Wan Ling Tea HouseEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Ooh, I’m first! :)
So, yesterday I had an infestation of nephews. They are not bad lads but they do take a lot of work to keep entertained and seem to require your attention 24/7, thus wearing me out. I had, and still have, a sore throat and was feeling a bit run down yesterday, so that did not help either. Still, there is an up side to this too. Elder Nephew likes tea. Better yet, he appreciates good tea already, despite not even being a teenager yet. Younger Nephew follows suit to join in more than because he really enjoys it.
Me: “EN, what would you like to drink?”
EN: “I’ll have one of your special teas.”
Please is no longer part of his vocabulary now that he is approaching his teens. Hmm. Well, a spot of tea would do to stop the pair of them bickering and ensure that peace reigns if only for a little while, so I dug this one out along with my Oolong pot. Note to self, I really need to get a Wuyi Oolong pot, because this will spoil the seasoning of my Anxi Oolong pot if I mix the two too often. Hmm, that’s just an excuse. I really just want another Yixing teapot because they are so cute and adorable.
Anyway, time to bring peace into the house for a wee while. I dug out the pot, the sample packet of this tea and the cha pan. We’re so rock and roll that we are going to do this one gong fu style. I threw the packet of tea into the pot and brewed away. Several cups of silent tea drinking later, I asked what they thought of it. YN was not too interested. EN commented that it was earthy. I could not get much more than that out of him though. He wanted to know if he was right. My answer that there was no right answer did not meet his approval.
So, this tea, it was earthy according to EN. I tasted a baked, malty, wheaty flavour that reminded me of Puffed Wheat breakfast cereal. There was an element of toasted rice in there, like a nice genmaicha. At one point I thought I caught a hint of lemon and honey at the back. The roasted flavour was lovely and made for a great drink to contemplate for itself. EN and YN sat quietly and drank their tea, but the interlude was all too brief. Then the chaos began again.
I left the leaves in the pot overnight and shall try them again later to see if there is anything left in them. I hope so, because this was a really good tea that I would happily drink whenever the mood takes me.
The dry leaf smells grassy and is a light olive colour. It is almost flat and looks great. The wet leaf smells meaty but retains the light olive colour. It looks fantastic suspended in my glass teapot. The liquor is almost clear. For all the colour it has, it might be plain water! But then the tasting proves this tea. It has a silky smooth mouth feel. It is light and refreshing. The meatiness of the wet leaf does not come through in the taste until the third steeping. Instead it is really light, sweet and a bit floral. All in all, this is a lovely, refreshing cuppa that is perfect for days when you need a light pick-me-up.
Drinking this Darjeeling today. I feel ashamed that I have not written it up before now though. The liquor is a golden brown colour. The aroma is more grassy than floral. It is creamy with a hint of astringency. I am not getting any dominant, readily identifiable notes in this one. It is lovely tea to drink but it tastes more sweet, smooth and a bit mellow with a Darjeeling flavour to it than it tastes of anything particularly identifiable. I think my taste buds and descriptive powers are failing me a bit today.
Writing this one up from yesterday.
I had a buddy round for a spot of gaming, so we sat and drank a pot or two or maybe three of this while playing. When my buddy first started coming round he drank Yorkshire Tea. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but he picked up on the loose leaf tea pretty quickly and now looks forward to sampling whatever new teas I might have in. This one is not new to me but I had not fed it to him before. Anyhow, it got the thumbs up from him. So, what did I make of it?
The dry leaf has a floral, muscatel aroma typical of Darjeelings. It smells good and inviting. It appears quite chopped with a fair bit of stalk in there too though, which might make some wary. The leaf varies in colour from pale green through dark green to brown, giving a pleasing appearance. Upon brewing, the aroma is again floral and grassy. The tea tastes like a Darjeeling should: light-bodied, crisp, muscatel-like. Then suddenly it hit me, there’s a distinct caramel apple note in there too. Crikey! That surprised me. What was missing was any real astringency. The tea was sweet through to the end. Admittedly, we were not paying total attention to the tea, but all the same, it was a splendid tea and there was a depth and complexity to it that made itself known despite our distraction.
Thank you Roughage for this Sample Tea!
I keep apologizing for my lack of knowledge about darjeelings. Like the clumsy schoolgirl I was at my first 6th grade dance, I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. At age 11 and 5’9" there’s no way I was letting a short stubby boy even think of SLOW dancing with me (which they all wanted to do with their evil grins)!
Darjeelings grin their evil grins at me too. They all look the same to me. I don’t know why. I’M NOT A DARGEELING BIGOT!
Roughage was so kind to send me this tea. I need to buck up and slow dance with it. Sigh….
So…I smoothed out my dress, looked at my dance card and there were no instructions on brewing this tea. Oh great! What was I to do? No chit chat on the dance floor to get me going.
I had to duck in a corner to look up the instructions under another First Flush Darjeeling and just wing it.
(My cheeks were turning pink)
Ok, deep breath…I took the recommended steps to brew the tea and waited.
Everything stopped for 4 minutes. So long a wait.
The liquor was floral and golden amber. This was expected. I had seen this before.
What would make this different or special?
I went to a corner chair and sat down, putting my hands in my lap and looked down at my knees. “I must be stupid!”, I said…“I never can understand this type of tea.” And I sighed again. Then I just sat.
After a time, I walked back to my cup of tea and looked into it. I took a big sip and thought how it tasted a little like grape skins and peaches. It smelled like warm flowers but not orchids. I was about to say PASTRY but out of fear of being mocked…changed my mind (pastry ha ha ha)! There was a short biting bit of astringency that I didn’t mind. Instead of being too brisk there was balanced smoothness. Good flavor!
It appears that I had slow danced after all!
I’m sure I stepped on toes.
Either I’ll grow to be more elegant and refined a dancer or you’ll grow taller and able to match with me and be my teacher. I need all the help I can get.
(Hope none of you Darjeeling lovers mind my liberties…I mean no disrespect to the tea…I mean it when I say I am a Darjeeling idiot!)
Thank you TeaEqualsBliss for sending me a bit of this tea!
And what a lovely Keemun this is. I get what TeaEqualsBliss says about this being a “lighter” Keemun, but, I find a robustness to this too, not so much in body but more in the spice set in the background. This has a lovely complexity to it. It has a lovely peppery quality, rich yet calm and relaxed. This isn’t your “get up and go” kind of Keemun, it is more like a contemplative cup that you’ll want to explore.
Three new Darjeelings turned up on my doorstep today. It’s almost as if I ordered them!
Anyway, ordered on Tuesday, arrived on Thursday. Thank you, Wan Ling, for getting them to me so quickly. I was torn about which to try first so I put all three boxes in front of me, closed my eyes and picked one at random. After managing to select my desk lamp, a pen and a book, I eventually managed to put my hands on this one.
The dry leaves vary from a light olive colour through to a brownish green. They are whole and curly with a thick floral aroma. When steeped they unfurl to reveal quite a lot of whole leaves. The aroma is still floral, that thick heady scent of a flower meadow, I think. Tasting the tea seems to get every part of my tongue going. It is light, refreshing, floral. There is a hint of something darker lurking in there, a slight astringency maybe, that lends itself well to extending the aftertaste so that I enjoy the tea for a fair while after I have swallowed it. I breathe in and out so that the air across my tongue and the aroma on my breath enhances that aftertaste. This tea makes me feel good and also demonstrates beautifully why Darjeeling is the Champagne of teas. It has that same light, bubbly feelgood factor. I hope the other two are as good or better. I’m positively giddy about trying them!
This smells like dark leafy greens and marigolds! WOW! Intense Aroma! Impressive!
Upon first sip…
Ohhhh! Incredibly clean – squeaky! Certainly a greenish-oolong! Near Buttery! Sweet! It’s like a cross between a Red Bell Pepper kind of sweet and a sweet corn sweet.
The lovely smooth-sweet combo lingers…so pure…so warming and friendly.
I can’t tell if I’m picking up slight plum notes or slight apricot notes…perhaps both! Regardless this is very VERY good! It’s sweet! It’s a bit fruity! It’s incredible clean and crisp! There are sweet-floral notes yet it’s smooth! It’s REALLY lovely! The more I sip – the more I LOVE it! YUP! This is pretty amazing!
Lightly oxidised tie guan yin oolong. Aroma is sweet and slightly floral, with very little vegetal or green tones.
Hugely sweet and sticky fruit (apricot?), particularly on first infusion. Crisp grape at the start quickly gives way to a syrupy middle and finish. Typical tie guan yin flavours are present throughout, but very refined with no harshness and lots of depth to the flavour. Honey and slight fruit in the aftertaste. Very satisfying and easy drinking.
First let me say I DO like this tea – it’s tasty. But I, personally, wouldn’t call it robust. I found it to be a bit on the lighter side…it’s mellow yet airy and crisp. It’s a very gentle Keemun. I think that is why I like it…it’s different. It’s always nice to have a soothing black tea in your back pocket, ya know??
It’s a bit sweet and I really like the sweet notes!
I think I am officially over ordering tea from the US, for the most part. I’ve found great options from the UK, and I cannot get over the difference in shipping cost. Also, I placed my order on May 29 around noon (i.e. end of working day in the UK), and I just received it on June 2. This is blowing my mind.
Anyway, on to the tea itself. This has plenty of green in it, though less than the Jungpana. The dry leaf smells quite like hay. The liquor is nice and gold-amber, and yum! This is definitely less green-tasting than the Jungpana and with a bit more body. Deliciously smooth and sweet.