94 Tasting Notes
Since I’ve been revisiting several of the green teas in my stash this week, I figured I should do this one too. I think it’s my favorite of all my jasmine greens. I’m not really sure why I prefer this one over the Fuding Yin Hao jasmine in drank a few days ago. This one smells and tastes a little sweeter to me…not sure if that’s from the leaf type or growing region or something else. Like the Fuding Yin Hao, this one is April 2019 harvest tea with May jasmine flowers.
I decided to use my smaller glass gongfu bottle, 175° water, 120-ish ml, steeps starting at 15-ish seconds, just an eyeballed amount of leaf because I’m lazy. When I don’t weigh the tea I try to aim for slightly less than I think I need and then add more if the flavor isn’t strong enough. I don’t like my greens overleafed and I have a long history of being rather heavy-handed with teas and spices so if it looks to me like it couldn’t possibly be enough it’s often just right :-P
I’m not sure what else there is to say about this tea. Like with many jasmines teas, I can really only identify jasmine in the flavor and aroma. They all just smell and taste like jasmine to me. I can tell if they’re different teas but I usually can’t describe what’s different about them very well.
This is another one of those teas I pretty much only bought because the leaves looked pretty and bright green in the pictures. Matcha and jasmine greens used to be the only green teas I drank regularly but I’m starting to really like these more delicate greens. I have the spring 2019 harvest.I started with a gaiwan and then scooped the leaves into a bottle to experiment with Grandpa style when I got tired of trying to keep track of the steeps. The individual leaves are relatively small but it looks like the tip of each branch (?) was picked as a cluster. I’m no expert on these things but it looks like two leaves, a bud and a bit of stem in each cluster. It’s stiff and pine needley dry and takes up quite a bit of room. I filled my gaiwan most of the way with dry leaves and started with steeps of about 10sec with 180° water. Not sure if I’ve mentioned my water in other notes but I usually use bottled spring water for tea because my tap water smells quite a bit like dirty fish tank to me. Each steep seemed to have a different main flavor…snap pea or sort of tofu beany or some kind of leafy green or floral. Fresh tasting and light but not weak at all. My empty cup smelled kind of spicy in a way that reminded me of Biscoff cookies or maybe snickerdoodles. It was a long day and around steep 5 I was getting tired and not sure how much longer I wanted to pay attention to steep time but the tea still had plenty of flavor left. Into the double-walled glass bottle it went to see how it does grandpa style. It seemed just as tasty and much less work.
I haven’t had a jasmine tea in a while so I went fishing around in the green tea box and this was the first one I pulled out. It’s probably my least favorite from Yunnan Sourcing’s jasmine lovers sampler but it’s not a bad tea at all (the bi luo chun was my fave, followed closely by both of the jasmine pearls). I’m drinking the spring 2019 harvest.
Being lazy tonight so it’s just a good sized pinch of tea in the tiny gaiwan. I’m not entirely sure where my scale is (downstairs with the big tea tray/table maybe?) and it’s been long enough since I’ve had this tea that I don’t remember what tea to water ratio I thought worked best for it anyway. Kettle’s set to 175°. Going to try not to spend the whole night drinking tea because I need to be up early (for me) to spend the day helping my grandfather with stuff. I am not a morning person. At all.
Dry tea smells strongly of jasmine and not much else. Brewed tea also smells heavily of jasmine. Tastes like jasmine. Lots and lots of jasmine. I’m not sure I can taste the tea much at all, just jasmine. It’s not as sweet as YS’s jasmine bi luo chun but it’s got some jasminey sweetness and it’s smooth. While not my favorite jasmine tea, I can happily drink this one all day long when in the mood for jasmine. The jasmine definitely isn’t subtle but I like my floral teas pretty flowery.
This is the final tea of my White2Tea Halloween ripe minis pack. So far I’ve been pretty pleased with all of them. I haven’t thought any were gross (which is good because I still have several of each left!), even if some might not have been exactly what I was in the mood for at the time. Planetary Shark Feed is still the favorite of the bunch.
I sort of had a little accident while getting ready to drink this one. I spilled my “salty water” (water with Nuun fruit punch flavor electrolyte tablets) and some got on the Lumber ball wrapper. The tea ball itself doesn’t smell fruit punchy so hopefully it wasn’t enough to affect the flavor. Going with the smaller gongfu bottle, filling the water side slightly past half full, guessing about 120-130ml.
I don’t usually do two rinses but I did this time, hoping to remove any fruit punch flavors that might have gotten on the outside of the ball. It smells like…soggy bark and pine needles. Like when the snow starts to melt in the woods. Things aren’t frozen anymore but they haven’t started to dry out yet. Or maybe wet campfire. Not really smoky but like the day after you put out your campfire with water. I don’t know but it smells woodsy. I smell a little bit of something sweet too…I hope it isn’t from the fruit punch. The first steep was lighter than I expected. I thought I’d get a lot of really earthy flavors but it was more drinking tea in the woods than drinking the woods for tea. Second steep was a little stronger but not much different. I’m liking the Lumber ball more than I thought I would. I was afraid it’d be just dirt and wet leaves and wasn’t looking forward to it but thought I should give it a try anyway before figuring out my next tea orders. Each steep gets a bit more earthy but I like how it eases into it instead of punching you in the face right away. Funny how teas you don’t really think you’ll like can surprise you.
I think I’m making notes for the right tea…the photo looks like loose tea but mine is in pyramid teabags. I’ve never had anything from Teatulia before. I found this tea in the organic section of my local grocery store and thought I’d give it a try. It looked like it’s the only Teatulia tea the store decided to carry. I’m trying it brewed western style using the time and temperature recommendations on the package (2-3 minutes, water just off the boil) and also tearing open a teabag to try it gongfu style in a gaiwan. The package does not specify what kind of white tea this is but gives the description “abundant white flowers & peach blossoms with a nectarine connotation.”
Dry leaf fragrance is lighter than the shou mei and moonlight whites I’ve been gongfu-ing lately. I guess I can maybe smell something sort of like nectarine or peach. Maybe.
Western style: steeped about 2.5 minutes, I wasn’t sure how “just off the boil” they meant…most western style instructions I’ve seen for white teas suggest a lower temperature like you’d use for greens…I don’t know how accurate my kettle’s temperature readings are but I tried 180° in a glass mug that had not been pre-warmed. The brewed tea is a pretty light golden color. It smells less like actual fruit and more like how certain kinds of flowers smell slightly fruity. I get occasional whiffs of something that smells like cereal or some kind of grain. Not sure what that’s about and I don’t smell it in every sniff. Flavor is light but pleasant. There’s something fruity-ish, but I’d almost say more melon than nectarine. Aftertaste is more peachy. Some light floral in the background. Something a little bit green but it doesn’t seem like grass or hay to me. A little bit sweet. It’s all relatively subtle but there’s a decent amount of interesting things going on. It’s pretty consistent with my western style white tea experiences. It’s maybe not the fanciest white tea ever but it’s pretty good for a grocery store find and I’d drink it western style again if I’m in the mood for a big mug of tea.
Gongfu: contents of one teabag, 50ml gaiwan, water about 200°, super quick rinse and then steeps starting at about 15sec. The leaves in the teabag I used for western style looked less broken up than the bag I opened up for gongfu. Lots of teeny bits. A strainer probably would have been a good idea. Wet leaf smells really sweet with more of a vegetal green thing going on than I had with western style. I tasted the rinse because I’m weird like that. It wasn’t great. Made me worry the water was too hot. First steep definitely harsher and more astringent than western style. More of that green vegetal stuff than fruity or floral. Maybe too hot or needed to start the steeps shorter. Shortened the second steep by a few seconds to see if that helped. Nope, still kinda gross. Dropped the water to 190°. Maybe a little better but still not doin’ it for me. Dropped down to 180°. Better but still not good. I usually go higher temperature for gongfu than western style so I didn’t think I’d need to go this low or lower. I can’t go much shorter on steep time with this setup, I’m clumsy and it takes me a certain amount of time to put the kettle down and adjust the gaiwan lid for pouring. I sort of feel like I should experiment until I find the right temperature and steep time because this is probably a user error thing, but at the same time, the broken up leaf bits are a pain in the rear and I’m not enjoying this at all. I have too many other teas I think are delicious to waste time and energy on something that doesn’t smell or taste good.
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This is one of the few Tea Drops teas I like. It’s still outrageously sweet like the others (who at Tea Drops decided this was “lightly sweetened”??) but I expect Thai iced tea to be pretty sweet. I think it helps that the Thai tea has stronger flavor than most of the other Tea Drops so it feels a little less like you’re just drinking a mug of simple syrup.
I don’t follow the instructions exactly when making this one. The tea is really sweet by itself and if I add the whole packet of condensed milk it’s too syrupy for me. I like to dissolve the tea cube in a small amount of hot water (I’m lazy so I just swirl it around in my cup instead of stirring), add about half a packet of the condensed milk, swirl it around some more, then fill the cup the rest of the way with water and let the majority of the sludge settle to the bottom (it’s not instant tea or as finely powdered as matcha). After drinking maybe 2/3-3/4 of the cup I add more water and the other half of the milk packet. The second cup doesn’t have as much tea flavor but it gives me a little more tea and helps use up the open milk packet. While I enjoy Thai iced tea, I’ve always made this hot.
I think Tea Drops are rather gimmicky and overpriced and I’m not sure I’d buy another box of these unless there was a really good sale but I’d drink more of it if I was given a box as a gift. They’re okay for a quick sugar fix but there are probably tons of better (and cheaper!) options for Thai iced tea that don’t require much more effort. I’d only recommend this tea if you like REALLY sweet tea and don’t mind a big pile of sludge in the bottom of your cup.
I’ve been putting off trying this one, maybe because of the name? I don’t know. I’ve drunk other teas grandpa style without any problems but this one makes me think of how my grandfather drinks “tea” (big scoop of Lipton lemon flavored instant powder with cool tap water, keep reusing the same glass over and over until someone realizes you’ve been using that glass all week without washing it and swaps it out so they can soak off all the chewing tobacco slobbers glued on the sides).
Trying to give this tea a fair chance and not be grossed out before I even try it. Grandpa style, as recommended by the wrapper, 14oz Tryeh double walled glass bottle because I’m trying to remember if there was a reason I don’t use this bottle very often. Dry tea just kinda smells like tea, the wrapper had an odd sour scent but maybe it picked up smells from something in the ripe tea box or was a different kind of paper than the others. Brewed tea smells sweet (but mercifully not like grandfather’s sugary instant tea!). Maybe sort of breakfasty? Like waffles and coffee and other breakfast foods all mashed together. Maybe almost some black licorice in there somewhere? Cinnamon? I spent quite a bit of time just breathing in the steam as I waited for the tea to cool enough to drink. Maybe that’s why I don’t use this bottle often, it takes too long to cool to drinkable temperature but doesn’t hold heat well enough to keep drinks hot all day. And the outside of the bottle gets pretty warm for being double-walled. Flavor is strong but smooth. There’s a kind of brown sugar or caramel sweetness. I don’t know what I was expecting from this tea but it wasn’t this. Something about it makes me think of a little diner full of older couples at breakfast time, one of those places where the customers have been going there for breakfast every weekend for the last 60 years. It’s not wild and exciting but I like it. I have several balls left so I might experiment with other brewing methods but grandpa style works pretty well.
Usually the teas I’m sure I’ll love end up being the ones I’m pretty meh about. Fortunately (because I bought two cakes before tasting it), Buddy is an exception. This is one of the few raws I’ve tried that tastes good to me hasn’t upset my stomach.
Because 2020 was the year that just kept giving, it had to squeeze in one last migraine before the new year. I’m finally feeling like I can focus on things without wanting to barf so it’s time for some tea. Baby gaiwan again because I don’t know how much tea my stomach will tolerate right now, silver lined rainbow teacup today ‘cause we’re feelin’ fancy!
Dry leaf smells kind of like a fruity green tea. Wet leaf smells like summertime. It reminds me of a warm summer day, a few flowers blooming in the grass. There’s a bit of fruitiness but I couldn’t really say what kind of fruit. I’m sure it’s mostly the story Yunnan Sourcing shared in the description of this tea but it makes me think of my doggy nephews napping in the grass in the sun after a hard day of playing. A nice summery tea to forget about the snowstorm outside for a while. There’s some bitterness but the flavors are well-balanced and it’s not overpowering or unpleasant. Sweet aftertaste like I just drank some fruit juice. Like most teas, I think it gets more bitter as it cools. If it tasted the same cold as it does hot I think it’d make an excellent iced tea. I feel like I say this about a lot of teas but this is a relaxing, happy tea. I’ve gone through almost half a cake in a few months so I think this is one I’ll need more of. It’s really tempting to just order a tong but there are so many other YS teas I want to try.
Still working my way through the big White2Tea ripe minis Halloween pack. I think I only have Grandpa’s and Lumber Balls after this.
The wrapper smells like fruit (is it weird to sniff the wrapper?). Dry tea also smells fruity but not as much as the wrapper. After a quick rinse the wet leaf smells sweet like caramel and dried fruit (black raisins, maybe?). I started with the little baby gaiwan because it was clean and within reach but but it was too much tea for such a small brewing vessel. And I wasn’t really tasting any of the caramel-y fruity stuff I was smelling. So after three or so steeps I scooped all the leaves into a mug and went grandpa style until it lost its flavor. Not fussing with short steeps gave me time to leisurely sip and browse teaware. I realized I don’t have a larger “real” gaiwan and should probably do something about that. I have plenty of pots and easy gaiwan/quick-pot type things but no big regular gaiwans. The tea is smoother and more pleasant grandpa style than brewed with a too-small gaiwan but I still couldn’t taste the interesting things I could smell. It’s not a bad tea but disappointing that it smells better than it tastes. Maybe stuffing it down to the bottom of the tea box and forgetting about it for a while will improve it. It’s still drinkable as is and White2Tea’s description of it being an uncomplicated daily drinker seems pretty accurate. Maybe it was those first few concentrated steeps and drinking them on an empty stomach but the “tea derp” is pretty strong with this one. I feel like I need a nap.