417 Tasting Notes
I think I am reviewing the same tea as the others. This is from the 2012 harvest, and was purchased from the Republic of Tea website, as the Rare Tea Republic site no longer exists.
I wrote a nice long review of this, and then Steepster had one of its issues. I’m not going to rewrite it all. I will say that this is a good tea for sitting back and watching the wheels…
My family is Irish, so I grew up drinking Assam-heavy blends. My mother’s family emigrated from Ireland when she was an adolescent. My father’s side of the family has been here longer, but they may be even bigger tea drinkers. I have a cousin on his side who just turned a year old, and he already takes a cup Barry’s in his bottle both in the morning and at night. “Decaf at night, of course!” defends my aunt, but let’s not get into whether or not this is child abuse…
Anyway, my point was that I love Assam, and this one is now one of my favorites. It’s a little less sweet than the Assams I tend to like most. This one’s strength lies in, well, it’s heartiness and strength. A great cup!
The scent of the dry leaves is heavenly. I was enjoying their smell so much so that I almost didn’t want to brew it- it is sweet and fresh like the finest jasmine perfume and not cloying at all.
The wet leaf also smells great. I smell the jasmine, some pleasant vegetal note (I’m almost entirely pulling this out of my asterisk, but I will say bok choy), and (seriously) banana cream pie.
I made more of this to compare to the Subtle Roast Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong from Verdant Tea’s Reserve Club.
This tea is very sweet and easy to drink. It has a a much more subtle smokiness than the Verdant offering, and the leaves are smaller and more tightly rolled. I have to admit that I like this tea much better.
Ok. So, smoked teas aren’t my favorite. Also, you should never take my tea ratings as being what I think the objective quality of a tea is. My ratings are just for me, and they’re a measure of how much I like to drink a tea.
It’s smokey, of course. This was actually more smokey than I expected after having another “subtle” Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong from Aroma Tea.
In the first steep there was the aroma of hard cinnamon candy, but I couldn’t find it again after that. There was also the aroma of molasses. There are lots of woodsy/forest smells. This tea has a bitter note mid-palate which I have tasted before, but I have a hard time describing. It’s something similar to the flavor of that delicate layer of “skin” that covers a walnut.
I wish I knew what kinds of vegan food to pair with a tea like this. While I like this tea, I don’t like it enough to save it for drinking on its own.
I have so many new teas to try, but when I decided to have some dark chocolate and marzipan this morning, I wanted to have one of my favorites to drink with it. Yum!
Also, this is the first time I’ve been able to drink this tea without getting a song in my head that has “fo sho” in the lyrics. This is mostly because I currently have a really powerful earworm.
My favorite part is the “Larchmont country club” part. I grew up there, and went to many Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. None with werewolves. :-(
What an interesting tea! First, it has this unusual quality that I don’t love, (but only in the aroma of the wet leaves) it has this very savory/salty smell that I can only describe as smelling like ham water. I’ve only found this in one other tea I’ve tried so far (a gunpowder green) and I wonder if other people have had a similar experience or if they describe this same smell differently. I’m sure I wouldn’t mind it as much if I could conjure up a different image than a cube of ham in hot water.
Anyhow, this is a really nice white. I feel like it is helping my palate to determine the characteristics specific to a Darjeeling regardless of how it’s processed. It is sweetly floral and does have that classic muscatel characteristic.
I’m in love now! Lingering in my mouth is a satin-smooth French vanilla. Although I fail to describe the different flavors here, this must be the most complex white I’ve ever tasted.