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Recent Tasting Notes
This Earl Grey blend I DID buy in one of the Tea Shop shops in Madrid. Much more elegant in nose and in mouth than the “special” blend of which I just used a sample (see previous tasting note). Also this tea is supposedly beyond its best, but it still keeps up quite well : in nose the bergamot still reigns, with some tannic notes in the back; no extreme citrusy touches in taste, but a fine and balanced tea overall. As it seems “stronger” now than it was at first, I now use it as a breakfast tea which is just fine with winter coming up and just having used other breakfast teas.
Flavors: Bergamot, Tannin, Tea
Clearing out my cupboard, I found a sample of this tea I received when buying another Earl Grey from the Tea Shop in one of their shops in Madrid. Although it´s definitely past its best (and therefore I´m not rating it), one can still see why Tea Shop calls it their most citrusy earl grey. If I didn´t buy a pouch of it at that time, it must mean that its aromas didn´t convince me, probably because they didn´t seem natural to me then, or it seemed to me that no bergamot was used (I notice that they only mention the use of lemongrass in the description online) . Anyway, I had a couple of cups from this sample, and I found it uninspiring.
Flavors: Citrus, Tea, Wood
Thanks to JC for a sample of this one…
It’s been a while since I’ve had gyokuro of any kind, I do like them but it can be hard to justify the price. My allergies were bugging me when I woke up this morning, so I thought I’d focus more on green teas today after drinking my matcha smoothie.
I think I may have steeped this at too high a temperature (around 175) with my variable temp kettle. The 1st steep at 90 seconds seems a bit bitter though there are pleasant grassy and nutty notes in the tea with a vivid greenish/yellow tea liquor…
I tried the 2nd steep at a much lower temperature and liked it better. There is more of a umami flavor with some brothiness present. Still grassy but much less assertive. I think you’re supposed to brew gyokuro at lower temperatures but I forgot about that when I prepared this.
I seem to recall I’ve had some other gyokuros that were sweet and a much deeper green than this one. I don’t know if I messed it up due to my brewing parameters? I appreciate having the chance to try it but won’t rate it for now.
Quick Note This is another tea I picked up while at Spain in ‘Tea Shop’ / Teashop.es I’m not sure if they are the Teavana of Spain but they were in a LOT of places.
Dry – Sweet, woody, clove like scent.
Wet – Somewhat malty, tart, warm-wine, spice-woodiness.
Liquor – Red-Bronze
1st 15secs Woody notes with apparent sweetness up front. As it goes down it has some faint astringency before the thicker coat covers the tongue, at this point it develops a tart and sweet caramel like taste that rich and lasting.
2nd 12secs Woody notes with sweetness and smoother body than the previous steep up front. It still wears some astringency but is merely a faint sensation. As it goes down it is full bodied, covering the tongue and once again has the tart-sweet character that lingers.
3rd 20secs Woody notes with sweetness and balanced smoothness with some faint astringency up front. As it goes down, it has a lighter body than before but still has some fullness to it. The tart and sweet character is leaning towards a woody tartness with a very light sweet finish. The tart woody notes linger reminiscent of clove.
4th 30secs A tart woody front that has some of the sweetness present but shadowed by the tartness. The broth is somewhat smooth at first but develops some more astringency as you drink. As it goes down, it resembles the tart (slight bitterness) of cloves that have been over-steeped. The sweetness is still present but faint.
I like this tea, but I have to admit I’m still not that used to the woodiness/spice taste that many Indian blacks give. They are the more robust version of other teas I’ve tried. I can see people who favor Indian tea, loving this one, for me is a good tea go revisit and even to make good blends at home.
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Flavors: Caramel, Cloves, Tannin, Wood
Dry- Sweet, grassy, umami, nutty(sweet-pea).
Wet- Grassy, nutty, umami, brothy, vegetal notes, corn sweet scent.
Liquor- light yellow-green.
5oz gaiwan with bottom covered in leaf. I followed the traditional fist steep to open and following steeps shorter
1st – 1 1/2 min with no lid until it unfurls/opens – Grassy (pleasant), vegetal, umami and sort of nori tasting broth up front that lingers in leafy greens and kale notes with some astringency and light bitterness that is not unpleasant or uncommon in Japan greens. As the broth taste slowly fades, the more leafy/grassy taste remains with a growing sweetness that lasts in the tongue.
2nd – 20secs – Grassy with notes of Kale and other green/brothy notes up front. The initial taste wears a pleasant astringency and some bitterness that wakes the tongue. As it goes down, the aftertaste is grassy with kale notes but the aftertaste develops a very smooth and sweet vegetal notes.
3rd – 30secs – Grassy, Kale notes, some astringency with some bitter notes that still resemble a broth upfront. As it goes down, it is develops a deeper grassy and kale taste with some faint sweetness. The aftertaste is grassy with somewhat sweeter notes that linger.
4th – 40secs – Grassy, with leafy green/kale notes, some astringency and now some faint sweetness up front that better balances the remaining bitter notes. As it goes down, it is smoother and becomes sweeter on the tongue. The aftertaste is sweeter and has more a sweet-pea and faint honey resemblance.
5th – 50secs – Grassy, Kale notes that are a little more ‘hay like’, that resemble eating the stem of the Kale, some astringency and some sweetness up front. As it goes down, it sweet with some hints of bitterness. The aftertaste is more grassy and hay like with a more sweeter finish.
I like this tea, I would buy it to ‘scratch the itch’ for Japanese greens. Compared to Chinese greens, Japan greens are way more astringent and wear some bitter notes, but in a positive way. They are certainly not for everyone, but the astringency and bitter notes is what makes them so suitable for the dinner table.
This is another tea I picked up in Spain. Actually, it was a gift of the store manager after several long conversations about tea. This is their top green tea offering and I’m glad I got to try it. Honestly the 90 Euro per 100gr tag would put me off completely with an 1E = $1.60 exchange. So I’m grateful and happy I got to sample via a new friendship.
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Dry – Honey, citrus, sweet floral, fresh.
Wet – Floral citrus, tangy, sweet, crisp.
Liquor – Pale Yellow/slightly golden.
steeps were following the instructions given to me 2 1/2 minutes and the second 3 1/2minutes
1st – Sweet, citrus tangy and mellow. The steep is juicy and refreshing, it contrasts well with more crisp and lively floral-citrus notes from the flowers. The finish is smooth and sweet with lasting citrus notes that slowly faint giving a lasting sensation.
2nd – The notes remained the same on this steep except the floral notes seemed to overtake the very subtle Oolong used in this blend. Still fairly sweet and gently.
I tried a third steep with this, it didn’t go well. The Oolong was depleted already and the flowers were giving a bitterness that wasn’t pleasant, the depleted Oolong taste didn’t help either. I’m not a fan of blend but I feel like this one was nice and not overly strong like I expected.
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