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Gong Fu Sipdown (552)!
Finished this one off earlier this afternoon; it was a really nice session. Basically I just popped on some Beatles music, grabbed some paper to take notes and just tuned out. You can check out some photos on my instagram here:
Otherwise, the following is just what I wrote down with each infusion…
Steep One – 5 Seconds
– Buttery vegetal aroma
- Grass notes, buttered green beans, romaine lettuce
- Bok Choy???
- Lots of flavor for a first infusion
Steep Two – 5 Seconds
- Same as prior but sharper/grassier
- Has a very soft bitter aftertaste
Steep Three – 10 Seconds
- Fennel top notes
- Sweet undertones
- Still quite buttery (lettuce/romaine/green beans)
- Less bitter than the previous steep
Steep Four – 15 Seconds
- Yellower tint to liquor colour
- Ditto to steep three, but smoother overall
- Cleaner finish
_Steep Five – 18 Seconds
- Flavour deterioration, in particular with vegetal elements
- But still bean-y
- Also has a peachyness to it
- And the finish is less clean, more lingering
Steep Six – 25 Seconds
- Meh; kind of bored with this one
- Flavor is also a little more flat
- No more buttery element, but more peach
And that’s where I left things. I know I could have done more, and honestly I did really enjoy the session – the problem for me is that as much as I enjoyed this overall it is a green tea, and even a good green tea is one that I grow sick of SO quickly. Six infusions was plenty for me; any more than that and I think I would have started resenting the tea/its profile.
Nobody has wrote a note for this one yet, which is too bad. I’m late to writing a note for it too. But it’s a pu-erh so it can only taste better with age, right? I used about 2/3 of a sample pouch, so probably around 6-7 grams. (Teavivre suggests 5 grams for 12 ounces.) The leaves have a lot of gold to them and a fantastic rich scent. The flavor has depth to it as well, while still having a sweet smooth quality (and NONE of those unlovely pu-erh flavors or fragrances either). On first sip, it reminds me a little of a sticky rice pu-erh, but that disappears further down the mug. Interestingly enough, looking up the tea’s description, Teavivre also mentions a sticky rice aroma. Awesome, I’m glad we agree. The second steep is also deep and delicious. The third steep is a little weaker in flavor, even though I steeped it at boiling for seven minutes. Definitely not like the dark and murky cups of the other steeps. I think I’m finding I really like pu-erh that is around ten years old (this is 2009). This is certainly a lovely enough pu-erh for a decent price! The sample is certainly worth a try.
Steep #1 // 6-7 grams for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // rinse // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 7 minute steep
Floral aroma and flavor, more of a bitter body than I’m used to over the hong malt, but it goes well with the floral. Hints of honey to the aftertaste, very different kind of hong to what I typically drink. Lasted a decent amount of time gongfu, about 5-7 steeps. I liked the change of pace and it was quite nice, esp at the price of $5/oz.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Honey, Malt
Well, these last couple days have sucked. The neck injury is finally starting to heal, but I have been dealing with the return of spring sinus problems and a work schedule that has become totally insane. I have been running on only 8 1/2 hours of sleep for the last 48 hours, and to be honest, this feels like the only time I have had to sit down and do something for myself in like the last three days. I haven’t been drinking much tea lately due to the lack of time and sinus issues, so I figured I may as well get another of my backlogged reviews posted. I do not remember precisely when I finished what I had of this tea. I want to say it was somewhere around the third week of April, but I cannot be sure at this point. I know I liked this one a lot more than expected. Jade Tieguanyin does not exactly thrill me all that much these days, but this one was highly enjoyable.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 208 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
The dry tea leaves produced pleasant aromas of lilac, honeysuckle, cream, sweetgrass, and watercress prior to the rinse. After the rinse, I found new aromas of vanilla, violet, and saffron. The first infusion brought out a touch of custard on the nose. The tea liquor offered notes of sweetgrass and watercress on the entry before revealing notes of cream, vanilla, lilac, and saffron. A hint of violet then showed up on the swallow. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn more savory and vegetal. Custard and honeysuckle belatedly came out in the mouth, while stronger violet notes emerged alongside mineral, orange zest, coriander, butter, pea, pear, and parsley impressions. The final infusions offered lingering mineral, cream, butter, sweetgrass, and pear notes backed by vague, ghostly traces of lilac and violet.
This was not the most complex jade Tieguanyin I have ever tried, but it was one of the most drinkable and pleasant. Teavivre normally does a good job sourcing teas of this type, but this was most certainly a step up from several of their other Tieguanyins in terms of quality. A very good tea for beginners and experienced drinkers alike, I would recommend that any fan of jade Tieguanyin give this one a shot.
Flavors: Butter, Coriander, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Orange Zest, Parsley, Pear, Peas, Saffron, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet
Lately I’ve been trying to finish off some of my samples, and avoid buying tons of new tea for a little while, but I’ll definitely get this when the opportunity appears. I’m finding I really love teas from the Fuijan region, because they seem to have that chocolatey/sweet profile I like so much. I expected this one to be smokey, since I think I’ve only ever had smoked lapsang souchong, but it’s instead a soft, toasty flavor. I loved it utterly.
I’ve been wanting to try a rice-ripened pu’erh for a long time now, since I’m really rather fond of sticky rice. That starchy creaminess is one of my favourite flavours! The rice flavour here is a lot stronger than I expected it to be, although I imagine it will fade in successive steeps. In flavour terms, it’s exactly like a liquid version of overcooked rice, when it’s gone thick and starchy. The pu’erh itself isn’t much more than a background flavour at the moment – a light earthiness, but really barely there.
Second steep is very similar, although the rice flavour blends slightly more coherently with the base pu’erh. It’s still strong, but not quite so much as the first steep. It’s a better balance between creamy/starchy and the earthiness of the pu’erh. A good combination, and an unexpectedly delicious one!
Third steep is again similar. The rice flavour is still very prominent, and the pu’erh is still very much second fiddle. I think you’d have to really enjoy the flavour of overcooked rice to get along with this one – it’s not a background flavour by any means!
I’ll probably stick with this one until the end of the day now, and take it through a few more steeps. Given what I’ve experienced so far, there’s likey a lot of life left in it yet! I don’t usually buy pu’erh in tea bags, but I am finding it convenient – no cake to break, no weighing or measuring, and easy clean-up to boot! I’d definitely take some of these along with me if I were travelling – the quality of the tea seems unimpaired, and I didn’t find the slightly higher price off-putting when considering the number of steeps I’ll ultimately get from each one.
Another Teavivre win!
I’ve loved buckwheat tea since the first time I tried it, but I feel like I don’t come across it that often. I’m all over it when I do, though! The flavour is hard to describe – kind of cereal-like, toasted wheat? This is as good as any I’ve tried, although I find that the flavour doesn’t vary all that much between brands. It’s not really tea, after all.
Love it, though!
I finished off my bag of LP’s This Keemun is BS yesterday, and so I had to replace it with another keemun. This one is malty, with a streak of juicy fruitiness. It’s not astringent, as such, but slightly drying, and perhaps not quite as smooth and jammy as I’d hoped it would be.
It more than lives up to the “aromatic” part of its name, with a beautifully floral scent. I don’t get a lot of floral in the flavour, except maybe very slightly in the aftertaste. I’m glad of that, though, since floral in general isn’t something I particularly enjoy in tea.
I like this one, but I’ve definitely had keemun I prefer. It’s a bit too middle of the road to really stand out, but pleasant enough. Probably not a repurchase.
I have a problem, THE problem, that most people on here have. I buy tea. I see more tea. I want more tea. I buy more than I can drink in a reasonable period of time. Then I get overwhelmed with tea and vow not to buy any more tea until my tea is under control.
Dong Ding oolong was the first tea that captivated me so completely that I finished 50 grams in less than two weeks. What is it about this tea that makes it so special?
First of all, hubby swears his only tea reviews would be, “this is hot and has tea-like qualities”, but could not stop saying, “This is good. This is so thirst quenching. This has to be really expensive. Is it expensive? This is so good.”
And it is. We resteeped it several times, and is reasonably priced to begin with, so there you go. Each steep was sweet, nondrying, and flavorful thanks to the light roasting. This is an excellent tea, and needs to be on the permanent shelf list.
Going through all of these backlogged reviews, I have encountered several teas I do not recall drinking all that clearly. This was one of them. I took very thorough session notes, but unfortunately, I never dated them. If I had to guess, I would say that I probably finished what I had of this tea around 1-2 weeks ago. I do recall liking this tea and found it to be a very approachable baked Tieguanyin that was very forgiving during the brewing process.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of banana, char, dark wood, and spice coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of cinnamon, roasted peanut, and raisin. The first infusion brought out a stronger roasted peanut aroma and some slight vegetal character. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of golden raisin, caramelized banana, cinnamon, vanilla, butter, char, and roasted peanut backed by hints of dark wood and vague vegetal character. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn smoother, and oddly enough, a little more vegetal. New impressions of ginseng, cocoa, cream, prune, damp grass, watercress, banana leaf, cattail shoots, orchid, brown sugar, sour plum, lemon zest, baked bread, and roasted grain emerged in the mouth. The final infusions were dominated by mineral, char, butter, and cream notes that were balanced by subtler vegetal impressions and hints of dark wood and roasted peanut.
I wasn’t too sure about this tea at first, but it steadily grew on me. Ultimately, I found this to be an approachable tea with satisfying depth and complexity. It was a little thinner in the mouth than anticipated, but that is a relatively minor quibble and probably no big deal for many people. If you have any interest in baked Tieguanyin, this would be a good one with which to start or a tasty, reliable daily drinker.
Flavors: Baked Bread, banana, Brown Sugar, Butter, Char, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Dark Wood, Dried Fruit, Grain, Grass, Herbaceous, Lemon Zest, Orchid, Peanut, Plums, Raisins, Roasted, Vanilla, Vegetal
Before this sample from teavivre I hadn’t had the chance to try duck shot oolong but after being amused by the name so many times I had it added on to an order at teavivre. Normally I prefer greener teas as a whole, less oxidized, etc but the warm honey and light hay notes I get from this oolong are excellent. It holds up to repetive steeps in my gaiwan and continues to deliver sweet warmness even later on. As I get into later steeps it become deeper and a little more pungent. I would whole heartedly recommend this tea.
Flavors: Butter, Hay, Honey, Sweet, warm grass