1511 Tasting Notes
Put this leaf in front of me without telling me what it is and I would guess Golden Monkey. Beautiful dark leaf curls and golden tips. The fragrance is malt, and honey, and cocoa. Mmmmm. The brew is ruby/orange. I inhaled malt all the way to my lips. Then I was was hit with a rush of briskness. I did not flinch. Next I noticed how smooth and thick this felt. The taste is similar to the fragrance, though not as intense. This is not bitter. For an Assam, it wasn’t particularly drying. I am highly sensitive to tannins, especially in Assams. I could not drink this regularly on an empty stomach. I did, however, steep it four minutes, so willing to take the blame. A shorter steep might calm it down, though seriously it was pretty smooth after the initial hit. The addition of milk and sweetener might be another route. I just didn’t want any additions messing with it. No, I can’t believe I just wrote that either. The Splenda monkey is currently ashamed of me. He can go fling poo. This is too tasty for additions :) The aftertaste lingers of malt.
My very first ever gyokuro. Know what I love about the reviews for this one? Every one has a very different take on it. Here’s mine – One of the reviews said the leaf looked like confetti. Yeah, that’s it. To me it has a grassy aroma with some citrus notes. When I read the instructions for this tea I thought, man that’s fussy. It requires more leaf and waaaaay cooler temperatures than anything else I recall brewing. As fast as a kettle heats, it is hard to get it right. Then 5 minutes for the first steep? Crazy.
Turns out this is worth the fuss. This is probably too cool for most people’s taste. It is perfect to me. I taste of grass at first. My brain adjusts and then I pick up on citrus. Then cucumber. I love that flavor in a tea so it jumps out at me. Others mentioned this being sweet. I don’t really get that. To me it is savory. Not salty but that sensation. And there is a note that reminds me of dill. There is no bitterness. It is kind of drying. It’s OK because the cucumber and dill linger in the aftertaste. With the next cup it added a touch of earthiness.
Snow and ice. My youngest left at 5:30 this morning for work. 10 minutes later he pulled back in the drive. I asked him what was going on. His reply, “It’s just McDonalds. It’s not work the risk.” I’d like to say I taught him well but truth is I was never that smart.
I can’t post on my blog until the new billing cycle. I can write on it just fine but pictures can’t be uploaded while I am throttled for going over my data limit. le sigh.
So you guys get first crack at my take on this oolong. A Nepal oolong is unusual enough. This one is rolled into pearls. Not sure what effect monsoon flush has on the taste but thanks to the pickers who got wet so I could try it. The brewed aroma is strongly apricot and nectarine. The taste is much less so, but is stone fruit. Starts mellow and smooth of fruit. Then turns sweet and mineral. Next it develops a peppery spiciness (not too strong – just enough to be interesting), along with hints of mushroom. It trails off into a sweet aftertaste. I notice hints of cucumber making my connection to this more white tea like than oolong.
If you aren’t normally an oolong fan because they tend to be either a cup of geranium or too heavily roasted, then you might just find this appealing. It is very much not your typical oolong.
Had a little of this left over. Seemed like a good time to finish it off. Even though this is 7 months old in an open package sealed only with a paper clip, it is still really good. Baked raisin bread and honey, with grape and cinnamon notes. Wonderful stuff. I prepared a mug for myself and one for my son. He was not impressed. His tastes seem to run more toward harsher Ceylon teas. I happen to like those as well but there is just something about a smooth tea loaded with depth. Top notch, I say.
It is -5 here at the moment and the expected high may reach +8. Out of curiosity I checked the weather in Alaska. As far north as you can go it is still warmer than here. The southern part of the state has temps in the 40’s. sigh.
Grabbed a hot bowl of oat meal and this Yunnan tea. The dry leaf had a chocolate and tobacco aroma. The orange brew was baked brownies, honey, and malt. Just a gentle bite around the edge of the tongue. Very comforting. I just may survive this frigid day now.
Alishan…. need I say more? OK, how about the addition of a light scent of Jasmine? So yeah, this is really good. Except, man I can’t go with their steeping directions. 8g for 130ml. That might work for some of you. I went 4g for 90ml.
The first cup was excellent. It was lightly jasmine followed by the wonderful sweet florals of the high mountain oolong. I had flashes of citrus bouncing between orange and lemon.
By the second cup all that leaf had filled my tiny gaiwan and I did not like this cup. Just too much. It was like a cup of geraniums. Maybe this would work with flash steeps but at 1m 15s I was overwhelmed.
I moved the leaf over to my glass teapot and used 10oz of water for cup three. Yeah, this is much more the way I like my tea. Lovely oolong florals. Just a touch of jasmine. This drifted into a good mineral with spice. The aftertaste was sweet, lingering, oolong.
Jasmine and oolong make a great pairing. Not sure why this is the first time I have seen it. Anyway, thanks Tea Ave. and great start to my samples.
10" of snow fell on us yesterday and the temperature is hovering in the single digits. I’m not complaining as I’ve seen what Boston is dealing with lately. Trivia – I looked up the Fahrenheit scale. You know what it is based on? Neither does anyone else. There are some guesses but the truth has been lost. 32F being the temp water freezes is the only point of agreement. Just glad I don’t have to go outside where the amount of snow is higher than the temperature.
Needed something to warm me up. This is perfect. Well it was, cause now its gone.
This one has a far more intense dry aroma than it does once steeped. It remains definitely a lapsang souchong, yet lighter and thinner than many I have tried. The taste, to me, is not overly smoked meat or bacon. The sweetness does mingle with the smoke to give it a savory touch. What I get is an initial smoky blast that quickly mellows into a mineral note before a menthol coolness kicks in. This finishes with a solid smoky sweetness. Solidly campfire without overwhelming. What sets it apart for me is the menthol cooling.
Over the last several days I have prepared hardly any tea except this one. I can’t function in the morning without my tea powder and milk. I’m out of flavored syrups to add to it. So just milk and some sweetener. No it is not Matcha but it is pretty good for as cheap as it is on Amazon.
We have our first real snow of the winter so I hope that means I have time for tea.
Most of the time I can’t tell much difference between Darjeeling and Nepalese teas. I’m just not that familiar with them even though I always enjoy them. This one though, maybe it is because it is autumn flush or maybe it is the estate but this is the first time I get why some people are obsessed with Darjeelings.
The dry leaf looks like fall, which is somehow comforting on this miserably cold day. The scent is tobacco, then cocoa. Followed by a range of notes I can’t pull together long enough to grasp but at this point its sort of mint, orange, citrus, and candy.
I steeped for 3 1/2 minutes at 200F. It could have gone longer and hotter but I erred on the side of caution. Kind of light in color. The wet leaf is juicy grape followed by woodsy and a hint of chocolate.
This is mellow with only a light briskness and no bitterness. The flavor is grape, but it isn’t straight up grape. It is fuller like there is a hit of citrus backing it up. This is followed the woodsy leaf taste with just a hint of chocolate. As that fades the grape rises up again and remains in the lingering aftertaste.