153 Tasting Notes
My house is empty tonight, with my husband on a 75 mile backpacking trip with one of our sons in the Carolina foothills. I did my own 2 hour urban hike with the Atlanta Outdoor Club today, and having been gone most of the day, I’m feeling that pull to the tea cabinet. I’ve been neglecting my Darjeeling teas lately, and had forgotten about the Upton Premium Darjeeling Sampler I had purchased. The company offers quite a few sampler sets which consist of 4 tins, each holding 35 gms. They also offer all of their teas in individual samples. Upton describes this as one of the finest from the 2011 first flush season, so my expectations are high. Right off the bat, before even tasting it, I enjoy the nice aroma of this golden amber cup. The delicate sweet liquor has an elegance about it with its layers of flavor and accents of tropical fruit. So very different from an Assam or a China Congou, yet amazingly, still a part of the black tea family. There is so much variety among all the different teas, even though they are all from the same plant. This Darjeeling is quite nice and one that I would recommend trying.
Its been awhile since I’ve had a pu-erh. I like to take some time with them since you can get so many steepings-16 for this one, according to Teavivre. So today, I have the time, and I’m motivated since my husband used my other sample yesterday, not realizing I was saving it for the right time. I start out in a conventional way using a gaiwan. Following the instructions on the website, I rinse 10 gms twice and start out with quick steepings, as follows: 10s, 10s, 10s, 5s, 5s, 5s, 10s,10s,10s,and 10s. I give my husband some of the later ones and he says, “Now that’s some good tea.” We’re in agreement on that. The first cups taste thick and rich, but all the steepings are nice. After ten 3-oz steepings, I do a final? two minute steeping for my husband with 10 oz of water, which he says still has plenty of flavor-so maybe we’re not done yet after all. The liquor is dark, the color of cola, with a pleasant earthy aroma. Sweet, earthy, and smooth are good overall descriptions, and importantly, there is no fishy taste, bitterness or astringency. So, for pu-erh lovers, or if you haven’t had pu-erh and want to give one a try, get a sample of this one. The pu-erh teas I’ve had from Teavivre do fine with either gongfu or Western style brewing.
Another puerh sample that my husband go into when I wasn’t around. He reports that it was very good. Being a 2012, it would be fun to get some more to age awhile. Fortunately, I have one more sample, so will report later.
My husband made this up and found it to be very tasty but unfortunately, I wasn’t around. Fortunately, I have one more sample, so will review it soon.
I have extra time today and have decided to make this Gongfu style which is my preferred method for oolongs. To prepare it, I rinse the leaves first. The liquor is light yellow with a greenish cast. The wet leaves smell very vegetal. The 1st infusion tastes very buttery and has light spinach notes. The second infusion has a more floral fragrance and taste, with light vegetal notes in the background. After 5 infusions, I can sum up my impression with the words buttery, light, smooth, and creamy, with a lingering sweetness-it reminds me of what I appreciate in a good Tieguanyin. Each infusion is a little different, but all of these aspects are there to some degree, and the first four infusions are very flavorful, though not aggressive. The 5th infusion is pushing it, but I think next time, I might use a little more leaf, higher temp, and shorter steeping times as an experiment. If you’re an oolong fan, this is worth trying, especially if you like Tieguanyin.
I’m always excited to try anything I get from Stacy at Butiki. I love a good black and Stacy has good teas, but I anticipated this might be rather ordinary since it is a CTC. I was wrong! If you like something bold and unique, you should give it a try! All I had was a sample, and I followed the instructions to only steep for 1 minute. It has a ton of bold flavor, rich and malty, and I didn’t find it to be bitter. My first impression is very favorable, and I want to order some more if she adds it to her website. I may even score it higher when I try it again. I may have under rated it.
I received this sample with my Butiki order today, and as usual, Stacy doesn’t disappoint with her flavored blends. Sweetened, this makes a delicious dessert tea. The aroma wafting out of the cup is like a juicy orange and the most predominant flavor is orange-it reminds me of the classic Creamsicles from my childhood, but you still know you’re drinking tea. There is a hint of chocolate and the marshmallow is probably in there somewhere, adding to the yumminess, but orange is at the forefront. Some flavored teas leave an unpleasant aftertaste, but not this one. The second steep still packs plenty of flavor too. I give this the thumbs up, especially when sweetened as a dessert tea in the evening.
My Butiki order came today and I went straight for this one because I had sampled it once before and had good memories. It is just fantastic. Leaf hopper teas are all great in my experience. I’m going to try to put a full review in later, but others have described it very well-honey, pastry, waffles. I am already thinking I will have to order it again before Stacy runs out!
I’ve reviewed this previously and am having it again tonight. So delicious. Every time I have it, I like it better and better!
I have not had a single flavored matcha from Red Leaf that I haven’t enjoyed, so I have high expectations with Bavarian Cream, my latest acquisition. I ordered the Classic matcha with robust flavor. One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a chilled matcha latte. I know I need to branch out more, but I just like it this way so much! So today, I’m readying myself for a brisk 2 1/2 hour hike on a windy 40 degree day. I think this will give me a good jumpstart. My favorite flavor thus far has been Caramel, but there are others that run a close second, and all are good. My choice of milk for lattes varies. I’ve used unsweetened soy and almond/coconut depending on what I have in the fridge. I sweeten with some stevia because it makes me feel like I’m having dessert. So I put a few ounces hot water in a large tumbler, then sift 1 teaspoon of matcha into the water. I froth with my trusty Aerolatte for just a few seconds, then add about 12 ounces of milk , and froth another few seconds. A couple of ice cubes and I’m good to go. Yum. This Bavarian Cream flavor is a cup of creamy vanilla deliciousness! If you like the sound of it you can get it at: