordered this one mostly to pad my order and because I was ordering pretty much any tea that Instant Thé stocked that sounded like something I might like. I am not usually one for strawberry in my teas, or the potential for lavender, but I am one for fig and honey.
This smells mostly like strawberry jam, figs, and honey. No lavender, which is fine with me. The flavor really reminds me of preserves, both strawberry and fig. With honey! This is definitely one of those blends that seems ‘sugary’ without being actually sweet. It’s really quite nice, and I’m definitely enjoying it. The usual Dammann base complements the flavors really well and is smooth and tasty. A strawberry tea that I really enjoy, how about that!
Second comforting tea of the afternoon. I wanted to have this one before making my Butiki order for the TWMB. In the end I decided not to pad my stash of this one right now, but not because I don’t love it. Mostly just because I still have some and I didn’t want to restock a tea before running out of it. This was very sweet today. Malty, delicious. I drank it while working so I’m afraid I didn’t think about this one too hard. But it was tasty, and very comforting.
Today was another crappy day at work, so another day of comforting teas. I said I was going to have this yesterday to compare it to the Hand Curled Dian Hong from the reserve club, and I kept my word. It’s been a long time since I’ve had this one, but it was still delicious.
This tea is more honey and spiced sweet potatoes, versus the chocolate sweet potato pie of the Hand Curled. I have some non dian hong teas that are quite chocolatey (Laoshan Black being one), so I don’t know that I need chocolate in my dian hong, and I’m quite happy with the honeyed tones. Still loving this one after all this time.
Today is the second time I had this cold brewed, and I have come to the conclusion that it is just not that good cold brewed. There is something about the base, I think, though I can’t put my finger on it. The first time I thought it was just “oversteeped”, but this time had the same funkiness, so it’s definitely not. Too bad, although at least I like this one hot. This might be the first time that I’ve had an iced black tea fail on me.
Sipdown, 144. Today was a rough day at work, and I didn’t get to sit down and drink a cup of tea until the very end of the day. I was very grumpy about the whole thing, so I wanted a comforting tea. I actually drank a session of this gongfu this past weekend, which I didn’t log but was delicious, and I was left with a small amount that would work for a western brew. I didn’t plan to drink it up today, but it seemed like it might help me feel better.
Mmmm, just smelling this made me really happy. I love super tippy golden bud Yunnan teas, and this definitely fits. Brewed western style it is somewhat more chocolatey than gongfu, which I don’t normally associate with Yunnans. Sweet and malty and just all around tasty. I will have to drink a cup of Golden Fleece tomorrow to compare.
Sipdown, 145. I had two sample sachets of this one, one that came in the monthly newsletter and one that came with my handy cooler. For some reason I thought this would be a green tea (not paying attention), but no, it was a black. I cold steeped them both in my new handy cooler; two sachets and 500ml of water worked out well.
I think I was never initially interested in this because of the papaya. I am of the opinion that fresh very ripe papaya smells like feet (I’ve had to deal with them lots in East Africa and Madagascar) so I typically avoid papaya anything. But I do like guava, and fortunately this doesn’t taste like feet. It’s actually quite delicious, and I would consider buying more of it for iced tea. The guava is very tasty and the other flavors just make it nicely tropical. Glad I got a sample of this one to try out!
You know there’s that current discussion on the numerical scoring teas going on now (when you’ve been around as long as I have, you’ve seen it pop up several times), where people are like, if you know in advance that you don’t like the flavors in a tea, why are you drinking it?
Here’s one reason: I got a free sample of this tea with my Instant Thé order. I am not the biggest fan of lavender in my teas, and have had some truly awful ones, but I will always try a tea out just to see if the flavor is well done by someone. This is an interesting one as well because it’s not just lavender, it’s lavender and orange and lemon and cinnamon. My boyfriend insists it smells altogether like ginger and I can kind of see where he’s coming from, even though there’s no ginger in this tea.
I brewed this a boiling before I realized it was a black/dark oolong blend, but hopefully it’s a robust enough oolong to take it. What an interestingly odd tea! Honestly I think the cinnamon saves it for me. It provides just enough spice to really cut through the lavender and keep it from being soapy. The citrus also provides a bit of an edge to the sip. It’s just an odd mix and hard to really pin down. This is totally not a flavor combo that I will ever go for again, but it’s not as bad as I feared.
Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this sample. I requested this one because it is new and it’s a green oolong. A note of personal preferences: typically I don’t LOVE osmanthus oolongs, but I do enjoy them quite a lot. They are tasty teas to drink but I don’t swoon over them usually.
I followed Teavivre’s steeping directions on this one, and it seemed pretty done after a minute so I pulled the leaves instead of letting it go for two. It smells nicely floral and sweet, with lovely osmanthus notes. The flavor is sweetish, with slighty spinachy bottom notes and a thick floral flavor over all. This is an extremely floral tea, so if you are not down with florals you are probably better off giving this one a pass. If you do like florals, however, this is a nice example of an osmanthus oolong.