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Recent Tasting Notes
Pulled this tea from the TeaFestPDX sampler baggy, as a nice, brisk Assam really sounds nice for this holiday morning where I was still dragged out of bed at the same time as a work day by a very insistant breakfast-seeking cat. I’m really feeling that need for caffeine…
While I normally don’t take tea with additions, lately I’ve been in a latte mood, and I really wanted to brew this as a pot, English style, with some milk and honey. But since this is a larger sample, I decided to just have a plain cuppa first. I used a teaspoon (about 3g) for 350ml of 205F water, steeped for three minutes. The dry leaf was lovely, small, curly, and golden tipped, with that smell I often find in black teas that reminds me of a BBQ marinade, somehow.
Steeped, a bit of the marinade smell is coming through, but now the aroma has a strong floral undertone which hampers that umami/orange saucy smell. It also smells very malty. To taste, it is very bold, and quite smooth, with just a touch of astrigency and drying after the sip, which doesn’t lean into unpleasant territory. It tastes strongly of tannic malt, orange zest, ground spice, and just a subtle hint of wildflower honey and rose. Very much a breakfast tea, and while it is fine plain, I definitely feel that adding warm milk is really going to work in this tea’s favor.
Flavors: Astringent, Drying, Floral, Honey, Malt, Orange Zest, Rose, Spices, Tannin, Umami
After I said NO MORE TEA, what did I do? The bulk spices, herbs and tea are the first thing to greet me at the co-op. At least I can get trivial quantities and not feel too bad about buying more tea.
Brewing loose tonight based on color (hello darkness my old friend). The puer is ok quality with plenty of large cut leaves but a thick layer of dust does settle in the bottom of the cup after pouring through a strainer. It’s thick like a cup of french press coffee, earthy, mushroomy, maybe a little bittersweet, very buttery after first steep and pretty clean-tasting with some astringency. The sticky rice herb isn’t as strong as I’d like it to be but its sweetness later becomes pronounced. Overall, it’s solid. The mini tuo cha form is great for ease of use and I’ll consider keeping some of these in my backpack once I buy another strainer.
One 6.5g mini tuo cha gave me 3-10oz brews western style with water off-boil.
This was the pot of tea I ended up choosing and shared with my grandmother. It was really good. I ended up feeling very full after one cup of it as it was VERY rich. So I suggested we swap and she agreed. It worked out very well as we ended up each having a cup of our own tea and each others. She commented that the smell of this tea was making her hungry. She’s diabetic so she can’t eat much rice so she especially liked this one. We ended up going out to Sushi for lunch afterwards.
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This tea took some getting used to at first, but now I adore it. Nuo Mi Xiang, a Chinese herb, is added to impart the so-called sticky rice flavor.
The tea is best with very hot water, among other reasons, because it adds to the experience of having a steaming bowl of sticky rice. Very comforting on cold days.
The pu-erh component is not one of those overwhelmingly earthy types. It reminds me of something more like decaying plant matter or humus. Think autumn.
Like tasting carob when you’re expecting chocolate, the sticky rice taste a bit disappointing at first. The comparison is especially evident in the aftertaste and smell, but a big gulp of heavily steeped Nuo Mi Xiang will overwhelm most people. One must be very careful with the length first steeping because of this. Though the pu-erh component can certainly withstand a long steeping, one must refuse the temptation and treat it more like green tea. A couple minutes will do the trick.
The second steeping is the most enjoyable. It can handle a few more minutes and tends to taste a little more pu-erh-ish.
The third steeping needs quite a while to retain the taste of the tea. Luckily by then, the effect of the herb should have worn off. That being said, just treat it like the second or third steeping of a pu-erh.
As usual, I don’t think to review the tea until I’m on the 3rd steeping, so this note lacks a bit of specifics.
Flavors: Decayed Wood, Rice
I paid a visit to The Jasmine Pearl earlier in the afternoon right after work. With traffic, I was worried about making it on time, but I arrived with an hour or so to spare. Originally, I intended only on having their yellow tea and any other new orthodox offerings they had on hand.
Then I came across this blend.
I rarely go for blends. Even rarer is my inclination toward a cooked pu-erh blend. But this…whoah. It tasted like…earthy root beer. “Root Beer of the Earth”! Oh man, I have to write that down. Great book title idea.
Where was I?
Oh yes, great blend. Tastes like a flavored tea without any flavoring. Tastes pretty darn spiffy when iced as well.