2188 Tasting Notes
This is yet another of my long-wanted Earls that I now get to try thanks to SimplyJenW. Any time anyone says a particular Earl is their favorite, I have to try it of course, and this one has gotten quite a few lauds. Yet another kind of Earl base, this one is a Keemun. I didn’t actually mean to steep this at a slightly lower temp to start, but I didn’t realize the kettle was set on that temp and I poured it before I realized. It wasn’t too low, at least.
Steeped the brewed tea smells pleasantly of quite citrusy bergamot. It’s not suuuper bright, either, more sweetish smelling. Wow, this is a really good Earl! The bergamot is very nice… I was worried it wouldn’t be strong enough for me, but it is. It’s very citrusy, I like the way it blends with the base, and it almost tastes sweet in the aftertaste. There’s also a hint of that floral quality that bergamot sometimes has. Yes, this a great example of a very well done bergamot. As I’ve tried a lot of Earl Greys I’ve noticed that a lot of them really depend on the quality of the bergamot, and that bergamot flavoring/oil can vary wildly. With the wrong bergamot it doesn’t matter how strong or weak it is, it just isn’t very pleasant. With the right bergamot, it can be super strong and it never gets bitter, pity, or astringent. This is definitely the right kind of bergamot. Color me impressed. Gotta try this back to back with my beloved Todd & Holland Earl Grey Double Bergamot to decided which one is my favorite Earl because this one is a front-runner.
Gong fu oolong of the afternoon. I used about a tablespoon and a half of leaf for my 6oz pot, which 150% of what I had been using for oolongs previously (with not great results).
This TGY is fairly different from the other ones I had been having before I went to Canada. I do remember this from my first session (western brewing) with this: it’s really green and floral, but not really creamy or buttery. First steep of this (20 seconds) pretty much plays out like that. It’s very green, a bit of cooked vegetables, with strongish orchid/gardenia florals laid over the top. Very fresh, very green, very springy without any darker, richer, buttery notes. Also coming with that is a fair amount of mouth-drying astringency. Second steep (20 seconds) pretty much lacks the florals and is all strong, astringent, almost bitter vegetables. It’s kind of not tasty at all, actually, and I don’t really want to resteep it any more. If I were to rate this on the quality of it’s first steep it still wouldn’t be super high based on the fact that it’s missing those creamy, buttery notes I love in a TGY. I liked it a bit more western-style, but not drastically.
With my recent taking to Fujian black teas, I couldn’t wait to try this tea, and thankfully SimplyJenW fulfilled that desire by immediately sending me a sample of it! I’m brewing it western style because that’s how I’ve done my other gong fu blacks so far, with parameters that approximate the parameters I’ve used previously, except this one I brewed a little hotter because that’s more like what TeaSpring calls for.
From the dry leaf I’m definitely getting molasses and grainy notes, that is, it smells pleasantly like horse grain. I’ve smelled that before from the base of the Tea Spot’s Organic Chocolate “O”, and though I know it doesn’t sound like a compliment, it totally is because I love that smell. I always wanted to eat the horse grain as a kid because it smelled tasty, but of course uncooked grains are not that palatable even when covered in molasses. Anyway, back to the tea. Steeped, I’m smelling more of those cocoa, malty, grainy notes in the cup.
Nice grainy, malty, slightly molasses-y, slightly cocoa-y notes in the flavor of this one. It’s also a little less sweet-seeming and a little bolder and a little less smooth than the other gong fu blacks I’ve tried. I’m glad Jen also sent a sample of Keemun Mao Feng, since a few people have mentioned that this tea reminds me of a Keemun without smokiness. I’ve never tried an unflavored Keemun so that will be good to compare. I think Jen nailed it when she said this one was less honeyed and caramelly than the Tan Yang I brought back from China (and I also think Teavivre’s Bailin Gong Fu), but those are some of my favorite parts of the cup. I do have plenty of leaf for this one to try many times and compare side-by-side to some of my other faves, not to mention the others that Jen put in my box (thank you!).
I am definitely enjoying this one very much, but it isn’t an easily-acquired replacement for my Tan Yang I brought back from China (of course I knew that going in from Jen’s reviews). I will have to try the higher-grade Tan Yang Jing Zhi from TeaSpring as well at some point.
I was so excited to come home to a box of tea samples from SimplyJenW full of a lot of teas I’ve been wanting to try. Making a decision was so difficult this morning! First I narrowed it down to some sort of Earl Grey, my usual choice for a bleary Monday morning, but that didn’t actually narrow it all that much. I ended up going with this one, which has been on my shopping list almost since I’ve been on here and was looking up well-liked Earls to try.
The only thing that I’m not sure about with this one is the part-Assam base since I’m not the biggest fan of Assams. We shall see! The steeped tea smells pretty nice, with a healthy dose of bright bergamot. Overall the taste is pretty good but a little weak. I always steep an unknown black tea at 3 minutes because I am sensative to bitterness, but it seems like most people steep this one for at least 4 minutes so I will have to try that next time, especially since there isn’t any bitterness in this cup. I do like the base on this one, actually, and the bergamot is of a middling strongness… not super powerful, but not too weak, either. Well, not too week beyond the overall weakness of the cup. I will hold off rating this one until I get another shot at it. Right now it is a pretty tasty Earl but it doesn’t really stand out to me.
Well I’m back in NY for the moment. Ran some errands today and ended up at the grocery store that carries this line of teas, and this time I chose the honeydew instead of the honeysuckle. I wasn’t expecting it to be sweetened because the honeysuckle one wasn’t, so at first I was caught off guard and I didn’t think it tasted very good. Then after I adjusted form my expectations, I enjoyed it a lot more. It’s not super sweet, and it really does taste like a ripe honeydew melon. There is a little bit of tea taste in the background there, but not a lot. I think I would like it better if it were unsweetened because I have a feeling that the honeydew extract would lend itself to slight sweetness anyway, and it would be more refreshing.
When I first saw this bottle in the store I thought it was just a bottled green tea produced by Canada Dry, and I wasn’t very interested. But then I looked closer today at the airport and saw that it was actually green tea ginger ale. Well, that changes everything! I like ginger ale, and I like green tea, and I’ve never heard of them together before. Plus, this would be like a tea soda, which was also intriguing.
I continued to be pleasantly surprised, as this is actually a very tasty bottle of soda. The green tea and ginger notes are well balanced, nice and light, neither is overpowering or artificial tasting. It’s also not super super sweet, which is suprising for a soda. I mean, it’s sweet, definitely, but not cloyingly so. I’m really enjoying this and wish I could find it in the states, where it almost certainly not available.
Another day, another Dammann. It’s the last couple of days of my collections visit, which means an all out sprint to finish up all the research I need to before I go home Saturday. I barely had time to gulp down a couple of mugs of this tea today, but I also really needed the pick-me-up! This is such a great anytime tea, and the base is so well done… I can see restocking this one once I use up my sachets.
When I went to the giant asian supermarket in Calgary to get my Ten Ren bubble tea, I figured I might as well check and see what kind of bottled milk teas they had around. Alas, no Wahaha, but I did find this Japanese one that was intriguing. Earl grey, definitely want, lavender… maybe. I don’t always have the best success with lavender in teas.
However, this one is very light and pleasant. The flavoring is altogether pretty light, and this actually isn’t very sweet like the Chinese milk teas usually are, so maybe there’s something to this “healthy” business. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of this tea (maybe it’s because I was drinking it with a cranberry orange muffin), but it’s definitely growing on me. I don’t think I taste the bergamot as a distinct entity, but I think it’s contributing to the overall flavor, which itself is difficult to describe. Overall a pretty tasty tea; I might buy a bottle if I saw it again, but I won’t be distraught if I never do.
Thanks hotel internet, for kicking me off just at the time I went to post this tasting note. Fortunately it wasn’t very long. I discovered a couple more sachets of this hidden in a tin of French rose-flavored hard candies. Score! I forgot how awesome this tea was, which always happens when I don’t have a tea I love for a long time. I really have to restock on this at some point.
Backlog from yesterday. I had a very nice cup of this tea in the morning, and then I resteeped the sachet in the afternoon. Having access to a hot water pot (and the ability to take my tea into the collections) is awesome, but it means I want to drink tea nonstop like I usually do at work. But I do kind of need to conserve my sachets, and I knew that this one would be up to a resteep. I did something I never do: I left the sachet in the cup for the entire time I was drinking it during the resteep. But it was still totally awesome! Definitely getting more sachets from Dammann for traveling; I love the individually wrapped ones because they are so easy to throw in a purse and such.