87 Tasting Notes
I gave this a pretty long steep with extra leaf and was rewarded with creamy chocolate goodness. It looks like the long weekend is going to be a cold and wet—a good time to hack away at my alarmingly large stockpile of Chinese black teas.
A cool foggy morning, waiting for the sun to shine and enjoying a gut-warming cup of one of my faves. My new favorite band, The Futurebirds streaming on Spotify and the kids off with my wife for an hour—a bit of calm plucked from what promises to be a busy afternoon of yard maintenance.
Funny, I didn’t get any astringency from this cup, even with a 4.5 minute brew time with near boiling water. Instead, like El Monstro, I found this to be a fruity yunnan with medium body, a nice change from the very rich yunnans I’ve been drinking lately.
I returned from my uncle’s funeral service and was compelled to have a cup of this tea as it represents the rebirth of nature after a long cold winter.
I haven’t had this in a while and I forgot how well-balanced and enjoyable this is for an everyday tea. More spicy than sweet, with a hint of raisin and cinnamon. Seems immune to bitterness.
I like the soft wither style of darjeelings because I feel they result in a darker, richer cup. The current fashion is for darjeelings to taste more like oolongs, so it’s not easy to find teas of this style. Luckily, Upton always procures a couple. This cup has a pleasant roasted note and a deep muscatel aroma. There’s not a hint of the astringency that can make darjeelings temperamental and it tastes like wild grapes chased with water from a cold rocky stream. A tea like this one is always one of the pillars of my tea collection.
This has a similar flavor profile to other Yunnan teas I’ve been drinking but it has less oomph than I would like in a black tea, even with extra leaf and a longish steep. It does have a nice flavor of bran muffin with raisin and a hint of honey, making it a pleasant, easy tea to drink.
Sometimes I enjoy being a contrarian when the vox populi is overwhelmingly laudatory about something. But in this case, I just can’t. I don’t know what it is about this tea, maybe it’s the perfect balance between spice and sweetness, or the brininess encapsulated in each mouthful, but my thirst for this tea is never slaked. I’m drawn to it like Ishmael to the sea.
I steeped this for a good 5 minutes, thereby ensuring that the the earthy, forest-floor flavor would be emphasized at the expense of any subtler flavors. That’s fine by me—what drew me to ripe pu-erhs in the first place is the muddiness. I’m more likely to do short, multiple steeps for green pu-erhs. This 2007 tea is very easy to drink: smooth and sparkly.
The sun comes out intermittently and teases us with spring, but when it leaves it feels like March. I’m not sure whether to have a fresh or floral spring tea to remind me that warmer days are coming or a darker black tea to warm my core. I spun the wheel and ended up with the last of this very nice Assam—not too heavy, pleasantly fruity, easy to drink straight any time of the day.