755 Tasting Notes
We had some visitors come up from the states Friday and Saturday, and we did a lot of the traditional tourist things with them, per their request…high tea at The Emptess, Butchart Gardens, and Craigdarroch Castle. We spotted a few teas in the gift shop at the castle at the end of the tour. There were only a few options, but my friend and I both liked two of them each. We decided that we’d go halvesies, with each of us getting a bag, and splitting it up into some small ziplock bags rather than two bags each. So I got his one, and she got Dark Knight…a chocolate mint black. I’d never heard of this company before, and they had a few other honey based or related products like soap and lip balm. Turns out that it’s an island based company, too.
Anyway, I’ve just steeped a cup of this because 1) it smells so good 2) it’s caffeine free, so good for the evening, and 3) and it’s feeling a little bit like fall out there today, and I felt like a hot cup of this would be like a warm hug… and I was right! It’s really good! For those who are keeping score, I’m not a huge fan of rooibos, but green rooibos is better, and beyond that, I prefer honeybush over rooibos…and this is a honeybush. The aspects of most rooibos that I don’t like as less pronounced in honeybush. The flavour that dominates this tea is definitely the mango. The citrus is more of a subtle taste that is more of a bright note in the tea. My mouth is watering and it feels juicy. The tea is straight, without sugar or milk, but at some point it might be something I try if I want an indulgence. A little sweetener and some milk as a latter is probably in my future. I feel like while I have some organic cane sugar, a nice orange blossom honey would wa nice touch. A nice local honey for local tea…
I definitely like this tea and will probably get more in the future, if I can get it from the gift shop without the tour. I could also order it online too…it’s good for supporting local businesses, especially ones that promote bees the way this one does
Third steep. All of the steeps have gone down so easily. Not bitter or astringent, just smooth and tasty. Even without milk and-or sugar. I’ve got one serving left in my sample pack. It’s a definite favourite, and once I have a little money flowing again, this is one that is going to be ordered in a larger size.
I recently did a tea swap with kim and the Japanese blacks and this white had caught my eye. I’ve only ever really had green tea from Japan before. From the selection of teas from the swap to try, I picked this one, because I was not in the mood for a pu erh or a black, and some I wanted to use a gaiwan for, but I was not in the mood for a session. As it has been a decently warm day, I also wanted something lighter. So, I picked this. I may do the rooibos one later, but I have to get 2 cups of my medicinal herbal tea in as well.
So I went to the website to grab some steeping parameters, because I am totally unfamiliar with Japanese whites. The directions said to use 1-1.5 tsp per 8 oz/200 ml with 190F/85C water and steep 3-4 minutes. I was using a 10oz cup, and my sample was about 2 tsp, so I opted to use the whole lot. I steeped 3 minutes because I thought I might have used too much leaf, but then thought I could add water if it was still too strong with the 3 minute steep.
The tea brewed up darker than I was expecting, which might be the amount of leaf used, but might also be this tea, as I don’t think I really overdid it with the leafing. One of the other tasting notes says that this tea is almost like a darjeeling, and I can agree. I almost feel like it is a mix of a darker oolong and a white, because it does still have a hay type of taste, but it is heavier and a bit more bodied than a normal white (possibly closer to a white pu erh). Despite the word heavy, the tea feels a bit delicate at the same time. This tea is not bitter or astringent, and it is smooth. It is like a contrast of tastes, almost.
I’ll probably try to get one more steep out of the leaves and see how that is. This is a very pleasant tea to drink…it is very easy to drink, and I am grateful for the chance to try such a rare tea.
Third steep, and I used a half teaspoon of organic cane sugar. Maybe it is the lingering salty starchy taste from the buttered popcorn I had just before this cup, but I feel like I am getting cinnamon raisin toast, Or a cinnamon raisin bun. I can’t say I am actually tasting cinnamon, but I think the other flavours fill in enough of the profile that I can almost see the peppery notes more as spice notes instead. The smidge of sugar here does bring out the sweetness and tone down astringency, of which there is some, but not much in the unadulterated sip.
Enjoying this third cup perhaps best of all. The leaves in my steeping basket are now quite large, and almost an olive green colour. I am very curious to see how this tea will turn out if I do a cold brew. I’m thinking for a 16 oz mason jar, I should probably use the whole second packet?
I was excited to try this tea from Teavivre. I substituted it for one of the pu-erh teas that was on my initial samples list from Angel. She gladly swapped it out for me. I picked this one because I am trying to cut down/out sugar and dairy, and I have always found that most black teas seem to be better for me with a little of both. And I find that the non dairy milks and creamers tend to have too much of their own flavour, and interfere with the taste of the tea, and tend to be a bit thin. I do use organic cane sugar that is minimally processed and have cut down my consumption of it, but as I said, black teas are my weakness for those additions. I had hoped that this tea would be mild enough to have straight.
I tried to follow the instructions from the website that for 12 oz, use 5g/4tsp in 194F/90C water and brew 3-5 minutes. Because the leaves are so long and big, I had to use my wide bamboo spoon, but as they are also twisty, I had a hard time measuring it out. I realized that the sample packet was 7g, so I tried to use this as a guide based on how much of the tea was left in the sample packet. I had to boil the water a few times because the first time I set the kettle to 200 and left it to cool a bit, but I got distracted and it had cooled to 177, so I set it to boil and cool again, this time, watching the temp as it goes down (love this part of the kettle).
In the packet, the leaves smelled sweet. As I said earlier, they are also quite long and twisty, and like to tangle in each other. A delicate touch is required, I think. The golden tips are so pretty. Nature’s ombre tea. :P I have always like golden tips. I find them to be less astringent than other teas, less smoky, and a little sweeter.
This first steep is straight, and my mug is already half empty. I’m a little surprised at how quickly I am drinking this tea with nothing added to it. I was a little nervous at the start because I was thinking it might be too astringent, but after the first few sips, and a few minutes more as it cooled more, I was fine drinking this, sometimes gulping it down with big sips. I am not great at describing flavours/notes in teas, but using the notes from other users, I can agree that there is a little bit of a peppery feel to this. My mouth is salivating a little more, and my tongue feels little dry. There is a rich note that could be cocoa and.or raisin…I think both. I think the slightly bitter and drying might be the cocoa. The light sweetness is the raisin. And the mouthfeel is sort of thick, like maple syrup…not as thick as honey.
My mug is nearly done, and I am about to head out to run some errands, but I am going to resteep this and try to add a smidge of maple syrup or organic cane sugar and just see what the profile is like that way when lightly sweetened. I may try it sweetened with milk a little later on, but I am very pleased to be able to happily drink this unadulterated.
I am very happy that Angel was able to swap the pu-erh on the initial list of samples she was sending for this one. I would recommend it to someone who is new to tea, and maybe wants something a little milder and less astringent to start with. It’s also a great value because the leaves will yield a few more steeps, I think. I am hoping to get a larger gaiwan soon, and would love to try the other sample packet in it.
Flavors: Cocoa, Raisins
I was a little apprehensive about this tea because of the rose petals, and that I find David’s bergamot a little overpowering. But, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the apple and vanilla made this a much milder tea that was bordering sweet and creamy. I’m not sure I detected the white chocolate at all, but perhaps that added to the sweet creaminess. I like this tea, but am not head over heels for it. I will not pine over it when it is gone like I have with many others before it. I am glad I tried a few cups of it.
I was a bit confused with this tea. I would normally have used about 1.5 tsp for my 12 oz mug, cooler water and a 3-ish minute steep time. Amongst the notes here, I read some that mentioned using the whole sample packet with boiling water for a minute saying that was the directions for it. When I went to the site, it said about 3.5g (half the packet) for 12 oz (I forget the steep time listed). Anyway, my whole infuser basket quickly became full with the dark green leaves. I feel like mine opened up pretty quickly…at least on top where I could see them.
While I have nothing against this preparation, I’m not sure if it actually gave me any different flavour profiles. I did get about 4 steeps…I could have gotten more, but I wanted to switch to something else. The third steep was the least favourite, but mainly because I left it steeping too long. I think that with the other packet. I will stick with my normal steeping, which looks closer to the site anyway.
This was still a very enjoyable tea, and it was the right tea to have on a day that was trying so hard to be spring, but was feeling more like fall. Or early winter. Many thanks to Angel at Teavivre for including me on this recent batch of samples. I am excited to try the others.
Looks like it has been a number of years since I had this last, so thought it was time to try again, especially as spring is emerging, and we are having more sun and warmer days. I have to admit that I am mostly drinking green teas at the moment, with the occasional oolong or something else, so busting this white out was a refreshing change.
As noted before, the leaves are fluffy and greyish green, due to the light fuzz on them. The leaves are long and the tea is lofty, with them intermingling with each other and twisting. Because of the leaf size and fluffiness, I opted to use my wide bamboo spoon. For the first steep, I used only one bamboo spoon, feeling that maybe I was under-leafing for my 10 oz cup. I was not sure exactly how much of the sample packet to use. I assumed that I had 2-4 servings in the small packet, and went from there.
I brewed the water to 170, which was in the middle of the steeping temps listed…I think I let it steep for 2-3 minutes, but I admit I did not time this. The colour in my white mug was very pale, and I was afraid that I had either under-steeped or under-leafed the cup. The taste though, was pleasantly flavourful though. It was mild, yes, but had more flavour than I was expecting to get. What I mostly noticed was that the infusion was not bitter, and that it was creamy feeling on the tongue. I feel like sipping this was very easy, and I could have easily downed this fast. There was a some hay notes, and a slight drying sensation on my tongue, but only barely.
The second steep, I decided to add another bamboo spoon of leaf to the existing steeped leaves, and using the same water temperature and steeping about 2 minutes, I got a darker infusion and a stronger aroma. Still creamy feeling, but slightly more astringent and drying on the roof and back of my mouth. Stronger hay notes.
Both steeps were drunk plain, with no sugar or sweeteners added. I would love to try this iced with something apricot or plummy. Maybe a cold steep. I definitely felt a sense of refreshment with this. Not in a satisfying your thirst sort of way, more more in a soul nourishing kind of way that spring has a tendency to do. I have an appointment in an hour and I will be steeping the (extra leafed) cup again, for my Timolino. I enjoyed this today, and am glad my message from Angel at Teavivre reminded me that I have some tea that I have not had in a while. Many thanks for the sample.
This tea is delicious…have I had it before? Pretty sure I never had it when it was out for Mother’s Day last year…found about it too late, somehow. Yet. all I taste is deja vu and familiarity.
Is it pound cake-y? Not really, but it is a lovely creamy lemon and vanilla oolong that sits well with me. I had this unsweetened and without milk, but I may indulge and have it as a latte sometime.