1280 Tasting Notes
An unopened sample from back in the day. I steeped according to package directions.
The dry leaves range in color from almost forest green to silvery green and smell of earth. The tea is a light color, almost a peachy yellow, and clear.
The flavor comports with my impression of other first flush darjeelings in that it is rounder and mellower than second flush teas in general, without any extremely sharp notes though there’s an undercurrent of wine. I’m also getting stone fruit notes, apricot mostly, and a slight floral note. It’s tasty and gentle.
Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Muscatel
I must have tried this a while back and never written about it. It’s a sample that I’d opened but can’t find a note about.
It’s actually really nice to be able to drink a black tea on a dark, chilly evening and not have to worry about the caffeine. I have given decafs short shrift in the past, but I suspect that’s about to change.
There’s no denying that decaf anything tastes “less than” the caffeinated equivalents. There’s a shallowness to this that I wouldn’t excuse were it caffeinated. The aroma is nice and full, leafy and malty, but the taste feels squeezed of its oomph with a sort of a papery note that I find in a lot of decafs, whether they be coffee or tea.
That said, I can almost forgive it just because it means black tea after dinner without the wakefulness. And there’s no Assam throat grab.
Flavors: Malt, Paper
Sipdown no. 43 of 2017 (no. 324 total). A sample.
My note from the last time I tried this said to try it with a lower temp, so I’m trying it at 195 today in the gaiwan.
It’s a rainy day today. I went for a run in the rain, which is the first time I’ve done that in forever. I enjoyed it, but not the returning home wet to have to peel off clothes part. No. 1 is supposed to be my personal trainer but he was whining the entire time about his shoes getting wet. This is California, folks. It doesn’t rain here, and everyone might as well be made of spun sugar, including my kids.
This time around, the toastiness I was missing last time is prevalent. It’s almost like I’m tasting a completely different tea than the one I described before. There’s no plastic-y note that I complained about last time, but there’s still something that is floral-like about it, and a sweetness with the sugary note I described before.
I decided to have the last couple of steeps as an accompaniment to the Kung Pao Noodles I heated up for lunch. Great pairing!
I’m up earlier than I would have thought on the last day of a long weekend. I was debating whether to just sleep in and forget sending in my exercise for my writing class, which is due in an hour and a half, or to get up and do it. I decided in the end to get up and do it.
I am in a period where writing is a chore, not very enjoyable at all. And since I don’t have to do it, it’s tempting not to. I’m pushing myself through as a character building exercise.
As a warm up, I’m writing about this tea. Another ATR sample.
I haven’t had a darjeeling in a while. I usually like them, but in general Indian teas have a quality that makes me think of them as needing to be spaced out with other things in between. I don’t feel the same about Chinese black teas, and I think it has to do with the intensity and the astringency. Indian teas often have a sharp, penetrating note rather than a round, easy drinking quality — at least for me.
This one has medium sized green-black leaves that smell earthly in the packet. The tea liquor is gorgeous — the sort of red-orange that I used to joke would make a nice color for a sweater. It has a winey aroma, but not too sharp.
The tea is the same. It isn’t as sharp as I’d expected and while I’d hesitate to call it smooth, it is moreso than other darjeelings I’ve had. It has a coffee-like note to it and a medium astringency.
It’s quite enjoyable and I think it would make a lovely iced tea as well. Too bad they no longer have it at ATR.
Flavors: Coffee, Muscatel
A sample I’ve been eyeing for a while. My fail yesterday made me want to try another white. I’m a bit of a masochist that way.
This makes a pale yellow clear tea that smells sweet, like nectar. It also has a definite flavor, though I’m at a loss to describe it because it is, to me, anyway, extremely subtle. It tastes a lot like it smells. “Delicate and sweet” is about right — I’m not getting the complexity others who tasted this have, but then again my sample is quite old.
It’s pleasant enough, though I think white teas may just not be my thing — which is somewhat unfortunate as I have an awful lot of them in my stash.
I give it points for having a definite flavor. If I was going to drink white tea, I wouldn’t mind drinking this one.
Sipdown no. 42 of 2017 (no. 323 total). A sample.
More of this is winging its way to me even as we speak, so time to say goodbye to the sample packet I’ve been hoarding.
The name makes me think of my best friend who died a few years ago. It’s nice to think of her while sipping.
I reduced the steep time to 3 minutes because my last note suggested that I try that.
It’s interesting having this right after the ATR Qimen Imperial. It has many of the same qualities of roundness, heft, maltiness — but there’s something more. My guess is it’s the Yunnan — it softens the edges even more and makes this one of the more awesome tea experiences I’ve had lately. I think the reduction in steeping time to 3 minutes may have made all the difference with this one, at least for me.
I originally rated this 85. What was I thinking?
Another ATR sample that’s never been opened and apparently no longer available on the web site. I steeped according to the package directions.
The chocolate notes in the dry leaf are even more pronounced in this one than in yesterday’s Qimen Mao Feng, as they are in the aroma of the steeped tea. The color is about the same, perhaps a little less red and a little darker brown-orange.
The flavor is smooth and round, with a depth that wasn’t present in yesterday’s. There’s a more pronounced maltiness to the tea, a bready note to the aroma and flavor. The finish isn’t sugary sweet, but it’s not bitter.
I like the body of this. It has heft to it but isn’t so heavy that it gets dragged down.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Malt
Sipdown no. 41 of 2017 (no. 322 total). A sample that I’ve been eyeing and meaning to try for a while. And the last caffeine of the day.
Stupidly, I viewed the preparation notes for the wrong tea, so I steeped in what seemed like the sweet spot, but it was for the Bai Mu Dan. Fortunately, it wasn’t that far off from what the only note that gave a temp and time had for the Bai Hao.
White tea continues to be mostly a puzzlement to me. Preparation instructions on the internet are wildly divergent, some sources advocating long steeping times and some advocating multiple short steeps. Some say use hot water, some say use cooler.
I’ve basically given up trying to figure out how to steep it. If I get lucky and it comes out tasty, that’s a win.
Same with the taste. Sometimes I feel as though it’s basically a cousin to black tea. Sometimes I have no idea what it is — it’s a sort of very light, dewy or hay flavored hot water.
But I keep trying to hit on some unifying principle that can help me understand it better. And I keep failing.
Honestly, I’m not sure what to say about this one. I don’t get much flavor out of it at all. Maybe it’s an age thing (but white tea is supposed to age well), but I think it’s more likely a preparation thing. There’s a bit of sweetness but honestly, I’m getting mostly hot water here.
Not rating it.