290 Tasting Notes
Free sample from Teavivre
The pearls smelled malty and slightly chocolatey when I opened the packet. They were larger than other pearls I have had. I must say I rather liked the hefty chunk of them. So, out with the infuser mug, which I generally reserve for my jasmine pearls and gunpowder, but that is a practicality decision, not because it brews them best. I was not sure how many pearls to put in, so I plumped for five pearls. The mug is about 200ml.
As I poured the water over them, the maltiness of the aroma increased. Once steeped, I had to wait a bit, because it was really too hot to drink. I am not good at waiting! The first sip told me what I needed to know. This tea is malty with a smooth, thick underlying chocolateyness that is gorgeous. The liquor is reminiscent of dark chocolate too. The sweet aftertaste lingered at the back of my tongue for some time too. Lovely. In some respects, this tea was like drinking a mug of cocoa, but nicer.
In the end, I managed to get four steepings out of the leaf, but the real flavour only lasted for the first two. After that it was slightly chocolatey sweet water.
I generally struggle to find black teas that I really like (other than Darjeelings), but this one definitely hits the mark and will be making a reappearance in my cupboard soon.
Free sample from Fong Mong Tea.
Upon opening the packet the first thing I noticed was the oxygen absorber pad. That’s an interesting bit of attention to detail that I have not encountered before. Then I looked at the little green nuggets of tea. Smaller than I am used to, but the smell is lovely and grassy with a heady undertone of flower meadow that bodes well for the flavour of the tea.
As others have noted, the steeping guidelines indicate a 6 minute steep! I echoed their “Eeps” at that, so I started with 3g of tea in my 140ml gaiwan and an initial steep of 2 minutes. As I poured the hot water onto the tea, I was hit with a beautiful tropical garden aroma that built up as the tea steeped.
1st steep: the flavour was delicate, light and floral. It lacked a little depth, probably because of my short steeping time, but it was still lovely. The nuggets had not fully unfurled by the end of this steep, which may have been part of the problem with the lack of depth.
2nd steep: I increased the steep time to 4 minutes and suddenly the tea was right there. Orchid notes combined with lychee flavours to give a beautiful tea that made my tongue very happy. The sweetness lingered on my tongue for ages and I also noted a calming feeling in my body.
3rd steep: Up to 6 minutes now. The tea tasted lighter than the previous steep but still very pleasant and the sweetness still lingered on my tongue.
4th steep: 6 minutes again. Definitely past the strongest flavours now but the tea still reminds me of a walk in a tropical garden. The leaves have filled my gaiwan and smell lovely and the tea is light and Summery. The sweet aftertaste still lingers. I stopped here for now, but I shall return to the gaiwan later for more to see how long the tea will go on for.
Overall, I really enjoyed this tea and I am pleased that I have enough left over in the sample for another good session. I reckon I shall take the plunge and try steeping it for the recommended 6 minutes next time to see how that works out.
I bought this a bit back when Canton had it on special and finally cracked the beeng yesterday. I’m not sure what I was expecting from it really, although I could not help but compare it to the 2010 Xing Hai that Canton sells for half the price. So, my thoughts?
The beeng smells lovely. I get that people will get a tobacco smell from it. For me, although there is something of pipe tobacco in it, the aroma of the beeng itself is redolent of the stableyard, just like the Xing Hai. It’s a lovely grassy horsey smell that reminds me of good times.
When I picked it apart, I got large leaves with bits of stalk. I mean some of those leaves were huge. Great stuff.
Yesterday I made it in my gaiwan: 3g of tea in a 140ml gaiwan, temp at 95 degrees as recommended on the website. With steeping times starting at 10 seconds and rapidly escalating, I found it to be on the insipid side (or delicate, if you wish to be kind). The flowery taste was there, but I got little in the way of aftertaste or depth of flavour. Shame that.
Today I opted for my dedicated sheng pot (170ml duan ni). I jammed 8g of leaf into the pot, and I mean jammed. Some of the leaves were too large to actually fit comfortably into the pot. I was going for destruction testing this time around, as far as I was concerned. I reckon I did the right thing too. The first steep was 20 seconds. It came out slightly flowery and a bit peaty. Not really fantastic, but pleasant. The second steep was also 20 seconds because I figured the first steep was a wake-up call and I was right. The taste came in a lot stronger. The peatiness and smokiness were emphasised but without killing the floral flavours. It was sweet and only just the right side of bitter. There was an aftertaste that really came into its own on the exhale, at which point my tastebuds started jumping around. Yes, that was about right for me. It reminded me of nothing so much as some of my favourite malt whiskies (without the alcohol, of course!). From that point on it was good all the way through to the sixth steeping, with some mushroom and mineral flavours developing along the way. I had to stop at that point else I shall not get to sleep tonight. Let’s see what it is like in the morning.
It seems to me that this tea likes it rough at the moment. It is robust enough to cope with some harsh treatment, and, for my taste, it needs a bit to bring out the best in it. I look forward to seeing how this tea ages, and will have to get a beeng or two more so that I can ensure a supply for some time to come.
I’ve been drinking this for the past few days but have been having trouble accessing Steepster, so I have not posted before now.
Following on from my previous note, this tea is marvellous. In the short time it has been sitting and airing in my cupboard, my skill at making it has improved and it has mellowed a bit, taking the sharper edge off the smokey flavour and I find that it loves my duan ni pot too. Most excellent. Better yet, it just makes me feel relaxed. The tea is happy and it makes me happy. What more needs to be said?
I can’t believe that I have not written any tasting notes about this tea. It has been in my cupboard for ages and I drink it regularly. I really must get better at recording all my teas! Anyhoo, I put half a dozen pearls in my infuser mug, wait a bit and drink. Resteep, drink again, etc. I can get half a dozen mugs of good tea out of that lot. This is the tea I go to when I want something sweet and easy to make. The balance of jasmine flavour to tea is just right. It is smooth and velvety, and is just what I want when I want something that does not require me to pay very close attention to it. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. There is more there if you do pay close attention to the tea, but you can get plenty from it without that. This is a staple tea for my cupboard.
I returned to this tea on Saturday but have had no chance to post at all over the past few days. Anyway, I like it more now than I did before. It makes me feel all calm and happy. The smoky flavour is there and all the other notes that I recorded before, but now they are mellowing a little. My duan ni yixing teapot is perfect for this tea and really seems to like it, which also helps, and I really think I am learning to get the most from this one.
It’s all gone. :-( I have really enjoyed this tea as you will see from my rating of it and my notes about it, but I just finished it off. Perfect for a hot day here (well, hot by my standards); light, refreshing and tasty. I need to buy more of this, but I am torn by the range of teas I have not tried yet. Talk about being caught on the horns of a Dalai Lama!