208 Tasting Notes
I received a sample of this tea with my Bellocq purchase a few months back and am just now getting around to trying it. This is very light—all I can taste is the bergamot, really. The bergamot’s natural and quite delicate; it’s pleasant, but not as assertive as I generally like in an Earl Grey (or Earl Grey-esque blend). The tea base is barely detectable—I can tell something’s there, but that’s it. I haven’t had much success with whit teas thus far—I haven’t tried a ton, but all the ones I’ve had seem lacking. I do tend to go for strong flavors, and I don’t think I’m particularly good at picking up subtle notes, so it could be that I’m just not going to be able to appreciate them properly. This isn’t a bad tea by any means, but there’s just not enough to hold my interest.
Too much cocoa. In that sense, this reminds me of the kinds of Chinese black teas I don’t really like—it’s lighter and less malty (although still quite malty for an oolong, I think) than those teas, but still. I’m not even sure I would’ve been able to identify this as an oolong if I hadn’t known; although it does have that light, refreshing oolong aftertaste it also has a lot of characteristics I tend to associate with black teas. In addition to the cocoa, there’s also some honey. There’s not much in the way of florals or roasted notes, which is a minus point for me as I love both those kinds of flavors in oolongs. For reference, I brewed this western style (as I brew most everything).
I got this sample from either Nicole_Martin or Fuzzy_Peachkin —thanks to whichever one of you it was, and thanks to both of you for letting me try some of Teavivre’s teas—although this wasn’t a huge hit, many of the teas I’ve sampled from them have been, and I’m looking forward to placing an order soon.
This is my second Earl Grey of the day, and it just doesn’t compare to the first (Lupicia’s). The bergamot’s not as strong as I’d like, and the green base just isn’t working for me. It’s quite grassy, and while grass plus bright citrus sounds like a perfectly pleasant combination—and I know it can be; I’ve had some wonderful greens with strong natural citrus notes—I’m not enjoying it here. Plus, there’s something about the aroma of the brewed tea that reminds me of stale cigarette smoke. It doesn’t carry through to the flavor, but still. I’m not picking up on the florals, but then I also can’t see any petals in my sample bag (ETA: There actually were some petals; I just have terrible lighting in my apartment). This was interesting to try, and now I know that green EGs aren’t really my thing. Thanks for the sample, Nicole_Martin!
I think I may have found a new favorite Earl Grey! The bergamot here is strong, which is a plus for me. It’s crisp and citrusy, and a perfect counterpoint to the rich, slightly smoky Keemun base. I’ve never had an EG like this before—the Keemun adds some welcome complexity, and I think its more assertive (vs. the usual Ceylon) profile prevents the bergamot from becoming overwhelming. Even my mother, who’s kind of an EG hater, enjoyed this. I’ve had a lot of Lupicia disappointments lately, but this one’s restoring my faith in the brand. They have a lot of misses, yes, but their hits are really something special.
This is my first plum tea! Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a disappointment. It’s quite sweet and rather floral. There’s a bit of plum, but only a bit—and it’s more plum candy than fresh plum. I’m not sure I’d even have been able to identify it as plum if I hadn’t known—it’s got that generic fruit candy Lupicia flavoring going on. The oolong’s not as flavourful as it could be either, and what flavor it does have is a bit more vegetal than I’d like here. The aftertaste, though, is vibrant, natural plum. I’d love to get more of that—I think I’ll try this again with more leaf and a shorter steeping time. Maybe also as a cold steep.
This is a very refreshing, very green oolong. It’s crisp and lightly floral—I’m reminded of jasmine more than anything, even though I know that’s not quite right; I see lots of mentions of honeysuckle but I don’t actually know what that tastes like, so… The tea is quite sweet; there’s a bit of grassiness but overall I’m finding it light on the vegetal notes. It does have that cooling mint-like quality, but, happily for me, without tasting like mint at all. This is a very enjoyable cup of tea, although I think I do prefer oolongs that are bit more heavily oxidized.
I’m mostly getting cocoa, and there’s a fair bit of sweetness. I’m not getting any smoke, although I think a hint of it would add some welcome complexity here. This tea is very nice for what it is, but I’m more and more convinced that Chinese black teas are never going to number among my favorites. That said, I could see myself enjoying a cup of this or something like it once in a while. Thanks for this sample, Nicole_Martin!
I like these a bit better than the only other black dragon pearls I’ve tried (from thepuriTea). They seem heavier on the malt and lighter on the cocoa than thepuriTea’s version, which is a decided plus in my book (though I know it’s a minus for most people). Or it could just be that my tolerance level for chocolate notes is slightly higher than usual today – after all, aren’t 99% of dragon pearls supposed to come from the same place or something? Still not my favorite – I prefer Assams and Ceylons when I’m in the mood for something bold and black – but I did enjoy my cup. Thanks for this sample, Nicole_Martin!
This is a nice sencha – it’s very spinachy and mildly astringent (in a good way!). The color of the brewed tea is a fantastic, vibrant green. I’m realizing that I tend to prefer Chinese green teas to Japanese, but every once in a while a good cup of sencha is in order and this serves that purpose nicely.