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Recent Tasting Notes
I cannot believe that I haven’t yet written notes about this tea. It is one of my standbys—most especially when I want a good cup of tea for either home or to go and I don’t want to have to make a decision. Grabbing this one is always a win. The flavour is very juicy mango with just enough support for the black tea to come through in each sip. Let me say that again—-very juicy sweet and lovely mango. I always steep briefly, ie. two minutes or so, for best effect. And another plus, it travels nicely throughout the day in either my travel mug or thermos.
I am fairly new to Darjeeling teas, but find myself craving the muscatel with gentle nuances of caramel and raisin on days such as today. It’s a bit cool and damp out there thankfully after the killer humid blasts we had earlier in the week. I haven’t been particularly well the past few weeks, so a quiet day with tea and contemplation is just what is needed.
Flavors: Caramel, Muscatel, Raisins
I had packed this one up in a travel mug for another long long day out in the world. To me, and this is my first cup mind, it tastes of subtle smoke with hints of dark cherry, as if the idea were to imitate the Eastern European approach to drinking strong black tea: with a spoon or two of thick cherry preserve alongside your tiny glass of tea to alternate between the intense sweetness of one and the intense savoury punch of the other. The base is lighter than I had expected though perhaps this is to do with my brief steeping.
When I got home and checked the tea description, I was surprised to discover that bergamot flavours this tea. Well, hey, first impressions and all. I’ll need to give a proper review during my next proper sipping.
Flavors: Cherry, Cherry Wood, Smoke
Another review with pretty close notes to what I get: Butter, Fruity, Malt, and White Raisins. It also had the usual dry basil smell and taste that I associate with Darjeelings. I got two solid cups, and one third lighter cup western starting out at two minutes fifteen seconds, 6 oz of water, one medium teaspoon. I loved that this was a lighter black. Thanks Evol!
GCTTB (round 6) entry
Steeps a deep orange brown. No ginger flavour to be found, however. I like to snack on candied ginger, so that was a bit disappointing.
Black base was bitter and overly tannic. I recommend a shorter steep time for anyone trying this for the first time. Tastes like a really generic black tea, but no malt or anything interesting.
Flavors: Astringent, Drying, Tannic, Tannin
2 tsp for 500mL water @90C, steeped three minutes.
I received a sample of this tea as part of the Toronto Tea Festival 2017 Tasting Box — Oolong Tea.
Dry leaf: tightly rolled, light ot medium green. An unfortunate whiff of condensed tomato soup in the scent.
Wet leaf: gorgeous long and twisty medium green leaves with some stems. Vegetal aroma, edging to briny.
I need to say this upfront: I generally don’t enjoy vegetal and brothy teas. Sometimes I think of soup; sometimes I think of scallops. So I’m not sure I can fairly review a tea with such qualities.
Liquor, first infusion: palest green, almost a pale yellow. Vegetal and slightly briny aroma: buttered greens, faint whiff of scallops. Delicate taste of buttered greens with a sweet and floral finish. After swallowing, however, I get a dominant vegetal taste left in the mouth. Not getting much of a floral aroma.
As the tea cools, some mineral notes come out. Vegetal dominates.
If you like a vegetal green or oolong, this will probably suit you.
GCTTB DAY 6
Wow, I am staying waaaaay past my bedtime literally planning out my cups of tea – how many, at what time of day, which teas, what order – and going through and eliminating all the teas I won’t have time to try. I just realized I hadn’t written tasting notes for two teas I drank yesterday when I stayed home from work…. I mean Monday. It’s Wednesday now. -_-Ugh, someone please hit the pause button. I need more days in the week.
I remember this was a rather strange oolong. It kind of did smell and taste vaguely like milk, which I just found too weird to be tasting in herbally infused water. It wasn’t bad per se, but the oolong didn’t have the traditional deep earthy woodsiness to it that I was expecting. The favours seemed to be on one level of depth, with the scent of milk. Interesting, but not for me.
When I first started drinking loose leaf tea, I began with black tea with milk and sugar. Someone suggested a golden monkey as being super sweet, so I bought some and added sugar. YUCK! I tried honey. YUCK! I felt betrayed by the tea-recommending stranger.
Then I tasted it plain and went….“Oooooh, this is delicious! It really is sweet on its own.” And I haven’t looked back. Now it is rarer than rare for me to add sugar to tea.
My favorite GM teas are Harney and Sons and Teavivre’s. This is a nice one, too. Much better than Teavana’s! We had it with Inside Out Pumpkin Muffins at tea time today and it was a great pairing. I hadn’t realized how wonderfully Golden Monkey would pair with pumpkin! I simply chose a good plain black tea for starters as usual, but I think I will keep this pairing in mind because a lot of our desserts will be pumpkin theme for the next couple of months.
Today I celebrate that the killer humidity has abated, with gentle cool breezes even. I could have worn sleeves today, it was so nice out.
Sugar cane with the vaguest hint of apricot in the first steep, or so my deliriously contented tastebuds told me. Super fab.
I am on my third steep now and have just eaten a maple sugar walnut tart. Heaven all round.
Flavors: Apricot, Caramel, Sugarcane
I had some hidden and was in the mood for it. I had to try it lighter again after all.
I used a really small tea spoon and did not let it steep over 2 minutes. It tastes like a vanilla black tea, but it was more custardy with a cherry aftertaste in the light astringency. I am going to be happy with what I have left. :)
This one was way too astringent for me. The vanilla bean and strong cherry undertone of the black tea were pretty nice, but the astringency coupled with the vanilla turned it into something like molasses. It is naturally sweet and the chocolate notes really aren’t too off, it’s just too strong. A splash of milk did tone it down nicely though.
I was going to be patient, but this little package begged to drink. One smell, and I recognized the high mountain peach scent of the dry leaf.
This was a high quality tea that you could Gong Fu or steep Western. The 15 sec rinse yielded a creamy mouthfeel that some might call floral. It was a little bit fruity, maybe something like coconut or peach, but was silky smooth and lubricating. Four more cups later, which will soon be five (that turned to six), and I got a lovely array of flavors. I went from 30 seconds to “over steeping” it quick. The over steep yielded something like the Misty Mountain, and I can only guess that this was a Qin Xin varietal since it has the creamy peach note.
In summary: a lovely high mountain oolong with a great mouth feel, and all the usually awesome dimensions of its varietal. The fruitiness and florals were more subsided than I’ve had in others, but the lilac was incredibly present in the aroma. Mouthfeel dominates with a very light fruity sweetness. I’ve had sweeter ones before, but again, it really doesn’t matter because of the mouthfeel. I would probably use this as an introduction to high mountain oolongs for a newb since it’s so flexible to brew. Not too sure about the price. I am sure of the joy of sampling this, and how awesome Evol Ving Ness is!
Interesting. I decided to Gong Fu this whole sample too since the scent was faint in the bag. I could maybe tell it was a Jin Xuan with ginseng even without the “milk scent” indicating that possibility. Or it could be a Tie Guan Yin with the creamy florals. It’s on the greener side anyway, but still earthy.
The first steep had an interesting taste and smell. Some floral lilacs with a powerful sweet and earthy ginseing, and some creamy hints. The liqour itself was definitely a green milky oolong with the ginseng slowly opening up into a fruity character. The combined profile was like a hot liquid version of a Pina Colada Jamba Juice-but with stronger hints of other tropical fruit. I could be over describing the sweet ginseng-but something like papaya, mango-or barely pineapple.
The next few cups were a swish back and forth from spinach, minerals, to the florals, and the tropicals. A part of me wonders if I was less impulsive and brewed this western with less leaves: that is, if I would have gotten a more subtle tea. I probably would have gotten the same thing, or so I think as I sip.
Glad that this was a sample because I’m not a huge fan of ginseng oolongs. This, however, made me rethink the dimensions that ginseng can yield with a greener oolong. I’m pretty impressed with the topical fruit character that this tea was able to yield, and am glad to have had it. Thank you Evol Ving Ness!
Doncha just love it when you can consider tea as “mediciine”???
I developed a headache earlier and was almost(but not really!) glad for the opportunity to have tea with a purpose. Seriously! Caffeine + tylenol = remedy nods
Anyhow. I decided I wanted to have this iced, with milk and a bit of honey. At first I was kinda regretting it. The flavours weren’t really working for me somehow. But after awhile things seemed to gel and I really enjoyed it! I was definitely sad when the giant mug was empty. So yeah, if you wanna try this baby cold, let it sit for awhile first :)
I guess I’ll have to write a proper review with tasting notes another time. But if I recall correctly, this is pretty mild, malty, and just a hint bready when hot.
This actually came to me from the last GCTTB. Nilgiri isn’t a tea I often see sold as a single estate tea, it’s a type of tea that, like Ceylon, is usually fairly unremarkable and used more often as a base for flavoured teas than as something to be enjoyed plain. But this tea is quite interesting, its flavour reminds me distinctly of a Darjeeling with the drying astringency. It has those grape-y, wine likes notes that I usually get from an offering from Margaret’s Hope estates thousands if a miles to the north.
This is a Tea, that at least to my personal taste, benefits from a light touch with the leafing. Use to much and the malt overpowers any of the delicate nuances found underneath it. It can be quite a potent Tea and easily yields 4 steeps even with lighter leafing. I used @1.5 TSP per 275 ml of boiling water.
Complex spice notes overlay a mix of stone fruit, honey and malt notes mixed with lighter notes of cocoa and biscuit in the first steep. By the second steep, the malt has intensified and the spice is almost floral. The cocoa notes are also stronger in the second steep.
Overall a nice complex Assam with the spiciness I tend to appreciate in my favourites.