692 Tasting Notes
This is indeed rich and full bodied. It stands up well to steeping when traveling under less than optimal conditions. There is a faint maltiness I think but I want to have this under better conditions than unknown water temp in a styro cup. Even at that this tea is definitely distinguishable as a cut above standard. It may be a suitable replacement for my beloved Crimson Horizon, which, until I run out, is my vacation tea of choice. I want to test these two side by side when I get home. Until then, no rating but suffice to say that any tea that manages to shine in these circumstances and a CTC that didn’t turn bitter left in the cup, is a quality tea in my mind and one that is like to keep on hand.
This one was plenty strong but not overly harsh. Malty, though not as much as some when hot. Maltiness seemed to intensify as the cup cooled. Medium sweetness and some fruity notes in the background. Not a replacement for the Assam Enigma, which is still sadly out of stock, but this was an excellent sample included in my last order. This is the kind of Assam I wish for when I order Assam at an afternoon tea but never do get. The kind of Assam I’d have at my afternoon tea shop. :)
I had 2 steepings of this over the day today. With the second steeping I was also eating Darkside Skittles. OMG… the intense malt and the fruit and the sweet? A-MAZ-ING. Such a plebian desecration of this gorgeous tea, but it was soooo good. Now I need to try it with a splash of cream but I get the feeling that might be dangerous. I love it so much unaltered.
I added this tea under Shang Tea – Private Stock Tea Club since these teas are not available from Shang unless you have a subscription due to their limited quantities. I want to keep track of these teas, though, for my own personal reference and in case it might tempt people to join up. :)
This was a nice, medium body oolong. Mineral taste is very present in later steeps. In the first steep, though, it was pretty much pure roasted vegetable for me. A light sweetness around the edges. Overall, though, I get the rock oolong mineral taste. The mineral notes are what lingers for me after the sip. I like this better than more roasty oolongs but not as much as the unroasted ones. The first steep was about 45 seconds and that’s apparently where the sweet spot is for me on this one, though I’ll experiment with some other methods and temperatures. This one was done per instructions for temp – boiling and let cool 1 minute.
The liquor is a beautiful light lemon color, bright and clear as a rock bottomed stream.
This morning was an attempt to clear my conscience of tossing some samples. I put actual tasting notes for the samples that stood out but this is for the ones that didn’t.
Yunnan from In Pursuit of Tea. This one was through someone’s Steepster Select. It was okay but nothing outstanding.
Tie Guan Yin 2014 from Mandala. Probably an okay example, but this is more my mom’s thing. And I let it go maybe a bit too long as it got bitter. And to be fair, if age impacts this kind of tea, it is pretty old.
Golden Blend from Harney & Sons. This was also aged but I don’t get any GM notes, just sharp tea. No longer to my taste.
Health & Well Being Green from Tealeaves. This was one that Mom shared with me from one of our joint orders. Truly not my thing. It’s highly possible that since I don’t prepare greens often I’m just not preparing it correctly. I read something recently that good quality Chinese greens actually need higher temps than is commonly recommended in the West to bring out their flavors but that lower quality tea needs lower temps to compensate. I’m not sure how old this is – you can’t get loose leaf of this on the site any more but that’s what I had.
This is another share from the mysterious silver/clear package with the purple writing. And another hit. Sweet and party flavored for sure. Another I can see would be good for … a tea party. So aptly named. :) And pretty with the flowers without needing to add sprinkles or other junk to muck up the water. A decent dessert tea. The tin looks pretty in the picture, too.
Nichole generously sent me a sample of this. It sounded interesting from the tasting notes but unfortunately for me, I think this is far too roasty an oolong. I do get the roasty mineral notes but none of the floral notes. I can see where burnt caramel is something people taste. Glad to have tried this but I don’t think my palate appreciates the roasted oolongs still. :)
I’m ashamed to admit that I am just now digging out and trying this sample sent to me ages ago by Sil. It’s exactly the name – lemon and buttermilk. Scent is very strongly buttermilk. I liked the first few sips then I think it became too buttermilk for me. I am not a fan of drinking buttermilk and unlike many flavored teas, this one is very much buttermilk. :) I’d still recommend it to anyone that would appeal to – I don’t think you’d be disappointed. Thanks, Sil!
Interesting. I didn’t pick this out as being a Yunnan blend. The vanilla and honey are yummy. It’s more a dessert tea in my mind than a breakfast tea, but I’d buy this to have around. Especially for tea parties. I think it would be a good gateway flavored tea for non-tea people. :) I cannot for the life of me remember who shared this with me, so I apologize. It was in a little silver and clear package with purple writing. If that was you, thank you bunches!! :)
So I did a side-by-side with this and Mandala’s Flowering Black Tea Cones.
Surprisingly, to me at least, they are actually quite different. Both are definitely Yunnans but this one is slightly sour with a dusty, fermented taste. It’s very thick feeling. Like Mandala’s, these take a long steep without issue.
While both are good, for a smoother, sweeter experience I prefer Mandala’s. For a heartier, more in your face experience, I’d go with YS. :) If I were serving it to tea novices, Mandala wins to get them hooked. For experienced tea-ites, either would be good.