553 Tasting Notes
Okay, here is the third and final review of the day. This was another of the oolong samples from Verdant Tea that I had been meaning to finish for some time. I finally got around to it a little earlier in the week. I tend to be a big fan of jade Anxi Tieguanyin, as I am much less inclined to display traditionalist leanings with Anxi oolongs for whatever reason. This one I found to be pretty good. I could not count it among the best Tieguanyins offered by Verdant Tea, but it was certainly worth trying.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of orchid, lilac, violet, custard, and sweetgrass. After the rinse, I noted emerging aromas of cream, butter, and saffron. The first proper infusion then yielded hints of pastry and rose on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered delicate, subtle notes of butter, cream, custard, and pastry balanced by hints of sweetgrass, lilac, and orchid. Subsequent infusions brought out stronger sweetgrass, orchid, and lilac notes while the saffron and rose started to make themselves known in the mouth. New impressions of garden peas, minerals, green apple, and watercress also appeared. The later infusions offered lingering traces of minerals, sweetgrass, and butter as well as occasional touches of lilac, violet, and rose.
A very mild, smooth Tieguanyin, I enjoyed this tea’s accessibility and approachability. That being said, I also found it to be a bit boring. As oolongs go, it did not display a ton of depth and did not change much over the course of the session. At the end of the session, it was pretty much just a less aromatic, less flavorful version of the tea it was at the start. I could see it perhaps making a decent introduction to jade Tieguanyin, but for someone who has had a large number of such teas (like myself), this tea was only somewhat satisfying overall.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Custard, Floral, Garden Peas, Grass, Green Apple, Mineral, Orchid, Pastries, Saffron, Vegetal, Violet
Another of the oolong samples I recently finished, I actually meant to get around to this tea much sooner than I did. I’m not sure that it would have been better for me had I gotten to it sooner, however, as Rou Gui is still not one of my things. I know others who enjoyed this tea, but I, on the other hand, found it to be a little lacking. Again, Rou Gui is not a cultivar I dig all that much.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 14 seconds, 17 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I could detect aromas of spice, cream, and custard coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I noted a clearly defined cinnamon scent. The first proper infusion then yielded an even stronger cinnamon aroma, but I did not find anything new. In the mouth, the tea liquor immediately offered notes of cream, custard, butter, and aloe. I was expecting more of a cinnamon presence up front, but it ended up hitting me on the swallow, leaving spicy tingling sensations in my mouth and throat. Subsequent infusions turned increasingly floral, as I began to note impressions of hyacinth, gardenia, narcissus, and violet. Notes of grass, minerals, watercress, pear, peach, vanilla, honey, and lychee emerged as well. The later infusions mostly offered cream, butter, and mineral notes balanced by touches of grass, narcissus, lychee, and honey.
Well, I was expecting a much spicier tea than I ended up getting. This tea surprised me greatly by how floral, savory, and vegetal it was. That, however, was a problem in my eyes; it was not all that unique compared to any number of contemporary Anxi oolongs. To be blunt, I think I’ll just go ahead and file this one under not terrible, but not all that appealing to me.
Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honey, Lychee, Mineral, Peach, Pear, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet
Alright, it’s time to start blasting through some more of the backlogged reviews. I’m planning on posting them all by Monday, but we’ll see how that goes. In case any of you think that I have almost exclusively been drinking green teas lately, I just want to inform you that I have a number of oolong reviews coming down the pipe aside from this one. They have been piling up in the backlog as I have been mowing down samples and I am at a point where I need to start posting them to keep the backlog from getting out of hand (like it did a few months back). This was one of my more recent sipdowns. I do not know all that much about this oolong aside from the fact that it originated in Zhushan Township, Nantou County, Taiwan. I found it to be pretty decent, not the sort of Taiwanese oolong I typically lose my mind for or anything like that, but certainly drinkable enough.
I gongfued this tea. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of cream, butter, vanilla, narcissus, and gardenia. After the rinse, I noted the emergence of a honeysuckle aroma. The first proper infusion then yielded hints of custard on the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered delicate notes of cream, butter, vanilla, and custard underscored by hints of narcissus, honeysuckle, and gardenia. Subsequent infusions allowed for the emergence of stronger narcissus, honeysuckle, and gardenia notes in the mouth. New impressions of bamboo, sugarcane, green apple, pear, honeydew, and minerals also showed themselves. The later infusions offered lingering notes of minerals, cream, vanilla, sugarcane, and green apple. There was hardly any lingering floral character that I could detect. I also kept expecting some grassier, more vegetal notes, but oddly never found any.
In a sense, this was a pleasant, but also very two-dimensional tea. There was a pretty even split between the fruity and floral characteristics and the tea’s more savory qualities. I think had this tea offered some of the vegetal characteristics typical of many Taiwanese oolongs, it would have been much more satisfying for me. Throughout the session, I could not shake the impression that it was lacking in depth because it was missing those qualities. Overall, this was a decent enough tea, and while I am glad that I took the opportunity to try it, I would not go out of my way to order it again.
Flavors: Bamboo, Butter, Cream, Custard, Gardenias, Green Apple, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Narcissus, Pear, Sugarcane, Vanilla
With regard to my mission of finishing all of the green teas I purchased last year, if I am not down to the single digits, I am very close. This was my most recent sipdown. I finished the last of a 50g pouch of this tea last night. The time change had me reeling and I could not sleep at all, so I ended up staying up later than planned and drinking tea. Though I found the leaf quality to be rather mixed, I found this to be an approachable and immensely enjoyable Yunnan green tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
I detected aromas of hay, grass, malt, and smoke underscored by hints of nuttiness prior to the rinse. After the rinse, I noted emerging aromas of chestnut and straw. The first proper infusion then brought out aromas of lettuce and spinach. In the mouth, the tea liquor initially offered mild notes of hay, malt, straw, chestnut, and grass. Subsequent infusions introduced flavors of spinach, smoke, walnut, and lettuce. I also found impressions of asparagus, cream, minerals, nectar, lime, lemon zest, orange zest, squash blossom, sour plum, corn silk, seaweed, green apple, and butter. The later infusions offered lingering notes of minerals, butter, lettuce, grass, and malt balanced by hints of chestnut and seaweed.
An altogether strong offering, this provided proof that pretty, intact leaves are not always required for a tea to be good. When the leaves first started to expand and unfurl, I noted a number of broken leaves and started getting concerned about off-notes and astringency, but what I ended up getting was a ridiculously aromatic, tasty tea with respectable staying power. I would definitely recommend this tea to fans of Yunnan green teas without any reservations.
Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Chestnut, Cream, Grass, Green Apple, Hay, Lemon Zest, Lettuce, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Nectar, Orange Zest, Plums, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Squash Blossom, Straw, Walnut
I have no clue why, but I just have not felt like posting much to Steepster lately. It’s not that I’m bored with tea or anything; instead, I suddenly seem more content to keep my thoughts to myself for slightly longer stretches of time. I still want to share my impressions of the teas I drink and I have no intention of abandoning the community. I just no longer feel the need to post here on a daily basis. It seems probable that I will start posting reviews to Steepster in one go (perhaps once or twice a week) from this point forward. I’m also toying with the idea of starting my own independent blog in the coming months. I kind of want to do it. At least a couple of people have asked me to consider it over the course of the past year and I feel like I am running out of reasons to
avoid or delay it any further. Obviously none of the above has anything to do with this tea. I just felt the need to share a personal update.
In actual tea-related news, I keep making progress toward finishing all of the green and white teas I acquired last year. I’m much less worried about the white teas at the moment. I want to get to all of the green teas while they are still at, or at least near, their best. This Bi Luo Chun was one of my more recent sipdowns. I finished the last of a 50g pouch of it at the end of last week. I found it to be an excellent Bi Luo Chun, and that is saying something considering that I tend to be notoriously hard on Yunnan Bi Luo Chun green teas.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea emitted aromas of fresh bamboo shoots, hay, smoke, and corn husk. I found an emerging roasted corn aroma after the rinse. The first proper infusion yielded a roasted grain scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered bamboo shoot, hay, corn husk, smoke, and roasted corn notes. Subsequent infusions introduced impressions of butter, cream, malt, nectar, squash blossom, grass, beechnut, roasted chestnut, zucchini, lemon zest, lime, lettuce, minerals, and garden peas to go along with belatedly emerging roasted grain notes. The later infusions mostly offered lingering impressions of minerals, corn husk, roasted corn, and butter underscored by vague notes of grass and nuts.
In my limited time reviewing teas and in the slightly stronger stretch I have spent reading the reviews of others, I have noted that Yunnan Bi Luo Chun green teas kind of tend to be love or loathe experiences. My own impressions of these teas tends to to vary wildly. Though I may tend to grade other styles of Yunnan green tea highly on a fairly consistent basis, this is a style about which I am notoriously nitpicky. That being said, I found a lot to love about this particular tea. It never really veered into the unwelcome smokiness or astringency that can sometimes plague this sort of green tea. Furthermore, it held its aromas and flavors well and carried them throughout the vast majority of a lengthy session. That, in particular, appealed to me. If one were to start here with Yunnan Bi Luo Chun green teas, one could do far, far worse.
Flavors: Bamboo, Butter, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Cream, Garden Peas, Grain, Grass, Hay, Lemon Zest, Lettuce, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Nectar, Nutty, Roasted, Smoke, Squash Blossom, Zucchini
This is another review from the backlog. I finished a pouch of this tea sometime around mid-late February, but forgot to post a review here. I am now remedying that. At the time I was working my way through what I had of this tea, I recall thinking that it was very good, yet perhaps a little odd and a little difficult. Going back through my session notes, I still stand by that opinion. This struck me as being the sort of tea I would not mind having on hand, but would only drink occasionally.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
The dry tea leaves emitted aromas of char, cinnamon, burnt wood, dark chocolate, birch, and sweet cherry prior to the rinse. After the rinse, I found emerging aromas of roasted almond and rock sugar underscored by a hint of rose. The first real infusion brought forth aromas of smoke, roasted peanut, and honey as well as a stronger rock sugar scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor initially offered a smooth mouthfeel with notes of char, cinnamon, burnt wood, sweet cherry, birch bark, rock sugar, and roasted almond. The finish, however, brought out fleeting impressions of roasted grain, grass, and smoke. Subsequent infusions brought out notes of cream, cannabis, leather, minerals, apricot, orange, peach, toasted sesame, pine, and grilled zucchini. In addition to the new impressions just listed, the notes of roasted grain grew stronger while flavors of rose, honey, roasted peanut, and dark chocolate also belatedly appeared. The later infusions emphasized lingering notes of minerals, cream, rose, honey, and roasted nuts underscored by toasted sesame, char, roasted grain, sweet cherry, and rock sugar.
Overall, this was an interesting and rather intense tea. There was a lot to process about it, thus making it more suitable for situations that allow for quiet, patient, highly focused sniffing and sipping than anything else. There were times when I found the constant multi-directional tug of war among the tea’s flavor components to be a little overwhelming. Also, this is a minor quibble, but given the name, I was expecting a much more overtly floral tea. In the end, I guess I can sum this tea up by stating that I see why some others thought so highly of it, but I found it to be the sort of tea for which I would have to be in the mood. Ultimately, I would recommend that curious drinkers, especially those familiar with Wuyi oolongs, give this one a shot, but do not expect a tea that will avoid challenging you.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Bark, Burnt, Cannabis, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Grain, Grass, Honey, Leather, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Peanut, Pine, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Sugar, Wood, Zucchini
Here is a review I have been sitting on for several weeks now. After I finished a sample pouch of this tea, I decided to hold off on posting a review here because I was not entirely sure where I was going to go with the numerical score. Part of that uncertainty was undoubtedly due to the fact that Korean teas are entirely new to me. As of today, this is still the only Korean tea I have tried, thus I have nothing to which I can compare it. For what it is worth, I found this to be a very pleasant, soothing green tea.
Now that I have admitted that this was my first Korean tea of any sort, allow me to also state that I knew absolutely nothing about traditional Korean tea preparation at the time I tried this tea. I still know nothing about this subject. In terms of preparation, I used the brewing method outlined on the pouch by Alistair and expanded on it. I started off with a quick rinse and then steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 158 F water for 30 seconds. This infusion was chased by 45 second, 1 minute 15 second, 2 minute, and 3 minute infusions. I used the same water temperature for each infusion.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of toasted corn, hay, and grass. After the rinse, I started to pick up on an emerging scent of seaweed. The first proper infusion brought out a slightly stronger seaweed aroma on the nose. In the mouth, I picked up on delicate notes of grass, hay, toasted corn, and seaweed. I noted hints of malt, cream, and spinach lurking in the background. The second infusion brought out stronger aromas of toasted corn and grass on the nose. In the mouth, the notes of hay, grass, and toasted corn were significantly stronger. The underlying hints of malt, cream, and spinach were still there, though they were now joined by touches of straw, oats, barley, and lettuce. There was also something of an almost honey-like sweetness that lingered in the mouth after the swallow. The liquor produced by the third infusion was very light on the nose. In the mouth, the flavors became substantially more muted and the mouthfeel of the tea liquor was much creamier. A hint of minerality started to emerge. On the fourth infusion, the nose was quite weak and mineral scents were starting to become apparent. Notes of seaweed, minerals, and grass were stronger in the mouth on this infusion. Occasional hints of toasted corn, oats, and barley could still be found. The fifth and final infusion displayed a very neutral nose and mostly offered vague impressions of grass, minerals, and seaweed in the mouth.
I would not call this a particularly deep or complex tea, but it was still very enjoyable. To be fair, I ordered this tea on a whim not knowing anything about it or Korean teas in general and then tried it without doing any serious research pertaining to Korean brewing methods, so I doubt I did right by it in terms of preparation. Hopefully I did not bungle it too much. All in all, I thought this was a very nice green tea, but as this tea served as my introduction to the world of Korean teas, you should definitely take my review with a mountain of salt and seek out the opinions of others who have more experience with teas like this one.
Flavors: Cream, Grain, Grass, Hay, Lettuce, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Seaweed, Spinach, Straw, Sweet, Toasted
This was one of those teas that I strongly suspected would be a bummer before I ever bothered to motivate myself to try it. Unfortunately for me, however, I promised Liquid Proust that I would review this tea back around December of 2016 and knew that I would have to follow through at some point. Today I finally got to a point where I could no longer stand seeing this sample every time I opened my big tea cabinet, and since I had the day off work due to illness, decided that I may as well get it over with. L.P., should you see this review, better late than never, right? Just so you know, I did not care for this one either.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a fairly standard rinse (about 10-15 seconds), I steeped my full 5 gram sample in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes. I definitely did not stick to Verdant’s brewing guide here. I treated this more like the other teas I have been drinking lately, starting with very short steeps and steadily working my way up to extended infusions.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted funky, herbal, vegetal aromas. It was like a mixture of camphor, menthol, and tulsi on the nose. I could just barely detect a vague hint of citrus too. After the rinse, the bouquet turned very vegetal. I could pick out aromas that reminded me of seaweed, spinach, and pickled cabbage. The first proper infusion introduced a slightly smoky element to the nose and more fruitiness, as a touch of smoke quickly gave way to a combination of bitter orange, tart cherry, and sour apricot. In the mouth, the tea liquor/soup was immediately tart and rather briny. Funky vegetal notes that reminded me of a combination of cooked spinach, collard greens, pickled cabbage, and tulsi were underscored by a hint of seaweed. The finish allowed for the brief emergence of sour apricot and tart citrus as well as unexpected hints of cream and butter. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn fruitier, gentler, and more floral. I noted stronger cream and butter notes in the mouth to accompany new impressions of dill, damp grass, mustard greens, malt, minerals, sea salt, green wood, moss, cooked lettuce, wet stones, sour plum, and honey. I also began to note a definite note of smoke, more clearly defined bitter orange and apricot notes, and belatedly emerging flavors of tart cherry, camphor, and menthol. Floral notes of jasmine, osmanthus, and gardenia struck quickly and disappeared just as quickly. Verdant’s tasting note suggested that I should also have been noting sticky rice and candied pomelo impressions, but I never found either. The later infusions presented thin notes of minerals and brine underscored by fleeting impressions of citrus, apricot, tulsi, seaweed, and cooked leaf vegetables with perhaps barely perceptible hints of tart cherry and menthol here and there.
As always I was able to pick out a ton of aroma and flavor components, but I have to reiterate what I said earlier and opine that this tea was not worth it. First off, there is no way in Hell this was produced from a 1300 year old tree or whatever it was they were claiming. That just does not happen and we should all know that by now. Marketing b.s. aside, this tea had a lot going on in it, but none of what it offered was particularly unique or compelling. The tea started off super vegetal, offered a rush of new flavors that did not stand out much from the vegetal murk, and then faded quickly. By the end of my review session, everything the tea offered had been muddled together for so long that it was more a pain in the ass and less a delightful challenge to try to pick out individual sensations. To add insult to injury, the previously unmentioned thin, slight, watery body and near lifeless mouthfeel of the tea liquor made this tea seem even more drab and unappealing. After it was all said and done, I hastily concluded that I would never go near this tea again, and thankfully I do not ever have to. I wouldn’t recommend this one to anyone.
Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Camphor, Cherry, Cream, Dill, Gardenias, Grass, Green Wood, Honey, Jasmine, Lettuce, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Moss, Orange, Osmanthus, Plums, Salt, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Tulsi, Vegetal, Wet Rocks
Another of the 2017 Chinese green teas I have been working toward finishing, I am down to my last three grams of this tea and feel comfortable posting a review here. With regard to Yunnan green teas, I am often a huge fan of the teas offered by Yunnan Sourcing as I feel they offer tremendous quality at a ridiculously competitive price point. Sometimes, however, I find a tea that misses the mark. This ended up being one of those teas for me.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of hay, nuts, malt, and smoke. After the rinse, I found emerging aromas of cut grass and honey balanced by some indistinct floral touches. The first proper infusion then introduced aromas of straw, bamboo, and sugarcane to the bouquet. When I really pushed myself, I could even find some vague pear and lychee-like scents in the background. In the mouth, the liquor initially offered mild notes of hay, grass, straw, and malt backed by hints of bamboo. Subsequent infusions brought out the sugarcane, smoke, pear, honey, and lychee on the palate. The vague floral tones morphed into more pronounced notes of honeysuckle, orange blossom, and squash blossom. The previously indistinct nutty quality began to remind me much more of chestnut. New notes of cream, butter, tangerine, lettuce, corn husk, peach, and minerals also emerged. The later infusions mostly offered thin, superficial notes of minerals, hay, grass, and malt, though I could occasionally find traces of butter, cream, and corn husk lurking in the background.
This was such a temperamental tea. It started off largely bland and boring, offered a sudden wallop of sweet, floral, and fruity flavors, and then faded ridiculously quickly. I was grasping at just about any and every aroma and flavor component I could find by about the 40-50 second mark. While this tea offered a lot, it did not do so for any length of time. Trying it at a higher temperature did not improve it. That only muted the tea’s most unique and appealing qualities while increasing the astringency. Trying to brew it Western didn’t improve it either. All in all, this tea was appealing and enjoyable, but only for a very short span of time. I can only recommend it with reservations because of that.
Flavors: Bamboo, Butter, Chestnut, Citrus, Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Grass, Hay, Honey, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Peach, Pear, Smoke, Squash Blossom, Straw, Sugarcane
It seems like it has been forever since I have reviewed a Chinese gunpowder green tea. I used to love teas like this when I was a little younger and still have something of a soft spot for them. When I want a green tea to just throw back and not think all that much about, gunpowder green tea is normally one of the first teas I seek out. This one, however, did not do all that much for me. In looking over the other reviews for this tea, you’ll notice that my opinion of this tea most definitely marks me as an outlier. I just do not get the high ratings for this one.
Though I normally brew gunpowder green teas in the Western style, I opted to gongfu this one. After a brief rinse, I steeped 7 grams of loose tea pellets in 5 ounces of 180 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 13 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea pellets emitted vague aromas of grass, hay, lemon, and roasted vegetables. After the rinse, I found emerging scents of cooked spinach and seaweed. The first infusion then brought out hints of smoke and straw on the nose. In the mouth, I picked up notes of smoke, hay, grass, cooked spinach, roasted Brussels sprouts, grilled lemon, and seaweed. Subsequent infusions brought out notes of charcoal, roasted carrot, wood, minerals, earth, broccoli, and cooked cabbage. The later infusions mostly offered notes of minerals, charcoal, earth, smoke, and hay with fleeting hints of seaweed and cooked cabbage occasionally noticeable in the background.
I know that Teavivre lists this as their basic, introductory gunpowder green tea, and it may seem that I am being more than a bit hard on it, but here’s the deal: despite offering a lot of flavor, I did not find this to be all that good of a gunpowder green tea. Once the leaf pellets unfurled, it was obvious that this tea was mostly grit and chop. Each infusion was murky and chalky, leaving a persistently dusty, musty feeling in my mouth. The tea was surprisingly astringent too, though it thankfully never turned bitter. While gunpowder green teas are almost certainly never going to be super high end, this one was decidedly lower in quality than I was expecting. Clearly other reviewers liked this tea, so feel free to take this review with a grain of salt, but I do maintain that there are better gunpowder green teas out there.
Flavors: Broccoli, Char, Earth, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Mineral, Roasted, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Straw, Vegetal, Wood