1029 Tasting Notes
This tea, what the fuck. And reading tea notes from Sierge, another what the fuck. Funny thing about the internet is the blur between man and machine.
Yesterday started the day prior. Maybe several days before that into last week. The sky drops a stone, Sierge drops a note, or in the case of what’s actually been happening in the Garden of Derk, a mosquito drone zips up up down down left right left right b a start in my airspace, hovers over my neighbors’, slowly pivots and snaps photos (a government operative so says neighbor-across-the-way), elicits a scream from me into the windstorm of the night. I can’t sleep with… that… buzzing… in. my. ear! The ribbon-scrawls of my vibrating chords out the sliding glass door get snagged in the beak of the raven that rains the fruits of the giant date palm upon our heads and the garbage cans below with dark comedic sounds of dullish thunk and plastic clunk. The operator is an operative; it cannot sense my anguish. My calls to the operator to cease and desist are truncated by the wind changing direction and the drone slicing up the night.
A drone drops a bomb, a raven drops a date, a hawk fights above with a crow and one of them drops a third bird in the bath below. And another, and another. A quiet war in an overlain world rages for our garden. We tip the bird bath several times daily toward the cat graves under the lemon tree. The residuum of war — a stew of sun-warmed water and remnants of tiny beasts — a bony wing, a clawfoot, a spinal chord, engorged entrails, waterlogged lucent lizard skin — nourishes the seed and cultivates the strange. Rinse and refill.
A derk drops a bean and it grows.
The tendrils of weird snake their way through the days, twirling and weaving, winding and binding the feet of unaware apes. You know the sound of a growing woody vine? It crunches the large, dry leaves on the floor in its slow wake. A sound one cannot discern unless one is tuned into their own insidious nature when surrounded by silence. An arthritic hand of earth assembles itself. “It’s time,” it says and reaches out to touch tips with a fallen Buddha’s hand and the two hands, snickering as one, pull the chain of monkeys to the ground.
Somebody passed, another was born, another took hand, another retired, many resigned, an innocent question rang a bell that nobody knew needed ringing. Raw energy oozed from the crevices of the earth, crept from the cracks in our collective being. The vine was tensed, the tail was tugged, the dog had bit and we all fell to our knees, stinging palms with rocks embedded, bruised egos pounding dirt. Still, so many felt the full force but did not register the complexity. And after, we all got up and brushed ourselves off.
This week was a weird one and I think this tea precipitated from my own vessel into a teacup all these fucking weird feelings and I must keep drinking of the earth and the dark beauty of nature in order to understand. And occasionally generate some clicking sounds into the void. Humans want to make sense of things. Funny, I cannot do that with this tea.
Flavors: Berries, Campfire, Cotton Candy, Lemon, Lime, Olive Oil, Raisins, Saffron, White Wine
Coming back to this tea in the hopes of sipping down in the next day or two. The tannins and acidity that I can’t get away from in western style are definitely mitigated with short steeps in a gaiwan. I forgot just how complex this tea is. Lots of dried fruit, brandy, cocoa, vanilla, cedar wood, fruity tobacco, cool mountain air, camphor. Decent aroma, if a bit thin; good length to the aftertaste.
Surprise freebie kindly included in my order :)
Dry leaf smells very spicy-woody-floral, lots of pine wood and rosewood, undertones of cinnamon and peppermint. The steeped aroma has notes of white grapes, rosewood, milk chocolate (or is it white?), cooked mango, rose. The taste is like a flowing spring. Fruity notes of guava and cooked peaches; a distinct, soft and warm nuttiness; floral; green chillies, spearmint. Oily, almost creamy mouthfeel that supports gentle brisk astringency and minerality. There’s an acidity to the tea that reminds me of gooseberries but it doesn’t taste sour or tart to me. Nutty-herbal-peach pit aftertaste.
Really lovely tea. Complex but not challenging, very easy to drink. I feel a sense of place drinking this.
Flavors: Astringent, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Creamy, Floral, Green Pepper, Guava, Herbs, Mango, Mineral, Nuts, Nutty, Peach, Peppermint, Pine, Rose, Spearmint, Spicy, Spring Water, White Chocolate, White Grapes, Wood
Had with a Vietnamese vermicelli bowl for lunch today. The tea smelled like swamp. Scratch that. It smelled like a murky puddle thick with algal growth. It tasted like flat and sour buttery dry grass.
The food deserved better, like a basic Vietnamese jasmine green tea. The restaurant even used proper temperature water in the pot.
First sips, I like the way this tastes well enough. I’m not sure I like the way it smells in my mug. The cypress oil is an intriguing addition to a chai-type blend but as I take more sips, I realize ultimately there’s too much going on. Not a fan of the mix of cacao and vanilla with goji and elderberry. I smell all that in the steam and it lingers in a sickly way in the aftertaste. When the mug gets to room temp, it all tastes like mustard. What the. Weird.
This green rooibos is really tasty but not quite satisfying? It’s something light-bodied and juicy that I’d want to drink as an iced tea on a scorching hot day. The flavoring is like a mix of juicy yellow pear and Ace perry cider. It also kind of reminds me of both green apple and kiwi Hi-Chew candies. The green rooibos provides some kind of darker undertone that I can’t describe.
Kiki likes it and thinks it definitely tastes like juicy pear. She says it has a tartness to it. “It almost tastes like apple cider but with pears.”
Flavors: Alcohol, Apple, Apple Candy, Fruity, Green Apple, Pear, Tart
Typical Indian musky-spicy smell to the dry leaf — sun-warmed hard and dry earth, rosewood, green chillies. Moderate yellow peony aroma given off by a soft sunshine yellow brew. Strong note of yellow peony and thinned honey on the sip. Very clean.
The mouthfeel is fantastic. It starts off filling the mouth and then flows over the sides of the tongue, eliciting a mouth-watering, tingly response. It swallows gently brisk-astringent, not enough to consider the tea drying. It feels playful and supple, thirst-quenching. The overall taste of the tea matches the mouthfeel very well. Delicate and well-rounded flavors that are subtly fruity, floral, woody-spice and hay-herbaceous-vegetal. Minty-spicy in throat and chest.
I wouldn’t recommend this to beginners since the flavors are tonal and not so apparent (could be construed as tasting like water). Overall, bright, sunny, warm, youthful with a knowing edge. This is a great tea that does blur the lines between a white tea and a Darjeeling-style first flush black.
Thanks for introducing a new-to-me company, Natethesnake, via your note for Ketlee’s Indian sheng. I’m looking forward to tasting through a range of tea types including green, white, black, oolong, sheng and a masala chai, representing several tea-producing regions in India. Indian teas I feel pair well with the dry season here in northern California.
Flavors: Astringent, Earth, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Mineral, Rose, Round , Salt, Smooth, Spearmint, Spicy, Thick, Vegetal, Wood
Deep baked-fruits aroma/flavor and sweet, pastry-like cinnamon without actually being sweet. The aroma is a bit too artificial for my liking, but it’s a nice, strong scent. The blueberry and peach are well balanced. The Lipton-like black tea brings a grounding, woody tone, while the hibiscus/rose hips/cranberries (whatever amount ends up in a mere teaspoon) bring just enough tang to brighten the brew. I think this one is really well done, well balanced. While not something I would find myself craving, I do recommend it. Of all the times I’ve brewed it, the last cup has been the best with 1 tsp to 6 ounces instead of 8.
Flavors: Artificial, Blueberry, Cinnamon, Dark Wood, Pastries, Peach, Tangy, Tea