290 Tasting Notes
I’ve broken out this tea for today’s session. It seems to suit the mood. The atmosphere here is relaxed. The town is filling up with tourists arrived on the ferry from France this morning; I waved to them as they sailed past my window while I was eating breakfast but they did not wave back. Still, even with the tourists, it did not feel too busy as I went for my morning constitutional. What with the sun being out, the pleasure boats in the harbour, and the peace and quiet, it’s definitely a day for a relaxing cup of tea and a great view … well, at least for now. I have editing to do later, so it will not be all relaxing in the sun, but sufficient unto the day, eh?
The 2010 Xing Hai seems to be developing nicely. The dry leaf has that warm hay and horse aroma that I so love in a sheng. The liquor is pale yellow. It continues the warm hay aroma but adds notes of honey and heavy pollen. It tastes warm, and sweet. There’s notes of molasses, a slight astringency, a lovely gentle smokiness, and, to finish off, a peppery, sweet aftertaste that lingers for quite some time. As is usual for me when I encounter a tea with good qi, I am feeling it in my legs first. They are relaxed to the point where I am not sure if I can stand up on them. There is a lovely energy to the tea that leaves me content and happy with my place in the world, and not even worried about the work that awaits me later. This moment is enough.
Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Molasses, Pepper, Smoke, Sweet
I just got my first order from Canton Tea Co in about two years. It’s nice having a regular income again! So, anyway, I bought more Anji Bai Cha because I had not had any since last I reviewed it here. I could not wait to try it again, so I ripped open the packet at work and set to. Conditions here are sub-optimal, but no matter, I needed this fix. And, you know what? It was worth it.
The dry leaf is grassy and warm like new-mown hay. The liquor is pale with a citrussy, apple aroma. And it tastes divine. So light and refreshing. There is a hint of umami lifted by a smooth sweetness and that apple that was in the aroma is also in the taste of the liquor. The aftertaste just sparkled on my tongue like a delicate champagne with a slightly spicy finish. The chi of this tea left me feeling so relaxed, almost to the point of being tea-drunk after just one cup.
Very few teas leave me this excited. This tea is awesome and is right there at the top among my favourite teas.
Flavors: Apple, Citrusy, Nutty, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Umami
I bought a sample of this last time I ordered from Teavivre (which was far too long ago, by the way). Finally got around to trying it yesterday at work, now that I have set up a tea station by my desk. New job, new office, new tea station; it’s almost like a new start! :)
So, the dry leaf was woody with a light citrus component. You can tell it’s shu pu with your eyes closed. There was one honking great huge piece of citrus peel in there with the leaf, like about half a tangerine’s worth! The steeped tea smelt earthy with a hint of citrus. I have a pu with grapefruit that I unconsciously expected it to be like, but this one is way more subtle than the grapefruit pu. The liquor was dark, earthy and woody with the tangerine notes coming through to make it a light refreshing drink. It made a nice change from the usual run of teas that I have been making in the office.
Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Orange, Orange Zest, Wood
Can’t believe I’ve not reviewed this tea before. I’m drinking it grandpa style at the moment due to lack of tea-making facilities in my new place of work. It’s strong, smoky, peaty and with a hefty kick. It’s like the Laphraoig of teas. Definitely one for the whisky drinkers.
Flavors: Peat, Smoke, Whiskey
What better tea could you want to go with the grand finale of The Princess Bride? Well, I don’t know but this is pretty darn good for it. It’s a thick dark soup with a strong woody smell. The liquor tastes woody and leathery with a hint of camphor and old books. The aftertaste is sweet and peppery on the edges of my tongue, although it also made my tongue go slightly numb along with my legs. “Hello, tea drunk.” This was a good choice for this evening’s tea and movies session and I look forward to finishing it off tomorrow.
Thank you TwoDog for this sample.
Flavors: Camphor, Leather, Pepper, Wet Wood
This is the first tea that I sampled as part of this evening’s tea and movies session. I chose it because it promised to match the early part of the film in texture and mood. I was right. Oddly enough, this is one of the very few teas where the description matches my experience of it. The cha qi is gentle. The leaves are large and mainly whole. The aroma and taste is of a heavily pollen-laden garden on a warm summer evening, floral and slightly grassy. The aftertaste brings with it a light cooling sensation and a slight salivation. I’m half a dozen steeps in and it is still going strong. I only had a sample to try but I shall certainly add it to my wish list now. It’s really good to drink even now. No idea how it will age though.
Flavors: Floral, Grass
This tea has been sitting in storage for a while now awaiting the day when I was in the right mood to try it. I had no idea what to expect from the snow chrysanthemums either, so it was a leap into the dark.
The brick is highly compressed. The dry leaf has an earthy, cedar wood aroma. It looks great with the orange of the chrysanthemum flowers in it. Most attractive. The wet leaf is primarily earthy and the liquor brews up thick and dark. My first cup was more wtf than anything else. I got an immediate hit of Dr Pepper and tea tree oil with a cooling minty aftertaste. I steeled myself for the second cup and was glad I did. The flavour had moderated itself a bit. There’s still vanilla and tea tree there, but the underlying earthiness of the puerh is more present with a pleasing cedar flavour and chilli pepper notes. I think this tea may be an acquired taste or one for when the mood hits, but five cups in and I am quite pleased with it. Once you get that initial vanilla and tea tree hit out of the way, there is quite a bit of depth to the tea and plenty to enjoy. It’s still a bit ‘interesting’ though.
Flavors: Cedar, Spicy, Vanilla
Another first for me. I picked a bing of this up back when there was a discount on Mengku product and I am quite pleased that I did. The dry leaf has a strong honey and tobacco aroma. The liquor is strong even with a short steep and has a bitter edge to it that is not unpleasant, with an underlying caramel flavour. It has certainly woken me up now and that is no bad thing.
Flavors: Bitter, Caramel, Honey, Tobacco
Yay! I’m first!! And I’m really enjoying it. :)
The dry leaf has a warm horse and mild tobacco aroma. The bing is loosely packed with a mix of olive green leaves and silvery, fuzzy tips. It produces a dark amber liquor with no great depth yet, but with a pleasant astringency, and lightly honeyed finish. There is a hint of camphor in there and something vegetal. The aftertaste is sweet and spicy. Where this tea really scores is in the fact that I cannot feel my legs now and my arms are a bit floppy too. After two steeps I could feel the tea drunk coming on, and at four I am almost ready to start telling everyone how they are my best mates. The force is strong in this tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Camphor, Honey, Spicy, Tobacco