8 Tasting Notes
A beautiful tea with a fascinating flavor. The leaves are a nice fresh-looking green, with little sign of any rough handling. The taste is perhaps too mild – my first steep, I wasn’t sure if I was drinking tea or the idea of tea. My second steep, I’ve left the leaves in the cup – no straining (I’ve enjoyed a number of whiter teas this way). Even so, the liquor has only the slightest tint to it. The flavor is still fairly mild, but it’s definitely easier to enjoy this way. I get primarily a lemon-ness – more tangy lemon zest than the lemon fruit itself, but slightly floral, so maybe what a lemon blossom might taste like, and also a slight creamy melon-y quality.
I’m not rating this a full 100%, and it’s not quite the best tea I’ve ever had, but I’m not sure why. It seems practically perfect in every way.
My brother provided me a sample of this tea, which he received from a coworker a few years ago. I’m not sure which variety of green tea this is – as near I can tell, the Chinese on the label translates to something like “Premium Green Tea”, and Van Cheong’s no longer seems to be in business.
Anyway, the dried leaf is small, light grey pellets. The odor is lightly vegetal. Once steeped, the liquor is yellow with a slight brownish tint, and a faint toasty aroma. The flavor is somewhat asparagus-y, with a strong acidic aftertaste.
The side of the can states: A blend of fine teas from India and China, flavored with Italian oil of Bergamot, orange and lemon. I’m worried about the bergamot – I’m not a real Earl Grey kinda guy.
Turns out, the bergamot isn’t overwhelming. There’s a sort of muddled, bitter, citrus taste, which seems balanced against the tea itself, which is… well, black – all leathery and earthy, but without much aftertaste. It’s pleasant enough, and would be a fine tea to drink while you were busy paying attention to something else, but it tastes the same all the way through.
This is my first Big Red Robe. The aroma is rather toasty/nutty.
Reminds me of roasting pine nuts when I was young, only without any of
the sap. The flavor is less toasty, but still nutty, and a bit like
salted butter. As the tea cools, the salt fades somewhat, and a
sweetness makes an appearance.
This is a difficult tea to rate. The flavor isn’t really what I want
in a tea. But there’s something about the taste that keeps calling
for a deeper exploration, as if, should I taste it just once more, I’d
realize that salted butter and toasted pine nuts is exactly what I
should want tea to taste like. It seems you can have good teas, and
interesting teas, and they’re not necessarily the same. This is an
I generally enjoy cinnamon as a spice, but not in my teas – too often the cinnamon is finely ground and washes off the tea, leaving a over-cinnamoned bit in the bottom of the cup. This doesn’t do that, I think. Can’t tell by looking, cuz it’s black as night, but it tastes like the cinnamon is nice and even. If I didn’t know this was a pu-erh, and what a pu-erh tastes like, I’d think this was just cinnamon and black tea. It’s not a bad drink, but my tastes really seem to be moving away from flavored teas – I’m enjoying the many tastes of the tea itself, and against the cinnamon in this, it’s hard to pick out much detail.
I discovered this tea the other day at a tea tasting event in-store. I’ve been mostly enjoying Chinese oolongs and whites lately, I forgot how pleasant a Darjeeling can be. This one comes across as very… breakfasty… full-bodied in the way, say, a good English Breakfast typically is. What really made this stand out for me, against the not really very many Darjeelings I’ve tasted, was, on the tail-end of the taste, a bit of a cherry Dr. Pepper flavor.