Thanks to Teavivre for this sample!
I’ve never had a ginseng tea before, and never really had any ginseng. I’ve only really ever seen it on commercials “With ginseng for extra energy!” or whatever ginseng is marketed to do So I don’t know what the ingredient tastes like. But we’ll give this one a try!
The dry leaf smells kind of like a rock oolong. It’s dark and toasty. The feel of the leaves is different: they’re coated in something (probably ginseng). They’re uniformly dark green and almost matted together. The leaves feel sort of rough to the touch, like moss growing over asphalt.
Steeped in my tasting cup (I really want to get my hands on a gaiwan!) for short infusions.
Wet leaf smell – I’m picking up that same rock oolong scent, but stronger. There’s also a bit of a walnutty smell here. I’m hoping that doesn’t come through in the taste, because I’m mildly allergic, and I’d like to avoid starting the day with a headache.
First steep – 10s
The liquor is a rich golden color. It’s not pale at all, the way I’d expect a 10s steep to be. It looks like I’ve steeped it for a lot longer.
Nope, no walnuts in the taste! Excellent. The first few sips were rather tasteless, as I was focusing on the nuts and trying to separate the ginseng taste from the rest of the flavor. I gave up on that, and a sweetness started hitting me incredibly strongly at the back of my mouth. It was like a regular, unremarkable oolong, and then – BAM! Sweet! It’s all aftertaste. Interesting.
Second steep – 20s
The liquor has the same golden honey color as before, but it’s a little darker, a little more bronze. The leaves in the tasting cup have mainly unfurled, but they’re still rather crinkly. Reminds me of my wardrobe after it’s come out of a suitcase… :)
There’s a bit of astringency in the flavor here. The utter sweetness of the aftertaste has abated, and it just reminds me of a more astringent rock oolong.
Third steep – 30s.
Smooth, a little bit nutty. I dunno. This tea just isn’t doing it for me today. Thankfully, Teavivre’s samples are large enough to try a few times, but maybe this one just isn’t for me.