1812 Tasting Notes
The first thing I noticed was the beautiful blue flowers interspersed into this tea. They definitely added an enjoyable element to the presentation. Following the suggestions of the package, I steep this tea for two minutes, using three teaspoons of leaf (in a two-cup teapot). The water was heated to the point where small bubbles were forming on the bottom of the kettle.
I am really impressed by the aroma of this tea. I have drunk a few blueberry white teas before, most of which tasted immensely of blueberries, but in an almost-artificial manner. This tea is different. The blueberry flavour does not jump out at the drinker. Instead, it meshes well with the flavours of the Pai Mu Dan base. The blueberry flavours are everywhere throughout the tea, when it is first sipped and in the aftertaste, but the flavours do not dominate. Thankfully, they also do not underwhelm. It may sound like this is a lot to say to merely describe the way in which this tea is well-balanced, but it is my opinion that this tea deserves the accolades. I really enjoyed drinking this tea. It is indeed worthy of the 93/100 I give it on my personal enjoyment scale.
Once again utilising my Tea Forte Cafe Cup, Tea Forte Tea Tray, and Tea Forte Tea Timer iPhone application, I start out steeping this tea for a recommended average of 3 minutes. The leaves inside the pyramid infuser look very broken up. This worries me a bit, but not being one to judge a tea from its appearance (at least not completely), I wait patiently for the steeping to finish.
The liquor has steeped to a milk-chocolate brown. Nutty smells waft up from the cup. This tea smells quite nutty. In the aroma, there even appears to be some subdued cocoa notes. Taking my first sip, it appears that three minutes was long enough to steep this tea. Perhaps even a bit too long.
The taste is much smoother than the smell would lead one to believe. Unlike many Formosa oolongs I have tried, this one slips nicely over the tongue, ending in an expressive aftertaste. Robust is a good descriptor for this tea. Oolongs are known to be warming to the body, and this one seems to be the epitome of that factoid.
My tea time was enjoyable, thanks to this tea. It was a good representation of a decent Formosa oolong. On my personal enjoyment scale, I rate it an 80/100.
This being the first Tea Forte tea that I have tried in quite some time, I decided to go all out. I am using my Tea Forte Cafe Cup, Tea Forte Tea Tray, and the Tea Forte Tea Timer app for iPhone. The instructions, acquired from the application itself, recommend 2-4 minutes of steep time. For a happy medium, I choose three, using just-under-boil filtered water.
I have a decent amount of experience with oolong teas. As this tea is steeping, I cannot help but wonder if the tea is being restricted from expansion by the pyramid in which it rests, as most oolongs like this one do a decent amount of unfurling while steeping.
The colour of the tea is a brownish yellow; the smells wafting from the cup are smooth, mellow, with perhaps a faint hint of spice. After a couple of small sips, I determine to put the pyramid back into the cup for another minute. The strength is okay but not quite as strong as I like. (If you like your oolongs light and mellow, three minutes will probably suffice.) Another minute, and it is back to tasting. Pleasantly, I can still taste the buttery aftertaste of those couple sips, with hints of vegetal flavour. The taste of this tea reminds me a lot of a Ti Kwan Yin.
In my opinion, four minutes was a prime amount of time for this tea. The flavours are much more full-bodied and literally burst in the mouth. There is a bit of vegetal bite on the sides of the tongue, as with a slightly-oversteeped green tea (like a gunpowder), but this is hardly noticeable, and probably due to my long steep time.
Overall I really enjoyed this tea. It was a very pleasant cuppa, and I do not think I have any complaints with it, other than a bit of lacking in the flavour department. I would perhaps be interested to know if this was due to the pyramid or the tea itself. 85/100 is what I would rate this tea on my personal enjoyment scale.