2157 Tasting Notes
I got this tea as a free sample in my Black Friday order from Verdant. I am doubly pleased with this because I believe that my appreciation for traditional tieguanyins is currently on an upswing, and also because it is the base to Master Zhang’s Genmaicha, which I still haven’t tried, but it would be nice to try the base first. And now I get the opportunity! I am also using this tea to christen my new wide bird gaiwan, also acquired on Black Friday. At 5oz, this gaiwan is slightly smaller than my ru kiln teapot (6oz), but larger than my other two gaiwans (3oz), so it sits nicely in my collection. At first I thought I would have difficulty pouring the new gaiwan because it is much wider than my others, but I figured it out pretty quickly and it’s almost easier because I think the lips have a larger flare, keeping my fingers a bit cooler. The only problem is that my strainer that goes over my cha hai (pitcher) is not quite big enough to hold all the liquid when straining (the teapot pours slower), so I get a bit of overflow.
Yup, my love of traditional tieguanyins is definitely growing. I am quite enjoying this tea. I don’t think I am at the point of restocking one but I could see it happening in the future. This one has the light sweetness and breadiness that I have come to really enjoy. I usually say challa, but I could see cinnamon buns (perhaps without the icing? haha). I prefer the first 4-5 steeps… instead of getting more bready, for me this gets more vegetal as the steeps progress, which is less interesting to me. Still this was a fun one to have today, and I look forward to trying its blend as well.
Yayyy! This came in the mail today and I had to immediately try it. Holiday Earl Grey! With Laoshan Black (and Zhu Rong) base! I always love Verdant’s Earl variants, and I’m glad they finally had one for the blends club. The dry leaf smells really good, like a super Christmas-y Earl. Lots of bergamot, lots of cinnamon and clove.
The steeped tea smells amazing too, this time helped by the awesome chocolate of Laoshan Black. Mmmmm. The bergamot is less prominent but the spices scream Christmas in a cup. Yup, this one is a winner in my book. The chocolatey Laoshan Black, the sweet festive spices, the bright citrusy bergamot and orange. As with Verdant’s Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black the bergamot is not strong here, and as with that one that doesn’t bother me here. I’m not looking for a straight Earl, but there is enough bergamot flirting through the flavor to remind me that I am drinking a nontraditional Earl.
I’d love to use the tea cash I earned on Black Friday to buy more of this one (nudgenudge)!
Dreaming of an evening in France on this snowy morning in Ohio. Sigh.
This is very nice, although I think perhaps I didn’t have enough leaf because it’s a little weaker than I have come to expect from Fauchon. I could smell the rose and fruit in this but I hadn’t looked up what else was in it before drinking it. I definitely got a lot of orangey citrus from this, so that’s good. Nicely rosy, and the bae as a really yummy cookie-ish note. Really it’s just something that I often find in rose and/or bergamot teas that comes across as sugar cookie to me, and I think it’s really the way the flavoring is interacting with the base. Very pleased with this one as well.
Dammann advent calendar, day 9. Ahhh, Earl Grey. I have had their Earl Grey avec fleurs, but not their plain Earl, so I am interested to try it.
This tea just makes me happy. It’s been a long time since I had the “avec fleurs” Earl, so I can’t really remember it enough to be able to distinguish them, but I do think that this reminds me of that tea. I love the base blend, it is rich and comforting. The bergamot is not super strong, but it’s present enough to keep me satisfied. It is citrusy and not too floral, and it has that somewhat biscuity flavor that I sometimes get with bergamot and some base teas. Mmmm, so tasty. Kinda wish Dammann made a “double bergamot” Earl just because I would like it a bit stronger, but it is still lovely.
It is so frigidly cold in my office that I am wearing my winter coat and my toes are numb in my boots. I wanna go home. Unfortunately I have to teach this afternoon, so I can’t go home until after that. And university facilities refuses to do anything about the lack of heat in the building. ugh.
I picked up this one at the Vente-Privee sale. Initially I was unsure about it because it has a 100% assam base, but I went for it anyway. It is occuring to me now that it is essentially a rose black tea and I already know I love Fauchon’s La Rose, so why would I need this one on a base I might not enjoy? Well we’ll see how it goes haha. This is also technically rose-lotus flavor, so there’s that.
It smells nicely rosey, and it doesn’t have any of that note that I dislike in assams (hard for me to explain what it is, there is just a note I don’t like). The flavor is mostly rose, but perhaps there is some lotus in here as well. Definitely floral overall. It’s a tad bitter for my liking (it’s got “bite”), but that could possibly be fixed with short steep time. Or I could keep it at home to have a nice milky rose tea on the weekends.
Overall I think I need to accept that I am just not a fan of teas from the Indian mainland (Sri Lanka is ok) and stop buying them, even in the form of bases for flavored teas.
Dammann advent calendar, day 7. Dammann needs to work on their definition of tisane. I almost drank this last night, late in the evening when I drink caffeine free things, but thankfully I looked at the ingredients. Although I will grant that maté is technically a tisane, sencha green tea most definitely disqualifies this blend! Also I agree that there does appear to be a hint of hibiscus in this although there is no hibiscus in the ingredients.
Steeped it smells very lemony and gingery. I probably should have let this one steep longer, but I was worried about the green tea at 5 minutes. I guess it’s minimally present. The brew is a little weak but the flavor is pretty good. Lemony, a bit of heat from the ginger, and a light sweetness from some ingredient, but I don’t know what. This probably would be amazing iced!
This was a sample that I got for free from Dammann with my advent calendar. I love sweetened hibiscus tea, and I decided to follow Stephanies proceedure for making tea soda with this sachet. I brewed it triple strength (so, only 3oz of water), then added a good amount of sugar (2.5TBSP), let it cool, then mixed with soda water. YUM! The strawberry-rhubarb of this really came out and it was delicious. I kind of want to keep a hibiscus blend around just for making fruity tea sodas, especially for the summer. Yay tea soda!
Hmmm, looks like I’m going to be the lone dissenter on this one so far. So I’ve never actually had the base Yu Lu Yan Cha, and I believe that is wholly the reason for my lack of enthusiasm about this blend.
I brewed as instructed, knowing that I would probably want to add milk and honey, but I took a sip first. People say the base tea shines in this one, and I would have to concur. The spices were mild but nicely balanced, with no one spice coming over the top. I could smell the fennel (bleh) in the dry blend but it doesn’t stick out in the brewed tea.
However, the main flavor in this was the black tea. I did taste the chocolate notes, but there was a bitter harsh note that was almost like smoke but not quite. I thought maybe I was losing my mind (based on descriptions by others) until I read Terri’s note about how she gets a burnt note from it when western brewed, which is obviously how this blend was prepared. Yeah, that’s it… like something that has been burnt, but not the smoke itself. Which is definitely a major turn-off for me. Perhaps I should only brew Yu Lu Yan Cha gongfu, as Terri does.
So anyway I added milk and honey. At first I was still unsure whether I wanted to drink it but the milk smoothed over the burnt note and the honey brought out the chocolate. I will likely be able to drik the rest of this one, although it may go into a swap box for someone who loves it more.
Dammann advent calendar, day 7. Christmas tea, on the day we went to get our Christmas tree! Perfect!
When I opened the sachet of this one it smelled like orange candy and spices. Brewed up the spices come out much more, with the orange blending well with them. It really reminds me of the holidays, that orangey spicienss. As usual, I find this one quite tasty. It’s a bit simpler than some of their other blends, but nice and well-balanced. Neither the orange nor the spices really overwhelms the other. The vanilla is subtle and basically provides a nice smoothness. I could take or leave the green tea base, as it isn’t as interesting (to me) as their black base, but it’s pretty nice and not astringent or grassy. A tasty blend for this evening but not something I would restock.
I was thinking about this the other day and wondering how it would come out as a cold brew. I’m not fond of darjeelings hot but maybe I would like them ok cold?
The first word I would use to describe this one is powerful. Extremely floral, almost perfumy, with a fruity and almondy undercurrent. I accidentally let this one go longer than I planned, which could be factoring into this, but I also think I will use half the leaf I usually do in the future. I diluted it a great deal and it became more pleasant. I still don’t totally love this one, but I do like the darjeeling much more as a cold brew than I do hot (although I still have to try it at a cooler steep temp). It’s also one of those cold brews that grew on me and I liked it a lot more as I drank more of it.