583 Tasting Notes
1.5 tdp for 300mL water @95C, steeped 4 minutes.
Dry leaf is very pretty with long twisty leaves and lots of gold tips. I’m not seeing any twigs.
Wet leaf smells of malt and honey and that faint tang of copper that many Ceylons have. I’m not catching any of the astringency in the scent. A slight scent of toasted grains (like Grape-Nuts cereal).
Liquor is steeping to an attractive dark copper.
Mmmm, this is lovely. No astringency or pucker. No strong coppery tang. Lots of dark honey and toasted grains. I expect this would get pucker if steeped much longer, so if you like that, go for a longer steep. Me, I’ll just sip this now and smile.
1.5 tso for 300mL water @80C, steeped 2 minutes 30 seconds.
The packet suggests a 3-4 minute steep, which seems a bit long for a green to me, so I’m trying it my way first.
Dry leaf: sweet and grassy and a tiny bit floral.
Wet leaf: vegetal and a bit briny — that scallops note I dislike so much in some green teas — to my surprise.
Liquor is gold with some subtle down and gives a strong door of scallops and butter. I don’t like seafood in my tea, so I’m a bit disappointed. Nowhere on the write-up does it say ‘vegetal’,’ a word which usually signals that scallops thing and warns me away.
Tastes of scallops and brine with butter and a slightly sweet finish. I am detecting no muscat at all.
Not for me.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @95C, Western style, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.
Dry leaves are tiny, curled, and very smooth, alms silly, to the touch. I know about the smoothness because I had way too much on my spoon and pinched some tea back into the bag.
Dry leaves give a strong cocoa scent, with some sweet malt.
Wet leaves are long, and some are still twisted, mostly brown with some dark green. Wet leaves smell of cocoa, malt, and, i the distance, vanilla. (This is not, of course, a flavoured dessert tea.)
Liquor is dark copper. Liquor smells of — you guessed it — cocoa and malt, also soybeans and deciduous trees.
Taste: cocoa and malt, of course, and a bit of soybean, with sweetness and some vanilla notes in the finish. I haven’t tried this year’s batch labelled just ‘Laoshan Black,’ so I can’t comment on any differences between that and this, the Spring Harvest Laoshan Black. I can say this tea gives everything I remember falling for in Laoshan Black.
The finish is very soft.
1.25 tsp for 300mL water @95C, Western style. steeped three minute son first infusion, three minutes thirty seconds on seconds infusion.
I adore smoky teas. This is not a heavily smoked tea at all, not even close to what gets called Caravan certainly not to most lapsang souchongs I’ve tried. (And I love a good caravan and lapsang souchong.) This is classified as a black tea — I think it just barely qualifies, tasting and behaving to my tasting more as a clear dark mineral oolong.
The first infusion has more gentle smoke — more resin than smoke, really — while the second infusion is very mineral and surprisingly sweet with some pine resin and chocolate notes.
Love. Love love love love love.
1tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped two minutes.
I find some of the same scallop-y notes as I found in the Spring Harvest Laoshan Green, but with more butter and green vegetable notes. I’m getting some floral oolong notes cutting through the butter, veggies, and scallops. A lot going on here. Not sure yet if I like it.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes.
Dry leaves are long and twisty, mostly dark with a golden one here and there.
Dark copper liquor.
Well, Damn Fine warned us this would be strong.
And it’s GLORIOUS. Lots of cedar and toast notes, and a rich, almost honey-like finish that announced ‘Yunnan’ in a deep voice. Not a subtle or a gentle tea. It’s not smoky, but it’s close to smoky. It’s got a faint peppery bite that I find in some Yunnans and really like. I’m gonna play with steep times, but I expect this will brew up intense regardless. I love this tea. But be warned: it’s strong.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Biting, Black Pepper, Brown Toast, Cedar, Cocoa, Earth, Fig, Forest Floor, Honey, Oak wood, Thick, Winter Honey
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @85C, steeped five minutes.
The packet suggests using water at 100C, but I find that scalds mate and certainly makes the dried fruit a bit harsh. 85C works much better.
A fresh and bright green mate with lots of candied fruit. Sweet and sunny, with good but not overpowering or sickly ago flavour. Good mate buzz from it, too.
I find Tea Squared in my favourite supermarket. The re-sealable bags hold about 80 grams of tea or tisane, and retail around 8 to 9 dollars Canadian. Worth it, I think.