1808 Tasting Notes
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!
Sipdown, 148. With the June reserve club coming in to increase my cupboard size, I thought it would be appropriate to sipdown some of the older reserve offerings I have. These teas tend to languish for multiple reasons: 1) I love them and want to hoard them because they are rare, 2) I don’t love them so I don’t think about drinking them often, and 3) I just don’t have time to gongfu very often. Tonight we came home slightly early so I decided to have this one in the evening.
This is one that I like ok but don’t love. I just haven’t picked up the palate for piney-ness and such. To me it really reminds me of walking a forest, in the cool weather, after a rainstorm. I love that scent, but it just doesn’t translate to delicious to me. But who knows, maybe in a couple of years it will!
I thought I might be within one more cup of a sipdown of this tea, but then I thought about it a bit. Did I really want to try to push the amount I had left into two cups, when it was really more suitable for three? Did I really want to rush through a sipdown of these, the only dragon pearls in my cupboard right now? The answer was no, I did not want to. Now that I’ve cleared my cupboard of easy sipdowns, its easy for me to fall into rotating only through the teas I have 5-10 servings of, hoping for a sipdown, but frustrated by how far away sipdowns seem to be. I’m still going to be working hard toward sipdowns, but I also have to remember to drink some tea from the larger tins and pouches in my stash.
So yes, I will savor this lovely tea and not rush a sipdown, although sipping it now it is clear that I shouldn’t wait too long… these pearls are pretty old and getting older, and they have lost some of their sparkle. Still, they are rich and sweet, with lots of lovely honeysuckle flavor to them. My favorite for a jasmine tea. And to think, these aren’t even the highest grade Teavivre offers! I will have to try the Superfine Downy pearls sometime.
Well, that last tea went from ok to completely undrinkable very quickly. Oh well, I blame the tea dust.
Last month I received two Verdant orders at the same time (one was a preordered tea cup), and both had a sample of this tea in them. One pouch is at home, waiting to be gongfu-ed, but one was brought into work to steep western style. I’m not typically into aged TGYs (I like them green as grass), but I am open to anything.
Steeped it smells like… an aged TGY. I know, so inspired. I am lacking in some inspiration today, I guess. There some dark florals lurking about, behind the aroma of lightly roasted veggies. The flavor is lighter than expected, really. It’s neither overly roasted nor overly floral. It’s just kind of sitting there in the middle, chilling. I’m not sure really what to think other than its a perfectly nice oolong to drink, but it’s not too terribly interesting to me. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in gongfu.
Sipdown, 149 (yay!). Didn’t remember that this one only had one serving left in it, but I discovered that once I opened the pouch up to check.
I’m not sure what happened when I got this in the store, but I’ve never in my life seen so much tea dust in the bottom of a pouch of oolong. Maybe the sales person was scraping the bottom of the bucket and I didn’t realize. In any case, I had to give this a very thorough rinsing with cold water to get most of the tiniest bits out that would go through my infuser, and then I only steeped it for 2 minutes given the obviously rapid infusion from the tea bits.
Yeah, this is far more on the green, grassy side of things than on the sweet vanilla floral side of things, and it must be the dust. Freaking tea dust! Ah well. It’s still good enough that I am enjoying this last cup.
Sipdown, 150. (I would love to sipdown to 146 before my Verdant reserve club order gets here, but I don’t know if that is possible! Based on past history it could get here as soon as the 8th, but I might have until the 10th).
I decided I needed the energy of a white tea this morning. I think it worked reasonably well; I managed to get a fair amount done this morning even through my relative exhaustion. Let see if I can keep it up this afternoon.
The first steep of this tea was quite nice, and I definitely got that bready, squashy flavor again. I went for a resteep for 3 minutes, but I didn’t enjoy it as much. I think it was a tad more hayish and green vegetal, as well as just being less flavorful. Still this is perhaps my favorite white tea that I’ve tried so far, and the only one (that’s not jasmine flavored) that I would consider reordering at this point.
It’s going to be one of those mornings. I couldn’t fall asleep for a little while last night, so this morning I am exhausted. I had a bowl of matcha, and then, because I was waiting a bit around the house this morning, I decided to break into one of the reserve club black teas I have. Brewed western style, of course (I don’t have the energy for gongfu in the morning, especially not this morning), which seemed ok to me since I knew it would be a black tea. First I thought of having the Qimen (keemun), but I sniffed it and it smelled smoky and keemun-y to me in a way that was not appealing. Perhaps another time. This one, however, smelled honeyed and perhaps a hint chocolatey, and I immediately chose it.
I’ve never actually had a jin jun mei tea, even though I have loved all the Fujian blacks I’ve tried. I can’t remember why, but I think there was something about the descriptions of some of them that didn’t appeal to me. I steeped this one up and it smells very malty, with a bit of molasses grains but not as strongly as a tan yang, say.
The flavor is lovely. Very bready, very malty. There is kind of a honey-ish flavor, but while that can mean a natural sweetness in some teas, it is definitely not in this. If anything the tea is slightly drying and a touch brisk. I was struggling this morning to try and figure out what that extra something was to this tea, almost a vegetal quality, and then I saw sweet potato notes and that was totally it. Almost a cross between a Fujian black and a Yunnan black. This was quite tasty and I would definitely try another JJM in the future, not to mention enjoying the rest of my packet of this tea.