1287 Tasting Notes
Orchids everywhere. Whispers of bitter greens, sweetgrass and mossy granite. Silky with some interest provided by refined astringency. Long, gripping floral aftertaste. A unique feeling in the body. Muscles feel energized but I’m also encouraged to meditate. Subtly powerful.
Flavors: Astringent, Buffalo Grass, Floral, Kale, Moss, Orchid, Roasted Nuts, Silky, Wet Rocks
Mild tea with a moderate, muddled flavor. I was surprised with sweetness, which at first thought was the result of licorice root but there is none here. Only fennel seeds and the two mints can produce the little bit of syrupy quality. A little grounding I’d attribute to the burdock root. I do wish the tulsi was noticeable. Laurel is decent as a lukewarm nighttime cup but I would like to try the remainder as an iced tea.
Flavors: Fennel Seed, Herbaceous, Mint, Soft, Sweet
Chroma finally blended a new batch and I was so happy that I bought 50g a few months ago. There is no difference between the two batches. Impressive.
I keep trying to think of a way to describe how this tea makes me feel but fall short of the accurate marketing-speak:
“Inspired by old apothecary blends- the kind you might find in a movie stumbling into a dimly-lit shop to find a blue-green glass bottle on the highest shelf behind a pile of books.”
The best I can conjure is a cool stream emerging from the dark mystery of a rainforest, carrying the rich, earthy and spicy scents of the flora and terra, flowing gently into a shallow and clear warm sea under a cloudy winter sky. Have you ever felt the confluence of those two energies? Similar to the way it feels when you swim through tepid waters and suddenly a warm current envelops you in a momentary womb, or a cold current provides a blood-moving shock to the senses. This tea captures both of those aquatic sensations but is at the same time undeniably grounding.
Following Chroma’s parameters of 5g to a mug (in my case, it’s 10oz), I get three fully flavored steeps. It’s a worthwhile commitment.
After trying ice-brewing again, I decided it wasn’t for me. Since I have so many teas at home I’d rather drink, this had the potential to become severely neglected. It’s good enough that I didn’t want to toss the leaf, so I took it to work to see what I could do with it there.
Turns out the key to my appreciation for this tea lies in a much lower leaf-to-water ratio than is custom for gyokuro. I let the cup of dispenser hot water sit while I dive into these involved projects I’m working on and by the time I come up for a breather, the water has cooled to gyokuro brewing temperature or lower. Take a big pinch of leaf (3-4g) and let it steep for several minutes (a 2nd steep, too). The resulting cup effects my mood and work pace in a very beneficial way. I detect almost no bitterness and the low, deep, thick and rich umami is lightened enough that my body and tastebuds do not protest.
Figured I should open this and drink it before the last hot days of the year fade away — praise the glorb!
I’m with Roswell Strange here — this is a really unique blend! Ros had a few great descriptions that mirrored my experience and I agree that this tastes Thai-inspired, almost like a pineapple curry? It tastes so natural without any added flavoring.
I feel sunshine, warmth, happiness, a lightness of being with a hint of grounding from the turmeric. The coconut gives such a nice barely there fatty mouthfeel, and when combined with vanilla, softens any sharp edges the unsweetened pineapple, lemongrass and yuzu oil might have. The cinnamon reminds me of the feeling of sun-warmed skin.
I ate all the pineapple afterward <3
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Coconut, Fruity, Juicy, Lemongrass, Pineapple, Savory, Sweet, Tangy, Tropical, Turmeric, Vanilla
Upfront and penetrating aromas (osmanthus!!) and tastes. Bright and deep, fruity and sweet, fluid and full, smooth, almost sticky but leaning more soft and oily. I don’t know how to say this without turning people away, but it has a strong cat pee character. Reframe that as black currant, ginseng and hops and you’ll be in love. Throw in strawberry, grapes, mango, apricot, banana and dates and I guarantee you won’t turn your nose up at it. There’s probably some tropical fruit out there that embodies this melange. Turns more honeyed plum and passion fruit with forgotten steeps. Long, cooling finish and savory-fruity osmanthus aftertaste with spice notes. Also, it’s very easy to brew and long-lasting. I know a lot of people brew leaf only once but if you do that with this tea, I will weep at your folly. This is what it sounds like when a derk cries.
Now a word about the energy. This is powerful stuff. It knocked my socks off, unscrewed my head, screwed it back on straight and had me FLYING. Intensely uplifting, beautifully intimidating. I’m scared to try this gongfu with more leaf.
Highly recommended for anybody that can appreciate the, um, black currant character.
Album pairing: AIR — Moon Safari
Flavors: Allspice, Apricot, Banana, Black Currant, Bread, Dates, Fruity, Ginseng, Grapes, Herbal, Hops, Licorice Root, Mango, Mineral, Mint, Nutmeg, Oily, Orange Zest, Osmanthus, Passion Fruit, Plum, Soft, Sweet, Tropical, Winter Honey
This seems to be right on the edge of needing to be reroasted. The first few steeps have that aging oolong sourness creeping in along with a perfumey air. But it all smooths out as the steeps progress, lightly exhibiting an incense character with an orange tone in the midground. Vaporous notes of chocolate syrup, orange zest, coconut/husk and charcoal are supported by that lowdown and earthy Wuyi wet rock minerality I find so fascinating. In the final steep, spearmint and vanilla are the most apparent. Mild aftertaste. Mouthfeel never comes to mind. I am calm and grounded but also with a stimulation that has me feeling like I’m elevated and being pulled forward while my toes sweep the ground. Interesting experience. I haven’t felt an energy like this from tea for a while.
Thanks for today’s wonderful complement, Leafhopper :)
Song pairing: Prince — Controversy
Flavors: Blackberry, Blueberry, Charcoal, Chocolate, Coconut, Coconut Husk, Earthy, Incense, Mineral, Oak, Orange, Orange Zest, Peach, Perfume, Pleasantly Sour, Spearmint, Vanilla, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood
Spring 2022 harvest
Shines western in glass with shorter steeps, like 1 minute or less. I tried brewing in a tiny pot but that was a disaster, very bitter and drying even thought I was caring for the leaf. Bowl brewing is quite good. A manageable bitterness can sit at the bottom.
Leaf in hand smells like roasted chestnuts, understated caramel-vanilla-cream, blanched nettles and a surprising heavy undertone of cinnamon, not sharp but like it’s part of a dish that’s been cooked for hours. The brewed aroma is of roasted nuts, sweet and soft roasted chestnut, soybean and seafood umami.
Lightly viscous, clean and sweet vegetal-nutty-umami taste. Notes of soybean, pistachio, oats, cashew, stewed green bean and spinach, grass, seafood broth and a creamy tone reminiscent of cauliflower. No notable aftertaste or energy.
It’s less refined? than the Imperial Grade I went crazy about 4 years ago. More rounded and nutty, more seafood umami, less vibrant structure to the taste. I miss the sharpness of leeks, the chicken broth umami, the feeling of being surrounded by cypress trees on a foggy coastal cliff.
This has good longevity, though, and is very easy to drink.
edited: Had a lot of pent up emotion. Talking and writing weren’t cutting it. Typing it out was all i needed to clear my mind, as well as some kind words. Thanks :) I got this.
Flavors: Caramel, Cashew, Cauliflower, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Creamy, Fish Broth, Grass, Green Beans, Herbs, Mineral, Nutty, Oats, Pistachio, Roasted Nuts, Round, Shellfish, Soybean, Spinach, Sweet, Tannin, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal, Viscous
Second grape tea of the day, this one brewed with water dispenser hot water. I had to go into work today :(
This is very similar to 1001 and 1 Royal Nights and again reminds me of a Dammann Frères tea. It’s just as bright and sparkling candylike with a soft rose addition, but with none of the strawberry or cheap green tea notes. More robust and with slightly more tannin texture since it’s an all black tea. Second steep with less water was fine but really the bag’s only good for one because fannings.
Between the two teas this morning, my craving for something grape flavored has been satisfied. But I still want some red wine :)
Flavors: Candy, Fruity, Grapes, Juicy, Muscatel, Rose, Tannin, Wood