Featured & New Tasting Notes
I was honored to have a very limited pu-erh shared with me on Monday. I was at Shang Tea and Shang shared a pu-erh with me from one of his friend’s farms. It is called Meng Hai County Pu-erh because of the county it comes from. It is a shu from 2006. Fermented 6 weeks. It was the only pu-erh served in the Olympics Tea House in 2008.
I liked it quite a bit in the store. I told Shang it was pretty much the first pu I’d had that I could honestly say I really did like. I came home with some.
Making it here at home and I could not duplicate the flavor. Not even close. It was much more like what I expect of pu – earthy and musty but not in a way I enjoy. I could drink it but it would never be my choice. So I emailed to find out how it was prepared at the shop that day. Found out that by that point in the day, the pot had been mixed with Golden Needle King! That would explain why I thought it was drinkable. I lumme some Shang Golden Needle.
I didn’t make an entry for this tea as they only have a very limited amount in the store and it is outrageously expensive. If you are in town and interested, stop by the shop and inquire. :) I’d be interested to hear what a real pu-head thinks of this.
From the EU TTB
I’m a bit of a sucker for flavoured teas, so I had to give this one a go. I figured it for a green, but I didn’t realise it was a white/green blend at the time I was drinking it. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.
I have to say, I really like it. There’s a tangy, not-quite-sharp but pretty flavour-accurate lime, with a mildly sweet, deliciously creamy smoothness from the coconut. They’re not strong, in-your-face flavours, but rather light and refreshing. A perfect summer cocktail – only tea! The green base is pretty perfect; it’s mildly grassy, which works really well with the coconut, and fairly unobtrusive unless you’re really looking for it. This one reminds me a little of 52Teas Lime Jello Salad. A very enjoyable cup!
Good morning Steepster. I have been drinking this as my morning tea this week and it’s a decent cuppa, it does have me pining for a really good yunnan black. I would say this is kind of average but it does have a nice malty heft this morning.
I was at Peet’s the other day and saw they are bringing back some of their tinned teas but with a Mighty Leaf label on them. I don’t know if they will relaunch the entire line; I only saw about 10 of them in the store and this wasn’t one.
What are your favorite yunnan blacks? Are there any I need to try? One of my recent favorites came from a hole in the wall shop in Oakland’s Chinatown. I do feel I need to do a significant number of sipdowns before buying a lot of new stuff, but maybe I can afford one or two really good ones ;)
Nothing to say that hasn’t already been said.
I’m still enjoying this tea, & still have quite a bit of it to enjoy!
I can’t quite get motivated to do anything this morning (although I already meditated, did tai chi, went for a 45 minutes walk, and ate breakfast).
I think I’ll make another cup & go take a hot bubble bath.
Yup…that sounds good…
This was my choice tea at Remedy yesterday. I wanted their Chocolate Mint but they were out! The smell of these sachets, though? A heavenly waft of bergamot. I’m so used to EGC that this plays tricks on my mind and makes me expect a creamy note in the taste.
Without any additives, this is smooth and packed with bergamot. Maybe not the strongest bergamot I’ve had, but it’s oh so prevalent. It’s a great option to have when you’re out and about and have a hankering for Earl Grey when then house Earl Greys at places like Second Cup are on the weaker, boring side.
With maple sugar and cream, it’s good but I think I prefer it before I added these gimmicks to them. The bergamot stands very well on its own, plus the base is smooth so no need to calm it down with milk/cream/sugar.
The dry leaf aroma sure smells like blackberries! Oddly enough, the brewed tea has no aroma whatsoever. Thank goodness that doesn’t translate into a flavorless tea! The sip is clean, hay-like white tea with a punch of vanilla and a subtle hint of blackberry. I’m definitely getting more cream than berry in the cup. This is good! It’s not big on flavor but all the expected notes are there. The berry comes out more as it cools. I will enjoy the rest of this one but I don’t think I’ll re-purchase it. I simply have too much tea!
Having a tea the same colours as the Irish flag sounded cool. So I got this tea. The scent is more on the strawberry side, with some coconut. There is a sweet, creamy berry flavour. Not sure what I was expecting, but the tea is more smooth in the second cup.
Goes well with lemon pastries.
Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Strawberry
Due to an very odd and somewhat distressing set of events last night, I did not sleep well at all.
This is a problem, as I have a job interview ish thing today- lunch with a lady who needs a personal assistant. So I want to make a good impression and not be a tired mess. Ugh.
Two things will help! Concealer (the wonder makeup), and tea.
Forget my sipdown attempts today- its all about the classic, beloved teas. May this delicious fruity cup lead me through the day triumphantly.
tea from earlier today. We’ve had a nice lazy-ish sort of day today as our first weekend where we were both in town and for the most part, he wasn’t working. I enjoy this one, but it’s not my favourite assam. it’s a little drying while also feeling very juicy. That being said, i still really love these offerings from JW and they always make for an enjoyable cup to reflect on.
I’ve decided to stop hoarding the leaf for this blend, and just work on sipping it down.
Vanilla bean, vanilla custard, vanilla cake… Vanilla everything!
And on top of that mouth watering vanilla flavor, this cold brew had a lovely soft floral quality, honey notes, and a subtle graham/woody flavour from the rooibos base. This leaf might be somewhat older, but that hasn’t changed the wonderful flavour yet! I’d still like to try more teas with tonka beans in them though; I think they’re the key to this wonderful ‘triple threat’ vanilla flavour – but I can’t be sure if I don’t have something to compare with.
Old leaf; but not spent leaf.
Thank you Boychik for this sample. This is an outstanding raw tea. It is strong and punchy sheng. There was a fair amount of bitterness to the early steeps. I gave this tea fourteen steeps in a 50ml gaiwan. I would say I found bitterness in the first eight steeps. Then the transformation began. There was still a potency to this tea even in the fourteenth steep. It became something quite pleasant but still strong. I suspect that this tea is a good one for aging. Its strong and slightly bitter character makes me feel this. This one has a potent aftertaste to it also. After fourteen steeps I am starting to feel its qi. This is one I would consider buying if WHite2Tea has any left during their Black Friday sale.
I steeped this fourteen times in a 50ml gaiwan with 4g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min and 3 min. I think this tea would have gone 20 steeps and I may save the leaves for tomorrow.
After months of no tea buying, I finally snapped and ordered a ton of teas. Heh, eeek!
But I am optimistic, and wanted to get some of the autumnal flavors in, getting an early start on that, so I grabbed up some beloved fall flavors, and also a few classics.
And, in my cupboard, Paris is a classic. Its fruity, without being a fruit salad, and a seasonless flavor.
I am very happy to have it back in the cupboard! And now, on to yoga.
Been so bad at logging teas lately, though I do have a long list of teas I’ve drank, including snippets of what I thought (in some cases). Maybe I’ll get to them, maybe I won’t. I am managing to drink through quite a bit of tea, though, which is good!
AND I got a new kettle, guys! My ever-wonderful boyfriend bought me a Black&Decker stainless steel variable temp kettle. (I picked that particular one after reading a bunch of kettle reviews). For the price, I’m super happy so far. It likes to beep a lot (when pressing buttons), and LOUDLY, which is annoying, but on the plus side, it beeps when the water is ready! Which is great. The lid doesn’t open as far as I would like, but really, it’s not that big of a deal. And it seems perhaps a touch slower to boil than I would expect, but to be fair, it was probably boiling water straight from the fridge at the time I measured (it took about 8 minutes for a full 1.7L). Anyways, I’m now into the world of variable-temp kettles! Exciting!
Anyhow, drank this prior to heading to the CNE yesterday. It was delicious. That is all.
This is one sweet tea. I get a variety of notes. There is an apricoty feeling to this sheng. Notes of stonefruits too. I broke in my new 50ml gaiwan for this tea so I was able to put it through a lot of steeps. After fourteen steeps I am feeling the effects of this tea. Normally with my larger gaiwans I would stop at eight steeps because I have to watch my caffeine levels. It’s very nice to have such a small gaiwan finally. My other gaiwans were at least 100ml and that is just too big to give a tea 14 steeps in one session. This is a tea I would definitely consider buying more of. I only wish it were a 357g cake instead of a 200g cake. This is one of the best shengs I have ever had.
I steeped this 14 times in a 50ml gaiwan with 3.7g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min and 3 min.
Flavors: Apricot, Stonefruits, Sweet
Thanks Brenden! :D
Very clean shou, no fermentation flavors. Strong notes of caramel, cocoa.. slightly sweet. Didn’t last as long as I was hoping – only got about 8 steeps before the color faded, but still good flavor in the following steeps. Great entry-level shou for those who might be new to puerh. No off-putting flavors, delicious consistency.
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Sweet
Man, this tea is weird. It looks like your typical dark roasted oolong — long, spindly twists of black leaf — and it even kind of smells like it too, with a sweet, strong smell of buckwheat and burnt sugar.
The first taste was of something extremely alkaline on my tongue, like I splashed some sort of industrial chemical on it. On the back and sides of my tongue the taste became more floral, like honeysuckle or lilies, with an aftertaste like rose or osmanthus. The colour of the tea was amber like beer.
Over subsequent steeps I felt that the texture and taste on my tongue was like that of fabric: cotton, denim, linen, thickness covering my tongue. The floral honeysuckle/lily flavour was also there — there was none of the juicy, grassy sweetness that the smell of this tea promised.
Then it hit me. Industrial chemicals? Flowers? Fabric?
It tasted like the tea embodiment of a dryer sheet.
You know, those little wisps of perfumed, polymerized fabric you put into the dryer with freshly washed clothes to make them soft and non-static-cling-y.
What the fuck? I’m mystified, but also kind of horribly fascinated.
This was a tea Christina generously sent to me. I have today off from work so could take my time learning how to brew this one. It’s not my first time having this type of tea and I’ve liked it in the past but find it a bit expensive compared to other teas.
Of course who couldn’t love the dry leaves of this type of tea. So flat & big and they smelled so fresh. I found Teasenz video on how to brew and followed their directions:
Here’s my cup:
Okay, so I brew it in a cup but do I drink it in a cup? Doesn’t the leaves get over steeped? I gather I’m not supposed to drink from the cup since I time it two minutes so I transferred it to a pouring pitcher but it’s a messy business pouring from a cup.
It’s a beautiful light tea with green bean notes. It seems to have a bit of floral edge to it too. I don’t get much chestnut or buttery notes from this tea which is common in many Chinese greens. That makes this tea quite different and special. In the past I considered this tea too expensive but look at how much work goes into making it. I watched this video from Teavivre while drinking this tea:
I can really appreciate now this is a great tea to keep in stock for when I’m in the mood for something different and fancy. Thanks Christina for the sample.
Flavors: Floral, Green Beans
I have played a lot of video games in my life, and I have been driven to fits of rage by many of them. Something that my dear fiance and I share is a tendency to get really ragey at our games, we just show them differently, where he is likely to just yell at a game, I take a page from the RageQuit book and get really imaginative with my vitriol. I bring this up because few games have made me rage as much as Terraria. Seriously, I hate the boss fights, I can have myself kitted up and buffed to the extreme and it never fails, I die at least half a dozen times before I get the ‘trick’ to killing a specific boss. Of course then I proceed to farm it mercilessly, giggling at my godlike power the whole time. Oh man, or that one time when you are mining and accidentally hit the TNT button instead of the pickaxe button and blow yourself up. It. Is. MADDENING! But I also love it because I can be a dark elf with a hoard of spider summons with a pet dinosaur who rides a unicorn while wearing feathery wings, gypsy robes, and a Spartan helmet. Skills.
Today’s tea from What-Cha is a funky little number, Thailand Sticky Rice ‘Khao Hom’ Oolong Tea, hailing from Thailand, this tea takes Jin Xuan and scents it with Nuo Mi Xiang Nen Ye, an herb from China whose leaves smell uncannily like sweet sticky rice. Used quite a bit with Puerh, (if you have ever seen sticky rice Puerh, this is the herb used) and I will be honest, mixed with Shou Pu, I find it utterly repugnant, usually because it is mixed with the really low grade fishy garbage and those are two things I do not want mixed. Ever. So I was really curious to try it in something else, specifically the glory that is Oolong. The aroma of this tea is something else, I advise not sticking your nose into these leaves, sniff from a distance because wow is it strong. Super sweet sticky rice notes with sweet cream, rice pudding, coconut milk, and an underlying almond nuttiness. So much sweetness, it is a little overwhelming.
So the first time I tried this tea I made the mistake of brewing it when I had a headache, one whiff of those brewed leaves and I needed to lie down, something about sticky rice scented teas make me feel really ill and dizzy if I have a headache (which is often) so I waited for a day when I had no headache to try the rest of the sample. It was a good idea because whoa, it is super strong, very sweet notes of rice pudding, caramel, flowers, green beans, grass, spinach…it is a bit of a cacophony, though oddly it blends well together. The liquid is more subtle thankfully, though not by much. That sticky rice scent is strong and sweet, notes of coconut milk, almonds, and rice pudding mix with a creamy underlying floral note.
I thought for a second, this could be one of those sensory overload things that happens to me with certain smells, so I got Ben to sniff it and he thought it smelled mild and sweet, where I thought it was like being face planted in pudding. The longer I sniffed it, the more I started developing a headache…oh dear. So, enough being nervous, I tasted it, it is smooth and sweet, and surprisingly cooling for an oolong. There are strong notes of cream, rice pudding, orchids, and warm milk. This moves on to caramelized sugar and a nutty aftertaste. There is however something ‘wrong’ about the rice taste, not wrong as in toxic or something like that…wrong as it tastes like rice but doesn’t. Like how stevia leaves are sweet but don’t taste like sugar, so when used as a substitute you can tell, it is uncanny and hard to process for some reason.
Second steep, the aroma at this point has permeated my tea area, which I am not entirely happy with. The taste is milder on the rice front, more of the underlying orchid and creamy notes of the Jin Xuan showing their color. The finish has a nutty rice note that lingers for some time. I called it quits after this steep sadly, the taste was quite pleasant, but the smell of the leaves was way too intense and killing my head, not to mention I spilled some on my tea table and just can’t get the smell out, whenever I get a whiff of it I am slammed with vertigo, it is safe to say that my sensory weirdness could not handle this herb. Clearly if I try to drink this tea again, I should do it with a nose plug, or maybe store the leaves in another room. It is a pity I had such a negative reaction to the aroma, the taste was really quite fascinating.
For blog and photos (and a link to a page entirely in Chinese about the fancy herb): http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/08/what-cha-thailand-sticky-rice-khao-hom.html
Flavors: Coconut, Flowers, Orchid, Rice, Rice Pudding, Sweet
I think this is what I’m drinking. The package only says "Aged Oolong 95C mountaintea.com). So, I’m taking a guess. The little pebbles are a dark brown and slight oily skin. They are heavily compressed and give off a dry wood and roast scent. I placed a generous amount in my warmed gaiwan and gave em a shake. The smell is quite potent and heavily fruited. There is an underlying smoke aroma and prominent raisin tone. I washed the pebbles once and prepare for brewing. The flavor is unlike the aroma. The liquor is pale bronze and very sweet. The taste is very fruity and juicy, yet there is an underlying roast that lingers on the tongue. This brew has a “fruit by the foot” flavor hahah. It reminds me of my childhood snacks. This was very good, and a decent quality aged oolong. I’m glad that I didn’t judge a book by its cover on this, for the packaging was not that attractive.
Also, there is a lingering sweetness that does last for what seems like forever. I feel like I just had a bunch of pastries with berries in them :)
Flavors: Berry, Fruity, Honey, Smoke, Sweet
I initially liked this tea, but then suddenly every single time I brewed it, it was horribly bitter, which led me to avoid it for quite some time. Recently I started drinking it again, if nothing else just to use it up. The directions call for 1.5 tsp + 8oz @ 200 X 3min. Horribly bitter.
I tried a variety of parameters, and kept lowering the temperature, and FINALLY I’ve got it right, steeping it at 180 F for 3 minutes. Of course, I’m getting close to a sip down now, LOL, but at least I’ll enjoy those last couple of sessions, right?
This tastes like roasted brazil nuts today :)
the water in Ottawa is slightly different from the water back home, so while i’ve been enjoying this one, it’s not the super amazing delicious tea that it is in Toronto. Still good but i miss what i KNOW this one can taste like haha.
On the upside, i have managed to get a few sipdowns in while i’ve been here, and made good progress on drinking up a few of my older teas. I’ll be happy to get home tomorrow to be with my full cupboard. :)
Don’t like this harvest. I’ve tried to drink this version in multiple ways and all I get is dirt. I’m channeling my inner “omgsrsly” i think. Not the end of the world, but i have ZERO desire to drink the rest of this. So i’m not going to. A waste of tea but i am really not a fan of this harvest and i refuse to drink things that i don’t enjoy.
Original version of this was a 91 for me; this year is closer to a 54.
Wonderfully thick and rich.. Notes of earth and spice, a nice little kick. Smooth and creamy textured shou, mostly clear of unwanted fermentation flavors. I think this one would get better with even more age.
Thank you Brenden for this delicious sample :)
Flavors: Earth, Spices