265 Tasting Notes
I’ve been wearing perfumes featuring quite prominent vanilla notes lately. (Reviewing perfumes is not unlike reviewing teas, weirdly enough, though I still find it easier to write multiple paragraphs about tea. ;-) The best of these makes me want to drink something with that same quality of lovely, smooth vanilla, which led me to finally trying out this tea.
sigh What a let-down. I’ve never yet found a vanilla-flavoured tea that remotely touches the places that I want it to go – a place that the perfumes seem to find with ease – and this one is probably the most disappointing of all. I really expected this to at least smell something like vanilla even if the taste wasn’t there. Nup. The vanilla was barely present in either the taste or the aroma.
The tea used for the base was a very uninspiring, second-rate green: one of those teas that you wish was overpowered by the flavouring so that you don’t have to endure the taste of the tea itself.
I’m beginning to think that the sort of vanilla tea I want just doesn’t exist. I really hope I’m wrong, because I still have a bunch of vanilla-based perfume samples to get through and they keep making my mouth water!
Was in the mood for something Japanese tonight, and this was sitting there still unopened, so… I got out my kyusu and got to it.
This is really a pretty good sencha. The first steeping is delicate, and the colour is closer to eau de nil than I usually expect even with a Japanese green. The packet’s claim that it tastes like sweet potato is… hmmn, fanciful is probably the kindest way of putting it. But it is sweet, and, of course vegetal/grassy.
I left the second steeping a fraction longer, for just over a minute, and allowed a little astringency to creep in, just to add a little more depth to the flavour.
Yeah, really not bad. I’ll be having this one again.
I’ve been meaning to try this one for weeks, and tonight I finally got around to it.
The scent of the dry leaves and the aroma of the brewed tea are both really sweet. The smell evokes a childhood memory of the extreme sugary sweetness of fairy floss on a stick.
But before you throw up your hands in horror, I’ll add that the taste of the tea itself is not impossibly sweet. It’s not bitter, but the flavour of the tea – looks like sencha to me – really comes through. As with my favourite fruit flavoured teas from Lupicia, there’s an excellent balance at work in which the aroma plays an important part.
The sweetness dissipates a bit as the tea cools, but it’s still a really good cup of tea all the way to the end.
I approached this tea with a mixture of hope and trepidation: my favourite fruit flavoured teas are all from Lupicia, but so is the Sakura Vert (a similar tea made with cherry leaves) that is close to the top of the list of the most undrinkable teas I’ve ever tried. The Sakura Vert was so awful that I only got through a few sips and then had to pour the rest down the sink.
But yay, this tea has a lot more in common with some of Lupicia’s other fruit teas. Clearly, they do much better with cherry fruit rather than cherry leaves!
The leaves brew up into a nice warm light yellow liquor. The cherry is particularly noticeable in the scent, so you breathe it in with each sip, but that’s not to say it’s absent from the flavour of the tea itself. As with some of Lupicia’s other fruit teas, the balance between the fruit flavour and the flavour of the tea is really, really well done. It’s neither too much nor too little, and you’re left with an aftertaste that isn’t astringent but more pleasantly sour – more than a little reminiscent of sour cherries, so that’s definitely a plus.
Of all Lupicia’s fruit teas that I’ve tried, this tea reminds me more of their Kotobuki than any other. This tea doesn’t have quite that “full” sort of texture in the mouth that the Kotobuki has, but there’s still quite a lot of similarity in the way in which the fruit flavour makes its presence felt in the overall taste.
There’s nothing really wrong with this tea. It’s a perfectly adequate peppermint green tea. The effect of the rose petals on the taste is negligible.
Apart from that, there’s not really a lot to say about this tea, which is its main problem: it’s not very memorable and really pretty dull. I have more than one other peppermint blend in my tea cupboard that easily out-does this one.
I’ve been intending to review this tea for over a week now. I’ve tried it more than once during that time, so maybe now I can finally get my thoughts about it sorted out.
I ruined this tea the first time I brewed it. I got called away partway through making it and so it ended up steeping for four minutes. NOT a good move. Some oolongs, even good ones, can cope with that sort of steeping time. Not this one. It turned out astringent to the point of being undrinkable, so I poured it down the sink and tried again.
Now that I’ve come to know this tea slightly better, I’ve found that 2 minutes is about right for the steeping time. The packet says to use boiling water but, well, ignore that. My default temperature for oolong is 90C – roughly, the temperature you end up with after leaving the lid open on the kettle for a minute after boiling the water – and this oolong seemed to like that, too.
As for the taste? My immediate reaction, once I tried it minus the accidental added bitterness, was that this oolong was okay, but there was nothing about it that really wowed me. But somehow I kept coming back to it, and not only because I still hadn’t managed to write this review yet. g
It’s a good oolong. Not spectacular, but good. And it is actually slightly milky to the taste. This makes it very easy to drink, and to keep drinking. It’s not one of those exquisitely complex teas that makes you think about every mouthful as you’re drinking, but if you’re not in the mood for that sort of tea and just want something with a good taste to drink while you’re busy working, this one works really well.
This is not your typical Taiwan oolong at all. The leaves are significantly more oxidised than the majority of oolongs, and produce a brownish/coppery liquor. The flavour is quite individual. It’s not delicate, but also not without subtlety. The initial flavour is quite strong, but it really made me sit up and take notice of it. There are definitely some honey notes in there, and also a little woodiness. The aftertaste is sharper and doesn’t fade quickly.
This actually reminds me more of a Darjeeling than of the sorts of Taiwan oolongs I’m familiar with. Really interesting tea!
Two teaspoons of tea, steeped for one minute rather than the minute and a half suggested on the packet, because I’ve learnt to be very, very careful with Gyokuro. But actually, now that I’ve tried it I think this one might stand to be steeped for a minute and a half. It would be interesting to find out if the extra time would make it a teensy bit stronger without ruining it, anyway.
This is a very soft, muted sort of gyokuro. It produces the typical pale green liquor and the taste is vegetal, of course, but not overly so. It’s very soft and gentle on the surface, but isn’t as silky/smooth in the mouth as that softness might lead you to expect. The aftertaste is really, really interesting. There’s a little bit of saltiness to it, and a very slight sharpness that’s so subtle that I’m hesitant to go as far as calling it astringent.
This is the sort of tea that makes you want to sip it slowly and consider every drop. I’ve just finished my first cup and I already want to try it again.
So often, fruit teas disappoint me, but occasionally they work brilliantly. This one? It’s one of my two favourite fruit-flavoured teas. Just a terrific balance of pineapple and oolong.
I was browsing Lupicia’s site last night (outcome: seven new teas. Oops!) when I saw this one and realised I hadn’t had it all year! I rectified that sad state of affairs. Now to try to work out what to drink tonight while I wait for the Lupicia order to arrive…