632 Tasting Notes
Got back on Tuesday from a Seattle-Portland-Victoria vacation with mom and aunts. One of our stops was at the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria (can’t vacay without a spa stop, y’know). I picked this up there, untasted and untested.
It’s not bad. If I didn’t have the package description to refer to, I’d swear this was blackcurrant. And it has a distinctly grapey taste as well. It’s smooth and not overly heavy. I’m not sure how they decaffeinate it “on the estate” and how that really differs from doing it somewhere else but it doesn’t really matter to me. I’d have bought this with or without the caffeine just to try it. I don’t see myself reaching for this over my other teas, but I’ll throw a couple of bags in the travel tea snob tea wallet just in case of emergency.
In other tea news, I purchased my first yixing pot while in Seattle. It is highly likely to not be real yixing, but it’s clay and it’s cute. And shortly after that I purchased my second clay pot. Just too cute and too reasonably priced. Seasoning the tortoise and the hare for golden monkey and the dragon for bi luo chun types. Probably don’t need different pots for them since they are similar in flavor profile but, shrug, why not. :) And my auntie got a cool tea for one set for me at Queen Mary in Seattle. I love the unusual handles and that the cup is on a pedestal.
I’ve been working my way through these YS teas in gongfu sessions since most of the time previously I tried them using Western style steeping.
I suspect my tastebuds have changed somewhat, maybe due to this low grade ongoing digestion upset that’s been hanging around for months now. I still love this tea. It’s not my favorite from YS, but it’s up there. Still yeasty, but less so with more of a sour note slipping in that I’ve noticed with other teas of the same flavor profile of late. Not as full seeming as it was previously.
I like the second steeping of 1 minute the best when doing this gongfu style.
This is really, really tasty. Fresh spring in a bag is the scent of the dry leaf. Pretty, twisty, long green leaves.
Smooth, buttery mouthfeel. Green and fresh, a cup of vegetables.
Did this gongfu to start with. About 20 seconds and it was deeply green and smooth. Next steep was 40 seconds and added a heft of buttery richness. Third steep for 60 seconds started to thin out. Fourth steep also 60 seconds but at a lower water temp was pretty much done.
I want to try this again but western or grandpa instead of gongfu. I liked it gongfu, but I think I could really like it in one long steep. Also, after trying the green from Shang and loving it done at a higher temp, I intend to try this one like that as well.
I don’t even know what to call this tea besides probably the best green tea I’ve ever had. Shang graciously shared this with me today when I stopped by the store. It was a green from a friend of his so he isn’t selling it unfortunately. There isn’t enough to sell! It is from a farm that has been abandoned and let grow wild for the past 15 years. So a Chinese Wild High Mountain Green, I guess it would be. :)
It is a high mountain green made from all buds. The tiny little needles standing upright on the bottom of the pot were simply gorgeous. The scent of the dry leaves was heavy and like inhaling a basket of freshly picked vegetables. Amazingly enough, this was prepared with boiling water. In previous experience of greens, if someone had made it with boiling water I’d have expected bitter and undrinkable tea. Not so with this one.
The steeped tea was like a thick broth, savory and sweet with heavy notes of artichoke and asparagus and just… green. If color has a taste, this is what green tastes like. I felt like I’d eaten a plate of things that were really, really good for me.
The 2nd steep was sweeter even still. The 3rd is getting a little bitter after sitting grandpa style in a takeout cup for over an hour but no where near being unpleasant. The flavors are a little fainter and the brothy notes not quite as strong but it’s still a superb green tea.
It’s a good thing there isn’t enough of this to sell. As rare as it is, it would be really expensive but I’d still have to have some. Maybe I could rent out my cats. :)
Haven’t been reviewing much because stupid busy and also have been drinking favorites as comfort and to de-stress. :)
This is still a superb EG for bergamot lovers. The tea is super smooth, the leaves are big and beautiful, it’s just an extremely well done tea. I got to sit down with Tyler from Hugo Tea last week in his new digs and have some tea and chat about the local and global tea scene. He’s a passionate and knowledgeable guy and it was a very pleasant afternoon. I hope their new location works out for them – at the very least because it’s close to me! :) And more importantly because these hometown boys need to be supported in their efforts to bring better tea to the public.
As an aside, why does Yunnan Sourcing hate me so much? Just last night I closed my eyes and hit the purchase button on a large tea tray, a cha hai and a large gaiwan from Umiteasets and today YS puts their teawares on sale. >.
I can tell my tastebuds are still not back to normal after this recent bout with sinus/bronchitis junk. This one was not as tasty as my previous note indicated. Still really good, don’t get me wrong, but I’m off still. Things are hugely busy these days so I’m not logging many notes as I’m sticking with old favorites that require little concentration.
This is once again, an amazingly smooth and moderate black from What-Cha. Very unlike other Kenyan teas I’ve had. I know that orange is unrelated to any flavor the tea possesses, but rather to the grade of leaf. However, like donkeytiara, I also get a little hint of orange in this tea. It’s mainly moderately malty and light with no bitterness or astringency, even as it cools. Really, really good.