406 Tasting Notes
When I first opened this tea I had not read about Compagnie Coloniale’s unique steam flavouring process so I was at first concerned about how shiny the leaves looked. They appear almost wet or like they are coated in oil. The picture included with this tea doesn’t really capture that element. Though the tea is quite visually appealing with its deep pink and blew flower petals scattered among the dark shiny leaves. The tea smells of a slightly liqueur like cherry mixed with marzipanish almond notes with a faint kick of spicy fresh ginger with it’s slight lemon notes.
This tea does not tend to get astringent when brewed at higher temperatures but you can adjust the temperature to bring out different flavour notes. Cherry and almond are the first notes detected, though the almond notes are best detected when the tea is hot as it cools it moves away from a marzipan note to more of the creamy nutty and a touch woody note of raw almonds. The cherry is not a candy note. At times it hints of liqueur and other times it reference dried cherries. When very hot the ginger is not prominent in the taste but as it cools it becomes more present. I also got stronger ginger notes and a more dominant cherry when I brewed the tea at @ 90°C. Also present was a touch of cream and at times vanilla. The base tea is fairly inoccuous. It is pretty smooth and doesn’t present a lot of texture to the taste. It is a little fruity, and has a bit of malt, and darker slightly earthy and grainy tones, and perhaps a bit of pastry notes. I used a level tea spoon in 225ml and found it just shy of being a little thin, which is a little surprising given the broken nature of the leaves.
Given that the flavouring is very nice and I really like the mix of ginger, cherry and almond. It generates a nice warmth in the body. A bit of sweeter may bring out a bit of more fruitiness in the tea and might thicken the density of the tea on the taste buds.
Altogether I am happy to have this tea in my cupboard!
This tea is an entry level tea from a brand with a close to 300 year history in Xiamei village and offered a very nice introduction to it. The teas description was honest and fitting and I found it to match the flavour notes and resiliency promised.
I have experimented a bit with water temperature and leaf ratios and depending on how you brew it you can emphasise fruit, exotic wood, and or caramel notes. The tea has mild soft floral notes and a good amount of cocoa. Overall it is quite enjoyable.
I used around 1.5 TSP of leaf in a 100ml gaiwan. The leaf is thicker and a little darker roast than another da Hong Pao I own at a moment and it is also much less floral. I started with water around 95°C. This time I brought out a lot of cocoa and fruit notes during this session.
30s scent: Fruit, stewed plums, soft spicy floral notes,cocoa, caramel, amber, cherry, roasted notes
Taste: roasted grain, spicy leaf note mixed with stewed cherries and brandied plums, caramel, cocoa, cream, sandalwood and amber. As you sip it the fruit moves to the forefront, with a boozy, spicy, powdery floral scent tempered by cocoa powder which increases in intensity in the aftertaste.
35 spicy herbaceous floral mix with cinnamon, fall leaves, soft spicy floral notes, sandalwood, and amber, over cocoa, faint roasted notes, caramel, cherry and plum and hints of mineral ttones mixed with cream, both peppery and creamy on the tongue. As it cools, cream and cocoa move forward over the other tastes.
40s cocoa, caramel,fruit, amber, roasted notes, cream, vanilla, soft floral notes. With spice, cocoa, and fruit in the aftertaste. Cocoa is heading towards the dense chewy notes of a browny.
45s. Caramel, roasted notes, warm exotic woods, sandalwood hints of resinous aged cedar, and amber, spice, pepper and cinnamon, cream, cocoa, apricot, vanilla and fading soft floral. cocoa again emerges on top as it cools.
60s caramel, amber, cocoa, vanilla, roasted notes, mineral notes, cream, hints of sandalwood, and pepper and more savoury spice. Cocoa, caramel, cream and roasted notes dominant.
80s cream, woody notes, cocoa,ash, mineral notes, caramel,vanilla, and amber.
2 min30s apricot, caramel, ash, amber, hints of artichoke, cocoa, cream, mineral notes and spice.
4 min, cream, apricot, artichoke, spice, honey, fading cocoa, mineral notes, resinous woods. Cocoa and mineral notes and hints of ash in aftertaste.
6min. Similar to above but weakening.
10 mineral, apricot, caramel, artichoke, ash, cocoa,grainy note.
The seller kindly repackaged it in his brand packaging with a beautiful line drawing print of Xiamei village and a map of the tea route between Wuyishan and Russia.
Altogether I do enjoy this tea and had a great experience with this seller.
This tea is a nice accompaniment on this rainy cold night. It is bright enough in flavour to bring some warmth and light into the experience but has enough death in both flavour and texture to be comforting on a night like this.
The tea once poured is a warm oak colour with a scent of warm strawberry compote, cream, baking chocolate, butter pastry and a savoury note.
The strawberry flavour on top tastes like fresh cut slightly sun warmed ripe strawberries with a touch of tartness over a a slightly fruity and herbaceous base tea with cocoa notes. A dark bittersweet chocolate mixes through both the base and flavouring notes with a touch of cream and vanilla. The tea is heavier and not as creamy as Zen Teas strawberry cream, with deeper bitter notes from the chocolate and base. It is not as thick or dark tasting as Butikis Red Queen Cupcake. It has a flavour that lies somewhere inbetween. The strawberry is bright and fresh tasting and very faintly floral. Chocolate settles towards the bottom of the cup as it sits leaving a more copper coloured brew. There are hints of baked goods and the last sips taste of strawberry flavoured hot chocolate. The tea is mildly tannic with a body dense enough to take milk and other additives. The second steep has richer chocolate notes and a texture more reminiscent of baked goods.
This tea makes a nice strawberry black for any time of the year.
I admit I purchased this tea out of curiousity, a purchase review stated that it was a tea they had been looking for and had finally found after trying 30 suppliers. I was wondering what would be the draw for this person. Having had it using gongfu method twice I can say this is an intensely sweet and resilient black tea. I got many steeps with stewed apricot citrus and sweet cherry notes mixed with molasses on top and a nice deep base with cocoa, malt, and coffee, mixed with leather and earth. At times there are mole spice notes of cinnamon, chili and thyme, and baked goods notes ranging from charred crust to butter pastry. The tea is intensely sweet in its early steeps. It almost gave me a sugar headache! Altogether quite enjoyable.
It can be found here:
Sample sizes: http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Promotion-of-high-grade-tea-Yunnan-Dianhong-2014-2-bags-Free-shipping-Buy-more-get-more/723612_2012109496.html
The dry leaf smells of fruit and cocoa and are mostly long flat blades with a mix of golden buds and longer dark chocolate brown blades at about a 50/50 mix.
I used 2.5g of leaves in a 140ml gaiwan at 95°C.
The tea had a red toned copper, slightly peachy colour with a yellow gold ring around the edges.
45s Scent: cocoa,hints of smoke and roasted notes, stewed fruits, apricot, red fruit and citrus notes.
Sweet and spicy up front with cocoa and darker malt notes underneath with molasses and hints of roasted notes with a touch of char. Stewed apricots, hints of citrus, and sweeter red fruits up front. It’s interesting because I under leafed this yesterday (2.5g/200ml) and got more leather, earth notes which are pretty well hidden in this steep and the tea was brisker. There is a faint hint of leather in the deeper base notes. Savoury spice notes, hinting at a mole sauce with cinnamon, hints of thyme and chili. In general very sweet with a rich deep base that may appeal to coffee and shou puerh drinkers. The tea has a good dose of caffeine and a hint of briskness with a thick rich texture on the tongue.
30s scent: similar to above with stronger malt tones
Cocoa,molasses,apricot, hints of sweet cherry,less citrus, malt, hints of charred crust,creamy buttery pastry, hints of coffee, mole spice, very sweet lingering aftertaste. Thick dense texture on the tongue with a light briskness creating a cooling texture on the tongue.
40s. Scent: cocoa, red fruit, molasses, malt, apricot, hints of pastry.
Cocoa, apricot, red fruits, citrus notes, molasses, malt, butter pastry, coffee , mole spice and hints of earth and leather, less intensely sweet.
60s indistinct cocoa, molasses, fruit mix.
Apricot, cocoa, molasses ( very sweet again), hints of butter pastry, coffee, malt, cinnamon, hints of earth and leather, and a tarter cherry note.
100s. Scent similar to above
Tarter with malt and red fruit, cocoa, fading molasses, citrus notes some cinnamon.
160s. Similar to above with a slight grain note and some briskness.
240s weakening with molasses fruit and artichoke.
This tea is not as sweet as some teas of this style I have had. Instead has an interesting combination of tart malt and fruit notes and bitter cocoa with some grain notes and touches of molasses and sweeter fruit. An interesting fig note appears during some steeps. Altogether it makes a nice and interesting everyday tea.
I steeped 1.5tsp in 200ml of 95°C water. I got several steeps out of this tea and enjoyed it all day.
50s First notes are malt, and a slightly apply fruit tone mixed with barley. Underneath is cocoa and the deeper bitter tones of molasses. Smooth but robust and deep flavour. Has some nice sharp tart tones countered by bitter and slightly sweet tones. As it cools tart tones and bitter notes soften with more grainy cocoa notes and touches of honey. The tea has a certain liveliness on the tongue, not really s astringency but a sense of evervesence like a nicely pulled espresso.
40s. More cocoa and grainy notes. Cocoa and malt are dominant. With a bitter cocoa note. Grainy notes thicken the tea followed by fruit and molasses notes. The fruit note is an apple plum note. Hint of dried fig.
50s similar to above slightly more grainy, with a hint of cream. Malt, cocoa,plum, and fig still present. Hints of savoury spice, lemon thyme and cinnamon.
90s similar but weakening.
3 min malt cocoa, fig, light grain notes and a touch of molasses.
The dry broken leaf tea has a sharp tang of orange softened by sweet, warm and round fruit notes.
After a 3min25s steep, the tea is wafting scents of baked goods mixed with grainy malt mixed with cherry note softened by the strawberry and peach notes and tempered by the orange.
Orange, malt, and a denser baked good note ( like scones) are the first flavour notes apparent. The tea feels dense in the mouth and could easily take additives. In later sips cherry and strawberry are present in the initial burst of flavour before dissolving into orange. The tea has a strong dose of caffeine and while not astringent feels kind of bracing. Having said that the tea with its dense texture is slightly bready but not overly tannic and is generally smooth. As the tea cools further the sweeter fruit notes become more apparent and balanced with the orange. While I feel no particular need to own this tea, the quality of the base and the subtlety in the flavouring confirms my interest in eventually making as phone order to try more of Betjeman and Barton’s teas. Thanks Dexter for giving me a chance to try one before doing so!
I have had tea by this company before but bought through a reseller. I picked this up during an Aliexpress sale and got about 250g for under 7$. The tea itself smells of malty chocolate and grain notes with a touch of sugar. The leaf consists of fairly long thin flat folded blades that are dark chocolate brown with occassional hints of golden tips. http://instagram.com/p/t5wNzvmK_E/
I got this tea as part of my search for an amazing Lapsang I’ve sampled before. This is not that tea but it is still very nice. This tea has a higher degree of malt than some Lapsang I have had, it also has a sort of bready texture which is reflected in the taste of some Gongfu steeps. I steeped this tea in both western and Gongfu styles. While the western steep has a nice scalded milk hot chocolate flavour in the first steeps, it really only lasted three steeps so I was expecting great resiliency when steeped Gongfu style, surprisingly I got 9 steeps out of it.
I steeped 3g in 150ml of 95°C water. My steeping times were 5,15,20,35,45, and 65s then 2,5 and 6 minutes. The first steep was a deep aged saffron colour after which the tea was a red toned bright copper.
The tea smelt of: cocoa,longan,apricot, hints of citrus, caramel, malt, faint hints of smoke and roasted notes, cinnamon, and a touch of molasses.
It tasted of: cocoa,longan,apricot, hints of citrus, caramel, malt, faint hints of smoke and roasted notes, cinnamon, sandalwood, and pepper, barley, cashews and a touch of molasses. The last few steeps were mostly malt, cocoa, and grain notes as the tea began to loose complexity after steep 5.
The tea had a fairly bready texture as a result of a mild astringency and tannins. And had hints of malty greasiness in even the early steeps.
Although the western steep is tasty this tea does very well as a Gongfu tea. It does have a good body to it and lies in the middle of the scale in strength of flavour of the low to no smoke Lapsang Souchong’s I have had. It is very enjoyable and I don’t regret purchasing this huge bag.
As a side note, this company shipped very quickly and I received it earlier than some of my Chinese purchases. I did have a small issue with some items being absent from my order. However this was addressed immediately and without complaint by the seller. They sent the missing items along with some extra samples almost immediately. I held back confirming my acceptance until all items were received. Overall I was impressed with their professionalism and would do business with them again.
I look forward to comparing this tea with the fall tea, as I have a few samples of it.
Capital Tea Ltd sent me a new batch of this and I though I’d try it today.
The tea is a beautiful bright toned copper red. The scent is of malt and spice with tones of yam, cocoa, butter, warm toned stone fruit and honey underneath.
The top notes are spice and citrusy malt. The spice is slightly floral and is savoury with cinnamon and hints of thyme, mixed with lemon tones in the malt. This is followed by smooth plum and yam mixed with honey and a bit of cherry and a stronger cinnamon note with butter, finally the tea portrays a mild bitterness from malt and cocoa. This is a rich, mildly bitter toned and spicy sweet, malty tea with nice fruit and spicy floral notes.
I steeped this tea for 3 minutes versus 3.5 minutes for last seasons tea, but the differences I noticed between these two batches is that this one may be more floral and seems to be less thick tasting with less of a molasses note.Regardless this tea is quite strongly flavoured and would support milk well. It makes for a very nice start to the day.
The dry leaf of this tea smells of vanilla custard and chocolate and is composed of large pieces of broken leaf orange pekoe and occasional short pieces of vanilla bean. The leaves are thin and tightly folded blades.
I breweed this tea for the recommended 3 minutes at 95°C. The tea brews up to a rich golden red with a gold ring around the edge of the cup. It smells of vanilla custard with a warm sweet vanilla note behind it with a touch of caramel and cream, a hint of malt and tarter fruit is peaking out behind the vanilla.
The first sip is a blend of a cooler vanilla taste, a bit like that found in good ice cream, mixed and balanced with a light bitterness from malt. It leaves a cooling sensation in the mouth. Underneath is a faintly vegetal note mixed with slightly tart stone fruit. There is a hint of an almost eucalyptus note and there is a caramel note up front that mixes with the vanilla. Best drunk slowly to fully appreciate the warm vanilla notes dissipating in the mouth and opening up first through malt, fruit and ahint of wood and cocoa, then finalling to a cooling eucalyptus. The vanilla is up front in the flavour and is distinct. Their are hints of it in the aftertaste but the aftertaste is more a blend of fruit, eucalyptus and bitter malt tones with the vanilla to temper them and smooth them out. Quite a nice vanilla tea. The vanilla is quite natural tasting and distinct, but does not overpower the tea itself which is quite robust. I could easily restock this in the future.