1357 Tasting Notes
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.
I know nothing about the jasmine flower. It sure seems like there must be two distinct types used in tea, or two different application methods. All I know is all tea bag versions, and most loose versions, I’ve tried have the same icky smell and flavor about them. For years people told me how good jasmine tea tasted. I was convinced they had no taste buds. Then came TeaVivre changing my mind.
All the TeaVivre (and honorable mention to Utopia) jasmines have such a wonderful scent. The flavor always makes me think grapes. They are light and sweet. I am totally amazed how much I like them.
I have to admit, at first, this one made me uncomfortable. White tea, especially silver needle, is so delicately flavored on its own that it seemed wrong to cover it up. Tasting it caused me to forget my concern. The lightness is maintained. It crosses the lips as gentle grapes surrounded by flowers, then caresses the throat with creamy delight. The aftertaste lingers with sweet nectar that slowly fades revealing the silver needle base. Yep, this is good stuff.
Another sip down! After hearing everyone else’s thoughts on this tea, I am a little nervous to attempt it again. I hope I can duplicate my previous experience. I didn’t measure the leaf but there was at least two spoonful. This is a lot more leaf than I used previously. I heated 12oz of water to good and steaming (not boiling) and steeped in my press for three minutes. I added one packet of Splenda in my mug. When hot, I thought the leaf smelled very lightly of apple. After cooling the leaf smells of spinach.
By using more leaf this time, I am getting results similar to what others reported. This is green tea. In fact it is a bit bitter. I got the water too hot and let it set and cool before pouring out of the kettle. Apparently it should have sat longer. When the cup cools to near room temperature, I can almost make out the faintest notes of apple. Almost.
Ok, my verdict on this tea is less is more. Use less leaf and cool water temp. Don’t over steep. Even then, the apple flavor is not going to pop. It only hints of apple. I greatly enjoyed this the first couple times I tried it. This time, not so much.
Some teas are real forgiving. You can throw any amount of leaf, temp, and time at them and get a nice cup. Others, apparently like this one, you’ve got to watch what you are doing closely. If it doesn’t work, try again with different parameters.
Sip down. I don’t know if it is the nature of the tea or if it is due to handling during shipping but what is left of the sample would be better suited for a Finum basket than my press. It has a lot of fine particles. This was my favorite of the four samples I received. The consensus seemed the fruit blends could generally benefit from being amped up a bit. This one, to me, is perfect the way it is blended. Peppermint, ginko, green tea – its just really good. I am happy to report it did not give me a headache today, so I do not have a ginko allergy. Yeah! My previous pain was probably work stress induced. Good job on this one sTEAp Shoppe!
Sip down, in an attempt to get control of all my samples. I thought appropriate mood music would be Boston – Walk On, Organized, Walk On (Some More). Emphasis on the organized – got to get this under control! I was not a big Boston fan until I saw them live back in the day. It was in a little stadium that held maybe 8,000 people max. The crowd was so in to the group, they kept coming back for encores. Finally, they came out and said people we literally know only one more song. It was not even their song but they rocked it. Sammy Hagar opened for them. Get on your bad motor scooter and ride! What a great concert. Back then it cost like $7 a ticket. Been a while huh?