575 Tasting Notes
I finally broke open the new batch of LB I bought back in January. It was perfect timing to order because I had just run out of my old LB. Unfortunately, I’m a bit disappointed by this batch. I actually steeped tea from this batch on a few different days to make sure that it wasn’t by error with either temperature or amount of leaf. I have come to the sad conclusion that this batch is a much weaker version of what I had before. All the yummy flavors of chocolate and baked bread and such are still there, but much more muted. I used to steep the same leaves at least 3 times before giving up on the flavor, but I can barely even resteep it once with these leaves. Sadness!
I’ll probably keep my rating the same for now because I know that this tea can be perfectly awesome at its best. I may even pre-order the Spring LB when it becomes available to see if it improves. I’m not giving up yet!
Sipdown (91)! This is a sad sipdown for me. I only had a few teaspoons left of this, so I brought it to work to be sipped down (my first work sipdown!). Anyway, I realized that this tea isn’t quite suited for my office where I frequently forget about my tea steeping away forever. The first steep was perfectly malty and complex, but I left it steeping for something like 10 minutes on the second round. Unfortunately, there was some resulting bitterness that wasn’t so pleasant. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t finish the mug, but it was not a nice way to say goodbye to this tea, either. I’ll miss this one!
I haven’t really been posting tasting notes because I’ve been rotating through the same teas at work, including this one. I just wanted to add this because the other day, I accidentally left the tea leaves steeping for over 10 minutes while I was working on something. At first, I was horrified, but when I actually tasted the tea, there was not bitterness at all! That was a wonderful surprise. The tea was much stronger than I am used to, but that wasn’t enough to keep me from finishing the mug. I also noticed that it brought out a smokiness that I usually don’t really taste all that much. Loving this tea, running out too fast!
I should really resist opening up my new teas from my Verdant order until I sip down more of the ones that I already have open in my cupboard… But I have no self control, apparently. I just couldn’t resist opening this one up for work because I was really craving a chocolate-y tea. This tea definitely delivered that and more. I will say that this batch of LB Genmaicha seems to be a tad weaker than the one I finished off from about a year and a half ago. It may be because I just steeped it differently this time around or something, but I’ll have to keep my eye out for it in future steepings. (Not that it will really diminish my love for this tea anyway).
This is my second office teabag tea of the day. I let the water cool for about 5 minutes before putting the tea bag in to avoid bitterness from scalded tea. It worked for the most part. The tea was a little bitter, but it mostly came out as the tea was cooling and was barely noticeable while the tea was still hot. I don’t really drink many Chinese green teas anymore because I prefer Japanese greens in general. However, this tea surprsingly reminded me of sencha more than it did of other Chinese green teas. It’s puzzling because the name of the tea acutally has “China” in it… It was less sharp and grassy than a lot of other Chinese greens I’ve had. It was more of a grassy/vegetal mix with perhaps even a bit of umami in there as well.
Maybe I’m not the best at explaining it eloquently, but as a mostly Japanese green, loose leaf tea drinker, I found this to be actually not too bad.
Well, I was thrown off my Daylight Savings more than usual. As a result, I rushed out of the house without my mug and other tea things that I brought home for the weekend. So I had to make do with teabags and paper cups at work. I don’t think that this tea is necessarily that terrible, but the paper cup really makes it taste like malty paper. I guess the upside is that the tea is not bitter at all! I wouldn’t buy these teabags for myself, but it was a nice quick fix at work this morning.
I’m so very glad and lucky that Verdant had all my favorite teas in stock when I made my last order! This is definitely one of my favorite black teas. Just the delicious and complex combination of malty and potato-y flavor is so perfect. Today, I think I detected a hint of smokiness that was surprising. I can’t remember if I thought there was smoky flavor in this tea before. Maybe I’m just going crazy today. In any case, it’s such a lovely tea, and I’m thinking that I probably should have ordered more of it because I’m going to run out pretty quick at the rate I’m going!
After yesterday’s successful experiment with LB/Wuyi Mountain Big Red Robe, I wanted to sip on just the Wuyi oolong today at work for comparison. For the first two Western style steeps, I was getting a lot of nutty and chocolate-y flavors along with that wet leaf taste that I find in a lot of different oolongs. The third steep was significantly weaker in flavor (and oddly a little bitter), but I went ahead and did a fourth steep anyway just to see what would happen. The fourth steep was pretty much just like slightly flavored hot water.
In conclusion, I think that this is a 2 steep max kind of tea for me (Western style anyway). I’m so happy that I reordered this from Verdant because it’s just the perfect delicious, clean cuppa I need to motivate me through the workday.
Thank goodness my Verdant order got here because I just finished off the last of my previous batch of Laoshan Black. I actually only had enough for about half a cup, so I made up for the rest of it with Wuyi Mountain Big Red Robe. I’m no expert at blending teas or anything, but I thought it sounded like a good enough combination.
So the first steep (Western style) was very much like Laoshan Black. It started off with a punch of chocolate flavor and ended with a nice, sweet maltiness. I was confused that I didn’t taste too much of the oolong, but I figured that LB has a pretty strong flavor, so it was probably just overpowering. Surprisingly, the second steep was totally different. I think the LB took a little step back because I was getting a pretty strong roasty oolong flavor out of it. There was still some malty flavors from the LB, but it played nicely with the oolong flavor instead of dominating.
On my third and final steep, I was getting that kind of generic nutty water taste that I get with both LB and Wuyi when the flavors start getting weak. Even though it is weak, I do like the taste of the nutty water, so I don’t mind too much.
Even though I mixed these two teas together because of convenience, I actually quite enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of the LB Genmaicha, which I’m pretty sure has an oolong in there with the LB. I may try this again in the future to mix it up a little :)
Backlog. And sipdown (92)! This was quite a lovely oolong, and I will miss having it around. I think it has a nice balance between floral and roasted flavors all at once. For my first steep, the water was a bit hot, so there was an unpleasant metallic, bitter taste in the background, but when I use lower temperature water (maybe around 185-190?), there was no bitterness and the sweetness really shone through. I’m sad to see this one go, but I think I have enough other oolongs to put me at ease for now!