39 Tasting Notes
I learned about this ice brewing method (here: http://www.inpursuitoftea.com/category_s/159.htm) for green tea that I road tested with my good ol’ never ending bag of this stuff. Basically, caffeine and tannins are not as readily extracted in cold water, so brewing tea in cold water over a long period of time yields a sweeter, less stimulating tea.
I dumped four teaspoons of tea in the bottom of my three cup coffee press and filled it with a heaping pile of ice cubes. Then I simply waited for the ice to melt, and the tea was ready. This is obviously a beverage to plan ahead. I made it first thing in the morning and drank it at lunch, but it could just as easily be prepared the night before to be ready at breakfast.
The taste was sweeter, yes, but it was a little over-extracted to me. Perhaps four teaspoons was too much, since once the ice melted, the yield was just a little over two cups of tea. Also, the cubes from my ice maker are quite big and took a long time to melt, which equals a longer steep time. Next time I will try a mix of ice and water to shorten the steep time. I would also love to see how this turns out with crushed ice. Would it be awkward to order a cup of the crushed ice they use at Sonic?
I prepared this one identically to the last pu-erh I tried (see notes on Ancient Pu-erh Tuo Cha by Rishi), rinsing and making lots and lots of short infusions.
At first, I got a smell of dashi (Japanese fish stock), salty, savory, and yes, fishy. The first steeps were a little bit like rich soil, but right now on my fourth steep I’m getting a distinct smooth unsweet cocoa flavor. It’s not bad. In many ways it’s similar to Rishi’s. I like the robustness on this cold Texas morning. Currently it’s 43 degrees outside and I’m in flannel pajama pants with the heater on!
This is my first real foray into the world of pu-erh!
I rinsed the puck with hot water for 10-15 seconds, and then steeped for about 30 seconds. For some reason, I didn’t expect the puck to fall apart so quickly. After a short amount of time, the tea was already dark like soy sauce, and I won’t lie, it smelled like fish.
The taste was malty, smooth, savory, and yes, a little bit like fish. The fishy taste subsided after the second infusion, and each subsequent brew was a little bit lighter and sweeter. I increased brew time slightly, but by the last infusion, I still only brewed for about 1 minute. Even the 6th cup was still a rich reddish mahogany color, but by then, the tea was losing its flavor and intensity.
Although my description might not sound too appealing, there is something mysterious and alluring about the smell and taste of this tea, and I enjoyed every sip. I loved smelling the earthy, savory aroma of the leaves between infusions. Drinking this tea is something to plan to do periodically throughout a whole day, as you have to do it justice by brewing at least 5 cups (even the 7th or 8th infusion would probably be pleasant). Other than that, I look forward to my next pu-erh day.
For the 3+ years I’ve worked at Starbucks, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to enjoy China Green Tips (especially since we switched to full leaf in 2009), but I just don’t like it! :[ I have access to essentially infinite bags of the stuff, and as I’ve mentioned in past tasting notes, I’ve tried many ways to enjoy it.
Eureka! I felt inspired to try something new yesterday after brewing up a cup of oft’ mentioned sencha from Yamamotoyama. At home I dust the leaves with matcha powder before brewing it to make my own rich ‘supergreen’ tea. At work, we also carry a matcha powder, though it is contaminated with a good amount of sugar. When I use the sweet matcha, it’s to put in a smoothie, steamed milk, or lemonade. I’d never thought to use it to ‘dust’.
12 ounces of water for two sachets. Steep it a bit and pour the hot tea into a shaker with a stingy pinch of matcha powder, swirl until it turns a nice fresh lime color. If it’s not ‘Kermit the Froggy’ enough (as my coworkers tend to describe my drinks) swirl in a touch more matcha. Add a big cup of ice, shake vigorously, pour into a tall cup, and adore the pretty color.
It’s not perfect. It’s still made from China Green Tips. It’s a utilitarian green; good more for a cup of antioxidants and other awesome green tea magic, and less for enjoying a nuanced flavor profile. It perks me up on those long shifts and is acceptable in taste.
Visited my parents yesterday for the 4th of July. After dinner I was craving a cuppa something, so I looked in their very small ‘tea basket’. I found the same three boxes of bagged tea that are always in there that nobody drinks except me (that I don’t even like that much) and then I found this one lone bag of Bigelow green. Someone must have picked it up at some luncheon somewhere and brought it home for the next time I visited? Nobody was able to identify the origin of this lone tea bag.
Anyway, not knowing the best steep time, I brewed it up in a clear mug and went by color. It looked about right after about 1.5 minutes. It was okay. Nothing mind-blowing. It wasn’t bitter and it satisfied my craving. I even went for a second steep and it tasted all right! It was slightly drying to the palate, a little flat, but it was a good, simple after dinner tea. I might even drop the $1.50 for a box of this at the grocery store so I can put it in my parents’ tea basket for when I come over.
Scooped a bulk sample at Central Market. This one is on the more oxidized side, and it’s good when I want something a little more robust than my usual fare of greens and lighter oolongs.
It tastes woody and nutty. No bitterness at all. The taste is balanced and has more complexity the longer you sip it. This is something I would pick for a day when I have to wake up before dawn and my feet are cold.
I really want to like this one because it’s so pretty. Looking at the shape of the leaves and smelling the brew, I was expecting something between a jade oolong and gunpowder. I need to try the first steep again when I am not so sleepy, as I don’t quite remember it. The taste was good… not much of a surprise. Hardly worth $90/lb though (don’t worry, I only got $1.80 worth).
2nd and 3rd steeps went down easy and the astringency settled my slightly upset stomach, but I’m getting this salty aftertaste in the back of my throat after two small cups. Did I just drink some sea water? Pickle brine? Strange.
Oh lordy lordy, this is delicious! I only bought a tiny sample of this (as always, thanks bulk jars at Central Market!), but I already know I’m going to be buying more.
Dry, the leaves trigger a strong smell-related memory of Filipino cooking. I say this because my neighbors growing up were Filipino, and for all the parties they held (which was a lot) they always cooked a spread of different rice, noodle, and fish dishes that filled the house with this rich, welcoming, savory aroma. If I had to narrow it down, I would say it smells like white rice with a freshly fried eggroll.
Brewed, it smells like warm broth, very similar to the dry smell. Upon sipping, I taste a familiar greenness, but a rich creamy mouthfeel that reminds me of my beloved kukicha by Rishi. There is no bitterness or vegetableness (not that I don’t love those things too!) at all. I taste butter and fluffy white rice. I can see how others describe fresh moss, as there is a little aged depth to the flavor. I can smell a little floral edge to it, but I’m definitely not getting anything I would describe as ‘fruity’.
Absolutely yum. I think savory, buttery, creamy, greenness is my favorite tea flavor profile. Jade oolong has just rocketed to the top of my favorites! :O
The last few days have been batshit crazy with apartment problems. First it was a leak in the ceiling, then it was water bubbling up from the floor. Then it was a bathtub that wouldn’t drain. Then it was a snapped off toilet handle. Then it was a screen door that won’t open. Did I mention that all these things happened in a 48 hour period? Now we’ve discovered that water from the leaky upstairs AC unit has not only been dripping through the ceiling, but has been seeping down into the wall behind boxes in our bedroom closet and hallway closet for god knows how long. Several ruined pairs of leather shoes, tote bags, blankets, and an old vacuum later, half of our apartment is currently torn apart awaiting the repair man to come back for the third day in a row and replace our carpet. So yeah, I needed something calming this morning.
I reached for this silver needle and blended it with some dried lavender flowers from Central Market (35 cents for half an ounce!) in hopes of a soothing start to the day. It tasted nice, but I definitely overdid the lavender since I could barely taste the white tea. The combination is promising, and it satisfies my desire for this tea to taste more floral.
Still trying to figure this one out. I am new to oolongs, so I’m not sure what I’m supposed to taste on that front, but I do know that I taste a lot of the other juicy stuff that’s in here (hibiscus, rose hips, and ‘dried schizandra berries’… which I guess is the plum part?), and not much else. In the first steep, I get this kind of smoky, tea-like aftertaste when the tea is piping hot… must be the oolong! But as it cools it mellows out into this juicy pink brew that tastes… dare I say it? Like an HERBAL. The second steep (even at 8 minutes long!) fails to taste like anything but a hibiscus herbal.
I’m not too big on a lot of hibiscus, but unlike other teas that actually bill themselves as a juicy pink herbal, I like that this hibiscus is a lot more subdued. The liquor is more blushing pink than drag queen magenta. This tea is nice, simply nice. Do I think it’s a good example of an oolong? Not sure… can’t say I know much about oolongs at this point.