40 Tasting Notes
Two things I noted about this tea: 1) it’s wicked tasty, and 2) it’s remarkably consistent. I put 5 gm into a gaiwan and used boiling water. I started at 15s and added 15s each time for 7 steeps. It was nearly the same flavor every single time: mostly honey, with some tones of something lighter, not floral, maybe melon? Hard to tell. Anyway, good stuff and I’ll look forward to more steady steeps.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Melon
My thought on first sipping this was, “wow, one of those teas!” Translation: rich, malty, chocolatey, not bracing, but full and satisfying. It almost has coffee overtones as it cools. Take note though: one steep and you’re through. The second go-around on this had nothing to recommend it. I’m finding that David’s flavored teas do nothing for me, but certain carefully selected straight blacks are pretty darn good.
Flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, Malt
Based on everyone else’s reactions, I went into this tea with high hopes and they were not disappointed. Remarkable bursts of flavor for such incredibly short steeps (3/3/3/6/9/12/15). It comes on soft and caramel, with maybe some cinnamon. By the third steep, it’s all honey deliciousness and stays that way for several more steeps. Oddly, it started to fade by steep five, though still quite tasty. Somehow, I thought it would have more longevity, especially with those short steep times. Next time, I’ll let it go for a little longer and see what emerges. I like the slow build of this tea that the gaiwan allows; I think a full-on Western steep would be overwhelming. I’ll happily do multiple cups of this while wrapped up in a fleece and a good book.
Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Honey
As Verdant suggested, I started with a rinse, then did several steeps, starting with 15’ and increasing by 15’ each time. The pale liquor was green and vegetal, the leaves just short of neon green. It didn’t really hit its stride until the third or fourth steep, with a soft, though not buttery, mouth feel. I’m no oolong maven, but this seems like a good exemplar of its type. If I wanted to introduce someone to tieguanyin, this is what I’d give them. It doesn’t knock my socks off, but it’s really solid.
Flavors: Green, Nutty, Vegetal
This tea makes me happy. Despite a full Western steep of 5 minutes, the tea came out somewhat light-bodied and very fresh tasting with a soft mouth feel and nice malt tones. As it cooled a bit, an almost cocoa thing came to the fore. The second steep was certainly palatable, but fainter all around. A very nice introduction to Tea at Sea.
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt
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I am usually not a big fan of African teas. Most of them are CTC and I think they are formulated too strong. This one is an exception. It’s robust, but has a soft mouth feel and tones of chicory and something flowery that I can’t quite name because I’m a bit stuffed up at the moment. Unlike many of its ilk, this one does not require milk to soften. It dries out a bit as it cools, but still goes down good.
This tea comes via Upton Tea, they of the huge selection and ancient-seeming and quirky website. Apparently they’ve gotten the message and are in the process of revamping the site. Check back around the end of this month for a new and improved version.
Flavors: Flowers, Roasted
As I understand it, mao cha is what a lot of people in China drink as day to day tea. Not the aged shengs, not the freshly compressed shous, but just basic mao cha. This tea helps me understand why. The leaves smell of steamed spinach, and the somewhat thin, slightly dry liquor has a gentle mushroom odor, but tastes more like a moderate green. It was good for several steeps in the gaiwan, but I’m sure a mugful of Western steep would go down good as a daily draft. I think I understand mao cha just a wee bit better now.
Flavors: Green, Mushrooms, Spinach, Vegetal
Clearly I’m missing something here. I ordered Yunnan Sourcing’s Wild Tree Purple Varietal Black Tea of Dehong Spring 2014 because of the rave reviews here and elsewhere and, well, I just don’t see it. [Note: it’s hard to tell from the listing – it’s possible that the deliciousness was last year’s version and the 2014 that I have is different.] Last night, I gave it the full gaiwan multi-steep treatment and was generally underwhelmed. I found it just a tad smoky and just a tad sweet, but generally ordinary. “OK,” thought I, “Perhaps it needs a full Western steep.” So that’s what I tried this morning, a couple of heaping teaspoons in an 8 oz cup and a full 3½ minute steep. Nope, it’s still not doing anything for me. Terri and other reputable tasters love this stuff, so maybe I’ll just put it aside for a while and try again. In the meantime, I have a lot of it, so if anyone else wants to give it a shot – to confirm or debunk my impressions – just drop me a line and I’ll send some right over.
I’ve been happily quaffing this tea since I picked it up at the Philly Coffee & Tea Fest several weeks ago. Actually, that’s not quite true. I’m slowly parceling it out because it is no longer on Bingley’s website and it is so delicious that I want to make it last. Fortunately, I can dole it out a tablespoon at a time in my gaiwan. After 30”, the color is pale straw, but this is deceptive because the flavor is robust, sweet, soft, and creamy. Another 30” gives a continuing rich brew with spinach undertones. It only starts to fade after a few more steeps. Wish I could get my mitts on more of this delightful stuff.
Flavors: Creamy, Spinach, Sweet