242 Tasting Notes
Good afternoon everyone! I just got back from a week and a half in London and Ireland, and the seven-hour flight gave me a major craving for caffeine. Honestly, I had only four good cups of tea, and two of those were iced tea at Hard Rock Cafes (I went to both the original London location and the Dublin location on the trip). Anyway, this tea was exactly what I needed: Sweet, yet still very flavorful. The boldness of the malt flavor was a welcome break from the monotony of the cheap hotel bagged teas.
First of all, a big shout-out to Teavivre for the amazing free sample!
I was really busy packing for vacation, and didn’t have time to do my usual format for reviews, but there’s the highlight reel. The first infusion was steeped in 205 degree water for exactly one minute. The result was an amazing sweet tea, with very tasty licorice flavors dominating the palate. It was just about as sweet as the orchid Oolong from Verdant Tea that I had the other night. The infusions continue, decreasing in potency and sweetness until number five, where only a faint taste of barely-sweet licorice remained. Regardless, it was really, really good, and it was the perfect way to relax after the usual frenzy of packing. And, since my destination is England, all I have to say is jolly good!
EDIT: stupid typos…
Wow, what a great way to start off my weekend: I was digging through my room, looking for my iPod, and I found this sample mixed in with some Classic Rock CDs. I don’t know how it got there, but I’m not going to question it…
Anyway, I’m re-tasting this tea after several months, and I have to say that the taste is much better than I remember. It is similar to my Art of Tea orchid Oolong, but creamier, which makes the whole experience so much better. The aftertaste is also a bit stronger, lingering for three minute (It lasts even longer than Tie Guan Yin! How does that happen?!?!?) on the roof of my mouth. Needless to say, I’m bumping up the rating, and I can’t wait to see how it develops.
Alright, second infusion same temperature, steeped fro three minutes. The tea has developed a pleasant sweetness, which reminds me of some sort of confection confection. I don’t know exactly which one, but I would guess it reminds me of one of the Japanese sweets I got from a friend. Anyway, the tea is so delicious, I actually regret only having a small sample left, as this is the perfect desert tea.
Third infusion, four minutes, 205 degree water. The tea lost a lot of sweetness, but it still reminds me of some sort of confection. the aftertaste still lingers for over a minute, and it still retains the creaminess that made it so appealing in the beginning. It’s still an exceptional tea, but I think it’s a bit past its prime now.
Forth infusion, five minutes. The tea has started to loose the creaminess, but luckily the sweetness did not degrade further. Overall, the strength of the taste didn’t change, which is the beauty of Oolongs: Their flavor lasts for a very long time, providing many cups of wonderful tea. I think I’ll probably get eight cups out of this, mostly because it’s a green Oolong, which tend to loose their taste a bit quickly then others.
Fifth cup, stopped keeping track of time, just going by color from now on. The creaminess lingers, but it’s mostly gone now. Interestingly enough, the tea retains its sweetness, as well as the lingering aftertaste.
Sixth cup, process the same as before. It’s starting to get a bit bland. It has lost all of the creaminess, it isn’t as sweet, and the aftertaste doesn’t linger very long. I’m gonna call it quits on this one. That being said, it lasted a long time, and it tasted great. I’ll miss this a lot when I finish off the sample.
Ugh, such a stressful day at work…so glad that it’s over…
Anyway, back to the tea, I needed something without too much caffeine, and I have quite a bit of this still sitting around, so why not? I filled up my tea ball a bit more than half way, and let it steep for 45 seconds in 175 degree water. The tea had a wonderful calming flowery aroma, which was just what I needed to unwind. The taste was reminiscent of smooth and delicate flowers, also great for unwinding, and the aftertaste lingered pleasantly on the roof of my mouth for about 40 seconds.
Also, the music I was listening to was a little piece by David Popper I heard on the radio while driving home. It’s called Gnomentanz, or Dance of the Gnomes in English.
Another sample from Teavivre.
I let this steep for three minutes, enduring the enticing aroma until the tea was done. The end result is a very nice Tie Guan yin: Fruity, buttery, a hint of saffron. I don’t taste any grassiness, but the taste lingers for two whole minutes in the hard palate of my mouth, which definitely marks this as a really good quality Tie Guan yin. I can’t wait to see how it develops.
All right, after several false starts and a few interruptiuons, here is the second steeping for this Tie Guan Yin. It retained most of the flavor from the previous infusion, with the creaminess actually being a bit more prominent, along with nice development of the saffron flavor. A hint of grassiness might have developed, but it’s really faint, and I might be tasting it because I’m looking for it. Anyway, the aftertaste still lingers for a minute 45, which is pretty impressive. I’m liking this tea more and more.
Third infusion, still no grass. The taste has lost a bit of the creaminess it had, and is starting to get a bit weaker. It also only lingers for a minute now, but other than that, it’s still very good. I also want to note here that this tea is MUCH better if you drink it when it’s warmer. If it get’s cold, it isn’t as vibrant. Unfortunately, this is my last cup of the day, since I need to be able to get up for my internship tomorrow, but needless to say I’m going tosavor the rest of this cup.
A big shout out to Teavivre for the free sample of this tea!
It’s been several years since I last had a Lapsang Souchong, and it’s actually better than I remember. I used about 5 grams, and steeped it in 205 degree water for about a minute (I was being a bit conservative). The first impression you get of the tea is aroma: It’s pleasantly smokey, but overwhelmingly so. The tea is also a lot sweeter than I remember, and was really the perfect way to start my morning.
All right, first sample from the new batch from Teavivre. Thanks again, Angel!
This is also my first Dragonwell, so I’m a bit excited to finally get to try it out. I put about four grams of tea in my tea ball. The instructions said to use more, but that was also to make 8 oz. of tea, whereas my mug only holds 6. Anyway, I steeped the leaves for one minute in 175 degree water, and the results were great. It has a very smooth texture, like the aftertaste of a Wuyi Oolong, which seems to coat the tongue and hard palate. The tea also has a delightfully nutty flavor which reminds me a bit of Hojicha, but it’s not as strong and taste more refined. Definitely a great way to start off the weekend.
Alright, second infusion, same preparation as before. The only real difference is that it has lost a bit of the mineral smoothness, which, while disappointing, does not really affect the taste too much. It is, however, a bit unfortunate, because it seems that I won’t get all that many infusions out of this tea.
Over that past week and a half, this has become my standard morning tea. It’s been an interesting experience drinking it at work, mostly because the preparation is a bit different and the water is cleaner (We have machines that do crazyubermega filtering, and the result is hard to argue with.). I use a about 6-8 grams of tea, and put it in the bottom of an 8 oz. ceramic mug I got a while back, but just dug up in a cupboard. I let the leaves sit in there all day, and when I start to get low, I add more hot water. The result is a milder tea, where the linen taste is less prominent than when I brew it at home with my tea ball. It is also a bit sweeter, which kinda makes me wonder what is wrong with my tap water…
Anyway, I get a good 4-5 cups of tea this way, it tastes pretty good, and it lasts me for most of the work day. What more can I ask of it?
Backlog. Also, really tired. This was my tea for the weekend, seeing as I didn’t have any rooibos to celebrate, and I also didn’t have any tea that could be considered “blue.” Regardless, it was very pleasant, nice and flowery, and great for quenching your thirst (It was annoyingly hot and murderously humid in Northern Virginia). I’m only half done with the sample I got from Teavivre, and I’m certainly glad that I have a lot more of it.