1851 Tasting Notes
I just found out that one of the new grad students in my current department is a tea drinker, and even a loose tea drinker. Cool! We were talking about tea, I showed her my astounding amount of tea in my office, and then she came back with a tea that she said I might not have tried. She said it was a green tea from Vietnam and it smelled amazingly like vanilla, which she claims is all natural, not flavoring. So I grabbed a cup’s worth to try. But she just had it in an unmarked ziploc baggie, so I have no idea about what it is! The leaf dark green and somewhat broken up and it had a ton of stems in it. She warned me that it is most vanilla-y early on and gets bitter later, so I steeped conservatively at 1 minute (because it looked like it was done).
And man, do I need to find out what this is. Flavored or not, this is delicious. If it’s actually unflavored, it’s astounding. Almost like a milk oolong, but definitely not a milk oolong. It’s vanilla-y, but also a little creamy. Oh I think maybe toasted coconut? (It’s really interesting to try a tea “blind” when you don’t know what it’s supposed to taste like). Definitely toasted coconut. This has got to be flavored somehow, but it’s really well done nonetheless. It’s actually gotten more creamy and coconutty as its cooled and I haven’t had a problem with bitterness.
What a great tea! I will definitely have to figure out where she got it.
Thank you so much to Angel and Teavivre for sending me samples of this tea. I am always intrigued when a jasmine tea is on an unusual green base… actually I’m not sure what base jasmine greens usually are, but they aren’t usually specified. But this one is! It was cool that the leaf was kind of half-rolled, almost like an oolong.
This was quite a nice jasmine green tea, with perhaps a bit more oomph from the green tea than a regular jasmine green. Bi luo chun is often kind of green-beany, and it comes through a little. This is less sweet than some other jasmine greens and lacks the honeysuckle notes. But that’s not to say the jasmine is light! It’s quite robust, it’s just matched by the green flavor of the tea as well. I definitely look forward to trying this one again, maybe in close comparison with some other jasmine greens.
Even though I have a pile of other DF teas to try that I haven’t had before, this one was calling my name this afternoon. This is one of those teas where my mouth starts watering the minute that the pouch opens. So much buttery toffee goodness.
And so much buttery toffee goodness in the flavor too! I would agree that this is perhaps more toffee than straight caramels, but it’s really a continuum anyway. It’s a tea that tricks my brain into thinking its sweet, even though there isn’t any actual sweetness to the tea. The black base is present in this one, but to me that’s a good thing. Glad I restocked this one!
Almond is one of my absolute favorite flavors. Marzipan is perhaps my favorite candy, and I love amaretto. And although I have been able to find a number of good teas with almond as one component of it, I have yet to find my perfect almond black tea. I’ve actually pretty much given up on finding one. I think part of my problems has been the base teas… they’re never any good. But I really enjoy Dammann’s standard black base, so this one has obviously been on my list for a while, and now I finally get to try it out.
Dry this smells a lot like some of the other marzipan/almond teas I’ve tried. Which is to say, not unlike amaretto. Steeped, the base tea really comes out more, although thankfully the almond is still a prominent note. And, unlike many almond teas, the almond is a sweet, prominent note in the flavor as well. For some reason in a lot of almond black teas the almond flavor doesn’t come through strongly, but that is not the case here. But it’s also go enough of the base to remind you that yes, you are drinking black tea here. For whatever reason the standard Dammann black base seems thinner to me in this one, and I would love it to be a bit more robust, but otherwise its quite lovely. Very smooth, no bitterness, nice almond.
This was a free sample that came with my Instant Thé order. Like Ysaurella, I haven’t heard of this company before, but the samples they sent sounded pretty good. This is very similar to the Lemon Drop tea I have from California Tea House (and also to a large number of lemony-ginger green teas), except this has some mint and licorice root in it instead of chamomile and orange peel.
I find these teas make good stomach-settlers, which is why I chose this one this morning. I am already feeling better than I did earlier, but I figured having some of this one will probably help anyway. I am enjoying this blend… definitely lemony, but much of the other flavors just kind of blend in to a kind of herbal background. The licorice root provides a sweetness to the aftertaste that I find pleasant. Nice, but it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd of other lemony green teas.
There is no action that will sober you more about your tea collection than attempting to unpack it into something. I bought a small set of drawers just for my tea for the office and let’s just say there is still a cardboard box full of tea sitting next to it. I have a lot of tea! Somehow it didn’t seem like as much when it was just sitting in boxes. One thing I still have to deal with is the teas from my Instant Thé order, which all are in non-airtight bags, and of course I don’t have enough 50g tins. But if I do get tins from them they definitely won’t all fit in there!
Anyway, this tea. The scent is crazy and hard to parse. It definitely smells floral (orange blossom I guess), and I do get some chestnut, and perhaps a hint of caramel. In the flavor it is definitely floral and chestnutty. The florals are kind of odd; not definitively orange blossom, but intensely floral nonetheless. Perhaps its the chestnut that I am not used to that is giving this an oddness to it for me. It’s pretty good, but the flavor profile is a little out of my comfort zone. It probably doesn’t help that I’m suddenly feeling a bit ill this morning (nothing to do with the tea, it started before that; probably to do with getting up way to early this morning). Well hopefully tea will help me feel better!
Drank this one yesterday while Steepster was not behaving. One of my favorite things about the Verdant reserve club is the oddities we get… like this one. Wuyi oolongs are always roasted, so one that’s not is really interesting.
I have to say from the dry leaf this smelled to me like a fairly standard wuyi oolong, including some roasty-toastiness. And that’s what I get from the early steeps too… Don’t get me wrong, it comes off like a very nice wuyi oolong, but to me it seems like the others I’ve had. It’s rocky, it’s sweet, and it’s a bit like fall leaves, brown and crackly. It is perhaps not quite as roasty as some others I’ve had, but green and floral like a TGY? Not really. I certainly have an unrefined palate when it comes to these teas, so there is probably some of that coming into play as well. But whether it comes across as unroasted or not, it was definitely a nice oolong.
I didn’t order many green blends since I haven’t been as much of a fan of those lately, but the ones I do still like are Dammann, so I figured it wasn’t too much of a risk. This one was especially intriguing because it is definitely not a sencha… it’s actually green tea from Vietnam, which I don’t think I’ve ever tried before. Cool!
The dry leaf smells like lychees and a bit of banana, but not too much. Kind of reminds me of a smoothie made with banana, in that you can taste it but it’s not the main event. This is actually supposed to be banana flower, so I guess that makes sense. The flavor is definitely floral, as lychees tend to be fairly floral on their own, plus the addition of other, distinct florals blends well. The banana florals are pretty neat; I typically am not huge on banana flavoring, but these are nice and banana-y without overkill. This isn’t a mind-blowingly awesome tea, but it is tasty and I bet it would also make a killer iced tea. A nice, light fruity blend for when I’m in the mood.
Another from my box of Dammann! I’m not usually one for flavored puerhs, or puerhs in general, but the chance to get only 50g of this (instead of the required 100g in store) was tempting enough to jump on. I mean, cookie, caramel, vanilla, and almond? How could I say no?
The dry leaf smells deliciously like all of those things. At first the scents coming from the brewing tea were mostly those as well, but slowly as it steeped longer more and more puerh notes were coming to the forefront. After steeping I find this to smell like a pretty woody puerh, like sawdust or oak bourbon barrels, without too much dirt/earth. As it cools more and more vanilla and caramel come out as well. Mmm caramel wood, haha.
I love Dammann’s caramel flavoring (see their Caramel Toffee tea, which I restocked in this order), and it is present in full force in this tea. So that works out pretty well for me. I can definitely taste the puerh, woody and even a tad minerally, but fortunately for me it is not too strong. I am definitely enjoying this tea; I guess I prefer my woody puerhs doused in caramel, vanilla, and a hint of amaretto-y almond. :)
You know when you get a lot of tea at once and you don’t know where to start? That’s how I feel about my order from Instant Thé that came yesterday. I ordered 13 teas and got three free samples, bringing my cupboard up to 144.
I chose this one as the first from the box, as the whole box smells like fig (actually at least two of the teas I bought have fig in them, maybe more) and it was making me crave a fig tea. It unsurprisingly smells, and tastes, very figgy. If you like figs, you would love this tea because it is very intensely figgy. I love figs (fig season is perhaps my favorite fruit season), so this tea is AMAZING. Perhaps a bit more black figs than green figs, sweet but not too sweet, rich and delicious. So pleased with this one!