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Recent Tasting Notes
I got a few humble samples from What-Cha. I thought about more, but I’m really happy to have gotten some unique blacks I wanted to try. I usually don’t like Ceylons, but this looked different enough as a eco-friendly tea without a teabag. I also like whole vanilla beans, so my basic self would like it.
Making it, it’s like a cigaretto, then it opens after hot water like a witches broom. I need a pick me up while I grade, so I put some in a kyusu and brewed it western for 5 minutes. Smooth vanilla smell, and smooth vanilla taste like a fine chocolate desert. The tea is naturally sweet with a little bit of plum, and a dark molasses-y character. It does approach chocolate territory, but that’s more from the sweeter maltier elements of the black tea combining with the vanilla. Essentially, a really good vanilla black tea….that has actually lasted more rebrews that are essentially grandpa brews of 4, 5, and 6 minutes. The flavor has slightly lightened on the vanilla, but it’s still there. I get more plum, malt, and tea in the later steeps. I’m going to brew some more up, hoping I get more.
I’m regretting not getting the 5 rods instead of the too. I really like this one. I’m impressed it has more dimension than some Ceylons I’ve had, and as per usual, Alistair and his company pick teas that tend to be less astringent and bitter. This one has just the right amount of bitterness. It might be able to take milk, but if you are a tea snob, it’s better straight because you might miss out on the cool plum and molasses notes in my opinion. I’m not ready to give it a numerical score, but 4 stars minmum out of 5 for me.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Molasses, Plum, Silky, Smooth, Sweet, Tannin, Vanilla
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Flavors: Cream, Milk
I must have neglected this tea for long, as label from derk says harvest May 2020; and we have here almost November 2023. Thank you derk!
Prepared all 3 grams I had, so not a sipdown in my books, but finished tea nevertheless.
I have preheated the gaiwan and right after I knew I prepared one unique tea. The aroma was so familiar, lovely, vivid, but what is it? Nothing exact cames to my mind.
Brewed with, close to boiling, water. Lovely flavours again… very vivid and lovely notes of raisins, sweet potatoes, grapes. Aromas come across with some rye and sweet potatoes and surprisingly menthol.
Steeped 10, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 60 seconds and in the middle the flavours have moved from that “dark” ones to more refreshing, almost oolong-like notes with another descriptor — floral, both in flavour and aromas. Never tannic, always smooth. And lovely complexity even for 3 and half years old tea.
Can brew English style or grandpa style, and still good even at room temp. Doesn’t need sugar but good with honey. Not at all vegetal, mostly a black tea. Almost no aftertaste at all. Not the most complex but just so easy to drink.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Honey, Malt, Plum, Raisins, Vanilla
I am not much into green tea, and this oolong is very vegetal – even if cold-steeped, still tastes like spinach. However, sticky rice notes are very nice.
Is ok with honey.
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Hay, Popcorn, Spinach, Sticky Rice, Vegetal
Another tea removed from my cupboard! I had one single session left; from the days when derk sent it to my way, through it comes from White Antlers Swedish death purge days… so thank you both and missing the second one!
This tea actually aspires to be one of the strangest, weirdest and most unique teas I have ever tried. I prepared the chunk (5 grams I believe) in gongfu method starting with 15 seconds steep with 5 seconds increments. It went great this way!
On the packet, there is short, but absolutely correct description: “Unusual sour lemon taste”. When I saw it, I had no idea what to expect. I smelled the dry chunk and it was indeed sour, but like from fermentation, but also citrusy indeed. That caught my attention and I was looking forward to it.
In preaheated gaiwan I got even more of the sour notes.
But in taste they are indeed tamed. Derk describes it as “pungent, sour, and medicinal with notes of soy sauce and dried fermented lemon peel” and exactly same thoughts were mine. Indeed sour and slightly medicinal, indeed I got some notes of soy sauce… and fermented lemon peel was probalby the thing I was thinking the most about when drinking this. I believe I had fermented lemon peel in some blend from B&B — so that is my only limited experience with it. But it was that.
Certainly tea I need to keep an eye on — there is 2022 harvest available on What-cha website, but it’s UK based shop (sorry Alistair) and that means customs. Customs means VAT. VAT means extra costs and even worse… all the paperwork.
And in conclusion — it is actually pretty refreshing. Hearty meal is perfect pairing, pot steeping would probably work even better than my gongfu. And yet it is so strange, I want another session to be a more descriptive through session and not writing this post-session note.
First impressions: It reminds me of a Chun Mee from China in appearance. Though this seems to have a slightly dustier top and the green is a bit more… green, whereas I feel like Chun Mee tends to be greener. The dry aroma is very nice with corn cereal, vegetal notes, and dried grass. Ooo… Just smelled the wet leaf. Have you ever smelled something that made you close your eyes because it was just so nice? It is so pleasant. Vegetal notes galore, dried grass, asparagus, slight tomato sauce. Some grassy notes that range around summer, like piled clippings. Decided to steep at 140 because it is hot outside. And today really isn’t even that bad compared with yesterday. This is the type of tea I could see being passed over easily if you don’t sit down to really discover it. My first sip was subpar but I didn’t really read into it. Very vegetal and a bit astringent. I probably steeped a bit too long. Asparagus, green beans, a bit of kale, broccolini, and grassy notes to finish. Thank you to beerandbeancurd for the trade!!
Going back in the time machine. Lately, even 1 week feels like an eternity though not in a bad way. I’ve had so much going on between preparing for my trip and getting food poisoning this week that my brain has been Swiss-cheesed.
Subtle, delicate and fluid aromas and flavors. Something like white grape, lychee and mango, hay and cucumber. Viscous and sweet spring water, salty; hint of cream in aftertaste.
When prepared in a steeper basket, the most lovely aroma of cocoa butter wafts from the cup.
Excellent silver needle! Easy to drink and appreciate. Probably best for fans of subtlety.
Thank you again, beerandbeancurd.
Flavors: Caramelized Sugar, Chocolate, Cream, Cucumber, Hay, Lychee, Mango, Mineral, Mushrooms, Potato, Salty, Smoke, Smooth, Spring Water, Viscous, Wet Wood, White Chocolate, White Grapes
So several weeks back I finally got hit hard by an ongoing health-problem, and landed in the ER after family medicine wasn’t cutting it. Cue several more ER trips, and finally an OR waitinglist layover, I got rolled into surgery on Tuesday and have been slowly recovering from home. July’s fucking sucked.
I’ve got a bunch of samples I want to try, gifted from derk during the travelling Nepal teabox, but Horrible Timing has them taunting me from a side table. I had to shift to working from home, which meant putting work-teas first.
But I’m stuck at home for a while now healing, which seems like a nice time to catch up.
Drinking the wash of this at 20 seconds, very light toastyness. Hasn’t fully opened yet.
First proper steep at 20 seconds isn’t overly complex, some grains, lightly sweet, toasty but leaning sliiightly burnt. No sourness in the roast.
Second, 20 seconds again, burnt and toasted, strong mineral note, and a bit of charred wood. Not getting a whole lot of nuance, the fruit noted in other descriptions not really coming through for me.
Third, 20 seconds, became lighter and sweeter. Despite being a pretty heavy roast, it really has zero sourness. The sweetness is definitely more starch-sugars than anything fruity. Since I’m not sure what year this sample’s from, it could be that it could use a re-roast to bring out some character, but it’s still quite pleasant.
Flavors: Char, Grain, Mineral, Roasty, Toast, Wood
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These long, luscious leaves steeped up light and sweet. The scent in the cup reminds me of homemade pumpkin bread. A little bread in the flavor as well; a little malt; a little brown sugar. Not a strong Assam, but an extremely pleasant one.
Husband put up the little canopy tent we use in the summer to shelter cats, plants, and glider. I sat underneath it with this cup and watched it rain this morning. Delicious. Thank you, derk.