Featured & New Tasting Notes
First I want to thank Jimmy of Shui Tea for sending this sample along with my order it had peaked my curiousity when I read the description. The addition of stevia scared me and intrigued me the most based on my personal preferences of course.
As it turns out this is not really my cuppa. Of course I have only had this hot so far and it was recommended I try this cold and I promise I will. It was just to sweet for me and the sweetness tasted a little strange to me. I can’t really put my finger on it. It was however plummy as stated but still so far not my thing. The black teas are hardly noticeable, I did wish that would have stuck out a bit more. Once I try it cold I will reevaluate my review but until then I will keep things as they are.
Still very thankful for the opportunity to try it. :-)
Oh so still delicious…
This tea is certianly my weekend pick me up tea! So for sure my weekend day start tea is this. Yumm! and this weekend I tried soaking the tea first in cool water; I understand this is probably not best for a flavoured mate, but it worked and I must say it did bring out the flavour slightly. I did notice that soaking the tea first made the chocolate far more subtle and gave this tea more of an amaretto taste as it helped bring the almonds to the fore front.
I can’t wait for next Saturday, already!
Note coming soon- I need a little bit of time to share my thoughts on this one.
(simple summary: incredible)
So – this tea is really cool. Every time I think about someone trying this for the first time, I’m so pleased and proud for them! I think, “Oh- you lucky person! You’re about to have a real treat. Lucky….”
This is a shu pu’er, and by now, it’s almost 13 years old. I’m always impressed by this, not because it’s just old, but because it is clearly so fine. From my understanding and experience of old shu’s, things this old and older generally just taste really musty and (well) “old”- any further complexity is usually just straight dirt or heavy sweetness. They’re boring, and why not? Shu pu’er was (and still is) a relatively new thing, still being perfected as something more than swindler-trying-to-sell-you-fake-old-sheng.
But enough of those- onto this one!
Whenever I’ve gone to one of their tastings that includes this tea, Verdant always has us try this tea last. Thank goodness! It would be so unfair to the other pu’ers to start a tasting with this tea. It is the culmination of an afternoon’s education, and the glimmering hopeful promise of all that could await you in your future tea-life.
How can I describe the taste of this tea? Sure- I could tell you all of the things my tongue is telling me: sweet, sparkling / musty like a grandest library, full of books and the feeling of shared knowledge / incredibly crystalline and light-weight, almost like a vapor / the guilty pleasure of the smell of book-binding glue in new books, or the back of a stamp, or fresh-minted money / clean vegetal sweetness, like celery or grass after the rain / lunar.
All of those things are true, but (as Nate has said, and as others will surely corroborate) the real strenght of this tea comes with the connections and memories it pulls out of you and the company you drink it with. Do not drink this tea if you do not want to reminisce. Do not drink this tea if you do not want to find yourself opening up with honesty and truth to those you’re drinking with. Drink this tea with good true friends, or with people you really want to know better. Drink this tea if you’re willing to still yourself and listen to what it could help you uncover, if you want to meet again a younger version of yourself, and if you’re ready to revisit the places of your youth.
This is a quiet tea. This is a tea drinker’s tea. This is a tea for memories, and a tea for honesty, and a tea for connections. If you like tea, then this is a tea you just have to try.
It’s pretty inconceivable, but this tea could continue to age and grow! I cannot imagine where this one might go in another ten or twelve years, and I do not know if I’ve got the self control to make it that far on one canister.
Also, the tin mentions that there was an even higher grade of this tea produced, but it was reserved solely for state dignitaries. Incredible. What must that taste like now??
For now- I will hide the tea in the back of my closet, at the bottom of my box of pu’ers. I will save this for special occasions, or for very beautiful, rainy days. I will keep going to Verdant’s tastings, and I will be sure to stick around for the end.
My sister gave me an entire “fruit” basket of Narien teas for my birthday – and I have to say all of them are pretty amazing. I’m not normally a green tea fan. I find most of them bitter – but this may be my first experience with full leaves. I added about a teaspoon for 3 minutes and the taste is much more soft than I remember. It would be almost delicate except for the fact the flavor stays with you for a while, well after you’ve swallowed the sip, sort of growing in intensity in your mouth. Overall, I find myself growing tired of the taste after one cup, so it’s definitely something I would have every other day or so at most. It’s definitely a treasure though and something I look forward to having again.
WOW. The perfection of the White Peony with the blueberry smash.
All my friends have said to me : “White Tiger is simply AWESOME! You need to try it, it’s like a legend alive” So… I’ve tried it as a tea-to-go at Saint-Bruno DT.
First sip, hot sip, the peony was there and the blueberry was subtile.
Later sip, semi-hot sip, blueberry was mixed with the poeny awesomeness and some pomegranate essence was all over there for smoothing everything.
Last sip, cold sip, blueberry freshness get out from the mixture to deliver a really nice “cold” feel and makes me wonder… Damn, I must try it iced!
However, this tea is impressive. A classic from DT that never fail to impress like Buttered Rum or Coco Chai Rooibos. Try it, ice it, drink it.
The raw tea has a dry aroma, somewhat of grain and fruit.
Brewed, the tea is a golden color with an aroma that is roasty, perhaps of toasted nuts.
First Steeping: Moderate flavor, with floral notes and a toasty nuttiness. Almost no astringency.
Second Steeping – Same temp 5 minutes: Very similar to first steeping. No astringency.
Third Steeping – Same temp 8 minutes: A bit milder than the last steeping. Three is probably all that can be had out of this tea.
Not bad for a black tea. It’s slightly complex, but not quite as much as I had hoped. The flavour is good, but rather light, unless I oversteep it and then it gets bitter. Hmm, I can’t quite seem to win with this one! Still, it’s better than my standard bagged Red Rose which makes it worthwhile in my books…
As for the flavour, when it’s hot, I taste just regular, solid tea, with a malty note if I add some extra leaves. However, when the tea cools, there is a slight bitterness because of it. I can’t have one without the other. Hmph.
There is a definite raisin note when cool, which I also do not get when hot.
The astringency really comes out on the finish however, when it’s hot, but less when it is cool. This is a tea of contradictions!! complex, in the strangest places, and never all in one sip.
Oh, and I do get a spiciness now, after having half a teacup cool and bare, in the aftertaste.
I wonder… is the David’s version of this tea is as confusing???
Wow the description of this tea having a unique peppery taste was right on. The first time I had this brewed with a mug infuser I wondered if I had forgot to wash my infuser basket after having the Thai Chai I last used it for. So I brewed it again with a gaiwan to ensure a clean brew and the taste was still there. I’ve never encountered a black tea that is naturally spicy like this one before which was a nice change for something different although quite honestly while it is a good tea I am glad that I only bought a sample as I don’t think I will be ordering any more of it.
Smooth is how I would describe this. Many matcha genmaichas cheap out on the matcha and barely cover the tea at all, but this one doesn’t. There’s a nice coating of powder on the leaves and rice. Some of the rice have popped leaving a few popcorn like pieces. Colour comes out green and vibrant really nice overall.
Drinking it, it goes down very smooth. A little bit watery tasting but easy to go down. The main concern I have with this so far is that the rice far outnumbers the tea leaves in this blend. It really looks like i have a 70% rice, 30% tea leaves mix. So what happens is when you want to make some of this stuff, i don’t imagine a teaspoon of this will get you anything so I end up dumping a whole lot in just so i can get a decent amount of tea. Perhaps the tea is actually at the bottom of the bag but I can’t really tell right now, I just scoop from the top.
Other than that, you can tell this is a quality matcha genmaicha tea. There is a sufficient amount of matcha on it. Teanobi claims it has the Uji matcha it sells on this, which costs like $65/100g. So if it really is, then yay. None the less, this tea doesn’t come cheap at $25 + shipping, I paid over $30 for this bag. It really kills the matcha genmaicha I got from davids but it is expensive. To me an absolute perfect matcha genmaicha tea is one with more tea than rice, but I doubt anyone would do that. Rice is cheaper and heavier to put in a mix.
When I took a deep whiff of the dried leaves in the sample pouch today I again got a lot of lemongrass aroma, but also a definite note of rose!
Brewed, however, the flavor profile is pretty different from before. This cup was much less lemony today. It was just about like drinking a nice, leafy green oolong with a hint of lemon. Still no rose, unfortunately, but my first steep seems like a later steep where more of the flavor has already been steeped out. Weird.
This is the April 2011 selection for Golden Moon’s Single Leaf club.
The idea of scenting teas is new to me. I will admit that I avoid scented products in my day to day life (e.g. unscented detergent, fabric softener, lotion, etc….) When it comes to tea, I love the scent of certain spices but scenting with fruits or flowers is not something I would seek out.
This tea has an obvious fruit scent for both the dry leaves and steeped leaves. The scent of the brewed tea itself is pretty subtle, so not objectionable for me. The tea itself seems to be a pretty basic black tea. Nothing special. Golden Moon recommends drinking the tea “neat” however, I found that a touch of milk smoothed the sharpness of the tea.
For my tastes, there is nothing really wrong with this tea, but nothing special either. I would prefer to drink other teas instead. I’m looking forward to trying some of the other teas that are mentioned as sample club items….a unique assam, first flush darjeeling, golden snail yunnan, etc….
This tea is only available for sale in Taiwan. It is a very impressive and unforgettable tea. Heavily perfumed by flavouring and real flowers, it smells EXACTLY like a (lily?) perfume! The fragrance is very romantic, but perhaps just a bit too strong… and artificial. While not everyone may like the aroma, the tea itself is wonderful and not to be missed! It’s light, refreshing and has a clean finish, with a slightly sweet aftertaste. Just the tea you want on a hot summer night. Recommended!
I’m not sure how this one has escaped tasting for so long. I was looking for something appropriate to try out my new cast-iron tetsubin and this was perfect.
The leaves were tightly curled and bright jade colored. Unfortunately, they were somewhat cramped by the pot’s steeping basket so I didn’t get the full unfurling effect.
The tea was very pale green with a vegetative, buttery and nutty fragrance. The flavor was very light and delicate; it’s possible that my sample may be aging. However, subsequent steeps were for longer periods and the flavor deepened. It’s buttery, slightly saline and finished very sweet.
I don’t drink a lot of oolongs but every time I do, I really enjoy them. I drank an entire pot of this one. (And the tetsubin is awesome. However, I need to build up calluses to use the iron cups- ouch!)
I bought a sample of this tea because of all of the hype over Xi-Zhi-Hao on Jas-eTea. I wanted to try what many others were calling the best Sheng out there. This one is younger (2007) but considering several of the highest end bricks I have are that young, I figured this one would be old enough to try.
The sample is a nice loose compression with big arbor buds and leaves. Very nice visually! I had high hopes for this brick. I am using 5 grams of leaf material and around 200 degree water on this one. There really isn’t all that much to say about this tea to be honest. What I did recognize right away is that it is not offensive. Usually with sheng pu’er of this age you will get something unbearably drying and smokey right from the start. This tea tries to steer clear of any of that. It doesn’t necessarily want to say anything however. With some sheng of even higher quality than this one you will get something that is not only non-offensive but also minutely complex and interesting.
This one is not.
By steeping 3 the classic “Sheng” flavor of smoke and a common astringency start to creep in. But overall I would actually say that this is a better sheng than probably 80% of what I’ve tried. Not really worth investing money in a brick but certainly wasn’t a bad experience.
I bought a small ammount to test at home. And I do like it better if I brew it myself, on my small teapot and just so. Better.
This tea smells incredible in every stage. The tea leaves with a thousand fruity smell, then after brewed, like strawberry jam and green apples and maybe caramel. First taste is for me strawberry with green Granny Smith apples coming later at the back of the mouth. Nobody else seems to have tasted apples, never mind green apples, so my brain might be just wrongly assigning a particularsmell to a very complex blend of flavours.
Must retest, less brewing time I think and maybe try milk. Lovely indeed, though it did not knock my socks off as much as expected.
As the holidays have mostly left us and we are welcoming significantly warmer temperatures, and longer and sunnier days here in NJ, I thought I would take a stroll back with this tea.
This is still wonderful! Brewed hot, four minutes, no additives. There is the same lovely flavor I remember – richness, almost-spice, tea flavor, smokey sweet. Absolutely delicious.
As a side note, I came on here to rate a pile of teas I got and tried this weekend. Unfortunately, it looks like none of them (or the first three I checked for) are not on here yet. I will rectify this this afternoon. Until then, enjoy!
Mmm, in the tin it smells creamy dreamy vanilla lemon pie wonderful! This smell doesn’t translate quite as strongly to the cup, but the flavour is still a lovely vanilla tinged lemon pie, not sharp, bitter or lemon peel-like at all. I haven’t had this treat in a little while, but it is great to return to on an early Monday morning. The sun has almost started getting up at the same time as me, and with a pot of lemon zest beside me, all is right in the world. Well, in my living room. The poor world is actually in much worse shape.
I’m new to writing about tea, but I will do my best.
This tea was recommended to me by a waiter about a year ago, and it was so good I saved the paper wrapper so I could track it down on my own. It was this tea that started me actually paying attention to teas.
Since then I have gotten it as presents for two people (highly appreciated by the recipients) and I am lucky to be able to buy my supply at the wonderful Harney and Sons store in Manhattan.
The aroma never gets tiring. I love opening the tin and smelling it. The aroma is stronger than I expected from a tea but once brewed the tea’s flavor is much more mild. I don’t get the same strawberry and cream notes as most people here however. I do have to pay attention not to let it brew for too long as the tannin levels build up quickly. It does not get too strong or bitter, but will give me that cotton mouth feeling.
This will always be a staple on my shelf.
When dry, the large leaves not only take up a huge amount of room, but they also smell like they just fell off of a tree in October. It’s interesting, and I’m in the mood for adventure.
165/5.5 minutes… I got caught up making Nutella covered crackers for my children and forgot about my tea steeping on the counter. Turns out to be a good mistake, I think.
I was thinking this would be a very light and delicate cup, but the color is pretty intense for a white. It’s a deep golden color. The scent is slightly vegetal and toasted now. Just a touch of autumn leaf aroma. The taste is slightly spicy with a peppery/cinnamon taste and toasty, but not a hearty toasted flavor. The tea lingers for a bit, changing to an ever so sweet flavor, but not fruity as the website’s description indicates. I’m guessing that’s because I left it steeping for three minutes longer than recommended. I really like this as it’s quite unusual and I love the idea of these teas being dried by moonlight. It adds to the mystique.
This is the last of the TeaFrog samples I have that I took to work (I left all the rooibos at home, and I don’t drink tea as often there). The aroma on this one is super sweet creamy-vanilla, with just a hint of bergamot and black tea peeking in from underneath. The taste is surprisingly bitter for an Earl Grey cream. Maybe I steeped it longer than I thought, but certainly no more than 30 seconds longer. Guess I’ll make sure to go down to 3 minutes exactly next time. Anyway, the creamy vanilla flavor is also there with a good helping of astringent bergamot. I feel like they’re somehow separate, though, like they don’t meld together well. Usually I feel like cream Earl Greys are tamer than traditional Earl Greys, but in this one the cream doesn’t seem to mellow it as much. I’ll definitely adjust my steeping parameters and try again, but right now this is not my favorite as far as cream Earl Greys go.
Cups #4 and #5 in SimplyJenW’s China black palate training course, of sorts:
Today I decided to do a side by side. I wanted to see if I could taste the difference between a high cost black and a low-mid range one. Bai Yun Shan is my lo-mid range. It is about $7 for 100 grams. My high end choice was ZP99 Imperial Black Golden Needles. It runs over $20 for roughly the same amount (thank you for offering samples, Upton!) I can taste a difference, but it is oh so slight to my untrained palate. The Bai Yun Shan is a good solid black. It does taste slightly more smokey. Brews up about the same color, but maybe slightly darker. Bai Yun Shan’s leaves are stranded and golden tipped, with lots of golden tips…definitely about 50% golden. The leaves on the Golden Needles are probably about the longest I have seen, and are mostly golden colored, probably about 75% golden. The liquor on the Golden Needles is a little thicker, if that is possible, richer tasting. It is smoother and sweeter than the less expensive variety. So I can definitely taste a difference side by side, but I am not sure I would notice much of a difference if I prepared them at different times. Since the one is three times the price of the other, do I really enjoy the more expensive one three times as much? Not really. But this will be an incredibly cool exercise to repeat in a few years!
1 heaping TB for 450mL water, bare.
My local tea shop, Britannia Teas and Gifts, had run out of this blend for a while, but I found it again on Tuesday. Immediately bought 100 grams. At $11.75 CAD per 100 grams, it’s not a cheap tea, but, being fair trade (yay), organic, and totally delicious, it’s well worth every penny. (Imagine, tea-pickers being paid half-decent wages. It has got to be back-breaking work. Big salute to all tea-pickers this morning! Big salute, too, to the estates which look after their workers properly.)
As I’ve said many times before: a thoroughly excellent black tea blend. Creamy, malty, a wee bit smoky. Never bitter. Cream and heft from what tastes like a really good 2nd flush Assam. (I am guessing here.) Lots of Chinese black tea smoothness, mostly likely from a goodly dose of Keemun. Tiny “bite” of what tastes to me like Ceylon, but the bite is not astringent — it sparkles. Bright and deep, this tea comforts and fortifies.
Seriously, this one is worth ordering. Britannia Teas will ship. http://www.britanniateas.ca/
(Full disclosure: no, I do not work for Britannia Teas. The owner is a friend of mine, and we’ve become even better friends over the last few years, and over many different teas, but I would not recommend her stock, and the effort of ordering it, if I did not think it exceptional.)
Being out of this tea was a loss. I am delighted to have my tin full again.
First tea log;
I got a small tin of this back from the lovely Tabby, being one of her favorite tea’s and a snowy march evening I thought I’d run at this first.
I ran the water all the way up to boiling then let it sit for a good 5 and a half minutes in a flush stainless infuser, the first thing I noticed was the sharp scent, all deliciously tangy with the heavy scent of the black tea behind it, I almost felt bad dropping in a small amount of agave sugar.
The taste of it is really hard to put into words, especially this late at night, simply put on a snowy night in what should be spring, it makes living in new england almost bearable, the sweet touch of cranberry and orange is perfect over the black tea, I LOVE black heavy mean tea’s so I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this but it really is quite a perfect contrast, just tart enough over the lovely body of the black tea.
Highly recommended for anyone who hates snow, and or just wants a nice cup of tea.
Going to try tomorrow without the agave honey, which might of been a little too much sweetness.
So, learning from the horror that was Painfully Strong Hibiscus Raspberry from this same company, I brewed this with only a teaspoon of tea, instead of a tablespoon. When I sniffed the finished product, I hate to say this, but my immediate thought was of a cheap motel room by the pool. Kinda musty and chlorine-y, but not….I don’t know, it wasn’t a bad thing, kinda?
After I take a sip, I realize the smell reminds me of a hotel coffee, that’s what I’m associating it with. Not terrible…but not all that great, either.
My wife’s going to try this when she gets home, but I think I can safely say that if there are any coffee cherry enthusiasts out there, I’d be happy to send you some of these teas.
Maybe milk would help…
Ugh these teas confuse the heck out of me.