765 Tasting Notes
Finally picked up some of this and I’m pretty glad i did.
This is molasses brown bread with some mild peppery notes and honey notes. I let it steep a couple minutes too long so the honey is kind of a burnt honey. I don’t get any citrus in the aftertaste but the burnt honey and pepper do linger. Looking forward to another try paying more attention to the time. So silly, I measured the leaves, got the water temp according to recommendations, looked at the time then wandered off and got distracted. :)
I have now tried this 4 different ways now:
3 g, 3 min @ 212F
3 g, 3 min @ 185F
2 g, 3 min @ 175F
2 g, 2 min @ 212F
The best without being too bitter was 3 min @ 175F. It’s drinkable but nothing outstanding. It’s a BOP with small leaves of uniform color. Kind of makes me sad because I love this company’s packaging and it’s nothing I’ll keep around.
I love that this is a family estate selling their own teas. I also love that the founder is a tea grower and a woman. It makes for a trifecta of unusual. They were super nice to chat with at WTE.
It’s nicely malty, moderately brisk and also smooth. Not sure about milk and sugar with it, it might just hide the tea flavor.
While I would prefer to have this in loose format, it’s a more than acceptable sachet that I would keep on hand. I am tickled that they now have a US site so I can get more than just this one sample!
Trying the 2015 version this morning. I had been avoiding opening it until I used up the 2014 but I couldn’t help myself any longer. This is the 2015 Summer blend.
Pure brown sugar and molasses with enough bite to make you know you have a tiger of an Assam blend. Followed my normal method of Western steep at just off boiling for 3+ minutes then let it cool for about 5 minutes. That step of cooling from scalding hot to warm seems to make all the difference in bringing out the malty, sweet notes in an Assam, at least for me.
It’s been so long since I had GTT/Vadham’s Signature Malt Assam I can’t remember which one I preferred – this one or that one. But this is a wonderful Assam.
I sat down this morning and did a side by side comparative tasting of some Ai Lao. I tasted 2014 Spring Ai Lao, 2014 Autumn Ai Lao and 2015 Spring Ai Lao from Yunnan Sourcing and 2016 Ai Lao from Whispering Pines. I should note right off that I am entirely uncertain the teas are the same teas and can be compared as such. These were all recently purchased from the suppliers so did not suffer from ill storage in my care. :)
Physically, the leaves all look similar. Long, branchy and twiggy looking.
Dry leaf scent in warmed gaiwan:
2014 S – hay and molasses cookies
2014 A – hay, wine and molasses but not cookies
2015 S – hay and smoke
2016 WP – grapes, fruit, cookies and sweetness
First steep at 200F, 1 minute (I tasted at 30 seconds and was underwhelmed so let them go a bit longer):
2014 S – Really pretty bland with no standout notes for me. A very light tea, though not unpleasant.
2014 A – Kind of ashy like wood ashy with some sour notes like lightly fermented fruit.
2015 S – Moderately smokey but the smoke overwhelms the fruity notes
2016 WP – Deeply sweet and malty, nectar like with a pronounced fruit note
The YS teas felt very thin, the WP tea was thicker.
I’m really not sure it’s fair to compare these as exemplars of the same region/varietal/style as they are soooo different. Surely harvest alone can’t make that much difference?
My personal verdict is that the WP version I would and will suck down like mad and mourn when it is no longer available.
The YS-es I will keep some of the Autumn 2014 and pass them all along to someone else I know who would like to do this and has a much better developed and nuanced palate than I. :)
Oh, and while I did these in gaiwans, I didn’t attempt to gong fu steep them. The use of gaiwan was simply for convenience when doing 4 side by sides.
Received this in a swap with mtchyg awhile back. I wrote down notes but then lost them until today, cleaning out my little nest in the living room. :)
This was a more natural coconut, not really a creamy coconut. This isn’t a stand out base but it’s not a bad tea overall. There is definitely coconut in it, pretty sure there was some coconut oil on top in my cup. Happy to have tried but it won’t replace Zhi’s coconut black in my cupboard.
This was tasty. Not an amazing tea but a hearty, malty breakfast blend. I suppose the next stop on my tea journey might be trying to decide which flush of Assam I prefer. I already know I prefer 2nd/Autumn flush Darjeelings. Perhaps it’s the same for Assams. This doesn’t beat Enigma or Signature Assams from Golden Tips, but it’s good.
Oh, and apparently Golden Tips Teas is now Vadham. :)
This is for the Spring 2016 harvest, generously provided in sample size with my recent order.
Holy cats, this is an awesome tea. This reminds me of all I adore in golden tippy teas. The malt, the cocoa, the cream. This one has a smooth, rich, buttery feeling to it. A truly exceptional harvest with what had to be some masterful processing. Second steep was not as mind blowing, but I did steep the first cup for at least 4 minutes, Western style.