New Tasting Notes
I’m shocked to find a tea containing hibiscus that I don’t immeidatley dislike! This is a first for me folks. In the past, I’ve enjoyed the tantalizing aromas of other teas with ingredients in addition to hibiscus, only to find the flavour completely ruined by the hibiscus for me. In general, I’ve avoided any teas with hibiscus listed as an ingredient because of this. Suffice to say, I have a bit of a hibiscus bias.
I got this as a sample from a recent DAVIDs order and when looking through the ingredients had that disheartening quickening seeing the dreaded “H word”. It smells amazing though so I decided I’d give it a chance.
It has a decadent dessert aroma. When I took my first sip there was the sweet and creamy flavours of cream, vanilla, chocolate which is nicely balanced with the tartness of raspberries. It’s very pleasant. Maybe there’s less hibiscus in it, or maybe it’s just nicely hidden behind the raspberries. I enjoyed every sip.
Flavors: Chocolate, Creamy, Raspberry, Vanilla
Shamefully, I am just now getting around to this tea from last year’s Japanese tea box organized and shipped by Liquid Proust. I know senchas are best enjoyed fresh but this is quite tasty even a year later. I will say that there’s no notable cherry/cherry blossom flavor at this point. Sencha’s trademark grassiness is definitely here though. I got four solid steeps out of this leaf. I saved the used leaves to mix with some soy sauce and eat over rice later. I have only tried that before with gyokuru but I have high hopes for it with this sencha.
I wanted to fancy up the experience so I made myself a little snack tray to go with the tea: https:[email protected]/27303333216/ Clockwise from top left: seedless green grapes, rose-flavored Turkish delight from Turkey, strawberries drizzled with vanilla agave, Japanese mini Milanos, Rainier cherries, and Frango dark chocolates. To avoid messing up my palate for tasting-note purposes, I drank one cup of each steep, followed by a snack, followed by the second cup of that steep, and ended with a few sips of water to clear my palate. I found that the fresh fruit complemented the springiness of the tea better than the cookies and candy did.
First steep: 160f for 2 minutes. The brew is thick and grassy with a hint of sweetness. I regret not using a kyusu because small bits of leaf did make it into the cup. Thankfully, the impact was mostly visual – the leaf settled at the bottom of the cup and did not impact the taste or texture of the brew.
Second steep: 175f for 20 seconds. I was surprised that the first flavor to hit me was a slight bitterness. The grassy flavor didn’t really come in until the aftertaste. It’s not quite fresh-cut grass; more like grass in springtime the day after it has been cut. There’s a nice thick mouthfeel to this steep.
Third steep: 175f for 45 seconds. This might be my favorite steep. Thick mouthfeel, smooth flavor throughout, mellow grassy flavor, and no astringency or bitterness whatsoever.
Fourth steep: 180f for 60 seconds. This steep is about the same as the third, which is to say quite lovely. The brew is slightly thinner but the flavor is the same.
Thanks Liquid Proust!
Possible spoilers for Liquid Proust Mystery Group Buy ahead
Today I tried the tea labeled #2 from LP’s Mystery Group buy. It was pretty good as far as shou is concerned. I’m finding that I can enjoy ripe puerh, but I sort of have to force myself to drink it, so I think I’ll be focusing more on sheng, oolong, and other stuff as I continue on my tea journey.
Anywho, this one had a slight wet aroma, but nothing bad. The leaves were quite small, appeared to be like gongting grade to my inexperienced eye. A such, the tea got going quickly and died out pretty quickly as well. I did two brief rinses (probably would have been ok with one), then steeps of 10s, 7s, 10s, 15s, 25s, 45s, 60s, 3m(ish). Taste was sweet and woody. Got a small sourish notes in the first couple steeps, followed with a sweet, slightly chocolatey aftertaste which stayed in my mouth. First 4 steeps were that nice jet-black shou color, and lightened up along with the flavor, and more notably the texture, from then. Last steeps were still good, just less thickness and sweetness, more of a clean woody taste.
Not sure which of the three this might be. Like I said previously, I think that #1 is the fake 2015 cake, because it just tasted so wet to me. Right now I’m going to say this was the 2010 GNWL, because #3 had a bit more of an aged, camphor thing going on. Thankfully I have enough to do another session with both #3 and #2, so maybe I’ll get a bit of a better idea.
Flavors: Chocolate, Creamy, Sweet, Wood
I might rate this higher, but I really like it hot. Like REALLY like it. Flavored Baozhongs are meant for me then.
What I said remains true. A good light and clean baozhong with a great dry leaf smell of sugar and watermelon, and a floral liquor with the same after tastes. Definitely recommend it as something unique, and for you to try.
Tea coma in progress, tasting notes/update later…
The chunks o’ love:
The session o’ love:
Update: This is very much what you’d expect in a young sheng in the fact it’s all about tobacco, leather and semi sweet apricot nectar that gets sweeter and more about the nectar and even a bit floral as it goes on. That being said what does set it apart is the way it hits you after a few infusions. This is the epitome of good feeling Puer. I’d be interested in how it would develop in the years to come but given I only bought a 25g sample size of this one I doubt it will last that long.
10.2g of gorgeous looking chunk in a 220ml Ben Shan Lv Ni with a quick wake up at 190F, then a few 10-30s infusions at 200F and climbing from there. This is already at steep number six and I see at least five or six more before it wanes.
Over a dozen infusions later:
No notes yet. Add one?
Breaking into a sample of this today.
Leaf seems to be very nice with hints of a drier storage aroma.
I got 9.8 grams out for brewing in the gaiwan. Water was heated to 208f to start with. I heated the gaiwan and tossed the dry leaf in and shook it around. Opening the lid the aroma gives a bit of mineral and damp hay in there. Rinsing the leaf for about 5 seconds the aroma goes to a honey sweet hay type of aroma. Brewing the first cup, it doesn’t come across as a heavy type of brew. Semi-sweet and a bit of oily viscosity.
Second brew after letting the leaf absorb a touch are quite stronger. The tea starts to push the bitterness that Bu Lang is known for. The viscosity comes up as well. It hits the tip and side of the tongue well. Some tobacco is in there as well. Sitting back the tingle lasts a bit.
Successive brewing awakes it well. The wet leaf exudes the aroma so well.
Steeps 3 to 5 The activity moves back more in the mouth and throat. The sweetness after the sips will play in there as well. There is just a hint on my palate of smoke in there. This isn’t as astringent as some of the younger teas I have had but it packs a punch under all that sweet aroma the wet leaf gives off. For fans of Bu Lang and Mang Fei this will be right up your alley.
Flavors: Bitter, Hay, Honey, Mineral, Thick, Tobacco
Nuanced flavor. Very subtle. Wet and watery tasting. Very neutral, but not bad. This tea makes me think that I like teas that are richer in flavor. Very obviously steamed during processing.
Second brew is more mellow, but very similar.
Very hard to have more than 1 cups worth. It does not draw me in and bring me back for more.
Tonight I’m trying another herbal tea from The Clipper Ship Tea Company, peppermint tea. While this is quite good, it tastes a bit like spearmint to me. I know that is a subtle difference but that is what it tastes more like. Has a nice fresh taste though.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 4 tsp leaf and boiling water for 8 min.
Had a sample of this Oollo tea from the Vancouver Tea Festival that I brewed up today. It has a really nice earthy aroma to it, and a very clean and crisp flavour. It’s aptly named as the liquor is a lovely reddish hue. Although I’m usually more partial to flavoured black teas, this was quite pleasant without any added ingredients. I didn’t detect the cinnamon, date or peppermint flourishes myself, but they are listed in the description for the tea. Quite a nice way to appreciate the elegant flavour profile of a black tea without the complicating added ingredients I’m used to. I think I have a new respect for it.
Flavors: Earth, Malt
Just tried this one with 190 degree water instead of 180, and it had a bit of a thicker and creamier mouthfeel. It was consistently sweet throughout the session. Maybe I’ll try with 200 degree and then boiling (maybe 205 too, but I’m not sure how much of a difference that would be from 200) since I have a good amount of this.
Same cake owned by DigniTea from ChaWangShop, and reviewed by Hobbes as follows
Anyone who knows both the above fellows, I’d be intensely curious to see what the difference is in all the storage conditions this cake is available from – not that this is likely to occur.
The posting at Puerhshop notes that this cake takes a while to get going. I had incorrectly presumed this meant due to tight compression, or reticent leaf. It was thus to my surprise that the first few steeps were incredibly earthy, fairly bitter, and not terribly enjoyable.
If you push through that, however, you are rewarded with a very enjoyable brew, closer to the light and sweet Yiwu taste but punchy enough to keep it interesting. I suspect ChawangShop’s storage would be wetter, and minimize the early unpleasantness – bit at this writing Puerhshop is half the price, so it’s a value proposition everyone has to consider for themselves.The material does not lead me to suspect the claims of ancient tree are necessarily above board – but at $50 per ten-year-old cake, did anyone really expect them to be?
Before I begin this review, allow me to state that I am not particularly familiar with Nilgiri teas. For the most part, my Indian tea adventure has been limited to Assam and Darjeeling teas, both of which I quite enjoy. With the abundance of teas from these two areas on the market, I never got around to spending much time with teas from the south of India.
After infusion, the resulting liquid is a pale golden amber. Very mild aromas of toast, malt, honey, wood, menthol, and flowers are just barely detectable on the nose. In the mouth, I was able to immediately detect notes of menthol, wood, toast, malt, honey, flowers, and grape skin. The finish was fleeting, initially allowing only the subtlest traces of honey, malt, menthol, and wood to show, though I did pick up interesting tulsi, papaya, and mango notes at the end.
I wasn’t exactly blown away by this tea, but I also wasn’t horribly disappointed by it either. I really just tried it for the sake of trying something new. I did, however, appreciate the subtle complexity of the flavor and the smoothness of the body. This is a very approachable and unique tea, but surprisingly for a black tea, it is all about subtlety. I normally prefer my black teas to be robustly flavorful, filling, and lively, but this one is not anything like that. As a matter of fact, this is by far the lightest, most delicate black tea I have ever tried. Given my preferences, I probably will not reach for this one again, but I would encourage those who are open to new drinking experiences to give this one a shot simply because it is so unique.
Flavors: Floral, Grapes, Honey, Malt, Mango, Menthol, Toast, Tulsi, Wood
Did not enjoy. Flat and old tasting. Bitter despite lower temperatures and brew times.
Second steep was much less bitter. However, but still flat and very old tasting. Third steep had no bitterness, but started having hints of mildew.
Flavors: Bitter, Dry Grass
Drinking a tea that was a free sample from The Clipper Ship Tea Company, a flavored rooibos called Citrus Rose. The ingredients for this are rooibos, grapefruit, pineapple, papaya, mango, lemon, rose buds, and rosehips. It’s got a strong savory note from the rooibos and an almost as strong sweet note from the fruits. The fruit flavors in this one are fairly well mixed. I can’t pick out any of them individually. It is pretty good and I might consider buying at some point. If any Steepsterites are on Long Island, Clipper Ship Tea Company is an excellent tea store. They have a large variety of tea and teaware. Nearly all their teaware though is aimed at Western brewing. I didn’t notice any small pots or gaiwans there today although I have seen some small ones there in the past. I guess most of their customers Western brew their tea. They do have really nice teawares. I would photograph them for my Instagram account but they have a no photography policy. I think letting people take pictures and post them online would actually boost their business but that’s not the opinion of the owner. The owner of the store is also not a part of Steepster. There has been a rumor they will soon have a website for at least a year now but it hasn’t happened yet. If you live anywhere near Northport Long Island it is worth a trip. They sell over 200 teas.
Drank this at work on Friday and it was quite beautiful looking. Looks like a Darjeeling tea with silver hairs all over it. The brew came out nice and dark for the first infusion. This is a solid tea that like Oriental Beauty drops off in strength over a year or two of settling; and this is how I like them both, smoother as time rounds those sharp notes off and leaves behind a softer taste.
I am definitely a fan of Lala region teas smile emoticon The initial wet leaf aroma is incredibly rich and fruity. I wanted to leave my face buried in the gaiwan. I did brief steeps with boiling water. Light nectar-like flavors emerged alongside subtle fruitiness. As I steeped the tea more and more the fruity and floral qualities developed fully and very satisfyingly. I enjoyed this tea from start to finish and thought the leaf material was also very beautiful. Happy tasty tea!
This is the iced tea that accompanied on my outing today. It is very sweet but also really juicy and definitely delivers on both the mango and fruit punch. It definitely borders on cloying and I can see how if someone isn’t in the mood for sweet this would be over the top, especially as the sweet builds as you drink but today it was refreshing in the humidity.
Today I’m drinking matcha just purchased from the Clipper Ship Tea Company. It’s their second highest grade of matcha and it was $30 for 30g. So it was not overpriced as matcha goes. It has a bit of a floral taste to it and is mildly sweet. It’s got that note common to matcha that I don’t know how to describe, a fresh, green kind of note. There is very little bitterness. Matcha is something I do not drink often. For this one I bought a matcha strainer they were selling for $12. I had been told by an expert that you should strain your matcha to make it finer first. It didn’t come out very frothy when I whipped it up. I don’t seem to have the technique with the whisk down. It does taste good though. If I were going to rate this tea it would probably get an 80 or so but if I rate this tea, every tea I have rated with this link will get that rating too, and I have rated a few bad ones with this link. This is a good tea.