626 Tasting Notes
So. I love black tea, and I love dan congs. Far and away they make me the happiest of any other teas out there. And when I saw this – a combination of dan cong AND a black tea – on Verdants website, well…. let’s just say that it didn’t take much to make me decide to add this to my cart when I finally placed an order.
I went with their western style brewing recommendations mostly because I don’t have a gaiwan but I do want to try it that way in the future as well. So – I guesstimated about 4 g. of tea and started with a 35 second infusion.
It smells strangely like a roasted green once steeped – like genmaicha or hojicha, maybe. But the texture is buttery smooth. I see avocado because of the texture alone, but combined with the ‘green’ smell I really think it becomes the prominent note. Once cooled honeyed flavors emerge as well. But I’m definitely not getting the salty/peachy dan cong elements I love so much. Maybe in a steep or two I will?
Steep two: 45 seconds – 1 minute. Even more avocado! This is absolutely amazing. Its the texture mostly. As it cools a maltier, cocoa note peeks through. Chocolate avocados. Who knew that would be so perfect?? Now that it’s cooled off completely the peachy aftertaste that is indicative of my beloved dan cong oolong is shining through, only it’s more of a grilled peach, which I’m assuming comes from the fact that the tea base is a black rather than oolong. I would say there are no words….but this small novel seems to show otherwise.
Steep three: One minute. Hmmm… hot I don’t get anything, strangely. Like – hot water, nothing. I’ll wait until this guy cools a bit….and once it’s cooled I only get the fainted notes of…genmaicha?! I’m going to let this steep a bit more to see if I can eke out any more flavor, but I love how mercurial this tea is. Green and black and oolong and fruity and honey and roasty all together and separate at the same time. An extra minute or two of steeping time brings the genmaicha-esque flavor out more but also adds a smidge of astringence. Not bad, just…I can tell it’s reaching it’s peak, you know?
I think I’ll just finish this infusion and call it good, but it was quite the adventure while it lasted! What a fun tea that was well worth the splurge!
What. a. week. It started with a light tap on my car bumper, and pretty much ended with calling a code on my floor at work. I’m glad it’s Friday, and I’ve got today and tomorrow (and most of Sunday) off.
My schedule is really wonky since I work nights now, but I was up to greet my boyfriend as he left for work and decided to make a latte out of my first time with this tea. It was definitely a good decision!
Steep notes: 2 tsp. leaf, 1 cup milk, 1 cup water, and 1.5 tsp. sugar.
This reminded me very strongly of the pumpkin chai from David’s Tea, in terms of spices and pumpkin flavor. This didn’t have any real ginger or cardamom, though – I mostly got cinnamon. There was also a custardy note (probably really helped by the milk and sugar) and it did kind of remind me of creme brulee! I went ahead and steeped the tea for the length of the cup and there wasn’t any astringence, either.
I will say that though 2013 is shaping up to be and has already been a rough year so far, I at least have discovered good tea to help guide me through it. The little things, right? Between Butiki and Della Terra I think it’s a good thing I’ve got some extra income on my hands….
You know that thread on the discussion page about what your all time favorite, last tea on earth would be?
This one’s mine.
I had some this morning when I had to wake up early for a staff meeting. This was before I got in the stupid minor fender bender that kind of screwed up my mood for the rest of the day. But at least while I had it, I was happy and relaxed.
Ugh. Other people on the road and rainy dark mornings. If ever that was a sign I should have just stayed in bed….
This sample was generously provided to me by Angel from Teavivre. Thank you so much!
I love dan congs, but I don’t love how every single one has had different steeping parameters. It’s so strange because theoretically these are all leaves from the same tree, you know?
Anyway, the recommendation for this one was boiling water, and I’ll try that next time, but it just seemed like that would be too tough on these leaves so I went with thePuritea’s recommended parameters, which are below.
Dry leaf was long and spindly, and had that trademark seaweed/salt air scent that I love. Reminds me of Tybee Island – which was where I grew up. My childhood summers were pretty much spent sunburned and water logged, and I loved every second of it. I don’t really miss the community down there, but oh, I miss the ocean. It’s been hard being landlocked these past few years and I hope to eventually have a coastline near me soon!
The main reason I’m going to try the recommended parameters is that the cooler water yielded a surprisingly thin steeping. Not as nectary, or as peachy as my other dan cong experiences. I didn’t get much of the lingering fruity aftertaste, either. It wasn’t overly bitter or astringent, it just…wasn’t what I’ve gotten used to a dan cong being. So I’m going to hold off on rating for now until I try it with boiling water.
But even while it wasn’t in top form, it was still fabulously relaxing and nostalgic…and I bet once I actually follow directions it will be perfect!
Pecans are fantastic! I saw a recipe the other day that used maple syrup to candy them, and I’m thinking, based on this tea, that that would be a pretty darn good idea.
This tea balances maple and pecan right from the smell of the dry leaf. I kind of feel like I should find a way to infuse it into syrup and serve it on pancakes or waffles (gluten free, of course). But then, that would mean I couldn’t drink it and that would be sad.
Steep notes: 1.5 tsp. leaf, 8 oz. water, sugar as an additive.
The liquor brews up a much darker color (a light brown) than the green (strawberry) oolong I had earlier, so yay for roasted oolongs! I’ve had a nilgiri black before and loved it, so I’m thinking this bodes well for a nilgiri oolong? (The two could be unrelated though – I don’t know very much about nilgiri teas in general.)
The sip starts with heavy pecan overtones, that then fades into a maple flavor towards the end. The maple flavor is interesting, because it’s not that straight sweetness you’d expect – it’s like maple with all the sugar removed. The base on this one works beautifully with both the maple and pecan, though! It has a nice texture and everything.
As it cools the pecan starts to let it’s astringent qualities be known, so I went ahead and added some raw cane sugar to help with that. The mouthfeel also thins out a bit, but now with the sugar I definitely feel like I’m drinking a pie so I don’t mind at all!
I like this one! So glad I have an ounce of it to play with!
Given the smashing success I’ve had with Hot Cinnamon Spice at work, I decided to order one more Harney blend to see if I could have a little more of a selection. Because I need variety everywhere, even places where there’s no way to brew loose tea. High maintenance tea-phile is high maintenance!
I’ve wanted to try this one for forever because well – the idea of a Mounds bar meeting a black tea was tantalizing. I looooove coconut….coconut cream pie from 52Teas is one of my most favorite teas and for sure in my staple collection, so I was eager to compare this one to it.
Steep notes: 1 bag, 8 oz. water, milk and sugar added.
The smell of this dry was not as awesome as I’d hoped. I think it’s the chocolate note, to be honest – something was cheap/off about it. I could get coconut, but any chance of smelling the tea was lost because of that overwhelming weird chocolate smell. Once brewed, it becomes a little less fakey smelling and the coconut comes out more. The coconut is creamy and very reminiscent of 52Teas, which makes me happy.
The taste of the chocolate is surprisingly authentic, and it balances the coconut well! But – the texture is disappointingly thin. Maybe a little less water next time? Eh – I added milk and sugar to help.
The milk and sugar round out both the texture and add enough sweetness to really make the mounds bar aspect pop. It’s quite palatable like this – unfortunately, it’s a little more involved than I wanted it to be, since this requires having both sweetener and creamer on hand to prepare it. I suppose I’ll leave it at home, but even so, there are both other chocolate teas and coconut teas that I prefer, so I won’t be replacing this one once it’s gone.
My other free sample from the Butiki order!
The dry leaf is strongly floral when you smell it. I can only liken it to Tie Guan Yin because I haven’t had much experience with green oolongs. I get a hint of strawberry in there somewhere but mostly it is that strong florality – I’m not good with flowers so sadly I can’t even tell you what kind it is. :(
After steeping those leaves massively increased in volume, but the steeped liquor is a pale yellow. The scent has become a tad fruitier, though, so that’s a good thing. The taste is buttery flowers that becomes a brief flash of strawberry before transforming back into the floral oolong again. Very well balanced, and the strawberry itself is a very natural, sweet flavor.
I think green oolongs just aren’t my thing, though. And I think that’s because flowers just aren’t my thing. Why drink something you can’t even eat, you know? Me and my quirky palate…
Nonetheless, I can definitely appreciate how well done this blend is. And I would certainly not refuse it if it were offered to me! I just don’t think I would seek it out on my own. Doesn’t mean I’m going to have any trouble finishing up the cup, though….
Yay! A free sample from my Butiki order!
I am pretty unfamiliar with tamarind but given the descriptions others have written of this tea, I was also pretty sure I’d like it. Still, I was hesitant to take the plunge and order a whole ounce. Luckily, Stacy asked if she could include any samples with all the other teas I ordered and it didn’t take me two seconds to jot down this one and the strawberry oolong as my choices. :)
Steep notes: below parameters, one sample packet, 8 oz. of water. No additives.
I know that everyone has said sugar makes a world of difference, but. It really, really REALLY didn’t need it. Maybe it stopped me from getting the authentic taste. As it was though I got a cream soda (think vanilla/caramel) with a tannic bite at the end to remind me this was still tea…though it could have been accentuated by a sour note most are attributing to the tamarind itself.
And, by not adding sugar to the sample I’ve pretty much made it mandatory to get an additional ounce of this when I place my next Butiki order – you know, all in the name of experimentation!
Finally got around to getting my Teavivre order from the post office and this was the first tea that the boyfriend wanted to try. I think that the name, and the rolled leaves, had a huge part in his choice. :) Oh, and this is the 3rd round of tea samples from Angel – who I can’t thank enough for her generosity and the education I’m getting!
I really need to learn more about Chinese black teas. Luckily I got a ton of Barnes and Noble gift cards for Christmas so I ordered a few books, but mostly I’m confused about the tea names/places. Clearly I need to research more of Chinese geography to get a better understanding of a teas’ origins, so I’m going to try and make that a goal for all of my pure samples from now on.
Okay, so Fengqing is in western Yunnan, which is a southern province according to the maps. I’ll have to go back and specifically read any Yunnan tasting notes to compare, but what I get from this dry is a very chocolatey, malty smell. It definitely seems like more of a delicate black – what I mean is that it’s not quite as heavy or earthy as an Assam is, which the brewing parameters seem to confirm.
I went for 2 minutes on the steeping because I do like a strong tea, and that was enough time to give it a pretty honeyed brown liquor. I say honeyed specifically because I really think this had a sweet nectary note in the taste and texture. There was the chocolate also, which was more noticeable as the tea cooled. And whenever I get a malty note in the scent I get a chewy texture, so that was wonderful!
This is a solid tea- not super heavy but not as delicate/fussy as a Darjeeling, which are usually a little too light for my tastes. It is quite unassuming, but it grows on you so that when you get to the bottom of your cup you find yourself wanting more.
I’m on a self-imposed tea buying moratorium until February 24 (1.5 months from today, gah!) but once I get through it, and try all of these samples I’ll be making a huge TeaVivre order, I expect!
I feel like as a rule I have very definite tastes that very rarely deviate. Tea-wise I’ve mostly learned what those are, but occasionally something sounds SO GOOD that I’ll just go for it anyway. That was the case with this tea: orange isn’t my thing, so much, but marshmallow and chocolate really, really are. So, into the cart it went. :)
The dry leaf reminds me of Earl Grey Creme, just with chocolate. This is starting out pretty awesome, I must say. I gave it to my boyfriend to smell and he couldn’t tell what it was, just that it smelled sweet and kind of citrusy. I like when he volunteers to smell things without knowing what they are because it’s like a single blind study for me. :)
Anyway, following Butiki’s parameters I did 1 tbsp. leaf to the 500 ml. in my Breville. It brewed up a light brownish orange, and smelled the same as it was when dry – creamy orange dark chocolate. And it tastes just the same! Dark chocolate and orange are equally present throughout the sip, with that creamy undertone rounding out and supporting those two flavors rather than standing out in its own right. Yeah – this doesn’t need anything added to it.
This was blended SO WELL, you guys. I mean, I’m relatively late on the Butiki bandwagon but I cannot stress enough how if there’s ever a blend that Stacy makes in the future that sounds good, I’m going to have to get it because it WILL taste just like it’s supposed to. Man I’m so excited to tear into the rest of my order from her!