46 Tasting Notes
Still a 9. I had this at work today and got a good 7 infusions out of it. Awesome for longevity.
I got this one with the black matcha. And I like this one less than the black matcha. Straight, I find the white matcha far too astringent (I had an involuntary, physical pucker). Like the black matcha, it’s better in a latte, but the brighter taste of the black matcha works better against the milk.
I was excited to try this, because such respectable reviewers have given it such good remarks. Alas, I just don’t like this very much. I find it on the bitter side, and very astringent, when taken straight. It does make a decent latte, though. As a latte, the texture is nice and rich, and the bitterness/astringency is balanced with the milk. As a straight matcha, this is a 6. As a latte, it’s an 8. Overall, 7. I’ll keep it around, and use it in the mornings before work when I need caffeine but don’t want to start a regular pot of tea. I doubt I’d choose it over other teas when I have the time to be leisurely.
My coworker was visiting family in Taiwan and offered to bring me back tea. Apparently, he and his cousins went out trying a whole bunch of different tea shops on the hunt. I’m both thankful he did it and jealous. I’ll be reviewing the various teas he got for me over the next little bit.
Starting with the Sun Moon Lake black tea. Appearance: beautiful, long twisted tea leaves. I seriously love how these look. When steeped, they have a leathery appearance. Liquor: dark amber-brown. Very smooth, complex mouthfeel. Smell: dark, malty, and a little smoky. Taste: Sun Moon Lake is interesting because it is an Assam variety plant, grown in Taiwan (so the course reversed, where the Chinese variety were taken to Darjeeling). This definitely tastes like an Assam – assertive, malty, complex. It has some nutty, almost cocoa, flavor notes. It is good (and varied) throughout the cooling process. Much less astringency than most black teas (although I did steep for a short time for a black tea) This is right up there with a good Darjeeling as my top-two favorite black teas – for obviously different reasons. Yum.
I know I still have a bunch of teas in my cupboard for which I need to do tasting notes, but I wanted to do a quick note about osmanthus flowers. I love, love, adding them to all sorts of teas to add a floral note, or perk up a fading third infusion. While I’m not particularly a fan of straight osmanthus tea (6/10), the fun things it can do to a blend make it an 8/10. I’ve had great success with a Darjeeling black tea, a sencha green tea, and even with mint. The flavor is bright and soft at the same time, and I like the floral flavor more in osmanthus than I do in jasmine. Anyone else use osmanthus?
Aroma – Charcoal Roasted Dong Ding. Loose leaf. Appearance: wrinkled dark brown rolled leaves when dry. When steeped the leaves unroll and are still dark and wrinkled. Liquor: nutty brown, with very minimal sedimentation. Smell: soft, roasted smell. Taste: roasted oolongs may be my favorite anytime teas, and this is a really nice one. The taste is smooth, with a soft mouthfeel, roasted flavor with cherry notes. It handles multiple infusions, and multiple steeping times really well. Low astringency. Caramel aftertaste. Just delightful for drinking throughout the day. 9/10
Appearance: standard dark, broken, black tea leaves, with minimal stems. Liquor: dark brown – more brown than the red I often associate with black teas. Smell: So nice! Loose and brewed, there is a strong hazelnut flavor and underlying cocoa. I keep searching for hazelnut chunks. The smell is amazing. Taste: This is surprisingly sweet without milk or sugar. The hazelnut is quite pleasant, and there’s just enough chocolaty flavor that it could stand in for a hot cocoa. Like many H&S teas, as it cools the flavor develops some citrus notes that don’t really work with the other flavors. I don’t think it needs sugar, but adding it does make it very decadent. Adding milk makes it a really good hot cocoa stand in. This may be my favorite milk and sugar tea so far. Very nice way to start a weekend morning. 8/10
Not sure what I did differently, but I’m upping the rating to 8/10. I’ve found myself craving this one for its clear, non-astringent, well rounded flavor. I am liking more and more that it has a distinct character from either the Japanese greens or dragonwells that I normally drink.
I don’t know what changed from my earlier rating to today’s rating, but today this was just delicious. I’m revising my rating up. The taste was deep and very, very pleasant.