Norbu Hong Mao Feng black tea w/roasted mate. 3:2. It’s not bad.
“Yes, I drank tea today. Yes, I am lazy, but I was also busy all day, so in an effort to not post lame reviews about teas I drank hours ago, & have reviewed plenty of times, I am once again...” Read full tasting note
“So the highlight of the tea festival for me? Vanilla Matcha in….ORANGE JUICE. Yeah, i know. I would never have thought to do that but...” Read full tasting note
“Labelled: Anhua Hei Cha 2009 Aged Black. From Dexter. Thank you! I have no idea what this is. So of course I decided to try it! It’s pressed like a cake, and although I left the largest pieces in...” Read full tasting note
“Since I’m in the neighborhood, I stopped by press tea and had the Wild Himalayan Black Tea. Last time I had it with cream and I felt I couldn’t properly gauge how the pressed tea...” Read full tasting note
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2016 Sheng Olympics
As part of the #2016ShengOlympics organized by LiquidProust, I decided to do a side-by-side tasting of all three Verdant “old tree” shengs. I figured with 50ml gaiwans it should not be overwhelming (I was not entirely correct; it’s still a lot of tea!)
Here’s the teas before the start of the session:
And here’s the aftermath showing the most intact and largest leaves I could find:
I took each tea through 11 steeps over several hours in round-robin fashion using 3.5 grams of leaf in each 50ml gaiwan with 205F (+/-2F) bottled spring water heated in a clay boiler. I let the tea guide my steep times, ending up with 10/10/10/15/20/30/40/60/90/120/300 seconds for each one.
All of the teas were quite mellow with mild aromatics and easy on my stomach. And the energy imparted was moderate; I never felt too wired.
300 Year Tree: Light yellow liquor. Aromas of pine in the first half of the session, turning tart and fruity in the latter half. Medium bodied, slightly oily mouthfeel. The flavor started fruity, turned to sweet-tart citrus with slight spice in later steeps. Some faint astringency in the beginning and again near the end when I pushed the steep times. Overall a decent mild young sheng.
1000 Year Tree: Medium yellow liquor. Aromas of pine in the first half, turning to old books, then spicy-tart near the end. Medium bodied, fairly oily mouthfeel and a soothing feeling coating the throat in most steeps. The flavor was primarily sweet-tart with slight spice and pine notes appearing at times, and citrus and herbs arising in the later half. Faintly astringent in the longer steeps. I liked this one just a little better than the 300 Year, mostly because of the feeling in my throat.
1800 Year Tree: Medium-dark yellow liquor (but not quite amber). Aromas were primarily tart, sweet, faint pine, woody, turning fruity sweet in the long steeps. Medium bodied, slightly oily mouthfeel. Flavors started as a sweet-tart balance with faint pine, citrus emerging in the mid-steeps, some herbal notes, ending with light sweetness and slight pepper. No astringency. This one edged out the other two in terms of flavor, but just barely. My notes repeatedly show “a mellow, smooth cup”.
Any one of these would be a good beginner’s sheng since they were all quite mild and well behaved. In truth I cannot pick a winner since they were all so similar. I had to really focus to pick out the differences. Also I did notice some slight camphor mid-session, but since that can carry over in the mouth from one tea to the next I could not attribute it to any one tea.
So what did I learn after drinking about a liter and a half of tea in one night?
(1) When I closed my eyes I felt I was swooping around the cosmos with “Rocket Man” playing in my head.
(2) Drinking this much tea leads to truly epic pee sessions. (Wife: “Did someone leave the water running?” Me: “Go back to sleep dear”).
(3) A few of my Steepster friends keep weird hours on Instagram as well.
(edited to add “2016 Sheng Olympics” at the top)
A friend asked to come over and make cards together. We had leftover Snickerdoodle cupcakes that my youngest daughter the awesome baker made. I asked my friend what kind of tea she would like it, as I usually serve sweets with a plain black tea unless I have a fruity tea that matches the flavor of the dessert. She said she normally liked fruity flavors but that didn’t seem like a good match with dessert, so I mixed Hot Cinnamon Spice half and half with Queen Catherine to tone it down a little. I don’t want to scare away tea newbies!
It went together really well, the cinnamon was present but not as “in your face” and the more cupcake I ate, the better the tea tasted with it. I think it came out as a really great pairing.
And yes, I just did a review that said we are all sick with a bad cold, but I did tell her and give her the option not to come, and she said, “I’m not afraid of a cold!” :)
Urgh. This is annoying me so much not being able to do tasting notes, I think i’m just going to review my cold.
This cold is an interesting one: initial steeps were very hot, ending in me sleeping only four hours last night which wasnt great. The body is medium sore, with the headfeel definitely strong enough to be in the ache category but not as strong as, say, a migraine. My nose is also blocked so im frequently having to bump this with sudafed.
The most amazing thing is the mouthy feeels & huiguan, I just cant taste anything! for three days! Oh how fun that has made drinking tea. They are on to a winner with that one.
medium to strong astringency
I steeped this in a 100ml gaiwan with boiling water
First time using this random tea template! I am glad someone made this, as currently I am drinking tea that I only know ingredients of, not the name or vendor. So here we go.
My mom kindly got me a tea gift set that came with a very cute plain white teapot that reminded us both of Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast. The tea, however, is not looking too great. So far I have tried 3 of the 4 that were included in mini glass jars (which I will keep for tea storage, they are perfect!), and only liked one.
The one I am drinking right now is just labelled as “Green tea with tropical fruits and flower petals”. It’s alright, but the flowery aroma is a bit strong for my liking, and it’s hard to taste the fruitiness or green tea base. That being said, it’s a huge improvement from the tea I tried this morning: black tea with flower petals. I kid you not, this tea is so flowery I thought I was literally drinking a cup full of roses. While it smells very nice, it’s not something I look for in a tea. This experience prompted me to create my own tea giveaway thread, since I don’t see myself going back to these teas anytime soon! If you want to try them (or other teas I have listed), go to my tea trades thread:
There were two other teas in the set, one of which I haven’t tried yet. One was a black tea with coconut that was pretty good. I can see myself finishing that one in time. The last one seems pretty straightforward: jasmine green tea. While I know what this should taste like, the flowery trend of this gift set has me a bit wary. Hopefully the jasmine will not be too strong!
On the 17th day of sipdowns…
I got this in a swap but I’m not actually sure what it is… It’s in an Adagio tin labeled “Pearl” but the list I received from the swapper said there were two other Adagio teas but no Pearl. I decided this must be Strawberry Shortcake from the list (though it doesn’t taste like it.) It was good, but not as wonderful when iced. I’m not terribly let down that I can’t figure out what the tea is but it was interesting to try to decipher the tea without having an ingredient list.
Flavors: Berry, Cream, Fruity, Spices
Beorhthraefn included a sample of 8 Immortals Dancong by Sereni-tea in the Secret Pumpkin package. Thank you!
Brewed in an infuser mug. Steeping times: 2 minutes, 4, 8. The wet leaf smells muscatel and like wet rocks. The liquor is clearly golden, full-bodied, and juicy with white grapes. Can’t really evaluate the quality considering my lack of experience with Dan Cong, but this was nice to drink.