1315 Tasting Notes
A Ruby 18 with heft. The mouthfeel of this tea sets it apart from other Ruby 18s I’ve had. Thick and fluffy with a big character of dark, varnished wood and some savory malted barley. Restrained tones complement the bold, woody flavor; black cherry rounds out the bottom and Ruby 18 wintergreen mintiness comes through in the top. Mild honeyed malt aftertaste. Tannins are prominent after swallowing, leaving the mouth very dry, but with that sensation comes a penetrating calm felt deep within my body that causes my eyelids to droop in warm intoxication.
This tea is quite the contrast to the cheekier and fruitier character of other Ruby 18 reds out there. Those are easier for me to appreciate with lighter body and bolder cherry and wintergreen character. But this is pleasant in its own way. The tea has power over me, rather than me having power over the tea. It feels nice to drink on a wet December morning, squishing around the backyard while taking care of my tea plants.
Above was gongfu preparation, with multiple short steeps (15 to 25 seconds) to mitigate the tannins. Would recommend this way over western.
Flavors: Cherry, Dark Wood, Drying, Forest Floor, Honey, Malt, Savory, Tannic, Thick, Varnish, Wintergreen, Woody
Refreshing cold brew with a profile that, to me, complemented late summer weather out here in the North Bay, so basically up to the end of October.
Made the very last bit of leaf this morning with hot water from the work dispenser, cooled for 5 or so minutes before steeping.
Smelled just like a peach cobbler. Guessing the peach was coming from the green tea itself as peach is not an added flavor. I couldn’t pin down the base character beyond its alkalinity. It was something like stewed moss with lima beans and seashells?? Togo mentioned mussels in a recent review for another tea and now that’s where my mind is going. Sounds so weird but throw in those soft touches of floral-sweet cinnamon, basil and lime and you have a well rounded and balanced tea. Two good steeps and forgiving of brew time. I’d buy this again!
Flavors: Alkaline, Astringent, Basil, Cinnamon, Lima Beans, Lime, Pastries, Peach, Round, Seashell, Smooth, Sweet, Wet Moss
From my aunt’s stash. Martin says this is a Lipton brand for the French market.
La tisane Nuit Tranquille n’offense ni n’excite. C’est comme tous les thés Lipton — faible et ennuyeuse au goût. Je ne goûte que de la camomille et un peu de verveine citronnée. Je peux la boire mais je ne sens rien.
I have no idea if that’s proper French.
To me, this is nasty. The tulsi scent does not mix at all with the raspberry flavoring, producing a nauseating medicinal aroma. Organic raspberry flavoring does not excuse its criminal over-application. It’s chemical and piercing and exits my nostrils with force when I swallow.
The taste sips alkaline then finishes with hibiscus sourness. In between is a flat taste of tulsi and hint of peach flavoring. Severely disjointed. Ugh. I definitely feel queasy. “Crowd pleaser” my ass.
Flavors: Alkaline, Chemical, Flat, Herbaceous, Medicinal, Peach, Raspberry, Sour, Tulsi
Everything is in its place, so I sit with mouth closed and enjoy the silence.
Flavors: Apple Skins, Butter, Cashew, Cherry Blossom, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Honeydew, Lavender, Lilac, Lily, Mineral, Moss, Mung Bean, Pear, Soft, Sugarcane, Sweet, Tannin, Vanilla
Rich florals dance off the palate as the unctuous, springwater-sweet liquor moves with grace. The taste is at first ethereal and subtly blooms with rich notes of honeysuckle, passionfruit-cream, jackfruit-vanilla and spinach, hints of mango and marzipan. The aftertaste is tangy and lemony. I feel both spicy chili pepper warmth and some camphorous cooling. Clean.
This tea is on its way to greatness. Initial few steeps are beautiful but the later steeps are more difficult to balance. Does well with very hot water and both gongfu and western, though I prefer gongfu. Best tea of the white, oolong and black tea bundle! I found a strand of moss in this bag :)
Flavors: Camphor, Chili, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Garden Peas, Grain, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Lilac, Mango, Marzipan, Oily, Passion Fruit, Spinach, Spring Water, Sweet, Tangy, Tropical Fruit, Vanilla
Found this in my aunt’s tea drawer, along with some other new-to-me herbal teas. I’ve been nasty bloated for two weeks after eating something that didn’t agree with me, so thought I’d give this a try.
I’m feeling judgemental. Urban Remedy is a plant-based food, beverage and lifestyle company that offers many promises wrapped in a squeaky-clean feel-good urban image and plenty of plastic packaging. I will stop before it gets ugly.
This has 6 traditional Chinese herbs, only a few of which are well known to westerners – peppermint and ginger. It tastes like an herbal-sweet peppermint tea with a barely perceptible butteriness. I feel like it should taste medicinal, stronger, despite being steeped for 20 minutes or so.
Flavors: Herbal, Peppermint, Sweet
May 2021 harvest
The leaf is clearly thin and delicate and when dry, has a soft, high scent of butterfat with an even softer ‘dark’ undertone. The cut is small and uniform, about the size of sea salt flakes, which allows for quick infusion. Despite this, there is very little astringency and no bitterness. It is best prepared as a one-steep tea with long infusion time. Probably well suited for a European-style large teapot brew.
A doughy aroma gently stimulates the senses. I think of it less like yeast, which gmathis aptly noted, and maybe more like a fresh, doughy and warm soft pretzel.
As far as the taste, this tea is all about the tones and lacks distinct flavor notes. Low tones of well worn soft leather, old dark wood, dark bread and forest soil earthiness with some red currant brightness are so soft and rounded. Tinges of astringency and acidity. When prepared with higher leaf:water ratio, I do notice some of the vanilla sugar Thés du Japon suggests.
This profile is a bit of a mystery to me. If I am to categorize its character, it’s maybe like an African black tea with a leathery Assam but without the typical assamica punch of either. The velvety and full body is more like a high-quality Chinese Qimen and does not match what the leaf visual brings to mind.
Interesting tea and worth a try for the curious. Read more here: https://japaneseteasommelier.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/karabeni-cultivar-black-tea/
Flavors: Bread, Bread Dough, Cream, Dark Wood, Earthy, Leather, Red Currant, Round, Soft, Sugar, Vanilla
April 2020 harvest
Decent, fairly smooth structure and a zippy floral-lemon-raspberry-woody taste. First two infusions prepared gongfu coat the mouth in tea oil and aromatics. The leaf can be somewhat temperamental with high temperature, producing a drying, tannic bite in the throat. 200F or less for me, which is what I usually do with these red teas from Wuyi.
It’s missing some depth and intensity — especially in the retronasal action — compared to my memory bank of the 2017 harvest: https://steepster.com/derk/posts/392085 Regardless, I was able to move through the 50g bag with ease as a work tea. Eucalyptus is a surprisingly strong note when left to steep absentmindedly.
2017 harvest 96; 2020 harvest 84; average 90
Finally below 200 teas in my cupboard. That doesn’t include all the ones that don’t have an entry here :P I dream of the day I have less than 100 teas.
Oh yeah, I joined the US League of Tea Growers. How did I find it? I don’t know. But somebody from the European Tea Growers Association has opened an invitation to USLTG members, in which a group will be doing an 8-day educational tour of Sri Lanka tea estates this January. Considering it. If only I had a business to write off the trip as an expense.
Flavors: Citrusy, Cream, Eucalyptus, Floral, Geranium, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Oak, Orange, Orchid, Raspberry, Rosewood, Soy Sauce, Tangy, Tannin, Wood, Woody