55 Tasting Notes
Well AmazonV sent me this here tea to “rail against” (hey AmazonV,wink wink) and that’s what I’m gonna do. I just rolled my sleeves up so I can do some good ole’fashioned railing.
…OK she didn’t ACTUALLY direct me to rail against this tea, but rather, after reading my bio saw that I wasn’t prone to drinking flavored teas/blends and so offered me several of them for the opportunity to rail against IF I did in fact dislike one of the selections sent. I should add that I’m probably subconsciously working myself up to saying something less than positive about a tea, not to mention one gifted to me. That aside, on to railing…
Turns out I’m still not there. Though my expectations were not met, there’s still no harsh words to be exhibited for this tea. Lemme start by saying that upon opening the package I was met by a delightful smell…Cracker Jacksish; a mix of caramel,toffee, and molasses. there’s a whiff of something toasty, yet not peanuts or popcorn (I don’t believe anyway).
My mouth was watering during infusion and I was awaiting a strong malty black tea with a rich syrupy sweetness to offset it. I was dissappointed.
Instead, what I found was a faint malt flavor with just enough of the caramel sweetness to keep me from calling it weak. Concerned that I’ve done something wrong I resteeped it cutting the water in half, dropping the temp to just below boiling, and extending the time of infusion. This experiment left me with a gulpable tea that was sweet and had character, thou still didn’t blow me over. I must say,however, that it seems to take the changes well and gained no astringency whatsoever.
tunes-John Lee Hooker=Dark Room/Dimples/Think Twice Before You Go/House Rent Blues/Backstabbers/I’m Bad Like Jesse James.
Sidenote; I love the scene in The Blues Brothers where JLH performs Boom Boom Boom on the street and as it ends JLH mentions that he “wrote this song in the ’fifties”, to which a crowd member argues that he in fact wrote the song and the argument ensues. Good times.
Thank you JacquelineM for a kind and generous sample. This week has stunk and my great reward comes now late into the first half of my weekend, I can write some tasting notes! Admittedly, I did gain some enjoyment by skunking the family at Scrabble, though(a poor winner to be sure… hope this doesn’t come off as braggy).
Really don’t have much to say about Yunnans, this may even be my first. This tea surprised me with how dark it is. I thought for sure that I oversteeped it and poured just a nip out of my press at about three minutes…it was kinda weak. With that discovery I then proceeded to let it go to the end of the five minutes I intended to infuse, next sip was better.
The dry leaf had an earthy smell that was still present once steeped. The first drink struck me as both malty and kinda strong. There’s smokey notes coupled with a dry astringency that even becomes bitter at the back of the sip, though not altogether displeasurable (this from AWM=see previous comment from Ashmanra/Banana’s Foster).
I am so surprised that this tea incorporates three things I generally dislike (bordering dispise) and yet I’m still drinking it. There’s a certain balance in them that I can’t explain. I’m not saying that this tea has changed my opinion of astingency, I’m just saying it’s palatable. There’s even a lingering sweet note that is somewhat elusive as well.
All these things come together to make for a decent, bold cuppa. Sorry if I made no grand discoveries, I just didn’t find any. For another experienced drinker you may be head over heals for this tea and find it complex and all you’re looking for. It may even unlock the mysteries surrounding the meaning of life…
tunes-THE Bob Dylan(whose titles are often so looong)=Ballad Of Hollis Brown/Corrina Corrina/Jack-A-Roe/Wicked Messenger/Girl From The North Country/The Boxer/House Of The Rising Sun/In My Time Of Dyin’/& for some comic relief…Talkin John Birch Paranoid Blues.
I think I will have to do a list entirely of Dylan tunes made popular through covers after seeing several here.
I must thank Azz for this award winnig sample. It’s actually a little confusing though. I don’t know much about the varieties of black tea, nor the differences from keemun, assam, darjeeling, etc. That said, I am confused about the flavor I’m getting from this tea.
The dry leaf smells fruity, yet the drink itself has a stronger malty aroma. the first sip is where the confusion began. Though there is a malty note, it is not overly so. A faint smokey note is present, but stronger is the fruity sweetness that makes itself apparent as the sip is swallowed. I am really surprised at how smooth and light this cup is. Though it is not bold, make no mistake, it still has much to say. I think I made this cup a little strong yet there is only the tiniest bit of astringency. I, ‘THE ASTRINGENCY WEENIE’ that does not normally make his cup strong has spoken; this tea a smooth drinker! I love it, which is good since Kimicha notes that this black can be steeped SEVEN times!
Also note that this is my first cup after sleeping (the third shift switching back to first shift for the weekend kind of sleep that leaves you feeling weird) and yet I welcome it with open arms…I guess that would be mouth eh.
A little more on Azz and my thankfulness to her; she is a peach! I’m sure many of you know that but I still feel the need to exclaim it. You see she painstakingly, atleast I believe it was painstaking- I wasn’t there and she may have just tossed a bunch of leftover samples in a box, though I doubt it, she painstakingly went through her stash and hand selected such a variety as to completely overwhelm a ‘newer to tea’ drinker. Many of the samples were from a depleted bag, but she made sure to give me a taste so I’m very thankful Azz.
tunes-Black Keys(again today)=I’m Not The One/The Go Getter/Sinister Kid/Next Girl/She’s Long Gone…same as earlier I’m just gonna play the whole Brothers album. Black keys rock and if you don’t know it you NEED to. Ask anyone that likes them- they love them and don’t downplay how good they are. Nobody has said to me “they’re OK”, but rather “they rock!”.
Lemme start by giving a great big ‘thank you’ to JacquelineM for a VERY generous sample (I mean, she must of bought a truck full and got sick of it “generous”). I really will resist the desire to rave on and on about the share package I recieved from her and will get on with the note.
I had a high expectation after reading several of the near forty posts on this tea. It seems, generally speaking, we like it- actually more than the creator who gave it a 75.
Being this sample resembled a purchase rather than an act of kindness (I’m just dying to reveal how much there is, but I’m sure that would be uncouth-not that I’m overly couthy) I elected to make a pressful= 8 cups. We normally reserve full pots of anything for the Asian grocery oolongs due to the cost effectiveness. I haven’t broken down the pennies to cup ratio as I’ve seen a few do, but it’s cheap. What the heck, I’m living it up this morning.
Where was I, oh yeah the tea. The tin, when opened, (another bonus, it came in a tin! I’m getting so big time with tins and everything! Thanks again Jacqueline) smacked me upside the head with the smell of a barn! Yep, a barn. It smells like dry hay that’s also very malty. Immediately when the water hit the tea my very ampley proportioned nose was filled with a leather like maltiness that made me think “this is going to be a strong cup”. Again when bringing the cup to my lips the malt smell was so apparent, yet when I took the first sip I was greeted by an amazing mix of flavors/impressions. There is a baseline of subtle malt that shares the stage with some smokiness and a faint creamy sweetness that actually stays with you as an aftertaste. Gentle yet bold.The dry hay is there too, and thankfully it’s not a wet/green hay or this would not be the same tasting note at all. There’s almost a pu’erh thing going on in the backside if the sip (who am I kidding, it’s more a gulp). I can see where most other posts leaned toward a green/grassy descrition as one of the characteristics, though I have to stick with the dry hay choice. For me, it lacks the bitter,sometimes astringent, note I seem to get out of greener tasting teas.
I went ahead and steeped this a second time with fair results. It definitely lacked the complexity and the smokiness that it started with, yet was still considerable as an easy drinking tea. In other words, this second steep was better than some first steeps I’ve came across, and by no means was comparable to the initial infuze.
I’m so thankful that several- Jacqueline,Azz,and LiberTEAS have been so kind as to help me experience many other facets and types of tea that would have taken me months, if not years, to visit. AmazonV, MissMylin, and Autumn Hearth have all pledged to send samples my way as well (unless I already recieved AmazonV’s, which is still to be determined). What a wonderfull community to belong to (sniff sniff) and I appreciate it very much, so many kind and helpful people. OK enough with the sentimental mooshy junk, I gotta get another sample going-this will take weeks to get through.
tunes-the Black Keys=Little Black Submarines/Run Right Back/Sister…turns out the whole El Camino album. It’s all great, as nearly everything they put out is. I have a hard time naming who has more talent between them and Mumford&Sons, yet Black Keys have 7 albums whereas Mumford are just releasing their second.
Ommitted the lead up paragraph so on to the tea, if not abruptly.
The dry leaf has a smokey earthy smell with a malty overtone. Wet the leaves gain a sweetness to accompany the malt notes. The drink is not as dark or malty as I expected. There’s a slight compexity. There’s a touch of smoke that is very well proportioned to the vanilla sweetness I detect. A creamy mouthfeel is starting to reveal itself, though not too strong as of yet. There even seems to be a nuttiness offsetting the tinge of sour bitterness laced through the drink. That bitterness leans toward a chocolate-coffee at the back of the sip. Aftertaste is pleasant leaving my mouth with a clean sweetness, as well as some lingering malty notes.
I tried a second steep against the recommendations of AmazonV’s post (I was sure this came from you but address doesn’t match up-unless you really MOVED) and I should have listened. Though this tea is misnamed (strong black) I still found it very enjoyable and I thank whoever sent it to me.
tunes-the Avett Brothers= Pretend Love/Colorshow/The Ballad Of Love And Hate/Sanguine/SSS/Complainte D’vn Matelot Mourant/Signs
I’m confused! I mean it happens easily but I just can’t seem to get a grasp on what I like and what I don’t. I’m pretty sure I don’t like green teas, not even green oolongs, then this happens.
So thank you LiberTEAS for this sample. I don’t have a lot to say about it. Moroccan Mint is… well, minty. I’m sure that this is a stark revelation for many but I’m known for having a steely sense of discernment so don’t feel inadequate or anything.
On top of minty this drink is crisp and refreshing. This would be a good tea to clean the palate with. I like it…mostly because I don’t taste the green but that’s beside the point. It just means I can’t completely scratch anything off of the list yet.
tunes-Widespread Panic=Pickin’ Up The Pieces/Diner/You’ll Be Fine/Gimme/Impossible/jam
Happy anniversary to me! I’ve been on Steepster one month now. I know, I know…it feels like ages since you’ve first started seeing my posts make my way onto your computer screen…kinda like when I’m talking to my wife about one of my many aches and pains and she says “you’ve been complaining about that for ages” or “it’s been ages since you’ve done something romantic for me”. Hopefully not too many of you associate me with a negative overtone but either way I’ll keep writing until I hear otherwise.
Again I had an errant expectation about today’s tea. I hadn’t read the maker’s description and was unaware that this was a greener oolong. I’m still in an inexperienced state so I’m not sure if the spring picking is why it is that way, but can only assume it to be. The liquor was somewhat a darker brown. Dry leaf was floral and once infuzed it took on a wood/dry grass aroma.
First sip I found to be pretty grassy with a bit of nutty notes and it left a faint sweetness I noticed when I licked my lips. A few drinks later and the nutty had transformed into a wood/acorn note while the grassy notes had increased. More and more I’m seeing the greener tastes phasing out of my personal selections, though this being an oolong and not a straight green tea has made it much more tolerable. I can definitely say that there is little to no astringency.
All in all it’s a fine cup that I could keep on drinking but won’t steep past the second steeping because I have darker oolongs to drink instead. I’ve read online a little about oolongs trying to decipher the greener from darker ones but haven’t seen a formula yet.
Wife was going through her old college CD’s, so the selection of music hinged on that.
tunes-Dave Mathew’s Band=Captain/Grey Street/Two Step/The Stone/ Granny/Minarets
Sadly, it pains me to write this note. I guess I shouldn’t have had the high expectations that I did, though. So many people have written their ravings over this tea and I love bananas and so I thought that this tale would end with me penning, typing rather, the words ‘and everyone lived happily ever after’…such is not the case.
As I said I shouldn’t have had such I high expectation. To clue you in to what this tea was for me I could first mention that I should maybe change my name officially to ASTRINGENCY WEENIE MAN. It seems it has come into play during several of my recent notes. This will be no exception.
I will go into little detail. I will simply say that the drink started out with strong cinnamon flavor with the vanilla/banana coming soon after. The obvious problem is that I could not get through the strong astringent ‘like licking chalk’ sort of ‘mouth devoid of all moisture’ effect it played on my tongue.
I’m certainly sure it’s me, it’s all me (sounds like every other break-up I had in my yoot-youth). Too many others had nothing but good to say about it so don’t consider what I’ve had to say, though my wife didn’t like it either.
no tune,flick (kinda like’no Coke-Pepsi) The Grey/ with Liam Neeson
Thank you LiberTEAS for this sample. I’m gonna jump right in and say that this is a bold cuppa. My palate was a little sleepy from the half hour I laid down- that was supposed to be sleep (4th week on third shift that this has happened) so the first sip GRABBED me. I was about to write something to the effect of ‘if this is Canadian breakfast I’m starting to think that they’re all lumberjacks and steelworkers-including the women’, but within a few sips I got used to and started to really appreciate the boldness it has (and yes I realize that women can equally fill the roles of lumberjack and steelworker. My wife and I are both commercial/industrial painters who may be climbing steel,hanging off the side of a building,or just painting the walls of a brand new hospital on any given day,so no offense intended).
Soon after I got used to the initial boldness I started really seeking out the malt aspect. I must agree with the makers description that there is an oak characteristic, though I’m not too sure how flowery it is. For me the touch of sweet I find is subdued by an equal touch of smoke…almost a mesquite, but ever so slight. I- ‘THE ASTRINGENCY WEENIE’
am shocked to find that the astringency most other taste notes spoke of was hardly present…at first. This may be because, out of fear, I elected to steep this for two and a half of the three to five minutes suggested. At first, I only found slight dryness on the roof of my mouth with very little on my tongue not sure if that’s normal or not.
As the cup cooled, as cups always do, the astringency rose a bit as well as the malty notes. Now my tongue was getting that dry, almost chalky, feeling.
Second steep was three minutes with a little less water. As before the cup started out smoother before cooling. Out of curiousity I checked it when pouring my cup-one hundred ninety degrees farenheit. It’s not as complex either. Maybe a little less water still would be in order. Mostly what’s left is a semi-sweet malt flavor that gains astingency when it cools. That’s all I got, a pretty good cuppa especially to start the day with.
tunes-Benny Goodman=Mambo Swing,Louis Prima=St.Louis Blues/Just A Gigolo(David Lee Roth didn’t write this song),Charlie Byrd=So Danco Sambo/A Carol For All Seasons
Thanks LiberTEAS for this sample. Let me start by saying this is a good tea to break me (or anyone else needing broken in I suppose) to green teas in that I’ve not had but a couple I enjoyed and I am an oolong fan so obvious deduction= green oolongs.
Dry leaf is, as you would expect- green (shocker) and smells floral and maybe even fruity. The liquor steeped to a bright yellow with just a tad of greenish brown. Wet leaf smells very green indeed, kinda like seaweed maybe.
I was happy to see that, although this is a green oolong, it starts out not overpoweringly green and with a certain amount of nutiness in the sip. A faint sweetness is present, aside from the organic kind of sweetness I associate with grasses,but there’s not a strong enough presence for me to decipher what it resembles. The level of astringency is within my embarrassingly low threshold of tolerance for enjoyment. It, as I’m learning, leaves my palate feeling clean without any kind of bitter aftertaste. As the cup cools the grassiness becomes stronger, thereby reinforcing my earlier statement that it’s a good drink to break in to greens with. With the utmost of manners it brought me along into it’s vegative flavor and in turn kept itself from being poured out prematurely. Who knew that common manners could be so self preserving.
Since the cordial mannerisms of this tea were worthy to make mention I also deemed it worthy a second steeping. Fret not those of a frugal mindset; I shall not waste this sample but rather once this note is finished will continue steeping for any family members enthusiastic about drinking it during the wind down moments before bed.
Second steeping; a little info to start- often times I try to split even small samples in half in case I oversteep or something. I’m not stocked up on teaware yet so to do this I use one of those two cup glass pots with the finum basket inside you see at Asian groceries. It loses temp quickly. That said, when I went to steep a second time I forgot to set a timer (do not mock my primitive means you fortunate ‘Breville One Touch’ owners) and it went for maybe ten minutes. To my surprise it wasn’t bitter or overly strong…it seemed fine. I can only now assume that with the rapid temperature loss that the tea ‘stopped’ steeping once it got low enough. It was greener still,with a slightly more dry mouthfeel which may have been due to oversteeping. Generally this was a good tea, just not so much for me with my slowly but surely leaning away from green stuff palate.
tunes-Johnny Cash=Hurt/Rusty Cage/Thirteen/God’s Gonna Cut You Down