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Recent Tasting Notes
Welcome to Day 2 of little terri’s Sipdown Extravaganza!
This is my first sipdown of the day, sipdown # 6 overall.
Of course, it’s also from the Steepster Select collection.
I had originally planned to give this one the gongfu treatment (humorous break…my autocorrect just turned gongfu into gong flu, heh), but I didn’t. Instead I gave it 3 min, with a resteep of 5 min.
The dry leaf of this tea is very aromatic! Upon opening the package, the air is filled with a rich tobacco & hay scent. The first cup was thick with tobacco, bee pollen, & a tangy apricot-like sweetness. It also gave me the impression of a really fine & creamy sheep’s milk feta, something I love, but haven’t had for years, due to allergies.
The 2nd cup was less tobacco, more honey, with a tingle on the tip of my tongue. I’m getting an image of newly baled hay. As the cup cools, it takes on a creaminess.
I’m reporting this where it actually belongs…
I don’t even know how to describe the aroma of this tea, but when I opened it in the kitchen, it was so potent that Tony could smell it in the living room. Tangy & a little like hay. There’s something else, something vaguely familiar, but I can’t quite place it. Tony says unflavored pipe tobacco.
The flavor is honey & bee pollen, with the classic yunnan thick mouthfeel, & a light cacao after taste. That was the first steeping.
Late at night, just called the New Year. I have an early flight so I just decided to stay up and drink tea.
My second tea of the new year, this came in the first steepster select package. I could not get the temp exact in a regular kettle so this poured at 180 degrees F according to the repurposed meat thermometer. Hey, we use what we got.
This smells very oolong and quite floral. I’m fairly new to oolongs in general so this note might be a bit uninspired. Still pretty much in the ‘it tastes like a green oolong’ phase of oolongs.
This is a bit roasty and a little bit cloying from the flower, I suppose lilac. It’s quite interesting. I added a bit of sugar to bring out the flavour for me and I’m drinking it quite hot for me. Cooled down a bit brings out more of the oolong for me though there is still a bit of lilac aftertaste. If further steeps are better or worse I will edit.
Sipdown (89)! And also a backlog from yesterday. This is actually the last tea I had in 2014. I have to say, that when 2014 started, I had just fallen in love (and hard) with green oolongs. Throughout the year, however, I started noticing this other flavor common among most green oolongs that I didn’t like as much. So I have unfortunately fallen out of love. I still like them, but that weirdly damp, almost moldy taste is just not going away for me. I will say, however, that this particular oolong did not have as strong of that taste as others, so it was still a very pleasant cup. If I were to buy a green oolong again, it would probably be this one or one from Verdant. Anyway, it was a nice end to my first full year of “serious” tea drinking!
Today is not shaping up to be the best day (not the worst either, but still), so I wanted to go for something that would taste good guaranteed. I remembered this tea from the Steepster Select box, so I brewed it up and it is just as good (if not better) than I remembered. I think it might actually be my favorite oolong so far. It has the perfect balance of roasted and floral notes and is so creamy. I just checked their website, and it seems they only sell in 4 oz quantities. Normally, I wouldn’t get that much of one tea at once, but this is so delicious that I might just…
VISUAL: The dry tea leaves are gorgeous! Golden and green and feathered like dried flower petals. The tea itself brews to a beautiful rich dark caramel color. Surprising considering how light golden and green the dried tea is.
SMELL: I was surprised by this one, the first whiff smells very similar to an Assam tea like Irish Breakfast, although with more subtletea. Smelling more carefully reveals more floral and sweeter notes of a Chinese black tea.
TASTE: Oh wow YUM. It’s more delicate than teas from India, and like BrewTEAlly Sweet mentioned, not at all brisk. Others have already described this one perfectly, tobacco leaf and rich sweetness. Very smooth and creamy mouth feel.
PREPARATION: 16 oz of water, just off a boil, steeped for 2 minutes (stopped short of the recommended time because it tasted pretty perfect already). I don’t generally add any sugar to my fine teas but tried it on the recommendation of my fellow steepsters Michael Cutillo and Julie Stiles. A pinch of sugar did bring out the flavor nicely. Thanks! (For my second steeping I left the sugar out, call me a purist).
A resteep with the leaves from earlier. I don’t think I resteeped last time (again, I seriously messed up the steep), so I figured it was only fair to give it a chance this time around.
There’s more floral tones to the smell this time and less of the vegetal edge. Oddly it tastes more vegetal, like sweetened asparagus (does that sound gross? I promise it’s not!) with a light floral aftertaste. It’s slightly bitter this time around and I don’t think I’ll steep this one again, but I don’t regret doing it this time.
Sipdown! About time, too. I think the first cup didn’t work out so well because of user error, so I was careful with this one. It smells intensely floral and a little green as it brews. It’s making me thing of spring, which is not likely to happen today at least with another snowpocalypse on the way (6-12 inches!). There are also some vegetal notes that remind me of fresh asparagus or green beans.
The vegetal notes are also in the flavor, but they’re sweet and mellow. I’m still getting that lilac note I noticed before, and there are some other floral tastes and a touch of honey. It’s more like light honey (e.g. Tupelo, my favorite) than the generic “honey” flavor I usually mean when I describe something that way. I like this more with every sip, so the lower rating I had with the last tasting note was definitely user error. I may have to do an In Pursuit of Tea order at some point…
Flavors: Flowers, Green Beans, Honey
This is an intensely floral tea. It smells and tastes like a lilac bush, which is not a bad thing in my case but might not be for everyone. It definitely tastes like an oolong, but so far I’m not sure it’s strong enough for me.
The brewed tea is a very light green: I’d suggest brewing this in a clear glass or it’ll be difficult to tell when it’s done. I got this in my first Steepster Select box and had trouble with the filters at first. It was brewing so light that I thought something was wrong. Once I tried steeping with something else I realized the steeped tea was mostly staying inside the filter and not, well, filtering through. The tea is very light regardless, but it tastes much better steeped in something else.
Since my first cup had some problems I’ll also be logging my second to see about any differences.
I believe I was expecting something more vegetal when I steeped this tea. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the floral aroma and light flavor. There is a buttery mouthfeel and flavor. Excellent tea. I am curious to see how this tea changes over multiple infusions.
This came as one of five teas in my first tasting package and was, by far, my favorite of all the teas. Afraid I can write as eloquently as others here…just want to say…AWESOME tea.
I return 3 months later to update. I ordered this tea. Came from Taiwan…and the post office made me come down to sign for it. I guess in this day and age of Big Brother, any foreign deliveries are eyed with suspicion and extra review.
Oh goodness, this tea is delicious! This first brew i accidentally oversteeped by a bit, but i added a little sugar, and NOM. you mustn’t mind the round, thick, full, honey- and tobacco-esque richness, or you’ll never love this tea. definitely a mouthful! i’ll update if i get in another steep today BUT i’ve spent the morning on another tea, i may have to draw the line here, since this one is REALLY making it’s presence known. YUM!
ON EDIT: nope, had to have a second cup. EVEN BETTER! i’m loving this one, it’s just so rich and creamy, full and thick. i just don’t know how to describe it. important thing to note, however, is that before i added the 1/2 tsp or so of sugar, it wasn’t near as amazing. just accept that this is one of those needs sugar teas, and you won’t go wrong. in fact, based on second brew, i’m ranking this in my tops.
I’m with BrewTEAlly Sweet about the “no kidding theres tobacco in this!!” thought. Amazing the variation possible even within the same type of tea. I’ve always thought of Yunnans as a delicate, sometimes sweet black. This one is far from delicate, but don’t mistake with for being Assam-like. Its not bold and brisk. It’s a serious flavor profile with a manly vibe to it. I totally respect this tea for what it is, but it’s not my cuppa. I intend to send my second sample to my father, who will likely appreciate it better than I.
ok giving this a shot as my all day (or at least all morning) oolong. i’d tried it before, don’t recall what i thought, but i wasn’t really ready for oolongs yet at that time.
it certainly smells delightful! the taste of this here first cuppa is light and fresh and green, and thankfully the perfume doesn’t overwhelm the flavor (or i’d be SO outta here!). perfect wake up tea.
oh yumminess! this particular tea is particularly floral, so much so that the scent of the tea brewing was making me anticipate a perfume-y (yucky) taste once i sipped…but no! hooray! just a thick rich oolong flavor accented with the floral notes in quite a delicate manner. just yummy.
Green Oolongs have become my favorite teas recently. I remember the very first time I had one (an Iron Goddess, I think) I didn’t like it at all!. Strange how preference changes. My perfect oolong is a balanced blend of creamy and floral. This Nantou Four seasons is perfectly creamy, but I wish it was more floral. It hints at wanting to be more, but didn’t quite make it. Still a lovely cup of tea and one that I would drink often if I had more.