347 Tasting Notes
No more. This is it. I will savour this cup. Will I ever find a smoky tea I enjoy half as much? I find others too sharp, and tippy gold in Caravan and Lapsang seems rare.
I’ll persevere, though. It will be a delicious quest. There was a lapsang I saw—I can’t recall which company right now, but I think I will start there.
Finishing this one off. Had some yesterday, and blended the little bit that was left with some Caravan for today. Despite my somewhat “meh” rating, I think I’ll miss this. It was a nice, mellow afternoon tea.
I am officially all out of Kusmi.
Well, it SMELLS delicious. I thought it was a little on the pricey side, though, to be honest. For a flavoured oolong? Still, I made the trip. I decided on this one when I discovered that there was a hidden Teaopia (not even on Google Maps, let along here) near(ish) to me. Jillian’s well-timed tasting note on this tea helped with the decision.
Dry it’s very creamy sweet smelling, brewed there is definitely more of a nutty profile in there (more in the wet leaves than the brewed tea, however). It’s sweet and creamy, and definitely nutty. The nutty, I think, blends well with the natural flavours of the oolong used (looking at the large, darkly colourful leaves, I wonder if it’s bai hao). The nut flavour, I think, is the culprit behind the light astringency on the tip of my tongue, because the tea is rather smooth otherwise. I think the nut is what sets this tea apart, because without it it’s just a cream oolong of some sort (not that that’s terribly ordinary anyways, but who would think to pair nuts and oolong? I like it).
Teaopia recommends three minutes, but that had seemed a little much; I started with two, but when I poked my nose into the pot, I saw that there hadn’t been any convection at all, just a small cloud of brown surrounding the teaball; I spent an extra (timed) thirty seconds of dunking to mix the tea and let it steep a little darker. The oolong leaves themselves look dark and oxidized enough that I assume it wasn’t meant to be a light brew.
First cup’s cooled more, and I’m picking up fruity hints. This is mellow and very nice.
This is a satisfying tea, and I’m delightfully surprised with Teaopia (not that I was expecting bad things). Also, they have (only in-store, not on their site) Turkish teacups! Except they sell them individually. And the saucer comes separate. Five bucks for a single glass teacup, three dollars for the saucer. Jesus Christ.
Again, second steep is darker than the initial rinse steep. It’s definitely earthy; I’d say even muddy, but not dirt, rather soil. Is that an odd differentiation to make?
I somewhat forgot about the tea for quite a while, and the strong smell of the dry leaf’s faded quite a bit, as has the fishy aspect of the brewed tea itself, I think. At least I remember it all being a little different, but it’s been a while. I suppose it’s the tin I kept it in, and in most tea-storage practices this all would be a bad thing, but I think it really helped. I like it more than I remember liking it, although I never truly disliked it. At least if I take small to medium sized sips. I gulped some and it coats the mouth and throat most unpleasantly.
Finally finished this one off today in a little cast-iron teapot from my sister (she got it way back when she was in highschool, but soon lost interesting tea; she recently gave it to me). It gave everything a slightly off taste, and hot metal has a peculiar smell.
Ahwell. But this’ the last of THIS tea.
I’ve made this a few times since my first post, although I headed a bit of advice from the other notes on this tea and now steep it just under two minutes.
I picked this up originally hopping to find something akin to Tealicious’ 1001 Nights (not that there’s anything stopping me from picking up more of that—I just wanted to branch out a little). The jasmine in that blend is a pleasant background note, unlike in this one. It’s not bad, but it’s certainly quite a bit more powerful, which for a person like me (who is not the greatest fan of flowery flavourings and scentings) is a bit much.
Two minutes, though—it really brings it down, and allows much more room for the vanilla to come through. And it’s a pleasantly strong vanilla. I still don’t get much from the teas themselves—some green bitterness for brewing this with boiling water, but that’s it. That bitterness is mixed with the sort of… sharpness? You usually get from the bergamot (sharpness isn’t the right word… I suppose bitterness; think the similarities bergamot has with grapefruit), but the fruit isn’t present enough to make you think (or even vaguely remember) earl grey. No earl grey thoughts at all from this tea.
The bitterness does get a bit stronger as it cools, which mixes unpleasantly with the sharp jasmine. Perhaps a cooler steeping temperature next time, although I’m sure that will take away from the additives. It’s odd that it can be bitter and sharp but so creamy and sweet at the same time. The vanilla in this really is delicious.
My first sip is a warm, green butter. The aftertaste is most definitely bakey. It’s odd, but I feel the tension headache that I woke up with lifting already. As I sip more, I get a touch of sweetness in the back of my throat, and a mineral taste on the tip of my tongue. Could be the water, but it’s not unpleasant.
Less of a “fresh green” taste as my other experience with tie guan yin, a little more on the buttery side. This isn’t a bad thing—I rather like it this way. It’s getting sweeter as it cools as well, almost mouth-coating.
I’ve had this before, I just haven’t gotten around to sitting down and typing something up. More will be added onto this post with subsequent steeps.
Second steep is darker, given the leaves were given time to fully reopen. This one’s also at two minutes. The colour is a very nice, spring green. It’s deeper (sharper?), more minerally and less sweet and buttery.
Third steep, four minutes: More sharply (not in a negative sense) mineral and green tasting; no apparent sweetness. Not as heavy and mouth-coating as the first steep. Hints of butter, but just barely. Sort of a steamed vegetable taste, I think. But a bit fresher. I think I am still getting a bit of sweet on the tip of my tongue. As I reach the bottom of my cup, the mineral tang has gotten quite pronounced.
More steeps when I return home from work, I think.
Fourth steep, little change.
Fifth steep (six minutes), it’s been a few days so I would be working from memory. The taste hasn’t grown weaker yet. Mineral, vegetal, and bakey. More bakey now, I think—or at least more than I remember. I can taste it on my breath as I breathe out.
I needed something to calm my nerves, because this day (nay, this week) has been nothing but, frankly, shit. I am apparently going to lose my job, and there is little I can do about it. They thought they gave me a choice, but there isn’t one. Unless “give up school for your job, or give up your job for your school” counts. Except school is why I need a job, thus if one goes, so does the other.
I have a stress headache from furrowing my eyebrows too hard for too long. I snagged this from my mother’s cupboard, because it seemed interesting enough. You can definitely SMELL the spices, and sniffing it, it’s very christmasy. Spicy sugar plum—very fitting. I just threw the teabag in and didn’t even bother with a set steep time—so yeah, the bag’s still in there. It’ll survive. It’s got a good spice base. Not too strong, and luckily the hibiscus (which is very apparent) doesn’t overpower it. I think I’m actually getting some form of sweet, plum flavour in there as well. The spices are solid—cinnamon of course, but there are others (I didn’t look too closely at the ingredients, forgive me).
I think it balances very well; I can see myself snagging a few more bags of this in the future.
Just finished off the box. I’ll have to get more. I really like to have some on-hand for stomach aches. Although I could just buy a chunk of ginger-root and grate some into a cup whenever I need it. Could be cheaper.
Edit: Nevermind, found ONE LAST BAG hanging out behind a few tea tins.
And so I bid you adieu, sweet Formosa. I don’t think we will meet again. Not in this life. I thank you for allowing me to make your acquaintance.