667 Tasting Notes
Grabbed this from the Japanese grocery store. I’ve had bottled oolong before but it’s always been the Chinese kind. This is the first time I’ve seen Taiwanese oolong in a bottle.
The label on the bottle says its a Dong Ding Four Seasons Spring. Does that mean it’s a blend of those two Taiwanese oolongs? Both are budget teas and that’s pretty much what this tasted like. Exceedingly mellow with a floral whisper. Flavor is barely there and although enjoyable, feels a bit lackluster. It doesn’t have the robustness of Ito-En’s Golden Oolong which is my favorite bottled tea.
While this is fine in a pinch, you can do far better by simply cold brewing Si Ji Chun or Dong Ding leaves.
Another interesting tea courtesy of derk.
I was surprised by how fruity this was. And by fruity I mean tropical fruit which is unusual in green tea. When I first sniffed the leaves, I wondered if perhaps they had absorbed scent from another flavored tea.
Sure enough, the fruitiness from the aroma came through in the tea. Definitely taste the adzuki bean sweetness that derk noted. Soft umami, baby spinach, stir fried cabbage, and cherry blossom were amongst the flavors encountered.
As someone that drinks a lot of green tea, they often end up tasting rather similar. So a unique sencha like this with an atypical flavor profile is a welcome change.
Flavors: Beans, Cabbage, Fruity, Spinach, Tropical, Umami, Vegetal
Den’s is killing it with their sencha selection. This is yet another excellent tea from the sampler.
It’s a grassy-sweet-umami bomb in my mouth. And I mean that in the best possible way. Light-medium body with bright green color and fresh taste. It has pretty much everything I seek in deep steamed sencha except it doesn’t resteep well.
Flavors: Moss, Sweet, Warm Grass, Umami
Wasn’t expecting much from this tea which I picked up for cheap at a Japanese grocery store. But this one really surpassed my expectations.
It’s a Fukamushi with a kabusecha like character. Very fragrant and bright green. It’s thick and smooth with oceanic umami notes, a touch of kelp, and lingering aftertaste. When resteeped, it has a light briny gyokuro like flavor mingled with cherry blossom, salted plum, and an energizing freshness.
Flavors: Cherry Blossom, Grass, Ocean Air, Plum, Seaweed, Spinach, Umami
This is the loose leaf version of Den’s bagged genmaicha. Smells quite similar but differs in appearance. Unlike the bagged version which is practically powder, this one is full leaf and includes popped rice along with toasted rice.
When steeped, it’s vibrant green and cloudy thanks to the dusting of matcha. The toasted rice flavor is more prominent here than the bagged tea which is sweeter and more matcha forward. Both are delicious but head to head, I actually prefer the bagged one when it comes to flavor. Go figure.
Flavors: Grass, Seaweed, Toasted Rice
This one smells like incense indeed with its sandalwood and spice aroma. I was a little worried it might taste overly incense-y and was relieved to be greeted with warm spices and honeysuckle instead. It reminded me a LOT of another favorite: Kashmiri Chai.
It makes sense as Kashmiri chai has similar spices (cardamom, star anise) and uses either green tea or lightly oxidized oolong as a base instead of black tea.
For those unfamiliar, this is a unique chai served in Pakistan that’s creamy, lightly spiced, and has a beautiful pink hue. A quick video showing what Kashmiri chai looks and how its prepared: https://www.tiktok.com/@kitchen_diaries_by_zubda/video/7186720975180860677?_r=1)
Thanks derk for sending this tea!
Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Honeysuckle, Star Anise
First tea from the 2023 harvest.
So happy to be reunited with this tea! I’ve tried other Anji Bai Chas but Teavivre remains my favorite. This year’s batch was no exception. It’s just as good as I remember.
The long, slender leaves are needle shaped and bright green with a light tint of yellow like a green apple. Intensely fresh, beany aroma.
Steeped 1.5g in a glass pitcher and poured out half after a few minutes. Clean, lush vegetative flavor. I tasted peas, grass, romaine lettuce, and a touch of hay. Very spring-like and delicious.
Since this was such a delicate tea, I didn’t top off and instead poured out what was left in the pitcher. Sort of a hybrid grandpa/western style. The second cup was more beany and had more body but still sublime.
Flavors: Beans, Garden Peas, Grass, Hay, Lettuce
Prepared this as an iced matcha latte using tepid water, a little sweetener, and oat milk. Used the entire 1.5g packet for a 10oz latte. Whisked everything together using a handheld milk frother before adding ice.
The matcha powder was bright green and aromatic. One thing I like about Den’s is all of their green teas smell and taste very fresh even the ones that are a bit older. The latte was foamy, rich, and totally delicious. Nicely satisfied my matcha craving.
It may seem like a waste to adulterate ceremonial grade matcha with sugar and creamer but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Much like coffee, matcha is one of those drinks I need to be creamy and a little sweet.
Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
Looks and smells like a typical English breakfast tea. Malty with a pine/eucalyptus aroma. Steeped a scant 1g grandpa style in a 215ml glass.
My initial impression wasn’t so great. Tasted marginally better than a bag of Lipton. Brisk and malty with a dark mahogany color. I think this type of tea is meant to be had with milk so I may have brewed it wrong to begin with. Since I can’t stomach black tea with milk, I decided to follow derk’s suggestion and added a few strands of Spanish saffron.
This turned out to be a brilliant idea as the tea immediately softened. I couldn’t taste the saffron but it added a bit a sweetness and a warm floral layer.
Good old laoshan green tea. I don’t drink it as much as I used to but I like having some on hand for those times I crave something warm and toasty.
Despite being nearly a year old, this sample still retains a lot of wonderful aromatics and has a crisp, vegetal taste. There’s the nutty soy milk flavor characteristic of Laoshan tea along with notes of flowers, bean curd, honeydew, fennel, and pine.
I’ve now cleared out all of last year’s Chinese greens from my cupboard just in time for the new spring teas on their way from Teavivre.
Flavors: Beany, Fennel, Flowers, Honeydew, Pine, Soybean, Vegetal