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Recent Tasting Notes
Summer Vacation! Here is the second of the Arya darjeeling teas in my collection… and as it turns out, I had them mixed up, looking at my self-labeled sampler packet this morning, which is labeled as the “Arya Classic First Flush.” Which means the one I drank yesterday night was the second flush, and I reviewed it in the wrong place. Oops. So I had to delete my previous review and move it to the correct location, so if you are getting deja vu, that’s what happened… sorry for the mistake, but it’s fixed now! This tea is also courtesy of the Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox, so thanks to tea-sipper for organizing and all the lovely folks who contributed.
This tea brewed up a much paler orange color than the second flush Arya tea I sampled last night. The aroma from the cup still smells very sweet and fruity to me, almost tropical… a bit like a POG juice. The flavor of the tea tastes more like and delicate than the second flush I sampled last night… it doesn’t have that deeper, malty note. Rather, it almost makes me think of a white tea, as there is this deeply floral taste to the brew, with a slight vegetal undertone. I’m still getting some orange fruity notes to the cup, as well, which is seems to share with the other Arya tea.
I’m enjoying this tea as well, and I’d say all in all darjeelings may be Indian teas I need to explore, while it is assams that just aren’t my thing. I am really curious how that other darjeeling may have faired, if T2 hadn’t botched the directions so badly (or perhaps it just was that low of quality, and was just a really astringent tea… who knows!) Between these two Arya teas, I really like both, though think I like the second flush just a touch more; I think the second flush makes a better breakfast tea and the first flush a better light afternoon tea/high tea sort of sip, though. And it is the sort of thing I’d prefer if I’m in one of my floral moods (which tend to take me often).
Flavors: Floral, Orange, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal
The tea is very strong and has malty and sweet characteristics. The sweet tones are somewhat overpowered by the bitterness of the tea. The bitterness for me is not very pleasant because it lingers for too long in your mouth.
Not one of Vahdam’s best Assam teas, but you can’t win them all ;-)
Flavors: Bitter, Malt, Sweet
The tea has the normal dark oak colour of an Assam tea. The smell is however less pronounced than with most other Assam teas. Same goes for the flavour. You can taste the hints of malt and honey-like sweetness in the back, but for an Assam tea this one is extremely mild.
I have to say that i quite like this one. The less pronounced flavour leave more room for the small amount of bitterness and astringecy to kick in, making this a nicely balanced tea. Perhaps a bit too bland if you’re looking for a kick, but a very nice every-day tea to be sure.
Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Malt
Flavors: Malt, Sweet
Well, Vahdam… you dropped the ball big time
I don’t know what to say… I ordered https://www.vahdamteas.com/products/antu-valley-golden-tippy-souchong-nepal-second-flush-black-tea and got this:
I can promise you that this tea is not smoked, it has no malty notes, and it 100% does not look like that.
Guess I have no idea what I’m drinking, but the package says Antu Valley Golden Tippy Souchong Nepal Summer Black Tea.
Okay well after trying a number of my Indian samples (of which I have.. like 25), I kind of gave up all hope to review them, save for an Avaata white, but I pulled this one out on a whim because I’ve actually got very little tea at the moment and I can’t wait for my new shipments to arrive ugh, anyways, I opened this to a pretty unique aroma, a very soft sort of soapy, a very indian floral aroma, anyways then I started to pour them out into my presentation.. bamboo scoopy thing, and I was just startled I mean look at these leaves!
so many huge, long thin needles, it’s obviously very carefully processed, and this is something I’ve always felt is missing from typical tea pretty much from anywhere in the world outside of China. Now there is decent amount of breakage in this one, so I’m just going to pick out all of the whole leaves and brew just those, because I can.
oh my god, okay in the gaiwan it smells pretty much exactly like a laoshan green and oh okay this gonna be wonderful, I’m not gonna rinse this one.
oh my goddddd after the first steep, the leaves smell again even more strongly of a laoshan green, but there’s this fruitiness and this like meatiness thickness too, and then something that reminds me of a sangria tea I had from teavana (I’ve never had sangria so I don’t know if this smells like that..) but okay I’m so excited to drink this.
I’m brewing at 82C, 5ish grams in a 120ml gaiwan
okay well on the face of it, there’s a very familiar soybeany, spinachy taste, a grapey fruitiness and a very indian florality in the finish akin to darjeeling black teas, there’s a certain unpleasantness to it though, I’m not sure what it is, but the body is also thin, I’m going to attribute that to the first steep though, so okay well anyways
Okay nevermind the second is also thin, but lots of new flavours, still very green, but a bit more grassy, very sweet as well this time, some very pleasant bitterness, there’s a very odd fruitiness, it’s like.. I wanna say it’s a combination of orange and blackberry? and there’s a more mellow floralness, less perfumey
Okay okay okay it’s thicker in this one, it’s so hard to describe the tastes.. it’s very bitter and satisfying and sorta green beany and sort of a pear-like taste, lots of spinachiness and like.. I don’t know, it’s vaguely citrus-like and smokey!! I didn’t notice the smokiness
I don’t know, for some reason it reminds me of chow mein. And now I’m craving chow mein..
oo I got a nice strawberry aroma like a minute after finishing the sip, also the sweetness is very sheng-like. This is some weird tea
Oh ew, it’s like lemongrassy and sour and blech I think this one’s finished..
jk the next 2 have still been good, it’s developed this lovely creaminess and really it’s starting to taste a lot like a weird young sheng
I got 10 steeps out of it though, that’s pretty impressive for green tea
Omg okay so today I got 3 packages, one from Vahdam, one from Teasenz and another from Jake’s stash sale, I’m drowning in tea right now and its fantastic.
Anyways okay this is not going to be as proper of a review as mine usually are, I’ve been studying all night for my midterm tomorrow and caved and decided to start gongfuing this one while doing work so this is from memory. This is actually the only sample (of like 21) that I’ve opened just to give it a smell, and I was amazed by the dry leaf aroma, I don’t know how to describe it, it smells so pure and sweet, very fruity (orange/peach/grape) and not at all floral, more to the point I was really impressed with the look of the leaf, they’re completely whole and beautiful, just like in the picture. And with my complete disinterest in white tea recently and my past experiences with indian tea being pretty negative, this amazing aroma was a huge shock if I’m being honest. I had very low expectations for a Nilgiri white tea, but I’ve been very happily surprised.
It brewed up very strong and thick and almost malty in a way, hints of bitterness every now and then but for the most part it had a very nice body, I got notes of berries and lovely florals, as well as some of the fruits from the aroma, and at one point I’m pretty sure I tasted chocolate. Honestly, while I wouldn’t have had a hard time telling you that it was a white tea, it was quite.. Burly, I want to say. I feel like it has the body of a black tea, with the flavours of a fruity white.
Also, looking at the name, there is something that feels frosty about this tea. I don’t know why, but it’s very fitting that this is a winter harvest (Feb 2016).
This was a very good first impression for Vadham
Flavors: Flowers, Grapes, Orange, Peach
Yum. The dry leaf smells like molasses and hay. The flavor is indeed plummy as their description says. A good heft of malt. A very classic taste. I can’t remember any more what the full leaf Nahorhabi from Harney tasted like but being from the same estate, I can’t imagine it was too different and I loved that one as well. Might have been a different flush, though, no idea and Harney only offers broken leaf now, which I don’t care for as much.
I ordered two big Golden Tips Teas samplers about a year ago (almost exactly a year ago, actually) and there are still so many I haven’t even tried yet. Gotta get on that! Golden Tips seems to be in the process of rebranding itself as Vahdam, and this particular sample bag is branded Vahdam so that’s how I’ve entered it into the system.
This is a classic assam: strong, malty, slightly astringent. There’s a hint of fruitiness/acidity with a clean feeling on the palate. The leaf is mostly dark/black, and small/broken. It’s good but not particularly remarkable. Would probably be good with milk.