New Tasting Notes
From the Round 3 Here’s Hoping TTB
This is okay but it’s not my favorite. The vanilla flavor is good, and the tea has a nice creamy feel but the woodsy rooibos flavor is too strong for my liking. I think I’ll stick with Vanilla Comoro for my nighttime vanilla fix.
This fruit tea is a little odd. Not bad, but weird. For one, it’s strange tasting “cola” in a warm tea, and that’s a little off-putting. I steeped a little too long, so the hibiscus is pretty powerful. I don’t think I would ever have this again by choice, but I wouldn’t refuse to drink it if offered.
Oh, nom, nom, nom….
Stacy, you have ALL the best Taiwanese black teas, what’s up with that????
Oh, little leafhoppers, how I love you. You little bugs, you…. Thanks for making my tea taste so sweet and scrumptious!
This is all malt and honey.
It makes my tastebuds want to party. Some fruit, but not in a PTA kind of way.
It’s creamy and yeasty like sourdough bread.
It’s a little salty and mineral, but maybe that’s coming from my tetsubin pot. I’ve been using it a lot for lately, it’s devoted to black teas only but I’m thinking of using it only for my butiki’s Taiwanese black teas, they taste fabulous in it :-)
I’m so happy I got a decent quantity of this wonderful tea.
Cause I want MORE!!!
Pic of the session:
Last night was just awesome, it was Thursday meaning Board Game Night at Tabletop, and it was certainly one of the better nights I have had there. I played so many good games (will be discussing some of those tomorrow on my weekly Geeky rambling post) and then after gaming just hung around with friends talking until almost 3AM. I feel wretched today and my sleep schedule is all messed up, but it is totally worth it.Today’s tea is Fengqing Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2014 from Teavivre, a Sheng Pu-erh from Alihou Village in Fenging, Yunnan. The leaves were harvested in April-May of 2014 from Large Leaf trees that were 300-600 years old, making this the youngest Pu-Erh I have had the pleasure of meeting. I still have a lot to learn about Sheng Pu-erh, having only had a few examples so far. The aroma of the dry leaf is quite potent and a little pungent, but in a good way. The aroma is at first very sweet, like fresh hay and apricots, this transitions to more of a wet hay mushroom aroma with a strong honey note. There is also a very faint saltiness to it which is quite interesting.
Once I give the leaves a rinsing and then a brief steeping their aroma is still sweet and just a little bit fruity, but it is mostly wet hay, a bit of barnyard, and a sharp almost sour quality that does not really have a familiar aroma note, it is more of a sensation in my nose. I should state that it is not an unpleasant sensation, but it is an unfamiliar one. The liquid is very sweet, a mix of apricots, freshly mown hay, and honey. I was surprised at sweet it smelled.
The taste of the first steep is both sharp and sweet, it causes a very strong salivary response and an intense cooling sensation which is very refreshing. The flavor notes are freshly mown hay, apricot, and a finish of vegetation and a tiny bit of bitterness. There is a sweet honey aftertaste that lingers for a while.
Onto steep two! The aroma is sweet apricot and freshly mown hay, this still might be the sweetest smelling Sheng Pu-Erh that I have ever sniffed, I find that really kinda awesome. The taste this time around is a lot more mellow, no sharpness, no bitterness, no cooling salivary response, just smooth sweetness. The flavors are wet hay, fresh vegetation, and apricots. At the finish there is a tiny bit of camphor, which is something I do not get to say very often.
The aroma for the third steep is honey sweet, apricots, and fresh hay. There is a little touch of wet hay and barnyard this time, but it is very faint. The taste is very sweet and rich, the cooling sensation has returned along with tastes of fresh hay, honey, and apricot. I think this tea still has quite a few steeps in it, but sadly after the second steep I started noticing stomach spasms and knew after steep three that I had to call it quits. This has NOTHING to do with the tea, sometimes my stomach decides to freak out, and I have noticed that it has a mixed track record with Sheng, so don’t let my belly stop you! I really thought this tea was enjoyable, especially with how sweet it is.
Somebody find me this in cupcake form, please. It smells very nice… more like chocolate brewed, and like strawberries dry. There is certainly some espresso as well. The flavour is more on the chocolate side, with hints of berry, and lots of coffee. Tastes like a berry cupcake frosted with chocolate/ espresso. Mmmm….
Flavors: Chocolate, Espresso, Strawberry
This was another iced tea experiment. I had such good luck with the decaf fruit tea from Lupicia that I thought I’d try this iced.
I got this in one of Lupicia’s mystery grab bags. The Sakurambo (both decaf and regular) isn’t my favorite from them. It tastes like a combination of cherry and pine needles. I am rarely in the mood for that, but usually when I start drinking it, I find it grows on me.
This is actually good as an iced tea but I think my preference is having it as a hot tea. It might be better with food because the pine needle flavor is pretty strong!
I have a splitting headache. We were going to go watch one of my favorite local bands in the beer garden, but I hurt so bad I was feeling nauseated. Sweet spouse drove me home, and headed back to the bar. Hah.
So I took a shower to try to relax my neck, which is where this wonderful stress headache is coming from, and it helped a little but not much. So this tea is keeping me company. I’m going to go curl up with my Kindle and maybe read, if my head will let me. The computer screen is not playing nice with my head, though, so I’m giving that up.
I love peach. This is one of the most delicious peach teas – great hot and cold. I got two solid steeps out of it, very peachy both times. The oolong was flavorful too, it was green but not too grassy. The oolong and peach were balanced to me on the first steep, and pretty well balanced the second with the oolong flavor becoming a hair more prominent than the peach. Still delicious.
I received this tea from the Marco Polo TTB, filled with lovely samples from a huge variety of tea companies. This is my first tea from Mahamosa Gourmet Teas. I happen to like rooibos teas especially in the evening when caffeine is a no-no. The rooibos taste is smoothly present without smacking you in the face. The caramel is smooth and creamy. It has a bit of an aftertaste but it isn’t unpleasant. I added a little sweetener but I have the feeling most people wouldn’t need it. Yummy!
Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Rooibos
This tea is such a mystery to me, sometimes it is amazing, sometimes I do something wrong and it is just okay. I don’t ever dislike this tea, I just really like it sometimes more than other times. When I do it right, the chocolate is sweet and the strawberry adds a fresh bite. Other times, the strawberry becomes a little cloying and artificial. I think I need to keep playing with this tea and see if I can better standardize the taste of the brewed tea.
This is beyond a doubt one of the best puerhs I have ever drank. Part of me is angry at Verdant for putting this on sale today. It was on sale for only one hour and I didn’t happen to check my email during that time. Part of me is happy they made the sale so unfair, because I don’t need more tea anyway. Now I won’t rush out to buy more. I do wish I had bought more than an ounce. I will eventually have to buy more. Maybe they will read this and decide a one hour sale is very unfair. One day maybe, but one hour?
That being said I steeped this eight times. First for 10 sec, then 10 sec, 15 sec, 15 sec, 30 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 2 min. I used 5g of leaf in a 140 ml Yixing teapot. It was basically smooth from the start and the fresh leaves had an incredible fruit like aroma. There were some bitter moments too but it was mostly sweet tasting and smooth. I didn’t notice any of the chocolate or dates notes often found in good ripe puerh. I think you need an aged raw puerh for that but this was good. I wish I had bought more than an ounce, but it is expensive.
I was pleasantly surprised with this tea. The liquor was a dusty red after a 4-5 minute steep. It’s a great caffeine free after dinner tea and very relaxing. The taste is very mild. I believe the malty flavour is one of the things that sets it apart from grassy Japanese greens.
Flavors: Dust, Grass, Malt
I really like this tea! I have had far worse Sencha and slightly better Sencha. This falls somewhere in the high middle. I do understand that you can find better Sencha for roughly the same price elsewhere but overall I wouldn’t shy away from this tea…However, you might want to shy away from Teavana if you can. Last tasting notes before I go on a Teavana rant: Medium full body, vegetal, green, nutty. ( I seem to be one of the only ones who tastes any nuttiness in this) Maybe my taste buds are off?
Okay, here was my Teavana experience. I am certainly not mad, but I feel like it is humorous, and I should share.
I arrive and everything seems nice. When I ask to smell the tea, the two employees working literally had a minor argument on who should help me….awkward. One finally rolled her eyes and sludged to get the tea.
After trying to spark up a conversation about the tea it was clear she had little knowledge of tea and was completely unaware that Sencha comes from Japan. Seemed pretty basic to me. I tried to describe the smell of a different green tea and was having some trouble. I asked her what she thought. She said it’s “too hard to explain”.
I left feeling like I got a decent tea but certainly didn’t gain any knowledge which is something I am always looking for when I visit a tea shop.
Flavors: Green, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal
This was one of my favourite teas when i first began with Japanese greens. The roasted rice flavour was excessively addictive and I believe i drank atleast 3 teapots worth a day. Perhaps, that is why the taste does not appeal to me as much as it once did. It now has a strange aftertaste which I cannot put my finger on. I will be giving this tea a break for a while to see if it was just this particular batch from DavidsTea or if it’s just DT’s genmaicha itself. I would still recommend because, if I have grown out of it (which, I think, is really the case) that doesn’t necessarily mean the tea is bad.
Flavors: Grass, Rice, Toasted Rice
I just had a shou epiphany.
A rinse and rest is not enough to stop shou from tasting like I licked the pots at the plant nursery. I did a 10 second rinse, then a rest. Then I tried to brew 10 and 15. That earthy flavor is front and center and I can’t get to the flavors BEHIND it.
Dumped those. Then I brewed another 10 second. Dumped that. THEN I brewed a 10 and 15. NOW there is some actual flavor beyond just something dirty. It’s very sweet and mild. I mean, it’s still a LITTLE dirty. But now there are other flavors, like caramel and dark candies.
I have a long weekend and I’m going to spend at least some of it re-brewing shous I kind of liked, along with those that I didn’t even post b/c I just couldn’t stand them.
I may actually start to like shou. And it’s about damn time!
Tea #3 from the (Mostly) Unflavored TTB
(Note: This is a long review since this is the first puerh I’ve really honestly tried, so I’m rambling quite a bit while I figure it all out. Apologies beforehand.)
So let me start out by saying that I know nothing about puerh (despite reading most everything here on the discussions) other than it’s something that I want to try some day because nearly everyone seems so into it. I’ve had an awful experience with a Chocolate Orange Puerh (DavidsTea I think) and an nearly equally bad experience with a sheng puerh (also DavidsTea come to think about it), but I chalked it up to (then at least) knowing even less than nothing about puerh. Lol! But the experiences have definitely made me rather gun shy about delving into it again.
Months later I’m starting to consider dabbling in it once more (I just got Mandala’s Ripe sampler), because come on, it’s just tea, stop being a coward. And since this box came with a handful of puerh samples, I set them aside for dubious (and slightly almost distrustful if I’m being honest) consideration. Closed my eyes and grabbed one as my next tea and this one came up. Probly not exactly the smartest choice since I couldn’t find anything on how to brew this aside from KiwiDelight’s gaiwan gongfu session. And since I’m being a coward about using the (/hides/) 4 assorted gaiwans I now own (don’t judge. They have the benefit of being pretty. >>;), I just ended up using my brew basket.
So I faked it and kept my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t send me flailing away from ever wanting to try puerh again.
1st steeping – 6g/8oz/30s – (measured on my scale but which was about 3 small-ish chunks) dropped in the basket. I can’t resist saying that the pieces kinda looked kinda like the clods of dried grass I’d pry off my shoes after cutting the grass the day before, back in my younger days when I still had to cut the grass. XD;
Nearly every brewing session/review I’ve read rinses first, so I brought the water to a boil(ish), poured while counting to 5, pulled the basket and eyed the liquid. I didn’t drink it (though I’ve read people doing that just to see), I probably should have just because why not, but I didn’t. Just sniffed it before dumping it out. It smelled earthy and slightly mushroomy and kinda spicy almost. Not at all the fishy smell I was fearing.
So I did a 30s brew on this, pulled the basket and wasn’t too surprised to see that, while there were loose leaves, there was still bigger chunks stuck together. The brew is surprisingly dark (dark clearish amber) and the smell is mushrooms and earth (and if I’m being honest very slightly fishy, but clean and not sour, turn-your-stomach rotten sort of fishy). I have to say that I hesitated big before taking a sip. What if it tasted fishy or rotten or any of the other ‘ugh’ stories about puerh I’ve heard? But I told myself to get it over with coward, and took a sip.
Wow. Earthy and mushroom-y (which is super odd, but at least I like mushrooms, though possibly not as tea) and, after a moment and a second sip, holy cats, chocolate. Dark, kinda bittersweet chocolate. But there none-the-less. Which, despite drinking teas with apparently chocolate notes, I’ve never really been able to figure it out. This note is fleeting and doesn’t really linger, but it’s there for me. It is a bit astringent the longer I sit and sip at it. And my tongue is kinda tingly too. (is that normal or did I find another weird quirk for me?)
2nd steeping – 45s – Wow. I thought the first brew was dark, this one is even darker. Reddish brown instead of amber brown. Same sort of mushroom-y smell. Same sort of taste as the first brew though I’m not really finding that chocolate note in there this time. Just the mushroom and a bit of earth.
3rd steeping – 1min – I think I should’ve tried this first this morning since it just keeps going and I’m getting the urge to want to try something else. But I’ll stick it out. Same smell on this one but taste wise it had an unpleasant metallic tone to it. I actually ended up pouring this one out after a few game sips because I couldn’t get past that taste. Ugh.
4th steeping – 1min 15sec – Last one because I’m pretty tired of drinking this already. Lol! I’m pretty sure it could go for another few rounds still since when I poured the water in, it turned dark almost immediately. Brew has gained a sort of roasted mushroom smell now along with the earth. Metallic taste is gone (or almost, I can kinda taste it lurking in the back) and this is drinkable once more. Huh.
So an interesting experience for this. Good, but interesting. Lol! Definitely a type of tea to start first thing and expect to drink all day, or else set aside for the next day/later. I’m wondering if this tea might be better with multiple short steeps instead of adding time each steeping. I snuck a taste on the 4th steeping at the 30sec mark and it was pretty tasty. Better than I think the end 1min 15sec steeping turned out. Honestly the very first steeping has to be my favorite out of all of these. If I were so inclined, I might try this one again with just straight 30sec steepings the whole way, but I’m not so inclined since this has to go back into the box so the next person to try. Lol! I might (one day) just buy this from puerhshop myself since I guess I can always store it away if I get tired of it, right? Probably the bottom cabinet of my curio cabinet would be best, though I have no idea if that’d be a good place for it honestly.
I came across this sample while I was doing a bit of organizing. My tea drawer is a mess and I need to sip down some of my samples and decide which I want to reorder. I decided to cold steep this all afternoon and while it isn’t bad I find that it leaves me feeling a little meh about it. I love EG in any shape or form, but this one just doesn’t have the flavor Im looking for. When I take a sip all I can taste is the vanilla. I need something just a bit more bold.
I started drinking this yesterday afternoon. It started of with a rich creamy texture, developing into a fruity taste, at least to me. I did a rinse today to freshen the leaves & then drank several more steepings this evening. I’d like to give a much more in depth review, but I’ve been doing desk work this whole time & although I thoroughly enjoyed each steep & am enjoying the good energy, I just don’t really have much else to say.
I’d like to thank Angel & Teavivre for the generous sample, & there is enough that I can drink it again, so I’ll try to be more focused next time :)
Delicious tea tea that will leave you craving more. Buttery, nutty finish that lingers for a while after sipping. Light, but leaves one satisfied with a savory taste. Fantastic aroma and color. Steeps well but tends to leave a fine residue at the bottom of the cup when using a metal filter. This tea is everything I could ever want in a green tea, and more!