Thank you Togo, for a sample of this black tea cake with snow chrysanthemum flowers. This was the first black/red tea cake I’ve had and my second encounter with these flowers. I am glad that beforehand I was able to try the snow chrysanthemum buds brewed alone (recommended!), which allowed me to discern the opened flowers’ contribution to this tea.

Gone western: 6g, 8oz, 205F, 3 steeps at 3/5/7m.

The dry leaf was not very fragrant, maybe a hint of raisin. Brewed up though, the garnet-brick red liquor had the pungent chysanthemum aroma which to me smells like tangerine, green bell pepper and dill pickle. It was also earthy, woody and sweet-smelling.

I didn’t get much flavor on the sip. Rather, it was the finish that carried the flavor. The base tea seemed lacking in body, muted, mineral and metallic like iron but clean. Holding the liquor in my mouth gave me a floral chysanthemum bouquet. On the swallow, I could pick up on some flat bitterness and not distinct flavors but tones of baked bread, citrus, raisin, apricot, dark wood and earth. Later, there was a pronounced sweetness in the back of my mouth.

Overall, it really reminds me of a clean cross of a shou and aged white cake with a floral addition. I wouldn’t seek this tea out but it was a nice session. I think I prefer the chrysanthemum alone as a tisane.
Thanks, Togo!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 6 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Eventual tea farmer. If you are a tea grower, want to grow your own plants or are simply curious, please follow me so we can chat.

I most enjoy loose-leaf, unflavored teas and tisanes. Teabags have their place. Some of my favorite teas have a profound effect on mind and body rather than having a specific flavor profile. Terpene fiend.

Favorite teas generally come from China (all provinces), Taiwan, India (Nilgiri and Manipur). Frequently enjoyed though less sipped are teas from Georgia, Japan, Nepal and Darjeeling. While I’m not actively on the hunt, a goal of mine is to try tea from every country that makes it available to the North American market. This is to gain a vague understanding of how Camellia sinensis performs in different climates. I realize that borders are arbitrary and some countries are huge with many climates and tea-growing regions.

I’m convinced European countries make the best herbal teas.

Personal Rating Scale:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.

89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again.

79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.

69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.

59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.

Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s pu’er, I likely think it needs more age.

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