Featured & Popular Tasting Notes
Eeee eeee eeeeee! ashmanra was kind enough to send me a sample of this tea! When I went to add it to my cupboard, I noticed – dur – I had tried it almost a year ago, and dismissed it as being too delicate (because I put milk and sugar in it, and drank it with a butter cookie. I laugh!)
Well, now that I know better :) I am so very enjoying this tea sans additions. It is so naturally sweet and caramely. Honeyed. Mead like. There is a thickness and complexity that I am loving! Delicious! I think I could have taken it another 30 seconds or even a minute (I have more to sample thankfully!!!). It also has the milky mouthfeel that I’ve come to associate with Golden Monkey.
Steep #2 (4:30) is kinda ridiculous in the best way possible. Caramel, caramel, caramel! I’ve never quite tasted this from a tea that didn’t have flavoring added. Wow. `
My other Golden Monkey love from Teas etc. is much milder, and I would say a technically higher quality tea (smoother, longer leaves, more golden), but I like this one better. It has more gusto, which is my preference, but retains the things I like about GM. Harney’s GM is also much, much, much smoother than the so called Golden Monkey (which tastes like Panyang Congu) from Premium Steap.
ashmanra, you have No! Idea! how much you’ve made my day today! I’m crazy about this tea, and I’ve decided that even if I am not at my 40 teas in my cupboard state, I am going to place a Harney & Sons order in November. I remember clear as can be that my last Harney & Sons order came to my house the day after Thanksgiving last year, and I have like, an ounce of cobbled together chocolate tea and Florence tea and that’s all!! Clearly something needs to be done about that!
P.S. When all said and done – 4 steeps of deliciousness!
- from my Golden Moon Sampler, selected by plunging my hand into the basket and grabbing.
Today I was a little more careful. I used only 4 ounces of water. I still don’t think I’m getting the full effect. I’ve noticed that the tasting notes are all over the place on this tea. I can smell the floral aspects which are pleasant but not to-fall-in-love-with. I can also pick up on a sun-shiny buttery aspect of the tea.
I think my palate prefers the big boom to the delicate touch. In terms of being a tea drinker, I feel a bit like Sir Walter Scott felt about Jane Austen: "The Big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like any now going; but the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the description and the sentiment, is denied to me. "
The exquisite palate is denied to me but I certainly enjoy those Big Bow-wow teas.
My ratings, by the way, reflect my own pleasure in the tea and have nothing to do with the tea’s actual merit or lack thereof.
I am making audible happy noises as I’m drinking this. Thanks to takgoti, of course. MY GOD.
This is probably the most delicious cup of tea I’ve had in a few days. Seriously. SO. GOOD.
I felt like a white tea this afternoon, and I began rummaging around. I almost tried the Adagio Jasmine Silver Needle that Auggy sent me, but then the thought of this popped into my mind, so I decided to steep some up.
This doesn’t really smell like much dry, but the leaves are so pretty! Like real leaves. And downy tips. So pretty. Everything pretty much looks nearly whole. The infusion is a very light honey color. Beautiful to look at. And the smell is sweet like corn, with woodsy highlights.
On my first sip, I literally made an audible “MMMM” noise. It was very loud. And then I gave a little gasp on the swallow, because this baby has depth. It’s very light tasting, but actually pretty heavy on the flavor department. There’s a lot of complex layers going on here. I feel like I can get lost in this. So unexpected and deep, yet so completely sippable and drinkable!
So let’s try to explain this. I’m a bit incoherent right now cause I’m so excited about the taste of this, and I’m still in awe over the flavors that are packed in here, but we’re going to try. There’s deepness here. Toasty notes, as well as pure sweet and floral notes. I’m definitely getting the sweet corn that takgoti mentioned, kissed with a light bit of butter. Delicious and rich. There’s also the feeling of cocoa. I can’t explain this one… not the flavor of it, but the overall end feeling of taking a sip of that drink. I’m getting some sort of nutty flavor, maybe a bit of walnut?
There’s a mouthfeel here too. I think that’s the first time I’ve noticed it. A thickness, a deliciousness that cannot be described. No astringency whatsoever. This is a tea that just keeps on giving. I love the lingering feeling on my tongue of nectar and honey and goodness. I am just finding that I love white tea in general. How something light could be so deep… it’s almost like the Caribbean waters.
The flavors here are so round and pronounced, yet so different, distinct, and enjoyable. I really can’t even begin to properly describe this cup. I’d just suggest getting some for yourself. THANK YOU TAK-TAK FOR AMAZINGNESS, as usual!
Today is an exciting day! My Vanilla Assam is ready for consumption!!!
I took about 3 oz of Very Good but Nothing Earth Shattering Like Dear Thomas Assam (Premium Steap’s Assam Khongea FTGFOP-1) and cut into it a vanilla bean (one Extremely Intoxicating Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla Bean). Let sit for 3 weeks to a month, shaking whenever you remember, to infuse. When you make your tea, steep the vanilla bean pieces along with the tea leaves.
Ooooooooh it’s FANTASTIC! If you are a vanilla lover, you HAVE to try this! I guess because I used an entire high quality vanilla bean, the tea is just making me swoon with deliciousness! So much vanilla bean flavor and that slight smokiness. BUT – because it has no extract or flavoring, it’s delicate and really lets whatever tea you use shine. It’s old fashioned and home made and just wonderful. It is sublime for drinking and I think it would really be great infused into a vanilla tea buttercream frosting. I’d also like to play around with different vanilla beans with different origins – e.g. Tahitian Vanilla bean instead of Madagascar, and different teas.
GM Sampler | Tea 1 of 31
AND SO IT BEGINNETH.
Or, rather, it beganneth about a long while ago. I’m going to be writing the first leg of this from notes since I was a bad logger. [This makes me think of lumberjacks. Which makes me think of Monty Python. Suspenders and a bra! I should mention that I’m cresting on a bit of a caffeine high at the moment.]
The tea smelled distinctly, unmistakably, of jasmine and vanilla. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste, but I didn’t buy this sampler so I could smell the tea and dump the cup.
So, I drank. And, it would have been more surprising if I hadn’t read the other tasting notes, the jasmine was hiding in the wings on the taste. I mainly got vanilla, which is not how I would have thought this all would have gone down, but it’s not to say it wasn’t pleasant.
The vanilla taste was rich and a bit creamy. It reminded me of these lollipops my family gets sometimes when we’re near a See’s [which used to be a mainly west coast deal but I think has spread across the country with some success] that are vanilla flavored. [For the record, vanilla and butterscotch lollipops = good. Chocolate = meh.] I like those lollipops, so it probably goes without saying that I enjoyed the vanilla aspect of this tea, but I’m going to say it anyway. I liked the vanilla.
The jasmine came gliding out right as the tea was exiting my mouth to whisper its presence, leaving a very light, floral aftertaste to the vanilla. The entire thing was kind of strange, but there was something about the way that the vanilla and the jasmine played off one another that made it work.
A small note: while it was still hot, I didn’t find this tea very good. It stifled the jasmine and drowned out the sweetness in the vanilla, so I’ll gently advise to wait until it tips towards lukewarm.
Overall, I’d call this a win, but I think I’ll wait to see whether I want to order more until I’m done with the sampler.
Rose! Jasmine! Earl Grey! It’s like a fairy tea sister offered to send a magic tea with all my best loved flavors in it. Wait! This really happened!! Rabs sent this tea to me!!!! :)
I LOVE IT!!!!
If you too love these things, you HAVE to try this tea! It’s blended SO WELL. As you can imagine, all these fruits and florals together could be an awful, sickening mess, but this is PERFECT. Every single flavor comes through, but is subtle and delightful. I think the black Earl Grey is the anchor that holds this whole confection together. The rose and jasmine add just the right flavor and sweetness. Not a single solitary addition needed.
This tea is also very beautiful. Rose petals and buds. Green tea amongst the black. Long elegant leaves. This tea is a delight for the eyes as well as the palate!
I’ve been really good about not buying tea, but this one is getting bought as soon as the month turns!!! Love, love, love!
Today called for a Matcha Smoothie.
Ingredients: Matcha from Teavana, milk (skim or 1%), Splenda/Sugar to taste, Dole Frozen Unsweetened Mixed Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries), Blender.
Recipe: I put in a 1/4 cup of the frozen mixed berries, 1/4 tsp Splenda, 4 ounces skim milk (cold), 4 ounces cold water, 1/4 tsp Matcha powder in the Magic Bullet blender cup, mixed for about a minute.
Makes a thick, frothy smoothie, tasted like ripe mixed berries and matcha. Fantastic.
With all these updates I’ve been forgetting to drink tea!!!! (I hope you’re all happy)
I looked at some of the other reviews of this one and I’m afraid I don’t get it. Or maybe I just have a long way to go with my tea preparation knowledge…
Absolutely love the aroma! That’s the saving grace of this tea. Open the tin and you get hit in the face with chocolate (not literally). Some people probably wouldn’t like that but I do. But after that amazing nose, I only get slight hints of those flavors in the liquid. There’s a slight maltiness, but I don’t get strawberries. Maybe a bit of sweetness for strawberries…but I think that’s stretching.
Oh, and since situational drinking descriptions seem to be the trend now…I’m sitting in my apartment working on Steepster listening to 3Oh!3 (also from Boulder). Fatty (cat) is sleeping on the couch and Dexter (dog) is sleeping in his bed – real lively bunch.
Anyways, I’m really doubting my tea drinking skillz…where my Steeps at?
said in a high voice choking back the tears
Thanks to Auggy who sent me the most gorgeously packaged teas ever, I am now sipping this tea. What a magnificent Lapsang! This tea exemplifies all the reasons I love the Lapsang Souchong in particular and smoky teas in general. I am not surprised by the wide range of ratings.
Certainly the aroma is absolutely indicative of a smoky tea. The aroma and the taste got me to thinking of Russian literature. I know that this is not labelled a caravan—but I thought of Boris Pasternak. One of the first literary controversies I was aware of was his Nobel Prize, gratefully accepted and then rejected, probably because of pressure from the Soviets. So I started reading his poetry and then I read his sweeping epic, “Dr. Zhivago” (the book is better than the film, which I haven’t seen for 40 something years).
This tea tastes like Yuri and Lara huddled up in a small cottage with the fire aflame. As Yuri Zhivago ventriloquizes Boris Pasternak, he reflects on winter:
“It snowed and snowed ,the whole world over,
Snow swept the world from end to end.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.”
This tea reminds me of the insistent beat and flame and flare and flicker of the candle burning on the table as the fire roars in the fireplace and the Samovar boils away.
Golden Moon has at this point my vote for Best. Lapsang. Souchong. Ever. I know I’ll drink more—for me the land o’ Lapsang is largely an undiscovered and yet to be mapped country—but I’m placing an order.
I know that this review is more evocative than specific but for what do we live but to be evoked into sensations, emotions, nostalgias, memories and tea, like poetry and music, is a wonderful vehicle. This Golden Moon Lapsang Souchong (spasibo, Auggy), has taken me back to late 19th and early 20th century Russia.
I’ve fallen in love with smoky teas;
Their ashy taste will always please.
The flavors are strong with no dearth
Of tar and of peat and of earth.
That’s me! I know that most people disagree with me, but smoke is my niche; my dream lover; my mystic muse. I went to France to obtain this—or really, I emailed to France. I also ordered a superb jelly and just had a most smoky afternoon snack: I felt as if I were in a Paris “une boite de nuit” with the smoke of Gitanes and Gauloises curling all about me. Let my calico cat stand in for Josephine Baker, and I’m flying “en avion de l’ame!”
Here’s the jelly, which I had with bread and un p’tit beurre:
«Tarry Souchong» tea jelly:
Created by the Mariage family in the 19th century, these collection of tea jellies, manufactured in the traditional way in copper pans, are a wonderful accompaniment to toast, brioches and scones. The fruit of this ancestral knowledge, this tea jelly, flavoured with a smoky Formosa tea, combines its subtlety with the splendour of the best teas."
I am utterly enthralled! The smoky teas that I adore are typically far less costly than the delicate whites and the carefully cultivated greens, so I am in luck. This is my moment of Tea Nirvana, of ecstasy that fills my being with a thousand pulses of pleasure.
malomorgen sent me this one! Thanks so much!!! :)
This Black and Green Tea Blend is certainly YUMMY! I can smell the black and green teas and the strawberry…almost candied.
I can taste the strawberry and vanilla adds the creaminess to it…lovely. This maybe the the first time I have had tea with mistletoe in it…and it’s “A-O-K” with me!
YUM! This is great
Feeling adventurous again today – thought I’d try my DRAGON BALL that Doulton sent me. Thank you once again Doulton.
Confession: I am in the very small minority (perhaps the only person here on Steepster!) who does not like to see leaves unfurl, or display teas! I think they look like deep sea creatures/aliens being born and they scare me. I think it all stems from when my mother let me watch Invasion of the Body Snatchers on television (this was the 1970s) at a tender age and I didn’t sleep right for over a year.
SO – the dragon ball will be doing its thing in my very opaque tea pot :)
I do find the dry Dragon Ball very pretty, and I did parade it around my office showing everyone what I was about to drink!
Steep 1: I don’t know what it looks like, but I can say it TASTES utterly delicious! Smooth and so SWEET!!! Kind of buttery and kind of …tea and Pastry keeps coming to mind. No bitterness at all. I can’t get over how naturally sweet :) I didn’t put the ball into a tea filter bag because I thought it would be too constraining, and I don’t have a strainer at work, but the little bit of leaves that are in my cup are not bothersome at all and have not affected the taste.
Steep 2 (3min): A bit darker of a brew, but again not at all bitter. I don’t know – I think I taste tea with a buttery sweet pastry with a little cinnamon in it. A little floral on the tail end. It’s amazing!!!! I’m not sure what kind of oolong this is compared to Oriental Beauty, but it reminds me of a slightly spicy darker version of the Oriental Beauty I had at Radiance. That sweetness!!!
Steep 3 (4 min): Still phenomenal! Pretty much the same as the 2nd steep.
I’m going to keep on steepin’ on, (the whole office is ordering Chinese today and this will go great with my Wonton Soup and Black Bean Chicken!) and will edit this post in the afternoon :)
This tea is EXCEPTIONAL!!! I WANT MORE DRAGON BALLS!!!
(did I just say that!?!?!)
EDIT: SIX amazing, delicious infusions. This tea is wonderful to sip, and wonderful with food. I HAVE to order some soon. Doulton, how many dragon balls do you get when you get 1/4 lb? I can’t picture and want to make sure I order enough.
The fortune in my fortune cookie: An optimist is the human personification of spring.
Instead of buying the whole Golden Moon Sampler for $20, I purchased only those teas that I was interested in and saved $11. This was one of those teas. I love vanilla and I love jasmine, so I’d be telling a lie if I said I wasn’t excited about this one.
The smell is intensely vanilla. It’s an intensely creamy vanilla smell, like vanilla bean ice cream or the vanilla extract I use when baking cakes to decorate. The jasmine is there, but only slightly. It is tantalizing my nostrils.
This is wonderful! For a black tea, it is surprisingly light. I should mention that I’m drinking this after it has cooled down significantly; I was making some iced tea for my mother and forgot that this was waiting for me on the table. I actually don’t taste a whole lot of tea in here – it’s mainly just that extremely creamy vanilla with some jasmine on the tail end. There isn’t a whole lot to say about this. It is a very simple tea. Simple, but high quality and soothing.
I’m just finishing up the infusion of 3 of these balls or PEARLS and am REALLY excited to try this!!!!
At first I could smell – ever-so-slightly – something that smelled fruity but like cocoa. This completely intrigued me!
While infusing…it smells a little like cocoa…but very slight. The wet leaves smell like Assam.
The taste is very unique. They mention ‘chocolate’ in the description…I would say it would be a dark chocolate because it is really bold and – well – dark. It’s not really sweet. There is a tad of bitterness to it but I am comparing that to a dark chocolate type bitterness.
I can ‘find’ the apple comparison they spoke of. And I can taste a bit of oak or other like woodsy type taste.
This is VERY Malty! Even in the aftertaste.
What a FUN tea! Nifty!!!!
I LOVE this. Wow. wow. wow. wow.
When I heard there was a new Rabbit Hole Tea coming out I was so excited and when I found it what it actually was I went into immediate ‘must have’ mode. Cherries, I love cherries, to me Spring means cherries they might be the most expensive fruit on earth but they are also the most delicious and anything with cherries is an automatic must try for me – cherry crumble being the ultimate winner. So I placed my order and I’ve been checking the post since then and as always The Rabbit Hole delivers (and so quick too! easily the quickest tea delivery by far). I ripped open the beautiful postage to reveal Ruby Zing, I opened it up and …. the smell it’s like sticking your nose straight into a cherry pie it’s got a warmth to the dry scent and the cherries intermingled with the coconut is just amazing it’s literally like having a cherry pie in a packet.
The packet says you can infuse for up to 9 minutes and since I wanted the most from my cherry tea I did just that, but I must say this was a real test of my patience (which is non existent in this case). Finally the time was up and I opened the lid of my mug infuser to reveal the most divine aroma warm cherry pie with little pieces of coconut slivers on top it’s just amazing, it really is magical.
And then the first sip it’s like stuffing a whole lot of fresh ripe cherries into your mouth and gorging down oh it’s heavenly – it tastes so amazingly fresh & real – nothing artificial, no added flavours. If I was told that the cherries were just picked and popped in my cup I’d believe it.
Although this tea is in their ‘zesty’ range the coconut adds a real velvety creaminess to the tea which rounds out the taste nicely. It reminds me of condensed milk – like if you got some beautiful ripe cherries and poured just a little bit of condensed milk on top you’d get something near this taste. It really is lovely and so unique, also since cherries are so expensive and you’d be hard pressed to ever eat a lot at once this is a very nice indulgence.
As always the quality of the tea is beyond comparison – giant coconut slivers, huge cherries, hibiscus flowers (that don’t overwhelm the tea at all) and blueberries and as always with The Rabbit Hole absolutely no dust, no tiny pieces that have been through the wars – it’s the real deal and you can taste the love that’s gone into making it.
My only regret with this tea is that I didn’t bite the bullet and order a larger packet – it’s so good I can see it disappearing very quickly especially since I’m already on my second cup … only three more to go.
Highly recommend this to cherry-lovers everywhere and anyone in the mood for a real Spring-treat.
How about a backlog? The good thing about backlog notes is I can make a post even when I’m not actually having any tea. (No specific reason, just drinking something else at the moment) The bad thing is I don’t really want to write up the ones that I didn’t like, so there’s a certain lack of balance in that document…
My Golden Moon debut and the second one of Auggy’s gift teas I’ve tried! When Auggy told me about what she would like to gift me with, she mentioned that this Lapsang Souchong has a surprisingly sweet flavour for an LS. It reminded me a bit of that sweet phantom note in A. C. Perch’s Lapsang that try as I might, I can’t find again.
The leaves smell very smoky, and the actual tea is smoky too. Quite smoky, in fact I’d say. Smoke is just not the first note I’m finding.
At first there is something way more substantial. Something solid. It’s (work with me here, Steepsterites) a bit like pu-erh, only without the earthyness. Without the cowstableness. I mean, it doesn’t taste like pu-erhs at all, it just sort of creates the same flavour intensity sensations.
Then, after that, YES!!! There it is! Sweetness. That same sort of sweet note that has disappeared from my ACP Lapsang. Smoky smoke is smoky, but underneath it the sweetness lies. I can only describe it as kind of thick. It’s not a specific flavour other than ‘something sweet’, but it tastes like something that would come in globs, not in puffs or powders.
There is also a small note of some kind of leaf-y something. It’s not grassy or fruity or any other word that suggests right-off-plant-ness, nor is it an earthy stored note like pu-erh. It’s in between. Like dried flowers (except it’s not a flowery flavour either) or leaves pressed between the pages of a heavy book
I seem to be using a lot of energy describing what this tea isn’t and very little energy on what it actually is. What it is is very nice indeed. I just wish I could recreate this same sweetness in my ACP lapsang.
All in all, I’m totally getting the whole camel driver vibe here.
I am a big fan of Harney & Sons and I like their Paris and Florence teas. I ordered Boston! I forgot that the tea has cranberry flavors. When I opened the tin I was overwhelmed by an aroma that was not entirely pleasant: i put my finger on it: Paregoric soaked in cherry and stored in a humidor! I was a bit surprised by the intensity of this aroma and after sitting with it for a few minutes, I had to conclude: this is a concoction of paregoric, cherries, and some cigar tobacco.
Steeped, I smell the cranberry quite clearly. And the enticement of the paregoric has gone, taking with it my opium dreams (I was of the generation where mothers used paregoric as a catch-all medicine for their children—indeed I can remember trotting off to the drug store to buy her a bottle of paregoric and a package of Parliament cigarettes all for less than 50 cents).
So aside from being a blast to the past, Boston Tea proves to be a reasonably strong, robust black tea with cranberry aroma and flavor. I cannot pick on on the almond flavor specifically, but I do recommend this tea. After the moments of strangeness, the tea itself offers a generous tea/cranberry experience which is much more authentic than some of the other cranberry flavored teas I’ve sampled before. I think this would be a great tea to serve with a holiday dinner and a good tea to keep in stock. The aftertaste is delightfully cranberry too.
Au fond, my only disappointment is that the paregoric seems to have been a temporary illusion! I could also see mixing this tea 50/50 with Florence to sample the result.
Traveling Tea Box Tea!!!!
This is a pyramid bag and the leaves look very broken. Pleasant bergamot scent :) I used 8 oz of water since Ricky’s note said the recommended 3.7 oz produced a bitter brew. I have to say, I wasn’t expecting much.
The minute the water hit this, it instantly became dark!! I was preparing myself for a STRONG BREW and I got out my half and half and sugar. I steeped for 4 minutes and after adding my milk and sugar it looked more like coffee than tea! Yikes!
Once I took a sip I was so very pleasantly surprised! No bitterness, very nice tea flavor and the bergamot is soft (I wouldn’t want it any other way in the morning – I save the super bergamot ones for afternoon). I am really enjoying it! if you want to have some tea bags around for portability and convenience, this one from Lupicia is excellent!! This company is definitely going on my radar for future orders – they have some EXTREMELY unique teas! ORZO CIOCCOLATA anyone!?!? (ancient barley from Italy which tastes like hazelnut and chocolate – gotta try it!) and being the froofy lady I am, I squealed over the sugar charms – how nice to have for company!!
I decided this may be a good one for resteeping, so I gave it a shot (another 8 oz water and 5 minutes steeping time). It is weaker tea wise but a little more fruity – still very tasty and enjoyable.
I love when my preconceptions are completely and totally wrong :)
In one word, delicious delicious delicious!
I don’t have much time to type, so in short, this reminds me of a mango version of Golden Moon’s Coconut Pouchong. I love it!
Got this free teabag yesterday in the mail along with Lupicia’s newsletter. What a great, summery choice. On to my shopping list this goes!!
After two pretty disappointing tea experiences in one day, it was time to fall back on something I know I love. I have a whole bunch of new teas sitting there waiting to be tried, but oh well! Sometimes you just need a familiar cup.
This is one of the teas I got with my $100 certificate. I bought a lot of teas with it that I wasn’t familiar with or even sure that I’d like, and this was definitely one of them! I’ve never tried anything osmanthus flavored, and descriptions I looked up seemed pretty vague (peachy? floral? vegetal? malty?)—but hey, it’s free tea, I might as well take a chance! Boy, am I happy I did. Osmanthus is a flower, and it’s certainly quite floral, but in a deeper way than some other floral blends (jasmine, rose, etc). It’s a rich, almost juicy taste, and underneath the floral tones is a bright, tasty citrus. I was not expecting that at all, but it’s fabulous! It’s like the love child of jasmine and mandarin orange. The green base is very nice too—not too vegetal, but with some sweet and lingering woodsy flavors.
This has quickly become a staple in my cupboard, and the fact that you can get 4+ good steeps out of it certainly helps. It seems like it would be fantastic iced, but I can never seem to wait long enough to cool it down—I just want to drink it right away whenever I take the leaves out!
Oh Thomas, your presence is getting scarcer yet my love for you grows with every pot…with every sip!!! You are PERFECT for me! I think I am going to put a little plea on Discussions to see if anyone does not love you as much as me- I am willing to trade Jackee Muntz or Caravan for you!!! (I’m serious! If you are reading this and are not so crazy for my darling, yet love Jackee or Caravan, let’s trade!!!
This tea was an amazing experience.
I have to say thank you David of Verdant Tea, as I received this as a sample! Sadly, it was a sample for the art contest (which ended a few months ago), which must have got held up by customs for no reason. But thank you! The tea is fueling my mug decoration for homemade gifts :) I’ll post pictures!
I had numerous steeps with this tea, but didn’t take notes the first time. I will the second time, as the sample was extremely generous!
The flavour notes I remember are that it was a baritone tea, but not a bass. (I’m with you on the music scale, Dinosara). Notes of caramel, super sweetness but in an earthy, grounded way. So complex! My favorite steeps were the ones with a currant/prune note to them, lately I’ve been loving to find hints of raisin in my tea.
Anyways, let the Christmas rush continue around me, I’m driving home in 45 minutes and I still have a heck of a lot to do!
Happy Holidays lovelies, I will have many notes when I return! O:
Let’s just get this out of the way: Auggy is a goddess.
No, seriously. Because I think I’ve finally gotten what all the hullabaloo has been about Japanese greens.
I’m perpetually amazed at how different various permutations of tea can be. Not only through the white – black scale, but from different companies and different preparations. It’s almost frightening. I thought I pretty much knew what gyokuro was about from the Harney & Sons version I had a few weeks ago.
I thought wrong. Completely wrong.
Gyokuro is one of those teas that’s beautiful to look at. I don’t think that photos do it justice. The leaves are silky and a deep blue-green, most thinner than a toothpick. Really gorgeous stuff. The smell coming off them is a sweet, very grassy note, with just a hint of butter.
So I waited… and waited… and waited for the damned water to cool down enough to begin steeping this one. I believe I started the pour at 50 secs, just because I really wanted to make sure that this one didn’t oversteep. It’s that delicate. I also steeped with the lid off, to give the gyokuro some room to breathe. I don’t want to scorch the leaves in ANY way.
I knew immediately while the tea was pouring that this was going to be something special. The smell… oh my gahd. Very grass, but also very, very buttery. Mmmmm. The wet leaves smelled much the same. It’s like a freshly cut grass smell, mixed with melted butter. It smells delicious.
And the taste? Joygasm. Seriously.
I’ve been having a lot of trouble with greens, I think mainly because in general, I tend to dislike green things. I really don’t like vegetables. I hate salads. Beyond artichokes and asparagus, and maybe the occasional piece of broccoli… yeah, they’re not my thing. But this tea… it’s lighter than Harney’s gyokuro, but just as intense and interesting. It’s pretty grassy, but that grassiness is tempered by butter. Rich butter. It’s silky-smooth and delicious and satisfying and REFRESHING. You can taste the award-winningness of this one.
There’s just this general sweetness to the entire cup as well. There’s really no astringency. Towards the end of some sips I sometimes get this almost tart feeling that develops just into a green sweetness. It’s almost similar to the sweetness you find in sugar snap peas (another green thing that I love).
I think Auggy just converted me with one cup of tea. I can’t wait to see what the second steep tastes like, although I probably won’t drink the entire thing, since gyokuro’s caffeine levels are off the charts. But DELICIOUS and NOM. Wow. Taste the quality!
The Second Steep (5 secs, 140 degrees) was pretty tasty, but a bit thinner than the first. The taste was a bit more grassy and a bit less buttery. Hrm. I’ll try to get a third steep out of this, but I doubt I’m going to finish the cup at all. It’ll be just for tasting purposes! NOM, though!
So Steep Three (1:10, 140 degrees) just sort of tasted like grassy umami water. Not that it was bad, but there’s no tea-ness to it. So I dumped the leaves out. I also played around with the wet leaves a bit, and they’re as soft as silk.