1289 Tasting Notes
It’s snowing here. Snow? It is spring according to the calendar. Someone should tell nature to knock it off.
Oolongs I like. I am always willing to drink one. On the other hand, I never wake up thinking I need oolong. This one may just be one that might cause that to happen. Seriously.
From the moment I opened the sample I knew this was different. The dry leaf scent is grain and malt. Malt in an oolong, who knew? The leaf looks like Bai Mu Dan but darker. The wet leaf scent is dry forest leaves and malt. The liquor is deep honey colored.
The taste is wonderful honey soaked in malt. There is a light earthiness with some fruit and floral notes. This is not strongly geranium floral like most green oolongs and it is definitely not roasty tasting. It reminds me as much of Bai Mu Dan as anything. This is not so subtle that you have to search flavors out but it it is not overly anything either like I generally find in oolong.
Reading through some of the tasting notes, I think how you feel about this will depend as much on how you feel about oolong as anything. Those of us who don’t crave oolong seem to view this very favorably. Count me as impressed.
I started today by giving the screen in my press a thorough scrubbing. I didn’t realize how long I had let it go. It could use an overnight soak to get the rest of the stains out but it will do as is for now. Heated extra water for a bowl of brown rice. Ended up with about 16 oz water left for the press. I used yesterday’s leaf. Steeped 15 seconds – not 4 minutes like yesterday. I filled two cups and based on the strength of the tea this will go more, maybe many more. I had 24 oz yesterday. The brew was beautiful burgundy colored. There are no rough edges in this cup. It is leather and honey, along with what I am still calling wood although who ever updated the product info (Teavivre?) called it loam and orchids. While the leaf in the press has a barnyard scent, there is nothing even close to that in the cup. When you pay attention to what you are doing this is really good. Now I feel comfortable checking recommend.
Flavors: Honey, Leather, Wood
So I think my tea tasting of this one is plagued or something. I used the whole sample – something I almost never do – I prepared this in a 12 oz mug and the sample was mostly one intact piece. I should have used half. Then I went with the website directions instead of the label. 3-10 minutes is way too long for the steep. I went with 4. I had to add sweetener, something I would eventually do anyway, but it was necessary here to try and tame the harsh edges. The second mug I tried to do a 15 second steep but I haven’t soaked my press screen in a while and when I neglect doing so it develops a tea resin build that makes the holes in the screen so small it creates a vacuum and won’t pour properly. So once I realized what was happening I pushed the plunger down on the press breaking the seal and so the steep ended up being about 30 seconds. The brew is dark. Not quite molasses but close. At least the taste is not harsh. Now I can tell this is leather and wood with cinnamon notes. It is not bitter or astringent. Pleasant, drinkable, but I know it is capable of better. Later I may try using the leaves again as they show no sign of giving up. If all else fails I have another sample. Right now it reminds me of the cute little straight ripened toucha. I prefer the rose one as I think the rose knocks the rough edges off the cup without really adding any flavor.
Just got home from watching The Muppets Most Wanted. Many of the reviews of it are like the reviews for this tea. Are either the movie or the tea going to change your life forever? Of course not but I left feeling good. I laughed out loud more than a few times. As we left I overheard kids telling their moms they loved the movie. What better review do you need? This tea is pleasant and fruity. It makes me smile. Nough said.
My morning cup. I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. Actually I guess I was thinking Constant Comment. Yes this does have some clove but it is subdued. What this brings to my mind is hot apple cider. That is a neat trick for orange. It is not bitter but there is some dryness. In fairness I used boiling water and the recommended temp is 195 F so the astringency may be my own fault. I like it but I am not in love with this one. To me it would be best suited for evenings sitting around a fire.
So I steeped this up and set it on my desk while listening to Emmylou Harris. She is the voice of the angels, or at least I think so. Strange I would think this seeing how most of my music is ’70’s metal (Sabbath, Zeppelin). I found a 5 pack of her early albums today at Walmart. Wow she was really old school country when she started but what a voice. Then I got distracted trying to relearn an old Promise Keepers song our band did years ago that we can’t quite remember how it goes – I refuse to give up. Anyway when I picked the cup up it was almost room temp. Oops! It is buttery, green, and beautiful just the same. And now its gone. Emmylou is still here though ;)
Started my day with this using yesterday’s leaf. I really could have used less leaf I suppose. Of course had I used less I might not be getting such good results. I bet there is an inch of leaf in the bottom of my press and some of the pigtails have still not unfurled. The ones that have relaxed are huge leaf. Today I started with a 45 second steep. The brew is still deep golden in color and still has a smoky aroma. There is no bitterness and even the sheng brightness is well behaved. Today this is nutty like almonds and melts into a green planty aftertaste that is almost like oolong. I am still getting a lot of cheek tingle and the dryness that comes with it. The brew is smooth and thick feeling.
I am almost a complete novice at puerh. I know what I like and know enough to say for me sheng is a more complex cup whereas shu tends to be stronger flavored. This sheng does not have the sharp edges or brightness of most young raw puerh. It is pretty mellow. Some of the notes are passing and subtle while others are obvious to me. All in all one of the most interesting raw puerhs I have experienced.
Over leaf and over steep!
This is $10.99 for a 100g cake. Get some.
The dry leaf is smoky and citrus. I used more leaf than normal for me. It was probably 10g. I did not do a rinse. The first steep with boiling water was 1 minute. I know the puerh people did 15 second steeps but I live on the edge baby. Yeah, that’s how I roll. The liquor is deep golden and is dark and smoky with kelp notes in the leaf.
I could catch smoke as I lifted the cup but that ends the moment the liquid hit the lips. Instantly I got the creamy sensation of vanilla. This changed just as quickly to mineral, then again to a floral like orchid and maybe very light lavender. The sip finished with what for lack of better words was an ash like scent but it was way more pleasant than that sounds. This is a mellow cup of sheng. If you sip quickly it is like leather and spice. It made my cheeks tingle and filled the lungs with a cooling sensation.
Lots of leaf and longer steep = Much love for this one!