1363 Tasting Notes
The last time I ordered from Grand Tea they were kind enough to include a sample of this Oolong.
The leaves smell so floral and sweet, like honeysuckle, lily, rose and carnations all in one.
Using my gaiwan (it’s new and I wanted an excuse to christen it) was a good choice. The short steeps brought out the sweetness slowly and the floral tones clung to my tongue in the after taste.
If I had to pick one flower to compare to taste it would be lily, the scent of a lily matches the flavour. Matching scents and flavours is different but I hope you understand what I mean?
Further steeps become more buttery and rich to the point where it’s like drinking vegetable water. In a good way. The flowers are now vegetal with broccoli and fresh green spinach notes. Spinach being the dominant of the two, that green almost gritty taste that spinach has…yes! Just like that.
I know why I was craving Oolong now. This is heavenly! It’s been such a long time since an Oolong has given me a glow inside. The leaves are opening up beautifully too, revealing whole, large leaves with a red hue on the edge.
I can see why this tea is sold out.
Opening the packet (like a kid on Christmas morning) I tear back the strip and vice grip the tabs apart. Smoke, rich and dark with wood and charcoal qualities announce themselves with a punch. So strong yet so complex. Much more going on than your average smoked tea.
In appearance the leaves are dark brown and light yet crisp with a few sticks/stems present. They are loosely chopped and vary a little in size.
Steeping Parameters: 3g of leaf – 90C water – 270ml vessel – 3 minutes
Once steeped the liquid is Golden, red/brown and bares a smoky, wooden scent somewhat toned down from it’s raw form.
Flavour is rather mild considering the stronger scent. The first sips are smoky and wooden with some dryness but it quickly dissipates and becomes sweet (like honey) with a lingering aftertaste. No where near as strong as say a Lapsang Souchong, and far more complex in flavour.
As it cools slightly and my mouth is coated in it’s essence I can note the whisky in it’s ever growing sweetness. Malty yet smooth and sweet with a hint of smoke, sounds like a good whisky right? And I am a whisky sorta gal, it’s my poison if you will. Also a fruit note comes through a bit better half way down my cup, like plum or apricot. Sour and sharp but also sweet and juicy.
A good second steep with plenty of smoke and sweetness left to speak of. Perhaps not like honey at this point, more like brown sugar. Still the sweetness comes through in the after taste and it lingers on the tongue, coating my mouth with it’s beautiful glory.
More wooden in this steep too.
Very soft but hints of smoke and sweet fruit remain. A refreshing finish to a complex and flavourful tea.
This tea was frankly everything I wanted and more. Packed with flavour without an overpowering smokiness and delicious throughout each steep. The whisky barrel has added so much depth and sweetness, it was a truly beautiful touch. I achieved all of this with only 3g of leaf, very impressive.
Opening the packet reveals a thin cake with rather full leaves including silver tips that have a high shine. I can see a few sticks/stems but on the whole it looks good.
Scent wise it’s extremely subtle in it’s raw state, slightly wooden and earthy but very little to speak of.
Steeping Parameters: 100ml Gaiwan, 7g leaf, 95C water.
This is going across 8 steeps and will start with a rinse before the first initial tasting.
Steep One – 30 seconds
Very light and floral with a buttery finish.
Steep Two – 20 seconds
Honeysuckle notes with a grassy after taste that remains fresh and sweet. Perhaps a tiny bit astringent.
Steep Three – 25 seconds
Rich, honeysuckle and peony notes with butter and some bitterness. Full of mouthfeel and slightly dry.
Steep Four – 35 seconds
Increasing in strength but still rather soft. The honeysuckle is still strong and there is an increase on the bitterness, though it’s not bitter by any real sense of the word. The after taste also becomes rather dry but not too bad.
Steep Five – 35 seconds
Alright this is different, the strength has increased..well..five fold. The honeysuckle is darker and the butter is nothing more than a slight sweetness among an increasingly bitter and earthy steep.
Steep Six – 45 seconds
Rather bitter though still an underlying sweetness. Floral faculties have become nothing but after taste. The mouthfeel is richer though. Not too bitter considering the steep number. Getting a grassy, mineral quality though a bit more.
Steep Seven – One minute
Alright, the bitterness is dominating at this point though luckily it doesn’t last long. It lightens into a dry, floral slightly sweet after taste that coats my mouth and tongue.
Steep Eight – Two minutes
Funnily enough as quickly as this became too bitter it’s actually petered out in this steep. I sipped with an expectation of bitter and was instead met with earth, flowers and a musky finish.
This Sheng was much more floral than I was expecting. It remained consistent throughout the eight steeps and even gave a pretty good tea high. I feel as though I’ve had a few espresso’s, part of me is literally buzzing.
The leaves were nice too, they opened beautifully to reveal themselves.
It didn’t offer many creamy tones or anything unusual in terms of flavour, but it was a nice every day ‘pick me up’ sort of tea. The type of thing I can have at work and forgive myself for if I let it go cold.
I have a feeling this tea will age nicely. It may have to go back onto my shelf for the time being to mature a little more.
The gold leaf was separate from the green tea so I decided to use my new washi paper tea canister which was also from Yunomi. I placed both the leaf and the gold inside and gently shook the canister to mix them together.
The green leaf is somewhat powdery and bares a strong, creamy and sweet grass scent with hints of seaweed. Similar to matcha.
Steeping Parameters: 5g leaf, 80C water, 200ml kyusu.
Once steeped the resulting tea is dark green in colour and bares a sweet, grassy scent.
Flavour is rather delicate but packed with sweet umami. It’s super creamy and smooth with sweet grass, seaweed and honey notes. It has great mouth feel, one sip coats my entire mouth and the after taste lingers as it becomes sweeter and fresher. Considering the amount of sencha dust this isn’t powdery or dry.
It’s a shame none of the gold seems to have made it through my kyusu screen. Though the fact this tea has actual gold in it makes me feel like royalty.
Overall: This was delicious and sooo creamy! It has the charm of a matcha but in sencha form. The umami was delicious and a nice balance to the sweet grass notes. I would have liked a little more of a punch in the flavour but overall it was pretty yummy.
Opening the packet reveals a dark brown leaf that is loosely broken and bares a super strong pine smoke scent. Like a smack in the face sort of smokiness. Perhaps on par with Lapsang Souchong.
Steeping Parameters: 5g leaf, 90C water, 200ml
The resulting tea is dark brown/black in colour and bares a smoky pine wood scent similar to it’s raw scent.
Flavour is wooden and dry with strong a strong smokiness that quickly dissipates. It’s only medium strength considering it’s strong scent, perhaps a longer steeping time would change that.
The smoke has a clinical taste which I believe must be the pine. There is some astringency but it’s easy to drink. The smokiness lingers in the after taste but not as much as the dryness.
Overall: It was a pleasant enough smoked black tea, though it has to be said the smoke was perhaps a little too strong for my usual taste. The clinical almost medicinal taste was unusual but interesting. Again I would have to be in the mood to drink this tea.
I haven’t tried that many flavoured Japanese teas before so this is something of a novelty. All the same I like peach and I’m partial to a Japanese black tea so what could go wrong?
Opening the packaging (which is plain but re-sealable) I am met with a super sweet and fruity peach scent. It sent a smile to my face instantly as it fulled my nostrils. It’s so strong and sweet and juicy it’s hard not to want to devour it all on the spot.
Steeping Parameters: 5g leaf, 90C water in 200ml Kyusu.
Once steeped the resulting tea is brown/red in colour and bares a sweet, peach scent with a wooden under tone.
Slurping the first few sips (as you do) reveals medium strength wooden base which lightens and becomes sweet with fresh peach notes in the after taste. It’s balanced wonderfully, it’s not too strong and you can taste both elements equally. The after taste is sweet but also with some dryness. Considering it’s a black tea this is pretty smooth, there is only a hint of astringency.
The peach flavour itself tastes natural but the sweetness isn’t, so I believe it must have had something added to it to be so sweet. I can’t say if that is natural or not, it could be stevia for example. Either way it’s sweeter than an actual peach.
Rating: It’s a nice flavoured tea. The balance is good, flavours good and my overall drinking experience good. It is perhaps a tad too sweet for my usual liking if I was to be critical. I actually think this would be amazing iced, which is probably how I will steep the rest of this.
Opening this bright green packet reveals a loosely broken mixed green leaf that bares a dry, herbal, toasted grass scent.
Steeping Parameters: 5g leaf, 80C water, 200ml Kyusu
Once steeped the resulting tea is a deep, cloudy, yellow/green in colour and bares a light yet toasted sweet grass scent.
The first sips reveal a toasted, grass flavour (matching of it’s scent) with a touch of astringency and dryness. Good umami notes, sweet and floral with a lingering aftertaste. Only medium strength, not as strong as I had expected considering it’s intense colour.
It has a wooden, herbal sort of taste. Similar to the toasted rice in a genmaicha.
Overall: Honestly this is not one of my favourites, it’s a little dark and oddly herby for my liking. I prefer tencha in matcha form than in original form. It’s also rather dry. But again this was just a basic grade so I didn’t expect much from it. It’s drinkable by any means but it would not be one I would pick if given the choice.
Beautiful colours on the packaging, that’s the plus side to many Japanese teas. Opening the packet reveals a a sweet, fresh, grassy scent full of vegetal notes. So beautiful, like cut grass on a beautiful Spring day.
The tea itself is quite dark green (with a few stems present) and loosely broken into quite fine pieces. The pieces look and feel glossy.
Steeping Parameters: 5g leaf in 70C water. Vessel: 200ml Kyusu
Once steeped the resulting tea bares a gorgeous, cloudy green glow and smells of toasted sweet grass with a hint of fresh spinach.
In flavour this is of medium strength with real mouth feel. One sip coats my entire mouth with flavour. Grass and spinach mixed with vegetal dark green cabbage notes and a lingering umami that becomes slightly dry in the after taste. Yet it’s fresh and very easy to drink. There is some sweetness mixed with a touch of bitterness but they are quite evenly paired.
Re-steep – 55C for 40 seconds and only 100ml (lower temperature to try to draw out more umami)
More flavour and with a touch more bitterness though it’s not bitter by any real means. The sweet umami once again fills my mouth with it’s savoury notes. Still dark green cabbage like but also toasted seaweed. Very mineral and ‘green’ tasting. Beautiful all the same.
Overall: This was a beautiful green tea that was incredibly easy to drink and very fresh. It was not as umami rich as some other teas but it was pleasing and would be a great tea if you’re interested in introducing yourself to Japanese greens. I have a feeling this would be nice iced.
Ingredients: Black tea, Rose Petals and Rose Essence.
Another strong scent is unleashed as I open the packet. Pure rose, sweet and very perfumed fills my nostrils. It smells rose enough to be a natural perfume, or essential oil. It’s beautiful!
Steeping time of 3 minutes in boiling water with a splash of soy milk added.
Once steeped the tea contains the same strong rose scent as it’s raw form.
The first few sips reveal a sweet, creamy rose flavour that resembles Turkish Delight. It’s super sweet, super strong and super natural rose. Unbelievable! Each sip carries a burst of flavour and is as delicious as the first sip. The base is lightly malty but is behind the beautiful rose flavours.
As it cools it reminds me of Rose Syrup, a thick cordial drink I get from an Asian supermarket nearby. It’s nothing but rose and sugar, again fitting with the Turkish Delight vibe.
The bags are pyramid shape and see through organza.
Ingredients: Black tea, Orange & Lemon Peel, Cornflowers, Oil of Bergamot & Lemon Essence.
Opening the packet gave a punch of scent, this is one of the strongest Earl Greys I have sniffed. It’s thick, sweet and perfumed though natural smelling. Perhaps slightly soapy because it’s so strong but in a nice way.
Steeping for 3 minutes in boiling water with a splash of soy milk.
It smells as strong and perfumed as it’s raw scent.
Flavour also packs a punch in the first few sips. The black tea is malty and rich before a thick and perfumed meld of bergamot and orange explodes on the tongue with some sweetness and dryness.
As it cools the perfume quality lessons but it’s still big on flavour.
It has to be one of the strongest Earl Greys I’ve experienced, period. Especially considering it’s pre-bagged. Despite being in a bag this tea did not disappoint. I love strong tea and this fit the bill. It had strength, character, charm and easy drinkability. Frankly everything I look for in an Earl Grey. It’s strength makes it perfect for a builders brew.
If you love strong Earl Grey then this is definitely worth a try.