250 Tasting Notes
*10 years of experience receiving stinging lashes by 6ft tall Urtica dioica plants.
*4 hours of nursing the pain inflicted by wading through patches of stinging nettles.
*Collection of 2 plants for mounting.
*1 evening with a teabag.
Despite all that time romping around in stinging nettles’ damp environs, I never bothered to harvest them for food because why would I want to mess with something that hurt me. Somebody did the hard work for me here, yay.
The dry bag smells like, haha, flake fish food. Nutritious! Steeped, there is still a whiff of that but it is joined by a sweetness and wet green hay, russet potato, earth and grains. In the mouth it is smooth and a little oily, with tastes of citric tartness, minerals and wet green hay. It possesses more of a vegetal and grassy taste than an herbal, leafy one. My mouth is left a little slick and my tongue feels plump and tingly on the sides. The tartness persists long after finishing the mug. Interesting. I find this a nice evening drink. It feels healthy.
This jujube leaf is remarkably similar to the one offered by Verdant Tea. The dry leaf smelled a little different but it had all the same taste notes using the same parameters with short steeps in a gaiwan at 175F. I picked up on roasted broccoli, potato skins, potato, brownies, edamame, light sweet cream, a red fruit, vanillin and a pleasant lingering sourness.
The only noteworthy difference between the two was this YS jujube was much less sweet, which I greatly appreciated. I feel like that allowed for a silkier body to come through, still reminiscent of a lightly sweetened, watered down vanilla oatmilk. This one also seemed like a better herbal replacement for green tea.
I’m definitely inclined to purchase YS’s jujube over Verdant’s, but if you like your teas super sweet like Verdant’s other Laoshan offerings, I say go for that one. I’m going to have to drop my rating on that one to compensate for how much I appreciate the lack of persistent sweetness in this YS offering.
Thanks for the pleasant nightcap, Togo.
It’s a relief to move away from bagged teas finally and back into the puerh realm. I have a sample of 2017 Impression from the benevolent Togo. Thanks, Togo :)
The dry leaf on this is very impressive, shimmering and velvety in the light. It reminds me of a rock covered in lichen, twigs and dirt. It smells like mineral soil and stonefruit. Warming the leaf brings out a date sweetness with the stonefruit and soil. After the rinse, I can smell artichoke, dates, baked apricot and soil.
The first pour is a clear gold with a soft and fruity aroma. It’s dominated by a clean vegetal tone and finishes with peach and apricot. The aftertaste is of apricot and faint pine. Moving along, some bitterness comes in but it is smooth and not penetrating, complementary to the tastes. The texture remains light in the mouth but never lacking. The liquor transitions into tastes of a pleasant leafy and dry grass brassiness, which to me is evidence of autumn material, and the stonefruit finish turns into faint florals. Astringency picks up in the seventh steep and I ended at the ninth, feeling the tea had not much more to offer. The energy is light and calming.
2017 Impression is drinkable now and caused no stomach discomfort. Based on the initial review by Oolong Owl, the bitterness is already taming, or maybe I’m less sensitive to bitter. It seems to be suitable for daily drinking given its smoothness, longevity and energy.
Edit: Am I crazy for thinking this is drinkable now? HA!
Stash’s Moroccan Mint Green is well balanced and pretty smooth. I appreciate that I can taste the green tea – Young Hyson – which I’ve never knowingly drank. I think I got a nutty impression from it. The spearmint and peppermint are both present and mingle appropriately, never overwhelming. The lemongrass is thankfully light and adds just the right amount of citrus touch. Pretty good for a bagged green tea and nice to have after a second Thanksgiving meal.
Generic pumpkin spice tea. It smells delicious, yes, like creamy, sweet pumpkin pie filling, but in the mouth it’s rather flat. Neither creamy not sweet and no pumpkin flavor. It tastes mostly of pumpkin pie spice flavoring mixed with a floral black tea base that has a propensity toward bitterness, which I find an odd combination with the spice but not bad. Mix that flavor with some sweet Yunnan black and it’d be much better.
I got this as part of a 3-tin stack of seasonal blends including Hot Apple Cider and Pumpkin Spice. In the stack, this one is called Hibiscus Cranberry, but it’s the same tea as Cranberry Spice Hibiscus. Idk what’s up with that.
The dry bag smells like hibiscus and cranberry with spices. Aroma is strong cranberry spice, like Yankee Candle levels. One small cup permeates my entire living room. I do not object. The taste is exactly as advertised in the name – cranberry and hibiscus foremost with a light spice flavor underneath. I can’t pick out individual spices. The dark berry red tea is drying and very tart. I like hibiscus but this one is so tart it gives me reflux which I rarely get. Very glad there are only 12 bags per tin because this one is kind of brutal. Definitely won’t be looking for Hibiscus Cranberry next season.
This is another normally-sold-as-loose tisane from ArtfulTea that I have as a sample in an unbleached filter bag.
Love the look of the chunky material in the bag. Brewed up, it’s mostly lemongrass tasting and sweet from the licorice root. Not sure, but I can maybe pick up on the ginger and peppermint in the aroma. It is warming from the ginger, though, and I do feel my sinuses opening up from the peppermint. The green cardamom pods are doing nothing for me even though I can smell them in the steeped bag. In my opinion, cardamom seeds need to be crushed.
Somebody out there will enjoy this, I’m sure, but for some reason I don’t like dried lemongrass even though I like other lemony herbs. Fresh, though, hell yeah. This tea isn’t bad – it’s smooth just not my taste.
My aunt gave me an opened box of this to take home since it’s only 2 months from the Best By date. I’m a little bit of a scavenger by nature so I ain’t complainin’. She does this with wine, too, which doesn’t have a best by date. She just gives me all the red wine she receives as gifts that she doesn’t think she’ll like. Definitely not complainin’ about that one.
For being opened for who knows how long and so close to the Best By date, it’s still very potent. It’s mostly a drying cinnamon oil and clove spicy herbal tea with a decent chocolatey carob note and a hint of vanilla. Carob and caramel sweetness settle at the bottom of the mug for a nice ending. It’s warming and tasty enough to drink two cups in a row. I let the bag do its thing while I sip. Glad I can still find some joy in grocery store tea.
Rejoice! First day of the rainy season! Let there be oil-slicked roads and accidents, landslides, lakes on 101 that span 3 lanes and potholes lurking underneath that eat cars for breakfast. Wash away the stench of months of… nevermind. It’s gray and wet, the air is clean once again, I am happy.
Wild Boar. April 2018 harvest. Gone western. 2.5g (2tsp), 8oz, 205F, 3 steeps at 3/5/11m.
The dry leaf is fragrant with dark fruit notes such as prune, blueberry, blackberry and cherry. There is a rose floral note that sits just beneath the dark fruits and an undertone of cedar and malt.
After the first steep, the wet leaf smells like prune, blackberry and a faint menthol. These also show up in the the liquor aroma with additions of cedar, amber and another incense. The first thing I notice about the liquor is not the tastes but the body. It is s full, robust and brisk with an interesting tingly, astringent mouthfeel I’ve never experienced before, pleasurable and reminiscent of a Ceylon but not quite. It’s lightly bitter, tart and mineral.
Once I get used to what’s going on in my mouth, I can focus on the tastes which are almost like a Darjeeling. I pick up on berry, cypress?, autumn leaf, salt, cherry, raisin, rye and faint malt, walnut, rose and incense. There’s a gentle menthol cooling quality to this tea that opens my sinuses. I can breathe clearly again. A moderate to strong, delayed returning sweetness appears. In the second steep, I can also pick up some butter and an odd impression of creaminess in the body. That becomes more prominent in the third steep. The aftertaste is pleasant and tart with some salivation.
Wild Boar is an interesting, unique tea. It offers a kind of simplistic quality upfront, but once I take the time to appreciate it, the scents and tastes really open up with some complexity – something that makes me want to try this brewed in a gaiwan. It has a great body and robustness that makes this a nice breakfast/morning tea. It’s not mind-blowing but for the price, this kind of quality is hard to beat.