1027 Tasting Notes
I stashed two of these pyramid bags from a year back for a special Friday at work. I had one last winter while student teaching to get me through a tough day, and the other today to celebrate the creeping of the cold. I am currently substitute teaching Algebra 2 for a wonderful teacher at Port Huron Northern and am greatly enjoying the students that I get to spend some time with for her maternity leave. An oil leak was prevented at the school, but the additive odor lingered in the building, so the building was ventilated for 30 minutes with everyone outside. The cold permeated into the building making the thermostats register at 62 Degrees Fahrenheit, this was a great warm comfort at lunch.
This blend is not too atypical of say a Lady Grey, but it is in how the ingredients were blended. The rose blossoms occupied the majority of the back and there were less black tea leaves than the usual blend, but since they were Zealong leaves styled like Tawainese Shan Cha blacks, they were strong enough to color the tea and provide a viscous body. Now, I’ve had the base on its own before, and it is a naturally fruity tea with a bit of a floral kick amidst the usual cocoa and malt notes, so I wanted to see how it would do as a mega floral earl grey. The rose, lemon myrtle, bergamot, and tea blended very smoothly, and the lavender and rose where compliments and hints. I would not have told you that I tasted mint the first time I had it, but after knowing about it, it is in the very finish of the tea making it more refreshing than tannic.
This tea can become a little bitter from overbrewing, but it is otherwise very steady and can handle long steeps with a high water volume. It does take sugar and or cream and sugar extremely well, but it is all the more tranquil on its own and better brewed at least 3 times over. My only criticism: it’s too fricikin’ expensive.
I’m bumping up the rating as I’ve discovered its potential in Western and tumbler brewing. I’ve gotten headier florals like osmanthus and a little bit more pineapple in the finish, and more cucumber in the body. I was impressed with how much sweeter it was despite losing some viscosity. I used a simple french press, which I never press with actual tea giving me a huge cup, and then I finished it off today with a new tumbler with a removable cup and a large chamber for leaves. It was magical and sweet tonight, with the iris, osmanthus, and other floral hints ending with a sweet finish, again like cucumber or perhaps pineapple, but then better described at the moment like green grapes. It was refreshing to say the least, and thickened out in the next four rebrews reclaming its general floral fruity and fresh body combo. If you get this tea, it might be better suited for tumblers with open space or western sessions. It surprised me that I did not enjoy it as much gong fu, but I have a bit of a sweet craving tongue when it comes to my gaoshans.
I had a little bit of a hard time with this one. The first brew was gong fu a while back, and I got generally squashy and corn impressions with a body that was so thick that the body almost rounded about my mouth in a green bubble. I got some fruity hints, but they were not pronounced until the third steep. I got eight brews last time in my shiboridashi, but the flavor was overall green, floral, vegetal, creamy, and herbaceaous.
The same could be said for the grey today, as it was crispy cool and rainy. A tangerine scented buttery broth and florals named the first long steep of 36 sec, and more flavor was obvious in the second brew. I got something like stronger cilantro and weaker pineapple in flavor, and hyacinth in the faint scent. The third steep had a iris like smell, and the body was much the same, iris, and cilantro. I did a short 30 second next steep, and it was just light, green and vaguely citrusy. The next one was better at about a minute and a half, having more tangerine, pineapple, squash, and a continually fresh herbaceous character. The current steep is thinning out back to the cilantro pineapple combo I described earlier.
This tea can have a great mouthfeel and subtle character, but it has not yielded a particularly powerful cup yet and does not have the staying power of the winter pick or the fall. I have to admit that I need to experiment more with its parameters, but it has not wowed me yet. There were days that I thought it was better than the spring, and days like today that I thought the 2018 batch was better. It’s certainly a good tea, but it is on the subtler end and I think that Mountain Stream has better batches.
I’ve had this one for a while and I could not decide how to write about it. I am very happy with it, but I’ll admit that I liked the others a hair more in the sampler.
Lucky Me hit the notes pretty hard western. It starts out vegetal, fresh, sunny and springy like a Mao Feng, and gets fruitier in the subsequent steeps. My style was a little longer, using 2.5 min in the first steep and 5 grams for 10 fluid oz. The first steep was lemony, but very fresh like corn (somewhat), green beans and squash with a rounded finish. Second steep at 3.5 min was more lemony with some florals in the smell. Actually, more was going on in the smell. Orange blossom, clover, and creamy lilac hints were popping up. The body was still green, but more juicy with a drier finish. Third was more citrusy and fuller in the mouthfeel. I’d say it was somewhat viscous, but creamy more than anything else without too much thickness. It does not coat your throat like the Snow Pick or the Fall one does, but it does have honey notes just before the finish. I’ll add more about what I get western later.
As for gong fu in my 20, 15, 20, 35….method , I personally get more pronounced florals using this style, namely more lilac and honeysuckle notes in steeps two and three. The body is otherwise thinner, but still very sunny, yellow and clean with the same pleasantly dry finish.
This tea was not as pronounced as its counterparts from Mountain Tea, or nearly as powerful as Tillerman’s Lishans, but it is very easy to drink for a decent price. It is a little bit too pricy for the taste since I can get a similar or better profile for cheaper in another Li Shan or even a Four Seasons. That is not to say it was a mediocre tea, just something for an above average daily drinker…at least it will be in my possession. I’d recommend checking out the other seasons in the sampler, namely the Fall. On the other hand, this is great for people who like green teas, and it does have the notes I like in my greens anyway.
I should have reviewed this tea without a cold…while I use this tea to treat a cold. The first time I had it was gong fu immediately after receiving the package. Orchid was the obvious floral I got in the aroma and liquor, along with rose, deeper bamboo, butter, oak, light roast, charcoal hints, a faintly peachy mid body, and a rosehip finish amidst a robust mineral body. My hammy imagination paints volcanic rocks along wave plunged cliffs. Either way, earthy in every way that I can imagine.
It struck me as Yancha, but the florals were something more akin to a Qilan in contrast to the thick and bitter Rou Gui minerals. Spice might be a bit much, but I can see it in the aftertaste on occasion. I don’t know. Da Hong Pao’s seemed like they would be my go to for oolongs as a reforming coffee lover six years ago, but most of the yanchas I’ve had kinda taste the same after a while. I can love tasting rocks for only so long. At least this tea had something else going for it. I was glad to experience it anyway.
This tea made me join the club. I was a month late to it, but they fortunately had some leftover, so I got it when I could and I am very glad that I did. The company’s description is pretty awesome, and it is very close to some of the traditional Dong Dings that I’ve had. This is a Dong Ding from Phoenix Village after all.
I got all kinds notes from the smell and the taste, but I think the websites description gives it justice.
“The aroma is strikingly reminiscent of fresh scones, cinnamon and brown sugar. The brewed tea offers a thick, smooth mouth feel, with notes of Swiss Chard sauteed in butter. Overall, is has a balanced, sweet and mildly astringent character, with pronounced buttery, brown sugar and savory dark green leafy vegetal qualities. "
This was true gong fu and western. Western was a little bit more savory, whereas gong fu highlighted more vegetal and sugary notes. I got something similar to squash every once in a while in the middle of the body, but the Swiss Chard butter notes with the consistently sweet finish was true in every brew.
I was impressed with this one because it occasionally bordered on dessert like, but was never too sweet and always finessed. I actually liked it over the Da Yu Ling that I have which is saying something. If you can grab it, get this one on their reserved teas section of their website. This one and the Honey Fragrance are my favorites from the club so far.
The September box surprised me as a green Da Yu Ling instead of the darker teas the company tends to release this month, and it was a pleasant surprise. The company wanted to introduce a fall harvest Da Yu Ling with a higher oxidation of 30%, and I am glad they did because it was personally successful.
I will say that my notes today are not going to be too deep in detail, but I’ve brewed this a few times differently. I’ve done gong fu with a 20 sec beginning, 15 sec 2nd steep, and 20 increasing over time and something more basic like 30 increments. The notes changed more here, and the tea has flavor, albeit mild overall. Eco-Cha’s description is on spot about it being vibrant and fresh-this tea is definitely floral and green like apple skin, but the deeper fruity qualities are in the aftertaste of the second and later steeps. The vegetal flavor matches fresh yellow squash. I personally got lemon balm and kiwi in most of the finishes and lilies in the florals, with some orchid, hyacinth and a little bit of osmanthus. Although the say it’s heady, that is moreso true again in steeps 2-4 without it being overwhelming and perfumy. Otherwise, it is a very mild tea with a smooth and full mouthfeel, and a dry finish.
Western was not as successful so far. It tasted more like a general jade or jin xuan than a Dayuling, which was a shame, so Gong Fu is the better way to go. The notes remained more floral than anything else, and the fruitier notes were lost out and more herbaceous. This tea is flexible and can hand some rough housing, but I’ve lost some of the more subtle notes going that way, so precision is the way to go to master this tea. I was hoping for sweeter fruit notes from the higher oxidation, but the evergreen, squash, lily, and watercress notes took over western and gong fu.
I have to say that tasting this tea made me think of the earlier notes on the company’s main supply of Dayuling here on steepster since this was such a mild tea. I am happy as a club member that I got to have a tea from one of my favorite terroirs at a good price, and that I got to try a fall version. I’m also happy to have 75 grams of it, and I will definitely enjoy drinking it. My only nitpick is the lack of strength, so I will give it my rating of 88-the designation for something that I could have easily loved, but was only steps away from receiving it.
Flavors: Apple Skins, Drying, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Green, Lemongrass, Orchid, Pine, Smooth, Sugarcane, Sweet
It’s been a while, and I do have a few back logs for this company. This was given as a generous sample, and thank you!
I’ve had this kind of tea a few times before, and it’s name gives you what you should expect: a viscous smooth and honeyed black tea. It is on the softer side of blacks having a slight chocolate note followed by a dry middle to a sticky, honey ending. Earlier notes had some minerals in the thick texture, and some passionfruit hints going into the honey notes. I’d say there is a little bit of fruitiness to the tea, but since it has a honey fragrance, the honey note can always have a fructose like profile so fruitiness is but an akin descriptor. The earlier notes also were a little bit bittersweet; however, I would not describe the tea as astringent of fundamentally bitter. Middle notes were a little bit more malty, albeit light. Some raisin and wood hints, but something like apricot or plum in steeps four and five. And yes, I did this gong fu beginning 30, 45, 50, 60, 80 with 190 F water.
I would recommend this tea as an easy goer for those who like lighter blacks or want to try honey profiled teas as this one is typical. It is also a decent example of Taiwanese blacks since they are equally viscous and malty, and this does have the benefit of having a nice aroma when brewing. I might not reach for this in the future only due to my oolong preference, but I would otherwise not say no to this tea if offered. The price is also decent at $28 for 100 grams.
I got the Four Seasons pack from Pear Mountain, and I am enjoying all of them. However, I am going to have to constantly rewrite notes as I crank them out and backlog, and likely talk about the samples in unison.
I tried this tea out first and foremost as I gong fu brewed it. The first 20 sec steep was milky and sweet like spices and brown sugar amidst a faintly green background, and the second 15 steep was like milk soaked in cinnamon toast crunch, hitting a high sugary note that enveloped the back of my throat, and then my sinuses. The cinnamon and brown sugar notes kept going steeps 3-5, but then faded out into osmanthus ever so gradually. I got some slight stonefruit notes that I’ll have to pick a part when I drink it again, but the sugary notes and the spice accents were the most prominent.
That said, it was vegetal, but more viscous than herbacious. The vegetal notes were otherwise very faint and light like coriander since the texture dominated the steeps with the sweeter flavors. The greener notes showed up in the later steeps, developing a more citrus like edge into steep ten. It’s a tie between this tea and the snow pick so far, but I will say this is a very good Li Shan at a great price for $25 for 100 grams. I’d be interested to see how my next visit with this gem changes. I noticed a difference in the vessels for drinking the snow pick, so I’m curious what it has to offer.