1696 Tasting Notes
This is just such a neat tea. Maybe the largest leaf of any I have ever seen. It tastes of apricot and peonies in a mountain stream. In later steeps add in plums. It is smooth and mellow with just a hint of bite trying to peek through. To me it is almost like something from Nepal instead of Africa. It is a white tea, so it is on the subtle end. This is the first tea I have brewed in two weeks that I felt like paying attention to detail. Hopefully I am on the road to well. Tea – how I have missed you.
Started my day with sour milk and stale toast. Not a good start. Picked up considerably when I brewed a cup of Golden Yunnan. Smoke and leather. Going to miss this one. Sadly this is the last of it. Also sad that my bag of it lasted longer than the company. When I finally get around to buying more tea, I’ll have to try the Esgreen version for myself.
The last couple weeks what few cups of tea I have made have been mostly back and forth between this luxurious EG and my old Ahmad EG stand by. The color of this one is beautiful. It is between burgundy and black cherry. The aroma is a very smooth bergamot with just enough Ceylon base to make me happy. I always want to taste the base – the main reason I seldom drink Twinings EG is the base is too absent. Nina’s uses a high grade Ceylon that I find doesn’t develop bite. I do miss the bite but this makes up for it with the wonderful smooth bergamot.
I made it to church today for the first time in three weeks. The band has struggled without me, which is flattering, and not at all what I want to see, at the same time. I am better but no where near well. I am going to try practice Tuesday and see if I am able to play on Easter. Happy thoughts and continued prayers welcome.
Can’t post a review on the blog until the 23rd as my data plan hit the limit and it won’t let me upload pictures until the new cycle.
Anyway, this tea is pretty off the rails cool. What it has in common with other white tea is it is subtle and mellow. That’s pretty much it. I’ve had 100g bags of tea that barely took up the volume of this 10g sample. Seriously, the leaf is huge and not rolled or twisted. They are brown like fall. There is no silver haired buds to be found. I agree with one of the reviewers, it is almost like we are being punked, until you sniff it. The dry scent is fruity and malty. Nice.
I steeped this at 176F for 3 1/2 minutes. It gives you a beer colored brew. The taste is apricots drenched in fresh mountain streams. It is slightly malty. I catch lovely floral notes of peonies. It is so mellow and lightly sweet.
I sense more resemblance to a light black tea than to a white. Now, stout black tea lovers will most likely never make that connection because it is such a subtle tea. The cooler it got the more I loved the taste. It had almost a wine like bouquet with the floral notes. The trouble I had with it was that at room temperature it becomes a gulping tea as I found it that refreshing.
If you enjoy a mild meditative tea, this one from Africa should not be missed. If you more inclined to enjoy big bold flavors or highly roasted notes, then you are probably going to be underwhelmed. Me personally, I don’t ever crave highly roasted oolongs, or chai. I am pretty picky about flavored teas. I want to taste the base, unless it is something desserty or intentionally overpowered like H&S Hot Cinnamon Spice, or pretty much any good Earl Grey.
Moving slow today but moving.
This is my last sample from Simple Loose Leaf. I didn’t save it back on purpose but I’m glad it did get held back. This tea I would rename The White Rabbit. It took me way down the rabbit hole. I’ve read several reviews. They are all over the place. I recall them being positive but everyone found something different. Here is my take:
The dry nuggets remind me of the scent of strawberry tops. Too subtle for scented but present. The moment the leaf hit my warm damp press I could smell American biscuits. After steeping the leaf was more baked bread with strawberry and apricot marmalade along with more typical lightly roasted oolong notes. The scent of the white grape colored brew was lightly floral and fruity.
Once the leaf unfurls it is humongous.
Then I tasted. Yeah, caterpillars smoking questionable pipes and Cheshire grins abound. The flavors flew by so quickly. First, I tasted biscuit and baked bread, then strawberry tops. I have not seen any other reviews that caught this same note, so it is just for me, and I appreciate it. The next flavor to fly by is a brief moment of walnut shells. Then it settles into a fruity and floral oolong flavor. Mixed throughout I catch brief roasted notes. This has an interesting kind of tart that leaves a little tingle around the lips and gums. It is also a bit sweet. The feel is a bit milky or almost foamy.
It is a very curious cup.
Desperate need for comfort tea today. I’ve tried for two days to review my last Simple Loose Leaf sample, and I have a stack of What-Cha and Whymm to get to, but at the moment it is just not going to happen.
I haven’t posted much lately. Really haven’t felt well for a couple weeks. The medicine the pulmonologist put me on 6 weeks ago worked fine for a month. Got it refilled and it was like a switch flipped. I’m back to not being able to do much of anything without becoming out of breath and I’ve never smoked a day in my life. Even making tea is work at the moment.
Checked with the pharmacy, his records show the refill is from the same supplier. He exchanged the old ones for some out of a different bottle but it appears the problem is me. Guess I will be making the trip back to the doctor for a different medicine.
On top of that, I got my welcome to Medicare packet in the mail. Kind of a reality jolt. It won’t kick in until July. It takes two and a half years once you admit to yourself you are disabled to get Medicare. My doctor tried to convince me so a year sooner – stupid man pride. The last year I worked, I would sit in my car for 5 minutes after everyone else left while I waited for my blue fingers to turn pink so I could drive home. Here’s your sign.
You have to be unable to work for six months to be considered disabled by the government, then two more years before Medicare kicks in. It’s stupid. The intention is to prevent abuse I guess but really it is much easier on the abuser to go without during the waiting period. The politicians and the press have turned it into a political football. Having been on both sides of the issue, I do understand. Anyway I am feeling a little old and battered today.
Sorry for the over sharing. Just hoping it might encourage someone who is struggling to hold on. Tomorrow is a new day.
While I wait for better days ahead with some new drugs, I am enjoying this my favorite peasant tea.
This is the last of the white tea samples I received from Nannuoshan (Thanks!). I saved the silver needle for last as I love silver needle. This one wins the award for best fragrance as the gorgeous dry silver haired buds hit the hot damp teapot. It has the usual hay fragrance but amped up and more wine like with fruit – apple I think.
The liquor was only slightly yellow tinted after a 30 second steep. The wet leaf is fresh and green, having an almost toasted scent. It also seemed slightly malty.
The taste was at first like scraping the white part of the rind of a watermelon slice. Next was cucumber. I caught notes of grass and hay, as well as floral and fruit. The floral was described by one reviewer as honeysuckle. It is light and glancing notes but there.
The second cup (45s) was darker in flavor, slightly more intense with a peppery note up front while hot. The aftertaste of both cups was hay and floral.
Sadly, I don’t have time to take this further today. I am running out the door for praise band practice. I have invited an awesome guitarist friend to come worship, jam, and otherwise have great fun with us. I’ll try not to make my wife too upset by rolling in really late, but no promises.
To wrap this up, this is one of the top silver needles I have tried. Once you get near the top I don’t know if you can single just one out, but this is definitely in the running.
A Yunnan silver needle. Interesting. I have yet to meet a Yunnan I didn’t love.
The buds, as others mentioned, look like silver needle but not. They look like golden tips but not. What makes this different is the downy fur covered buds are straw color. They are so soft to the touch.
The dry scent immediately says Yunnan. It’s part leather, pepper, and hay.
After about a 30 second steep at 195 F this looks colorless until poured. In the cup it seems a grayish or possibly green tinted honey.
The taste is everything I love about Yunnan tea. Absolutely no bitterness. It has a warm earthy flavor that lingers between leather, cave mineral, slightly mushroom, and loam. It almost has a smoky presence but I am pretty sure white tea is not fired to halt oxidation.
After sipping this I realized I have sampled something similar in the form of white puerh.
The third and final of the Tea Ave samples I received along with the awesome aroma tasting set. OK, when I opened the sample I contemplated that Tea Ave was messing with me. The dry scent was roasted as expected along with fall leaves and grape. Grape? Makes no sense to me either but that is how my brain interpreted it. Then I looked at the leaf and instead of the dark green I expected, this looks like a tippy black tea rolled into nuggets trying to look like an oolong.
Steeped 3 1/2 minutes in the gaiwan. Poured into the aroma cup, flipped into the tasting cup without making a mess (Score!). Out of the aroma cup I was just getting roasted notes until I pulled the cup away. The I got a flood of floral bouquet. I liked it.
The taste is dark roasted and nutty. Then it seemed to turn very creamy. I don’t recall any one else experiencing this. Late in the sip I get apricot and greenhouse florals. There is a sweetness throughout.
What struck me is what I was not catching. Normally when I think tie kwan yin, I think geranium, or what those who are less amused taste as latex. This note is only lightly found momentarily in the lingering aftertaste. Between the roasting and the heavier oxidation it seems to be mostly eliminated. Interesting tea.
These samples are abundantly labeled with information including 4 different sets of brewing parameters. The C-3PO gold color of the bag appeals to the Jedi nerd in me.
The dry leaf smelled like roasted biscuits and oats to me. Whaaaat? I don’t know, maybe I should have eaten lunch.
The aroma and taste of this honey colored liquor is wonderful. It is a wave of floral typical of Alishan, but it is more. I’ve never heard of a ginger lily but it blends flawlessly with this tea. There isn’t a heat or spice note to suggest ginger to me. Just lush sweet floral notes. Then the taste and feel become milky. Well, that’s neat and how does that happen? Both thoughts go through my mind. But not for long as the light roasted note kicks in giving this a neat earthy nutty touch. The aftertaste lingers, and lingers, and lingers. It is a swirling transition of first floral then roasting then back.
Tea Ave thank you for the sample, and my apologies for taking so long to get to this one.