47 Tasting Notes
Time for a short break from all the black teas. Im getting a craving now for some young sheng. Starting off I broke about 5 grams off the cake, it was pretty tight but not so tight I couldnt work the knife in pretty well.
Getting out my duanni yixing, and brewing about 5-6 grams in a 130 ml duanni, I started with a wash that gave a nice medicinal scent and I checked the date, yeah about 3 years old, this is smelling really nice for a just a 3 year old tea.
Checking the rinse, I noticed it was clear, very light pale and just a hint of thickness. Pouring the wash back over the yixing, because I really want that lovely sheen young raws put on Duanni after a few years.
The first infusion gave me a slightly thicker and slightly more orange liquor, giving it a sniff and a taste, and I got many of the same flavors just more intense as well as a very lightly tingle on the sides of the tongue. Honey, vegetal and a very slight medicinal and astringent quality as well.
Second infusion was more of the same, Im steeping these pretty quickly as I dont want that astringency to build up, its nicely sweet as it is, there might be just a hint of smokiness to it now, but its really hard to tell.
Third infusion I got a slighter darker yet liquor, now almost getting golden from pale yellow as well as tasting a bit more of the age of the tea, which im actually quite surprised at with a tea this young. Bit more astringency as well, but still very nice, but I also brewed it a few seconds longer this time.
Fourth infusion gave me a liquor and aroma’s very similiar to the third. IM very impressed with the flavor of this tea as well as the intensity of it, without getting too crazy bitter, for an inexpensive tea, this is really good.
highly recommended for people new to puerh, or just want an inexpensive daily drinker. The set also comes with a small pick if you dont already have one.
Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Medicinal, Vegetal
Continuing my exploration through Ceylon and Indian tea, I have this offering from Sheffield spice and tea. I started by brewing this with 2 gram at just under 212 in a glass pot for about 3 minutes. I got from it a dark red and very clear liquor.
The infusion has an aroma of malt, chocolate, dark fruit. For brewing it so long its surprisingly fruity and low on astringency and bitterness. Sipping it produced many of the same flavors, there was just a hint of astringency on the tail end. Having gotten started in Chinese tea, im surprised at how different the blacks are. There chocolate flavor is so intense in the Indian and Ceylon tea. I wonder if this is difference in the roasting or oxidation, or just the terroir.
This is an excellent tea for adding milk and sugar, I always drink my tea straight unless Im doing a chai blend and this makes an Excellent chai tea.
I recommend this tea for anyone looking for a classic British style tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Chocolate, Creamy, Fruity, Malt, Mineral
Having spotted their sale for new customers, I decided to try a few of their tea, as Id like to get a little more acquainted with Darjeeling tea.
First up with have Lopchu Golden Orange Pekoe, second flush.
I started this by brewing 2 grams in 180ml of water at 200 degrees, as per some steeping advice Ive gotten on brewing Darjeeling tea. The firs thing I noticed is on opening the lid is the most intense chocolate and earth aroma. I mean wow…
Giving it a few seconds to cool off a bit and pouring it into my gong dao bei, I poured the tea into tasting cups and sampled it. Im very impressed, chocolate, spiceyness on the tongue, malt, mineral and a bit of creaminess.
After watching some videos on brewing Indian and Ceylon teas, it seems its traditional to slurp a bit more than you do with Chinese teas, so when in Rome or in this case Darjeeling, the slurping began. This actually did seem to intensify the flavors a little, the chocolate was just like wow, and the tingle of the spice stayed on my tongue. Also I think I caught a little bit of what Darjeeling is known for the muscatel flavor, almost abit like dark fruits but I cant quite place it, Im going to chalk that up to my inexperience with these kinds of tea.
It did have that nice aftertaste you get with the higher quality blacks and dark oolongs, this is one that will probably find a home in my cabinet even after the samples are gone, especially since we are only a short time away from the 2017 second flush.
Flavors: Chocolate, Creamy, Malt, Mineral, Muscatel, Spicy
Thank you to the Teaguy for providing this sample. Okay today we have organic white peony, this is being brewed at 200 for about 10 seconds in a zhu-ni pot. Im already pretty impressed as Im hitting this with some pretty high heat and the flavors are just popping out of it. Honey, sweetness, a bit of grass, and a light floral aroma.
The liquor is a very clear golden honey color, and the aroma is magnificent, especially the aroma coming from the pot.There is not even the slightest hint of astrigency in this tea even though there is a slight grassy scent and aroma. The mouthfeel is thick and quite nice as well, and it has a pleasant aftertaste.
Second infusion is slightly darker with a richer taste, more honey with a bit of stronger floral aromas and flavors as well. There is one other flavor here I can quite put my finger on in the second infusion and a slight tingle on the back on the tongue.
Third infusion was very similar to the second indicating that its going to brew out many many infusions. This is an excellent peony and is giving me a very slight tea buzz.
I highly recommend this tea to people who enjoy mild honey flavor white tea.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Honey, Sweet
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