1689 Tasting Notes
Thank you Stephanie for this one. This toucha took me on a wild ride. I used my gaiwan and did 6 cups. It would have gone more. I did not do a rinse – because, lets be honest, I’d just drink it anyway. So the rinse I didn’t do, was breaded deep fried fish and chips meets hazelnut. Yep, that’s what I got and I liked it. Cup two at 10s was bitter spicy barnyard. Almost added sugar or poured it out but did neither. Cup 3 at 5s was spicy, cedar, and underlying leather. Cup 4, 5, 6 @ 10, 12, and 15s, were all similar but each an improvement on the prior. Each mellowed more with the spiciness detaching from the cedar and reattaching on the old book leather. Pu-erh is so much fun!
I am not well versed in Darjeeling tea. That won’t stop me from giving my opinion. The dry scent is a combination of fruity, woodsy, and fall leaf (Muscat?). The brew is bronze/caramel and has a similar aroma to the dry leaf with the addition of a bready note. In sipping this begins fruity and mellow, then swells mid sip to a brisk bite that just as quickly recedes back to fruity and mellow. This is kind of naturally sweet. The aftertaste hangs on. It is fruity, woodsy, and almost malty.
I had no bitterness as prepared. There is a standard amount of dryness. I drank this on an empty stomach and it did not cause me discomfort.
Is this a great Darjeeling? I have no idea. I did enjoy it.
When I opened the sample it was like spring bouquet with cinnamon and clove or maybe cardamom added. I tend to like green oolongs far more than the roasted ones. This is nicely green. The steeped leaf is even more fragrant. What is interesting to me is the first thing I notice when tasting is this is creamy. With the next sip I start thinking creamed corn. Then I notice the floral notes that usually get described as orchid. The aftertaste is leafy, vegetal, and makes me think geraniums. That is my go to descriptor for that green oolong aftertaste. The aftertaste does not drift into latex as with some overpowered teas. I was not disappointed in the taste. For me if it were more floral it would be too much. For me this is the perfect levels of floral and green.
I grabbed this at random out of the box from Golden Tips. It will be my first from them and my first Darjeeling white. Golden Tips puts almost all the information even the most demanding label reader could want right there on the sample. The exception would a product description. If you ordered it you probably already know what it says.
Beautiful furry silver buds that smell like a field of sweet hay and clover. Once steeped I get an additional note of dandelion greens.
The taste is cucumber, nuts, and sweet hay. Late in the cup I detect a finish of clover. Golden Tips calls this fruity but it did not strike me that way. However, the important thing is this is a complex and excellent white tea.
For pictures see here: http://theeverdayteablog.blogspot.com/2015/01/golden-tips-okayti-silver-needle.html
This tea did not knock my socks off the way most of What-Cha’s teas have done. That is not to say it is not a good tea. It certainly is, but in a comfortable way. To me this is a very solid everyday darjeeling. Dry it has a Cheerios and malt aroma. Brewed the scent is fruity and lightly malt. The taste is similar. Very smooth and easy to drink. There is no bitterness or astringency that I notice. Late in the sip it picks up a spicy bite that really makes the cup come alive. I felt no need for additives as this leans a little sweet. This tea stood up very well to a sandwich. Certainly a nice tea on its own, that goes great with food, and the price is right to make this a good everyday tea choice.
My first tea of the year was supposed to be my green tea powder, but after one sip I realized the milk had turned nasty. So down the drain it goes. I grabbed a cocoa mix that came with yet another well meaning coffee mug Christmas gift (finally got them to stop buying bad tea – now to convince them I have too many cups). The cocoa was surprisingly not terrible but not tea.
I woke up this morning craving the grapey goodness of jasmine dragon pearls, then remembered I gave it to the newby. Found a packet of Jasmine Bi Lou Chun and forgetting how much it expands, placed it in the glass filter that goes in my teapot. Completely filled the filter. sigh. So the tea is more bitter than jasmine, but mostly muted.
Not a good start to the new year. Time to regroup and start again.
Having a very unmotivated day. I’m not feeling the greatest. Today I just want something comfortable. Nina’s Earl Grey was the one I grabbed. The more I sip this one the more I appreciate it. The bergamot is very present but does not scream bergamot at you. The base is so much smoother than my normal blend that it has taken some time to adjust. So smooth. To me, I taste assam and breathe bergamot. I like that. Then the aftertaste is a fruity bouquet of bergamot and tea. Very good choice today.
I don’t normally go for chai. I like all the ingredients but find the ginger is often overdone or it is too peppery. I found this one to be very balanced. I started with a straight chai and water steep. The spices were all pretty even except I couldn’t single out the cardamom. For the purist this blend does not have pepper. The black assam base is easily tasted and had an unusual fruity greenness to it. I got brave and added one packet of sweetener, as I know chai is normally supposed to be very sweet. This made all the flavors pop just a little bit more. So I went crazy and added milk. I never add milk with the exception of my morning frappe. The word I used on my blog to describe this was SHAZAM! Normally I think milk mutes and muddies the flavors. In this cup it separated them. Even the cardamom came out of hiding. Never again can I say I don’t like chai. I fully intend to stove top simmer this in milk and sugar next time. Very impressed.
I read through the reviews trying to figure out why this has such a wide range of opinions. I still have no explanation. I personally have not been drawn to vanilla teas. While I will drink Earl Grey cream, I much prefer straight in your face Earl Grey. So, I went into this not expecting much and got a tea I really like. This is not a straight vanilla bean and black tea. There are almond slivers, and coconut pieces in it as well. The vanilla and coconut blend neatly together in a well behaved and balanced way. I think I understand why some didn’t like it, as the flavor is not overwhelming. Normally, I think vanilla is so over used, in a blend, it is all I taste. Here, it has just the right amount, for me, as I also taste the other ingredients. The almond the least, and if I didn’t know it was present, I doubt I would catch it. You can taste the black tea base. There is no bitterness and no astringency (@195F/3.5m). I can’t identify the base type (probably assam) but unlike some teas I at least know it is there.