911 Tasting Notes
David’s Tea points rolled over and I decided to pick up 50g of this for old time’s sake. It also seemed like the perfect way to get around not having a milk oolong while remaining on my tea buying hiatus (I want Mandala’s Milk Oolong soo badly). Needless to say, I’ve been drinking this tea at work everyday and nothing else.
While this oolong is no subtle beast and ascribes to the same general “hit you in the mouth with all my dessert powers” David’s Tea swagger, I like this one. It’s like all those Wine drinkers who stick up their noses at those over-the-top oaked California Chardonnays because Butter. Sure, it’s uncouth and removes much of the subtly, but butter is delicious. I love that I can have so much butter without ingesting a ridiculous amounts of fat calories.
Here’s to butter, crass California Chardonnays, and this special oolong. You are not complex but you know what you want! I respect that.
Flavors: Butter, Cream
I’m going to leave this at about 70 because the tea base’s conception of vegetal isn’t entirely working for me. It more often than not turns into a dark bitter green (kale, collards, asparagus, bancha), as opposed to a nutty, mineral, or sweet grassy green which I tend to lean towards. The jasmine is pretty mild and lovely though.
Flavors: Asparagus, Floral, Grass, Jasmine, Kale, Vegetal
This is another sample from Bear With Me, received at the Victoria Tea Meet-Up 2015 (omg). Despite the vacuum seal and preserve pack I worried this one had gone bad when the dry leaf smelled of marine. My fears were put aside after I gave it a rinse however; dry marine morphed into an undeniable liquid honey. Leafhoppers are beautiful bugs.
To taste, this is a subtle cup compared to other bug-bitten teas. There’s a bit of honey, a hint of malt, and flowers. Like with the Hua Gang Oolong, I’m not sure whether to attribute its delicate profile to age or tea type (or both).
Steep Count: 2
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Flowers, Honey, Malt, Molasses
Well, then.. this tea! This was part of a gift bag of tea samples that Bear With Me gave me back in 2015 (I still need to reciprocate). It’s such a delicate tea that I would’ve been tempted to chuck it if it weren’t for the vacuumed sealed package, with those little “fresh” preserves.
Even given the age, this is one delicate tea. I left it for over an hour at one point and it still came out tasting like flower butter (no astringency or bitterness). The flavour profile did not change much from one steep to another but it’s probably not fair to judge an old tea on how dynamic it is.
10/10 would pick up more of this type of oolong (need more Li Shan goods). When I finally eliminate all the junk tea in my cupboard, I will resume my oolong exploration in search of the perfect butter.
Steep Count: 4
Flavors: Butter, Floral
Erm… I guess this is sipdown because the entirety of the tin is now on the carpet. Thank you, crappy lid. I’m pretty sad about this one because there were at least 10 cups left in there.
Some of the rooibos and fruit pieces fell into my Ghost of Jasmine Dragon Pearls and that, at least, is nice.
Hurrah for impromptu vacuuming!
I thought we’d consumed these dainty aromatic pouches ages ago, but here we are with one still kicking around the tin 6 years later. Why this tea wasn’t put out of its misery earlier is a mystery to all.
Despite being isolated and alone in pouch, which was in a tin, away from outside all influences, this tea smells.. sullied. Like banana, cinnamon, and ((fermentation)) spirited away this old veteran for one last midnight pleasure cruise, full of smelly and sinful debauchery, before being discreetly returned by the rosy fingers of dawn to its equally rosy albeit derelict tomb of metal. Spooky stuff.
The taste paints a similar story to the smell except it’s being told to your tongue instead of your nose. RIP Jasmine Dragon Pearls.
12th Day of Christmas Teas
This blend makes a nice spiced cup; with a milk substitute I found the dessert-like (caramalized sugar) qualities come out more but the ginger spice is neutralized a tad. Either way, it’s a comforting tea.
I meant to finish the last of this up in my travel mug for my first day back at work on Thursday. However, when I arrived my coworkers encouraged me to take another day or two off, as my eyes are still kind of pink and infrequently gross (those coworkers are going on a trip in a couple weeks and reaaally don’t want to catch anything). I went to the Doctor’s instead, who told me that 1) it was caused by Strep, 2) the antibiotics I was given meant my eyes shouldn’t be contagious anymore (so I could’ve technically worked), and 3) returning Monday isn’t a bad idea because I have a cough, which is also unlikely to be contagious (yay sinuses?). So.. I drank the tea at home, and that was fine too I guess.All in all, this week has not been super for my social or work life, and I did a poor job of realistically communicating how much time off I needed to my boss and coworkers, but I think I physically need this right now too. These blends from 52teas have also all been decent to excellent and provided further motivation to clear out the dregs of my home and work tea cupboards. There are teas that are from 2012 in there and they are sad specimens indeed.
I guess 11 days in isn’t too late to make some more New Year resolutions!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Burnt Sugar, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Nutmeg
11th Day of Christmas Teas
I seem to have poor consistency luck with rooibos and honeybush. The first cup was kind of medicinal and thin on the caramel and bread, the second cup was the most heavenly of caramel syrup cakes to make angels weep, and the last cup was just good but not on that level.
I’ll assume that the average of those experiences means this is a pretty decent rooibos blend but I’d have to try more and play around with my rooibos steeping parameters before really judging it (that’s my way of saying I’d probably buy more if I wasn’t on a tea buying hiatus).
Flavors: Cake, Caramel, Cinnamon
10th Day of Christmas Teas
I really liked this one and so did the relatives that were over the day I scratched it off which means it did not survive the day and was not subject to great analysis.
I do recall that the eggnog flavouring doesn’t hit as hard as Butiki’s old Creamy Eggnog or A Quarter to Tea’s Eggnog Poundcake. Its subtlety of spices and hinted egginess was the perfect crowd pleaser around the holiday’s though. I also remember the black Yunnan base being super smooth.
Flavors: Eggnog, Malt, Spices
9th Day of Christmas Teas
The trick with this one is to let it cool for a bit to get rid of the green blend’s more abrasive vegetal tendencies. Once that’s been done away with you have stellar chestnut praline tea, with a hint of vegetal smoke from the gunpowder/chunmee blend. I dig this but would also love to see how the flavouring would play off a more buttery or nutty green (probably just craving a good dragonwell or similar right now so I should probably drink the old one that’s wilting in the back of the cupboard).
Flavors: Chestnut, Cream, Nutty, Smoke, Sugar, Vegetal