24 Tasting Notes
I knew I was in for a gamble going for a black tea, since I’m “not into black tea,” but I liked what I heard in the description/video and the gamble really paid off! Maybe I have to re-think my position on black teas, since I’ve found a few that I’ve really enjoyed. I guess it just took a long time to get the astringent taste of the common irish / english breakfast teas out of my mouth.
This tea has a really nice lightness to it compared to most of my experiences with black teas. I was a bit light on the leaf in my first attempt as a precaution before going all in, so I can’t wait to give it another go with a full leaf portion. I definitely got the cherry hints mentioned in the description. It holds up great over many infusions (I think I’m on 5 or 6 right now, and I’m too tea-full to go on). I brewed with a gaiwan and followed the brewing instructions on http://chanteas.com/hunan
Great tea, and also pretty economical. I can definitely see drinking this regularly.
So, this is going to sound insane, but I actually stumbled onto a pretty nice quality of this tea (or maybe strongly roasted teas in general). I had my last bit of dong ding in my gaiwan and I was really only prepared to drink 3 gaiwans worth of tea, so after I finished I decided to try to cold brew the rest since earlier that day I pulled out my iced tea pitcher. I let it sit overnight, got home from work the next day and gave it a taste. It was actually pretty darn good considering the circumstances, but I noticed that the roasted flavors tasted a lot like something I’d had before…. it took a few sips to place it then I realized that it had that unique quality that “thai iced tea” has when you get it from a thai restaurant, you know the kind that is all orange looking and super sweet? Well, seeing as I had some almond milk in the refrigerator I thought “what the hell” and tried to mix up a thai iced tea. A few experiments with proportions and a spoonful of sugar later and now I’m sitting here with a pretty tasty approximation of a thai iced tea, and really it’s pretty healthy since there is only a small amount of added sugar and I’m using almond milk instead of condensed milk. The consistency is a little thin due to the lack of the condensed milk, but the flavor is SPOT ON. Just thought I’d pass this story on because it’s pretty bizarre.
Couple steeps in and this tea really delivers! I’m “not a black tea guy” but this one has only a very slight astringency, almost not existant, and enough character to keep me interested. The dry leaf scent is unremarkable, but don’t forget to take a sniff of the wet leaf because it is full of raisin caramel goodness. This carries through to the flavor of the tea, which has a really surprising natural sweetness. I can really smell the raisin even from a couple feet away as I write this review. If you’re into unique flavors popping up in black tea, don’t miss out on the equally delicious Hong Yue by Rishi.
Not the type of “tea” I’m going to drink every day, but I’m glad to find something from Rishi that can finally replace the ridiculously over priced “Yogi” lemon ginger that I enjoy on occasion (mainly when I’m trying to fight off a cold). I’m a ginger lover, so that intense ginger bite is exactly what I’m craving if I’m reaching for this one.
If it’s too strong for your liking just decrease the steep time or water temperature, it’s an herbal blend so I’d say take as many liberties as you want with this one.
Running out of my dong ding, it has maybe one or two more chances on the table. Had some more today, and stuck with my inclination to let the leaves steep longer than I would with most other oolongs. In my opinion the longer steepings round out the flavor profile and make for a better cup. Started with ~40 seconds, and ramped up from there.
Received the light oxidation as a sample from my last order. I’m finally in a mood to give this one a go, I’ve been too into the Mild Oxidation (a more oxidized version) and haven’t been able to stop myself for reaching for it when I’m in the mood for Tie Guan Yin.
For me I have to be in the right mood for a lighter oolong, and right now this one is really hitting the spot! Super silky mouth feel in the first two infusions, getting a little bit of the vegetal flavors and slightly drying effect on the tongue in the mid infusions so far. I’d say the official description for this one is pretty spot on, which means I’ve somehow managed to brew this “correctly” the first time around. Actually I’ve found that in general Tie Guan Yins seem to be pretty forgiving. Sometimes I’ll have an especially great session which stands out, but when I’m not brewing up to snuff I still get some totally acceptable cups. Other teas are not so forgiving.
I think my disdain for floral aspects in teas have diminished quite a bit since I started brewing gong fu style vs western style, because the floral aspects of this tea aren’t bugging me at all, and they are definitely present just in a much more subtle way.
I’ll certainly find myself picking up the mild oxidation counterpart more often, but that’s a matter of personal preference. Overall a very enjoyable tea!