829 Tasting Notes
I liked this at the parameters I used initially, the ones recommended by thepuriTea. But Teavana’s steep parameters are slightly different, so I thought I’d give it a try just as an experiment. As I set the Breville it turns out that they think oolongs should go at 195 degrees, too, so hopefully this won’t be the mistake I think it will…
Steeped liquor is a lighter caramel color, and the scent is a little different this steep. I get mostly a roasted note that at times seems almost burnt (uh oh), but there’s a little fruity/peach/apricot hint hiding beneath all of it, so that’s encouraging.
As for the taste – I will say that peach is the foremost flavor here, followed by a roasted nut undertone and a tinge of astringence coming at the very end of the sip. But, the mouthfeel is a bit thinner than the cooler temp/longer steep that I tried originally, which pretty much seals the deal that I prefer the other parameters more.
This seems like it would be a very finicky tea to mess with if you didn’t a.)have something to do the work for you, or b.) weren’t that experienced with tea brewing. That said, when you do figure it out it is so worth it. Or, maybe I just like high maintenance things. :)
Prepped stovetop style and added a clump of toasted coconut in just to see if any magic would happen. (I know that it’s the oils added, and not the chunks of fruits/flowers that give a tea that extra flavor, but coconut seemed strong enough for me to give it a go).
It’s so bold and spicy, and yes, there is a hint (I think the milk helps) of coconut at the edges of the sip. This is fabulously warm and comforting, something I needed to get me through these last few hours before the weekend…
Free sample included with my last Teavana order.
I remember trying this in store and being less than wowed, even though it’s one of their most touted blends. I think it’s because I had it hot and that just seemed wrong, somehow. So when I made this, I did so with the intent of putting it over ice.
Preparation notes: The whole sample in 500 ml. water at the below parameters. I did a second steep of the leaves (not about to waste 1 freaking oz of that stuff on only 2 cups) at 4 minutes steep time.
Dry leaf: I don’t even know that there was anything in that ‘tea’ besides rock sugar and fruit chunks. I really didn’t see anything that I would describe as a leaf. Strange…
Steeped tea: I’m pretty sure that hibiscus is the culprit for both the color and the flavor of this. It steeped to a bright, vibrant reddish pink and smelled very orangey. And while I did get a fair bit of orange on the sip (while hot), I got this overwhelming tart flavor that completely managed to bury whatever rock sugar got put in there.
After I made the four cups I actually had to add sugar to get some of the fruity flavor back (a tsp. and a half) and then I set it in the refrigerator so the boyfriend and I could have this with dinner.
…and once cold, it just fell flat. Like it couldn’t decide whether to be juice or tea, so it tried to walk the line and failed. I am glad I only had a sample of this. It’s gone and I’m over it.
(P.S. If this sounds overly negative, please take with a large grain of salt. I had a rough day today and this bore the brunt of it, I’m afraid.)
This was a free sample provided by TeaVivre. Thanks so much!!
I was initially quite hesitant about trying this (as is evident by having tried everything else quite a while ago) both because I didn’t think I had a glass suitable for viewing, and because I wasn’t really sure about the floral nature of the tea.
But, I found the perfect glass mug (in my cupboard, who knew?) so I set out everything and got it out and ready to go. My particular ball took a while to open fully (like, well over 5 minutes) and I’m assuming I should have taken it out but it was such a beautiful thing to watch that I lost track of time. When I finally poured the tea out and into a different cup it was quite dark and smelled very floral.
Luckily it didn’t taste overly floral – I mean there were obvious notes but I also think that there was definite green tea (kind of even buttery!) in there as well. It was slightly bitter (my own fault because I was distracted by the show). Definitely a nice tea, but nothing spectacular – the bloom is really the selling point, and it is nice if you’re into that sort of thing.
This was a resteep of my initial leaves that I then iced. 8 minutes even in 180 degree water. With the leaves from thepuriTea, a resteep iced at these parameters still gave me quite a strong peachy note that I was hoping would happen here too.
Meh, 8 minutes was pushing it for sure. There’s no real flavor besides the roasty green and its bitter (still drinkable, but bitter) so you can’t let it stay in your mouth too long. (I’m drinking this while eating something really savory so that’s helping me avoid the astringence). Maybe a straight cold brew will help bring out those apricots? It is rather refreshing cold, despite the bitterness. I think it’d be even better if that got taken out of the equation though!
Another selection from the Lupicia lucky bag. I couldn’t decide between the Piccolo or this one tonight so I let the boyfriend do a blind smell test and this is the one he picked.
Green and red rooibos are both kind of uncharted territory for me. I’m think one of them has disagreed with me before, but I’ve never really bothered to figure out which one it was and so stayed away from them both. At least with Lupicia sending me one of each I can figure out my tastes a little more concretely!
Preparation notes: 6 ish grams of tea (about 3 tsp.) to 500 ml. water and steeped in the Breville at the below parameters. No additives used.
Dry leaf: The dry leaf was quite small with little bits of flowers (and bigger chunks of mango!) interspersed throughout. The smell was very fruity, specifically a lemon lime kind of note.
Steeped tea: The tea steeped up to a light orange color, which I wasn’t expecting for some reason. I guess I just assumed it would have more of a green tint to it.
Anyway, the smell is woody and citrus (lemon) sour – with mango coming last. Someone mentioned hot orange jello as what it tasted like and that is definitely what I’m getting. No astringence or aftertaste, just a sweet orange flavor that would be killer iced.
So, I’ve had one other dan cong to date and that was from thepuriTea. I loved it but unfortunately came to terms with the fact that it was quite…expensive for my very limited budget.
Still, the dan cong has been my most favorite oolong to date and I really wanted to have one on hand at all times. Enter in that awesome Teavana sale and the dan cong being 75% off and I just couldn’t resist. Even though I had not tried their particular stock, I bought a half pound and hoped it would be good. I got $100 worth of tea for $25, so it was a good deal, if nothing else!
Preparation notes: 2 tsp. per 8 oz. (about 6 ish grams tea total) for 500 ml. water in the Breville at the below parameters.
I must note that these were not the parameters Teavana recommends. I will try it at their parameters next, but for now I went with what I used with thepuriTea’s sample to compare them.
Dry leaf: Smelled very roasted, even a tinge malty. I got impressions of salt water/air, and honey as well. It reminded me of a black tea. The black, needle like leaves were surprisingly unbroken, despite the transport of shipping. So far, so good!
Steeped tea: The steeped tea smelled amazing! It smelled like a roasted green. The taste was roasted and nutty, with a slight hint of a vegetal layered in there somewhere. Really, the nutty and roasted notes take center stage during the sip, though. As it cools there is the slightest whisper of a hint of astringency, but I don’t find it unpleasant and am sure it would go away with a slight decrease in steep time.
The texture of this tea is thick and nectary, with the end of the sip bringing out a kind of honey/sweetness. My favorite part of the dan cong before was that prolonged peachy aftertaste and I was most hopeful that that would be recreated here. While I don’t get peach, I do get apricot, and though the aftertaste was prolonged, it was nutty rather than fruity. I have plenty of this tea to experiment with, though (squee!!!), so I will play around with this to see if it changes.
My overall impression of this is that it was an awesome deal and I’m glad I sprung for it. I probably won’t rebuy it (it probably won’t be available anyway by the time I’m out), but I will definitely be seeking out other dan congs when I have the money.
Yum! My favorite oolong varietal without a doubt.
This is up there on my ‘top 5’ 52teas list. Mostly because with milk and sugar this tastes exactly like the banana bread my mom made when I was little (that I asked for instead of a birthday cake one year, incidentally, because I loved it SO MUCH).
I’m rationing this one out, though, as this is not in the permanent collection (NOOOOOO!!!), AND I’m low in the funds department probably until the middle of the year (at least). But as soon as I get a regular paycheck and graduate, I will likely be going in for a full pound.
Nostalgia is a powerful, powerful thing.