New Tasting Notes
Grabbed this when I was at Pike Place Market maybe sometime last summer (?) when I ran into Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes in the elevator of my hotel room. Fun!
This seems like a straight black blend from the description, although I’ve yet to hear of a varietal called Lychee (like Ceylon or Assam). The staffer told me this was her favorite tea (I always buy a small sample that the person serving me suggests when traveling), so $0.81 and about, um, 12 cups worth and a year later, Í’m trying it.
Actually had it yesterday.. going on memory.. was surprisingly sweet on it’s own, full bodied like an English Breakfast, and quite lovely. Very different than most straight blacks I’ve had, with zero maltiness, just a sweetness that I can’t quite place.
I never have enough time on Thursdays, what was once my favorite day of the week is more and more becoming one of my least favorites. Oddly enough, I am being overwhelmed by gaming, who would have thought? Seafall Playtesting and D&D, while both being immensely enjoyable, just eat up so much time. And with sharing a computer and Ben needing it a lot lately, I have fallen so behind in things that it has become a source of massive stress. Tomorrow is shaping up to be crazy too, going house hunting and such, so maybe…just maybe…this weekend I can catch up on things. What I really need to do is stop letting things overwhelm me, go back to practicing Wu Wei and just chill out, be as water and let things flow.
Philosophy and stress aside, it is Thursday, meaning it is time for a Throwback! Today we are taking a look at Golden Moon Tea’s Coconut Pouchong, a blend of Pouchong Oolong (Bao Zhong as it is also called) and Coconut Extract. At the time of procuring this tea, I was having a serious coconut craving and just kept being disappointed by various ones I tried. I should have immediately gone to oolong blended with coconut, but for some reason the idea sounded kinda nasty, in hindsight, maybe it was because I was drinking mostly roasted oolongs at the time, I could see roasted oolong and coconut tasting weird…or really good…not sure. Anyway, I am rambling, the long, curly, and fairly green leaves smell really delicious, like mouthwateringly so, blending creamy sweet coconut (like breaking into a fresh coconut rather than coconut milk or water) with chestnuts, toasted almonds, and a slightly distant floral finish. The aroma is super creamy and rich, bordering on buttery, it is super intense, definitely the most ‘coconutty’ of the various coconut teas I have sniffed.
In my steeping basket, the entire room smells like coconut. Feel bad for Ben, since he hates coconut with a passion, like he doesn’t even like curries with coconut, and those tend to be really mild, so tragic! Really though, it is pervasive, like a tropical breeze slowly drifting out of my cup like a heady mist. All I get is coconut in the wet leaves, the liquid, however is joined by nutty notes of chestnut and a delicate orchid aroma.
First off, let’s discuss this mouthfeel, it is super creamy, it is one of those mouthfeels that coats the entire mouth, bordering on oily…much like eating coconuts! The taste, well, unsurprisingly it starts out with a full blast of coconut, like blending fresh coconut and refreshing coconut water (I love that stuff, one time on a 22 hour bus trip I brought two huge containers of it and drank nothing but coconut water, good times) it is intensely rich. The midtaste is chestnuts and sweetness, and the finish has a delicate touch of orchids that lingers. As the tea cools (one of the joys of drinking out of a mug, you get to experience the slow taste change as the tea cools) it brings out more of the floral and chestnut notes.
I went for a second steep, the aroma is still intensely coconutty, but it no longer fills the entire room turning it into a tropical adventure. There is a note of spring vegetation and chestnut as well! The taste is still intensely coconut, and the mouthfeel smooth, but this steep lets the Bao Zhong base shine through more, bringing out more the floral and fresh vegetation notes. Notes of orchid and honeysuckle blend delicately with growing things and fresh leaves. On a whim once I gaiwaned this tea and got a whopping eight steeps out of it before the coconut died, oddly brewing it in a gaiwan made it less nuanced, which I found fascinating. I got this as a sample, loved it, and then bought a large pouch of it…drank a few cups…and then have not touched it since. The coconut is so intense in this tea that you really have to be in the mood for coconut, and this tea satisfied that craving so thoroughly I have not really craved it since. I know I will want it again, which is why I have not traded or gifted it away.
Flavors: Chestnut, Coconut, Floral, Orchid
Not really much to say here. I’ve kind of lost interest in green teas for awhile, although occasionally I enjoy a cup, but there aren’t very many in my collection anymore. I have Teavivre’s beautiful nonpareil cha wang tai ping you kui, some kai matcha in the freezer, some gunpowder green than Steph sent to me awhile back, the last of the meditative mind (teaspot), & this (sent by SIL, of course!). So…it’s ok, but not something I’d ever crave or want. It mostly takes like laoshan green, which is one of my preferred greens when I’m into them, and it makes for a nice afternoon cup, but that’s about it. Sip down.
This one makes a really damn good London Fog, The Vanilla and Bergamot in this one is quite gentle but the flavor is quite nice. I don’t think of it as a Darjeeling but as an Earl Grey version, I usually like earl grey with really strong Bergamot but I appreciate the subtle bergamot in this one, its lovely.
I like it :)
Flavors: Bergamot, Fruity, Vanilla
Aha! Friends, if you could see me, you would see in my eyes the madness of a woman on a sipdown spree. I am on a mission. I want things out of the cupboard!
So, I’m finishing this up this afternoon. Farewell, oh White Chocolate! You and I never really got along, through no fault of our own. Alas!
I never really got the chocolate part of white chocolate out of this. I got floral instead! Of all things!
But oh well. Its just a memory now. Sipdown!
Another great sample from Garret!
Definitely get vanilla throughout all the steepings that gets creamier the longer you steep.
For some reason I couldn’t get the flavor strength to my liking, despite some extended steep times(4 and 6 minutes after the initial 45sec.)
I still have 4g left, going to experiment with the last bit with even longer steep times and will update afterwards.
Flavors: Cream, Leather, Vanilla
Hmm…this is better than I remember, but still not as perfect as I had hoped. I just brewed this hot and poured over ice as I didn’t have time for a cold brew. There’s a strong, juicy mango flavour, frozen peach notes, and just an overall tropical feel. Definitely very refreshing for a hot day.
Flavors: Fruity, Mango, Peach, Tropical
This was the first tea I tried from my Hackberry order. I opened the envelope and smelled it and it was all over after that. It smelled so deliciously plummy that I had to try it right away – and my husband did too. We both ended up resteeping the leaves, which is unusual for me – I usually don’t resteep at all. The leaf appeared to be of good quality: long and unbroken. No fannings here! There are some bits of red, those could be hibiscus but I did not really taste the hibiscus in the blend. The overriding flavors are definitely plum and currant. Anything else in the blend just enhances and supports those. It would be easy to say that this is the best plum tea I have ever had.
I was really intrigued by this one since I haven’t seen many teas with this flavor profile and I am a sucker for anything salty/sweet. The leaf is really interesting. It has corn, popped corn, and corn nuts! I wasn’t sure about it when I popped it open and smelled it because it had a really strong smell, and the first couple of drinks had me still unsure. But as the cup progressed it reallly grew on me, and toward the end I was totally hooked. This is really good! I can taste the hint of salt at the end of the sip, and the caramel flavor is really smooth, buttery and rich.
Where I live, red velvet is a chocolate cake with a bottle of red food coloring added and cream cheese frosting. When I saw the name of this tea I expected something chocolate flavored. If I had read the description on the website I would have known better, so that’s my fault. The goal of this tea is to taste like a raspberry trifle with whipped cream, and it really does! There are raspberries in the dry leaf, and the big thing on top in the photo is a candied lemon peel. I believe the green that is visible is the lemon myrtle. The main flavor is raspberry cream, but I definitely get the lemon too in the top of my mouth.
Harvest: Spring 2014
So I felt like tasting the 2014 version of Shan Valley’s First Flush Green Tea after trying the 2013 version and brewed it exactly the same as I did the 2013version. This time I only had a small (relative to the large six ounce packet last time) one ounce sample. I liked the packaging on this one more than the paper-foil packet the 2013 was in, even though my issue with the 2013 packaging was purely aesthetic, although I am a little concerned about the packaging on this one because of the clear back. But then I don’t store my teas in a place that gets much sunlight, so it isn’t that big of an issue.
Dry Leaves: The leaves look pretty similar to the 2013 version, still very dark for a green tea and have a stiff bark-like texture; the difference is these leaves look a little flatter and have longer stems. Other than that they are pretty similar to the 2013 harvest, maybe with a tangier smoke scent, but still has a pleasant fermented fruity aroma as well. It almost reminds me of a barbecue sauce, but it is smokier then most barbeque sauces I make.
Brewing Time: One Minute
Flavor: Spinach, Fruity, Metallic and Honey
Tasting Notes: Immediately I could tell I liked this harvest more than the 2013 even though it is more astringent. The 2013 harvest reminded me a lot of a Sheng Puerh crossed with a Purple tea, this time not so much, even though it still feels quite different than most greens I’ve had. There was a sharp metallic taste this time that made the astringency much more noticeable.
Not bad for a first infusion I am not really fond of metallic tastes in tea, most teas I’ve had with metallic notes generally have a rust/blood element, but this was a little different. I almost wanted to describe it as either wet stone or minerally, but it doesn’t fit either category comfortably.
Brewing Time: One and a half Minutes
Aroma: Fruity and Smokey
Flavor: Spinach, Stone Fruit, Metallic and Honey
Tasting Notes: Still very astringent, but it is becoming much more vibrant and nuanced then the last infusion and even the 2013 harvest. There was a nice creamy mouthfeel this time. It still had that sharp metallic taste from last time, but this time it was not as biting.
This was the best of the three infusions, it had a near perfect mouthfeel and a nice balance between the strong spinach notes that lingered and the minor honey notes that disappeared almost immediately. I liked the aroma quite a lot, it doesn’t have as pungent fruity aroma as the next infusion, but it still has a very nice smoke in it that become quite weak in the next infusion.
Brewing Time: Two Minutes
Aroma: Fruity and Smokey
Flavor: Green Beans, Metallic and Honey
Tasting Notes: While not as astringent as the last two infusions it feels much harsher this time because the green bean and honey flavors do not last as long. While the metallic notes are not as strong as the green bean it has become very sharp by now. Probably my least favorite infusion.
Overall not a bad tea, I was a little disappointed initially because I came in expecting a sheng like tea, but it still was not bad. It is much more vibrant and complex than the 2013 harvest and overall is a much better tea than the 2013 harvest, but there is something about the 2013 harvest that left me breathless which is missing from this tea. Perhaps this is a tea that is technically better than its predecessor, but lacks the soul of the previous. Regardless this tea is definitely worth trying, at $3 for an ounce (or $10 for 6 ounces! at the time of writing this) it is hard for me to not recommend this tea. Although this tea might not be the right tea for the normal green tea drinker, it won’t break the bank.
I am finally getting around to posting notes about the wonderful teas from Dammonn Freres from the group order that Marzipan coordinated. Thank you, Marzipan! When my husband offers me tea in the morning I get to say, “Something French.” :). It has been a lot of fun.
I looked up the Charlotte-style dessert this tea is based on, wow, I am looking forward to making some gorgeous summer desserts! I have liked all the DF teas so far— they are all so comforting. Steeping time is key (the low recommended end) to avoid the base overwhelming the rest of the flavors. I don’t sweeten my teas, but I took a sip after a bite of cake and found the fruit flavors really popped. There is a stewed fruit quality, like jam without the sugar, and that awesome biscuit taste, reminds me of ladyfingers. A solid choice for a fruity black.
Flavors: Pastries, Stewed Fruits
One of the teas I got to celebrate Spring. It smells so nice, like orange zest and roses. When brewed, the Laoshan base comes out. The flavour is a sorta light bergamot with some floral and chocolate notes. If you have a tea holiday, this would go well with scones.
Flavors: Bergamot, Chocolate, Floral, Orange, Rose
I made this again, this time a cold steep, and this is sadly still not a tea for me.
The cold steep is still quite bitter, as a steepsterite mentioned to me, there is a lot of pith in here somehow. And very strangely maybe there is a touch of cinnamon here? a hint of a spice, lurking in the cold infusion? I sweetened this a lot, iced tea seems to call for it, and it does improve the tea a bit, but still a frustrating tea for me.