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Recent Tasting Notes
Camellia Sinensis added a small tin of this to my last order (which was mainly supplies for class) and I’ve been meaning to get to it for a while – I’ve pulled it out of the cupboard only for it to find its way back in without getting tried many, many times now. Finally I decided that tonight was the night to drink it. Procrastination be damned!
I had a nice, soft of informal gong fu session with this one during the early evening while I packed my lunch for work and made the syrups for a couple different tea sodas. 3g in my smaller celadon chawan. If I’m being honest, the different cups definitely blurred together and I’m not 100% sure how many I ended up having. Probably about five or six which is quite a lot for me…
That’s why I’m not reviewing this one on SororiTea Sisters even though I had initially planned to; I don’t feel like I drank it ‘consciously’ enough to put a review up for it there. Side note; my celadon ‘winged’ chawan I got from VariaTEA is looking really good now with all it’s little tea filled cracks. When I first started noticing them I kinda freaked out ‘cause I wasn’t aware that was a thing that A) was supposed to happen and B) would happen so quickly what with this being my first celadon piece. I love the way it looks now though.
Anyway; first couple of cups I observed a more distinct smokiness to the flavour and stronger malt and cocoa notes. Initially this was rather astringent (but not unreasonably so) but that faded quickly throughout each cup. There were some soft raisin notes, but they too soon subsided after the first three or so cups/infusions. A little woody; not as much as anticipated.
The last half of the session featured more floral notes, less malt, about the same level of cocoa notes and a light honey and lemon-like finish that was especially prominent with the second last cup, before the leaf was totally spent. Overall, every cup surprised me with the lack of briskness and the instead fairly mellow and well rounded flavour even in the first infusions where there was more astringency and that stronger smokey note.
Very pleasant overall, though not my favourite Camellia Sinensis offering that I’ve tried. This session used about a third (or possibly closer to half) of the small tin I got as an extra sample, and I kind of want to do something different with the rest of it instead of another Gong Fu session. The steeping instructions on the tin are Western style, maybe I’ll try that instead…
This was a perfect fit for this morning. I slept… Very poorly. If you are a fan of rose flavor and rose scent you will like this one. Not only does it smell lovely but the taste is lovely too. Makes me want to make a big cup and go sit in a rose garden. Its a good blend of teas. The rose of course over powers the bases but that’s ok.
This is definitely an interesting looking tea, one I probably wouldn’t have chosen for myself had Camellia Sinensis not included it as a bonus sample in one of several orders I’ve placed with them this year. Personally, I don’t have much experience with Darjeeling teas, and I’m almost certain that this is the first Darjeeling Oolong that I’ll have tried.
The dry leaf of this blend it fascinating to me; it definitely doesn’t look like a lot of oolong I’ve encountered. I know it’s definitely on the lower scale of oxidation, for sure – but it doesn’t even look like they even attempted to roll it which is definitely something I’m accustomed to with greener oolong. More so, it just kind of reminds me of Bai Mu Dan, but a little twisted up.
I brewed this one in one of my Gaiwans because it felt more right to be brewing it that way instead of in an infuser mug, though I did brew it Western style instead of Gong Fu. Normally I’m not one to resteep things, but I got three resteeps of this blend before I decided that was enough for the day.
The first infusion was very soft and delicate with such a lovely silky mouthfeel (which was definitely a consistent trait between all three infusions). The flavours were kind of in line with green teas and greener oolong; crisp and sweet sugar snap peas, lighter fruit notes like slightly under ripe honeydew, some floral notes, and a slight creaminess. However, the overwhelming gentleness of the brew reminds me a lot of white tea as well. I was looking forward to experiencing the “tang” like described by Camellia Sinensis, but I definitely didn’t taste anything close to that. Nor did I taste anything “spicy”.
The second infusion definitely brought about a change in flavour though; while the liquor was still very smooth and delicate and I still got some lovely snap pea notes there was also a touch of a herbaceous quality and the more floral notes were traded in for something quite a bit fruitier. More like over ripe honeydew than under ripe, and with an almost white wine like quality. I also experienced the “tangy finish” like described. I was definitely a little taken aback; the body dramatically and quickly shifted into this long, drawn out pleasantly sour finish that I wasn’t expecting. This was easily my favourite infusion of the three I did; it had a great balance between the flavours of the first and third infusions.
The third infusion was still delicate but that tangy note was even more vivid and instead of just being present in the finish it started to creep up into the body of the sip as well. In this infusion I definitely thought it was much more distinctly like white wine. In fact, I almost immediately was reminded of the few Reisling wines I’ve had (I’m not a huge wine person). It was super interesting, and still quite enjoyable but quite different from that first infusion. I can only imagine how much more interesting this would be Gong Fu brewed.
It’s a shame I can no longer find this on the Camellia Sinensis site; I want to learn more about this tea as it was very different from other oolongs I’ve tried, and quite memorable. I 100% recommend trying it, even if oolong isn’t your jam.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Green Melons, Herbaceous, Honeydew, Melon, Peas, Tangy, Vegetal, White Grapes, White Wine
Not your ordinary Kukicha (Camellia Sinensis is careful to also mention the other Japanese name for this tea, “Bocha”), this tea steeps well 2-3 times, shows pleasant hints of tropical fruits, lots of body, and is naturally sweet. No kelpy to allusions Sencha here, this tea stands on its own. I’ve tried many, have only come back to this Kukicha, again and again.
Flavors: Bamboo, Floral, Peas, Tropical
Been brewing this as a mostly afternoon tea. Took me a while to narrow in on the best brew pattern, Darjeeling is not my forte. The thing is, I wanted to not like this tea for that reason even without tasting it. Too much fuss, then one day my hubby wanted a pick me up and since he was the guinea pig I made it for him. He’s not a refined tea critic but he knows what he doesn’t like and this tea received an “OK” from him. Well if its good for the goose……it tasted “OK” for me too, so now I guess its time for expending effort and do my whole Mike the Martian thing and do a “waiting is” and “grok” this tea. I used the suggested brewing method and thought it too pale, so I added more tea and reduced the time and now it is fit to serve Jubal. Flavor is of sweetgrass and faint peach. It really shines with a hint of honey. Guess the lesson is get out of the comfort zone every once and a while and allow yourself some mystery.
yep, not a fan of this one…there’s a really dirtlike/earthy aroma that is just off putting for me. The taste is better, and i think it works better gongfu than western. This isn’t a BAD tes…but it’s not something that i really want to drink ever. So going to put this in to the same bucket for anyone who wants to try some.
don’t brew this on western. Today i had a mini gonfu session with this tea and it is MUCH better. It’s still a little “heavy” for me, so maybe i need to get through the first infusions a little faster (akak don’t drink them). but this works with shorter steeps. Still won’t be a favourite tea, but at least i know how to make it work better for me now :) very leathery and earthy.
not sure how i feel about this one. CS lists this as an oolong but there is way more a puerh like feel to this. I’d like to try brewing this again gongfu style, as today i simply tried it western brew according to the paramters on the bag. The result was a fairly strong earthy brew. verdict is out until i try this again
Nice Pu, not into chocolate flavors unless milk is involved. I tried all combo. I steeped it with water alone which did not give me a good choco flavor, then added a little milk, again to watery, added 1/2&1/2, no go, then steeped it in hot milk but the Pu flavor was dissipated and not enough of the choco. In the end I got what I kind of wanted by adding extra cocoa to a 1/2 water 1/2 milk. Too much work for me. Plus wasted alot of tea in the process. I like Camellia Sinensis just not this one.
Wow, really good cold brew sip down! Present notes of all three major players: the banana, pineapple, and coconut. Tasting the coconut was most surprising; it’s not a flavour that’s been overly present in any of the infusions I’ve made but it was pretty strong and even a little buttery/confectionery in this brew. Maybe all the little shreds had sunk to the bottom of the tin?
This is one of those really good sipdowns that makes you want to restock a tea, but on the whole I probably wont because while this was lovely to get to drink down it wasn’t super solid as a pineapple tea (which is what I wanted from it) and isn’t overly unique as a stand alone blend. There are better rooibos blends I could be keeping in my cupboard.
Mostly just pineapple notes; no real banana or coconut in this brew. The pineapple was enjoyable if not just a little bit too sweet. I can really taste the base as well; and while it’s not bad I prefer this when the base tastes less present.
Overall, it’s pretty tasty – but it IS showing its age.
This is a queued tasting note.
Made a large mug of this the other day; I was a little disappointed to be perfectly honest. It tasted a little weak/bland and watered down despite I used just as much leaf as I normally do for a mug of this size (16 oz.). As well, this came out a little buttery and with the banana tasting more prominent than the pineapple it was a little like drinking a hot buttered banana? But not in the tasty banana bread and butter way; more like a still greenish, under ripe banana rolled in melted butter like you would a corncob…
Surprisingly, I think that this blend simply doesn’t work as a tea soda. While the smell of the tangy, juicy pineapple and ripe banana notes are both so bright and vibrant coming of the dry leaf and comparably strong with a traditional hot cup or cold brew they tasted a little weak and forced with a tea soda format. The flavour I wanted simply wasn’t there, and I was left with carbonated green rooibos and mediocre pineapple flavour. With enough tweaking I could likely make this work for a tea soda, but honestly I doubt it’s worth the effort.
I had more time set aside tonight for tasting notes, but Tre and I got into a very heated three hour long debate/argument tonight over this Youtube video:
I’m firmly on the same side as boyinaband and have been for years; I think that nearly all of the topics he addresses (the only one I really disagree with is stocks) should 100% be made mandatory in school and there should be less of things like advanced math/science. I wont go as far as saying that we shouldn’t learn Shakespearean literature, or history – but I think the depth we go into is largely unnecessary and that time could be better devoted to more practical classes. Tre thinks if, as an example, if a grade twelve level science (physics, chemistry, or biology) isn’t mandatory no one will become scientists – but that’s bullshit! You don’t eliminate it from highschool, you have a class (perhaps up to a grade 10 or 11 level) that introduces the topic and provides everything you’d realistically need to know if you didn’t got to university or choose a job in that field, and then anything more advanced it made into an elective and the people who want to have a career in that field will choose to pursue it. How is that hard to understand?
Tre firmly disagrees: while I can get him to admit that most of what Dave/boyinaband is talking about is important information to know he thinks that the resources needed to teach that in highschool would be too costly. My rebuttal was that if less of the unnecessary things we’re learning was mandatory and was instead elective that the resources for those subjects could be split between those classes and a “Life Skills” class. His other argument was that things like finance could be pursued in further academics, like if you wanted to be an accountant. However, I don’t think you should need to want to be an accountant to know how to pay your taxes or balance a checkbook, and (like Tre does) you shouldn’t have to go to a specialist come tax season to fill out those forms for you. Some people can’t afford that. Besides, if you’re not taught hot to manage your money that puts you at even more of a disadvantage.
That’s just one of many examples, though.
I should probably point out that Tre and I are both from very poor/low income families; his was a single parent family and I lived with my mom but had some support from my father. We also went to the exact same highschool; he took mainstream classes and I took advanced classes. We were fortunate/privileged enough to have some of what Dave talks about (primarily anything regarding to the law or political system, and we also had a very good Sex. Ed class) as part of our mandatory education but not everyone does.
The difference, however, is that out of highschool he went to University/Siast and I didn’t because I didn’t know what I wanted to do (despite having had a much more academic/rigorous highschool experience). One of the things he’s having a hard time acknowledging is that just because the ‘system’ worked for him doesn’t mean that’s evidence ‘it works’ in general. I put every effort into learning things like ‘the quadratic equation’ or isotopes or many other things Dave rapped about – but it did nothing to further my education and now none of that knowledge (most of which was mandatory) isn’t being used practically at all. A ‘life skills’ class would have been much more beneficiary to me right out of high school.
I’d also recommend watching this ‘follow up’ video as well since most criticisms are well addressed:
One of Tre’s biggest ones is that parents, like his Dad, should be helping teach this stuff. Some people simply don’t have parents, others have really shitty ones. Personally, my Mom tried really hard to teach me a lot of valuable life skills; and in some areas she did a great job. I got a great sex education and learned quite a lot at home about politics and rights (LGBTQ rights in particular) but she never once addressed things like budgeting (which she can hardly do for herself, lets be honest) or how to do taxes. Had I lived with my Dad, I know for a fact I never would have learned anything about Sex Ed. because, due to his Christian beliefs, his approach was always “abstinence until you’re married” which just isn’t practical sex education. My point is that gaps exist – and someone needs to fill them.
It’s just very frustrating talking about this kind of thing with Tre, and sometimes even living with him, because while we had very similar experiences growing up are views on most things are so completely different – and he’s so stubborn and ignorant. While I had a rebuttal for every thing he said didn’t make sense/wouldn’t work he refused to accept them because “well, it worked for me so it obviously works overall”. It doesn’t work like that; we’re both in the ‘lower class’ and we fortunate to have parents who tried very hard to overcome that and teach us to overcome that, as well as go to a fairly exceptional school but the reality is that many people in our situations either didn’t go to the decent school that made up for some of the gaps in life knowledge, and didn’t have parents who tried to help them. Most people in situations like mine and his never went to university after graduating, if they graduated at all. These ‘life skills’ should be taught to them because they’re the ones who’ll probably need them the most.
Sorry for the long tasting note; I just had to vent somewhere other than to Tre because we just reached the point where I might as well have been screaming at the wall.
Today’s cold brew.
The most fascinating thing about this cold brew is probably that it came out a really vibrant, almost neon tangerine colour. Seriously; it was beautiful to look at although totally weird too since this is a pineapple/banana tea…
It definitely tasted more like pineapple that anything else though; very tangy with a sharp sweetness that really clearly cut through any other flavours. After drinking 25 oz. of it I kind of felt the same way you do after eating too much real pineapple; your mouth gets super sore from sour ‘acid’ overload, or whatever the technical/sciencey explanation is. It was still really good though!
My Camillia Sinensis order showed up today; in addition to getting a fancier aged oolong to try out I picked up 50g of this blend because it’s been on my wishlist forever and I was really curious about it.
I pretty much knew I was gonna love it without even trying it; it’s green rooibos which is the better varietal IMO and it’s pineapple/coconut. Really, it’s the banana that’s the intriguing part. And of course, I do like it quite a lot!
It’s incredibly fresh and fruity with such a sweet pineapple taste; like fresh cut over ripe pineapple with the juices getting everywhere. It’s got that natural tang to it as well that’s not tart or overly sour; it’s like an exclamation point after each ripe pineapple note. The coconut isn’t actually that strong in my opinion; it’s present but the least so of any of the ingredients. Pineapple and coconut are a classic, time tested pairing – obviously they work well here, but I appreciate getting more of a focus on the pineapple.
The banana could be a little stronger, like my tea twin VariaTEA mentioned but I think it shines through; it’s very much the taste of real banana that’s not quite ripe – not banana candy or artificial banana. You now how bananas can taste sort of green? When they still visually look partially green but have yellow to them as well, that is. They’re also a bit firmer; that the banana flavor I’m getting from this tea.The dynamic between the banana and pineapple is wonderful; the flavors bounce off one another and are bright and almost whimsical.
Very happy I picked this one up; I look forward to exploring it more. In particular, I feel like this blend will work very well cold brewed!
I have spent most of the day playing with my tea stash. Comparing actual cupboard to spreadsheet and steepster. Weighing all my teas, updating my spreadsheet. Reorganizing, moving all the smallish amounts into the sample bin, etc. The moral of that project….I havea mountain of tea, and I have way more pu’erh than anything else.
So while I was doing that, I was drinking this tea. I wasn’t taking notes, but it was pretty good. What I consider a typical shou. Nothing nasty, but nothing that jumped out either. I think I liked this one more than the one last night, but theyywere both just nice nit spectacular. All in all a nice tea day.
Thanks OMGsrsly for the sample. :)
This was a swap from Lala (I think) a while back. Finally decided to try it after Jillian requested that some of it be added to the Great Canadian Travelling Tea Box.
This smelled and tasted extremely floral and perfumey. I didn’t add any sugar to it, but I wonder whether I should have, as a lot of different flavours were trying to dominate. I think I got rose and guava the most, and some chocolate too.
Anyways, as a result of this taste test and adding the sample to the box, this is a sipdown!
Brewed this hot but I’m drinking it cold. Pineapple is for sure the major player here but banana and apple pop up here and there. Coconut comes through as a light sweetness that floats atop the cup. It’s nice but I don’t know if it makes enough of an impact to make me want to order this one in the future. Good, but not entirely memorable.
Brewed this up and hot, it’s all pineapple and coconut. I think I may let it cool down and see what happens and then I’ll update this note later…
So it’s much of the same cooled except the pineapple is a touch stronger and I get a little more banana flavor. It’s nice but I don’t know if I would place an order just for this.