New Tasting Notes
Dry leaf: EARTHY, SMOKY, SWEET (noticeable barbecue-like sweetness and spiciness, hay, tobacco, campfire, hints of raisin, cola, black cherry, wildflower honey)
Smell: EARTHY, SMOKY (strong tobacco, hay, black walnut, campfire)
Taste: EARTHY, SMOKY, SWEET, FRUIT (tobacco, stewed tea, hay crispness, barbecue-like smokiness and sweetness, black walnut, dark honey, blackstrap molasses, cola, dark dried fruit – fig, prune, – stewed raisins, autumn leaves, hints of cinnamon, allspice, and clove). This tea has already changed significantly over the year I have owned it. It has gotten noticeably sweeter and more complex, and, frankly, more delicious.
If you are like me, you are met with a barrage of birthdays, anniversaries, Hallmark holidays, and various other things that require gift-giving with not the slightest clue of what to give. Make your life easy and get this tea for that special person on that special day. Or get this tea for yourself on that special day. Or any day. Great tea – great price – gift box included. What more could you want?
Dry leaf: ROAST, NUTTY, FLORAL (chocolately roast, roasted almonds and pecans, green leaves, floral, bittersweet)
Smell: NUTTY, FLORAL (is it fair to say that it smells like an oolong? Just that nice bittersweet green leaf meets nutty roast kind of smell. Some floral – orchid, I guess!)
Taste: NUTTY, VEGETAL, SWEET, FRUITY, FLORAL, EARTHY, and MORE! (roasted walnut and almond, roasted corn, brewed dark tea, wildflower honey, light chocolate, orchid, honeysuckle, autumn leaves, light roast and woodiness, mineral, hint of orange and grapefruit rind, tart raspberries). This is a dense tea – flavors are numerous and develop on the palate and throughout individual steepings.
You know what? I like this tea because it demands respect. Upon first tasting it, you are greeted with roasted nuttiness and some bittersweet notes – nothing to write home about, really. To be honest, it only starts to taste good – really good – when you sit down and give it the attention it deserves. Do that, and you’ll have yourself a rewarding experience.
Finally making a start on these. I’ve three sets of these tins, and they’ve been sitting on top of my wardrobe for…bloody ages, frankly. I vaguely remembered hearing good things about this one, so I pulled it out to try first. It helped that I was looking for a caffeine free tea at the time, and these were closest to hand, otherwise I think they might still be sitting there. I really should make an effort to drink up my oldest teas, though, but it’s silly to say there’ll be no more new tea until I do because I simply KNOW that won’t be the case.
Anyway, the tea. I gave it 4 minutes in boiling water, no additions. Once brewed, it tastes really nicely of cherry with just a hint of chocolate. There’s also a slightly muddled fruity flavour in the background – I was thinking blueberry at one point, and then raspberry. I’d have to try another cup to be more certain about that, since I was half asleep and my memory of the flavour is a little hazy now. The rooibos was sweet and pretty unobtrusive – it’s not really possible to taste it much underneath the flavouring, which is only ever a good thing in my book. No woodiness, though.
I enjoyed this one. It’s a good pre-bedtime cup, and tasty to boot. I should have no trouble working my way through this tin, at least!
This is still my oldest tea, and it’s been kicking around for a good long time now. I took it to work in an effort to finish it off, but it wasn’t getting a whole lot of love brewed hot, so I brought it home again for cold brewing. As I suspected, it’s a lot better cold than it is hot (but it’s not bad hot, so I’m really not sure why this wasn’t finished up ages ago). I used 2 tbsp of leaf in 2 litres of water, and gave it around 12 hours in the fridge overnight.
Cold, the main flavour is apricot and fuzzy peach, mostly natural tasting so I’ve no real complaints. I’ve had better peach/apricot tea, but I’ve also had worse in terms of plastic/generally artificial flavour. The flavouring is clear and unmuddied by other influences, and the white base is pretty much totally unobtrusive. I’d happily drink this one cold again (doubtless I will be in an effort to finally say goodbye), but it wouldn’t be a repurchase simply because I’ve mostly moved on from Adagio and there are definitely better peach/apricot white teas out there. For today, though, this is fine.
Sipdown! I’ve enjoyed this one a lot – it has a great juicy blueberry flavour, and the genmaicha is toasty without being overpowering. I wasn’t sure how blueberry and toasted rice would work together when I first tried this one – it turns out pretty well! I’m sad to see this one depart my cupboard.
a Japanese black :D I’m very excited, I don’t think I’ve ever had one.
Oh wow, this is lovely. the first steep is nice and earthy, with hints of fruits, apricot, apple but also vegetal, with mild astringency, and light cocoa notes.
The second brings a bit of earthy spinach, a small amount of meaty notes, and nice cocoa, with still apricot and apple
Very distinctly spinach now, it’s like the vegetality and the earthiness separated into two different components, everything became really clear in the third steep; theres also a sort of carrotty thing going on, and maybe a sort of radish taste. There’s also sort of orange notes, or tangerine, a bit more astringent now.
Fourth steep is about the same, just a bit creamier and more chocolatey, sweeter, more astringent.
Fifth has more chocolate, and it seems like the clarity developed in the third steep is gone, all the flavours melded together again in a dark chocolatey radishy sweet carrotty .. earthy.. thing
Sixth is developing a bit of vanilla, very chocolatey, very astringent
The seventh tastes almost like bergamot, maybe I’m crazy though cause I had an earl grey for the first time in months yesterday so..
It fades into sweet, fruity, vegetal goodness :) it’s really a lovely black.
Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Bergamot, Carrot, Chocolate, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Grass, Orange, Spinach, Sweet, Vanilla, Vegetal
I’ve tried 7 of EoT’s pu’ers and all of them exhibited a certain flavor profile that I’ve now come to associate with teas aged (clean wet storage?). I picked up medicinal Chinese herbs, leather, and prunes—flavors I try to avoid if I can. It seemed these teas’ unique flavors were suffocated by this “aged” flavor that I do not care for.
I had no desire to drink anymore of these samples and so I put them away for several months. I revisited the 2012 Baotang as well as the 2015 Longlanxu in early May and was met with a pleasant surprise. The Baotang in particular, while still exhibiting those undesirable “aged” flavors, revealed some real finesse—excellent mouthfeel, strong energy (great body-feel), very clean, great longevity and was particularly active in the mouth (cooling/tingling) for quite some time.
I’ve had to rethink this tea after these last few sessions, as the potential of the tea is a lot more obvious now. Perhaps these initial notes will disappear with a different storage environment?
Absolutely delicious, I notice chamomile, sweet mint, dried flowery herbs, maybe something lemony or minty like catnip or lemon balm? Very soothing and not medicinal/yucky at all.
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Herbs, Mint, Pepper, Peppercorn, Sweet
Brewed this hot but I’m drinking it cold. Pineapple is for sure the major player here but banana and apple pop up here and there. Coconut comes through as a light sweetness that floats atop the cup. It’s nice but I don’t know if it makes enough of an impact to make me want to order this one in the future. Good, but not entirely memorable.
I’m not going to remember which of the few samples I ordered and which of the few Teavivre sent along, so thanks for all of them, Teavivre! The leaves of this sheng pu-erh cake are huge – probably because they are wild. I was expecting a tough pu-erh since the leaves are ‘wild’, but the result is nothing of the kind! (Maybe the ancient trees are tougher than the wild anyway.) But I’ve also been sipping many wild black teas lately and also assumed this one might have a bit of the tangy characteristic that wild black teas have. But this pu-erh doesn’t meet anything I was expecting. After a thirty second steep, the flavor is very sweet and syrupy for a raw pu-erh, with a starchy texture somehow. The flavor is like creamy lemon and apricot if you can stretch the imagination a bit. All three steeps somehow manage to maintain that very flavor profile and doesn’t get bitter or oversteeped at all. The third steep is still light and sweet and could probably continue for many steeps past the third. I think I’ve managed to perfect how I like my sheng to brew. Very mellow and perfect for someone just starting out with raw pu-erh, to get an idea of the flavor. I think this is a very nice raw pu-erh, though I would prefer it to have a little something special about the flavor for it to really stand out. But I’m happy with the consistency to the steeps that I rarely see with raw pu-erh, especially if the tea is from wild leaves. I’ll be interested to see how this one ages.
Steep #1 // half sample for a full mug (about 5 grams) // 20 minutes after boiling // rinse // 35 second steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 40 second steep
Steep #3 // 23 min after boiling // 40 second steep
I should really explore white teas more, as I tend to really enjoy them.
This one was a nice, light pre-dinner/post-work cup. Oats are definitely the dominant flavour with a honey sweetness that makes it very similar to an oat bar. Light, velvety floral (violets or similar) notes towards the middle/end.
I love the fine leaves of shinchas, like green, fragrant iron filings. They make a chartreuse colored liquor with a sweet, vegetal fragrance like sweet peas. The flavor is similar, though it’s not just a single note, and it dances back and forth a bit between sweet and something just short of bitter but not enough to be unpleasant, with some marine, seaweed notes and some grassy green ones.
Not my favorite of those I’ve had, but still quite good.
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Marine, Peas, Seaweed
As you open the tea you’re hit with the scent of roasted brown rice, toasted grains and some chocolate as well. Upon infusion the liquor becomes very roast and mineral prominent with some of the cereal like grain notes as well. There is a nice milky mouthfeel that just lingers there for a moment. Six infusions before this wanes with the third infusion my absolute favorite. It’s at that moment it just felt everything great about this rock oolong was present. Beautiful charcoal colored large leaf and golden brown liquor with intensely green wet leaf in the end a reminder of what this was when first plucked. An absolute favorite and well worth the extra ducats.
Exactly 5g, 150ml gaiwan with about 100ml of 190F water and a 30s first, 15s second, 30s third, 45s fourth, 60+ for five and six at 200F and one bonus steep that will sit for an hour at least to enjoy later cold.
The dry leaf:
Wet leaf/ nearing the end:
Made the mistake of brewing the entire 20g at once in my ceramic tea pot. I’m still not half through it and I’ve already had to keep the leaves in the fridge overnight. Luckily it’s a super accessible shou and my SO who doesn’t really drink tea, let alone puerh, has started to ask for a cup or two.
It’s one of those shous that brew up nice and super black. Nice sweet creamy flavor with a really subdued earthiness instead of that strong “dirt” taste that usually throws off people who I’ve shared puerh with. It would be nicer if the melons were half the size since breaking them apart seems to me to be more work than if there was just a small cake, but otherwise this was a lovely drinker. I only wished I had waited until colder weather to try this.
I have continued to purchase this tea for over 5 years. It’s one of the best lapsang souchongs I have ever tasted. I’ve shared it with everyone from family and friends to office mates. It has a deep smoky, bacon aroma and a dark red liquor. The taste is a compliment to its aroma and has a slightly astringent mouth feel. Highly recommended.
I spent most of the weekend outside working, and this tea called to my gaiwan and I to be brewed. I opened up the package to reveal a chaotic assortment of darkened leaves with thick stems. the leaves were incredibly aromatic with a sweet scent of crisp pears, oats, honey, barley, and a smooth graham cracker. This was a unique and enticing aroma. I warmed up my gaiwan and placed a handful inside. The scent deepened to a warm grass base with sweet raisins and light mineral aroma mixture. I sat and enjoyed this array of scents for some time. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing.. The flavor began with a full body. I tasted a nice vegetle base with a smooth spring grass sharpness. A sweet sensation flowed over my palette and progressed into an almost creme tone. This lulling sensation was followed by a light fruitiness and some buttery tones. This brew was quite good, and it was a fully encompassing experience. The brew lightened up in later steeping and moved into the grassier and sharper tones. This tea is quite good, and it would do well for a daily drinker.
Flavors: Graham Cracker, Grass, Honey, Oats, Pear, Roasted Barley, Smooth, Sweat
Dry leaf: SWEET and VEGETAL (sweetcorn, sweet tomato vine, sun-dried tomatoes, stone fruit, melon)
Smell: VEGETAL, GRASSY, SWEET (sweetcorn, edamame, sweet grass, cooked spinach, hints of peach and baking spices)
Taste: VEGETAL, GRASSY, FRUITY, and much MORE! (edamame, corn, spinach, tomato vine, nori, mulched grass, honeysuckle, fresh peach and apricot, cantaloupe and honeydew melon, hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, cherry wood, minerality, brine, vanilla extract, mint leaf, canned pineapple juice). Thick in mouth – flavors are long-lasting and develop considerably from arrival to finish to aftertaste.
This is the perfect tea with which to lie in ambush at work. As someone dunks a green tea bag into their mug, bust some of this stuff out and let its aromas and beautiful green leaves work their magic. Then, casually remark, “Oh – I like green tea too!” At this point, watch their dismay as they behold your radiant green tea wafting of melon and springtime as they take their mug of boiled sawdust back to their desk.
This one took me a minute to wrap my head around . . . as a relatively new tea drinker, there were no obvious flavors that I could put a finger on. However, the complexity of the flavor is what made it enjoyable and intriguing. I found shorter steeps to be better . . . There is a hint of smokiness, it is very warming and almost feels filling due to the rich flavors. Brewed gong fu cha style, I don’t think I steeped it more than 20 seconds at any point. It evolves a lot over multiple infusions. There is quite a bit of savory-sweetness lurking in this tea!
Flavors: Round , Smoke, Spices, Thick
First off.. Thank you to Angel and Teavivre for sending me a generous sample of this tea.
Dragon Well greens have always been a favorite and I thought I’d have a pot while I study. The leaves are gorgeous. Deep forest green. The flavor of the tea is nice. It has a nice thick buttered veggies taste to it.