43 Tasting Notes
Thank you to the teaguy for providing this sample. This one took a while to get a tasting note of because I struggled with it a little. I have never had a first flush darjeeling before and I brewed it wrong… twice… This is a bit of an unusual tea, its a very early spring picked tea and its less oxidized than most blacks, leaving alot of green leaf, but it’s not a green or an oolong, its a black tea. So of course I brewed it at close to boiling.. got very bitter and astringent, then I used a bit less leaf and took it down to 200, same problem… I looked up about first flush and found out 190 is the best brewing temperature to bring out the floral and fruity tones this tea is revered for. So here we are on take 3 of the tea…..
So first infusion using a yixing to make it a little easier to brew this as you can brew a bit harder in a yixing without getting astringency. Okay now this is what Ive heard about this tea. 15 second steep, 4 grams, 80 grams water at 190…. and now we got something nice, floral, fruity, grassy, and just a slight hint of that creaminess that you get in blacks. Very nice.
Second infusion a bit of honey comes out now, and it tastes a bit more like a black tea, the first infusion was very much a green tea almost , now the subtler dark notes are starting to come in. I like the way the flavor changes as it gets infused more, its also losing some of the astringency.
Third infusion oh wow… creamy golden liquor, creamy honey floral flavors. This is excellent… smooth, easy to drink. Its like a black tea but with the light notes of floral and fruit mixed in. Im now wondering if I should have rinsed the tea first to get rid of some of that early astringency because this infusion is wonderful!
Fourth infusion and I got many of the same flavors and notes and for a black tea this is steeping out really well over time. Im seriously impressed now. It got slightly darker at this point as well, dark golden but still not into the redish gold liqour of a black tea.
Im sure this will steep out for a few more infusions at least. Probably about 8 total.
This tea is wonderful, but its a bit finicky on the steeping, it has many properties of a green tea and that requires a bit of experimentation and testing to work through it, but that third and fourth steepings were absolute magic and made the wait and the work worth it.
I recommend this tea for anyone who likes first flush darjeelings and for those who dont mind putting in the work to get those wonderful flavors to come out.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Honey
Thank you to the tea guy for this sample. Starting off with a 80 ml yixing, I started with nearly boiling water and let it steep for just 15 seconds in the yixing. I usually dont rinse black teas as they really dont need it.
First infusion I got a clear red liquor, with aroma of cocoa, malt and nuttyness. It also has a very intense black tea aroma, and you all know what Im talking about. Tasting I got many of the same flavors as well as smooth sweetness. This is a very easy drinking tea, that is actually just right for breakfast, when you need something smooth and easy to drink.
Second infusion produced much of the same, with the color getting just slightly darker. It also had a bit of creaminess this infusion, and for a black tea its holding up surprisingly well over infusions. I have a feeling the blended tea is releasing it’s flavor as each tea hits its release point.
The third infusion is a bit weaker, but still has good flavor and aroma, black tea’s generally dont get too many infusions even when done gong fu style, but this one seems to be holding up reasonably well.
I figure this has another few infusions to brew out, the flavor isnt overly complex, but in this case its a good thing, its a breakfast tea, which is something that should be smooth and easy to drink. I had this without milk and sugar, but Im sure it would go well with both. I might post another review later with adding both of those.
I recommend this tea for someone looking for a smooth, easy drinking tea to relax with. This makes me think of a winter tea, something you might drink to get warm on a cold winters night.
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Nutty, Smooth, Sweet
Thank you to the teaguy for supplying this sample. I started by measuring out 5 grams of leaf and getting my glass teapot for this one as I want to bleed off that heat as fast as possible. Since I want the jasmine to come out and then not the astringent flavors. With green teas, I dont wash the leaves, they open up just fine on their own, and green has less staying power than oolong or puerh, you wind up loosing too much of the flavor.
First infusion I got a very strong jasmine aroma and slight floral and grassy notes which is pretty common for green teas, it was a little overshadowed by the jasmine but not overly so. The flavor was sweet, balanced, slight tanginess, and grass and floral. There was a bit of astringency on the tail end which is fine, a little astringency with greens is normal and expected.
Second infusion brought out more of the grassy sweetness, there was still a teeny bit of astringency on the back end but it was slightly reduced, the tanginess was gone for this infusion, but I still got floral and sweet notes. The Jasmine was still pretty predominant but the other flavors are coming out more in this infusion.
Third infusion the jasmine flavor came down a little more, and more of the sweetness is coming out now as the green tea flavor takes over a bit more prominence. Maybe even a bit of honey flavor, the astringency is also almost gone at this point. Grass, floral and sweetness are the main flavors and aroma.
I figure this will steep out maybe two or three more times 4-7 infusions is about normal for a green tea. Keep your steeps short on this tea, otherwise some of that bitterness could get intense.
I highly recommend this tea for fans of jasmine, and for fans of light balanced green tea. It has a very good balance between green tea flavors and jasmine.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Grass, Jasmine, Sweet
Thank you to the Teaguy for providing this sample. Today we have 10 year aged shou pu’erh tea. I started by examining the leaves this time, as the leaves looked really good for unpressed shou, reading the description I found out this is a lighter fermented shou. Starting with rinsing the yixing and then giving the tea a quick rinse, once was enough as the leaves were very clean and being unpressed opened quickly. I got a clear red liqour with just a hint of darkness, pretty much what you would expect from a lighter fermented shou.
Getting to the good part now I brewed the first one for about 5 seconds with a 6 second pour. I got a slightly darker liquor this time with nice earthy, caramel nutty aroma. Though it was earthy it was lightly so, not at all any damp or swampy notes. Sipping it, it was sweet, lighter, creamy. Very smooth, and maybe a bit of honey and raisins.
Second infusion got a bit darker still which is fairly normal for a ripe, the flavors also got a little more intense. Though the notes were still the same, nutty, raisins, caramel. Rather on the sweet side as well. Though the liquor is still very clear with almost no particulate breakup that you sometimes see in ripes.
Third infusion got darker still, more earthy and nutty notes coming out now, though still a bit sweet. And its still quite smooth, it actually isnt as intense as I would have expected at the third steep. Usually an aged ripe is practically pounding you with the flavors at this point.
Fourth infusion im starting to see a bit of a drop off in color as the leaves fully open now and start giving up their flavor and color to the tea. Still very flavorful, with nutty and earth still predominant.
Im expecting this to steep out quite a few more times, it seems to be a bit of a slower steeper because of the lighter ripening. Less intense over more time.
I highly recommend this tea for those that like a lighter ripe, something smoother and easier. Not so intense and especially if swampy or wet tastes of shou have turned you off in the past, this has absolutely none of them.
Flavors: Caramel, Creamy, Earth, Honey, Nutty, Raisins
I started this off by rinsing my duanni yixing with hot water, then putting the leaves in and taking the aroma, I got a wonderful floral and fruity aroma that is often associated with Tie Kuan Yin, after giving it a quick rinse to get the leaves to open up. I noticed there was almost no dust or particulate which is usually a sign of a higher grade oolong.
First infusion gave me a very pale light honey colored liquor, and a bright floral aroma. The leaves havent fully opened up yet at this point, so the liquor was very light, with a nice refreshing mouthfeel. I usually dont second rinse Tie Kuan Yin even though you can to get to the good infusions quicker, I find that is just throwing away very drinkable tea.
The second infusion was slightly darker, with a creamier feel, a stronger fruity and floral aroma and taste. A slight nutty and grass flavor also peeks in at this point, there is also a very tiny tingle on the tongue. It was still very clear honey color and had a nice clean finish.
The third infusion was slightly darker still but still very clear. Also the aromas and flavors intensified a little as well as having just a slight lingering taste on the tongue. The third infusion is usually considered the best for Oolongs as the leaves have fully opened at this point and the most water is in contact with the tea and it still has a lot of flavor to give at this point.
At this point I opened the yixing and took a few of the leaves out for examination and it was good medium sized leaves with just that slight darkening at the edges which is what should be there with light oolongs as the only oxidation is from the rolling. Whole leaves with very few stems.
Fourth infusion was just slightly weaker than the first, and was still producing a nice colored liqour with good mouthfeel, I think this will steep out very nicely for 4 or 5 more infusions.
I highly recommend this tea for people who like light refreshing clean oolongs with that lightly fruity and floral aroma and flavor.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Nutty
This is one of Teavana’s better tea offerings. They tend to do really well with the micro lot offerings as those seem to be intended to market to serious tea drinkers to keep them coming back.
I started by brewing this in a gaiwan with 4 grams of tea leaf in about 90 Ml of water, I didnt wash it as greens dont usually need it. Steeping it for about 30 seconds at 175 I got a very very clear light color liquor. The first aroma’s were a slight floral, spinach, grassy scent. Tasting it , it was sweet, light, refreshing with just the teeniest tiniest hint of a slight mouth watering astringency, I didnt even list it as a flavor its so mild.
The second steeping was much like the first, with the same flavors and aroma’s and I cant quite pin the floral scent, maybe slightly herbaceous.. its sweet and makes me want to drink more. Maybe a tiny bit of honey aroma?
I upped the temp to 185 to bring out a bit more flavor in the third steep, it did add a tiny bit more to the astringency but not enough to interfere with the flavors. The sweetness also comes out a bit more at this temperature surprisingly. But this does tell me its not first picking anji as that should have very very little astringency even when taking up the temperature. But at this price that isnt surprising and the tea is still very enjoyable.
Fourth steeping the floral notes came out a bit more and the astringency went away mostly, still at 185. Grassy spinach notes are still present.
Now all this is interesting because the first time I brewed this tea, the flavors were nearly much reduced, they were a bit more pronounced this time. I much more prefered this steeping, its strange how tea’s vary from day to day.
I recommend this tea for people who like green, light tea, refreshing tea, and sweeter greens over more astringent ones.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Spinach, Sweet
Today I am sipping 2005 aged mao xie by Verdant tea, I started this off by giving it a quick rinse in my Yixing. The rinse produced a very pale honey color liqour and an intense aroma of floral, smoke, honey and caramel.
First infusion the liqour darkened to a medium honey color and took on a bit more floral notes at this point, there is a bit of minerality and a little sensation of tingling on the tongue that you really only get with good oolongs. I knew right away this was going to be a winner. Sweet and smokey, that aged oolongs seem to really engender.
Second infusion was slightly darker, but not by a lot. I got a little more honey in this one, as the infusion got a little sweeter. But the flavors and aromas were pretty similiar, though the leaves opened up nicely at this point. I think for the third infusion Im going to bring the water up to boiling.
This was a wise choice, it brought out more fruit flavors, maybe raisins and a bit more of the minerality, that you kind of feel on your tongue. Also it’s hard to describe how clear this liquor is.
Im sure based on this it will steep out many more times.
I highly recommend this tea if you like aged oolongs, smokey, floral or minerality.
Flavors: Caramel, Floral, Honey, Mineral, Smoke
This is one of the more unusual tea’s Ive tasted. Its a white tea, but the flavor profile is all green. I started by brewing this at about 185, I find most white tea’s can take a little bit more heat than greens can, so I like to brew them at 185 instead of 175. In this case that was a wise choice.
First infusion I got a clear bright yellow liquor that was absolutely delightful. Spinach, Asparagus and sweet vegetal aroma’s are the first thing I got from it. Then sipping a bit, the flavors matched the aroma quite well, there was almost no hint of bitterness or astringency at all.
The second infusion got slightly stronger as I took it from 15 seconds up to about 25, and the liquor slightly darker. This produced a very nice flavor as well. I got a bit more asparagus at this point.
After doing some pretty extensive googling , I found that this tea is also called Drum Mountain white or Gu Shan Bai Yun and is known for having a flavor profile somewhat similiar to dragonwell.
I recommend this tea to someone who wants their green a little milder or a white tea with a bit stronger vegetal notes.
Flavors: Asparagus, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
First up today is hand fired black by verdant tea. This is an interesting tea that I wasnt sure at first if I liked or not. Its a bit on the mild side for a black tea, so lets start with the brewing. Getting out my Yixing because I really wanted to hit it with alot of heat this time. So picking out 5 grams of leaves, and they are nice big whole leaves too. I heated the yixing and put the leaves in and got a wonderful caramel aroma from the pot. That classic black tea sweetness. I decided to skip the wash on this as the leaves look fairly open and and clean, so no need to remove dust.
First infusion 30 seconds I got a clear very pale redish liquor, I have to admit, the tea looks and smells awesome, but the taste doesnt quite match up to the promise the aroma and color give. Its nice, with caramel and Vanilla, and its sweet and no bitterness at all, but its a bit on the mild side.
Second infusion got slightly darker, and the tea tasted better, perhaps I should have given it a quick wash. Sweeter, caramel and here is where it got good, it has that nice black tea aftertaste, that makes water taste sweeter for a while.
Third infusion I hit it a little harder, pouring boiling water over the yixing and letting it steep a little longer. I got a bit more of that savory notes that blacks are known for.
Fourth infusion was about the same, with just a hint of astringency popping in at this point.
I recommend this tea for anyone who likes mild black tea, I usually like a bit more intensity in my black tea.
Flavors: Caramel, Vanilla, Vegetal
First up today is Dayuling high mountain spring oolong by Taiwan tea craft. I started by preparing my Yixing by washing it with near boiling water and then putting the rolled leaves in there for a moment to get the aroma. A nice floral, vegetal and fruity aroma came from the pot. Then giving it a wash I got an incredibly clear light liquor, and giving it just a little taste. I got fruity notes and just a hint of apple I think.
The first infusion opened up the leaves very quickly and still gave a very light clear liquor, the aroma was fairly light once out of the pot and so was the flavor, but it was quite nice and refreshing though not quite as intense as the first aroma. Fruity, vegetal, floral and apple, I got the same flavor profile as the aroma’s from the wash. I was a little surprised how much more intense the aroma was in that initial burst of hitting the hot water.
The second infusion got a little stronger, this isnt too unusual with oolong tea, and the liquor got a little darker as well. The aroma got a bit more intense as well as the leaves fully opened up at this point. Looking at the leaves in the pot, they are large and broad and very lovely looking. This is a high quality tea.
The third infusion was very similiar to the second, and I didnt pick up any different notes, but I suspect I will get at least 6 or 7 steepings from this tea.
I recommend this tea as its slightly pricey, but extremely, light floral and fruity, a great summer tea.
Flavors: Apple, Floral, Fruity, Vegetal