New Tasting Notes
First Pubertea tasting!
I debated not putting up any thoughts on this session as it was very lackluster, and only decided to describe it here after the last couple steeps. Anyways, here’s my first crack at the aged group buy teas: the 2006 YQH QiXiang.
I steeped roughly 5 g’s in an English tea cup using a mesh basket so this was very dilute compared to normal puer preparation. For this reason the first five or six steeps were basically warm water with zero flavor even after the leaves opened up a bit. Becoming frustrated with wasting part of my sample of such a nice tea I started pushing the steeps hotter and longer trying to get notes of something. I got a few generic aged notes from steeps 6/7-11 or so before finally getting what I wanted. By this point I was to fairly long boiling steeps and finally got to know what the tea was about. Even being so dilute and well steeped this tea became a pleasant surprise. The quality material showed itself in these long, hot steeps. A pleasant mouthfeel and thickness was present coating my teeth and leaving a smooth sweetness. I could see this tea giving a good tea drunk feeling with more leaf in less water as I felt a little of this effect late into the day after 16 or so cups. This could also make the tea more interesting hopefully as from what I tasted this tea had a good texture and lingering feeling in the mouth but a very one dimensional taste.
This is pretty solid for something I picked up on ebay as an afterthought when I was ordering a new gaiwan. I brewed it up in my Jianshui teapot and gave it a couple long-ish rinses to get the compressed chunks to open up – I think that’s the way to go with these Xiaguan tuos. The dry leaf had a pretty signature Xiaguan smoky/tobacco aroma to it, but I didn’t get much of any smoke in the flavor.
I didn’t take particularly detailed notes as I was busy talking to a couple teafriends as I brewed this out. There was a slight floral sweetness and I also got a fruity note that reminded me of apple interestingly enough. I once or twice got a touch of bitterness, but even when I accidentally oversteeped it by a decent amount, it wasn’t at all bad. I’ll definitely want to revisit this and pay a little bit closer attention, but I’m pretty happy with this one after this session.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Leather, Smoke, Tobacco
Thanks to Tea Pet for this lovely blend. No doubt it has lost some flavor in the years that I have been hoarding it. I made the last bit in my Breville for optimum enjoyment. The first steep was mildly flavorful but pleasantly pumpkin spicy with some heft in the base. The flavor grew stronger as the brew cooled – pumpkin, cinnamon, and cream. For the second steep, I added some pumpkin agave syrup from DavidsTea. The result is sweet, creamy, and gently spicy. The earthy base keeps the agave sweetness from being overly cloying. I now see that the brewing instructions recommend a rinse, which I totally didn’t do, so I probably messed this up. Harrumph. Still a nice cuppa!
Saved my one and only sample of this for my birthday today. This reminds me of something else I’ve tried. But this is really good. I taste the banana, and a nice chocolatey background, I like this as a black tea. The more recent banana/chocolate teas have been rooibos, or mate, and I’m not a big fan of those types. So I really think they should bring this one back. It’s really yummy!
Flavors: banana, Chocolate
This tea falls right in the middle of the black tea spectrum. It’s not at the gut-punch strength of a breakfast tea, but it’s a lot more flavorful than the ‘light’ afternoon teas. I think I like it better than the Crimson Ceylon that was my go-to whole-leaf black tea before I tried this one — but unfortunately I don’t have any of that in the house right now so I can’t do a steep-off. Anyway, this is nicely balanced and has a smooth finish. I think I could actually serve this to anyone because it has such a ‘classic tea’ profile — good quality, but nothing fancy or weird that would scare off a novice tea drinker.
You can always count on Twinings. This is a nice tea, lighter and less smoky than other gunpowder teas I have tried, but enough smokiness and sweetness to make for a very enjoyable cup. I steeped it 3 times, and probably could have gone at least once more.
I oversteeped this by a few minutes and it was incredibly bitter. A little sugar fixed it though, and now it’s amazing. This would make a great breakfast tea. It’s very hearty and rich. This is one of those teas that’s designed to be taken with milk, but I didn’t add any and it’s still great. Will definitely get more of this one.
This was my tea smoothie with some raspberry & star anise jam and it was amazingly creamy and so deliciously candy-like. The perfect dessert to end the night. Also, I was in the process of making my smoothie and only then learned we had no milk in the house. What we did have was cream so I use 1/4 cup of cream and topped it off with 3/4 cup of water so that probably made this all the more creamier.
This tea is perfection! I ordered this as my free sample, and I am addicted. It’s so lush. It’s like a well balanced white wine with it’s level of flavors. Peachy, buttery, and like the other two reviewers said, oats and hay are lightly present. Just a lovely cuppa tea! I want more….right meow!
I drank this hot, but after I have rebrewed it (which was just as tasty), I am thinking a cold brew (third brew) will be swell. I am wondering if there’s a tea like this out there with this same flavor. Just don’t want to have this be a special occasion tea! Teavivre, you did well with this one!
Flavors: Butter, Peach, Straw
This tea has quite an aroma. The leaf consists of long light tendrils loosely entwined together in a beautiful mess. I picked up wonderful scents of sweet strawberries, blueberries, apricot, golden sap, and a semi sweet tang in the foundation. A lovely treat for the senses. I warmed my gaiwan up and slipped some inside. The smell expands to crystallized winter honey, ripe apricot, and kumquat. I washed the leaves and prepared for brewing. I regret to inform you that the aromas have enthralled you, but it doesn’t give any more. The brew seems to lead up to a grand finale with its aroma and aesthetic appearance, but it does not deliver the goods when the moment comes to shine. The brew begins raindrop lightly sweet with a slight huigan. The leaves carry a nice body of soft yellow fruits. The background brings up tastes of cedar. The bitterness present will persistently ease in and out along with a companion of astringency. This creates a contrasting palette factor after each sip. Now, to return to my previous point, I am in no way discrediting the tea, but for me it lead up to an empty show. The tea was decent, but it was off-putting or disappointing. The qi was nonexistent. The best I felt was a relaxed buzz. Personally, I drink pu for qi, and this tea did not deliver.
Flavors: Apricot, Blueberry, Cedar, Floral, Stonefruits, Strawberry, Sweet, Winter Honey
Backlog from yesterday! For some reason, I totally forgot to log some of the new teas I tried.
Well, this isn’t actually new, but I have not logged it before so it still counts.
The rooibos comes off very strong, but I like it. There is a lot of sweetness, which is why I like this as a dessert tea in the morning or after dinner. It is fantastic with milk (try it with vanilla soy/almond milk!) but I wouldn’t add sugar to this already sweet blend.
The caramel and cream are quite evident. I do like the vanilla, creamy, and caramelised sugar notes I’m getting. It kinda tastes a little like those small squares of creamy caramel ,which I’ve never liked, but it has a very butterscotch/classic caramel flavour going on.
Flavors: Butterscotch, Caramel, Creamy, Pastries, Rooibos, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vanilla
I was hesitant on the flavoured matcha because I’ve had some gross cheap matcha before and did not enjoy the bitterness of it. Luckily, this matcha has no hint of bitterness. It does have a strong matcha/green tea taste, but the peach is prominent as well. I’ve had it both straight and with milk, but I prefer the matcha lattes. I plan on putting this will vanilla icecream to make a delicious milkshake, it is a really nice dessert matcha.
Flavors: Fruity, Green, Nectar, Peach, Stonefruits, Sugarcane, Sweet
Yet another tea I bought for my secret pumpkin. Of course, I had to buy myself some as well.
This tastes quite like a black tea to me, but more like a fine black tea one would drink out of a fancy teapot (as I did, so maybe I’ve biased myself). It tastes a bit of porcelain, medium strength tannins, and something that’s…fruity? No specific fruit, but there is this sweet note that tastes of cocoa powder and something sweet and fruity. I’m not sure what this is actually, but I like it.
It holds up well to being steeped a few times and has flavour while not being bitter, so overall a really interesting tea. The brews a strong yellow colour (as opposed to the expected amber colour), which I found very interesting. The little rolled leaves unfurl and my 2 tsp of dry leaf took over my entire strainer. This is quite a neat tea.
Flavors: Cocoa, Fruity, Sweet, Tannin, Tea