2007 Tasting Notes
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.
Sipdown, 130. I looked at my pile of Verdant reserve teas, and even though I have a large amount of shengs sitting around, I really didn’t feel like a sheng. But I also happened to have a single serving of this left, so I went for it.
I really do like the beany, sweet, slightly buttery flavor of this one. I feel like it is pretty consistent steep to steep. Such a lovely green tea and I would consider keeping its non-reserve sibling around once I trim my cupboard some more.
Sipdown, 131. I was originally going to have a different type of tea for the afternoon, but then I decided it would be interesting to see if I could taste differences in shu puerhs. So I grabbed this one!
The initial impression is that this one is very similar to the Xingyang shu, but it reveals its differences. The predominant note is wood, but this is like pine rather than oak. This lacks the deeper aged bourbon notes, instead this is brighter and crisper. No candy sweetness either, a cleaner, sharper texture. As the steeps progress it got less woody. The grits/cornmeal/tamale crust that Terri mentions is spot on. Interesting. A hint of sweetness pops up.
I do enjoy trying out all these puerhs. Education! :D
Sipdown, 132. I have come to the realization that I’m just not that excited by puerhs, sheng or shu. So I’ve packed up my reserve club puerhs off to someone who will appreciate them better, or will pass them to someone else who will appreciate them. I did, however, save one gongfu-sessions’ worth of each tea to try, in order to continue my tea education.
The description of this tea says that it is a true tea lover’s tea, and talks about the mustiness of old books. Again I come across the conundrum of puerhs, in that they often encapsulate some of my favorite scents, but I don’t necessarily want to taste those scents. Musty books/libraries, old oak barrels, newly dried tobacco, piney woods, wet rock. I love those scents, and they all often show up in puerhs of different varieties. This one definitely has the old oak bourbon barrel thing going on.
It’s amazing how sweet the first couple of steeps are. It’s incongruous to me… The scent and initial taste of somewhat smoked wood, followed by the sweetness of candy. I think especially for shu I can see the appeal, especially because I like bourbon and some of the same notes run through this puerh. This is nice, I am enjoying it. I just don’t think I am ever going to crave a puerh or want to have a particular one more than once. Maybe one day I’ll find a puerh that I love enough to keep in my cupboard.
It turns out that 1.5 tsp of tea for 12oz, versus the 2 tsp that I usually use, is really the magic amount for this tea. I found it tasty but slightly astringent the first couple of times I had it using the latter measurements, but today I tried it with 1.5 tsp and there is no astringency to be had. Perfect!
However, at this point I’m not bumping the rating because although this is nicely malty with light sweetness and no bitterness or astringency, there is also some other note in there that’s not really optimal for me. I do think it’s an assam-y note in general, although I haven’t tried a lot of straight up assams yet. It’s maybe a hint of fruit? Almost floral, really. It sounds like a note I would like, but for whatever reason I don’t. I’ve come across it before, but can’t ever quite put my finger on it. I think that with the Kathryne Earl Grey with this base the bergamot masks it, which is why I like that one so much. Glad to have tried this one, though, and I’m very grateful for the samples.