733 Tasting Notes
Seeing TeaTiff’s review reminded me that I wrote something up for this when tea-sipper shared some with me awhile back.
The flavors were all extremely well blended together. It was a really balanced floral and vanilla. I really did like this one. And I forgot all about it when I placed an order with Zhi recently.
First, thank you to Soleil Tea for making the samples available.
Upon opening the package, I am most strongly reminded of a Christmas tree. Not totally on board with drinking evergreen. I’m not sure what I expected but that wasn’t it. :)
After steeping, I still smell evergreen but with some sweeter cocoa notes in the background.
Tasting gives me primarily sap and evergreen – resinous is a good word for it. I get faint floral and cocoa notes and I’m not sure I’d know if I was tasting hops or not. I see others saying this is a deep tea. I’m guessing maybe I underleafed or understeeped because I get a very light tea.
I have enough to try again and I will. :) For now, rating is based on this steeping. It’s an interesting blend but not necessarily one that is for me, I think.
Did a side by side this afternoon with this and Teavivre’s Golden Monkey. Harney on the left, Teavivre on the right.
I warmed the gaiwans, put in the leaf and covered while the water was heating. Visually, there are more golden tips in the Harney tea. The scent of the warmed, dry leaves: Teavivre has a smell of hay and dark molasses. Harney’s aroma is malty brown sugar.
About 200F was water temp. 1:30 steep time.
Scent of steeped leaves: Teavivre was sweet dusty hay, Harney was a smell of cooked, wet leaf and rock.
Taste of cup: Teavivre was hay with some malt, mild with a minor, not unwelcome, sour note at the end of the sip. Harney was maltier than TV and sweeter in that brown sugar way, liquor is lighter in color by a touch.
Conclusion: I like the Harney better. Granted, however, that the Harney is fresher (2015) and the Teavivre is older (2014). So this wasn’t an optimal taste comparison, probably. I’ll still enjoy both. :)
Had this tonight in my fishy tea set. I wanted to use a different, new gaiwan but I realized I don’t have a cha hai to go with it and everything I did have wasn’t hitting my happy spot tonight – the horror! Now I’ll have to look for more tea ware…
Anyway, this is still a great tea. Thankfully I still have a good amount of it. I think I prefer this Western style but it’s fine this way, too. After 3 rounds it starts to lose potency, at 4 rounds it’s essentially lightly colored water.
Okay. Revisiting this one. Still not exactly my thing. However, trying the Assam trick of letting it cool a bit before drinking makes it a cup more to my liking. The smoke is still there but blending nicely instead of shouting down everything else like the woodiness. Still not getting a lot of bread from this blend but it will be sufficient to ward off the Elder Gods this weekend.
Hope this is the right spot for this tea. This is a pretty nommy Assam blend. Steeped at just below boiling for 2 minutes. Tasted hot and it was drinkable but nothing stand out. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then that sweet spot hit for Assams and me. Malt notes become more present, liquor becomes sweeter. Nothing I need to pick up over other Assams in my cupboard that are more accessible to me, but super happy to have tried this. Thanks, SIl!
Oh, and Assams pair nicely with fruity candy, just in case you were looking for a food pairing. Starburst and Skittles and Assams. A good breakfast.
I think with the addition of some cream, this would be a great dessert tea. As it is, without any additions, it’s a really strong vanilla tea. The tea isn’t lost but certainly isn’t the forefront in taste next to the vanilla. It does seem more like a Ceylon than a China black, though the site says it’s a mix – it’s softer than a China black, if that makes any sense. This is a solid vanilla tea. Obviously it uses flavoring but not in a nasty way. So happy to have had this and to have enough to try it again with cream! Thanks, Sil!
Western style, big mug, sweet T-Rex but this is awesome tea! Smooth, thick, sweet, gorgeous leaves, superior scent both dry and steeped liquor. One of the maltiest teas I’ve ever had. This is just a superior tea. Whoever processes does a phenomenal job and the plants must be excellent to produce this kind of a tea. Gorgeous. There is absolutely nothing bad I can say about this. If it ever goes away I will be heartbroken.
Oh, and a picture of my little work tea pot. Developing some nice color after a short time.
Tried this in a little clay pot a couple of nights ago. I have also tried this gaiwan/cha hai style. I can say definitively that I prefer it Western style. I lose the heavy, savory notes and the buttery nuts in this somehow doing it the other ways. It’s not that it’s a bad tea gongfu-ed, it just isn’t fly me to the moon tea steeped that way.