159 Tasting Notes
This is a nicely balanced black tea akin to a medium-bodied Assam. It has just the right amount of sweetness and could serve as a perfect morning cup, especially on this wind-whipped New England fall day. A little bit of smoke and leather to keep you interested.
Oh my God, my mouth is still salivating three hours later and it won’t stop. I’ve been hoarding this for a few years, parsimoniously steeping some here and there. It’s so delicious, with a mix of butter rum, cherry pipe tobacco and eucalyptus. This tea vibrates from the throat down to the chest, with a cooling, mellowing essence.
It’s nearly 10 years old now and it’s fascinating to experience the metamorphosis to deeper tones.
I’m quickly becoming a fan of these Glendale teas. Others’ descriptions are spot on: the muscatel (and light body) of a first flush darjeeling with a unique papaya/coconut/mango element that reminds me of tropical lifesavers. Yes there is some astringency but I’m willing to live with it given the uncommon and intriguing blend of flavors.
Another session with this delicious tea. A little more bitterness this time but probably because I used a prodigious amount of leaf. I continue to enjoy the creamy caramel notes in this one.
On a different note, I’m glad to see that the change in seasons has resulted in an uptick in the steepster activity, or is it just me?
First of all, I want to thank Big Daddy for suggesting we split the Nilgiri sampler from Teabox. I’ve had a few basic Nilgiri teas over the years but nothing like the offerings from Teabox, which delves deeply into the Nilgiri terroir and unearths some true gems.
I hesitate to call this autumn tea “black” because the liquor is so light-a pale orange akin to some slightly aged raw pu-erhs. The flavor is reminiscent of a Taiwanese black, herbal with a strong fresh tomato essence, but also fruity and sparkly like a Ceylon. The tea is slightly bitter, but it’s offset by an equal amount of sweetness.
A very singular experience! Gorgeous dry and infused leaf. If you think you’ve tasted everything under the sun, give these Adderley Twirl teas a try.
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Ineffable rock-candy sweetness with notes of corn and hay, the broth generously lubricates the mouth and is quite persistent in the throat. I’m really amazed at the consistency of this tea that steep to steep pumps out consistently sweet, clean, full-bodied mouth-watering liquor with no ebb in flavor and no bitterness. People talk about price per gram of tea, but maybe there should be a price-per-excellent-infusion category in which the Guang Feng Zhai would challenge for supremacy.
This is a dynamic, complex and powerful young tea that starts out sweet and almost buttery with a pleasantly lubricious mouth feel. Make no mistake, this is a bitter tea, but it’s a productive bitterness that coaxes out the flavors of the tea (apricots, nuts and maybe a hint of anise) in the same way that the right amount of salt enhances good cooking. It’s tongue numbing in the middle steeps, and the flavor slowly morphs from fruit to vegetable as the session continues. Another delicious young sheng in the $50/cake range from Yunnan Sourcing. I shared this with some sheng-newbies at work and they loved the mix of drinkability and complexity.
I’ve developed a sweet tooth for many of the YS wild arbor black teas (which often hail from the same villages and mountains as their raw pu-erhs), so I thought I would check out a different kind of black tea. I was rewarded with a really nice cup, albeit one that is a little tough to characterize. In one sense it reminds me of a red robe oolong, a tea that I’m not particularly fond of, but wedded to a creamy, cannabis-scented maltiness and you get a delicious and forgiving tea that can handle a longish steep and extra leaf. It’s very nice to drink in the evening on the cusp of autumn, when the perfume and dried fruit seem to presage the coming season.
Next up on the YS sample tour is another excellent young tea from Bang Dong village. The aroma of the dry leaf is uniquely toffee-like and reminds me of my favorite candy bar: Skor! The first steeps are floral with a caramel sweetness and a nice mouth-coating viscosity. A luxurious creaminess emerges around steep three or four along with a tip-of-the-tongue sweetness that persists through the 10 or so steeps.
This tea really performs best when pushed to 30 seconds or so; the creaminess and floral notes are allowed to shine while the bitterness is still kept at bay.
Another very satisfying raw pu-erh which deserves a place in my decidedly lo-fi storage area—a kitchen cabinet that my wife grudgingly sacrificed to my addiction.