1103 Tasting Notes
This made a good cold brew tea for the summer. Now that it’s fall, I see myself picking it up as a hot tea.
The gentle and sweet strawberry offers a glance into the fruity flavors of summer, but right now the mild nutty flavor combined with that to-me signature toasty note of Chinese sencha, has me feeling the coziness of baked goods and fall. It’s more like a macaron than a pastry.
The pistachio comes through as such in the aroma but turns something closer to sweet almond in the mouth. Some light tang from the green tea and another Dammann Frères tea with a juicy swallow. Smooth while sipping and leaves a tingly, salty-astringent afterfeel.
Overall, the flavoring is pretty mild, which I enjoy, but if you like strong flavors, this might not be the tea for you.
This one doesn’t steep as well a second time compared to most DF teas I’ve tried.
Listen: Idée Fixe by Methyl Ethyl
Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Cookie, Fruity, Grass, Nutty, Salty, Smooth, Strawberry, Tangy, Thick, Toasty
Smelling the leaves of Labrador tea, running my finger along that thick cottony fluff on the underside, crumbling the green blades — the experience is soothing.
I find these leaves larger and more pliable than the Grade 1 leaves carried by Camellia Sinensis. They are also gentler on the stomach. The aroma and taste are crisp, clean and cool while there is some sort of mild red-woody spicy tannin quality that gives a base to the airy evergreen notes. Sweet, thick spring water that turns a brilliant reddish-pink-orange color when left to sit for a long while. What a sense of place this herbal tea elicits. Bog tea through and through. Fall. Winter.
I woke up this morning sufferingly stuffy at my work father’s house and called Kiki to complain. She didn’t answer, so I left a message with plenty of curse words (because that’s our relationship) and pleaded imploringly, “When is it going to rain because I can’t take this dryness anymore!!” She called back and I asked her again when it’s going to rain. Today at 4pm. I didn’t believer her with such a precise answer so I looked. Two days with some rain, followed by two dry days, then possibly a full week of rain. GLORY to GLOB!
Listen: Dark Speed by Failure
Flavors: Cedar, Citrus, Evergreen, Pine, Resin, Spicy, Spring Water, Sweet, Tannin, Thick
Another mystery oolong from Liquid Proust group buy 3 years ago. Black and gold packet says “Tan Bei.” If I weren’t so exhausted, I’d try to look up the characters. My Chinese skills are still very elementary. It’s a roasted tieguanyin. That’s about as much as I can gather.
The leaf has a mellowed roasted woody-flowery aroma with bolstering notes cacao, osmanthus, sour plum-redfruits and almond skin. The warmed leaf showcases a strong and warm dark bittersweet scent.
It is fairly smooth and easy to drink with sweet and woody notes, a hint of smoke, but nothing special to me. Then again, I am not in a state of being to sit with a tea. As far as roasted oolong go, this one is pretty neutral. Decent strength, lacks complexity of feeling.
Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Cacao, Charcoal, Dark Bittersweet, Flowers, Osmanthus, Plum, Red Fruits, Roasted, Smoke, Smooth, Tangy, Wet Wood, Wood
I don’t play around too much with tea over the course of a bag but this one had me experimenting a little.
This note is only to say that, while bowl tea and some bastardization of western made me happy, preparing it with high leaf to water ratio with short infusions in a gaiwan DID NOT. At least the fruity aftertaste was there this evening.
If you don’t like very bitter vegetal-leafy-seaweedy flavors and a heavy body, stick to a milder preparation.
Flavors: Apricot, Banana, Bitter, Earth, Heavy, Herbaceous, Potato, Seaweed, Thick, Vegetables, Vegetal
Today was one of those days without accomplishment. Let’s call it Monday. Every little task became a boulder in the path. This evening I prepared another bowl of this mellow tea and the aroma was strikingly fruity, a departure from the low tones I’ve experienced before.
In my dark bedroom (the shade on the sliding door to the garden drawn because of a headache), the glint of my freshly polished silver-lined cup caught my eye. I figured what the heck, let’s pour from bowl to pitcher to cup. Bowls don’t pour well, so you can imagine the tea spilled in the process. It’s Monday.
I don’t know if it’s the silver, but this evening, the seaweed and nuttiness are subdued and what has come forward oh so gently is a starchy taste much like potato, maybe a new potato. And with that is a surprise mix of fruits, like banana, something red like an overripe strawberry and apricot. Even a hint of cinnamon. The flavors linger lightly in the mouth.
Small victory for a Monday.
Flavors: Apricot, Banana, Cinnamon, Corn Husk, Fruity, Nutty, Potato, Seaweed, Strawberry, Sweet, Warm Grass, Thick
Lovely, sweet wintergreen. There’s a berry undertone to the aroma. The cup offers an embrace at once warming and cooling. Some may consider the taste medicinal because of an association with Pepto Bismol or Icy Hot. It’s nostalgic for me in the way that Teaberry gum is, or pink Necco wafers and Conversation Hearts.
Making room for some Japanese greens, I’ve brewed the last of this western since the remaining grammage was about 1/3 leaf and 2/3 flaky crumb. I’m getting a strong, sweet floral mango and coconut aroma. It tastes fruitier than usual and feels very pine forest cooling in the chest. Maybe western was the way to go all along. Oh wait, no. Maybe it wasn’t, at least with this much shake. Sipping deeper into the cup, it has a jarring bitterness and woo boy is my mouth dry!
Flavors: Bitter, Chestnut, Coconut, Drying, Grass, Mango, Pine
Prepared this morning in a large duanni clay pot, I can appreciate this shou more than I ever have. Maybe it’s the clay. Maybe because the little brick is tightly compressed I have more control with balancing the brew in a pot rather than drinking from a mug. Maybe the tea is changing.
I’m getting an aroma this morning of baked dark bread, brown sugar and caramelized onions. Smooth, clean and dark. Some memorable aromatic tasting notes of ramps and sesame seed. The caramelized onion shows up in the aftertaste. Interesting, variable shou, though unfortunately the mouthfeel is rather non-existent.