Breakfast at Steak N Shake, so you know I got to have me some Mother Parker’s Darjeeling. Biscuits and gravy weren’t bad either.
724 Tasting Notes
I love the look of the dry leaf. So delicate, thin (wispy?), and dark. The leaf smell is cocoa and light grass. Add water and the leaf turns green and expands nicely. The liquor is green and the aroma, for reasons I can’t explain, once again reminds me of the beach.
Today, I am having this with homemade peanut butter cookies. What a great combination. It brings out and intensifies flavors I don’t remember catching before. The primary one being a dark rich roastiness. I recall this having a bit of bite but the cookie pretty much negates that aspect of the sip.
Cup two and three without the cookies and we are back to a pleasant amount of bite without the roastiness, but with a lot of vegative flavor.
I am glad I got to try this tea at this point in my journey. Not long ago, in my flavored tea bag days, I would have blown right passed this and never noticed or appreciated its complexity. I find Xin Yang Mao Jian to be a very enjoyable cup.
This green tea fascinates me. The leaf looks like black tea – very small dark pieces. It calls for nearly boiling water and a less than 30 second steep. That just seems all wrong. The wet leaf is small torn pieces and remains dark. The brew has an orange tint and is quite dark for a green. By the look I expect a heavy brisk smoky flavor. Instead, it is mildly roasted with just a hint of smoke. In mid sip the flavor shifts and reminds me of some of the shengs I have been drinking – including the mouth feel. The biggest difference is in the late sip as this leaves you with a dry mouth which I guess indicates astringent but not at all bitter. I think if there were a mild green Keemun this might be what it would taste like. I would also venture to guess if you don’t follow the steeping instructions this could get overwhelming in a hurry.
I think I usually use boiling water. Today I used cooler water and a 3 minute steep. Cooler water makes this tea. The roastiness is milder and the sip is milky. Delicious. Upping the rating.
I used an entire sample pouch. The wet leaf really fills up the bottom of the press. On the second cup you can’t even see through the water in the press for the leaf. That’s a lot of leaf. The brew has the color and feel of chicken broth. The taste is buttery. While this is really good, it is the only one of these samples I have preferred another company’s version. This is not their highest grade TGY and that may be the reason, or maybe I just prefer a little more floral darker taste in this. That being said, I would never ever turn down a cup of this delightful tea.
I had two or three on my list as possibles to brew this day. This one had the largest amount left in the sample bag. A couple things really struck me when I grabbed the bag. First, I was reminded of Charles’ review yesterday when he said something like – I know Dragon Well and this is good Dragon Well. Next, I saw ‘Premium’ on the label which is a word that is thrown around a lot and most of us are immune to realizing it has real meaning outside of marketing. Then I had a moment of clarity where I was humbled by the realization of how little I know about tea. Further, I was made even more grateful than before for the abundant and exquisite variety of samples I have received from Teavivre. I would never have tried any of these on my own. In fact I was perfectly content with my grocery store teas. I still have a few favorites I continue to drink but more and more, I find myself comparing everything to these samples. OK, this is just tea I am talking about, but in many ways it has paralleled a spiritual experience for me.
Off my ramble on to the tea:
The dry leaf smells of fresh cut grass. The brew has an almost meaty aroma. The sip is of buttered vegetables. There is the slightest pleasant taste of grass in the aftertaste. This cup is a beautiful thing.
I was pretty sure I had the company name wrong on this when I originally posted. Later I found it on the web listed under the name Qiandao Yuye. More recently I found an oolong by the same company listed on Alex Zorach’s tea blog as Starway. Whatever the name, the tin is pretty distinctive so is it is easy to spot on the shelf.
This one has been in the drawer for months without being touched. When I bought it, the smell and the taste were really bad. So bad in fact, I was cutting it with Chocolate mint, which together strangely made for a wonderful drink – read my previous notes. I believe it was Charles who mentioned buying a cheap shu and it becoming quite nice with some age. This tea is probably only a year old but lets see what happens…
The leaf is chocolate brown and has no distinctive odor. That’s a good start. I did a 6 second wash, poured and let the leaf rest a moment, then did a 30 second drinking steep. I have always loved the color of this tea. The first cup is burgundy, and very wine-like. I pour and sniff the leaf. The moldy fish odor is gone! It has been replaced with a mild shu odor :^)
The sip… Holy metamorphosis Batman, I can’t believe this is the same tea! Absolutely none of the nasties that were present last summer. It has been replaced with very mild yet leathery goodness. I am allowing that my judgment may be a bit clouded as my head is still pretty stopped up. Even if I am only half right, this is aging into a nice tea. A few more sips and I am getting that sticky lip feel with my tummy rumbling in appreciation.
Cup two, one minute steep. Darker, more root beer colored. This is a richer more flavorful cup. The longer steep definitely brings out a lot more flavor. There really isn’t anything I would call earthy so far, or for that matter mushroom. Just clean leather.
Cup three, one minute steep. Same root beer color. This is the last cup I have time for today and it’s a good thing as the flavor just dropped of too almost tasteless. So two good steeps with this one or I guess I could add the mint on the third. Hmmm.
Overall not quite the fullness of Teavivre’s Rose Toucha, but at $6 (as I recall) for 6oz this has turned into quite a bargain. Upping the rating.
Haven’t logged anything in a couple days. This cold is kicking my butt and all my reviews have been whiney, so I didn’t add them. I needed my comfort tea today. I poured the water into the press and got detained for about six minutes. At three minutes this is perfect. At six, the tea turns bitter and the bergamot becomes perfumey with a high pucker factor. Yeah, I’m still whining.
Nothing makes you appreciate really good tea like a weekend with mediocre to just plain bad tea. After the powder room experience of yesterday, I grabbed some of the best of the best first thing this morning. What an excellent choice! I really wanted to just relax and sip this but instead it disappeared in a hurry – multiple times! See tasting previous notes.
Under the heading of I should have known better. A small silver bag labeled black tea came in a pretty cup my wife got at Christmas. I opened the bag expecting loose leaf but found a couple small bags instead. Why didn’t I stop. This horrible stuff tastes like perfumed bathroom powder. Nough said. I am going back to my earl grey I haven’t been logging for the last several days. Oh, and my wife doesn’t drink anything with caffeine and that’s how I ended up with this stuff.
Drank this all day. I forgot what water temp I used previously and opted for boiling water. It wasn’t as I remembered it, so I checked my notes here and used cooler water and shorter steeps before. Interesting, it had more intense flavor with cooler water.
Sip down. With resteeps I got at maybe 9 cups out of this sample – thanks again SimplyJenW. When this is really hot, it has a bit of a bitter coffee bite that I don’t care for, but once it begins to cool the magic begins. I try my best to sip it slow but my cup must have a hole in it as it goes empty really fast. This very good. If I were to change anything about it, I would swap the base with something that gives a little more bottom end to support the flavors. I don’t know if this makes sense but a little thickness would send this in to the stratosphere.
The bag is probably 2 years old and only 1.6grams. The water was heated in the microwave. Together that is a recipe for flat weak tea. It was still chocolaty and minty but when it is fresh this is pretty tasty – or at least that’s the way I remember it. I am letting my rating stand due to the stale bag and assuming my earlier review was accurate.
I like this but I think I would like it more if I would stop comparing it to genmaicha.
The label says four black teas, SILVERTIPS and bergamot. The bergamot aroma when I open the envelope is nice. The tea in the sachet is very finely cut – almost powdery. That surprised me a bit. It may not be normal, as who knows what sat on top of it in the post office. I steeped this for 3minutes in just boiling water.
I had read the reviews before hand and kind of knew, how this tea gets interpreted depends on what level of bergamot one finds pleasing. On the one end of the bergamot scale I put Tazo Earl Grey, which I can’t detect the bergamot at all. On the other end I place Empire Tea Services Earl Green, which is highly flavored and very floral. In fact I had to cut it with another tea the first couple weeks I had it to tone it down. Halfway between these two extremes I put Twinings EG. It is bright and citrusy. Ahmad EG has just slightly less bergamot but a nicer base flavor profile. On the same scale, Ahmad No 1. is halfway between Tazo and Ahmad EG. Harney and Sons EG Supreme I place just below No 1. on my bergamot scale. Confused yet?
Let me simplify – You can taste the bergamot, especially as the cup cools, but you have to be paying attention. If you are looking for that citrus blast, then this tea will be quite disappointing. For that reason I wish H&S’s would have left Earl Grey out of the name and just called it Supreme. As a lightly flavored black tea this is really good. It is rich and malty. The bergamot actually supports the base instead of the other way around, and it does an excellent job of it. I do find this slightly astringent, like and Assam, as it leaves me with a bit of a dry mouth feel.
Earl Grey? Not by my bergameter scale. Wonderful lightly flavored black tea? Absolutely. I am scoring this based on the black tea aspect.
This was a gift from Ashmanra. Thanks for sharing.
This stuff is so grapey. It is like enjoying a grape Popsicle in a field of flowers. I have just enough left for one last time and I am hiding it in the back of the drawer. As soon as I drink up some of my teas, this one is a definite order. A year ago jasmine was at the bottom along with black currant and fruit teas.
Even on the 3rd cup the agony of the leaf in my press, was cool to watch. I kind of hate that term, it should be the dance of the leaf, or something. No leaves were harmed in the making of this cup. 4th cup (all 12oz) getting a bit weak so I am stopping here.
I don’t think I have ever logged this here. In fact I can’t remember the last time I drank this bagged tea. Not that long ago I would have steeped it for 4-5 minutes in boiling water. It always tasted like a mild black tea and I was content with that. Today, I steeped for 1 ½ minutes in below boiling water. I am going to go against the flow with this review. I think this is a pleasant cup. It does not have the depth of a loose leaf white but still, given that it is a bag, it is quite nice. Short steep and cool temp.
A Surprise gift from Ashmanra! Thank you for sharing this.
The dry leaf is fluffy and oh so soft. It is a pretty mix of tan and dark browns. It does resemble a dark version of Bi Lo Chun. The dry scent is a bit cocoa to my nose. I steeped a healthy scoop for 2 ½ minutes in below boiling water. This is just a hunch since it works so well with Teavivre blacks.
The brew is dark but not too dark and has honey/caramel notes. The wet leaf is small torn pieces and chocolate in color.
The aroma in the cup is very similar to golden tips. Fruity – winelike. The sip images sweet dried hay. The aftertaste is mildly honeyed. Absolutely no hint of bitterness or astringency. From beginning to end this is a very good cuppa.
Second cup, full roiling boil for 4 minutes. This is very similar to the first cup. No bitterness or astringency. Just good sipping.
I love the smell of the dry leaf and am always amazed that it doesn’t overpower the cup. A co-worker also brewed a cup this morning. He said he wouldn’t throw it out but preferred his Twinings. From his description, the best I can tell is he does not like Ceylon tea and does not want to taste the tea base. Interesting how different individual perceptions can be.
Bagged version. I bought this because I wanted something I had never tried before, I like the oolong by this company, and it is cheap. Although the $2 tea is now $2.29. This is labeled as a roasted green. The bag smells a bit smoky. I brewed for 2 minutes with below boiling water even though directions called for boiling. The scent of the wet bag reminds me of Genmaicha. The brew is surprisingly almost as dark as a black tea.
First sip is too hot for me to catch much taste, so I got a slice of Jewish sweet bread while the cup cooled. Wow, did the bread help bring out the flavor. No bitterness or hint of astringency. I thought by the smell of the bag it might taste smoky but not really. This is a simple roasted green tea like the box says. A year ago I would have been perfectly satisfied with this as is. Today, I might remove the dust from the bag next time and see if I can coax a little depth out of it. I will definitely be looking for a higher quality sample to try in the future.
Bottom line: Could you do better? Sure, but for a $0.14 tea bag it is pretty darn good.
Not sure why, but today sniffing the wet leaf made me think of the smell of the air at a beach we picnic at in the summer. When I took my first sip I realized I have a problem. I burned my tongue a couple days ago (queso). It is still very tender and apparently I am not picking up subtle tastes. Besides it hurts. This tastes only of light melon and water. I thought I would switch to Mtn Dew until my taster healed but it hurts just as bad :( Looks like room temperature drinks for a while.
Breakfast tea of the day. I have a drawer full of tea samples and a couple bigger tins but not a single leaf, not even a tea bag, of a black Earl Grey. So to remedy the sad situation I grabbed a tin of this yesterday. I have always liked Ahmad’s take on this classic. The bergamot is citrus/orange not flowery. It is the main flavor but does not overpower the smooth Ceylon base. No bitterness. A good solid basic comfort cup. Similar in taste and quality to Twinings but the bergamot is a little less intense and the base a bit tastier.
Yum. Upping my rating.
I decided to continue with this today as I had not gone beyond three steeps with it before. Cup number four @ two minutes, is the first where the brew looks more like a black tea instead of ink. The leather is reduced but still the predominate flavor. Mild and a bit earthy. Also getting the sticky lip feel.
Cup five @ three minutes. Light and mild. Almost like a sheng. More sticky lip, and now a soapy taste, and add numbing metallic mouth feel. I have experienced this before but never this intense. Interesting.
Cup six @ five minutes. The liquor has an orange tint. I am using a 12 oz mug, so this is like cup 11 and 12 using standard cups. Time to call this one. I am not tasting water but this cup is very light and mild.