1358 Tasting Notes
I received this yesterday from Angel and Teavivre. I quickly pushed it to the top of my must sample today list. This is a very rare and extremely early first flush dragon well, picked before March 26, 2014 . It makes me a little nervous tasting such a rare tea.
The leaf is much smaller than I expected. My guess is this is due to the very young age of the bud and leaf. Very flat. Pretty color. It has a faint aroma that is distinctly dragon well.
I steeped in 185 F water for 4 minutes per the label instructions. I would have only gone two minutes without the label. The liquor is extremely clear and almost colorless with only the slightest green tint. The wet leaf aroma is steamed spinach and cream corn. I really liked the scent.
Sipping I get brisk, almost bitter but in the good green tea way. It is very crisp. The aftertaste fades very quickly but (and this is my first such experience) it leaves behind a warm inner glow. I am not talking about the tea. I mean me. It filled me with a warm glowing feeling. Unique and beautiful.
Also thank you to Angel for including the beautiful silk scarf. My wife saw it in the box and said, “Oh pretty!” She grabbed it, put it around her neck, and it is still there today. Your kindness and generosity do not go unnoticed.
I seldom brew blooming teas. They are pretty but seldom tasty. That said, I liked this one a lot. It tastes of cantaloupe melon and what my brain detected as flowers with something like very light clove or clover. Is that what lychee tastes like? I have no idea.
My wife and I drank the first 16 oz pot straight down and agreed we needed another. I am pretty sure it would have gone a third pot.
If you are going to prepare a blooming tea for display, it should be something you would actually want to drink. I think this is – and my wife agrees.
Steepster freaked out on me, so I am trying this again. I have logged this a couple times before with different results based on temp. Today I used hotter water than suggested. I used 185 F and 2 minute steep. The tea is green. The aroma as I poured was very asparagus / spinach. This was very good once again. This time it is buttery. There is no bitterness. Next time maybe I’ll go even hotter until I find its breaking point. What a nice tea.
This has a lot of reviews and I am not sure I can add anything new but that won’t stop me from trying. I opened this expecting a basic black breakfast so imagine my surprise at the pretty yellow petals, whatever they are, and CHOCOLATE! I wrote on my blog this must be the breakfast tea dad would serve ‘cause mom wouldn’t let me have chocolate first thing in the morning. This is more of a grown up take on the flavoring. It is well behaved. The brew is not messy or cloudy as chocolate teas tend to be. The chocolate flavor is light and melts into the tea blend. The pu’erh is the only one I can single out as it has a mild earthy taste. Not bitter or astringent. Half the caffeine of a cup of coffee. That I can’t single the other teas out is as close to a complaint as I have – it is almost too perfectly blended. But for too perfect it is darn tasty.
I have reviewed this cheapster steepster many times. Today’s experience was interesting. I caught hints of leather. I have no idea what was different. Nothing on my end that I am aware. No matters, I enjoyed 1 1/2 cups. The waitress was talking with my wife and kind of poured decaf into my first cup. She was embarrassed. I was amused. It made my morning seeing how quickly she scrambled to get another cup on the table.
I spent so many years avoiding Assam because of bad experiences with poor quality grocery store teas. I still brace myself and flinch with the first sip. Even though I know better I am still amazed every time I find myself enjoying the whole cup. This one smells delicately of malt and grain when dry. The leaf is much more robust after steeping. The mug is brisk and has a good astringent bite but to me that is how a morning cup should behave. Will stand up to milk but doesn’t need it. Not as malty as expected, it is more of a fruity woodsy taste. I found myself enjoying the whole cup. Still amazed.
I received a sample of this from Terri (thanks). She wasn’t crazy about it. When I opened the bag and sniffed all I could think was WOW! Smells so chocolaty. Steeped the aroma is roasted and grain. Sipping I get honey and roasted grain. Underneath and very late in the sip I occasionally picked up floral notes that my senses detected as rose. I don’t recall anyone else getting rose. It only hints at chocolate, malt, and sweet potato. It is thick and silky feeling. I quite liked it.
As I have commented before, I know if I were trying this tea for the first time my rating would be a lot lower but it is inexpensive and it is an old friend. I was talking with an old friend yesterday who was excited about opening a new can of Twinings Earl Grey and Lady Grey. It made me realize I do not have a single straight black Earl Grey in my collection anywhere. He shamed me for getting so far from my roots. I repented and bought a 200 g tin of this today for $8.
I have been exceedingly busy since Friday. Hardly even had time for tea. I helped my wife with her craft show booth (American Girl type clothes). I helped with a concert at church on Sunday. Monday was a sad day – we had our 16 year old cat Lucky euthanized. What a hard drive to town. He had feline aids and was wasting away. He was down to 5 pounds. Watching him suffering just got too hard. Of course my wife started second guessing her decision afterwards so I tried keeping her busy so she wouldn’t dwell on the decision. I had more band stuff on Tuesday, and today it was gorgeous outside so I took my wife shopping (so I could buy tea – see full circle).
Got home moments ago and immediately made a cup of Earl Grey. I am home and in my happy place.
Tea Temptations is the retail side of Empire Tea Services. They blend their own tea. I have reviewed several teas under the Empire Tea Services name. This one came as a sample in my last order. It smells nicely of apricot when opening the package. Once steeped, the apricot tastes lighter than expected and the ginger adds a depth of warmth and spiciness that leaves the mouth tingling long after the sip is gone. The Ceylon base is present but it kind just fills in the gaps and never really commands attention. I have never encountered this combination before. If the combination appeals to you, I believe the flavors are natural and the quality solid. For me this is not something I would order for myself.