174 Tasting Notes
So, I did a terrible thing today and I have no idea what possessed me to do it. I went to Five Guys and got a cheeseburger. Granted this doesn’t sound terrible, but I eat fairly healthy. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve eaten fast food, about a year ago I think. Anyways, I ate the burger and now I just feel sick and sluggish and like crap. I decided to help ease my tummy and the lump of crap I had just ingested, and so I went for this. I find puerh with mint and cinnamon helps ease my tummy a lot.
This is definitely helping to ease the rock that refuses to digest and help make me feel slightly less sluggish…I’m just glad the day is done. The taste is not so much chai, it reminds me of a cheap version of Verdant’s Xingyang Silk Road Spice. There’s some nondescript shu puerh, mint, cinnamon, and vanilla. It’s not bad, but there is this odd taste in it. Fake vanilla or some sort of fake flavoring. Ever since I started buying mostly from companies that use real flavors I have found I am able to sense that fakeness more easily. Kind of like going without fast food for so long makes me feel the bad effects even worse when I do eat it!
I got this one as a sample a few months ago and never reserved the time to try it. Well, I had a lot of free time today and decided to give it a go. It’s funny because I just finished 10 steepings when the mail comes in, I got the reserve month package and this happened to be in there! So, now I have more!
To start off, I used my 3.7oz yixing I dedicated to dancongs. It has (depending on how full of water it is) a 4-8 second pour. So, usually I put the water in and immediately start pouring out.
When I opened the package I was immediately greeted by a wonderful scent! It smelled like juicy grapefruit with wildflower honey, a touch of maple syrup, and the slightest hint of some spice…sweet cinnamon perhaps? There was another note that was predominate, but I couldn’t place. After getting the package in and reading the description, I concluded that it’s the honeydew melon.
The wet leaf smelled roasty, dark floral (orchid), maple syrup, wildflower honey, and fruity. By fruity I mean grapefruit and honeydew.
The first infusion was an explosion in my mouth! There were notes of roastiness, honey, maple syrup, a wonderful juiciness of grapefruit and honeydew. There was an interesting orchid note and creaminess that I can only describe as resembling a tieguanyin.
The second steep was more orchid notes and creaminess with a hint of a vegetal note. This was definitely tasting more like a lighter version of a tieguanyin than anything. There was even a thickness of mouthfeel that lasted well into the aftertaste.
Third steep was super thick, mouth coating.
Fourth and fifth steeps went back to being super juicy, the tieguanyin effect was starting to back off. The fifth steep I started to taste that hint of a spice element..clove? Nutmeg perhaps? It was very faint, so it was hard to tell.
The sixth steep went back to tieguanyin. Then the seventh steep was super juicy! I feel like I’m getting whiplash here!
The eighth steep decided to take it easy on me and was a nice balance between super juicy and thick mouthfeel lasting into the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was coating my entire mouth, but was focusing on the tip and sides of my tongue.
Ninth steep was a huge explosion of juiciness again! It was so juicy it felt like I had just bit into a ripe plum or melon where the juicy runs down your face! There were notes of orchid (as usual), orange and grapefruit, the honeydew, and a hint of clove.
The tenth and final steep I took with this started to go back to tieguanyin. The mouthfeel so thick and heavy. The aftertaste so long lasting. I also got a hint of almonds in the aftertaste with this one. I’m taking a break from it for now since my head is swimming and the bathroom and I are becoming close friends!
This is a tea I received from using the rewards points to get David’s Choice of five samples on the Verdant website. I received the package yesterday, but I didn’t have the chance to try any right away. So, today, this is the first one I picked to try. It’s jasmine, how was I not supposed to pick this one first?!
For this brewing, I used a five ounce cup with a brew basket, and 175*F water. These samples are only 7g, so I get about two separate steeping occasions for these, this one I may be able to stretch out to three. I opened the bag and was surprised! I was expecting to see jasmine pearls, when in fact it looked like lightly rolled silver needle buds, they resembled snails that were softly scented with jasmine. I hope the picture is able to depict it well enough. But they were actually kind of cute! I hadn’t seen a tea quite like this before.
The wet leaves didn’t fully unfurl the first steeping, which was about 30 seconds. But the aroma was wonderful! I could smell the wonderfully soft and sweet jasmine underlaid with honeysuckle, and a fleeting note of something citrus…orange maybe?
The infusion was pale and smelled of soft jasmine and honeysuckle. I was getting something else too. I couldn’t pinpoint it, the best I can describe it is when you go up to smell and flower and the aroma you get is that of the flower, but in the background you can smell the stem and leaves on it too. This is similar to what I was getting, not just the flower, but the rest of the plant too.
so the first steep, at about 30 seconds, was amazing! There was the soft jasmine and honeysuckle with the note of the rest of the plant and a hint of something citrus again. Then there was this amazing fizziness to the entire thing! Some of you may have gotten some from Verdant’s Yunnan White Jasmine…well that’s got nothing on this! The fizziness was throught my entire mouth, centered on the tip of my tongue and lasted well into the aftertaste! Wowza!
The second infusion was abut 45 seconds. I watched in amazement at the little snails slowly wiggled their way out of their shells; their dance was wonderful to watch. This steep was silky jasmine, honeysuckle; that strong fizziness throughout, and the rest of the plant note. The citrus seemed more like orange yet still fleeting and added a sparkling texture to go along with the fizzing. There was a linen-like aftertaste that coated the tongue, not unpleasant. A nice cooling sensation appeared in the aftertaste. When you eat a mint and every time you breath in you can still feel it; that was there in this tea. There was a darker note this time too. Maybe there was last time but the fizzing took too much of my attention away! But the darker note seemed like it was a part of the jasmine, almost melancholy-like. When you feel bright and happy but there is something darker hiding in the recess of you mind; that is the feeling this conjured.
Third and fourth steeps were about 20-25 seconds. I don’t think I steeped these long enough. Everything was still there from the second steep, just softer and less pronounced.
That second steep absolutely blew my mind away. I have been playing with jasmines for a while and this is the best one I have ever had. I’ll have to see if there is some way I can get more from Verdant. That makes me feel greedy though, I should be thankful for being able to try this, but I can’t help wanting more, to be able to experience this tea again. Thank you David and everyone at Verdant for allowing me to experience this tea. It really is amazing. This is the first tea I have ever rated 100, because I thought it was impossible to find that perfect tea, I have been proved wrong. Thank you.
I like genmaichas, but I don’t drink them a lot because I never really have a craving for them. The only time I really want some is when I go out to an Asian restaurant (usually because it still tastes decent after they boil it). But I figured I would give this one a try. I got a mere ounce knowing that it would last me a while, and it is, although I’m starting to go through it a little quicker now!
It’s been a cold, rainy, dreary day. I woke up at 6am this morning to go stand out in the (literally) freezing rain for three hours to learn how to do tree plots. I needed something soothing and warm pronto! I grabbed this. The first cup I downed just to get some warmth back into my body. Sometime during my second cup I started to get feeling back in my fingers and toes. Then I slowed down and actually tasted the tea!
This tea is incredibly smooth, creamy, and buttery. It’s reminiscent of buttered popcorn…heavy on the butter. The toasted rice isn’t the normal toasted rice you find in genmaichas. This one is sweeter and nutty. This tea is thick and savory, I feel like it should almost be viscous (not a bad thing, I promise).
I love the movie 16 Candles, and I have this scene stuck in my head:
Because today, it’s my birthday! Oh and guess who just got a monthly reserve tea package in today!
ETA: I lied, the package I got was actually the free David’s Choice reserve samples I got from accumulating so many points on the Verdant site!
I redid this one using my new yixing I dedicated it to (not the bad one I just got and found out was a fake). I know it’s still absorbing a lot of the flavor but I wanted to see how much different it tastes this way. I used boiling water, did a quick rinse followed by ten steeps, most of them at 3-5 seconds. At steep 9 I went up to 9 seconds, at steeps 10 I went up to 10 seconds.
Steep one was mostly roasty, sandalwood, juicy, fruity flavor.
Second steep was the same but with a hint of jasmine and a citrus texture to it.
Third steep got a little interesting. It was sandalwood, a dark floral note, a citrus texture and juicy mouthfeel. It seemed there was a hint of melon at the tail end, but it was so fleeting. By the time I even formed the thought of melon, the taste was there and gone.
Fourth was the same as three but with the dark floral note turning into orchid and something silky creamy starting to peak in. Possibly the orchid?
Fifth steeping was more woody than sandalwood, with orchid, jasmine, juicy, a note of clove, a silkyness to it and a citrus texture, with that ever fleeting hint of melon.
Sixth reverted back to sandalwood, orchid, clove, juicy, and silky.
Seventh was the same as the sixth, but the mouthfeel was beginning to become thicker, mouth-coating. Also, the jasmine made a fleeting peak at me at the tail end of the sip.
Eighth steeping started to become a softer sandalwood, the orchid becoming more prominent, the mouthfeel thicker.
Ninth, I should stop soon, I’m starting to feel buzzy from too much tea and no food. This was the same as number eight but with the addition of the sparkling citrus coming back in for a minute. One more, then I need to stop and get some food!
Tenth was soft sandalwood, orchid, silky, with a thick heavy mouthfeel that coats the entire mouth and lasts forever like a greener oolong does.
I’ve been drinking this tea for about four hours straight, no food in longer. I’m hungry and shaky and jittery. I love this tea and the yixing seems promising, but I need to stop and eat, like now. I’m one of those people that bounces off of walls when they have too much caffeine…it’s worse on an empty stomach!
This is me right about now! ZOOM! ZOOM!
Or for those who want to skip straight to the ZOOM! ZOOM! ZOOM! part!:
Reusing the leaves from before I decided to try this western style. I find this helps cut the bitterness. I found it to be much more pleasant, but also less complex this time around. It was still complex, but not as much as it had been before. This time I had notes of light sweet tobacco, dirt and earth, a little bit of smoke, a hint of peppercorn, and a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste. The bitterness is cut down a lot. I still never did find the jerky I had smelled in this tea earlier though. I want to like this tea and I do like this tea, but that bitterness I just can’t stand. I think (hope) that if this ages then the bitterness will go away. But I only have a sample of this and I don’t think I will let it last long enough to age!
I’m leaving the rating off for now since I’m not sure how I want to rate it yet.
Dry aroma is sweet, vanilla, cold crisp winter earth, sweet tobacco, and jerky. The wet leaf aroma is earthy, smokey, sweet tobacco. It reminds me of when my dad and I used to sit on the porch in the spring watching the sunset while listening to classical music and he would smoke. Good memories.
No brewing instructions for this yet. So, I brewed this gaiwan style, boiling water, starting with 5 second infusions. First infusion was lightly earthy, like wheat fields that have already been sowed. There is a touch of vanilla, and a bit of peppercorn on the tip of the tongue that lasts into the aftertaste.
Second steep I get something that tastes like dirty potato skins, this is not a bad thing, sometimes you just don’t get all the dirt off! The vanilla was still there, as was the peppercorn. The bite of the peppercorn was a little subdued this time instead in your face.
Third steep was bitterness, ashy, and somehow juicy.
Four steep I lowered the temp down to 175* and didn’t preheat anything. I find this a good tactic when tea starts to become bitter. This steep was smokey, sweet tobacco, vanilla, juicy, creamy, dirty potatoes, and still some bitterness but not as bad. This was probably my favorite steep, getting all of these flavors, even with the bitterness!
Fifth steep, following same steeping parameters as #4, was juicy, bitter, and dirty. As it cooled I got a woody note, but the bitterness was too much, time to take a break.
I’m still trying to find that one sheng without bitterness or ashy notes when brewed gaiwan style. Unfortunately this isn’t it, not yet yet at least, maybe when it’s a bit more aged though.
I’m not going into much of a detailed note on this one as I see that there are a few reviews that go into pretty good depth with it. I will say that when I first tried this tea I was not impressed. I didn’t care for it at all and was ready to give it away. I tried Bonnie’s advice and mixed it with a puerh. That helped a little bit, but I still didn’t care for it.
Over the weekend my husband got sick and has passed it onto me. I started drinking this last night. I did it western style. I put a generous amount of farmers market honey at the bottom of my cup and proceeded to brew this. This my fellow Steepsterites, this is the nectar of the gods when you are sick. It tastes so much better, it makes me feel a little bit better even though I know I am not. And the nice amount of honey sitting in the bottom of the cup that hasn’t mixed in is just delicious. I get the feeling I may finish this before I have the chance to pass it off!
I’m leaving the rating off of it because I don’t like it when I’m healthy, but it’s good when I’m sick…so I’m not quite sure how to rate it, so I’m just leaving it off.
Another sample I received from Zen Tea!
This one is a sencha base with gojiberries, lemongrass, cornflower petals, blueberry and pomegranate flavoring. Dry, it smells fairly potent, it’s sweet and tart, and pretty to look at. I can smell the pomegranate and blueberry quite predominately. Wet, the leaves gain a slight grassy scent to them.
Taste is sweet and tart. Not quite as potent as the dry smell though. This tea is dominated by the blueberry and pomegranate flavors. If I search I can find the lemongrass. I can’t say I taste much of the sencha base, if at all.
I can’t say I’m impressed with this tea. It’s not bad, I just like to taste my tea base. Unfortunately, I cannot in this blend. Maybe I’ll try this cold brewed, I might like it more that way. Even with me not caring for this tea, I have to say that I’m still impressed with Zen Tea. This is only one tea that I don’t care for out of five different teas I’ve tried from them. The rest I thought were all delicious! One out of five isn’t bad, plus I got an awesome yixing from them. I like this company!
This was a free sample I received from Zen Tea!
It’s a small sample package, but it seems like I have enough for three cups worth. I’ve found with senchas that less is more. More leaf does not equal a better, stronger cup. It’s supposedly Ichiban Cha or first flush. Now, I like senchas, but I’ve never really been able to tell the difference between different pickings. Then again, I’ve never tried them side-by-side. So, I can’t say for certain that it is, only taking the word of the company, which I believe.
The dry leaf is a dark rich emerald color that smells sweet and grassy. The wet leaf is a gorgeous bright emerald that smells sweet, grassy, and buttery. The infusion is an amazing ghostly yellow-green color. It reminds me of Mellow Monk’s Top Leaf tea when infused.
The taste is amazing. It’s wonderfully sweet and grassy. There’s a smoothness to it with notes of butter and a hint of saltiness with a wonderful umami taste! I like this better than Mellow Monk’s Top Leaf.
My husband is sick and I let him have some and he more or less downed it. He said it was more for the warmth than the taste. But, since he is sick, I’m bound to get it and I can already feel my throat is scratchy after waking up this morning. This seems to help soothe it. I don’t know if it’s the warmth or the tea itself, I don’t care, it’s good either way!