Life In TeacupEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Once I’ve opened the samples from Life in Teacup, I’ve been storing them in odd, empty tins. This one’s in Andrew and Dunham’s Earl Grey tin (I haven’t removed the label or anything—this is just temporary).
Dried, the smell of the leaves is a fainter ‘tea leaf’ smell, which is also somewhat sweet. I like it.
First steep I ended up doing twenty seconds instead of ten (didn’t use quite as many leaves—about two very rough teaspoons [the leaves are a fair size and don’t fit in my teaspoon very well], to six ounces water; also did a rinse-steep prior to the first steep). I’m not getting any smell from the tea. Hmm.
It has a darker oolong taste, I guess. I’m bad at explaining these things, especially since I haven’t tried many. It’s lighter than say Honeybee, but darker than ti kuan yin. However, it’s floral and sweet. In fact, the sweetness is kind of fruity almost, but without any tart. I suppose this is what people mean when they use fruits to describe teas. Maybe peach? I’m glad I got up early, this means I can experience a few more infusions before I leave for class.
This is VERY nice to sip. The sweetness sits as an aftertaste on your tongue for a bit.
Second steep, did thirty seconds. There’s definitely a sort of nectar-sweet quality, so definitely sticking with ‘peaches’. And possibly something else, but I can’t really place it.
Third steep, did a minute. Since I let the leaves sit overnight, this may be the reason I’m getting pretty much no flavour at all. Huh.
I opened the free sample today, that I got from Life in Teacup, of my “An Xie Tie Guan Yin Oolong Traditional Charcoal Roast”. It came in a red vacuum-sealed bag, and had written in pin-yin on the side “Ou Nan Cha Ye” and “Hao Cha Hao Ren Sheng”.
Anyway, when I opened it, I was very surprised, because the color of the leaves was green, and not the brown roasted color I expected.
Not only that, but they smelled sweet and fruity, rather than roasted, smoky, etc. (more like a houjicha).
Going right along with that, after rinsing the leaves, I did the first steep…. AND it tasted very fruity, delicious, etc., but NOT roasted at all. It was delicious, but I assume this was actually the Grade II modern green (hence posting my note here). I still have more steepings left, but as of the 3rd steeping, this is awesome. It leaves a very nice taste in the mouth afterwards.
I also got a free sample of the Grade II modern green (at least, that’s what the package says), but I sure hope the charcoal roast is in there instead!
Gingko, is it possible that a sample could have been accidentally switched, or is it more likely that because of my inexperience with oolongs, this actually is the charcoal roast (though there are no hints of it having been roasted)?
Either way, this is delicious!
The brew is a very pretty honey gold. This one didn’t have any steep parameters on the site, so I after some thought, I decided four minutes couldn’t hurt.
The leaves are quite large (not as large as Dawn, but big), and didn’t need a strainer either.
The brewed smell actually REMINDS me of Dawn. Dark, dry, dusty. The taste is similar too, although not without its differences. I didn’t know how to describe that tea when I drank it, thus making this one difficult as well, but—it has a sort of dark dryness, like Dawn’s cocoay taste. This is lighter though; I don’t know how to describe HOW it’s lighter, just that it is. There’s an aftertaste that sits pleasantly, sort of sweet. Overall, it’s earthy but bright.
I really like this. Although I still think something’s been going on with my tastebuds for the past few weeks.
Edit: The tea cooled right down to room temperature, and from that I got a few notes of Assam.
Second steep SMELLS like an Assam. THat sort of… deep berry (but I doubt anyone else would agree with me using the term ‘berry’ with assam, but I don’t know). The dusty taste of the first infusion is completely gone, and it tastes somewhat like an assam, but different, milder.
I agree with TeaEqualsBliss – the dry leaves look very unique, grey-ish, and fine! I was very excited to try this tea. It’s quite vegetal and savory like all the greens I’ve tried from Life in a Teacup, and at least as delicious. It has just enough astringency to cleanse the mouth, and nothing more. I could see myself picking up a bag of this one day – it’s an all around great Chinese green.
I just had a pretty good mild cigar and this tea stands up to the taste that was very recently in my mouth while providing a seemingly perfect contrast. Instead of prolonging the experience with a roasted oolong, puerh or red tea I opted for a more cooling tea. The real cool part, however, is not the contrast but the compliment this tea adds with a savory bottom end and enough body to satisfy the palate. The bright grassy finish is exactly in order and adds the cooling element that really makes this feel like the next course in a well thought out meal.
Extra points tacked on because I can still taste the cigar.
I bought this some time ago but am just getting around to trying it now! I don’t know what took me so long to actually try it – it is SO GOOD.
The sip starts with a nutty taste, and finishes with a light, fresh almost buttery taste with a note of tartness. It’s a very interesting contrast of flavors. Very nice.
The second of my three samples from Life In Teacup. Oooh, the leaf here is VERY similar to Samovar’s Four Seasons – like, identical in scent and appearance. I’m using 2.5g, about 1/3 of the sample, in my little 4oz glass pot, which I think makes this a gongfu-light style steeping :P
The liqueur is quite pale, rather like a white tea. The scent is lighter than Four Seasons, but has similar notes: butter, gardenias (at least, I gather that’s the particular floral scent, from what others have said – I have trouble getting past “flowers”). The taste follows – buttery, floral, fresh. Like eating buttered bread in a garden.
This is lovely, rich, and not at all harsh. I’m pleased, though I’d like the flavor to be a little stronger, so I’ll make the next steeps longer.
One last thing: at $2.70/oz this is an absolute STEAL, assuming it lasts through several steeps. Compare to Four Seasons at $10/oz.
ETA: This is definitely better with hotter water – deeper color, richer and fuller flavor
Steep 1, 1 minute, 205˚F
Steep 2, 1 minute, 195˚F
Steep 3, 1:45, boiling
Steep 4, 1:45, boiling
Steep 5, 2:15, boiling
Steep 6, 2:15, boiling
I’m brewing by the mug rather than the pot this morning, so I’m logging teas faster than normal. This is a sample from Life in a Teacup, and it’s a pretty darn big sample, too! There’s at least enough for 2-4 cups! The dry leaf looks just like the picture, and smells like honey.
Brewed 1 tsp in 8 oz of water for 2.5 minutes. Seems like that’s a long brew (most of the other people who’ve drank it only brewed for 1 minute), but I do like my teas strong.
This is some good stuff. Seriously. I’m getting a honey taste, and a baked taste. Almost like a warm rye bagel with honey smeared on it. It’s definitely more like an oolong than a traditional black tea, but seems heartier than many oolongs that I’ve had. It tastes golden, if that makes any sense. Wow, this is yummy.
Thanks, Ginkgo, for offering these samples!! I can’t wait to try the rest of them, and I’m definitely going to be getting more of this one!!
The infusion is a very pale golden color, very enticing. The smell has a salty vegetal-ness to it almost reminding me of edamame. The taste is delicious – surprisingly savory for a Chinese green tea. It takes a few sips for this to really develop (at least using the brewing parameters I did), but it is fantastic once it does. Although I am a vegetarian nowadays, I would imagine that this would pair well with chicken or turkey.
Got my free samples from Life In Teacup today – very exciting! Yunnan Gold Bud is indeed composed of lovely golden buds (the picture is quite accurate). I used 2.1g in my little 4oz pot (the whole sample was about 5g, so there’s enough for another strong serving) and I’ve steeped it twice so far for 1 minute each. Both steeps are a lovely honey-brown color. It smells sweet, and very tea-ish (unhelpful, I know, but it’s that true “black tea” scent) and a little earthy, like the hay flavor I get from pu-erh and white tea sometimes.
Oh, that just coats my mouth in a kind of savory honey flavor. Very full and smooth mouthfeel; zero bitterness with these steeping parameters. This is really reminding me of a milder sweeter pu-erh, which is funny because I haven’t liked pu-erh that much and I love this. I’ll add a rating after a couple more steeps :) I’m impressed. I’ve steeped this six times now, adding 30 seconds on each pair, and it’s still good (though it finally started to lose a little color on the 6th). This is like a cross between a sweet black and a lightly roasted oolong.
ETA: I ended up steeping this twice more this morning, for a total of eight steeps or four 8oz cups. From 2 grams of tea leaves. Seriously folks, this totally evens out the $8/oz price point. (If you’re interested, it comes out to 15¢ per 8oz cup if you include the multiple steeps, 60¢ if you don’t).