1961 Tasting Notes
Wow there was about 15 minutes there where the Steepster discussion boards were totally overtaken by spam. But it’s gone now!
So I’ve had this tea for a little while now, and I got it in a swap with IrishBreakfastLass. Thanks! At first I didn’t try it because it wasn’t “seasonal”, but then I didn’t try it because it didn’t seem that awesome. Lots of CTC leaf, and a kind of lackluster scent of the dry leaf. But I figured I should get around to tasting it sooner or later.
Yeah, lackluster smell of the brewed tea, too. It smells like the kind of gross CTC tea that I hate, along with some cinnamon. It doesn’t taste gross, but it also doesn’t really taste good. Kind of like the Butiki Pumpkin Creme Brulee tea I had earlier this week, this one tastes like not much at all anymore. Maybe like musty cinnamon. I wonder if pumpkin flavoring disappears faster than others? There is maybe a bit more to this one, though, and I wonder if I could force some flavor out of it by brewing it super strong then adding milk and sugar. Well, it goes home, and if it still sucks, it will meet the trash can!
I don’t even know what to do with this tea. I tried it cold brewed—again—and this time it was drinkable, but not really good. I guess I can try swapping it; based on what I’ve tried from other companies and how other people have reacted to them, I would guess that this might be tasty to some people. It’s not dissimilar to 52teas Black Currant Bai Mu Dan or Earl Black… that’s the type of flavoring. Just not my thing.
Just kidding, I wasn’t done with Gande Tieguanyins yet. I forgot I had this one, which I brought back with me from Beijing. This is a somewhat older tea, but it’s been in vacuum sealed pouches all this time, so I think it should be fine.
Immediately this tea smells greener and leafier. This one has definite spinach notes in amongst the florals, which present but somehow more plant-like and less frilly. The texture is nice and smooth, but it doesn’t have as much of the straight up butter notes. It’s also one of the few I have that actually has slight fruity/apricot notes, and a real tang to it. It has a hint of sweetness, but it’s moderated by the tanginess and the vegetal notes. I love how these TGYs are all different in subtle ways, but I love them all.
This is the fourth and final Gande (green, unroasted, unaged) TGY that I have in my possession currently. There is actually a fair amount of this on sale right now on Verdant’s site, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about ordering more.
It is a lovely TGY. Like the Early Spring Picking (also Master Zhang’s), this one has heavy lilac notes. But I would say that this one is thicker and creamier than the Early Spring Picking. SUPER sweet. Sweet cream butter, for sure. It is the sweetest TGY that I have right now. Which of course means I love it. I want more but my cup is empty.
And here’s the autumn picking. I had this a bit earlier this afternoon but I was working and didn’t get around to writing a note at the time.
So yeah, I have no idea at this point if I prefer spring or autumn TGYs, or what. At one point I thought I preferred autumn, then I convinced myself it was spring. But this was perhaps my favorite TGY of the day. It was darker, richer. Love the saffron notes from this one, which remind me how David will often accentuate those notes with added saffron in blends. More like brown butter than sweet cream. Yum. I think basically I have to give up and say that I love really good TGY, and enjoy exploring it every season.
So my desire to try my TGYs back to back was strong enough to brew this one up this afternoon. Might even bust into the Autumn Picking later, although the reserve club oolongs are at home.
There is a desire to hoard teas like this because they are so valuable and once they’re gone, they’re gone. But really, when you think about it, that’s not really the case. Yes, this particular tea will be gone, but there will be another picking next year, and exploring them year to year is a much better way to think about your teas. Anyway, that’s just my philosophical musings for the day.
I actually think I prefer the Early Picking TGY to this one, even though this is the higher grade tea. This one is slightly less floral in the immediate sip, although the florals are certainly present in the aftertaste. There is less creaminess to this one, more greenness. Slightly less buttery. Although all of those things are certainly present in this tea to an amazing amount, so that’s not to say that this is lacking in those qualities. Just that the Early Spring Picking has that much more of those qualities. I’m interested to keep sipping through some of these TGYs that I have, since I have quite a few!
Sipdooooown! 128. Now I only have one more GTC tea to get through. A triumph! I’ve been cold brewing this one, and it was tolerable, but not great. Fakey flavoring on mediocre tea base, no thanks. I think I can say that I have certainly learned my lesson about ordering indiscriminantly from tea companies just because I get a deal.
Yes, I am just now getting around to drinking this early spring tea in October. I don’t know why I put off trying these TGYs for so long. It’s almost as if, because TGYs are among my favorite teas ever, I was hoarding them before even tasting them. I also feel like all spring, summer, and early fall I have been so consumed by dissertating that I didn’t think I could do them justice, or something. But my boyfriend had asked about TGYs and said I needed to brew one so he could smell it, so this morning I busted this one out, finally.
It is, for sure, everything I love about TGY. Floral, buttery, fresh and green. I get the flavor of lilacs and fresh cream, along with extremely tender baby greens. I wish I could be poetic and long-winded about it, but at this point I can’t. I do want to compare it to a few others, just to see how everything differs. I think this one is a bit more crisp, lacking the slight sugary note that you find in some TGYs.
I have been thinking about Butiki custom blend contest entries lately, which has led to thinking about Butiki teas in general. I haven’t had this one in a bit and I wanted to come back to it. This time I brewed it at four minutes, as suggested.
Mmm, yes I would say this one really shines at four minutes. Honey, apricots, and a thick, rich texture. This time I can see where waffles are coming from, as well as the slightly powdery sweetness of confectioners sugar. Although I typically am not quite as fond of fruity blacks, the richness of this one totally balances it out and gives it that extra oomph. Quite a delicious tea, and worth of the hype.
Sooo I’m not sure what’s up with this tea. It is old, for sure. It’s so old that I don’t even really remember who I got it from, though I think it was possibly Azzrian. But thanks to whoever sent it along.
However, although this tea smells cinnamon-y and delicious, it tastes like… nothing. Well the first time I had it a couple of days ago it tasted a little like metal, but not much else. Today I added more leaf to see if I could coax some flavor out of it, and I will say that there is a hint of sweetness, but also some kind of bland bitterness. I don’t think I’ve ever had a tea so totally lose its flavor, not just the flavoring, but the flavor of the black tea itself. Weird. I’m going to chalk it up to this being likely very old, and make a note to get a fresh sample of this sometime. Unfortunately, I don’t think the rest of my current sample is worth saving. Unexpected sipdown, 129.