1611 Tasting Notes
I have a forest full of cicada noises inside my head. My head and ear hurt. I am a big baby when I don’t feel good. I thought tea would make me feel better. It helped but really this tea deserves a better review than it is about to get.
I grabbed this for the tea sap sucking leaf hopper vampire connection. Seemed appropriate. The leaf, despite the vampire bites, are beautiful. They are brown, cinnamon, green, white, with touches of yellow. It is composed of leaves and buds on stems. I don’t detect a lot of aroma from the leaf, except some faint peony blossoms.
The steep leaf scent is honey and fruit. The liquor is honey/caramel in color.
To me, if I didn’t know this was a Taiwanese oolong, I would have believed it to be a Nepalese black tea. It tastes of raisin drifting into muscat grapes. It also has a nutty, deep woods presence to it. Late in the sip I sense it opening up with floral notes. that seem again like peony blossoms. Very good.
Up until now I have been enjoying my break from ‘serious’ tea with these Good Earth fusions. Not so much with this one. Opening the envelope I smell something berry but can’t quite identify it. Once steeped the aroma is berry and vanilla. So far, so good. The however, is once I taste I am at first assaulted with a blast of stevia which suddenly jumps into high gear with hibiscus. The aftertaste turns to that bitter stevia taste that is like drinking saccharin. My wife, who is an herbal tea drinker thought the taste wasn’t bad. For me, this makes the do not ever try again list. I know I can’t like everything, but it disappoints me because I have been amused by all the previous Good Earth teas.
Had this one yesterday as a hot western steep. Today I am having it as a cold brew. I thought this made a delicious and refreshing cold brew. I used 3g in a 12oz bottle overnight in the fridge. It is very sweet. The first note I catch is somewhere between sweet corn and buttered popcorn. Next it has a mild roasted note but since this tea was produced with zero roasting, I guess I’ll call it a nutty flavor. It finishes with a sweet abundance of floral (orchid?) notes reminiscent of Taiwan oolong. The sweet floral drifted into the aftertaste. This was good as a hot mug but really shines as a cold brew.
Well this is interesting. I used care when preparing this one as Sanne indicated it could be temperamental. I used 3g in my press with water heated to 175F. The first cup @60s is very yellow and tastes of sweet corn. There is zero bitterness and no noticeable astringent drying. The aftertaste is sweet and grassy. As the cup cools the flavor becomes more mineral stream. The second cup @90s has a light green tint. The taste is bold nori. There is enough bite to be interesting without being bitter. The aftertaste is sweet and grassy. The bite mostly subsides as the cup cools. The flavor remains unchanged. I do notice a slight tingle in the cheeks. I like the tingle but imagine a slightly reduced steep time would remove it. I don’t have time today to continue with this one though it should go 3 more steeps. I do have a cold brew working in the fridge for tomorrow.
As a general rule, I am not a fan of chai. I couldn’t quite figure out why as I like everything that is in it. This and Sweet Chai of Mine have kind of clued me in, most chai are too over spiced for my tastes. Good Earth backs off on the intensity a couple notches and I appreciate it.
Dry this does smell a little medicinal with the cherry flavor. Once steeped the aroma turns to a warm cinnamon and cardamom with a touch of cherry. The taste is similar to the steeped aroma.
In tea, cherry never tastes like cherry in pie – which is how all cherry should taste. It is more like the cherry in a shaved ice. Since I have never found a tea that tastes like cherry pie, I can’t fault them here.
With Sweet Chai of Mine, the black pepper and ginger hit with a spicy heat at the end. In this one they are calmer and support the cinnamon allowing it to warm up the end of the sip.
I did sweeten this but only a little. It disappeared very quickly from my cup. That kind of surprised me.
Tea of the day. The moment I pulled back the paper I was impressed with this one. I am not used to such a fresh green aroma with only a little shengness to it. The leaf is as nice as the aroma. There is a lot of green, some brown, and an abundance of silvery buds. I can tell by looking there is a lot of large leaves in this cake. I did a rinse (for once), poured off and let the leaf rest for while before preparing the first cup.
The liquor is apricot in color. I braced myself for the young sheng astringent blast and was happy to find it wasn’t present. This is a 2014 cake but the astringent bite is light and comes and goes. This is lightly sweet. I caught hints of smoke. The aftertaste reminded me of peach.
I am not that educated in sheng so I can’t tell much about quality. I can say I enjoyed drinking a sheng that I didn’t have to wince with each sip.
Tea of the day with my oldest son. His laptop is dead. I blame Windows 10 and its stupid insistence of auto updates that you can’t disable. My youngest son says it has corrupted the boot drive, whatever that is.
Anyway, so tea – I am not a chai person. Keep that in mind. This is a bagged tea that can sometimes be found at the local grocer. It smells very medicinal when opening the envelope. Once steeping begins the aroma turns more traditional. The taste surprises me. It is far lighter than expected. I like that. It has the traditional chai spices in moderation and a touch of vanilla. The licorice root and stevia do add some sweetness, but for chai I think it should be sweeter. I added a little sweetener (half packet). This livens up the mug and brings out the maple flavor. It also brings out the black pepper and ginger in the form of a light bite with a little heat. So then I added a splash of milk. It mutes the chai spices a little and lifts the maple. For chai this isn’t bad.
This one left me scratching my head. I don’t drink a lot of oolongs because I don’t like the heavy roasted ones everyone else seems to prefer. This one is heavily oxidized but isn’t heavy on the roasting. It is a little sweet with the taste of honey but only lightly. The main flavor is a woodsy sort of leafiness accompanied by mineral notes like you would expect in a mountain stream where the water rushes across big rocks. This one seems so familiar but looking through my notes on Oriental Beauty and Bao Zhong, the two I thought it might most resemble, proved not even a close match. As I ended my blog post, I am going to have to leave the taste of this one as The Mystery of the Red Buffalo.