1302 Tasting Notes
I love reading the reviews on this one. Every one interprets this differently. Some of the reviews say I like this, I think. Me, I love it. To me, dry it smells like Bailin Gongfu. Steeped its scent is Bi Luo Chun, yet its taste reminds me of Chun Mei. The brew is a funky green in the press but changes color depending on the light. It looks like black currant tea in the mug. I got three steeps all of them different. Awesome tea but pricey. A worthy splurge. Sample supplied by Wanja Tea Of Kenya.
A longer review here: http://theeverdayteablog.blogspot.com/2012/10/wanja-teas-of-kenya-purple-tea.html
Sample supplied by Teaves. Let me start by saying I don’t like rose flavored tea. When I open the bag, I smell rose. Is it natural? I don’t know its rose. I steep it. Now I smell strawberry. I like strawberry.
The sip is not bad. I smell rose as I drink but taste mainly strawberry followed by black tea in the aftertaste. The flavors are all medium bodied. Nothing is overdone. If you are looking for a cup of blasting flavor this is not it. This is a quieter cup for mellow times.
I don’t detect any bitterness or astringency. Rose tea hater that I am, even I have to say this is a pleasant cup. I wouldn’t turn it down if offered. Pleasantly surprised by this one.
Sample supplied by Zen Tea. This is identical to the tea I claim as my comfort tea. Ashmanra said she has found it in a local shop. I say shop around and find your best deal but do try this one. It is just a fruity delight. Warning – do not store this in the same drawer as your other teas. It is not over the top flavored when you sip it but in the package it is kind of powerful. Love this one.
Sample supplied by Zen Tea. The sip is medium bodied just as Zen Tea describes it. It is very aromatic and fruity without being overbearing. Zen describes this as having nutty notes. I wish I understood what nutty tastes like as I really don’t get that impression with this or most other teas. It has a strong woodsy aftertaste to me but maybe that is what they call nutty. There is a sense of dryness like found in a fine red wine. You can feel a bit of astringency along the sides of the tongue. It is well behaved and adds to the character and complexity of the cup. I am getting a strong mint like crispness that I feel, not only on my breath, but down in my lungs. I like it. Just slightly sweet. This takes sweetener well. I notice grape like fruitiness especially late in the aftertaste. Steeped two times.
A generous sample sent my way from Ashmanra. The scent coming out of the press is peachy keen (stop groaning). This is light to medium bodied. It reminds me of Hedley’s Peach Apricot. That one has a black Ceylon base that is obvious in the mix. This one has no apricot and an oolong base. The oolong in this first cup stays mostly hidden. I guess it is the osmathus and jasmine that are responsible for what I am detecting as apricot. This is nice and light with a long lingering peachy aftertaste. The more it cools the more peach it becomes. It has just a touch of drying astringency.
On the second cup, the strangest thing happens. This turns into lemon drop tea. Ashmanra advised me this would happen. It is still sort of peachy but this now tastes more lemon flavored. This is cool – two teas in one. It’s like Indiana weather. Give it five minutes and it will change. Can’t wait to see if there is a third cup in this leaf.
Cup three when hot is straight lemon balm. As the cup gets cold the peach comes back in to play. I could catch the tea base every now and then. I thought this on the second cup but did not mention it – the oolong base tastes like Darjeeling to me, or maybe like the tea sold by Charleston Tea Plantation. I don’t mind. The point is it does not taste like any oolong I have ever had. This tea keeps me guessing and that makes it interesting to me. I like it.
Yesterday it was 70. Last night we had 1 1/2 inches of rain. Woke up to 35 degree weather. Only supposed to get in the 50’s today. I promised to help with solar observing at an awareness event for the proposed Indiana Space Complex and Museum. I needed tea. Filled the thermos with this fruity delight. This one of my favorite go to comfort teas. It never lets me down. The event was well attended, fun, and not as cold as I feared. There were RC planes and jets circling above us and a BBQ trailer nearby. This tea went great with pulled pork.
After my adventure with the golden flowers you might think I would be leery of another puerh. Nope. Not gonna happen. Wouldn’t be prudent. Steeped this one for about 30s. It made a light amber cup with a burgundy tint. Took one sip and wow has this got a bright metallic taste. So I added some Splenda – the great equalizer – to calm it down. This is still quite bright and young tasting. As the cup cools I realize what I thought was metallic is actually the beginnings of earthy notes. I like this. Nice sticky lip feel. In my attempt to learn about puerh I have stumbled across information that leads me to conclude this will make an excellent cup once it has more time to age.
I steeped a total of 5 mugs in my western style. Each cup bacome a little darker and a little sweeter than the last. Conclusion – I like me some young raw puerh.
I am not going to do a normal review. See Cody’s comments on this one as he did a much better job at putting it in to words. However, I will say my conclusions are a bit different. This reminded me of back in the day when I bought a quality bottle of burgundy wine. By wine standards it was still a cheap wine but compared to my normal fare it was a giant step up. I opened the bottle. Poured in to the crystal wine glass. Swirled the liquid around the glass. Smelled. Took a sip and realized, I much preferred a cheap sweet white wines or the cheap concord grape wines made locally. I was not sophisticated enough for such a hoity-toity glass. Same here. I found this puerh to be too musky, musty, earthy. I love horse leather. Musty, not so much.
If you look close this leaf has a few yellow dots on it. This is a fungus growing on the leaf. It is known as golden flowers and is apparently considered desirable in some collector circles. Is it the source of the strong musty smell and taste? I don’t know. I appreciate the opportunity to taste 10 year old leaf and learn about golden flowers but just not a fan.
Score based on trusting Cody’s review.
This sample was provided by Nuvola. I opened the package to find the sample wrapped in enough bubble wrap to survive being stepped on by an elephant. Excellent. Next, I opened the sample wrapper and poured out the leaf to examine. It is beautiful. Rolled nuggets the size of raisins. The coloring reminded me of granite. It is kind of grayish green with some darker areas and some light green flecks.
The scent of the dry leaf is floral oolong. I also catch some light smoky notes that do not show up later in the cup. This steeps up very light yellow in color and very clear. The wet leaf aroma is vegetal. The liquor is lightly floral.
The sip starts out promising the good things to come in later steeps. It is floral of course, but not overly so. At first there is a tingle all across the tongue. This quickly passes. Then I notice the cooling sensation on my breath. As the cup cools it becomes quite buttery.
It simply amazes me to realize there is nothing added to the leaf. The intoxicating flavors come not just from the leaf but also the rugged growing conditions and the processing. I had golden monkey last night. It is also a natural tea, but it is day and night different from this one. How can such vastly different sets of flavors come from the same plant? Simply mind boggling.
The second cup I passed to a coworker. I am trying to convert him. He is a Lipton drinker and apparently isn’t ready for this one. Makes me sad, but the good news, I don’t have to share the rest with him.
The third cup is a little darker than the first, though still yellow and very clear. I notice the leaf has unfurled but is not completely relaxed. It is mostly two whole leaves and a bud. This cup has some mild green notes. There is also a spice flavor present that I can’t put my finger on. At first I thought cinnamon but now I am thinking nutmeg. It is light and I am not good at spices. The aftertaste is really long lingering.
Fourth cup smells wonderful as it steeped (between 30-40 sec). when pouring, it isn’t necessary to use a strainer.
Fifth cup still going strong (40 sec). The taste has not diminished but this is where I am stopping.
This tea when converted to dollars is about $10.50 for 50g plus shipping. I generally use 2.5g per session so this would make 20 sessions of tea. It easily went 5 steeps. That takes it down into the $0.10/cup range. Depending on shipping this is pretty affordable. It is also an excellent oolong.
Sip down. What a wonderful tea. Even using microwaved water this comes out perfect. Ashmanra says this is bolder than the Teavivre version. I can’t really tell the difference but I never tried them back to back. This one is leaving me with cool breath like peppermint. If you haven’t tried golden monkey – you should.