4137 Tasting Notes
Definitely felt like I’d been neglecting this gem lately so I made some in my timolino yesterday. I’m really happy I took the time to revisit it; the combination of that stewed greens/kale note and the sweetness of macadamia and sugar cookies is probably unlike any tisane (or tea for that matter) I’ve ever had before. At least, as far as I can recollect.
Today’s word of the day is… “Squander”.
Squander means “to spend or use (money, time, etc.) extravagantly or wastefully”. Well, I’m certainly going to try not to squander this leaf; I will try to make every cup count!
I was sad this tea didn’t get brought back this year, but I’m definitely making the most out of the leaf I stocked up/hoarded! This cold brew was so good though; fresh and crisp with the right balance of cucumber, melon, and mint to make me feel relaxed. I had it on my day off, and though I didn’t do anything fancy all day this still kind of felt like when I came home from work the night before I brought the spa along with me.
I’ve been getting really constant, non-stop headaches lately and this definitely took the edge off. I can’t figure out exactly what the source of the headaches is. I think a part of it might be sleeping on my couch? I’ve been doing it for a year+ now, and haven’t really had issues before but I think the poor thing is just wearing out from excessive use. It might be time to hit up Craigslist…
Apologies to Will for not getting my review up sooner, I had some issues with the page for this tea where all I could see when I clicked on it from my cupboard was a wall of HTML coding. Everything appears to be in order now, though!
I’ve been on a bit of a Yerba Mate kick these last few weeks, so I’m both very excited to try this blend but also kind of feeling like I’ve overdosed on yerba mate and need to take a break from it for a few weeks. What’s better than a powdered caffeine buzz though? Hell that’s half of why I love matcha so much – so I’m ignoring those feelings of being all yerba-d out, and excitedly trying this!
The dry leaf doesn’t smell anywhere near as fragrant as the other four samples have been; just subtly grassy. My observation thus far is that the blends from Chi Whole Leaf fall on one side of a spectrum, either “very intense” or “surprisingly muted”. I’ve yet to really find a blend offered by them that rides the middle, and if I had to guess I’d wager this is going to be a bit more muted.
Like anticipated, this is pretty mild as far as Yerba Mate tastes; it’s grassy and earthy with a touch of natural sweetness. However, the licorice root and ginseng are definitely stronger – actually, they do a great job of finding a happy medium between tasting mild or robust. The combined sweetness of both begin to creep in at the end of the sip in a typical licorice root fashion. It almost has a honeycomb taste to it. However, if someone dislikes licorice root, ginseng or both they’re really going to be turned off by that taste.
Interestingly, I found that of all five samples I had the biggest issue with the dry powder for this one. It was really, really clumping together but it wasn’t as sludgy at the bottom of the cup as I was drinking it.
Again, I have to really thank Will from Chi Whole Leaf for the samples! I had a really fun time exploring them, and while I definitely didn’t love them all I was surprised by a few which I thought I’d dislike but where really, really good. Namely Floral Herb!
Since Tea Ave. is running a free shipping promo right now I took advantage of that to place an order for the one blend I really wanted more of after initially sampling/reviewing some of their blends. This was an added sample from that order which has already arrived after only four days passing! I think that may actually be a new record for the fastest time I’ve received a tea order!
While Tea Ave. does let you specify what you’d like to sample I left that field of the order form blank and so they chose for me. Two of three samples were new to me, and one a repeat – though as I’ve been pretty impressed with all of their teas I’ve tried I’m far from disappointed about that. This sample came in sachet form, though not all three did. It’s the first time I’ve tried one of their blends in a sachet; I always have mixed feelings about teabags/sachets because I LOVE the convenience but think that most sachets don’t generally offer enough room for leaf expansion – which is definitely a bigger issue with oolong. Though in this case the sachet is very large, and that turned out to not be an issue at all.
I did two infusions of this tea, both turned out to taste very similar so I wont do a flavour summary for each like I tend to do when I steep the same tea several times. I thought the liquor was very light and gentle with an incredibly smooth and silky mouthfeel that made for really easy, calm sipping. The dominant note – though in this case dominant just means “most present” because nothing about this blend was harsh, was honey and it was the right level of sweet but natural and not cloying. Supporting notes were fresh picked Spring flowers, hay, and a soft, roasty note that reminded me of just barely toasted bread. I’d describe the overall combination as ‘ambrosia’.
I do think this was a little watery, and had it not tasted quite as diluted I’d be all over this blend – but it was incredibly pleasant for what it is as well, and a really nice balance between a greener, more vegetal oolong and a heavily roasted, mineral tasting more oxidized one.
I’m happy to have tried it!
This is a queued tasting note.
I pulled this out of the cupboard to measure out for someone for a swap, and I decided that while it was out I’d try making a little bit into a tea soda because I figured the really juicy lychee flavour would make for a hella satisfying soda.
Unfortunately it didn’t go quite as planned; the lychee actually came out as significantly milder than the floral notes of both the fruit, which is naturally pretty floral, and the oolong itself. So instead of a nice juicy lychee soda I wound up with a cup of what tasted like carbonated perfume which, to top things off, had a bitter taste at the end too.
It was just a bad choice for something to end the night with, as well as being a bad tea soda choice overall. I do believe it’s the first thing I’ve made tea soda out of that had such a strong oolong base to begin with though so I guess I know better now. Sticking with hot infusions, going forward…
This is definitely an interesting looking tea, one I probably wouldn’t have chosen for myself had Camellia Sinensis not included it as a bonus sample in one of several orders I’ve placed with them this year. Personally, I don’t have much experience with Darjeeling teas, and I’m almost certain that this is the first Darjeeling Oolong that I’ll have tried.
The dry leaf of this blend it fascinating to me; it definitely doesn’t look like a lot of oolong I’ve encountered. I know it’s definitely on the lower scale of oxidation, for sure – but it doesn’t even look like they even attempted to roll it which is definitely something I’m accustomed to with greener oolong. More so, it just kind of reminds me of Bai Mu Dan, but a little twisted up.
I brewed this one in one of my Gaiwans because it felt more right to be brewing it that way instead of in an infuser mug, though I did brew it Western style instead of Gong Fu. Normally I’m not one to resteep things, but I got three resteeps of this blend before I decided that was enough for the day.
The first infusion was very soft and delicate with such a lovely silky mouthfeel (which was definitely a consistent trait between all three infusions). The flavours were kind of in line with green teas and greener oolong; crisp and sweet sugar snap peas, lighter fruit notes like slightly under ripe honeydew, some floral notes, and a slight creaminess. However, the overwhelming gentleness of the brew reminds me a lot of white tea as well. I was looking forward to experiencing the “tang” like described by Camellia Sinensis, but I definitely didn’t taste anything close to that. Nor did I taste anything “spicy”.
The second infusion definitely brought about a change in flavour though; while the liquor was still very smooth and delicate and I still got some lovely snap pea notes there was also a touch of a herbaceous quality and the more floral notes were traded in for something quite a bit fruitier. More like over ripe honeydew than under ripe, and with an almost white wine like quality. I also experienced the “tangy finish” like described. I was definitely a little taken aback; the body dramatically and quickly shifted into this long, drawn out pleasantly sour finish that I wasn’t expecting. This was easily my favourite infusion of the three I did; it had a great balance between the flavours of the first and third infusions.
The third infusion was still delicate but that tangy note was even more vivid and instead of just being present in the finish it started to creep up into the body of the sip as well. In this infusion I definitely thought it was much more distinctly like white wine. In fact, I almost immediately was reminded of the few Reisling wines I’ve had (I’m not a huge wine person). It was super interesting, and still quite enjoyable but quite different from that first infusion. I can only imagine how much more interesting this would be Gong Fu brewed.
It’s a shame I can no longer find this on the Camellia Sinensis site; I want to learn more about this tea as it was very different from other oolongs I’ve tried, and quite memorable. I 100% recommend trying it, even if oolong isn’t your jam.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Green Melons, Herbaceous, Honeydew, Melon, Peas, Tangy, Vegetal, White Grapes, White Wine
Not the best cold brew I’ve made.
It was just very astringent tasting; likely due to a very long cold brew time in combination with the flavour of the tea itself (’cause astringency is very wine related too). Note to self; less is probably more when it comes to cold brewing this tea.
Not tea related, but wine related: I was thinking about trying to explore wine a little more again. Wasn’t a huge success the first time around, but maybe if I picked out a white wine this time instead of a red? Any “wine snobs” on Steepster? What white wine would you recommend to someone who doesn’t much like wine/is pretty much trying it for the first time?
Finished this one hot in my timolino on the way home from work.
It was actually really nice; the mango was very smooth and juicy with an appropriate level of natural sweetness. Additionally, it actually didn’t seem to have any pine/sap notes this time around which was really pleasant and an interesting switch up. The floral notes were mild but still present which made this feel more nuanced and layered, and the black base had a touch of malt and honey notes to it.
For a blend I really took a gamble with when picking out (there was like only one review on the site, and I’m not a huge mango person) I actually found it to be an incredible success – and if I didn’t have to buy it in a 100g quantity
unless I was doing another group order it’s more than likely one I’d want more of. It’s really nice, makes a refreshing cold brew, and is quite consistent.
Cold shaken in my timolino with plain cold water.
I don’t know why, but with just water this seems so much sweeter to me. The marzipan notes are very intense and there’s that cherry flavour that seems to come through with almond extract or things with a high concentration of marzipan in them. Then in the background there’s a bit of a grassier taste and some floral notes from the matcha. It’s not that I don’t enjoy this one in water but it is a little cloying, and I think better suited for milk (cashew or otherwise) where it can be muted a little and has a creamier flavour.
Today’s word of the day is… Pundit.
Pundit means “an expert : authority”.
I’ve decided not to keep hoarding this blend anymore; for whatever reason it doesn’t quite seem like the right time of year for this blend – and I do have quite a bit of other white tea currently as well.
This cold brew actually came out a touch bitter/drying which is odd as that’s not a problem I tend to have with the majority of cold brews – I suppose most of the measured out leaf was broken up or little fannings from the bottom of the tin but I didn’t think that would affect the brew as much as it did. In addition to adding some dryness, I thought the hay notes were a bit stronger than normal as well.
As always, very strong anise notes. This is not a blend for people who dislike licorice/anise – the flavour isn’t really pointed out in the description but it’s there! I still wish the pear wasn’t as drowned out as it is – but it’s present too. Very sweet and supple; like a Bartlett pear more than anything else.