New Tasting Notes
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Flavors: Citrus, Citrus Zest, Flowers, Hibiscus, Orange, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Rose
Rather sad to be finishing this one off! I must say, it really grew on me, and I ended up looking forward to drink it every day at work. I love the balance of robust flavour that this tes has. Like dance partners intricately locked in a tight yet perfectly executed three-way tango. ( /creativity)
The most prominent two favours are the sweet and creamy coconut and the earthy oolong base. Then comes the pineapple as a very subtle yet perfect finishing touch that adds just the right amount of tang. It’s rare, in my opinion, that a tea is blended with such balance, where there is the right amount of each ingredient without any of them overpowering the others. I really enjoyed this one, and I hope to get my hands on it again I the future.
Finishing this one off hot tonight while I watch a movie with the boyfriend…
I’ve just noticed, but a lot of the teas in Tea Forte’s Herbal Retreat sampler are alcohol themed, aren’t they? Like, four out of five. What’s up with that?
Anyway; this actually does taste a little better hot than it did cold brewed. I think that’s because I was able to control the brew time a little better and I strained out the leaf before this could get too sour/tart. That said, it is still a very tart drink with these under ripe blueberry notes that really pop and not necessarily in the nicest way. Also, as a hot brew, the flavour of the sage is actually very present and I think I’m liking the pairing a little less the second time around.
So; to conclude… Aspects of this are definitely negative, but it is a little better overall. Not by a whole lot, though.
I wasn’t sure how much I would like the hot latte I made so I decided to go with an iced latte I knew I would like…hence this tea. Not much new to say about it since this iced latte has stayed consistent with the last. What I will say is that my final tea count is 147 now that my new teas from Sil have been added. Thanks again :)
Today is a day of pros and cons, the big pro is I have finally found a curio cabinet! For a whopping $30, beautiful combination of chestnut wood and a light…however, it is missing shelves. I thought it would be a piece of cake to get pieces of wood cut to size at the hardware store. I found the wood I liked and they wouldn’t cut it, turns out cutting along the length of the board is not something the local harware store was interested in doing. So now the quest goes on to find shelf inserts in a price that is within my budget, so far my quest has been not spectacular, but I have high hopes. Soon my cups (and other teapots and such) will have a protected and easy to access home.
The tea I am looking at today is from Totem Tea, their Amber Forest, which has a wonderfully evocative name, like a forest in autumn with dappled sunlight making the woods glow like amber. It is a Jin Xuan (and it is well known my love of this cultivar) but instead of its usual green glory, it is roasted over longan charcoal. I love LOVE roasted oolongs, and Jin Xuan is one that I only rarely get to indulge in. The aroma of the dry leaves is wonderfully nutty, strong notes of toasted sesame and sweet chestnut with a creamy Jin Xuan notes that are familiar. What really pushes this tea over the edge are notes of pistachio, mochi (with a bit of red bean paste too) and cashew butter, those pistachio notes are killer, seriously, nutty notes are one of my favorite aspects of roasted oolongs.
Gaiwan time! The aroma of the soggy leaves is super nutty, lots of cashew, chestnut, pistachios, and of course toasted sesame seeds. It is very sweet, and very autumnal, I might be sniffing this at the wrong time of year, but I am ok with that. The liquid for the first steep is immensely sweet, notes of honey drenched cashews and pistachios with a tiny bit of buttery toast.
Oh wow, the first steep is so sweet and wonderfully nutty! I feel like this is a tea that someone who really likes eating nuts as a main snack would love…and I do eat a ton of nuts. Notes of sesame butter, cashews, honey, and autumn leaf pile are all tangled together with a wonderful creamy quality that was present both in mouthfeel and in taste. It borders on buttery for the beginning, this is a tea I could crave on cold days.
The second steep starts to really bring out the toasted notes, not longer just notes of nuts, now there are notes of gentle char and a touch of toasted grains. It is rich and still quite sweet in the nose. Like the first steep this one starts out wonderfully creamy and nutty, with strong notes of sesame and cashew and an accompaniment of pistachio and chestnut. Alongside the nutty sweet goodness is gentle char and toasted grain heavy bread drizzled in butter, a classic roasted oolong taste that pleases me, the mouthfeel is much creamier on this tea than a lot of other roasted oolongs, probably due to it being Jin Xuan.
The third steep is not much changed from the second, and while there is not much change I can say this, I was able to steep this tea for what seemed like a roasted happy eternity. I was sipping it a night I was unable to sleep, and I can say even though it was hot and I was cranky from the heat, I was in bliss mode because this tea just did not quit. I went through ten steeps before I finally had to call it quits, this tea outlasted me! I love it and must add a large pile of it to my collection, especially for autumn where this tea is going to be guzzled in large quantities.
My first Gyokuro! I tried to do it at least kind of like the “traditional Gyokuro” way I’ve seen in a few places online. First steep used really cool water, probably around 130F for 2 minutes. On this steep, I also used a good deal less water than I normally do (I have an 8 oz kyusu, which I normally fill around halfway to use my 4oz teacup when drinking Japanese greens – I just filled it a bit under halfway on this one). This first steep was kind of outta this world. Super thick, umami vegetal flavors. First time I’ve felt any qi from a non-puerh tea. It was crazy good. After that, I did a steep at 195F for about 12s, as suggested on the bag. That steep was also good – lots of umami and that strong vegetal grassy taste as well, though nowhere near as powerful as the first. After that, I kept the water at 195 and did a few more steeps – I think 20s, 30s, 45s maybe. They all still had some umami which may have started to trend more towards bitterness while still keeping a decently thick texture with a nice and sweet grassy aftertaste. I definitely need to put more Gyokuro on my next Yunomi order – which I’m already working on, having been inspired by this one :)
Flavors: Grass, Umami, Vegetal
A late night tea session.
I expected the floral aromatics but to get an almost cotton candy like scent was a surprise and strangely a pleasant one. Flavor notes are all over the place from the obvious floral and buttery Jin Xuan but then there’s this sugary caramel toffee kettle corn thing happening that moves into mango, pear, even coconut then finally starts to reign back into its milky oolong goodness. Major creamy mouthfeel and some tingling on the lips and tongue I’ve only ever experienced with sheng puerh. I swear these teas from Totem Tea have been really messing with my head and palate but in a good way. Seriously enchanted.
5g, 150ml Jingdezhen, 190F with a 60s first steep, 20s second, 30s third and climbing gradually from there for several intensely aromatic and flavorful infusions.
The golden pouch o’ love:
The dry leaf:
The wet leaf:
The final steeps & leaf:
Sipdown (116 though I just went to Sil’s and as per usual, despite my best efforts, I am pretty sure I left with more than I came so this number is about to go up so thank you, Sil)
Once I got home, my mom asked someone to sit in the kitchen to babysit our dishwasher, which is making some strange sounds, so I said I would. Mostly I agreed to do it because I had to get my 2 milk servings in for the day which meant I would be down here making lattes anyways.
I decided to make one hot latte and one iced. This tea has been sitting in my samples box for a while now so I decided to give it a go and I thought the spices would make for a nice hot latte. Unfortunately my milk frothier got excited and ended up making most of the 8 oz of milk into foam so now I am sipping on 1/2 a cup of super concentrated milk tea while trying to not get my face coated in milk foam. Trying being the operative word here as I am not doing so well.
As for the tea… I used the entire sample I had from Cavocorax (I think!) and pulled out any anise pods I saw just to try and cut down on that particular flavor. Unfortunately I wasn’t super successful since I’m still getting a fair bit of anise in the brew. I’m also getting cloves though which is helping to balance it out/make it more tolerable. With that said, something in the way this came together is coming off a little bit like dirt. Not sure what’s causing it but obviously I am not a fan. I’m wondering though if that is because of how concentrated this is due to the milk issue. So, with that in mind, I won’t rate the tea but I probably won’t seek it out again either. Still, thank you Cavo for the chance to try something new!
Nabbed this one from the first GCTTB when I had it a month or so ago…
I brewed this one up Western style to enjoy whilst having a long soak in the tub. I haven’t yet found a practical way to enjoy Gong Fu whilst having a bubble bath, but rest assured that once I do I’ll be taking advantage of those long soaks to enjoy some Gong Fu brewed Pu’erh.
I was a little surprised by this one; it had a really upfront sticky, fruity sweetness to it and a mouthfeel to match that syrupy quality. I’d say those intense fruity notes really reminded me of both raisins and plums. Apart from that, this had your typical array of earthy, brothy and mineral notes and then a richness in the foreground that I think would best be described as a fudgey, chocolate note and maybe even a little bit of caramel? The caramel was a stronger presence in the aftertaste, where it lingered on the tip of your tongue. About halfway through my mug, I noticed I was also observing a little bit of an sweet and umami quality as well in the top of the sip alongside the raisin/plum. Initial impression was tomato, but looking back on it I’m thinking a bit more of a persimmon. Persimmon is like a tomato, but sweeter/fruitier with a more honeyed taste to it.
So, a very enjoyable as well as interesting and even somewhat unique cuppa.
As a vaguely fruity tea, this is pleasant enough, but as the mango with a side of lime tea that it’s supposed to be, this is rather a disappointment. The mango flavor is weak — even Adagio gives stronger mango than this — and the lime is non-existent. I’ve also tried it iced, and it doesn’t make any of the flavors more prominent. The base is fine, but overall I wouldn’t say this is NMTC’s best effort.
I finally took my taste testing a little more serious these past few days. I weighted out 15g of this tea and split it into 3 piles. Sunday, Monday, and today, I went through a session of this tea.
I find it to be easy to brew: Flash steeps provided a more clear liquid that was sweeter, but longer steeps (10+ seconds) began to darken and have a more deep vegetable taste. The leaf, at this point and age, is not as beautiful as it once was which stinks because the pictures of this from when it was first pressed are WOAH!
This could be a pretty good daily drinker with the ability to steep light or medium on the spectrum of depth or even the balance of sweet or roasted spinach. It’s really as simple as that. I don’t find this tea to be a showcasing one, but it’s certainly one I enjoyed drinking for the last few days which means something as I am probably hitting 100 different shengs this year at this point which means the bars keep going higher and higher and higher. Saying that this was enjoyable is a compliment most teas will no longer see anymore.
Oh the issue of trying so many things… so many become typical and I do not look forward to realizing that more this year.
Teavivre sample 2/5!
The dry leaves here are really pretty, they’re very whole and twisty and they smell kinda weird? like grape and almost like wine..?
This is tasty! grape notes, with a dark floral taste, even a bit of apple, it has this bit of a doughy kind of a thing going on too which is actually awesome, a tad of smoked woody kind of notes,
Well the second steep is a lot different, more like apricot and hops and uh peach? it’s almost like peach uh like brisk? it’s very syrupy, a really thick mouthfeel, also rice notes
The third I did shorter than the second in hopes of maybe it being more like the first, but it isn’t and it’s fine. Apricot and peach, wood, a hint of earth and there’s definitely flowers now with astringency
The fourth brought out more wood and earth than before, cinnamon, vanilla, flowers, apple, apricot
Fifth has like the teeniest bit of cocoa? some vanilla, apricot, flowers, earth, apple, astringency increasing to quite noticeable levels
There’s a lot of flowers in the sixth, with peach and apple
More peach, apple and earthy flowers until a bit of cinnamon pops in
Finally! The long lost grape taste has returned! I mean a tiny bit well actually not that tiny of a bit it’s actually quite grapey around like the tenth steep. I really like grape notes in my tea. But I don’t like flowers so this one isn’t entirely for me, but if you like em then you’ll love this.
Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Cinnamon, Earth, Flowers, Grapes, Hops, Pancake Syrup, Peach, Rice, Vanilla, Wood
Made a pot of this one while just lying back and watching Pride and Prejudice. I sure do love me some Mr. Darcy…
This was pretty good; I think that both the apricot and the amaretto are very clearly present in the cup and the two are a pretty solid pairing as well. The apricot presents at the top of the sip and is sweet, lively and juicy as well as just a little bit peachy. While it tastes somewhat natural, there is a bit of candy like sweetness to it as well. The amaretto isn’t nearly as strong as the apricot but that sweet, marzipan/almond like sweetness makes for a great nutty undertone and refreshing, sweet finish. This does use rooibos, and I did find I could taste it a little in the finish but I didn’t mind it that much either.
Two of my favourite drinks at the moment are Amaretto Sours and Apricot Sours so I bet that you could probably make a pretty good “mocktail” version of the two of those if you just brewed up and then chilled a concentrate of this and just mixed it with a little sweet and sour mix. It’d probably be really lovely.
Anywho, I’d say this is probably my favourite from the herbal sampler thus far!
This is a nice blend of mints, chamomile, and various herbs. I find is soothhing and it tastes very good. I will be drinking this as an every day herbal tea rather than just after meals or when I am sick.
Flavors: Cactus Flowers, Floral, Herbs, Lemongrass, Mint, Peppermint, Root Beer
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Flavors: Camphor, Cedar, Stonefruits, Wood
This is actually a special review for me. I had been in contact with Brenden back and forth recently and we had discussed getting together for tea, being fellow Michigan based tea lovers. This past Sunday, that day came. We met up at a local park and talked and drank tea for a few hours.
This tea was among the teas we took in. Maybe it was the fact that I had the owner of Whispering Pines brewing tea for me while we sat in a park but man… this tea was spot on. Sweet, nutty, clean. Completely delicious.
We ended up getting rained on a bit after finishing this tea. It was pretty awesome. And certainly an honor. So, get this tea. My next order will definitely have this in there.
Thanks again, Brenden. Until next time! Cheers.
Flavors: Green, Nuts, Sweet
From the Beginner’s Pu’erh TTB.
Had a gongfu session with a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the leaf a five second rinse, let it sit for five minutes, and then gave it another five second rinse. Steeping times: 5 seconds, 5, 5, 5, 5, 10, 25, 40, 80; 10 minutes. (whopper of a jump, right?)
Dry leaf aroma: leather, earth.
Heated bowl and wet leaf aromas: sweetness of cocoa. Holy cocoa!
The soup right off the bat is dark red in color and has a creamy texture. It takes the first several infusions for the sourness of fermentation to disappear completely. Traveling in the box may have helped some. There is an underlying sweetness that totally takes over at the fifth infusion, which is clear of fermentation and in appearance. Five to the end taste very much the same, of loam and leather and a bit of chocolate. The aftertaste is very sweet and tastes like Raisinettes.
This shou doesn’t taste or feel rich – it’s a milder one. One could drink this in the summer no problem (regardless of the fact that today was overcast and cooler summer day). Aptly named. I think this is off to a good start for aging. Good beginner shou, too.
Gongfoolery with my tea pet, Winona: https://www.instagram.com/p/BHNMeUbB9bC/