2992 Tasting Notes
I passed along most of this tea in swaps, and then gave the last of it to Chef Darcy since he’d been asking for a recommendation for a solid everyday black tea – and I kind of specifically said that about this one, and then never seemed to get around to drinking it. So for me at least, this is a sipdown and now the remainder of my 50g has been passed along to a home where it’ll get drank more quickly.
I finished this off as a latte; it was something different to do with it. Even with the amount of milk in it, I found it had a dryness/astringency to the mouthfeel that was odd and disconcerting but I think I may have over steeped it and that’s the root cause of that whole unpleasant mouthfeel. Regardless, the taste was spot on! It was a bit of a dry cinnamon flavour mostly, with nutty and malt notes and a sweetness to the finish that reminded me of brown sugar! Mmm!
Also; something I found really cool – when I first got this tea I only had a foggy idea of what the grading meant and where the region within assam was and I’ve definiely, in those short three months, learned so much about both! It’s very cool being able to go back and see old tasting notes and track the progress I’ve made.
I’m slightly sad to see this tea go; but I learned a lot from it so I’m thankful for that.
Ok, so I probably tried this a stupid way for it being my first time having it since the naunces of flavour were lost. I’ll definitely revisit and make sure the next time I try it is slightly more proper and done in a way I can break down and taste the specific flavours of the tea.But that said this was incredibly fun and tasty, and really what I’m getting at is…
Recently, I received a cookbook themed around matcha as a gift – there are actually quite a few recipes in it that I want to try out (a huge part of why I redeemed my free 50g on fancy ass matcha from DT) but since my cooking skills are crap the easier for me to make was salted matcha popcorn! So basically:
2 tsp of matcha
1 tbsp of butter
1 tsp of salt
All melted down and mixed together and then sprinkled/splashed over some fresh air popped popcorn! Holy balls it was such a pretty, gorgeous bright green colour! The taste was surprisingly great too; I actually don’t like salty food that much (cripes; pretzels are my worst nightmare) but it worked with the popcorn/matcha because it was like a very seaweed/kelpy vegetal snack but light and fluffy! Seriously, it was a strange juxtaposition overall but very tasty! I half believed after trying this I wouldn’t want to again but I’d totally revisit this!
Matcha popcorn and a movie night? Sign me up!
Holding off on rating until I can rate the ‘pure’ tea.
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.
Week #4 of Tea 103 PT2:
These cuppings are from last Tuesday, I just felt too tired after class to break them down here on Steepster after going over them more in depth during class. Remember, the “theme” for the week was ‘pairs’ – so the last two pairs I had to cup were a lightly and darkly roasted oolong, and a 1st and 2nd flush darjeeling.
Starting with the oolongs; I think this was my favourite of all four cuppings that week. Both the light and darkly roasted oolong tasted absolutely phenomenal! The lightly roasted oolong was one I’d done during a previous week and my observations about the taste were basically the same thing. Umm, notes on that here:
Obviously, the visual difference between the light oolong and dark was the most noticable; from dry leaf appearance (beautiful forest green twisted leaves to a more mulched up, flaky roasted brown) to the infused liquour. The taste contrast was huge too; the darker oolong actually reminded me a lot of Butiki’s 1991 Da Ye Aged Oolong just not quite as nice but it had those wonderful petrichor, wood/bark, butter, dill, and roasted peanut notes I get from the Aged Oolong. Not gonna lie; that kind of tea could maybe be a bit of an aphrodisiac for me. Screw chocolate and wine!
The oolong pairing was the one I got to discuss in class too; so my teacher and the other students got to hear me wax poetic about oolong in probably just slightly too much depth for too long a time – but damn that pairing was wonderful. For exam week next week we have to do a presentation comparing and contrasting a ‘pair’ of teas (could be the Ceylons, Kenyan Teas, Darjeelings, Oolongs, or Chinese and Japanese Green teas) and this is the one I’m leaning towards doing, though I think it might be the ‘obvious’/easiest one just because of how drastic the difference is.
The last pairing for the week was the 1st and 2nd Flush Darjeeling; and to be honest I know Darjeeling teas I supposed to be very prized, but I just didn’t like this pairing. In fact, it was my least favourite of the week. However, I think I also learned the most from it – I wasn’t aware not all Darjeeling has that ‘praised’ muscatel note to it, and that’s actually a trait associated with 2nd flush Darjeeling. Visually, I don’t think I’d be able to differentiate the brewed liquor from one another but I was impressed with myself that I could tell the difference between the dry leaf: the 1st flush had greener leaf than the 2nd flush. Honestly, I thought I was reading into things too much with that observation but after the cupping I read the ‘follow up’ notes we had and that was the correct visual indicator, so go me. The first flush was my least favourite of the two (though not by much) – according to the readings from class most people find it to be the ‘superior’ flush of Darjeeling but the simple floral and mildly earthy flavour kind of bored me. The 2nd Flush was very raisiny – probably why I didn’t like it much either to be honest. That favour just doesn’t appeal to me. It also had some acidity, and a note that made me think of rye bread.
Also got more details about the blind cupping we have to do next week: this time I’m allowed to see the steeper liquor (I wasn’t for Tea 101) but I have to identify more than just the generic tea type: I actually have to pinpoint the variety and what makes it different. So, basically, I have to be able to say “Kenyan CTC” or “High Grown Ceylon” and not gonna lie I’m slightly stressing. I just hope my palate is good enough to pick up on the subtle differences.
Finally found a way to drink this that I don’t totally hate! In a last ditch attempt to make this a redeemable tea I added a few splashes of milk to the liquor post steeping, and it did wonders for pulling all of the flavours together.
The butter flavour from the oolong base, which has been my biggest complaint, was a lot more masked/muted and with the thicker, creamier mouthfeel because of the milk it felt a lot less oily and weirdly scummy and more appropriately thick. In fact, it kind of made me think of someone just beginning the process of churning butter – before it had gotten all thick, but was still just slightly viscous. The peach notes feel less ‘floaty’ too, and instead of being painfully juxtaposed to the creamy butter notes there’s a smoother bond where you’re transitioning from creamy, buttery and milky oolong to a more creamy, sweet peach flavour. No obvious disconnect between flavours.
This is 100% an improvement!
Today’s word of the day is… Vigilant!
Vigilant is defined as: “watchful to detect danger; awake and alert”.
Cold brewed the rest of my sample; it was like creamy orange sherbet with a fresh minty finish! I’m so happy I decided to revisit this one for the nostalgia! I absolutely wont be getting another larger amount of it like I did last time ‘cause then I’ll reach that point where I’m drinking so much I’m sick of it – but it’s a tasty tisane to have every now and then.
I got new glasses today! Well, sorta – I picked out new frames today. Two sets actually; one has black sides and a clear plastic front and the other is more of a gradient going from black to electric green from top to bottom. Both a sort of chunky, plastic style. I can’t WAIT until they’re ready to get picked up. I haven’t had new frames since Grade 11 or so; which was almost four years ago? I’m definitely a different person than I was then, and my glasses, which are an every day accessory should reflect that.
Still working on sipping down Butiki teas;
I made this one earlier in the week (and brought some for Chef Darcy to try too) and it was still pleasant as ever. Very, very potato-y in a comforting way, with warming fluffy cinnamon and nutmeg notes and a soft supple apple flavour. I don’t remember if I even did a side by side comparison between this one and the original Potato Pancakes version but between the two (I’ve got them both currently) this is totally the one I’m liking more at the moment.
To be fair, I think the Potato Pancakes version is much older though.
Tre just got home from games night and is slightly buzzed; the first thing he said was “it stinks in here” and truthfully that’s not a lie – but the reason it stinks is because right before he left he cooked a WHOLE BUNCH of shrimp and then left the dirty dishes in the kitchen. So the house is all… fishy.
I really, really hate when Tre tells me to do things though. Upon the revelation that the house smelled bad he asked when my next day off was – and it happens to be his next day off too. He announced he was going to clean and then told me I was too. You are not the boss of me! We are equals. He can ask me to help clean (again; I’m NOT the one who made a mess/left the house smelling foul) and I may or may not agree – however, I have eight cuppings to do on Sunday for class and I don’t have the time nor energy to clean up after him and be commanded around on top of that.
This sipdown was actually a bit of a let down; I decided to try something difference I’d cold brew the last two nettles – though not the full 25 oz. I normally do because that’d be quite watered down. Instead I did about 14 oz. but sadly it still tasted very weak. Like, very filtered, slightly peachy spring water? It was a sad experience. I may very well revisit this tea though because I found both hot times I drank it were really quite wonderful!
In other news; I got trained in another area at work today! I’m now going to be doing the ordering for all of the chocolate bars/gum/batteries faced in my department which is a pretty much daily job. I definitely feel good about the fact I’ve been getting increasingly more responsibility at work and more recognition at work, though it does kind of suck my job ‘title’ hasn’t changed and none of these new responsibilities have come with an increase in pay…
Still, praise/acknowledgement feels nice.
Thank you Liquid Proust for the sample!
I’ve heard great things about Dayuling Oolong; and I’m very happy to finally get the chance to try one! The high, high altitude at which this tea is grown (greater than 2500 meters) and limited quantity that can be produced because of the geographical location are a giant part of what makes this tea so special. At $20 an ounce, this isn’t the priciest tea in my cupboard but it’s certainly up there – I can’t help but cross my fingers and hope it’s worthy of the price tag. Thankfully I’m not the one who paid for it.
I have to say, the leaf is very beautiful; dry the rolled up leaf gives off a very large, ‘thick’ appearance and has a weight in my hands. After the first infusion I could see why; the leaves are so giant – some of the biggest I’ve ever had the pleasure to brew up. Almost every single one is a completely full leaf, and I even picked out a stem that had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR completely intact leaves branching off it. Just stunning!
I certainly wasn’t going to squander this sample by Steeping it Western Style; so I enjoyed a lovely evening Gong Fu session. Sometimes I feel I can get a little stuck in my head when I’m drinking tea or doing Gong Fu in particular and I focus too much on the technical side of things while trying to pick apart flavour – and I didn’t want to do that with this tea so I just kept doing infusions without really taking physical notes; and I just kind of let the tea ‘speak to me’ while I drank it. It’s so delicate and fragile with very lovely, complex nuances! Teas grown at higher altitude tend to be more complex because, due to the altitude, they grow at a slower pace – and that comes through here for sure.
It’s quite a floral tea, that’s for sure – while the infusions I did blend together I remember the first couple had really lovely, pronounced floral notes of orchid, lily, and a bit of violet as well. Incredibly well balanced though; not ‘perfumey’, forced or over the top in the slightest. Other things I noticed were this very cool, crisp freshness. I kind of instinctively want to call that flavor ‘the smell before it rains’ but I don’t know if there’s a technical word for that. I know petrichor is defined as the smell of rainfall on dry soil/earth (and that’s my all time favourite smell) but this wasn’t quite that: it’s the smell of rain before any has actually fallen. No earthiness.
This was such a pleasant, relaxing tea though! I’m not sure how many infusions I got in total but it certainly lasted quite a while and made my evening magical. Probably well worth the price tag just to say I’d tried a Dayuling, but all in all a very delicious, serene taste experience too. I definitely felt a little tea drunk/buzzed afterwards.