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Recent Tasting Notes
Finished the last of this one off doing a side by side tasting with a different compressed 2011 Aged White Tea, from White2Tea. I didn’t mention it in that tasting note, but I used 2.5g of each tea for the tasting – would have upped it a little bit, but I only had 2.5g of this tea left and I wanted to use the same leaf amount for both teas.
I preferred this tea, of the two. If you want more details I’m going to cross reference the tasting note from the W2T offering where I expanded on the experiment a little bit more:
Drank this tea Grandpa at work earlier in the week, and was super impressed with how lovely it was. Very smooth, and creamy both in terms of mouthfeel and flavour. I topped my mug up like three or four times and this was flavourful each time. Mild floral undertones, but primarily this profile very much like fresh cream/marscapone with may and autumnal leaf notes. It felt refreshing, and sweet in a really natural way.
Kind of like, and bare with me, a romanticized notion of drinking tea on a dairy farm? Like, not the gross and manure-y stench you’re probably get if you drank tea on an actually dairy farm – but more just the notions of bails of hay and autumnal, crunchy leaves falling around and lots of fresh milk everywhere.
Or that’s my thought, anyway.
Gong Fu Session!
I didn’t really take thorough notes of this session, and instead opted to focus more on the aesthetics of the session and tea itself and just let the mood, tea, and environment take me where they felt I should wind up. I did measure out the leaf I used though; I decided to split my 10g sample into two 5g amounts so that I’ll still have another session of leaf for another time when I do feel more inclined to do a more documented session.
Dry leaf for this one through me for a loop initially; it smelled SUPER potently of dandelion – the flower, and not greens. In that degree of concentration I wasn’t sure that was a flavour I wanted to experience throughout a session. I pushed through though and it wound up being fine. First infusions definitely did have a strong dandelion taste/quality to them, but it mellowed/leveled out into a more pleasant, smooth and generic floral taste throughout the session all the way until the end.
I didn’t track infusion numbers either, but my best estimate would be somewhere between 12 and 18; I drank this one for a long time. It had a lot of staying power, and every time I felt like I was reaching where I thought the ‘natural decline’ of flavour would start I was surprised by that not being the case.
Other notes throughout the session, though in lesser amounts that the overall floral vibes, were; raisin, wood chips/cedar wood, grass, timothy hay, sap, and the faintest hint of something vegetal like cucumber skins – not the cooling pulp/flesh of the fruit. Mostly with a general sweetness to the sips, despite some more savory/umami elements overall. It was very pleasant; relaxing flavours and a viscous soup from the tea that just made it very easy to relax and enjoy myself.
I look forward to comparing the two other years of this tea that Healthy Leaf offers.
Dry leaf has a strong aroma of wildflower honey. Brews a very clear gold. Tastes of honey, grain, mineral, dry grass, and red grape skins. Very clean, almost sparkling quality in the mouth. Strong sweetness that reminds me a bit of the cane syrup that my grandpa loves to pour over biscuits for breakfast. Does not get bitter when oversteeped, just thick and flavorful. Very nice tea.
Flavors: Grain, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Muscatel, Musty
The dry leaves are dark and smell very earthy, not like wo dui but like moderately wet storage. Brews a dark brown and is incredibly thick in the mouth like a good stout. Tastes of rich dark earth with a bit of molasses and vanilla and a strong minerality. Later steeps taste cleaner with a more prominent sweetness.
Flavors: Mineral, Molasses, Vanilla, Wet Earth
The leaves are quite dark, but it brews a light yellow-orange. Fruity notes of citrus and banana, roasty notes of toasted barley and almonds. Lesser medicinal notes of ginseng, cannabis, and mineral. Just a hint of smoke, more like a burning match than a bonfire.
Flavors: Almond, banana, Cannabis, Citrus, Mineral, Roasted Barley, Smoke
I was curios about this tea; all the Yun Wu teas that I’ve seen before have had twisty, curly leaves. This one on the other hand has flat pressed leaves like a Dragonwell. They’re smaller and a bit darker green than Dragonwell, but similar nonetheless.
The taste is very clean and somewhat mild. It has a chestnut-y note like Dragonwell, but tastes greener and more buttery. Nice minerality to it. Somewhat vegetal but also very slightly fruity.
A good green tea. I kind of want to get a sample of their Dragonwells to compare.
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Green, Mineral
I was interested to try this tea because I enjoy smoky flavors and it looked to be high quality; not the shredded leaf “smoldering garbage can aroma” kind of Lapsang Souchong commonly sold in the West. I thought it odd though that they call it Golden Monkey, as it’s obviously quite different than the teas that normally go by that name.
The dry leaves are moderately sized, dark, and twisty. The dry aroma is like raisins or dry figs, I’m not really smelling any smoke. Brews a medium orange. Tastes predominantly of fig with hints of pine, toasted rice, dry wood, baking spices, and a very light hint of smokey tobacco the background.
Very nice, mellow tea, and as the description says it tastes like a mix between a black tea and Wuyi oolong. Despite the name there is very little smoke to be found.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Fig, Oak wood, Pine, Smoke, Toasted Rice
My Healthy Leaf samples came today! There’s several that I’m pretty excited about, but I was in the mood for a roasted oolong and it’s getting late so I needed low caffeine so roasted and aged sounded like a good combination.
The dry leaves are dark, twisty, and reasonably intact. They smell like… nothing? This might be the least aromatic (dry) tea I’ve tried. Much more important though is how it brews.
I gave it a wash and waited a couple minutes for the leaves to open up and then started brewing. Brews a clear red-brown with a fruity aroma. Taste of ripe fruit with cinnamon, roasted nut, and tobacco notes and a mild cocoa bitterness. The flavor lingers in the mouth long after you sip it. Slight wisp of smoke. The following steeps are a little less fruity but are cleaner and display more minerality. It start to get notes of citrus zest and red wine.
Very tasty tea, but peters out a bit quickly. I’m considering buying some, but it’s a bit pricey for me to drink on a regular basis.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus Zest, Cocoa, Fruity, Mineral, Orange Zest, Red Wine, Roast nuts, Smoke, Tobacco
I got this tea in a package from* Healthy Leaf* for review.
I set myself up some time to do this one. I was given a 10 gram sample of this to try. I heated the water and preheated the gaiwan. I tossed the sample in there after draining the water out and tossed it around. The aroma was pretty light.
Going with the vendors recommendation with a good 20 second rinse since it is a tuo and compressed tight. I let it sit an hour and came back to it.
First brew was light in color and a small amount of aroma woodsy and earthy. The brew was a bit silky and almost creamy in mouthfeel. There is just a tiny whisper of smoke in there. The brew has the wood notes and sweetness to it. I can see the jam note reference.
Second brew brought out some more notes. I can faintly get the juniper the vendor described along with some mineral and sweetness. There is an aftertaste of mint if you let this sit across your palate and breathe in a bit.
Third brew the wet leaf has started getting the whiskey barrel note to it. The brew is darker and full with the smoke coming back in but the sweetness and berry comes at the end.
I expect this one to brew a while and I will add an addendum to this. It keeps getting stronger and may outlast me on the session for today. I have no doubt that this will brew well tomorrow as well.
The thing about this tea is the aging. Not so dry as to not mature and not so wet as to get the mustiness that often accompanies it. This is right and one of the best, so far, Dali Tuos that I have had. I think if nothing else of trying this if you don’t mind the smoke touches in there. A sample if as good as the one I got will give you a great session with this tea.
Flavors: Creamy, Earth, Jam, Smoke, Sweet, Whiskey