16 Tasting Notes
(Gongfu, 5g/125 ml/205 F/5 sec rinse/6 sec + 2ff)
Dry leaves: Fruity, malty, toasty, light tobacco
Wet leaves after rinse: Roasted notes much stronger, raisin
Steep 1 (6 sec): Deep golden color, smell malty sweetness and toast. Taste is close to an exceptionally smooth black tea with light raisin, malt, touch of mineral. Overall smooth, pleasant; no dryness, astringency, bitterness.
2 (8 sec): Color is lovely, even darker gold, aroma sweeter & malty, less toast. Tastes a little thinner & lighter, still malty dried fruit, a little less smooth. Hint of dryness in finish.
3 (10 sec): Slightly lighter color & a bit sweeter in aroma, more like golden raisin, less toasty but still a hint of tobacco; maybe even a hint floral? Taste is about same, though texture is thinner, more dryness to finish, a little less smooth.
4-6 (15, 20, 25 sec, reduced water to 100ml): Keeping same trend with each infusion feeling a little thinner, dryer (definitely picking up that tannin dryness in mouth), though still lightly sweet with malt & raisin.
-I don’t pick up more/different flavors with each steep, just feels like each one is a little “less” than the one before – not weaker, just thinner. Leaves stayed fairly tightly rolled until at least fifth infusion.-
7-10 (30, 45, 60, 120 sec): Much less fruit/raisin in aroma, still sweet, but maybe a touch more earthiness rather than tobacco. Gradually lost strength, though even steep 10 wasn’t weak. Put spent leaves in 8 oz water for cold brew.
(Gaiwan; 5g/100ml/208/wash then 5sec +3 per instructions)
Dry leaves have sweet raisin & roasty aroma. Wet leaves after wash bring out light tobacco notes. First steep (5 sec) was a lovely dark golden color and sweet toasted aroma. Flavor is almost like black tea with its oxidation & dryness. Some cocoa notes at the end. Second steep (10 sec) lost the dryness and smoothed out nicely, with earthy, sweeter flavors of raisin & unsweetened cocoa coming in more. Steeps 3 & 4 (12 & 15 sec) stayed consistent. Steeps 5-7 (20, 30, & 60 sec) gradually washed out in flavor, though tea remained pleasantly smooth, sweet, and earthy. After 7 infusions, dropped leaves in about 8 oz for cold brew.
(Staying close to pkg directions: 3g/8oz/180/60 sec first steep, 15 for second)
Dry leaves smell lovely – grassy & very fruity, sweet. Wet leaves bring out the cooked greens scent, but still fairly sweet. First steep (60 sec) smells a little sweeter and a little less vegetal than the wet leaves, also with a buttery/creamy note in the aroma. Pale golden/green brew. Taste is somewhat thin but very pleasant – sweet, grassy, some mild baby spinach- like notes. Just the barest hint of butter in the taste, not quite what the aroma suggested. Second steep (15 sec), I reduced to 6 oz. Color brews up the same despite the shorter steep time. Taste is similar, a little stronger (prob from reduced water amount). Maybe a touch more buttery flavor? Third (6oz, 30 sec) is pretty washed out.
Would like to try again with adjustments. Try gongfu for one thing, plus Tin Roof’s website has very different directions for this tea – lower temperature and longer brewing. Also would like to try cold brew.
Update: got one good cold brew infusion in 8 oz with spent leaved. Very refreshing, will have to try again with fresh leaves.
(4g/100 ml/200?/20 sec steep +5 sec following) (Suspect kettle, which was set for 200, was actually at 205 for first few infusions)
Dry leaves smell sweet & a tiny bit smoky. After 5 sec wash, wet leaves have much stronger smoky tobacco scent. Lid of gaiwan, however, has a nice sweetness. Steeps 1-3 have a deep golden color; a sweet scent with a hint of smoky tobacco. Flavor is close to a black tea, with savory notes up front, touch of dryness on tongue, a little sweetness on the finish. Strong roasted/smoky flavor notes on aftertaste really set this apart from the Tieguanyin I had from Verdant. I don’t like this one as much, but I’ll have to give it another try since I think my water temperature was too high.
(First time using gaiwan)
(4g/100ml/175/20 sec +10 following)
Dry leaves are sweet & grassy with a whiff of tobacco. Wet leaves are similar but stronger. Steep 1 (20 sec) tastes almost like it smells – sweet, grassy, green with a hint of tobacco. Package describes this as “straightforward without anything extra…just good, pure green tea taste,” and that’s about right. Aside from the tobacco note, there is no complexity. Steep 2 (30 sec) starts some bitterness, and the tobacco is a little more pronounced. Steep 3 (35 sec) has a little less tobacco & bitterness, so it tastes just slightly sweeter. Since not much interesting is going on, I’ll try the leaves in cold brew.
Update: After 3 infusions, dropped leaves in ~12 oz water for cold brew. Iced is mild, uncomplicated, but very pleasant green tea taste. Might be best use! Prepared this way rates around 70.
(4g/4oz/175; wash, then 30 sec infusion, +10 following)
Dry leaves have very savory green vegetable aroma, not sweet at all. Wet leaves after wash add roasted/smoky scent. 1st infusion (30 sec) is dark gold, almost brown. Taste is of savory broth, almost meaty, with a hint of smoke on the nose. Just a touch bitter, and finishes with a very slight astringency; not unpleasant, though, as it balances the savory notes. Taste of infusions 2-4 remain consistent. Flavor is interesting but not especially complex.
(4g/4 oz/195/30 sec, 15 sec resteep)
Dry leaves smell sweet from the green tea, but wet smell primarily of toasted corn. Tea smells buttery & toasty. First steep (30 sec) is light gold in color, nice blend of mostly savory & a touch sweet in the caramelized roastiness. Very soothing & pleasant. Scent of lightly buttered popcorn is delicious. Second steep (15 sec) is similar with just a tiny hint of astringency at the end. Third steep (30 sec) still good, maybe just starting to lose a little flavor. Easily did 5 infusions without serious loss of flavor.
I’ll have to remember this one when cold season starts – it would be very comforting.
(Gongfu, 3.5g/5oz, 175, 10 sec +5 following) Dry leaves smell sweet & lightly vegetal. Wet leaves bring a touch of toasted spinach aroma.
Steeps 1-3: Aroma is of lightly buttered cooked green vegetables. Flavor is delicate, sweet, & vegetal, with a slightly thick & buttery texture. After first infusion, sweetness recedes a little while vegetal flavors grow more prominent. Remains smooth, no bitterness or astringency. After third infusion becoming a little weak.
Steeps 4-6 (30, 60, 120 sec): Not much different but definitely less strength. Longer steeps still smooth & pleasant. After 6, put leaves in ~8 oz to cold brew.
Update 1: not much left in leaves for cold brew, so iced tea was refreshing but fairly washed out.
Update 2: (Western style by pkg directions: 2.5g/8 oz/175/3 min)
Definitely not as interesting as gongfu. Aroma is similar (sweet, vegetal, pleasant), though muted. Flavors overtaken by strong green vegetable aftertaste with fair amount of (not totally unpleasant) bitterness. Prepared this way rates about 65.
(5g/4 oz/208/10 sec +5)
Dry leaves smell sweet & vegetal. (5 second wash.) Wet leaves bring out a little more spinach/kale, and more sweetness. Brewed gongfu, 5g in 5 oz water just off boiling for 10 seconds, adding 5 seconds each infusion after. Steeps 1-4: pale yellow color, sweet & buttery aroma. Taste is delicately floral, a little creamy, and lightly sweet. Not much green vegetable taste at all, though the smell of the wet leaves at first suggests this. Very pleasant overall, very smooth with not a hint of dryness or astringency for the first several infusions. Sweetness gradually diminishes but florals become more prominent. A bit of dryness & astringency just barely start at around 5th steep. 5-6 begin to suggest an acidic fruit in the aftertaste, like peach? After 6, still smooth, creamy, and very floral. Placed leaves in 8 oz water for cold brew.
Update: Cold brew is good. Rather than florals, the flavors are more of green grass (but pleasantly so).
(5g/4 oz/205/10 sec +5)
Really enjoyed this. I’m still an oolong newbie, but I keep reading/hearing that many oolongs don’t fully wake up and reveal their flavors for at least an infusion or two. Definitely the case here for me. The dry leaves smelled toasty & a little sweet. Did a rinse, then brewed 5g in 5 oz in just-off-boiling water for 5 seconds. The color was very pale yellow. Flavor was faintly sweet, a little toasty, with a woodsy & dry effect at the end. It also tasted fairly diluted, so this infusion seemed more like a second wash.
For the 2nd-4th steeps, I reduced the water to 4 oz & started with 10 seconds, adding 5 each time after. The sweet & floral aromas & flavors really started to jump out in the second steep and increased each time after. Each infusion also became smoother, and notes of hay or sweet grasses came out in the third, and some mineral in the fourth. By the fourth I was thinking that it just tasted “yellow” – golden honey, dandelion, hay – and sunny. And the wet leaves between infusions smelled heavenly!
I’m sure there’s a lot more in these leaves, so when I ran out of time after 4 steeps, I put them in 12 oz water to cold brew overnight. Hope to get few more infusions still.
Update: Cold brewed in 12 oz overnight after initial 4 steeps. Flavor is a little muted compared to hot, but still good.