244 Tasting Notes
It’s been a very long time since I had this tea, and it’s been a messy experience. This is one tea where I will go the extra mile and brew it in one cup adn messily transfer it to another, since the result is much better when brewed this way.
Anyway, I made the first cup iwth a generous ammount of leaf in an 8 oz. double-walled tumber, and let it steep for 15 seconds. After transfering it and letting it cool for a while, I got to enjoy the exquisite taste. The silky texture, sweet and subtle spices, and pleasant aftertaste/mouthfeel make this an unparallel tea expereince. The spices are still weak and muddled, so I won’t speculate on them, butthe foretaste is dominated by the spices and a bit of honey, which fades to a honey/raw sugar taste which then fades to an interesting gently-tingling mouth-feel. Ugh, now I need to resist the impulse to buy more of this tea immediately.
Sedcond infusion, 10 seconds, ~200 degree water. This tea was subtly yet significantly different than its predecessor. For one, cinnamon flavors have asserted themselves a bit, so that they stand out from the the rest of the flavors in the fortaste. Secondly, the aftertaste has developed a bit, and there seems to be bit of vanilla mixing with the sugar, resulting in a very pleasant tingling that lasts for over a minute. I don’t know how long it actually lasts, since I can’t seem to restrain myself from taking another sip for more than one minute. Anyway, the developments were a pleasant surprise, especially since I can’t remember some of these from last time I drank this tea, so I’l really excited to see whatcomes next.
Third infusion, same preparation as the second. The tea continues to develop, especially the clove flavor. I can definitely taste and feel the interesting taste/mouthfeel that I associate with cloves. It’s faint, nothing like an actual clove, but iot’s a nice accent to the other flavors. The vanilla has also gotten a lot more prominent, and the cinnamon balances out the rest. Sadly, the silkkiness that made this tea truly unique has pretty much faded, which is a bit of a disappointment. Anyway, it’s still delicious, and I can;t wait to see where the development is going to go from here!
Cup four was the best by far. It was the perfect mix between sweetness and spices, with a pleasant vanilla aftertaste. I’m having a hard time putting the experience into words, but it just tastes perfect. The mouthfeel is resergent, but the only thing I changed was the steep time, which is an interesting observation. The spices are perfectly balanced, with cinnamon and clove being supported by muted vanilla, which smoothly transitions to the delightfully tingly aftertaste. Truly an amazing tea.
Music of the day: Mischa Maisky, Bach cello suite no. 1 in G
A very pleasant piece of music, played by an absolutely superb cellist. I actually first ran into him when I bought an album featuring him playing the Shostakovich piano trios. He really makes this piece come alive, unlike some recording which sound so mechanical and stiff.
This is my last day before I go back to the university, so I decided to drink something specail. My dwindling stock of Laoshan Black has been neglected for weeks, and was just dying to get tasted again. I decided to use small steep times , since thev’e been working out really well recently, and only steeped this tea for 15 seconds. The chocolate flavor is more exquisite than usual, with a surprising ammount of sweetness helping to make it more appealing. I also agree with David that this tea has a creamy texture, which was never really that apparent in early steepins when I used “true” western-style brewing. There’s also a bit of malt in the flavor profile which was usually much more muted. Overall, this was amuch better than expected, and I can;t wait to see how it develops.
Second infusion, 200 degree water for 10 seconds. IF the first infusion was dark chocolate, then this was milk chocolate. The taste was a bit snoother and milder, and the malty flavor was a bit more prominent. There is also this very interesting aftertaste/moutfeel, which I’m having a hard time putting into words, but it tastes a bit metalic/mineral-ish, like brass. Very strange…but in a good way.
third infusion, same preparatino as the second. Interestingly enough., the taste has changed enough that I wouldn’t call it chocolate anymore. It’s a bit like bread, but a lot sweeter than bread. The barley dominates the flavor now, yest the aftertaste quickly fades to the strage feeling I commented on previously.
I wanted something a bit lighter today, so I diceided to make this tea again. The first infusion used ~170 degree water, and steeped for 30 seconds. It was surprisingly sweet, but not quite as much as the orchid Oolong that Verdant offered last year. That’s the real problem with this tea: I’ve had a different version of the tea which tasted better, and I’m alway comparing the two and this tea just falls a bit short. Anyway, it’s still a lovely tea, with pleasant flowery notes an a nice lingering aftertaste, and it matches well iwth the beautiful warm weather today.
Another day, another sucessful tea experiment. I put a generous ammount of leaf in my teaball, but I only let it steep for about 10 seconds. The result was pretty muhc perfect, with not even a hint of bitterness, and an amazing mouthfeel. I wouldn’t call it buttery, but it was a very smooth feeling which lingered on the hard palate for a good minute. The aftertate of walnuts was also fantastic, and I hand’t actually tasted it nearly this strongly in previous tasting for this tea. I can’t wait to see how this develops today.
The second infusion was setted for 15 seconds, but ti didn’t turn out quite as well. I think that upping the step time was a mistakes, since a bit of astringency is now present. The smoky/cedar flavor is a bit more prevalent as well. As the tea cooled, the astringency actually got more subtle, which is the opposite of a lot of my teas. I’m actually rather excited to see what will develop next.\
Third infusion, 15 seconds, but I let the water sit for about three minutes before pouring. The results is a smooth and surprisingly sweet cup of tea, with a resergence of the mouthfeel and aftertaste, as well as the development of an interesting fruity flavor. It might be orange like the description says, but it’s not that prominent yet, so I can’t tell. Anyway, this tea continues to impress with interesitg and delicious flavor developemnt, once more leaving me eager to see what else it has to offer.
Fourth infusion, same preparation as the third. I’m actually really pleased with the development of the orange flavor. It’s not terribly strong, but it’s very pleasant, and adds a lot of depth to the flavor. It should also be noted that the aftertaste is a bit like sparkling cider now, and lingers for at least three minutes on the hard palate. It’s remarkable how the small change in my preparation has yeilded an amazing new depth of flavor for this tea, especially now that the smokiness is fading, exposing the more more subtle flavors. I can’t wait to see what else it has to offer.
Fifth infusion, 20 seconds, cooler water. This tea can only be described as “subtle” at this point. Other than the juniper and hint of orange, the other flavors are very muted now. Also, the smoothness has changed, and it’s more like a kind of mineral or metalic smoothness, a change that has been gradually occuring over the last three steeps or so and has just finally finished. I’m personally amazed that this tea still has more development left in it, which is always a bonus.
Alright, time for a real review for the first time in a while.
I brewed this tea with shorter infusions today, and the result was pretty amazing. While the flavor wasn;t as intense as usualy, the depth of the flavor was much greater, exposing fruity flavors that I don’t usually notice till much later infusions. This trend continued till the end, with more subtle flavors like cove and potato really asserting themselves for once. I’m really glad that I decided to experiment today.
Steep times by order of appearance: 12 sec., 12 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 35 seconds, 60 seconds.
Sorry that it’s been so long, but I’ve been super busy lately. My internship has gotten a bit frantic, since it’s drawing towards it’s conclusion and I want to get as much done as possible. To top it off, a small presentation that I’m doing tomorrow just got a lot more serious (The CEO and other senior executives decided to attend :-\ Lots of stress…)
Anyway, The comforting warmth of this tea is helping me relax,and I’m glad that I decided to take a bit of a break. It actually turned out a bit sweeter than usual today, and the combination of taking time to slow down and make the tea and the comforting flavor is doing wonders for my stress. I don;t know why the malty taste is so comforting, probably has do deal with something from my childhood, but I;m just glad it’s working.
I got this in the mail in Thursday, but I haven’t had time to try it until now. The wet leaves smeel like some sort of dark bread, fresh from the oven with sasame seeds. the taste of this tea is much like it’s Oolong version, very juicy and thirst-quenching, but it has fruity-chocolate flavor as well. The taste lingers pleasantly on the tongue and hard palate, lasting fr well over two minutes, and gradually fading to a smoewhat floral flavors before it disappears. While this isn’t a replacement for my recently-exhausted Yunnan Golden Buds, it’s an amawing addition to my stash, and I an glad that I decided to try it out.
P. S. – Music for the day is opera from my local classical stations (you can listen in at classicalweta.com. They strema their music live over the internet!) I was listening to Moses in Egypt by Rossini. Really great stuff, and the performance was top-notch.