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Recent Tasting Notes
Close to a sipdown on these sachets. After further reflection, while this has some higher-order flavor notes, it’s one of the un-Assam-iest Assams I’ve ever had. It may the fatigue talking here, but I just want my malt handed to me straight. I still appreciate it, but probably not enough to restock it.
You all know what a sloppy steeper I am, but I am aware that timing can make the difference with some teas. I believe that may be the case here. First cup (4-ish minutes) was smooth and pleasant—I gave it a sweet wheat-bread rating. I took a bag to work and gave it 5-ish minutes, and what to my wondering tastebuds should appear but things that reminded me of mahogany, molasses, and apples—much more depth of flavor to ponder. This one doesn’t need to be hurried.
Birthday surprise from my husband, whose love language is good gifts. Not necessarily pricey ones, but proof that after 34 1/2 years, he knows me better than I do.
I went ahead and made a separate entry for this one, as it’s a sachet rather than loose leaf and makes no mention which-flush-is-which on the packet. The sweet notes come through first—a little fruity; a little like honey-wheat bread. I’m not getting strong malty flavor, but it leaves a little buzz on your tongue after you swallow. Extremely drinkable—my first tumbler is already gone!
Finished off this morning while I set up a tasting for us at work; to be honest I was pretty unimpressed by this one. I know it’s quite old at this point, so I wasn’t expecting greatness by any stretch – but the buds themselves were all quite broken up and shoddy looking and the fact it was an old sample shouldn’t have affect the quality of the tea at all at least in that sense…
Taste wise it was fine; sort of a “creamed cucumber skin” kind of thing – which maybe sounds unpleasant, but is actually a combo of flavour notes I really quite like in a white tea. It was a bit abrasive in its astringency and that was the big kicker for me – but noted that this could be a very different tasting cup from what fresher tea would have been like. As it stands, it was fine.
I think I’ve had white tea before, although I can’t remember what it was like, so it’ll be interesting to see how this tastes.
The tea has a pale golden-yellow appearance and a delicate floral taste. It is quite a pleasant tea, and I decided to steep it again to see how the flavour changed.
The second steeping produced a slightly stronger cup, still quite pleasant to drink.
Gongfu Sipdown (719)!
Little bit of an older sample – but finished this one off over Thanksgiving weekend, and it was actually a relatively nice session. I brewed it out; around eight steeps – decent level of astringency, if I was repeating the session I’d tone down the water temperature and scale back my steep time a little bit to temper it some.
Here’s my instagram summary:
This tea has very sweet and floral smelling dry leaf accented with a juicy fruity note, like very ripe green grapes!? Liquor steeps up rather astringent/drying but has very strong and distinct floral notes: jasmine, gardenia, geranium. It’s very aromatic, with a hint of prune and minerality. Quite interesting!!
I really, really just was the emphasize how fucking floral, fragrant and juicy the dry leaf was! Kind of crazy yummy smelling, and drool worthy.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKL8Sq14MiQ
Going to have to rebrew this one when I’m more present mentally in regard to the tea; I steeped myself up a large mug of it on Friday at work while I was doing some lab tests and while it did make for a smooth, and unassuming tea to sip on while focused I don’t actually remember, like, anything about the taste? Maybe that it had a hint of warming spice notes? But definitely didn’t make an impression.
Floral aroma. Taste is somewhere between cinnamon and jasmine, more on the cinnamon side. Not very complex, and taste does not linger for too long. Good tea but wouldn’t order again. I would recommend for people who want hints of cinnamon in their oolong.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Jasmine
I received this tea due to a minor mistake in fulfilling my order, but it is a pleasant surprise. Vahdam Teas was excellent in fixing the mistake, by the way, and I quickly received the missing tea from my order as well as being able to keep and try this one.
I’ve never had white tea, so I can’t really compare to other white teas. The description here from Steepster is right on. The only thing I would add is that this tea has a lot of “build,” which is a quality I find in my favorite teas. As you drink, the flavor lingers and builds morphing into something more. Despite the tea’s initial light grassy-ness, the build leaves me with more of an impression of having had an oolong or maybe a black tea. I love it.
This one is beau-ti-ful, easily the prettiest tea I’ve tried in a while. The rose petals are a bright, bright pink, there are pieces of creamy green pistachio, almonds, the black tea, and then everything is covered in a yellow-ish dust. I’m guessing ginger, based on the flavour. It’s very striking!
To taste, it’s instantly nostalgic and calming. Rose flavoured things remind me a lot of my childhood, and rose is a really prominent aspect of the flavour here. The ginger comes second, adding a delicately spicy heat in the background, and then there’s the sweetly malty black base. There’s a very light hint of nuttiness – nothing I could pin down specifically as pistachio or almond, though. I wish those flavours came through a little more clearly, but I guess with strong competitors like rose and ginger that was always unlikely.
This one comes up kind of murky looking, but it clears as the ginger powder sinks to the bottom of the cup. The black base is pretty light; maybe a ceylon? I half-wondered whether milk might make this one even more comforting and nostalgic, but I think the base probably wouldn’t stand up to it. Maybe as a latte? I like it very much as it is, though; something about the combination of sweet, floral and spicy is just so good! I’m sure I’ll be buying more of this one.
Finished this off at lunch; lunch today was a nice, light salad so it was a really good accompaniment – added some sweetness to the meal. I’ll miss this tea; not enough to order more of it since there’s not really anything else from Vadham that I’d also want at the moment to “fluff up” the order and I certainly don’t want to make a bulk order. However, it’s got a really lovely rose flavour that I will definitely miss being able to turn to when I’m craving something smoothly rose, with a base with more depth. Plus, the cardamom in the mix certainly doesn’t hurt – that’s a note that I’ve been really vibing well with in all sorts of teas as of late…
This cup came out a little weak tasting, but still very pleasantly and distinctly floral/rose tasting. Can’t help but compare to rose water Turkish Delight, if the sweetness was just a little more mellowed out. I feel like I should taste the saffron a lot more than I do; but my brain just fixates on the rose like a two year old with something shiny. As it cooled, I did get a fair share of cardamom though.
Easily the most beautiful loose black tea I’ve had in ages…
The dry leaf for this one had a very nostalgic, enticing smell to me. On top of lots, and lots of rose it’s got sweet cardamom and pistachio and everything sort of comes together in a way that reminds me of a sweet, nut milk based halva that the owner of our neighborhood convenience store used to give to my brother and I as kids. It was so tasty; I’m pretty sure it was made from pistachio, cashew, cardamom, and ginger. This reminds me A LOT of that…
Taste wise? I think it’s a little bit flat. I mean, totally doesn’t taste bad but it lacks the same mouthwatering sweet and nutty profile that the dry leaf had. Mostly it just tastes very fresh and floral/rosey. Like, there’s NO mistaking those rose notes. I just wish more of the pistachio and cardamom actually came through in the flavour…
Just a tiny bit sad to see this one finished off. It was a nice before bed kind of tea, with a surprisingly relaxing profile. Distinctly turmeric flavoured, without over doing it at all either. Could make have used a brighter citrus note to really nail that aspect!? But overall it was good! Makes me very thankful that I received it as a free sample, since I think it’s one of those blends that I never would have picked out for myself.
I don’t remember what I thought of this one when I first tried it, but judging on Steepster scoring I’d say I was probably decently impressed. I’m conflicted with this cup of it though because I did enjoy the combo of hot turmeric, the hint of ginger, and the bulk of the lemony notes. They all complimented each other really nicely. The conflicting part, this time at least, is that as nice as the profile was and as complimentary the flavours were the brew was also just very weak/watery seeming to me.
Also; I think I’m going through some sort of “awakening” right now in terms of spicy things. Like, until pretty recently I was the kind of person who HATED spice. Not just in terms of tea, but like in all things. Something must have clicked a few weeks ago though, because I’ve been deeply craving spicy food as of late. I’ve been ordering tons of Indian food – and the last time I ordered with my mom she took a bite of the masala dish I was eating and wouldn’t stop complaining about the burning in her mouth for like an hour. Plus, I’ve been adding banana peppers to basically everything that I’m offered them on; pizza, sandwiches, fries, wraps, etc. The weirdest thing? I’ve been craving chai!
I mean, I’m far from being able to handle any sort of “real” spice and wouldn’t consider myself like a ‘spice aficionado’ or anything – but my point is that I went from wanting nothing to do with spicy food to actually consistently craving it. It feels weird.
Free sample from my Vahdam order.
Honestly? I didn’t think I’d like this one – I imagined it would be far too spicy/chai like for me to get into overall and to be frank I generally don’t mesh super well with the whole ginger/lemon combo either unless I’m feeling sick. This was surprisingly tasty though, and I actually really enjoyed the cup!
I definitely got Turmeric from this, but it was less than I’d imagined there being and I liked it paired with the bulk of the other spices – I could have done without the ginger, but the cinnamon and cardamom? Surprisingly strong, and actually fairly sweet too. I found myself really reminded of spiced halvah! The East Indian woman, Em, who owns the convenience store near where I grew up used to sometimes give my brother and I little cubes of cardamom halvah when we went in with our mom and that shit was phenomenal. So, in a way this actually tasted weirdly nostalgic for me too?
As for the citrus, I really didn’t taste it? There were slight undertones of it but so gentle that had I been blind drinking this one I would not have believed that it was supposed to be a strong enough presence in the tea to warrant being included in the name. In fact, I feel like the bergamot in the blend was significantly stronger than the lemongrass. And I know bergamot is citrus but definitely not in the conventional way and I’d argue that to the bulk of the world it’s not a flavour they actually associate with citrus.
Anyway; semantics of citrus aside it was a good blend and I enjoyed the cup!
So, the mall is closed now but there’s this giant group of eight to ten(ish) year olds who refuse to leave – one of them is riding an electric scooter with a bell on it, and he keeps zooming past the security guard trying to escort them out of the mall and ringing it. The guard is furious, and I get it – I probably would be too since those kids are being little shits. However, it’s also SUPER hilarious to watch…
Anyway; I’m sipping on this one now while I finish off my last little bit of paperwork. It’s pretty nice; I added in some soy milk so it’s almost got a London Fog sort of overall profile, but more with nuttiness instead on vanilla notes. Wicked smooth, though, and light enough that I don’t feel overwhelmed by the bergamot.
Adding just a touch of vanilla agave to this one makes for the most delightful, airy and creamy tasting London Fog type of profile! I mean, I can appreciate a good London Fog every now and then, with the traditional black tea base. However this was so delicate and dainty, and well balanced that I think I could drink it all the time and not get sick of it.
First Vadham order showed up last week!
I was actually wicked impressed with shipping times; the estimate on the site for the shipping level I paid for was like roughly a month, and it got here in like a week? So, that was a very pleasant surprise! It was a small order – just a bunch of Nilgiri tea in different types since I just wanted to get a rough idea of what the company can offer, and I thought a comparison of one region of tea in different styles might be interesting.
This one was a free sample that showed up with my offer – a Darjeeling white tea with bergamot. Can’t say that’s something that I’d have ordered myself since I don’t love the taste of bergamot unless it’s paired with something else to cut the potency, like vanilla or other fruits. It’s also NOT on the site right now; I don’t know if that means it’s something they used to carry or if it’s something that they will carry. I typically try not to complain about free samples ‘cause, you know, they’re free but it does irritate me a little when I get a sample of something I can’t purchase. I mean, what if I LOVE it? I’m now kinda SOL, right?
Anyway, steeped up I was actually pleasantly surprised with how much I liked this one! It was pretty mild and soft, with more delicate notes of fresh bergamot and some floral/hay undertones. I will say that in general, bergamot is nice with the light, gentle profile of white tea. More so than I actually think it suits a black tea base. I think what really worked for me with this one was how fresh everything came across as, and the fact the bergamot was more of a gentle touch to accent the white tea rather than a blunt, heavy handed profile that masked the tea base. That would have likely tasted awful.
Also, this definitely got increasingly better as it cooled as well – so much so that I bet it would make a really lovely iced or cold brewed tea! I’ll try to mentally remember that for next time…
This is a nice tasting black tea that has little bitterness, a slight malty flavor and a subdued sweet note. It is very good.
I steeped this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 190 degree water for 3 minutes.
This tea has a slight chocolate-y taste, though it’s subtle. Vadham’s description says “muscatel” but I’m getting far more cinnamon-y and rich flavors rather than fruity. It tastes very brown and earthy to me. I might try to steep a bit longer next time.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon, Earth, Nutmeg
This was tasty. Not an amazing tea but a hearty, malty breakfast blend. I suppose the next stop on my tea journey might be trying to decide which flush of Assam I prefer. I already know I prefer 2nd/Autumn flush Darjeelings. Perhaps it’s the same for Assams. This doesn’t beat Enigma or Signature Assams from Golden Tips, but it’s good.
Oh, and apparently Golden Tips Teas is now Vadham. :)