New Tasting Notes
Tasted in the Autumn of 2016
Method: Gongfucha in a gaiwan with 8 grams of tea to 120 ml of water with a single 10 second rinse.
Initial: The tea is very nice looking with a deep greenish color to the leaves, with a bit of brown in there. Hopefully being in my personal storage for a year and a half will have put some age on it. The compression is very light; in fact, I can easily pull of a chunk with nothing but my bare hands without breaking the leaves. Most of the leaves seem to be whole. The dry smell is very light, but seems floral.
Steep 1 (5 seconds): The Color of the liquor is a clear amber-yellow. The Smell in the cup is fruity, like weak raisins. The taste is a little weak, with a vague sweetness to it, but it has some of that tannic bitterness on the end. No real aftertaste to note other than a slight lingering sweetness.
Steep 2 (5 seconds): The Color has become a little more yellow, so it should show it’s youth a bit more. The smell in the cup has become sweeter; it’s still fruity, but in a more earthy kind of way. There’s thickness to the liquor, but a description for the flavor comes up short. It’s definitely nice, but I can’t put my finger on it. The aftertaste is a bit astringent; it’s only a little, but certainly noticeable.
Steep 3 (10 seconds): I decided to push the tea a little bit by upping the time slightly. The Color doesn’t appear significantly affected, maybe a tad more amber. The smell has definitely changed, it’s more like a mushroom-honey with some fruit thrown in there (in a good way!). Unfortunately the taste didn’t become better with the smell, the thickness has diminished, and the taste has turned a bit watery. There’s still some fruit there, but it’s hidden. The aftertaste is all astringency.
Steep 4 (10 seconds): The Color of this steep is a bit brighter, hopefully that’s a good sign. The smell is elusive, it’s delicate. The taste is far better! It’s like dried pears with a bit of bitterness. The aftertaste has toned down it’s astringency, but you can taste it for several minutes.
Steep 5 (15 seconds): I’m super iffy on adding more time to this tea, but here goes. Color’s a little darker again, but I expected that. The scent has evolved into some kind of grassy-bitter smell, it actually quite nice. The taste is like biting into a slightly bitter pear. It’s juicy, with that youthful twang of bitterness. The astringency in the aftertaste has remained in it’s manageable and lingering phase.
Summation: This is a good tea, especially for the price. In this price range, you can’t beat Scott’s Impressions cakes in terms of taste or quality. I actually seem to remember this tea being much better when it was younger. Im’ hoping that it’s just going through some awkward childhood years. If I had reviewed this a year ago, it would be rated much higher.
This is a queued tasting note.
Hot cup of this Sunday morning; needed the caffeine but still wanted a gentle start to the day. This was a great compromise. I still find it interesting that it’s a pairing of linden leaves and guayusa ‘cause guayusa is supposed to be invigorating and is caffeine rich and then I’ve always been told that linden is good for insomnia, so that seems a bit conflicting?
Mostly this was just the flavour of the linden leaf with some light earth tones. Not a whole lot of lime; kind of just felt a tiny bit like someone has just really lightly squeezed a few drops of lime over the cup of tea? As for the cola, it was also light but not quite as light as I found the lime to be. Meh; made for a relatively decent cup of tea overall. Soothing, at the very leaf. I wish the flavour was a bit bolder but that’s been a constant criticism for me with this blend so at this point I’m just working on accepting that.
This is a queued tasting note.
This was the communal “pitcher” cold brew earlier in the week, and honestly I’m lucky that I even managed to get a glass of it because from the moment I strained the leaf out of it my roommates had descended upon the pitcher like vultures.
And I mean, it was a good cold brew. I really enjoyed the kiwi notes in it; reality hasn’t quite sunk it yet that when I finish this off I’m going to have to hunt for a new kiwi tea. But I don’t think it was nearly as good as they made it out to be. Who’s gonna be the one to break the news to them that it’s been discontinued? ‘Cause I don’t want to do it.
Stupid Trey had to go and ruin half the pitcher as well though; for some God forsaken reason he felt the need to dump spiced rum in with the last half. Spiced rum and kiwi/lemon/green tea? Not a good pairing.
Midas Touch has got to be one of the highest-energied teas I’ve had to date. After I completed my session, I was completely tea drunk. In fact, I was blitzed off my ass and felt high as a kite as I swam a pool in my own sweat. This is the second time a tea has ever done that to me.
Midas Touch starts out very strong, and stays strong through out its session. At first, it almost smells and taste like tire rubber. I think its because its so fresh, but it left an odd odor. As I progressed with this tea, notes of strong sugary sage emerged with warm and woodsy undertones. In fact, it almost resembled a scotch. Besides the flavor, this tea would slap you in the face if you over steeped it, and would bring you to the carped if you brewed it too hot.
Overall, I would say that this tea is NOT for beginners, or tea drinkers who are just starting out. I would also suggest eating something before drinking this tea because it’ll probably make you feel sick if you don’t.
Flavors: Alcohol, Dark Bittersweet, Sage, Thick
Here we go.
I received a sample of Old Warrior on one of my previous samples. Shame – that caused my wallet to suffer the expense of buying more of this tea.
At first, I was really surprised that this tea was from 200, because the quality was superb. For a shou, especially such an old shou, this tea was insanely clean and pure. Hell, even most of the leaf and stem from the material was still intact!
This tea lasted multiple steepings and could withstand various temperatures and steeping times. Overall, this has got to be my (new) favorite aged shou.
Bravo Crimson Lotus!
Flavors: Earth, Sweet, Wood
Old Whitey was something that threw me completely off. I wouldn’t say i’m the biggest fan of white tea, but this one completely blew me away. I first want to say that this tea came off very dense, yet sweet. It had a very smooth and thick body and honey bush, flowers, and honey. The combination of flavors kept making me want to drink more. Although white tea is temperature sensitive, this tea still holds its own if it’s overstepped. Just for kicks, I experimented with steepings and overstepped the jesus out of it, and it still had a very smooth and everlasting flavor.
Flavors: Honey, Orchid, Sugar, Sugarcane, Sweet, Thick
This is a queued tasting note.
This is currently the cold brew I have in the big pitcher in the fridge right now (as opposed to the small mason jar I take to work daily) so it’s fair game for both of the roommates to drink; but neither seem to like it much so I’m enjoying having a pitcher all to myself for the first time in a while.
Had this one with breakfast a few days ago ’cause I got up for work early enough to actually eat something before making my mad dash to the bus stop. Simple breakfast though; toast with a red currant and port jelly. It really complimented the citrus/creamy orange in the blend but then also brought out the currant notes in the blend that sometimes feel lost under the creamy orange notes. Really good, and smooth; and an invigorating breakfast to be perfectly honest.
You know, not that repeating songs if a BAD thing but it gets to a point where I’m not sure if I’ve shared a song on Steepster before. And I sort of don’t want to repeat songs? For some silly arbitrary reason…
This is such a clean sheng, especially given it’s age. This is a great way to try an aged tea, especially for newer puer drinkers. It had a sweet honey body with light hay undertones. I like this tea because it doesn’t have too much energy and it was easy to relax by. However, this tea is temperature sensitive and can easily taste sour if it’s brewed too hot. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy this tea :)
Flavors: Hay, Honey, Sweet
Started my morning off with this one before I broke into my cuppings for the day…
This is such a smooth cold brew; the sweet, silky notes of malt and chocolate from the base tea are seductive and relaxing. I feel like I’m eating a really good, high quality dark chocolate bar and it’s melting on the roof of my mouth. Then I’m hit with the bright lychee; it’s so vibrant and just a little floral. While it doesn’t fit with my dark chocolate metaphor perfectly; I suppose it could be a lychee juice I’m washing the chocolate down with? It’s a great example of contrasting flavours coming together to create something brilliant.
So, this is one of those songs I’ve heard on the radio several times and LOVED each time but never known the name of or artist. Well, recently accidentally found it when I was listening to some other City and Colour songs on Youtube and it popped up in the recommendations. I had NO IDEA this was sung by that band; but now that I know it I like it even more. I may be overplaying it a bit right now, though.
This is another exceptional tea from Crimson Lotus.
Emerald Sea was sweet, thick, and powerful. What really surprised me about this tea is that on the first steeping, Emerald Sea showed intense strength the would usually take other teas 5-6 steeps to come out. My only complaint is that in the later steeps, this tea seemed lose all of its power at once and didn’t really phase out. Other than that, I’d recommend this tea to anyone whose a fan of Crimson Lotus, or teas produced in the Jingmai religion.
Flavors: Herbs, Sage, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Thick
Nothing quite like the caffeine crash that comes after drinking nine different Western cups of green tea for class…
Yup; that was my early afternoon today: this is my last class/term/module
whatever you want to call it before I have to take the exam to get certified, and it’s all about tea types. This week was specifically centered around Japan (and Vietnam to a small degree) and that meant A LOT of green tea. Boo; fuck that. Green tea is my least favourite type. So, nine cups in about two hours. I felt pretty buzzed after I finished them, but now I’m crashing HARD. Regardless, I figured I shouldn’t have anything else caffeinated for the rest of the night so now I’m having a mug of this one.
Pro tip: if you want the liquor to actually like beautiful and purple and breath taking don’t drink it in a grey mug – pick something glass. ’Cause now it just looks like a disappointing, muddled mess. It still tastes really good though; very strong on the basil notes but with a softening floral sweetness to the undertone.
Kind of one of those word association pairings, to be perfectly honest.
I got a sample of this tea and it was gone in 4 days. I ended up buying a cake. This tea has amazing energy, a full and sweet body, and a long range of tasting notes. It left a long and lasting sweetness in the mouth that seemed to linger for a great amount of time. It’s complex, but still accesssable enough for any level of expert tea drinker to enjoy.
Out of Paul’s 2016 Spring pressings, this is my absolute favorite.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Green, Sugar, Sweet
Last 52Teas blend to try out from the last order…
So, first time trying this one is cold brewed which I knew was maybe not the BEST approach given the Houjicha base; but I really like cold brewed/iced melon teas so I took the gamble.
To be perfectly honest; I didn’t like it. Cold brewing this one really brought out the base; and teas that a super intensely roasty like this one just don’t go over the best cold. A flavour profile like that is really just meant to be warm and comforting; like a giant hug or spooning on the couch while you watch your favourite guilty pleasure TV show. However, that wasn’t the thing that really made me go “Yeah, this doesn’t work for me” ’cause that issue of the roasty notes not translating well to the prep type could easily be fixed just by making this hot next time.
What really through me off was that the watermelon notes in the blend were quite strong too; but they didn’t suit the base at all. It kind of tasted like someone had just burned a watermelon really badly. All of the juicyness of the fruit just felt… spoiled. I have to wholeheartedly agree with Anne’s own statement that “the … Houjicha may not seem like a natural pairing with the … watermelon”. It doesn’t work for me; and that’s sad ’cause I LOVE Houjicha, and 52Teas flavoured ones in particular.
Can’t love ’em all though.
I’m working my way through various samples from White2Tea. After having multiple sessions with this tea, 7 can honestly say I’m not a fan. This tea has body charactics of Menghai material, which I’m typically a fan of. However, although this tea has nice energy, the exucution of flavor doesn’t do it for me.
My only issue is that this tea’s tastes ‘airy’. Like, the flavor is thick and everything but it tastes like the backbone of this tea’s body went missing. Even on different temperatures and steeping times, something was still missing.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Hay, Herbs, Pleasantly Sour, Sage
I attempted to make a tea smoothie with this tea today and I got all excited, measured everything out, steeped the tea, threw it all in the blender and…nothing. The blender at my sister’s place is apparently broken. Something I had not known when I started this endeavor. Alas, with it all just sitting there and being sad, I had to toss it. I did try a sip of the milk, tea, pudding, frozen fruit mix but without actually blending it together, it made for a very weird and lumpy drink.
Yet another tea and music pairing a la Roswell Strange.
Today’s song is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX5f0NcqlMs
It is a very sexy song. That’s a weird description, I think but you’d get it if you listen to it. That sort of sexy romanticism of the deep yet smooth voice picks up the sleek floral quality of the oolong base while also capturing the bit of smoke the base provides as well. Meanwhile the warmth of the song coupled with the voice reflects the cinnamon richness of the tea. Both the song and the tea have a nice honey-like top note to really round them out.
I don’t have much more to say about this except both the tea and the song were completely new to me and surprisingly pleasant. I am not a lover of oolong and the song had an intro that had me questioning what was to come but I was definitely happy with both. Plus, they compliment each other nicely. Another successful pairing by my awesome tea twin. Thank you RS!!