8 Tasting Notes

This is for the winter (2022?) harvest.
I steeped 5g to 5 oz. At 185 with a 3 second rinse. First aroma is vegetal.
First steep 30 seconds, very strong buttery with hints of floral and sugarcane. My husband tasted Nori as well.
Second steep 30 seconds, much the same as the first. With a nice long finish and almost a Steele flavor, not unpleasant. Then 40 second steep, 60, 60, 60, 2minute steep to finish. Very creamy and buttery to the end. With the light floral throughout.

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First steep was actually heavier on the leaf than I realized (I measured my tea after steeping and rather than my vessel holding 5 oz. As I thought, it is only holding 4 oz. So the first infusion was 5g tea leaves to 4 oz. Water at 210 for 30 seconds after a 5 second rinse.

smoky with camphor and malt. Very smooth, heavy taste with a lovely long finish. My husband described the aroma as: “warm hay you want to lay down in”
Second infusion was 30 seconds and 5 oz. Water. A bit better balanced and not as thick. Felt medicinal although it doesn’t taste particularly medicinal. It is a very intense tea, so we need a break after only two steeps.
Back for steep number 3 @45 sec. More of the same, just very rich and malty. This tea is going to the top of my list to be shared with family. It’s hard for two of us to get through a session as it’s so rich. But it’s so delicious, we keep wanting to come back to it after a while.

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Wasn’t sure what kind of tea I was in the mood for today so I gave my husband a choice between a few and he chose this one.

Prepared at 180 for about 1 min. Each steep. 5.5g to about 5 oz. Water in my celadon pot. This is a smooth, relaxed tea, with mild flavor, nothing super exciting or complicated. The seller says notes of roasted sweet potato which I can agree with although it’s very faint. My husband says it has a similar flavor to Lipton. Or is what Lipton is going for perhaps? I’m actually more excited to try it over ice later this afternoon. I have a feeling I may like it better cold.

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I hesitate to write this as I’m so inexperienced, I’m struggling to identify just what it is that I am tasting and smelling. After reading some of the tasting notes here, I’m intimidated and acutely aware of how much I don’t know. My desire to have this useful place to log my experiences, and see others experiences, just slightly outweighs my self-conscious discomfort though, so here goes:

I was unsure how to prepare this tea as the seller suggests a very cool, long steep (160 at 2 minutes) but my research and limited experience leads me to want warmer, shorter steeps. I settled on 180 for 1 minute varying to 2 minutes.
I used 2.5g to 4 oz. Water.
First steep 1 minute and brought out green bean and butter. Very smooth with a lingering light finish. Subsequent infusions were 1, 1, 1:30, 1, 1, 1, 1;30, 1:45, 3:00,. By the end, I was drinking water. I noted a hint of honey in the 6th infusion that I hadn’t tasted before that. The honey came back when I poured all my leftovers into a tall glass and added ice. This makes a very nice (expensive) glass of iced tea. The honey flavor was strong enough that I would have thought this tea had honey added if I didn’t know better.

gmathis

Just have fun writing about it—some of the reviews (not mine) are highly precise and scientific, and then there are the loosey-goosey, rambly, highly subjective story lines that just happen to include tea. (Guilty!)

Kaylee

Yeah we all started somewhere and there’s a really broad range of types of tasting notes! It’s all a learning process.

Martin Bednář

Well, some of my notes are scientific and precise, some are like a diary entries, some are just easy-going ones. But you will find your way! And tasting buds are developing as well as the detection of flavours.

PamelaOry

Thanks everyone! I am experimenting with different types of notes trying to find what fits me best. I think I might land somewhere in the middle. I want to record the steep times etc, for future reference but also want to record how a tea makes me feel drinking it. I’m curious if it will evoke similar feelings again.

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Prepared gong fu style (more like a hybrid as the manufacturers recommended steep time is 2 minutes). At 197 with a 1/1 ratio. (1 gram of tea to 1 oz. Of water). I had 5 grams to 5 oz. First steep 1:30, then 2 min., 1;30, and 2 min. I took a break after 4 steeps.
Very woodsy and roasty. I felt like I was transported to a toasty campfire. Lovely long finish with notes of fruit. I was expecting to taste toffee based on the sellers description. Maybe next time.

Preparation
5 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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87

This is a nice melange tea. Very heavy on the apple.

Flavors: Apple, Honey

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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86

I prepared this tea as directed at 212 with a 1/1 ratio and steeped for 1 minute. My husband joined me and immediately exclaimed “it tastes just like bread! Who needs a snack when you have this tea.” Along with the initial notes of bread, I also tasted chocolate with the most amazing lingering finish that I can still taste as I write this. I’m fairly new to tea as is my husband but we both loved the smooth, dark, liquor this cake produces.

Flavors: Bread, Dark Chocolate

Preparation
6 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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63

I don’t care for this tea. It does not taste like honey to me. Happy to trade the 4 oz. Unopened bag I have for something else.

Preparation
4 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
PamelaOry

I prepared this tea again, hoping to like it better. It does better with a rinse than without even though Red Blossom says their teas don’t need to be rinsed. It is still sharp and more astringent than I care for.

LuckyMe

Dan congs can be difficult to brew. You need to dial in the correct leaf/water ratio, temperature, and steep time. What are your steeping parameters?

PamelaOry

Hello Luckyme! Thanks for your comment and question. I’ve prepared it two different ways now. First, using about 4g of tea to about 4 oz. Water at 210f for 30 seconds, gong fu style. Several infusions and still can’t shake the sharpness. Then I tried to make it into a cold brew. I was sure that would mellow it but it still tastes bitter to me.

eastkyteaguy

I guess I’ll jump in here real quick. First, LuckyMe is absolutely correct in stating that successfully brewing dancong oolongs depends on dialing in the leaf/water ratio, temperature, and steep times. They are notoriously difficult to dial in when brewing, and unlike many other teas, they are very finnicky and unforgiving. They tend to have a natural sharpness and intensity that can be overwhelming for those unfamiliar with them. One of the best known traditional brewing methods is to absolutely pack a brewing vessel with tea leaves and then start off with short infusions after a quick rinse to draw out those qualities at the beginning. I suppose the idea is that once one gets past the initial roughness, it is easier to appreciate the subtleties that such teas offer for the remainder of the brewing session. After initially struggling greatly with brewing dancong, I have somewhat standardized my brewing practices over time and now employ slight variations on what is the more or less one-size-fits-all approach that works with most teas for me. I know this may sound somewhat counterintuitive, but if I were you, I would consider increasing the amount of loose tea leaves you are using by roughly one or two grams while also lowering the water temperature by at least seven degrees. When I brew dancong oolongs, I usually go with about 6g of loose leaves in a 4fl gaiwan or teapot and keep my water temperature right at 203F. Definitely rinse the leaves prior to brewing. Give them a solid 10 second rinse. Also consider starting with shorter infusions. I usually start at about 5-7 seconds but have gone up to at least 10 in the past. If this approach does not yield desirable results, start adapting it. Consider reducing the amount of leaves you have been using by at least a gram (so, like 3g), reducing the water temperature (I have gotten good results out of brewing dancong around 194-195F), giving the rinse an extra second or two, and further adjusting steep times. The type of brewing vessel you use can also make a big difference. Even though dancong oolongs are temperamental and an acquired taste, they are well worth the time and effort it takes to develop an appreciation for them.

LuckyMe

There’s not much else I can add to eastkyteaguy’s excellent response. His recommendations jive with my own experience (and challenges) brewing dan congs.

I use a similar leaf to water ratio as you – 1g per oz of water – but far shorter steep times. I start with a 5s rinse, followed by a 6s initial steep, and increase subsequent steeps by 4s. IMO, 30s is too long. With a such a high leaf to water ratio, you need to keep the infusions short to minimize bitterness.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

PamelaOry

Thank you both so much! This gives me hope that I can redeem this tea. I will continue to adjust the variables and try again. I’m fascinated that actually using more leaves might help. It makes perfect sense that 30 seconds is too long. I was blindly following the sellers instruction without thinking. I am excited to try again with this tea.

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