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Recent Tasting Notes
This tea is really soft, gentle, not as bold as most oolongs I drink. It’s sweet – I find that a little weird – some honey, some stone fruit and of course some woody oolong. It’s good. People who aren’t a huge fan of dark oolong might like this one, it’s milder than other’s I’ve tried. I prefer bold, aged oolongs that are a lot like leather and old books – so this isn’t quite my cup of tea.
(Really tight hockey game happening – hard to focus on the tea when I’m sitting on the edge of my seat…… go jets…)
That picture looks good on my phone but really washed out on my laptop…. weird….
Thanks to tea bento for the generous sample box. I made these green tea jasmine dragon pearls according to pacakage directions: gong fu style, 80-90c, rinse/1min/20s/50s/80s/140s/4min.
The first steep is a pretty standard jasmine green: floral and grassy. 20 seconds is too short for the second steep. It comes out tasty but too light. I did the third steep at 88c and that made the brew come out too tart. I went lower on the temp and brewed the fourth steep at 83c, but it came out bitter, as if the base was being oversteeped. I went way lower for the fifth steep and brewed at 75c, which was much better in that the brew was no longer bitter but the jasmine came out more perfumey than floral. The same problem happened in the sixth steep, with the jasmine taste becoming cloying.
Overall, I think this is a somewhat finicky tea that would benefit from fewer steeps at a lower temperature. I have enough left to try again so I can play around with it a bit.
Thanks to tea bento for the generous sample set. The dry leaf of this wild silver needle has a scent that is equal parts floral and hay. I steeped according to package directions: gong fu style, 80-85c, 4 steeps of 30s/15s/2min/5min. I didn’t try to get a fifth steep out of it.
The first steep was by far the best. It brews up very pale with a savory aroma of hay and sticky rice. The sticky rice note carries over into the flavor, which I really like.
Subsequent steeps also brew up pale but bring out an astringency in the leaf. The second steep is mildly astringent, with a dominant flavor of hay. The third steep had faint notes of cooked rice and hay. It was hard to make anything out past that initial astringency in the sip but the taste of bitter greens did linger after the sip. The fourth steep was the longest, which seemed to cut down on the astringency. The robust savory scent of that first steep returns. The astringency is still present but the underlying flavors are stronger than in the second or third steeps.
Overall, I think I would have preferred this tea brewed Western-style for relatively short steep times to bring out as much of the savory notes as possible while suppressing the astringency.
It is definitely a rare occasion drinking a tea (in this case a fine dark hand rolled Oolong) from Vietnam. Its profile really reminded me a lot of its origin Taiwanese version. My wife loved this buddy to its bits!
Aroma: It resembled a lot of an Oriental Beauty but still different with a nice sugary sweet roasted note. The sweetness somehow reminded me of cotton candy. Later steaming up the full honey structure was conquering every inch of my scenting buds. Such a deliciously mouth watering sweet structure plus a nice typical Taiwanese floral note to it.
Taste: Like the aroma the taste was very sweet. It was hard resisting this fellow. While I was shooting those photos the scent really messed with my concentration because the steaming bouquet was so lovely. The liquor unfolded so deliciously sweet like cotton candy with honey plus a hint of multivitamin juice (mango, passion fruit and a hint of pineapple) with an extra of dark sweet gums like blueberry and cherry. Beside those aspects a small hint of gingerbread and sweet roasted almonds showed up too. This was a great example of a well composed and naturally sweet Vietnamese Oolong
Dancong especially Milan Xiang at its best should be very thick, with a full body and a very tropical fruity profile and this is exactly what this fellow combines and even more. This again is by far one of the best Milan Xiang I’ve ever had. I tried many but not as fragrant, full bodied and so well balanced composed as this one. A masterpiece of its own. Mango, passion fruit a hint of pineapple a slightly nutty accent of sweet roasted almonds and pumpkinseeds a good amount of sweet ripe peaches and a nice sugary sweet aspect of cherry blossom hi-chew (Japanese fruit gums). This profile really lets your Dancong heart beat fast as a Speedster! This is the miracle of tea! This fellow keeps his strength of taste for at least three steeps after that a nice bouquet and liquor is still pleasing your tasting buds but with a slightly greener lighter touch to it – the tropical fruit note is now more noticeable within the long fragrant aftertaste
Thanks to teabento for sending along a sample of this tea. I love the leafhopper sweetness in teas, and this one is no exception. I did notice that it seems to require a little extra time to bring out the sweetness – the first cup I had was a bit bland, but the second was filled with bug bitten goodness.
And so I am back to this. I had the jitters about attending a thing today and this seemed the logical choice, not to calm, more like to placate and to help get me there. Dark chocolate sweet potato bready deliciousness works, apparently. Yay me, and yay stellar lovely tea!
I am just hoping that this tea does not make me forsake all others. For now.
Dexter was kind enough to surprise me with some of this in her assortment of teas to me while I waited for my batch and I was super delighted because everyone had been raving about this tea and I wanted a cup or two.
Yes indeed, intensely delicious bittersweet chocolate black. It reminds me very much of a Chinese black tea that I’ve had recently, but the name escapes me. Delighted with this one.
Thank you, Dexter. Hope you are staying warm out there in the deep chill.
edit—I am finding it interesting that others have described this as specifically milk chocolate while for me, it is not that at all. Perhaps in another cup.
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet
Thanks to tea bento for the samples! I’ve made this red oolong twice now, both times according to package directions: gong fu style, 95c, rinse/2min/1min/3min. The dominant notes that I taste overall are wood, leather, and tobacco. If you like those flavors, you’ll probably like this. I personally don’t like those flavors so was not a huge fan. I did not get a lot of the sweeter notes that others seem to have picked up on.
The dry leaf smells like sandalwood with a hint of leather. The first steep brews up dark and tastes like dry wood and leather with maybe a hint of malt. It’s like drinking the Morgan Library. The second steep is much less dry. It tastes of sandalwood and leather with a touch of honey. With the third steep, the wet leaf smells like tobacco and the brew tastes like what I imagine tobacco tastes like (having never smoked, I’m taking a WAG based on olfactory experience). I didn’t try to push it further than the recommended number of steeps but you probably could.
First tea of 2018!
Every year I try to pick something meaningful for my first tea of the year – in the past I’ve done champagne flavoured blends or teas that were a new area of exploration for me that I hoped to further learn about in the coming year. This year, I selected this one in honour of it being the year of the dog!
I decided to do this one as a tea tasting like what I did when I was taking my Sommelier courses, so I pulled out my cupping set and got everything set up to brew this up under cupping parameters. It was really delicious, and the aroma coming from the set as everything steeped was pretty drool inducing: sweet, sticky honey notes and autumn leaves, malt, and fruit! Yum!
This was really interesting flavour wise; very, very sweet and smooth overall with the strongest note in the cup definitely being honey. I also got a mix of other sweet notes like baked bread, malt, red fruit undertones, and cane sugar. The body was a little more vegetal though with main flavours like autumn leaves and zucchini. There was also just a touch of cinnamon in the undertones and finish. It was a wide range of flavours all in all but for me, at least, it worked really well and created a very smooth and pleasant cup to sip on. I’m happy this was my choice for first tea of the new year; it was delicious!
This the last of the black teas from teabento that I needed to try. I saved this one for last because it was the reason for the teabento order. There were lots of good reviews for it showing up on my feed.
And again I think it’s just ok – nothing bad, nothing great, just black tea.
I’ve written several “just ok” tasting notes about the teabento blacks I got. I want to clarify my position on these teas as a whole. I don’t want to bash teabento as a company. I can appreciate that these are good quality teas. Someone from the company goes out into the world and tastes a bunch of teas and makes decisions on what to buy and what teas are going to be offered by that company. What I think is happening is that my tastes and that buyers tastes are not the same. We don’t agree on what certain styles of tea should taste like. I don’t want anyone to think that these are bad teas – they just aren’t to my taste. There are other companies out there that sell teas that are more to my taste……
Insane cold today and has been for the last few days and will be for the next several days. Life is just difficult when it’s so cold that it hurts to breathe. I know it’s been really cold across central Canada, so it’s not just us. Be safe out there everyone, this is dangerous cold.
Brought this to work in my glass travel mug and turns out glass isn’t the best of insulators so I am sipping on a fairly cool tea. As it is, it is fairly jammy and a lot of malt while also having a chocolate vibe and notes of baked bread. I think I quite like those though it should be interesting to see how it is hot.
Drinking another one from my teabento order tonight. his is ok – some bitter chocolate, some bread – tastes like a laoshan black should. But it’s still just ok, it tastes as it should but it’s still a little flat or not as bold as it should be or something. There are better laoshan blacks out there.
My boss gave me a cute little cup with infuser as a Christmas gift. I like it but the holes in the infuser let some of the smaller leaves through.
I’ve been laughing at the “extreme weather” warnings on Pokemon Go all week. It’s been cold here but nothing unusual or “extreme”. TODAY those warnings are true. It is dangerous cold out there. I took a 7 minute walk to spin a poke stop and that was more than enough time outside. Earlier today it was -32C + wind something like -42 windchill. The wind has gone down a but but it’s still in the -38C range. Yeah cold.
So I’ve spent most of the day watching Netflix and doing a whole lot of nothing.
Plum Rooster was next on my list of Teabento teas to try. The description of this one sounded really interesting. It is interesting – as in it’s unusual – but it’s another one that just doesn’t work for me. It’s way more fruit juice and not enough black tea. Fruity fruity fruity with a little honey.
So I went in to work for a few hours today to try and not fall too far behind with fiscal year end coming. Who the hell changes the room rate market codes right before a 4 day weekend and doesn’t tell accounting? Where am I suppose to code these? You need to tell me how you want them entered into the management companies system, if you want your month end/year end reports to be correct. So yeah, I was there on my own time, on Christmas Eve just making up reports. I’m going to get shit on because this isn’t right, and it’s going to be a lot of work to move it to where they want them. Furious…….
So I’m home now, lying on the couch with my blankie, with a snuggly cat, hugging a mug of this tea. Yes, I’ve moved onto a mug. I’m not sure if I’ve just been drinking mediocre tea or if this is really good. Either way it is making me happy tonight.
As I was pouring this off the leaves, it just wafted up chocolate. It’s not tasting as chocolate as it smells, but there is some there. Sweet, chocolate, caramel, malt, starch (bread rather than yam) and just plain yumminess. This is a happy tea…..
Happy Panda is not making me happy. Unsmoked Lapsang is one of my favorite styles of black tea. I don’t like this one. It’s just flat. No chocolate, no malt, a tiny bit of fruit. This is just black tea, boring, uninteresting. My least favorite of the teabento blacks I’ve tried so far. That’s disappointing – I should love this one and I don’t…. sad panda….