506 Tasting Notes
T&C TTB#2: This smells wonderfully raspberry! It has a good taste but it is trending a little towards bitter at the end of the steep. It seems like it is definitely one of those finicky Assams. I even understeeped it per package directions. I don’t know that I’d buy any of this, but it is good. :)
T&C TTB#1: So, I couldn’t resist. I found myself with a couple of hours where I could drink tea! I started with this one. I thought I’d try these teas without looking to see what was expected of them first. :)
When I opened the package I thought I smelled red rooibos, despite the package saying black. And yes, I was right. It smells cherry, despite having that medicinal smell from the rooibos. But in the end, to me, it tastes like cherry medicine. Nope, red rooibos blends are not for me! But it was nice to have the opportunity to try some again to see if my tastes have changed! :)
Oooo… now this is more like it. Golden tipped leaves make a malty, deep brew. I like this better than the Basmatia Estate. Still gets the increasing bitterness as it cools, however. And that could be my steeping error as well. Dunno. I like it. And with half-and-half it reminds me of how much I loved the Assams this winter with cream… a habit I don’t need to fall back into! :)
Now I need to follow this with Harney’s Nahorhabi, though I don’t know what flush theirs is.
Since I had two more people at work wanting to try out teas, I figured I’d grab some samples to do some comparisons while I was doing ordering. Not like I can place a tea order without getting something myself!
This is an okay Assam. Nothing too special, but definitely drinkable. A bit toasty. As it cools, it seems to get stronger and maybe tends a bit to the bitter side. This was only at 1:30. I think at 4-5 min as recommended it would be near undrinkable, at least for me. On to the next!
This was a sample generously included in my order. And one that I’ll have to add to my next order.
This is smooth. Medium gold red color. Hay and dry grass, wheat stalks, medium malt, mainly smooth.
“Like a baby’s behind” smooth. And if you recognize that quote, you have excellent taste in bad movies. :)
Mmm.. Little buttery, little malty, little floral… Others who have said Assam +Darj are very correct. This is an unusual tea without much if any of the dryness typically associated with Darjeelings. While I didn’t try any of the previous Sourenee that Butiki had, this is a very good option from this estate (in my limited experience of 3 Sourenees, anyway).
I was going to do a side by side taste test of the Yunnans and Yunnan-like teas in my cupboard today. I got out my little demi-tasse cups, little steeping bowls, heated filtered water, got my note paper ready and put 1 teaspoon of tea in each bowl. In retrospect, and something I should have known at the time, far too much tea for the 1 ounce of water I was steeping with! In my defense, even if I had realized in time to adjust the amount of leaf, it would have been hard to determine how much to use with the larger leaves. I don’t have a scale, either.
Here’s a pic of the set up: http://tinyurl.com/ls6mo4p
Horrible lighting and a reflection made it look like there was a tea bag or something in the upper row cup.
I steeped, from left to right, bottom to top: Golden Strand from Mandala (not in picture, alas), Royal Yunnan from New Mexico Tea Co., Yunnan Imperial from Single Origin Teas, Pure Bud from Mandala, Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea Full Leaf from Teavivre, Superfine Tan Yang Gong Fu from Teavivre, Yunnan Gold Tips from A&D & Morning Sun from Mandala.
I steeped at 200F for all and for 3 minutes, give or take about 15 seconds. And yikes was that too long for that much tea in that little water! Without exception, all of the teas were bitter. I probably should also not have tried the same temp for all of them. After realizing my mistake I used the rest of the filtered water and tried resteeping in the full 8 ounces. I didn’t have enough filtered water to do all of them, though.
On a second steep, here’s what I figured out: Golden Strand was the cleanest and sharpest tasting. Tan Yang comes out slightly ahead of the Dian Hong Full Leaf, Morning Sun was the smokiest. Yunnan Gold Tips didn’t resteep very well. I didn’t have enough water to try the others.
So, all I managed to really find out is that 1) to do a proper side by side with variables controlled, I really need more than just me doing the prep or I need to not do all of them at once 2) follow steeping directions: all teas are not the same! and 3) even allowing for way improper steeping the most undrinkable were the Royal Yunnan and the Yunnan Imperial. The Imperial is the least expensive of the bunch, but the Dian Hong Full Leaf was the second least expensive so I don’t think that necessarily reflects quality in all cases.
Next I need to try a better comparison and do only the Mandala and then only the Teavivre so I can figure out better what I like about each one and if I really feel a need to keep every single one in my cupboard. Right now I think I do, but I’ve not had them side by side so every one has been The Most Awesome Ever. :)
Oh and after steeping each full cup, I didn’t drink the whole thing right then, I poured them all together and have been sipping on the combined mixture all day. I get almost none of the awesome aspects of any of them but it’s pretty drinkable so I don’t feel like I wasted all those leaves. :)
Such pretty little things. Sweet, malty & smooth.
I steeped them today for the first time for a tea tasting party. I used 4 cones for about 16 ounces of bottled water. Left them in the little glass pot for probably 20 minutes all told.
I tasted it first at about 10 minutes. It was strong but not bitter. I steeped another little 16 ounce pot with 3 cones and tried it at about 5 minutes. It was obviously not as strong, but it was smoother. I honestly liked them both ways.
Everyone at the party liked this one a lot. There was one attendee who was new to our group and she mainly does bagged grocery store greens. She is now a Yunnan convert. :) We also did Harney’s Apricot Black, Butiki’s Rose Violet Calendula Oolong, Boston Tea Company’s Lemon Honey Chamomile Premium Rooibos, Mandala’s Morning Sun (which, by the way, is also fantastic with a spot of cream), New Mexico Tea’s Cream Earl Grey and Capital Teas’ Dragon Pearls. I had planned to do another 3 or 4 but we were all floating after these, even with small cups!
I steeped this according to boychik’s suggestion (I think that was who sent me this…).
I did a short-ish steep for 1 minute, then another minute, then another.
First impression is butter? Shortening? Not texture, but taste. Ah, got it – pie crust! Or a croissant. Not bready but simple pastry-ey. Lightly sweet, very lightly. Smells very strongly of pie crust. This is very light. The second minute it became a little sweeter and much more strongly pie crust. At 3 minutes it is still pie crust but becoming somewhat watery, though I haven’t added any more water to the cup.
This is an interesting oolong and maybe my first Oriental Beauty? Can’t remember. I wish our tealogs were sortable by name, not just most recent and most popular. Thanks for the sample, boychik!