New Tasting Notes
Just had this for a morning pick-me-up and it seems to have done the trick. The chocolate flavour is pretty weak but the matcha itself is still okay so it’s drinkable. Maybe next time I will just add more of it.
AND, I just completely updated my steepster cupboard to be accurate. I feel so productive :p Except Second Breakfast by Whispering Pines isn’t on there yet because the page is having one of their mobile caching issues and won’t let me add it. Ah well, for later.
Chestnuts and I have an odd relationship. When I lived in New York, I used to love the smell of the sidewalk vending stands that sold bags of roasted chestnuts in the winter time. But then when I actually ate the chestnuts, I was always just a little disappointed. I think it’s a texture thing primarily, but it could also be that the flavor isn’t like that of other nuts and I expected it to be more like the typical.
So I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this. As it happens, I like it. I’m not sure how to rate it though. I don’t know that I’ve had other chocolate/chestnut teas to compare it to. So I’m giving it somewhere in the excellent range but it’s a soft rating.
In the tin, the tea smells like baking chocolate with some other smell mixed in that I wouldn’t identify as chestnut. But after steeping, the tea smells a lot like those roasting chestnuts on the street corners of NYC. The chocolate seems to add a bit of roastiness to the aroma.
The tea is dark red and mostly clear, with some floaters (likely from the chocolate). The flavor grew on me over the course of the cup. It has just the tiniest bit of papery taste to it which keeps it from getting a rating in the 90s, but is otherwise a nice, balanced flavor, more roasted chestnut than chocolate.
Flavors: Chestnut, Chocolate, Paper, Roasted nuts
Finished this off today. Really, this was a very floral and malty Yunnan. Imagine honey suckles tossed in mega sweet potatoe skin malt ending in a sweet cocoa nib aftertaste…in the driest sense of those raw ingredients possible. Dang, this is a good daily drinker. It has a good mouthfeel, a coppery body, a buttery set of florals, and a slight bitter sweetness with only the slightest amount of astringency. It was straightforward with some nice notes to polish it off, and delicious. I prefer to western it at two minutes to bring out the cocoa nib, more, but gong fu divides the notes up. The honey suckle and the sweet potato are more present that way.
If only I were not set on my other favorites. This is good for those who want their daily mornings to be coppery.
Bought this after receiving a sample. The lemongrass and coconut really make this unique from other chais. It’s not quite like the Thai tea you get in restaurants (it’s a little too lemongrass-y and coconutty for that), but it’s very enjoyable if you like that sweet/spicy combination. Definitely a tea that I’ll be keeping in my collection.
Flavors: Coconut, Lemongrass, Spices
I thought this was going to taste like something out of a land mower, but it was really something that came out of a garden. The dry leaf was grassy, but floral, fresh, and very smooth like bamboo amidst its rocky scent. Because this was a sample of who know’s how many grams, I threw it into my mug strainer, and rinsed at 30 seconds. The second steep was one minute, than 2 minutes and thirty seconds, than whatever lazy time amount I left it in bordering on grandpa style. The notes of the dryleaf were there when brewed, but sweeter. The initial sip started off floral and spicy, going to something like sage in the mid sip, and ended in a sweet malty aftertaste. It was almost honey like, and the later, longer steeps turned into a full, but modest honey note that was barely juicy. If only it could linger a little longer. The bamboo florals, malt, and sage dominate overall, but they are still nicely accented. The tea could get a little bitter, but as bitter as any smooth black tea can be. The first few steeps were a little astringent, but the last few had little astringency.
If you have ever had a Tongmu Wu Yi tea, this has a lot of the same slightly different. It actually reminded me of one of the newer Taiwaneese Shan Cha black tea in its grassiness, but it was not quite as fruity. This tea is still hella good and would definitely be one of my picks for daily drinkers to those who like floral black teas. Some might be a little underwhelmed or weirded out by the grassiness. More experienced drinkers might be impressed with the notes, but might snub it for the more expensive stuff…nevermind this does compare to some of the higher quality teas I’ve had. I only liked the honey fragrance that this company offers slightly more.
I bought a cake of this primarily for aging as younger versions of this tea are among my very favorite in the under $.50 a gram category and at 7 years old is rapidly approaching adolescence. As expected, the fruity, spicy notes of youth have faded and the woody, mushroomy decaying foliage flavors are just beginning to emerge, primarily in later steeps. The body is super oily and there is big time cooling effect typical of old arbor teas of this area. The qi is pretty intense but not as aggressively stimulating as younger pressings. This tea is on its way to greatness and I bought a cake to age a few years. I would recommend doing the same.
It’s true, this is better when steeped for 3 minutes rather than 3:30. Ironically, the flavor is deeper and the body comes across as rounder.
And it’s also better with food that has a sweetness built in. I had it this morning with a cinnamon roll and it was delish.
I’m not going to increase the rating, though, because my first assessment is still true even after the change in steeping times. After the cinnamon roll was gone, the flavor resumed it’s sour downturn.
This tea has faded a bit in flavour since I last reviewed it (spring 2017). However it has held up a lot better than some of the other senchas. Still a good grassy umami flavour to it but lacking sweet buttery flavour when I first tried it. This year I hope to refrigerate some of my green teas in the wine cooler so they can stay fresher longer.
Among all of the YS 2017 presses, this was my favorite for several reasons.
1. It has an intriguing complexity that reminds me of some Yiwu teas, yet it’s distinctively Jinggu. That complexity is well described in the tea’s description, but I would add that there’s good depth and a mellow qi. There’s a brothy richness that reminds me of truffles and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it, but that doesn’t matter since the tea is less than 1 year old at the time of this writing and flavors change most rapidly during the first few years. I expect this will develop very nicely.
2. The price is right. I think this was $74, which will go up in a week or so as YS gets ready to welcome 2018 teas. It’s not cheap tea, but it’s very reasonable considering the current market.
3. I don’t have other teas like this in my collection.
I finished this sample quickly and ordered a cake.
Doggo felt the need to wake us up at 4…and 5…and 6….and 7, whereupon mom took her out to play for an hour. She came back to eat and was ready to go play AGAIN! within minutes. I was able to pull this one out from Evolvingness which helped me wake up and be ready for the day with a VERY playful puppy. haha