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5 Tasting Notes

1.5 tsp for 100 ml; loose-mesh stainless steel basket in small ceramic cup

Dry leaves warmed in cup.

01 (25s; 158F): Shorter brewing seems to bring out a better side of this tea. A much more balanced degree of astringency, and a very good moderately thick body as well. Not nearly as bitter as the last time, instead with a pleasantly tangy and grassy flavor. A touch of the tamaryokucha sweetness.

02 (15s; 158F): Even thicker body, which pairs nicely with the clean vegetal flavor, balancing brothy umami and grassy sweetness.

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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1.5 tsp for 100 ml; loose-mesh stainless steel basket in small ceramic cup

First thought on smelling the freshly opened dry tea—fennel. Somewhat sweet, rather than vegetal, though none of the berry notes sometimes found with tamaryokucha.

Dry leaf warmed in cup. Could have used a longer warming, but the smell was nonetheless intriguing, as always. Seemed both darker and cleaner than the Mellow Monk mecha and shiraore (“Blissful Buds” & “Frosty Garden”) that I’ve been having.

01 (1m00s; 155F): Not terribly fragrant liquor. Sometimes that comes across more on the second steeping. Medium astringency, with a somewhat upfront mineral flavor. The finish is closer to what I would expect from this tea, though darker like the warmed dry leaf. None of the brightness or sweetness that I enjoy.

Seems like this one will take some figuring out as far as preparation.

02 (20s; 150F): Tried going lighter on this steeping to see if I could lessen the astringency, potentially allowing lighter flavors through. Nice color, and a slightly more discernable nose, with some herb-y notes. The mouth is still pretty unexciting, though on this steeping I’m getting some great semi-sweet herb flavors and a little bit of tang on the long finish. A little bit of “sweet salivation” / cooling.

03 (45s; 158F): Leaf acquired much more seaweed smell. Mouth has a very pleasant, clean feel and taste. Very nice actually. A little more of that tang picked up on the finish of the second steeping, this time in the mouth, pleasantly playing with the herb flavor. Interesting how little sweetness is present. There is definite potential in this tea.

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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2 tsp for 150ml; finum basket in ceramic mug

A unique tea for the black tea that I currently drink regularly, which for whatever reason has been more Ceylon-oriented. I always look forward to pulling this one out.

Used to always brew this in a western style—not a huge leaf:water, boiling water, multi-minute steep—but upon finding that it holds a second steep well even then, I’ve been playing around with other styles. Lower temperatures and higher leaf:water yields some interesting results. This time I’m going in between a bit …

01 (50s; 200F): Infused leaves have a fantastic scent. Feeling the sandalwood mentioned in Upton’s description, plus sweet berry (near-floral?) and a touch of deeper wood. The liquor has a more reserved nose, more on the berry tip than the wood, though that’s starting to come through as it cools.

Nice amount of astringency for me, and nice finish, but in the mouth it’s not as exciting as it has been in the past. Definitely remember the “bass notes” mentioned by gmathis transferring to the flavor—this has the potential to be a wonderfully hefty tea.

02 (2m50s; 212F): Decided to up the time and temp. A little too long I think. Less complex infused leaf smell, much more darjeeling-like. Again, good astringency and a different, but still enjoyable finish. A bit of spice in the mouth, with a suggestion of acidity. Also a hint of bitterness which doesn’t seem to serve this tea well. Good body.

More work to be done with this one …

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Frosty Garden by Mellow Monk
5 tasting notes

~2 tsp for 80ml; loose-mesh stainless steel strainer in small ceramic cup

Dry leaf warmed in cup. Delicious, complex, and full smell of sweet grass.

Changed up the parameters a bit—greater ratio of tea, even lower temperatures. It is interesting trying to find an ideal brewing process with this tea, as it seems fairly forgiving.

01 (1m30s; 155F): Very full flavor and velvety feel, though not overwhelming or bitter. The attack has a flavor that’s somewhere between salty and umami (possibly, not sure about my sense of umami). Perhaps a little too high of a ratio on this steeping, as the mouth notes were a bit muddled together. However, the finish was impressively long in the mouth—I had to run a quick errand after finishing this cup and each breath of unseasonably warm, humid air gave me an opportunity to consider many of the flavors which were more difficult to discern while drinking.

02 (20s; 155F): Much less muddled, as I compensated by steeping a little more water, perhaps a bit short too. Nice sweet and grassy notes, though a less velvety feel and little to no salt/umami.

03 (50s; 155F): Still tasty, very similar to 02.

04 (2m; 160F): You know …

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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drank Frosty Garden by Mellow Monk
5 tasting notes

~2 tsp for 120 ml; loose-mesh stainless steel strainer in small ceramic cup

Delicious complex smell of dry leaf warmed in cup. Heady with grass, sweetness, herb.

01 (1m30s; 158F): Most notable is the mouth, which is smooth, fairly thick, and buttery. Flavor is much less sweet than the dry leaf and liquor smell, tending more towards herb. Some level of drying, though only after (little astringency in the mouth). Not getting the sweet, sweet salivation I have in the past from other gurichas.

02 (25s; 160F): Less thick/heavy mouth. Less drying. Somewhat sweeter flavor. Perhaps a little too short steeping.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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