New Tasting Notes
Just got the 2016 spring harvest of this :) The smell is amazingly fresh! I don’t notice anything really different about the taste — but all the long jing I’ve ever had from Teavivre has been fairly fresh, I think, so I wasn’t expecting huge changes. It seems just a little bit floral, but I also steeped it about a minute longer than I meant to, so we’ll see how later cups turn out.
Now this is one WEIRD tea.
First off, this is a wild purple tea, so I know to expect weird things. Second, its a Yue Guang Bai, so I know that this is a tea that matures over even short amounts of time (months). So this review is purely for this tea, as it stands, in late April 2016, about a month after this tea was harvested.
First off, the smell off the dry leaves is COMPLETELY unexpected: beef broth, seasoned prime rib, perhaps some Mediterranean herbs. Fucking weird! Not exactly a turn on, but no way am I turning back. This is at the very least intriguing! The leaves themselves are light, crispy, and range in color from light brown, green, to purple. They are sprawling, spindly leaves dangling off of stems, some 4-leaf and a bud combo, but definitely a big mix. Low density mixture overall.
Due to the low density nature of this tea, I crammed an overflowing amount of the spindly leaves into my gaiwan. A quick rinse with 90*C water converted the meaty aromas into straight up sauteed spinach. Again a big WTF! Where’s the white tea aromas? So far this tea smells like a nice dinner, not really a white tea.
OK, so what about the brew itself? Straight up yue guang bai white tea goodness. Seriously WTF!? All of that fragrance from the leaves and not a bit of it, except for a very faint allusion, ends up in the cup itself. I’m perplexed.
Anyway, this will be a very interesting to watch as it matures over the next months+
Flavors: Floral, Herbs, Meat, Spinach
Oh, huang pian, how you flummox and befuddle me. I huangpianed twice before Fade, the first time on some Jingmai sheng from Chawangshop that tasted ok but was a bit too much with the florals, which often seems to disagree with me, gastrically speaking. Then there was Brown Sugar. Sugar? Not so much. Brown Hydrochloric Acid more like. Now, I like a deep, dark, sweet, motor-oil-like shu as much as the next person, but this stuff was like a footballer doing a slide tackle into my gallbladder, studs up. So when the Fade came I was concerned, but I went ahead and had it anyway because there was 200g of it and the wrapper just looked like it needed opening. Fade. What can I say about Fade? Well, I saved it for my 100th review, so that says something.
I’m a Bosch freak, and yes I taste the Bosch in here in a big way. Funny thing is, everyone kept talking about how tea drunk they got on the stuff, and I’d had it about five times and not once was it anything more to me than a very pleasant Boschy cuppa yummy. As it happens, the arrival of the Fade brick coincided with the arrival of a new 50ml gaiwan from Teaware.house, with which I was immediately enamored and began to use almost exclusively for several weeks. Thing is, a 50ml gaiwan holds about 2g of huang pian, give or take. You see where I’m going with this. So tonight I decided to go big or go home. Well, I am home already, so big. My largest sheng pot, the one I use for aged stuff, is 80ml. The other one is 75ml. I usually brew no more than 4g of anything. So…… I’m teadrunk as shit right now, about 750ml in (that’s about 25 ounces for the metrically impaired) because I brewed up 10g in a 150ml shibo. Like, all at once.
shit damn motherfucker (oops, wrong tea?) This stuff smells so frickin good! Seriously, I would like a small Fade atomizer I can take with me to work, so that when some idiot starts dancing on my last nerve, I can give myself a little spritz and feel right as rain again, and not have to suppress the urge to choke a fool.
I feel like I’ve been writing this review for hours.
I took some photographs. Here’s what 10g of HP looks like, not even steeped out yet:
Here’s my big fatassed shibo with his enforcers from the Empire, staring down my little sheng pots:
Here’s another of Shibozilla eating a 50ml gaiwan as an appetizer while the sheng pots run away yelling “run away!”:
Best part is that my tummy is fine, so far. Or if this tea is eating a hole in my intestines, I sure can’t feel it. Now off I go; I have about another 450ml to brew up before I can say I drank a 40 of Fade and lived to tell about it.
This was my second time with this tea, this time I brewed it western style with one steep of two minutes or so. Seemed to have quite different flavours than when I brewed it n a gaiwan. This time around I tasted more fruity or floral and something that I would call vanilla. Very smooth. Definitely preferred it brewed this way. Drank it straight with no milk.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Vanilla
Another sipdown, although I apparently didn’t have this in my (virtual) cupboard to begin with. I never quite found this tea’s happy place on my own, but the Breville’s standard green settings (175F, three minutes) are just about perfect. This is a mellow, sweet green with some steamed vegetable flavors—probably closest to snap peas. I’m surprised by how much I like it, especially since I’m not a huge fan of unflavored greens. It might even be one I’d buy again!
Flavors: Green, Green Beans, Hay, Peas, Sweet
Yet another sipdown. It feels like all the tea I have at this point is either pounds or tiny little bits. Luckily the tiny little bits are easy to use up!
This one is so good. I’m picky about herbals but I’ll almost always drink this one. It’s like a liquid cinnamon roll, which is pretty much the best idea ever. I can’t help it—I love tea-as-dessert all day, every day. For whatever reason the Breville made this a little weaker than I usually do, but it’s still rich and sweet. I’ll definitely consider buying this one again, but because so many companies have a tea like this (DAVIDsTEA Forever Nuts and Benjamin Tea Roasted Almond come to mind) I may get someone else’s variation.
From dark matter 2016:
Of all the Dark Matter teas I’ve tried so far this has been possibly the most enjoyable and of course it’s the one with only 2 grams, little to now information on it, and no way of buying more. That’s what I get for not sticking with tea bags I guess. This tea smelled a little strange when I opened it like some type of candy (havlah maybe?). Brewed, it smelled a little like toasted sesame oil. There was a noticeable light toasty flavor without the char I’ve been getting in the roasted oolongs I’ve tried recently. It was floral and a little fruity and the end of the sip was a dry creamy flavored finish. I steeped this about 7 or so times with good results then continued to steep very weak steeps after that refusing to let go.
Flavors: Creamy, Toasty
Drinking this on a lazy friday afternoon. I got way tea drunk on this stuff, to the point where my sense of perspective is definitely a little funny. I’m still not the biggest fan of the flavor, but going in with an open mind and letting it air out helped. This time I’m picking up less smoke—it’s more a smoky mineral taste. Reminds me of rocks out in the Mojave, baked by the sun, and how they tend to get that earthy-smoky smell. A little vegetal as well, and not super sweet. Also steeps forever—I’ve actually run out of water in my kettle, and I started with 1.5 liters!
Anyway, I’m feeling pretty good at the moment thanks to this little tea. Nice pairing for a misty afternoon
It smells heavenly – like lemon pound cake, definitely. It tastes sort of more like lemongrass and by the bottom of the cup is a bit sour and green. It’s a nice lemon tea, but the smell makes a promise that the taste just doesn’t deliver. As some others have mentioned, it might be better with sweetened milk, maybe almond milk? I’ll try it to see, but just as a brewed cup, it wasn’t what I thought it would be.
Digging once again into my Dark Matter 2016 stash, this time an exceptional oolong from PT Harendong Green Farm via What-Cha. This dark oolong has everything one could want from sweet fruit and florals, (personally I got slight jasmine), to just the right amount of mineral notes and even more surprising given the heavy oxidation much of its luscious green self still coming through too. There was an almost rye bread meets cocoa aromatic coming off the dry leaf that had me salivating for this from the get go. Absolutely beautiful leaf as it opened up and a golden liquor that seemed to go on forever infusion after infusion. Though What-Cha recommends a more western style longer infusion style of brewing with this tea I chose shorter steep times at around 15s and counting up though at the end I did steep for a few minutes to get the rest of the mineral goodness. I might even let this soak for some hours to get one last enjoyable taste. 6.5g in a 180ml jingdezhen teapot at 190F moving upwards to 200F with later infusions. I loved this tea.
This is my second dragon well from Teavivre. I tried this side by side with their other nonpareil dragon well, She Qian, for comparison. It wasn’t even close. The She Qian, a delicate and sublime green tea, is clearly superior in every regard. The Ming Qian’s leaves have a nutty, chestnut aroma and taste. They aren’t quite as pristine as She Qian nor as tasty. The tea has a basic dragon well flavor and it’s not particularly remarkable. I would describe the flavor as a light vegetable broth. It’s not as sweet nor as refined as the other one. A pretty lackluster tea overall.
Buttery and salty and oolong, but who stole the caramel? I am adding a teaspoon of honey to see if I can coax the caramel back. Yes, yes, better, but still not that sexy dripping luscious caramel of my imagination.
The second steep is super buttery too, maybe even more so than the first. A bit more vegetal with the slightest echo of salt. Delicious.
That said, the name of this tea is a lot to live up to. Perhaps I would be enjoying this tea so much more if my imagination were not as vivid.
Thanks, Sil. I’ve been looking forward to trying this one.
Flavors: Butter, Butterscotch, Salt
Sipdown. I bought an ounce of this and it went pretty fast. While it’s not something I have to have around all the time, I would definitely like to drink it again, so I’ll probably get another package in a few months. I haven’t found the bee pollen flavor from any other company; it tastes quite unique.
I got back from my shift at the school letterpress covered with ink and bruises (fiddling around with stiff old iron machinery), and wanted something comforting. I’m now drinking some mysterious maocha from LiquidProust—used 3.5 grams in a 100ml gaiwan and it’s a very mild, sweet brew. Hints of apricot and a tiny bit of smoke, and a nice sweetness. I’m noticing I really love fruity flavors in my tea—especially raw and ripes. Gonna keep this going and see how it turns out.
First time brewing gyokuro, so I might come back and edit this after a few more passes at this since I have over an ounce to play with, :).
Made it in my gaiwan (open lid) with water temps starting at 125 and ending at about 140 (it was hard to keep measuring) with prewarmed cup and gaiwan, about 90 ml per brew with 5 grams at 2.5 minutes, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, and 3 minutes. Brews a yellower green gold with a strong green tea/seaweed aroma. I wasn’t ready or expecting the first cup which whacked me in the face with the strong seaweed flavor and astringency (will probably cut the first steep down considerably in the future), but the succeeding cups were very smooth and full bodied, with a hearty, savory green tea profile enhanced by a definite additional nuttiness and a surprising hint of fruit that I am going to attribute to the jackseed (I had a piece or two in there). As each steep lessened the green tea taste, the fruitiness increased and I also began to find a definite flavor and smell of vanilla towards the end of each sip, which was a pleasant surprise toward the end.
Don’t have any other gyokuro to compare it to, but on its own, I was quite pleased with my impulse buy.
Flavors: Fruity, Grass, Nuts, Seaweed, Vanilla
sadly the flavour on this one has faded. It’s not nearly as amazing as it was when i first picked it up – so the shelf like on it is probably ideally between 1-9 months. That being said, it’s still delicious but i’d rate this at about a 78 versus the original 90 in terms of intensity of the taste. I’m going to add some to the GCTTB so that others can try it before it totally wanes – just be aware that it’s a shadow of what it once was. I just have too much to be able to finish it all on my own in a fast manner heh.