107 Tasting Notes
A noted correction, this is top grade.
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample. Up today for tasting we have pekoe gold oriental beauty. First thing I noticed is the leaves are alot of different colors. Almost looking like a white tea with all the color in the leaf. I also got a slight smell of honey before even heating the pot. Heating the pot with about 200 degree water and putting the leaves in, I got a strong scent of honey arising from the leaves.
For my first steep, I went with about 30 seconds and got a really nice honey, sweet, white wine, white grape and maybe honeysuckle flavor. The liquor is clear, light and pale moderately thick. The leaves are so dark after steeping, its quite impressive actually. The flavors and aroma’s in this tea are quite effemoral and hard to pin down, though the feeling of grapes, wine and honey is quite apparent, there might be some other spice and fruit notes I cant quite pick out.
The second steep I went about a minute, and I got a much darker color liquor , a medium honey color now and the flavor and aroma are quite a bit stronger. Grapes, wine and honey are still the predominant flavors at this point, but maybe flowers, or peaches. There is definitely something else there but Im not sure what it is. The taste of wine sans alcohol is so much more pronounced now, that really is an unusual flavor. There might be a bit of malt flavor too. Its really interesting what happens when the bugs bite the tea..
Third steeping, I went for about 2 minutes, seeing if I can push this tea a little. The color got slightly darker, but the aroma is about the same. Still wine flavor, but maybe a bit darker now, very interesting. This tea has been wonderful, Ill steep it out a few more times. Sunday I will be tasting the bug bitten oolong and comparing.
Highly recommended for anyone who likes tea with honey aroma!
Flavors: Honey, Honeysuckle, Sweet, White Grapes, White Wine
Flavors: Honey, Honeysuckle, Sweet, White Grapes, White Wine
Thanks to Yunomi for this sample. Up today we have ceremonial grad G1 matcha from Yunomi. According to the little sheet that came with it, the leaves come from Wazuka, Kyoto.
I started by prepping the matcha bowl but I did not heat it. I find I prefer to use slightly hotter water and then let it cool quickly in order to dissolve the powder without burning it. Pouring in a small amount of 175 water, I started to whisk quickly to get a good froth going. I was pleasantly surprised that it was easy to get a rich froth on the top of this tea.
After preparing the tea, I poured it into my tasting cup, and got a very thick dark green liqour with a light head of lighter green froth. The flavor is incredibly umami with strong grass, vegetal notes as well. Its also slightly sweet with only a very very tiny bit of bitterness on the end, in other words just right. I do adore a good balanced tea. I did prepare this tea a bit on a strong side since I wanted to get a full flavor profile, but matcha is very adjustable to taste.
Now one of the things I did to really put this tea through its paces, is let the last couple sips sit for a few minutes because sometimes that brings out the bitterness, and it didnt. It stayed rich, creamy and umami with that same hint of bitterness at the end.
Highly recommended if you enjoy dark green tea or matcha.
Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample. Up today we have Shanlinxi sunlink sea high mountain. I started by heating the yixing with 190 degree water and putting the dry tea leaves in and giving a little shake. I got a strong peach, stonefruit, and buttery aroma. Then filling the pot and letting it steep for about 40 seconds on the first steep. I decided to just give it a longer steep instead of rinsing.
First steep produced a fairly pale yellow liqour, and had aroma’s of honey, peach, and flowers. The peach flavor is the strongest with other stonefruit also making an appearance. A bit of maybe apple as well. This is a very subtle tea , though it is quite thick and sweet. Very nice for relaxing with when you really just want to sit down and explore subtle flavors.
Second steep is a bit stronger, now butter, nutmeg enter the mix as well, but peach is still the most prominent flavor. I think there is a bit of other spice as well, maybe allspice. Its still quite subtle but very complex. I really like the way all the flavors are blending together in this brew.
Third brew is more citrus, apricots, apple and nutmeg. Also there is still a bit of honey but its not quite as strong now. Its still soft, smooth and buttery. The tea broth is now slightly darker and more golden as well. This is a wonderfully complex tea, and very light, subtle and floral. Perfect for that moment when you need to just sit down and think about the tea and nothing else.
Flavors: Apple, Butter, Floral, Honey, Nutmeg, Peach, Stonefruits
Thanks to Yunomi for this sample. Looking at the leaves they are incredibly dark green and long and very fine. I get a bit of aroma of grass and green leaf vegetables from the dry leaf. Not at all unusual aroma’s for a deep steamed sencha. Heating the water to 175 I poured around the edge of the pot to not burn the leaf.
Brewing it up I get a very intense vegetal and grass aroma from the steeped liquor, it is also a medium green and slightly cloudy. Tasting it, I get umami, grass, green vegetables and a bit of butteryness. There is a slight bit of bitterness on the finish. I would recommend this tea for early afternoon as it seems to be rather energetic. The tea broth is very smooth, and refreshing which gets me curious how this would be iced.
This is the first time I’ve gotten to try an aged sencha, even though it only has about a year of age on it. Im actually curious what this would taste like if it was given more time. I have heard about aging sencha, but this is the first time Ive gotten to try it.
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Spinach, Umami, Vegetal
Thanks to Yunomi for this sample. Up today for tasting we have Hattori farm and this next part is a bit of a mouthful, Karigane Genmaicha Leaf Stem Brown Rice Tea. It’s a stem tea like kukicha it seems, with toasted rice. I started by bringing the kettle to 175 and getting the glass kyushu out.
Brewing it for 45 seconds as soon as I lifted the lid I got a very intense toasted rice and nutty aroma. The liquor is a pale olive green, probably due to the quite ample toasted rice in the tea and that stem tea is a paler color than leaf tea. Tasting it, I got brown toasted rice, nutty, vegetal and sweet grass flavors. Its very very smooth and easy to drink. This makes a perfect lunch or afternoon tea as its easily strong enough to hold up with food, and smooth enough to drink a nice mug of. It would also go well with a nice afternoon snack.
Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Vegetal
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample. I started by heating the yixing with 200 water, putting the leaves in and giving them a little shake, and I get a nice light floral aroma. Maybe a bit of honey and nutmeg as well.
Giving it a brew of about 30 seconds, I got a liquor that is light, clear and very pale yellow. The aroma’s are pretty similar to before, but the taste has stronger spice and a bit of buttery to it. Its not as strong as cinnamon, more like very mild allspice. Nicely sweet and quite pleasing.
Second brew I get even more of the nutmeg now as well as maybe marigold or some other light floral fragrance. Its not strong or intense like rose or lavender. its very soft and mild, but im not familiar enough with floral aroma’s to really pin it down. I really love how light and floral this tea is.
Third steeping, the color of the liqour is just a bit darker but the flavor and aroma is about the same. I get a bit more butter in this steep, I think its a bit thicker as well. I really like this tea, it makes a great mid morning tea for its lightness and aromatic quality.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Nutmeg, Sweet
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample. Today we have up a black tea from Taiwan. Ive tried a few black tea’s from Taiwan and usually they are very good.
I started by heating the gaiwan, and using about 205 water. I figured I wanted to brew this a little hot and strong to get all the flavors. I get aroma of chocolate, mineral, citrus, and a bit of sweetness from like caramel. The tea liq our is dark red brown, and fairly clear. It has a flavor matching the aroma profile.
Second brew I get a bit more spice, possibly nutmeg or allspice. Tiny bit of astringency in this brew as well as a stronger citrus. Very nice though still, a bit of pleasant sourness as well, perfect for a get up in the morning tea to wake you up.
Excellent black tea, recommended for anyone who enjoys a good cup of black in the morning.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Citrus, Mineral, Nutmeg
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample. Up today for tasting we have Mi Xiang bug bitten oolong. Opening up the package I could see this is a darker green tea, showing some amount of roast on the tea. I heated up the yixing with 205 water and gave the tea a little shake, and a nice honey aroma came out of the pot. Giving it a super quick rinse to help the tea to open up a bit. I smelled a bit of minerals, nuts and hay? Something like that, though its kind of hard to put my finger on.
First infusion I got a light colored very clear liquor with an intense aroma of honey, and nuts, sipping it I also got that taste of minerals, and some sort of fruit, maybe stone fruits and I still keep thinking hay, but that implies dryness.. maybe oats.. its something like that. Now Im thinking breakfast…. honey, fruit and oats..
Second infusion, I get a strong aroma of honey, even more intense than earlier. Im getting more mineral as well as maybe a slight sourness, but that could be a stonefruit flavor as well, there is sweetness at the end of the sip as well. Still getting a nice nutty flavor as well, and the color is a bit darker.
Third infusion, the flavor of stonefruit , sweet and nutty is the predominent flavor now. It is so smooth this infusion. This is really lovely, I wish I could describe this better. The color is just a teeny bit darker as well. All in all I really do like this tea, and its been a wonderful experience.
Flavors: Honey, Mineral, Nuts, Oats, Stonefruits
Thanks to tea bento for this sample. Today we have BALHYOCHA from korea, which is an oxidized tea. This is a pretty dark black tea, and I started by heating my yixing for black tea and using about 205 water. Since I keep hearing about the deep chocolate flavors of this tea, and higher temp usually brings that out. I got a strong aroma of chocolate, nuts, and a bit of fruit, dark fruit like dark plums.
Brewing this up , I skipped a wash as I wanted to get the full flavor and feel of the tea, and I dont think black teas really need a wash. Sipping I got a flavor of chocolate, the dark fruit flavors as well as a tiny bit of citrus, honey and a teeny bit of pleasant sourness. Its a bit sweet as well, and a touch of caramel. Very interesting tea , I was a bit surprised that it is from Korea, its so rich and sweet.
This is quite the interesting tea, I might have to get some more to see what some variations on brewing produce. I highly recomend at least trying this tea, if you like black tea at all.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Honey, Pleasantly Sour, Plums
Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample , up today for tasting we have charcoal roasted Dong Ding oolong. I started by heating the yixing to get it nice and hot and then adding the leaves and giving a short little shake. I got a very strong aroma of Honey, roast, char, anise and Caramel. I decided to skip the wash on this as I dont want to lose the flavor of the roast which usually comes out strongest in the early roasts.
First brew I got much of the same aroma as the dry leaf but more intense, the dark honey flavor especially so. The liqour is a medium dark color and the flavor added in sweet and cinnamon as well. I really love how the yixing clay brings out the spice notes in oolong, it really makes the tea shine. The flavors in this tea are quite complex and trying to pick out all the different spices is very interesting. I do like this tea alot.
Second brew, I brewed it just a bit shorter as the tea has opened up a bit at this point. Ohh right choice, the flavor and aroma of char and roast is much stronger in this brew.. so nice.. sweet, honey, and caramel are still there but also a bit of minerality at this point as well. Also might be a slightly coffee flavor as well at this point, but its hard to pinpoint that with the strong roasted flavor.
Third infusion the tea is slightly lighter in color, the minerality is more in prominence now as well as sweet and cinnamon, the roast and char is starting to fade at this point, but there is still nice spice notes. This tea is a wonderful afternoon tea with the strong flavor profile, perfect for going with a sweet snack. I really recommend this one for any who likes the stronger roasted tea.
Flavors: Anise, Caramel, Char, Cinnamon, Honey, Mineral, Roasted, Sweet