59 Tasting Notes
Okay back to those Ceylon teas now, need to make a little room in my cabinet. I started by using a glass tea pot, about 200ml. I used 3 grams of leaf in about 150ml of water, since this is how you are supposed to taste Ceylon and Indian tea. Brewing for 3 minutes, at about 205, again this seems to be the standard for tasting session for this type of tea. I tried gongfu a few times with Indian and Ceylon tea and got… not great results.
After doing the infusion I got a light golden brown liquor, a little lighter than would be expected from a black tea, but darker than a first flush Darjeeling. This is a high mountain Ceylon tea.
The aroma from it is quite strong, muscatel, floral, and I hate to say this, but a tea aroma.. I cant really think of any other way to describe it, it smells like tea..if you drank tea bag tea as a kid, you know what aroma IM talking about… because that’s the one, I cant associate it with anything else other than tea.
The flavors pretty well match the aroma, but there is a slight sour bitterness that is surprisingly mild and pleasant and adds to the overall experience. Its also very floral and has some other flavor I cant put my finger on. This is a really nice tea, and is actually quite different from the tea from India, im actually a little surprised sometimes by how much terrior affects the flavor.
I recommend this tea for anyone who who likes Indian tea, and also for anyone who is looking to expand their repetiore of tea tasting.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Mint, Muscatel, Tea
This is a bit of an odd tea. I cant quite wrap myself completely around this one. Its an oolong, but it looks tastes and acts like a white tea.
I started by brewing this at 200 for about 25 seconds, in a glass pot. Despite not being a big fan of oolongs in glass, I think glass works extremely well for white tea. So I brewed it like a white tea.. this seems to be a wise decision. Because you get all the flavors you would expect out of an aged white, subtle honey, flowers and sweet notes in a pale honey color liqour.
The flavor is somewhere between an oriental beauty and white peony. Now that I think about it, thats a really good description. Its like an oriental beauty and a white peony had a love child.. that is exactly what it tastes like.
In the description it mentions radish and vanilla, I very occasionally get the vanilla notes, but i dont seem to pick up anything vegetal in this.
I do recommend this for people who are looking for something new and interesting to try. If you are, contact Tealet for this very interesting tea.
Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Sweet, Vanilla
Im going to start this one off with WOW…
Okay now that we have that out of the way, I brewed this in a 120ml yixing pot, using 6 grams of leaf and water just over 200 degrees. Starting with a quick rinse to open up the tea leaves, I was hit by an intense roast and cinnamon aroma. It’s really strong, sweet and pleasant.
Now onto the main show, the first brew and the scent seemed to even get stronger now, roast, cinnamon, malt and plums. It’s just so mellow and fruity… this shows what a good level of roast really does for an oolong. The liquor is a dark honey color and very sweet, with just a hint of minerality.
Second infusion is almost exactly the same, I went from 15 to about 20 seconds for the second infusion, and it really kept it consistent. The leaves are starting to open up now as well, it has a slightly spice that I cant quite put my finger on now though as more of the other flavors start to show up.
Third infusion I get a little tiny tang of astringency, like a roasted type not a green type of astringency. Also more floral notes are coming in but I cant quite put my finger on them, there is so much going on with this tea its hard to place everything.
Fourth infusion the roast is starting to die down a little bit and some of the oolong flavors are coming out stronger, there are still alot of spices happening on the back of this that I cant really put a name to, allspice.. maybe cloves or nutmeg.. but darker sweeter spices.
This tea is really complex and will require many more tastings to really get a feel for this.
HIGHLY! Recommended for anyone who likes roasted tea at all.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Malt, Plums, Roasted, Sweet
I got this from teaful directly when I met them at the southwest tea festival. Im finally getting around to finishing up and reviewing the teas I got from them. This one is interesting, as its a very floral and sweet oolong without the intensity of a teiguanyin.
I started this with a rinse at about 195 degrees. Using a duanni yixing clay teapot that I have been brewing taiwan oolongs in. I got a very intense floral scent right off the bat with this one. I cant place which flower it is, but its really intensely floral, I also got a bit of honey as well.
First steeping produces a very light liqour, pale straw. The aroma is the exactly the same as the wash, tasting it I get floral, honey, sweet and a tiny bit of grass. Its really hard to describe this tea, its not quite as honey as a bug bitten, but much more so than an alishan.
Second steep was almost exactly the same, clear, light, floral and honey.. Im actually really surprised the first time I tried this tea, was when i had first started drinking tea and I thought it tasted very similiar to other taiwan oolongs, im actually surprised now that im noticing how different it actually is.
Third is mostly the same, the floral is coming down slightly but the sweetness is actually becoming even more pronounced. The tea is also very slightly darker and very impressive overall.
Im going to steep this out a few more times, but I think this tea is a winner and Im going to be getting more of it at the tea festival next year.
I highly recommend this tea for people who like lighter oolongs.
Flavors: Flowers, Grass, Honey, Sweet
From this months Verdant tea club we have 2017 Shi Feng Dragon well. Well I must start with I am impressed. This tea is amazingly good, fresh and subtly flavored. It really seems with green tea getting them fast and early really makes a difference.
I brewed this in a glass pot for 20 seconds at 185 degrees. I know thats a little hot for green tea, but there is no bitterness and it brings out a bit more of the nutty and sweet flavors without losing any of the grassy vegetal notes. There is also a light floral, but its kind of hard to pick up and place as they cut grass and nuttiness is so intense. The aroma is amazing too, it just screams freshness.
I figure I will brew this out three times as at that point most of the good flavors are on the down turn and the bitterness is starting to ramp up. Now I see what all the fuss is about getting the real high quality dragon well.
I highly recommend this to anyone who likes green tea with that strong grassy component.
Flavors: Cut grass, Nuts, Spinach, Vegetal
The other half of todays review, the second offering from this month’s white 2 tea club. This is the 2017 lincang green tea, made from the same leaves the puerh, but processed as a gree tea.
This is an interesting green tea as it has some different flavors from what you would normally associate with a green tea. To start with this was done in a 75ml gaiwan and with 185 degree water. Now this is very slightly higher than he recommended which was about 180, but my kettle doesnt have a 180, so I figured a teeny bit higher would be better.
I skipped the wash and the tea is really clean and opens fairly fast, i didnt feel a need for it, I got a very clear pale liquor similar to the puerh. Though instead of that floral pop I got from the puerh, I got a nutty , almost almond like aroma, and cut grass, very similar to the puerh.
Tasting the first infusion I get nutty, astringent, floral, grass and almonds. Not quite as fruity or sweet as the other tea. But smooth and a slight cooling on the back of the tongue, there is some astrigency that I got in the later steepings right up front. But mostly what I get is intense almond flavor as well as another nutty type flavor that I cant quite put my finger on.
The second steeping produces a bit different flavor,, now I get the cooling sensation a bit more strongly as well as a bit more astringency and lightly into bitterness, but its still really light and refreshing and the nutty flavors are still staying prominent.
Third steeping is much like second and pretty much all the same flavors and aroma’s. The tea seems fairly consistent along the flavor profile as its steeped out. There is another flavor there now, that I cant quite identify.. citrus maybe but not quite…
I figure this will steep out a few more times. Im really impressed by how this tea tastes and how fresh it tastes. It really makes a difference to start on greens right at the beginning of the year when they are freshest.
Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Floral, Grass, Nutty
This month in the white 2 tea club I got an interesting couple of samples. One was a green tea and the other was a puerh tea from the same plant from the same farmer. Very interesting comparison and this was the youngest I’ve gotten to taste a puerh, pretty much straight from picking to my pot.
I follow the recommendations on the sheet as closely as possible. 6 grams of tea, to just a bit more than 90ml of water. He recommends a 1 to 15, but my pot is just slightly bigger, so I just didnt quite bring it to the top.
The first thing that hit me on doing the wash was intense fruity aroma, peach and apricot, along with spinach and cut grass. Now general floral, fruity, grassy aromas are petty normal with young sheng. But the intensity was really impressive, as well as the complete lack of bitterness or astringency, it was almost completely floral and fruity notes with spinach or cut gass.
First infusion the flavors almost exactly match the aroma and the floral flavors are really strong. The liqour is clear and a very pale yellow and its slightly sweet as well. Its hard to place some of the flavors im getting from this.
Second infusion was pretty much the same, though the liqour got slightly darker, and it got a bit sweeter as well. The base flavors are still the same though.
Third infusion is where thing are getting a little different, Im getting more of that young puerh flavor now, as well as a tiny bit of astringency. Also the sweetness has started to die down a little too. This is actually closer to what I would have expected from a young sheng, dry, floral, fruity, bit astringent, but light. I guess it would be right to call it that immature flavor.
Fourth infusion is very close to the third, im actually a little surprised how much this flavor is changing , I think there is a bit of the cooling bitterness, that he mentioned at this point.
Im fairly sure based on this it will brew out many many times, but im really impressed with this tea. IM aware I should have let this tea rest for at least a week before trying it out, but I want to taste it next to the green tea, which Ill be putting a note up on later today. But its a fairly hefty 50gram sample, so there is more than enough to rest and come back in 1 month, 3 month and 6 month and give notes on each time.
Highly recomended if you like young sheng.
Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Peach, Spinach
This is an interesting tea that I have mentioned a few times on the board, its a puerh style tea from Satemwa estate in Africa. This is a loose leaf style dark tea, or hei cha, though it called be called a ripe puerh as well. But that is a regional title, so hei cha or dark tea would be accurate.
I started by giving this tea a very quick rinse , then I brewed it for about 15 seconds at 200 degrees, in a small yixing. I got a very intense aroma of earth, peat, plums and chocolate. No wet or off smells at all. It was very clean, pouring it into a pitcher. I got a mostly clear dark liquor , looking the color of cola.. actually it looked alot like cola. Dark, red and rich looking. Tasting it I got peat, wood, plums, sweetness and chocolate. Its very smooth with a very clean finish. Again no fermentation flavor at all.
Second steep produced much the same flavors, getting slighter darker as well, which is pretty normal for a post fermented dark tea. It was still pretty clear and not cloudy much at all. The flavors stayed the same and very clean, there is also another flavor in there I cant quite place, but I feel like its something I should know.
Third steep was much darker, and there is the explosion of color Ive come to expect from a ripe puerh. This is still really smooth , with no hint of wet or fermentation smells or flavors at all. Still getting peat, and wood and dark foresty aroma’s.
Fourth steep and its starting to trail off a little and staying very clean , but dark. More plums, dark fruit, red wine type flavors and but of sweet chocolate at the finish. Im sure based on this it will steep out many times, probably around 12.
Im actually curious what a few years of age would do to this.
Highly recommended for anyone who likes clean ripe dark tea.
Flavors: Earth, Peat, Plums, Sweet, Wood
First up today is monkey king Tie Guan Yin Oolong tea from teavivre, I started by brewing about 5 grams of this in a 90 ml yixing pot. I washed the leaves first and the aroma was intense to say the least.
I got floral, fruity notes, a bit of vegetal aromas from it. Brewing the first real steep at just under 200 , the aroma again just utterly popped out of the pots and I got a very clear light yellow liquor. The flavor mostly matched the aroma with just a hint of spiceyness as well. There was also a bit of lingering on the tongue. Which is normal for high quality Tie Guan Yin.
Second and third brewings were very similiar, though a tiny bit stronger as the leaves fully opened up and the pot forces the water to flow all around them. This is what makes the yixing so good with Tie Guan Yin.. you get that beautiful interaction. Im really a little surprised at how intense the feeling of spice on the tongue is with this.
This is a very good tie guan yin and is one of my favorites so far.
I highly recomend this for fans of light green oolongs.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Spices, Vegetal
Okay its back to the Darjeeling tea today. I figured it was time to start going through this sampler pack, and we have Namring Upper Imperial Darjeeling First flush. The leaves are beautiful and lightly green. They look more like a darker green tea than a black. I started by heating the glass pot.
Brewing 3 grams for 3 minutes at about 195, I brought it up to 200 and then let it cool for just a moment, then poured it into the pot and let the leaves steep. After much testing and experimenting ive determined first flush Darjeeling are a bit on the finicky side.
Pouring it out into a small glass pitcher, I get a very clear just slightly golden liqour, something between a green and light black. The aroma is almost impossible to describe, it’s floral and fruity but.. it doesnt smell like a green or a black, or even an oolong. Sipping it got a very slight bit of astringency but its not actually unpleasant at all, it actually seems to compliment the flavor.
This tea is wonderful, it takes a bit of practice to get the brewing right but once you do, its amazing tea. It does have a few notes of black tea in it, but they are very subdued from what you would find in a proper black tea.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy lighter black teas or heartier greens.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Fruity, Muscatel