174 Tasting Notes
No one, not even Bonnie, has made a note about this one yet??? Bonnie, you’re slacking!
This one was odd to me because upon opening the sample pack I was greeted by what looked like loose leaf black tea, not nuggets or any sort of pressed cake. It smelled very pleasant with notes of light earthiness and mushrooms, raisins, caramel, and a hint of jasmine.
The wet leaf smelled of caramel, raisins, whole wheat flour, and a slight mushroom note. The infusion was a nice rich dark color with notes of mushroom, caramel, with a hint of salt and a hint of jasmine.
I brewed this gaiwan style with two quick rinses and started off with a 2 second steep, adding a second for every steep, working up to 10 seconds. The taste was really nice and different. It was light, but note weak. It reminded me of the way the Huang Zhi Xiang Phoenix Mountain Dancong was. How it was a dancong, but it was lighter, not POW in your face. That’s how this puerh is, nice and light, not aggressive at all, very pleasant.
As for the actual notes I got, and I’m not going to go through steep for steep, started with light notes of earthiness, mushrooms, raisins, and caramel dominating. There were lingering notes of cinnamon and other spices, with a musty note coming and going. The aftertaste of the first few had a salt note to them.
Somewhere around steep 5 and on I started to get a cake note in the tail end of the sip that was very fleeting. It was similar to angel food cake without the sweetness. It’s hard to explain, it was a plain cake taste, not those vanilla or chocolate or icing covered cakes. Just a plain sponge-type cake.
Further on a tingling sensation crept over the sides of my tongue and a nice wildflower honey note came through. The honey note was more texture than it was taste, but even at that it wasn’t a very strong texture, just enough to let you know it was there and be pleasurable.
I never did taste the jasmine note I had found in the dry leaf. Aside from that, this was a very nice mellow puerh. It still had those earthy notes that I found to be characteristic of shu, but they were mellowed, making it a much more pleasant cup.
After looking through the reviews I saw Bonnie had the similar experience of tasting ash and decided to try it western style hoping for better results like her.
First and seconds steeps: 12 oz cup, boiling water, 1 minute. I got the sweet tobacco, a juicy texture, a hint of ash, vegetal note in the background and a slight mouthfeel. Still some ash in there, but not mouth coating, not nearly.
Third steep: 1 minute 30 seconds. No ash! Sweet, tobacco, vegetal, juicy. Definitely getting better but I’m disappointed about not having the almond note in there. That’s what kept me going gaiwan style was that wonderful almond note!
Fourth steep: 1 minute 30 seconds. Again sweet, tobacco, vegetal, juicy, no ash, and a hint of almond. The almond may just be my mind trying to make it appear because I want to taste it that much!
Fifth steep: 1 minute 30 seconds. Juicy, sweet tobacco is fading but still present, vegetal, no ash, no almond. also, strong tingling on the tip of the tongue in the aftertaste.
Overall this one is a mixed bag for me. I got much better results brewing western style but I really wanted to taste those almond notes again from gaiwan style in this without the ash. I also wanted to taste what I was smelling in the dry leaf, that rich dessert smell. Unfortunately I didn’t care for this that much because of all that. This might turn out better for me if someone else made it for me.
I only got a sample of this instead of a cake. I was tempted to get a cake due to price but I never tried it and just wanted a sample first. Dry the leaf smelled so good, so sweet! Kind of like a mix of brown sugar and caramel…mmmm! There was a hint of a spicy note, like cinnamon, and a hint of pepper with underlying creaminess. It smelled like a nice rich dessert!
I brewed this gaiwan style at boiling after an initial rinse. The wet leaf was more spicy and sweet, it kind of reminded me of a darker oolong rather than a puerh. There was a hint of tobacco I was picking up. The infusion was a lot like the dry smell, nice sweet and creamy.
The first steep was 5 seconds and amazing! It had notes of sweet caramel, it was smooth with a bit of creaminess and a nutty note. It was very similar to almond the way the notes and textures blended together.There was a hint of a floral note that I couldn’t pinpoint, the was also a juicy fruit-like note that I couldn’t pinpoint either with a vegetal note in the background.
The second steep was for 6 seconds and tasted like tobacco but still retained the sweetness from before. But along with the tobacco was now an ash note that was not pleasant. I let it cool off a bit and the ash note faded and the almond note came back with vegetal note in the background again.
The third steep was for 30 seconds and apparently way too long. The ash note was strong and coated my mouth in a very unpleasant way, akin to licking an ashtray…yeah not good.
Fourth and fifth steeps I took back down to 3 seconds and was rewarded with vegetal notes and sweet tobacco notes. I’m afraid that I’m still tasting a little bit of ash, but I can’t tell if it’s from these steeps or lingering from the last one.
I’ll leave unrated for now until I try again.
Thank you QueenofTarts for sharing this with me. After having read so many good reviews of this I needed to try it. When I first opened the bag I was reminded of the Cornfield Shu Tuocha but once I unwrapped the little guy it was definitely rice aroma.
After rinsing it, I brewed this gaiwan style (5 oz) with a 5 second steep with boiling water. The color was really light, and the leaves were green. I tasted of rice, kind of reminded of genmaicha, but that may only be because of the rice and nothing more. The taste was really light, closer to watered down actually.
I handed it over to my husband and asked him if he wanted to try it. The look he gives me says that he doesn’t want to but he does anyway, he knows I’ll quite pestering him once he tries it. I didn’t tell him what kind it was or what to expect, just handed him a cup of tea. The first thing he said was “meh” but that’s what he always says. Then he said it tasted like rice, the kind you get at an Asian restaurant. I was impressed and told him that was indeed what it was supposed to taste like!
So, since the first steep was watered down, the second steep I kept at boiling but upped the steep to 12 seconds. Too much time, it was bitter and I ended up tossing the cup, way to bitter. The whole tuocha feel apart on this steep and may have been factor to why it was so bitter.
Third steep. I went back down to a 5 second steep, this time I didn’t preheat the gaiwan and left the water at 200*F instead of boiling. Still to bitter, metallic tasting even. Again I dumped this cup.
Fourth steep. I didn’t preheat the gaiwan and steeped for 5 seconds with water temp at 176*F. Since there’s so much leaf and the leaves are green and all my cups have been bitter I thought treating it as a green tea would help. The verdict? I need to wash out my mouth. I think the bitterness and metallic flavor is having adverse side effects and skewing my taste at the moment. Not quite as bitter and metallic but it’s still there.
I’m going to stop with this one for now since it’s frustrating me and give it another try later. I’m going to leave the rating off it for now since I’m fairly certain that it’s due to my error that this tea is not tasting as it should.
I’ve been drinking this one for a while and never logged it, although I thought I did. Anyways. This one was so good that I had to re-buy it, but I can’t really say what compelled me to buy it in the first place. Cherry flavored anything makes me leery because it’s not usually done right. But since it is a gunpowder base, which is a stronger green tea, I figured it would hold up to whatever was being added to it. But it was a green tea. So, I more or less bought it on a whim.
I wasn’t disappointed. The first I tried it I got too many cherries in my scoop and the first two brewings tasted a little too tart, these aren’t sweet cherries. But after the second steeping the cup rounded out very nicely. The cherry is very present but not in a bad way, it doesn’t taste fake or cough syrupy at all. The almond lends a nice smooth nuttiness to the cup helping to balance out the tartness of the cherry. The gunpowder base held up nicely and was still present through the additions.
After having buggered up the first time I tried again a few days later with a better balanced scoop and all I can say is it was yummy. The flavors blend wonderfully, no flavor overpowers the tea.
The other thing I really love about this tea is that it brews several times, I would say upward of ten times. It’s amazing, and it holds up great in a travel mug!
Teavana is what started this huge tea journey for me years ago and while I have mostly moved on to other tea companies that have better quality teas that are typically cheaper, I still come back to Teavana once in a while to see what they have to offer. When they came out with the new teas this year I wasn’t particularly excited. I know most of their teas have too much add-ons and not enough tea and their straight are typically too expensive.
Anywho, to this actual tea. When I finally went onto the site to see what new stuff they added I was surprised to see a decent straight green tea that wasn’t $20 for 2 oz. Granted this was close to that but I decided I had to try it. I wasn’t very disappointing either. The first steep was really nice! It was fresh and slightly creamy and sweet with a hint of umami. Yum! It almost reminded me of a Japanese green tea. Very delicious!
Now the what’s keeping me from rating this any higher, because based on the first steep this would be a lot higher, is the second steep. The first steep holds so much wonderfulness, the second steep…well, not so much. It seems that the first steep takes everything good out of the tea and just leaves behind a typical green tea. Not to say that the second steep is bad, just not nearly as good as the first. The second steep leaves a lot to be desired is the best way I can put it.
At any rate the first steeping of this tea is pretty delicious and I wouldn’t lose an ounce of sleep if all I ever get out of this tea is only the first one.
Finally decided to take the plunge and buy this tea. I’m glad I did. I figured it was more or less a sencha and it pretty much is. It’s a little different in that the grassy-spinach taste is a little subdued compared to the in-your-face senchas I’ve had. I was a little disappointing to have found absolutely no umami factor in it though.
Even with that, it is very creamy with a hint of some juicy quality. And I think there was a slight note of pistachio. I got some sort of nut note and while trying to figure it out I kept thinking pistachio. It may not be pistachio but the color of the tea kept making me think of the green nut! Either way…pistachio!
Speaking of color, the dry leaves are a nice dark emerald, wet they become this bright, vivid, vibrant emerald green. It was very pretty. Even the infusion had a greenish cast to it, very cool, kind of like a sencha or genmaicha infused with matcha powder. This is why I think I was coming up with pistachios and not some other nut…so much green!
I found a slight hint of astringency, but it wasn’t the typically blech bitter-astringency I always taste. This was a silky-astringency. It was actually quite pleasant. I never thought I would say astringency in tea being pleasant…I abhor astringency. But this was just a slight drying of the mouth with a bit of a silky mouthfeel. Very pleasant, what I always thought astringency could be but never actually found it to be, at least not in green teas.
This is such a pretty and good tasting tea, definitely worth trying out.
I brewed this in my 5 oz cup at 175* for about 30 seconds the first time then about 2 minutes the second time because the first one was pretty weak. Even at that the first steep was reminiscent of a Japanese green tea. It was like a watered down sencha without the really nice savory notes that sencha has. But it was nice a nice sweet vegetal green tea.
The seconds steep was really odd. I couldn’t figure out what I was tasting but it felt familiar. I went through the other two tasting notes on this tea to see if someone else had a good descriptor of what it was I was tasting. I found it. Amy Oh had written at the end of her tasting note “If Dragonwell and Sencha gave birth, would this be their love child?” And I could not have said it better myself.
This is one of the best green teas I have ever had. It easily ranks up there in my top 5 favorite teas of all time. I have had the spring and autumn harvests, two autumn harvests (2011, 2012) now. I have to say that while Autumn made me like Laoshan greens, the spring made me appreciate them, Summer harvest made me love them.
It’s very rich and creamy for a green tea with a hint of salt. The vegetal notes are green beany, soy bean, edamame, not at all bitter and absolutely no astringency. It is naturally sweet and crisp and creamy and I know it sounds contradictory but it’s there…I tasted it and it was good!
I could drink this everyday, but I don’t want to lose my appreciation for it and take it for granted. I can typically get five really good steeps out of it. First steep is typically around 165* for about 30 seconds. After that about 175* for 30 seconds. Then I just up the steeping by a little bit, 45 seconds, then a minute, then a minute and 30 seconds. After that the flavor starts to get dull with a bite of bitterness to it. Now I know what I’m making with breakfast tomorrow morning!
I can’t believe I didn’t put any notes on this one yet. This tea is one of my favorites. It’s great hot, it’s fantastic cold, it cannot be oversteeped and it tastes soooo good. If you like mint I hope you had a chance to try this. I can only hope that it will come back next summer. I think (I hope) I have enough stocked up to last me that long!!
Throughout summer I was cold brewing this, and I would cold brew it several days in a row. And then when I felt I couldn’t get much more flavor out of it cold, I would brew it hot for a few steeps before discarding it! You can brew it for long steeps or short steeps or at boiling or at a lower temperature and you know what? It still tastes delicious!
This is one of those very few teas that I can drink close to bedtime and still sleep well. I loved this for after dinner. Even my husband who is not a fan of tea enjoyed this for after dinner. He was afraid it would affect his sleeping though, but I’m more caffeine sensitive than he is and I don’t really feel any side effects…except on an empty stomach.
Even with that I typically feel hungry in between breakfast and lunch during school and I pack a banana and an apple and it will hold me over until I can go home for some real lunch. This tea helped me not feel so starving during that time. I wouldn’t get “hangry” (feelings of anger due to being hungry).
Mint, I love mint of any kind. Cinnamon…real cinnamon, not that hot candy cinnamon flavor. Fennel, which I’m typically not a big fan of, was well done. Puerh, it wasn’t very strong and for this I would say it’s a good introduction into puerhs. Oh and it’s naturally sweet and delicious and I’m going to go drink some more now!