Crafted Leaf Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

So a little while back I placed a very massive teaware order from Crafted Leaf Tea and it arrived today along with a couple free tea samples and samples of two flavours of their handmade tea candies!

They were kind enough to send a green tea and an oolong version. Obviously I tried them right away because I have zero impulse controls – it’s why I place massive teaware orders in the first place. So thoughts on both below…

Xin Yang Mao Jian Umami Bomb

I was nervous about this one because it’s a little bit of a gnarly looking green colour and I don’t often enjoy green tea – especially in concentrated flavours like I was expecting this to be. However, the sweetness of the sugar certainly goes a long way. And that’s not to say it’s overly sweet; actually far from it. It’s just that the sweetness is pleasant and helps to soften any bitterness that might be present or dull some of the greener elements.

In fact, the best part of this candy is how distinctly nutty it tastes. Like, the roasted notes and flavours of hazelut/chestnut really come through in a way that is scarily accurate to the flavour of actual Mao Jian. It’s impressive how much they’re able to convey the distinct taste of the tea through the candy format!

Song Dynasty Old Bush Milan Dancong

Shockingly, I actually liked this candy less than the green tea alternative – but it was still very good. The overall flavour was much softer/milder than the taste of the green tea and it felt less sweet, as well. I got notes of gentle floral lychee and grapes though as I continued sucking on the candy as well as the most delicate, pleasant hint of roast and minerality. A little like cocoa butter, too!

Again, I’m just really impressed with how distinctly it tasted of the tea it was made from. Real crystal clear flavour notes.

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Gongfu Sipdown (1415)!

Finished this one off while doing a first run of a new silver teacup. I think I probably eyed this teacup on the BLT site for probably close to a year before saying “screw it” and adding it to a recent order; the fact it waited for me for so long just seemed like a sign!

This unsmoked lapsang is super lovely as well with syrupy saturated red fruit top notes that bleed into deep full bodied notes of oak, bitter dark chocolate, malt, and just a bit of leather – so flavourful and coating on the palate!! Great tea session overall, and really happy to be joining the silver teaware club!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CRrsy_nhbUR/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM76gh_kiRg&ab_channel=GusDapperton

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You ever think about how crazy we must sometimes sound when describing the beauty of tea leaves to people who just, like, don’t give a fuck!? I was looking at the gorgeous golden tips scattered throughout the fine black and umber leaves, and I had the thought to myself “Wow, this is like looking at porn” and then that was immediately followed by “…and most people would find you crazy for thinking that”. They’re fucking gorgeous though! Plus, the tea is as delicious – really malty and full bodied with some cocoa, sweet potato, and raisin notes. Makes for a damn good Western cuppa!

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CO8EUjtAoHg/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBo46xCHX1A&ab_channel=MexicanSummerMexicanSummer

Mastress Alita

As an asexual, porn does absolutely nothing for me. But looking through teaware listings on Etsy?! Oh baby… steams from collar

Roswell Strange

Haha, that could be it! As someone also asexual, maybe my view of gorgeous tea leaves that are as enticing as (I imagine) porn is just… off XD

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Sipdown (1409)!

Finished this one last weekend as a Western steeped mug of tea – a forgotten and oversteeped one, unfortunately. It was still drinkable despite the very extended steep time. Verrrryyyy full bodied with some astringency to the sips. Taste was rich though – smoked dark chocolate, malt, leather, sweet potato, and just a bit of red fruit. I wish I’d been more careful steeping so I would have tasted the nuances a bit more, but still a pretty pleasant send off for this bad boy.

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Steeped up Western style, but I did save myself enough to try it Gongfu later…

Jin Jun Mei is a style of tea with a mighty big reputation right now and, with that reputation, and equally big price tag in many cases. Do I think it’s worth the hype and price tag? Usually no, though there are admittedly some very nice ones out there.

I liked this one, but it was easy to find myself distracted from the taste of the tea by any one of the many other things going on in my day. When I’m drinking a straight black tea Western style, I usually want it to either fade into the background and act as a sort of pleasant “white noise” to be sipped on or I want it to command my attention because of how good it is. This tea? Somewhere in the middle.

Mostly tasted of cocoa, sweet potato, and some florals – but smelled dominantly like rich cocoa power/chocolate. The good stuff, from like some kind of fancy European brand.

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84

Oversteeped this a bit so the top note had a little bite to it, but overall this was smooth with nice cucumber skin notes crossed with a sort of honeysuckle/straw and “lemon water” kind of tasting note composition. Gave me spa vibes a little, but in a nice way!

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84

Gongfu!

I seem to be craving white tea today, so brewing up this 2019 Wild Baimudan sample I received for free from Crafted Leaf Teas this evening! My tea, earlier today, was interrupted by the fire alarm and an apartment evacuation (everything is fine!) So finally back to relaxing for the evening. This is really nice, it has the sweet and refreshing vegetal notes that I love in baimudan like cucumber skin & pulp, and sweet and almost floral garden peas! However, there’s also an interesting top note that’s like a moderately ‘Sharp’ hit of lemon juice. It’s exactly what I was craving for the evening!

To be honest, the worst part of the fire alarm earlier is that I was brewing tea while watching the series finale of The 100 (a show I have put seven years of investment into) and the alarm went off right in the middle of the episode just at a VERY emotionally charged moment. So I evacuated with a fully puffy face and red eyes from sobbing like a little emotional baby.

I don’t want to talk about the finale yet – I have mixed feelings and am too emotionally exhausted after it…

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CF23FApgXro/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSpJT4-splY&ab_channel=TomRosenthal

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83

I had a Western steeped mug of this on Thursday and I really enjoyed it a lot. More so, I think, than my last tasting of it which was Grandpa steeped. I found the flavour very fresh and light to medium bodied with sweet floral character that seemingly danced on my palate. We’re talking notes of lilac, peony, and magnolia that seemed almost magical. The finish had that weird “fresh linen” note that sounds kind of strange until you taste it – but just fresh, clean, and Spring-like. It was a bit green, but no rough edges to the flavour. Everything seems to roll together seamlessly.

It was one of the better cups I had during the week, and thus I feel the need to marginally increase my previous rating of 78…

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83

Grandpa style while I work from home today – just eyeballed some leaf and tossed it into a cup…

It’s smooth with sweet liquor and an enchanting bouquet of heady floral aromas! In terms of taste, I’m getting a lot of lilac, which always makes me nostalgic for the lilac bushes from summers spent visiting my grandparents as a child!! Coating in the mouth & very long linger after the sip.

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CC86P2DAWbQ/

The cup is one of the new ones I picked up from my Cameliia Sinensis mini haul last weekend; I think it’s going to be perfect for grandpa brewing!! It’s also hard to believe, but this is the “decluttered” version of my at home tea desk – before I only had space for tea OR a laptop, and now I can fit both!!

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5QQjqiw7mQ

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70

I like white tea, but they typically are either too powerful or too soft. This one started out quite strong, but after the second infusion, it died down, a lot. I used 9g/120ML, but the strength of the tea wasn’t there. Yes, the notes were present, but I had to use full on boiling water to bring them out; which hadn’t helped much with bringing those notes out.

I liked that it started out strong, but I didn’t like that the strength of flavor backed a way after the first steep.

Flavor profile: soft mineral notes, with a slight milkiness to the mouthfeel. I wanted more, but it just wasn’t there.

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70

This is a very green raw puerh. Light vegetal notes throughout the session. I had to push the tea a bit to get a lot of flavor out of it. I started the session with 195F water, but boiling the water and increasing the infusions from 10-20 seconds, to 20-40 seconds helped release more of those prominent vegetal notes (while testing the boundaries of the tea).

I think that the tea is soft, uninteresting. Honestly, this would be a good tea to give to a newbie; experiencing raw tea for the first time. It doesn’t get bitter, unless you REALLY work at it, like I had. It’s not astringent—which is a plus for a beginner—but, I wish that it might’ve been. I find myself relying too much on those bitter/astringent notes these days.

Anyway, it’s a nice tea, but one that I’ve outgrown, as my journey has progressed forward.

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