1644 Tasting Notes
On the road again with Paris sachets. And I just got upgraded to first class on my next flight, sweet! I’ve had frequent flyer status for several flights now but it’s not very high-level and I’ve been flying a lot of well-traveled routes, so I’m always at the bottom of the upgrade list. This time I am traveling somewhere that is not so popular. Yay tasty Paris tea, and yay first class.
Today I am drinking a number of teas that are penultimate sipdowns, meaning I have one more cup left. That way when I get back home in two weeks after my trip, I can sip down a bunch of things in quick succession. This is one such tea!
This is a really nice raspberry tea. As I have noted before, the raspberry is juicy and authentic tasting. It’s also a bit lighter than some highly flavored teas, and it’s one I wasn’t able to appreciate until much later in my tea tasting career. The oolong is a fairly generic formosa oolong, so it is neither green nor roasty, but it does contribute a few subtle plummy notes I think. A pleasant afternoon tea.
Sipdown, 177. (I stealth sip-downed another tea by including it with some others in a cold brew). Thanks to Ellen for a sample of this tea!
This is one of those long, wiry teas that makes it impossible to portion out in a teaspoon. I used to fret about them, but now if I make them at work, western style, I just put what “looks right” into my infuser and fly by the seat of my pants. The sample that Ellen sent looked like maybe a bit much for one cup but possibly not enough for cup, so I decided to just put it all in one and only do a 1 minute steep to start. My winging-it was compounded by the fact that Tea Trekker no longer carries this tea and it doesn’t appear on their website, so there aren’t any steeping instructions for it. Nor are there any other notes for it here on Steepster. Nor is there any other tea in the database that seems to be the same type of tea from a different supplier. They describe it (preserved here on Steepster) as a green tea and/or baozhong, so I decided 180°F sounded good.
Seems to have worked out well (for any tea-newbies out there reading this, it took me a long time to become that confident winging it with an unknown tea). The steeped tea smells buttery and a bit chestnutty, and that carries over to the flavor as well. It’s a bit sweet and definitely nutty. I like the heft and body that it has, which definitely reminds me of a baozhong/pouchong over a green tea. As it cools, more floral orchid notes come out, especially in the aftertaste, which is pleasant and slightly unexpected! It’s a tasty tea, and too bad it’s not available anymore!
Thanks to yssah for a sample of this tea! I didn’t see her temperature recommendation before I brewed this one so I went conservatively. I never know how bud-based Chinese blacks are going to respond to full boil water.
The dry leaf of this tea is very golden with very squiggly leaves. Steeped, it smells way less hayish and woody than the Pure Gold Yunnan from LIT. Instead, it has more honeyed and sweet potato notes to it. The taste is smooth and sweet, with flavors of sweet potato pie. This is definitely more similar to the Dian Hong Golden Buds from Teavivre than the other Yunnan. It’s quite tasty, though a little thin, which is like a result of slight understeeping. Still, this a nice dian hong and a good example of the type of Yunnan black tea that I really enjoy!
Sipdown, 179. I’m actually not traveling (though I do start another trip tomorrow) and am not stuck in an airport. This is actually the tea I am drinking this morning, thanks to ToiToi, who sent me a sample in our last swap.
Darjeelings are a tea that I haven’t explored much because I haven’t had too many that were that intriguing to me. But I am always up for trying new teas, so here goes! First off, I might have steeped this one too hot. There are a lot of greenish leaves that have made themselves known post-steeping, and that seems to have resulted in a bitter note that comes out at the end of the sip. The aroma of the cup and the first part of the sip are promising, however. This tea smells both like a malty black but with some floral notes. The first part of the flavor is bready and nice, but then those bitter notes come in. They’re not super strong, so I am still drinking the tea. The darjeeling brightness sometimes gets to me, but in this case it is subtle enough.
Overall I am enjoying this one more than I typically do a darjeeling, but it’s still not totally winning me over. Glad I got a chance to try it though.
Well I’m traveling again and stuck in an airport all night with delays. Last night nothing was open but one small shop and the only thing they had was Lipton! I was so desperate I went for it. I noticed it was the new blend that they’ve been advertising on tv, so I was kind of curious as well.
I steeped the bag for 3 minutes at whatever temp the shop water was. The first thing I was greeted with was quite the aroma! It had a nice malty smell with some honeyed notes and a light roastiness. There was also a brightness that was pretty uplifting.
From the very first sip, I really enjoyed this tea. It must be the fresh-pressed tea leaves that they’re now adding to the bags. It really makes a difference! The tea was full bodied but still light and not astringent. It was smooth with a silky texture, with notes of molasses, fresh bread and a hint of chocolate. I really felt great drinking this tea.
I feel like I have to spread the news! This amazing tea can be had at your grocery store! I even found a special coupon code for ordering online today for 50% off, what a steal! The code is: APRILFOOLS
Sipdown, 180! Yay. I am sad to sip this one down but I have a strict no hoarding policy so if something is within sipdown range I drink it, not save it, even if it is basically irreplaceable (like this one).
Mmm, I think I will vamp on this one when I eventually try my own herbal blend. Lots of bright, lemony verbena, juicy orange, sweet appley chamomile. Yum. For my own herbal, I will add rose buds/petals because why not?
Argh, Steepster ate my quite long tasting note! Maaaan. Sipdown, 181. Thanks to Fong Mong for the sample, and sorry it took me so long to get around to reviewing it. I decided to brew this one gong fu today, using the 6g vaccum sealed sample in my teapot.
I did a rinse first and then a 20 second steep. I normally would have a shorter first steep for gongfu, but even at 6g these leaves didn’t look like a lot in my tea pot so I decided to steep them a bit longer. It turned out well; the first steep smells floral and a bit buttery, and it tastes like buttery sugar snap peas. It definitely has a hint of vegetal sweetness.
For my second steep I actually decided to go ahead and go 1 minute because the first steep was fairly light as it was. I also just used the water in my teapot that had cooled to 190degF. This steep is more vegetal but it still has a floral quality and a sweet note here and there. This one isn’t particularly creamy but it does have a very smooth texture. Definitely an enjoyable tea for this afternoon.
Sipdown, 182. Thanks to Ellen for this sample!
Today I learned when it comes to Japanese green tea, follow the f#%king directions. This time I followed Den’s directions exactly. And this tea is delicious. Really quite amazing. Chestnutty, which is my favorite green tea note, and so sweet! I was amazed when I took the first sip. It is fairly green and grassy too, but those nutty, buttery sweet notes are amazing.
Second steep, also following their directions, is a little stronger, edging on astringent. Defintiely very spinachy. I preferred the first steep, but this one is still pretty tasty. But that first steep alone was worth the experience because it was so tasty. I haven’t played with Japanese green teas much before (part of why I requested the samples from Ellen), but with an introduction like this it’s definitely a fun new genre that I could see myself experimenting more with in the future.
Sipdown,183. I made a big pot of this tea this morning with my sample from yssah. Thanks!
All of the Earls that yssah sent are super duper bergamotty in scent, and it seems like they carry that over to the taste as well. The level reminds me of Todd & Holland’s double bergamot, it’s that strong. Obviously that works well for me, who loves bergamot. This Earl I went into somewhat blind as it was only described as having flowers and herbs, but I was intrigued. It is very herbaceous, but difficult to discern individual herbs except a lot of lavender and perhaps a bit of rosemary? I’m unsure. I am not the biggest fan of lavender in teas, but I don’t hate it either. This is fortunately bergamotty enough to balance them out so it doesn’t get too perfumey or soapy. It’s not so much for me just because of the lavender, but it is otherwise quite a nice blend.