142 Tasting Notes
I’m not usually a huge fan of flavored teas. So it’s a bit of a mystery why I’ve ordered several of exactly that from Dammann Freres. This was my first taste, and I’m pretty happy. I mostly taste a warm vanilla, and it’s somehow both obvious and subtle at the same time. It isn’t a fake or chemical-tasting vanilla, but a nice smooth addition to a smooth tea that I’m sure will be terrific iced as well.
Just yesterday I fell in love with Laoshan Black. And now this? This is like Laoshan Black amplified. Everything is just a little clearer, tuned up, louder. In my opinion, even more wonderful. The rock concert version. This is definitely the new poster on my wall. (Can we get tea posters? Maybe a fan mag?)
Blerg. I hate it when I’m out of step with the other reviews. And I was super excited about this blend. I’m just not getting…wait, wait, wait. Whoa. Let it cool. While it’s generally true my teas taste better when I’m patient and let them cool a bit, this is rather dramatic. Oh my goodness, the tea-leaf base notes, spices, and brightness, and warmth…It’s the grown up version of Constant Comment (to return to my supermarket guide to teas). Yes. Yes, I will buy this again. I will drink it hot in the winter and ice it in the summer. I will require all my friends to ‘just try it’.
And with that, I guess I’ve finished my 50th tasting note since joining Steepster on…January 16th (writing this on January 31). * drops the mic * * twitches a little * * googles ‘tea rehab’ *
This is a brisk jasmine green, and there has certainly been a time in my life when that would have hit the spot. Now I find myself craving a warmer, friendlier jasmine but can imagine this might be perfect during my periodic caffeine step downs when I’m missing the wake up call of bolder teas. I bet it’ll be nice iced too, which is exactly what I plan to do with the rest.
So here’s a tip – Don’t buy the sample size. That just doesn’t make any sense. You’ve read the descriptions. You know how sometimes it can be work to dig up the right words to describe the way a tea tastes? It wasn’t work for these reviewers. The flavors everyone keeps talking about are front and center – as in, nearly like a flavored tea. I’m drinking my first Laoshan Black here on a Friday morning, and it’s hitting me the way a great beer – in this case, a smooth, oatmeal stout – can feel on Friday night after looking forward to it for a few days.
A pleasant surprise! I didn’t love the GABA oolong, but this does add something my black tea spectrum – as described, it IS warm and comforting, very smooth, maybe savory? It feels like a lazy/rainy morning tea to linger over while resolutely not going outside. Or maybe an after dinner tea to settle the stomach. I may just have to keep this one around. And it’s definitely worth trying.
So, from someone almost entirely new to pu’er, I’m a fan. And I can see why people become so devoted. We’re getting a lot of ‘light’ and ‘fresh’ type reviews from the pu’er devotee crowd, and that’s absolutely right, but from the ‘newer to pu’er’ perspective, it still has that pu’er funk in a way that leaves you wanting more. This is a bugger since I’m consciously putting off my anticipated future plunge into pu’er, and I can already feel the cravings coming on. For now, the plan is just to keep this one in stock as long as possible, since it’s hard to imagine being any happier with a single pu’er on hand.
I like this tea. I really, really like it. I’m pretty challenged at describing black teas, since my favorites all seem to be varying proportions of ‘sweet,’ ‘malty,’ ‘smooth,’ and ‘raspy.’ And I like all of those things. I guess the trait my top three have is that those qualities are also ‘balanced.’ I’ve started my black tea explorations with Mandala, and my top three are this, Golden Needle, and Black Beauty. I think I slightly prefer Black Beauty to this because it has less astringency, though Pure Bud is gentle too. I will absolutely finish up this deliciousness, but I think one of the others will be my house black tea, at least for now.