1804 Tasting Notes
Sipdown, 148. Cold brew; most of my sipdowns now will probably be cold brews for a bit, since it is summer and cold brews are a good way to use up leaf.
This was quite good today. At first I thought it was too strong, but as I kept drinking it it seemed to mellow out and was just yummy green apple with green tea. There was a hint of astringency, but that actually made me really think of eating a granny smith apple and how they can have that astringent, drying character. It worked well, and made for a tasty tea today.
I really have too many types of lychee congou in my cupboard right now. Even though they are very similar and I really only need one, it’s like rose congou… I can’t help but try a company’s version in case they hold my new favorite. Not to mention I will often request them in swaps because I will probably like them. But I now have a boatload of Harney’s lychee congou, so I need to sipdown the others I have (smaller amounts) and be happy with the Harney until I run out of that one.
This is a pretty decent version. The base tea is nice and malty, smooth but not weak. It’s a light lychee flavor for sure, and I usually like a bit stronger lychee flavor, but it’s tasty nonetheless. I will definitely try this cold brew since I love lychee iced tea.
I probably won’t have very many sipdowns this week. I have gone through most of my easy sipdowns and am left with moderate amounts of lots of teas (and lots of a few teas). I will make myself crazy (and maybe bored) if I try to focus on only drinking the teas with the least amounts in them, so I am going to cycle through all the moderate-amount teas in the next couple of weeks. That way I will have a better idea of the amounts I have left as well.
I started with this one! It really is quite a tasty Chinese black tea. It reminds me more of the black pearl teas from Yunnan, with it’s nuts and chocolate notes, than the golden Yunnans with their honey and sweet potato. A solid, delicious black tea, and a pleasure to drink.
I almost forgot I had this tea this morning. It was somewhat interrupted as we had a mini dissertation crisis this morning (all I can say is, thank god the boyfriend and I are not defending at the same time), but fortunately I still got to drink it while it was warm.
I used to love this tea; early in my tea career it was one of my faves. Now I am not so much a fan of the chocolate flavoring, and I am becoming pickier about my nutty teas. A lot of them just taste off to me for some reason now. I drank this one with milk and sugar this morning, and it was pretty tasty. It’s also pretty old at this point, and I think that Harney’s teas do tend to fade in flavor faster than some other flavored ones I have. Fortunately I have less of this one than I thought, so I should be able to work through it quickly.
Mmm, this was my second gongfu session today. Unlike the aged TGY, this tea epitomizes the floral, green, new-style oolong. This is a beautiful, beautiful tea, and it is exactly my kind of tea. I love these.
The first steeps were sweet and very very floral. The type of flower is most definitely lilac, because it strongly reminded me of some lilac bushes currently blooming outside my office. Slightly buttery, but in a very sweet cream butter way. A bit of peach-flower; almost fruity, but not quite. I feel bad that I got distracted and couldn’t pay attention to the tea toward later steeps, but it was really, really delicious. This is a TGY that I would definitely reorder to keep around, even though I have a pile of TGYs from Verdant, because it’s that awesome (and really, I can never have enough TGYs!)
Sipdown, 149. Since I just had the ten year aged TGY from the reserve club yesterday, I decided to have a gongfu session with this sample today to compare. This is a much more traditionally aged TGY, having been pan roasted at various points in its processing. I found this tea kind of lackluster brewed western style, so I’m interested to see how it plays out this way.
At first, the first steep smells very similar to the western brew. In comparison to the TGY from yesterday, it has a light but distinct roasted note, but more like roasted greens than toasted bread. But the flavor has a light sweetness to it, and it is more complex. There are notes of roasted kale and very faint florals, like the memory of a flower.
For me, this is one of those teas that has a intriguing, tasty first steep, and then subsequent steeps are kind of boring. I used to have that problem with most teas I brewed gongfu, but I have gotten better at the process. I still often fall so in love with the first steep of a TGY that everything afterward is somewhat disappointing, although with really fantastic TGYs there is less of a fall-off. The later steeps of this tea were fine but not really my style. They reminded me of a TGY that I bought in Beijing when I first arrived; very traditional (as opposed to the newer green TGYs), but I got bored with it after a while. I took this through 6 steeps before I gave up. Glad I got to try it, though.
Sipdown, 146. Quick, I need a sipdown because my Verdant reserve club box is out for delivery!
This is one I am sad to see go (but it was also the only sipdownable tea I had among the reserve club packages at home). It is an aged TGY, but so unique because there is no roasting involved! So it still has the greenness and the florals of a green TGY, but it also has a thick, hearty breadiness. I get some sweet green apple notes, kind of like an apple bread. I am spending the afternoon gongfu brewing this one, and very much enjoying it. Hmmm, I wonder if any of this is left on Verdant’s website?
After this cup I only have one more left of Laoshan Black! Except for the fact that I have plenty of it in blends and I have 2oz the the first picking, which should last me for a while. The one ounce I got of this certainly did, because my first tasting note for it is a year ago.
Perhaps because I am getting to the bottom of my pouch, which has been packed and unpacked for moving several times now, and the leaf is not so fluffy anymore, but I used 1 TBSP for 12oz here and it is a bit overly strong. Still tasty, but a bit too much bitter in the bittersweet chocolate today. Guess I should be using my standard black tea amount (2tsp for 12 oz) instead. Which of course makes the last of my sample an awkward amount; I suppose if it comes down to it I could dump the extra teaspoon into my LB chocolate genmaicha or bergamot rose LB blends.
At one point this was the only darjeeling I liked. Now I’m not even sure I like this one anymore. What’s going on, tastebuds? I’m all for learning to like things I didn’t before, but I don’t appreciate losing my taste for things (except maybe really crappy flavored tea. I’m ok with losing my taste for that). But darjeeling is a large hunk of the tea world, and lately my tastebuds are saying no to any and all varieties of it.
So yeah, today this one is unexpectedly bitter. I do think this would make a killer iced tea, so I guess I will take this home for that purpose.
I hot brewed this to cool it in the fridge and drink it cold. I snuck a sip after brewing (before adding sweetener) and it was so sour it pretty much turned my mouth inside out. Woah! After cooling I had to pour a ton of simple syrup in to even get it remotely sweet. Well, it was fine once I got it to be palatable, but this is definitely not a tea you can drink unsweetened. Not too sad to see it go!