3102 Tasting Notes
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.
This cold brew was really distinctly cranberry flavoured. I mean, there were some apple notes too, and almost a bit of a light cinnamon taste that reminded me loosely of cider but mostly it was a very juice-like sweet full throttle cranberry taste. It didn’t taste all that tart at first, but by the end of the brew I was starting to get a bit of a lip-puckering feeling. I still enjoyed it a lot though!
So, there was an accident of sorts measuring this out and I spilled part of the sample bag so sadly I’ll only be doing the one tasting of this blend.
This was one of the samples I was pretty stoked about; I really like eucalyptus (if I could be reborn as an animal it’d probably be either a Sloth or a Koala) and the pairing of eucalyptus, mint, and green tea makes me think of a day of being pampered at a Spa or hot spring; cool, refreshing and very stress relieving.
Normally I think this is a blend I’d have opted to try cold, but since I’ve made the other three blends I’ve tried hot I did the same with this one just to have some consistency. I thought dry this smelled pretty minty, but as I was tasting it the green tea base was actually the strongest flavour with both the eucalyptus and the mint providing a refreshing, cooling aftertaste. It was very pleasant and did have a calming “Spa” sort of affect. However I personally didn’t feel totally satisfied with the flavour either; I liked the level of grassy, vegetal green tea notes but I really craved a stronger more “menthol” feeling mint notes, and a touch more eucalpytus. I think both were a little light handed for what they could have been.
That said; I enjoyed the blend and I did feel like my hope of a refreshing hot spring-esque tea was met. And again, I can’t stress enough how much I really like the convenience of these powdered teas; it’s a huge part of why I’m so drawn to matcha as well. But unlike the flavoured matchas I enjoy, these ones a more nuanced and layered instead of fairly monotone flavours!
If nothing else, I’m a big fan of the concept.
I feel so out of it right now.
Because I’m 20 and I think it’s important (so long as you don’t make it a regular habit) to sometimes be reckless I decided to call in sick today and play hookie. Then, I went down to the beach with a few friends, and get so trashed. I haven’t been to the beach in years and it was a lot of fun, and definitely pulled me out of the sad funk I had been most of this week.
We went swimming, had quite a few beers, and then rented out these paddle boat type things for an hour and half-drunkenly paddled around the lake.
At one point two out of the four of us fell out of the paddle boats and then because of the way they sit on the water it was too high for them to get back in, so my friend Dylan and I each had to operate a two person paddle boat on our own and the other two had to swim all the way back into shore. It was such a work out; and not gonna lie there was a lot of bickering on the journey back to shore but it was a really memorable experience overall.
And now I’m back at home and I’m so tired. I made a mug of this after I’d showered off and got all the sand out of unpleasant crevices, and seaweed out of my hair. I have to say the convenience of making these ‘instant powdered teas’ was a life saver. I really don’t feel like I’m exaggerating if I say that I would have been too tired to deal with loose leaf.
That said; this was the blend I was least looking forward to out of the samples from Chi Whole Leaf; I’m not a big fan of Chai and ginger in particular is one of my least favourite flavours. The dry powdered smell? It’s so gingery; but with everything else it made me feel like I’d just stuck my head in my Grandma’s spice drawer for a solid couple minutes just really deeply inhaling. Perhaps that sounds pleasant to some people (who?) but NOT me.
But the water hit the powder, and I whisked it all up regardless and then added a little bit of milk and the smell wasn’t as bad. Still very gingery, but at a level I was more ok with. Taste wise; I think I actually picked up on cinnamon more than anything else though; and a very odd, sharp cinnamon note at that. There was a little clove, but very much in the background. I think personally adding milk was a great idea for me – it contributed a creaminess that offset the spice a little bit and sort of reminded me of gingerbread? But there was an oddness I couldn’t place.
It took until I reached the bottom of the mug (sludge was also an issue with this blend) before it hit me! It was reminding me of these little Gingerbread cinnamon Christmas decorations we made at Christmas one year. Except, they weren’t meant to be edible – just nice smelling, and that way you could rehang them year after year. I even, after a quick Google search found basically the same recipe we used:
Turns out that thing I couldn’t identify was glue! Uhh…
So, this definitely was not as bad as I had imagined, and I liked some parts of it quite a lot but I can’t deny that once I realized what I was tasting reminded me of white table glue I was pretty turned off. That said; I know that part of why this blend and I didn’t hit it off is my own distaste towards Chai in general, and a bad personal association. So I’m going to elect not to give this blend a numerical rating; I’m sure others will find it much more pleasant.
I just realized that every tea I drank today (including the one I have left to log) was a green tea. That was definitely not intentional, but kind of hilarious given how much I’m always blathering on about how that’s my least favourite type of tea.
This is actually so much better hot than it was cold brewed, so I’ll definitely be upping my rating a little bit from the 50 I initially gave it – the roasty notes are much more on point; a little like a normal/regular Genmaicha instead of that burnt gnarly mess. It’s just the pineapple in the blend that’s… Weird.
I remember not loving the Pineapple Barley from Lupicia; the dichotomy of roasted notes and pineapple in that one was off too. So maybe it does have a little less to do with DT’s pineapple than initially thought though. Regardless, still disappointed I didn’t love this blend though. I so wanted to.
From my latest RLT order;
I picked up a 30g size at distinctive level flavouring because I’ve found that’s what I enjoy most of my matcha at. I don’t actually know why I chose apricot though; I want to try a new fruit flavor, and I guess because this doesn’t have many reviews it seemed like an interesting gamble. The smell of the dry matcha was… Concerning.
There’s a very fake/artificial presence to it and my immediate thought was “Oh no, distinctive was definitely too strong of a flavour!”. It’s not really an uncommon thing for RLT fruit based flavours to taste very chemical, especially at the higher flavour levels. And, I also had no idea what sort of prep method would be the best one to use here. Ultimately I went with cold milk in the hope that it’d maybe mute the flavour of the matcha a little bit and taste creamy; I’ve had some really good creamy apricot teas so I know that flavour pairing can taste great is executed well.
Honestly; it’s not as bad as I’d have expected just based on the smell of the dry matcha. It doesn’t taste natural but it’s not overly artificial or chemical tasting either and I’m going to consider that a win! However, even though it’s not terrible there is something off about this. Fruity milk in general is so hit or miss though. If it was creamier, with perhaps some vanilla added in I think it could work splendidly but just plain milk? No.
Next time I make this I’m going to try a different prep method; hot water, making added in to cake or cookie mix? I sense there’s promise here – I just have to find the way to best utilize this flavour of matcha.