572 Tasting Notes
The smell reminds me of chocolate scratch-and-sniff stickers. Fourth grade specifically, what 1993? Taste and body are thin but a strong returning sweetness like I’d expect in good loose-leaf comes about many minutes later. I used 2tsp to 10oz; thinking now that I should’ve used all three. Regardless, it’s kind of artificial. Thanks for the try, Martin :)
Flavors: Artificial, Chocolate, Hazelnut
Innocuous teabag with a sweet, mentholated dose of mellow spearmint that blends well with whatever base green tea is used. Generic grassy/hay taste but with a good body. Aroma is all spearmint. Brewed surprisingly well with water off-boiling! Good refresher during a stressful work day but definitely not the caffeine punch I needed following a sleepless night. Merci, Martin.
Another tea from Martin :)
Before brewing, it smells just like fruity lebkuchen!
After brewing it smells more like a little caramel drizzled on lebkuchen.
But then the taste suffers horribly. It’s not bad just lacking in comparison to the delicious aroma and the body is very thin. Mostly warming ginger, with a bit of cinnamon and barely detectable clove. So it’s basically Spice tea with a little bit of tartness. I didn’t detect any salt despite the name, but as I type I can feel the salty tingle. I would think pulling off salted caramel flavor in tea to be difficult because when I bite into one, the thing I most enjoy is the distinct juxtaposition of salty and rich sweetness. In a tea, added salt would just flavor the whole cup since salt dissolves. The gingerbread and caramel flavors do make a timid appearance when I exhale through my nose.
All is not lost, but meh.
My day started with a debacle. Classic ‘lock yourself out of the house you’re housesitting and climb in through a window with 2 neighbors eyeing you suspiciously.’ Thus began Day 2 of a 12-day house-sitting spree. I’m no too thrilled but there’s a dog that needs me. While I’m here, I’m aiming to sample all of the teas that Martin sent in a swap which is a lot!
I generally despise banana. Like, I gag at the smell, taste and texture. And I suck at getting a good feel for flavored teas. This smelled so good in the bag, though, that no trepidation arose within me and I got to steeping this nighttime caffeine-free cup.
The aroma is moderate strength and smells deep and sweet with rummy vanilla banana chips. The sip has the same flavor with less intensity and opens up into the red rooibos taste with a woody, rum cask profile. The finish is drying but the aftertaste is intriguing, like smokey, rum-soaked and flamed sweet plantains that have lightly caramelized. I’m soooo into this flavor profile right now. I even want to add sugar. What is this tea doing to me.
Flavors: Banana, Caramel, Rooibos, Rum, Smoked, Toffee, Vanilla, Wood
Going for another Dong Ding so soon. Why not compare to learn? I’ve had this sitting in a jar with an absorber for probably over a year.
This is pretty dang different from the Taiwan Tea Crafts competition Dong Ding I had yesterday. Another awesome roasting, though. I’d classify it as more medium-roasted than light. Sweet, green, nutty anise cookie aroma and empty cup smell. The cooler and greener aspects like cardamom-pine-balsam-menthol and sweet grass are still able to shine brightly through a roast that mainly brings spice cookie-walnut-sweet almond-sandalwood flavors, fleeting molasses. There is an orchid undertone that seems to tie it all together. Impression of steamed milk on the swallow. Good bitterness that slides over the tongue and deposits in the back but quickly turns into sugarcane returning sweetness. Good astringency and minerality, too. Pleasant unripe peach aftertaste turns deeper. I get the classic high mountain oolong calmness which I actually didn’t experience in the Dong Ding from TTC. Moderately mouth and body cooling with an opening of the sinuses and ears.
Can’t believe I had two tasty Dong Ding oolong in a row.
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Bitter, Cardamon, Cookie, Cream, Grass, Menthol, Milk, Mineral, Molasses, Nutty, Orchid, Peach, Pine, Spices, Sugarcane, Walnut, Wood
I had been hanging on to my last bag of this for a long time and finally decided to say goodbye.
I’m totally not plugging for Juniper Ridge even though I’ve gotten paid to go on some juniper harvesting expeditions for them.
This is a pricey herbal tea (same price both on their website and at Whole Foods which is the only place I’ve seen it out in the wild), too high for me even given the quality of the material. The Bay Area is not a cheap place to headquarter a business. Regardless, this herbal tea is so unique, calming and refreshing that I’m hoping a sipdown note will spark others’ interest. Maybe I’ll stop pinching pennies and pick up another box once I get my tisane numbers under control.
Flavors: Citrus, Drying, Fir, Green Wood, Nectar, Sap, Sweet, Tart
I received this as a freebie in my order from Taiwan Tea Crafts last year. How generous to send a competition tea, thank you :)
I’ve only had a few Dong Ding oolong. Each time, I came away with the impression that this style of tea was not for me. I could never pinpoint why but I suspected it might be the roast, lending the teas a heavy roasted nut flavor. In the case of this tea, the roasting seems like it was heavy but performed so well that it was merely a factor contributing to the balanced nature of the tea.
One thing that really stood out to me about this tea was the scent of the rinsed leaf. It had a pungency and savoriness that evoked an impression of a specific wood used to fire the tea but I absolutely can’t place it. It was very resinous and sappy, though. After a few minutes of rest following the rinse, the nuggets already began unfurling.
With the first pour, the tea had a deep and sweet nutty and floral aroma. An instantaneous, light-bodied caramel-nutty sweetness hit the tongue and transitioned to a lightly tangy mineral taste with mellow florals emerging. Good structure between floral/sweet highs and nutty/leathery lows. Very light complementary resinous bitterness and nut skin astringency. The tea was very clean and easy to sip, leaving the crisp sense of an empty palate after the swallow. The empty cup retained the sweet aroma of the brew. The aftertaste seemed to come out of nowhere, and like the liquor, was very clean with a balance of flavors difficult to describe, something like a mix of lotus leaf, floral lychee and very mellow peach and pine. I also experienced a lingering sweetness in the back of the mouth and a sense of camphor in my chest.
While this Dong Ding was fantastic and balanced, I don’t think I’ll explore this style of tea anytime soon since I feel a little spoiled after having this one; I don’t want to invest the time or money to find one of similar caliber. (This tea, as far as I know, hasn’t been made available on TTC’s website.)
Flavors: Camphor, Caramel, Floral, Hazelnut, Leather, Lychee, Nutty, Peach, Pine, Plants, Resin, Sweet, Tangy, Violet, Walnut
Backlog from early December. Barely took notes. It must’ve been a bad day. I don’t remember anything about this tea, unfortunately :/
Dry leaf had notes of caramel, marshmallow, vanilla, roasted nuts, milk chocolate, florals and peanut.
First infusion was sweet and roasty with florals and graham. No notes in between there and the seventh infusion where all I had to say was peach-osmanthus and butter finally coming out in aftertaste.
And there you have it folks.
Had a 2018 harvest of this tea. I’m pretty sure I received two packets as freebies in a few orders, so thank you, Old Ways Tea :)
The dry leaf was all intense Caramelized Peaches and Cream! Super clear expression. Warming and rinsing brought out the sweet roasty-toasty nature of the tea along with the tanginess and red aroma of raspberry, pomegranate and red apple, and dark chocolate and wood.
I had a rough day at work when I tasted this, so my notes kind of trailed off after the first infusion. I noted that it was light-bodied, mineral, still quite roasty with an astringency toeing the ‘too much’ line but it never really got out of control. Beyond the roast was a pure peach-fruit tree flower essence. Creamy impression on swallow followed by a peach-osmanthus-cream aftertaste.
My notes were sparse for the remainder of the session. Some things I wrote: late emerging bitterness, caramel sweetness, osmanthus aftertaste, bitterness gone. Toward the end I noted the growing thickness of the liquor and tongue tingles with the final infusions being nutty, sweet and grassy. Good longevity with short gongfu infusions.
I’ve had one other Jin Mu Dan, from Yunnan Sourcing — https://steepster.com/teas/yunnan-sourcing/85028-gold-mudan-jin-mu-dan-wu-yi-rock-oolong-tea-star-spring-2017
This was a completely different experience, and despite my mindstate, I fully appreciated what this tea had to offer. It was much livelier and I’m guessing Old Ways Tea’s Jin Mu Dan had a heavier roast than the one from Yunnan Sourcing which had left me not wanting to further explore the Jin Mu Dan cultivar. I’d go for this one again but it’s not a favorite yancha. The clear and vibrant peach/flower and osmanthus expressions were fantastic, though!
Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Creamy, Drying, Fruit Tree Flowers, Grass, Mineral, Nutty, Osmanthus, Peach, Roasted, Sweet, Toasty, Vanilla
This Earl Grey Lavender teabag was super smooth and fresh, unlike me.
The first Steepster review for this local Sonoma County, California, tea company sucks; my emotions got in the way. There are more and better reviews on Tea & Trumpets’ website. I hope to do the next Tea & Trumpets teabag some justice.
Flavors: Bergamot, Lavender, Malt, Smooth