Featured & New Tasting Notes
This was a sample Christina gave to me some time ago and I didn’t get around to trying it until now.
I did two quick rinses on this tea and brewed 10sec. This puerh is very sweet and creamy tasting and stayed that way for a few infusions (or at least as many infusion as I could drink , which is only 4). This is one I would like to have a cake of but it’s sold out AND I have too much puerh right now. I am trying to go through any samples I have to reduce my quantity. I plan on trying to get my count down to 15 or less for puerh in my collection.
Flavors: Creamy, Sweet
This is goooooood. Highly malty and bold with a slight astringency that comes across as sour, in a pleasant way. It lingers in the aftertaste. More astringency comes out as the tea cools. And when I say malty, I mean… enough to fill a malt ball. Ahhhh love it!
There is a slight dustiness underneath it all. Not in a bad way… more like the tea is covered in velvet, or rather the tea is sipped through a velvet cover? It’s an interesting sensation!
I love how complex this is. The molasses type note in mid swallow is fun as well, not something I see that often in an Assam, not this strongly anyhow! :)
Thanks for the sample Nicole!
Finally a sipdown. This was my first experience with bamboo leaf, and I’m not inclined to try some more blends that use it. The problem with such a light tea is that you get so much in your sample that it isn’t really just a sample any more. My sample was only 15g I think …this did about 15 pots of tea. Anyway, I didn’t want to get rid of it, it is a lovely tea and all. I’m a bit bored with the flavour right now, but I’m sure I’ll be back.
Overall, very fruity with lots of mellow (not acidic) flavours of lemongrass, bamboo leaf, some sort of berry? (it isn’t generic berry flavour, but I can’t pinpoint which distinct berry it is), goji, and tropical fruits (papaya, pineapple, banana).
Flavors: Bamboo, banana, Berry, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Goji, Lemongrass, Pineapple, Sweet, Tropical
I love watching these pearls unfurl in my clear glass steeper: like teeny delicate question marks tinting the water as they steep. Beautiful tea, delicate and fragrant. The jasmine scent is just the right balance for the tea itself. My afternoon had been moving along rather nicely and yet this fragrant tea has made it even better.
Thank you, Angel, for the sample.
Drinking this lovely tea throughout the afternoon brought me back in spirit to this lovely lovely town that I stayed in for a time in China and the teahouses that I spent hours contemplating life in. The teahouses I am talking about and the town that I am referring to are pictured here. (To be clear, this is not my blog.) One of my very favourite places in China. http://www.bootsintheoven.com/boots_in_the_oven/2012/03/zigong-sichuan.html
Flavors: Green, Jasmine
Golden flat needles, of a lighter shade.
Aroma of hay, earth, and wood.
Taste of Malt, earth, wood, Bamboo…
This tea has a smooth mouth, a fulfilling feeling about it, and a satisfying earthy depth, almost like chocolate or coffee, almost like a shu puerh, although that may because I went a little heavy on the leaf, since this is a sipdown.
For me, this is a more savory Dian Hong, not as sweet as some, a little more earthy and Manly, but perfect for this morning, when I’m prepping to go out to play in my garden.
Ensemble: Bass, cello, viola, bass clarinet, clarinet, Bassoon, English Horn, Bamboo flute, wind chime, wood block.
GCTTB Going to be a few of these today if i can have quick breaks while working.
This was sort of middle of the road for me. Not a bad tea, decent cup of slightly honeyed brew…but nothing out of this world. it was smooth and enjoyable, but not a tea i must have in my cupboard. Happy to drink it again if it comes around though :)
Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep….
Seriously, insomnia is at full throttle tonight. GM is the best thing to keep one from going insane. Thick, creamy, earthy, mineral-y, smooth, & rich.
Mmmm mmmm mmmmm mmmm.
Ooo, this is lovely! Reminds me of Mandala’s Yellow Buds which I tried a while back and really enjoyed. It brews up to a pale yellowish green color with a scent like freshly mown hay. The flavor is light, smooth and sweet with notes of hay and corn. (That tastes better than it sounds, I promise!) I would definitely consider re-purchasing this one when my sample runs out.
Flavors: Hay, Smooth, Sweet
Noms. Mellow, smooth but with a little bite if left to steep for a long time. Not a bad bite, mind you. The first thing that hits is the malt and, wow. A bit of sweetness in the sip but not as strong as the malt. Can’t wait to try again with a bit shorter steep and see if that takes out the bite. Thanks, Indigobloom for sharing this one!
Alright, this respiratory infection has got to go. At first I thought it was just a run-of-the mill sinus infection, the kind I get around this time every year, but no, it had to be something more. Now it’s day six and I’m done with feeling miserable. I decided to break out some sheng and hopefully move on with my life. Before I formally go about introducing the denizens of Steepster world to my impressions of this tea, however, I am going to devote a little time to an issue that seems to weigh on a number of folks in such a way that it brings out the worst.
This seems to be the time of year when people get riled up over statements concerning the age of a bunch of trees in a distant land. I understand and share this concern, at least to a certain extent. Do I think this mao cha actually comes from 800 year old trees? No, I don’t. Seeing as how I am most certainly not an expert, have never seen the trees, and possess no actual scientific data backing up the age statement, I have no reason to believe the veracity of such a claim. I could be wrong, but I still remain skeptical. How much do I care about the claim itself? I’m not really sure yet. Clearly my doubts did not prevent me from buying this tea. To be honest, I don’t feel suckered and don’t regret purchasing it in the least. I saw it as a product on the market that I could purchase and review, and anyone remotely familiar with my proclivities should know how near and dear to my heart reviewing stuff lies. It’s kind of what I do. Also, we are all aware that our beloved tea world is filled with falsehoods, especially the nether regions occupied by pu’erh and similar teas. Teas are often deliberately or unintentionally mislabeled, misnamed, misdated, and otherwise misrepresented. The degree to which piracy and other such tomfoolery runs rampant is truly impossible to accurately determine. We should all know this by now. Believe me when I say that if some of you get upset (and not entirely unreasonably I may add) by what you see as potentially dishonest, or perhaps we should still give the benefit of the doubt and say intentionally naive, marketing on the part of one vendor who currently seems to be quite popular, you have probably either excused it or just not noticed it elsewhere. I could be wrong, but I would just about guarantee it because it doesn’t only happen with tea. If I can now offer a point to all of this medicine-headed rambling, I would offer this one: ranting about it on a discussion board is probably neither going to change the business nor the buying habits and preferences of one’s online peers. At the end of the day, does it really matter how old the trees are? Can a tea not still be enjoyable even if it is misrepresented in some way? Do we really need to continue piling on certain vendors who have a habit of making such claims? In situations like this one, I kind of can’t help thinking that all we can do is express our doubts, either try the tea or avoid it, and move on with our lives. Oh, and for the record, I do not think that deciding to buy a product whose marketing is more than a bit fishy can always be reliably boiled down to some sort of moral deficiency on the part of individual buyers or to lack of knowledge and experience. So many of these exchanges prove unproductive when the primary position of one side can be reduced to wondering “why don’t all of these other people feel like me with regard to this issue? What’s wrong with them?” Maybe it really is not a matter of people who choose to purchase such products being morally lacking compared to you. Maybe they are just curious and/or see themselves as giving something controversial a fair shake and then share their thoughts with the rest of the world to provide a balanced perspective. That, in and of itself, can be valuable too.
Enough of that. I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. I followed this up with infusions of 10 seconds, 15 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, the dry tea leaves gave off muted, musty aromas of tulsi, straw, and citrus. After the rinse, I noted that the citrus aroma grew more powerful. I could not quite place it though. I also started to pick up on flowers and honey. The first infusion produced a nearly identical bouquet. In the mouth, I was able to detect mild notes of brine, straw, tulsi, lemon and honey with a slight minty note on the finish. Subsequent infusions introduced impressions of bitter orange peel, jasmine, and osmanthus while the menthol note on the finish turned into a distinct impression of wintergreen. They weren’t kidding about that. I kept waiting for the apricot to show up in a big way, but I only started to catch a subtle hint of it around the seventh or eighth infusion. I also started getting a sharp, chalky mineral presence on the finish. Later infusions were thin, but still had a little life to them. The dominant notes were of minerals, lemon, bitter orange peel, and tulsi balanced by cooling notes of wintergreen and apricot. Bizarrely enough, I thought I just barely detected a fleeting note of lemongrass at this point, but it may have been me.
Though I wish the floral aromas and flavors stuck around longer, this ended up being the type of sheng that appealed to me. On the rare occasions I decide to drink sheng, I often go looking for teas with some combination of spicy, herbal, and citrusy notes. This tea had all of that. The fleeting floral impressions and the pronounced honey tones just added more appeal for me. I’m sure the fact that it soothed my aching throat while greatly reminding me of a milder version of the honey menthol cough drops I have been wolfing down for the past 3 days only strengthened its appeal. All in all, this one got over with me, dubious claims and all.
Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Jasmine, Lemon, Menthol, Mineral, Orange, Osmanthus, Straw, Tulsi
My first tasting of the day is Yunnan sourcing Ye Zhu Tang raw pu’erh cake. THis was the second offering in the raw puerh tea of the month club. I started with using 110 ml of water in a my Yixing pot. I started with a quick rinse of the tea leaves to open them up, there was almost no dust, but the leaves were a little stubborn in opening up so I did a second wash. I did sip the second wash to see what I would be getting, and was surprised it had nice honey and sweet notes and the bitterness was really mild.
The first proper infusion I got a clear pale yellow liquor that was sweet, astringent, with floral, vegetal and bitter notes. It has a wonderful mouth feel and is a bit sweeter than might be expected for a young raw. I really liked this.
The second proper infusion the leaves started to open up proper now, again giving a clear yellow liquor with a bit more of the bitterness coming out now, but not overpowering it. And the honey flavor also became more pronounced, this was my favorite infusion.
The third infusion the bitterness creeped up on it a bit more. It was still sweet, but it had citrus notes at this point, sweet, astringent and bitter, it also lost some of the honey flavors. I have a feeling those will come back in the later infusions.
The fourth infusion was spectacular, the bitterness mostly vanished and the honey notes came back much stronger now. It also darkened slightly looking more apple juice color than before. I havent started increasing the time yet either, this is 1 , 2, 3, pour and let the yixing steep as it pours.
Im going to go steep out the rest of this wonderful tea. I have a feeling I will get 10 from this easy. A very nice young raw with a bit more sweetness.
PS First to post again, Im on a roll!
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Floral, Honey, Vegetal
Oh my. This is some serious Assam nums. Very malty and with a smooth sweetness. The malt tends to fall off at the cooling end of the cup and a hint of bitter creeps in. The leaf appearance is stunning. Thanks to Indigobloom for sharing some of this delicious tea!
Last week’s tea of the week! I love this tea! The maple is sweet but it isn’t too sugary-sweet thanks to the nutty, roasty-toasty notes from the Houjicha and the soft, earthy notes of the Shou Mei – which in turn softens the rather assertive roasted flavor from the Houjicha. I think that these two teas in the base work really well together and the maple flavor seems to naturally go with these two teas.
Really lovely – it’s dessert-y but not so sweet that it’s something you’d feel like you can only enjoy as a dessert-y tea! The lighter body makes this a nice late afternoon/early evening tea or if you’re like me and stay up all hours of the night, it works well as a “it’s 2:58am so now is as good a time as any for a cuppa!” too.
Continuing my plow-through of Verdant offerings, I came to this green tea that I totally forgot I still had. I recall buying this one right before it went out of stock, but apparently ended up stashing it away and forgetting about it until last week. When I first tried it, I wasn’t impressed and feared that it was losing its character, so I ended up trying to rejuvenate it a bit. I did this by transferring the tea from a sealed bag to a metal tea canister that I then tucked into the back of one of the tea cabinets. I live in an old, drafty house in a very humid environment with variable daily temperatures and have found that sometimes when I switch tea from a tightly sealed container to a loosely sealed container, the exposure to minute amounts of air and humidity cause seemingly faded or slumbering teas to open up once more. Fortunately, that little experiment worked here.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. In my medicated state, I ended up not rinsing for some reason. Oh well. At least the medication seems to be reducing some of the congestion and inflammation. I started off by steeping 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 175 F water for 10 seconds. I followed this up with infusions of 15 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 first infusion, the dry leaf aroma was very fruity and floral. To me, it resembled a mixture of elderflower, tangerine, and lemon zest, though I could also detect a little corn husk and hay. After the first infusion, I detected stronger, more balanced aromas of tangerine, lemon zest, corn husk, elderflower, and hay underscored by grass and cream. In the mouth, the tea offered strong notes of elderflower, lemon zest, corn husk, grass, hay, and tangerine balanced by subtle creaminess before a fruity, floral, and slightly astringent finish. Subsequent infusions brought out undertones of napa cabbage, mango, peach, rose, and violet. Oddly, the finish did not soften, remaining somewhat astringent and biting throughout. Later infusions were more subdued, but were still relatively bright, floral, and citrusy with grassy, vegetal undertones and a hint of minerals.
This did not strike me as being a bad tea, but it also was not the sort of green tea I typically enjoy. As Chinese green teas go, it was a little too astringent for my liking. This quality was most likely the result of a substantial number of broken leaves included amongst the whole leaves. Even though I could see a number of similarities between this tea and Xingyang’s Yunnan Strand Green Tea (an offering I greatly enjoyed), this tea was less balanced, more forceful in character, and less approachable. I could see those who are looking for a fruity and/or floral green tea digging this one, but to me, it was a little much. Overall, it came off as commendable in certain respects and flawed in others.
Flavors: Astringent, Biting, Citrusy, Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Grass, Hay, Mango, Mineral, Peach, Rose, Vegetal, Violet
I’m in a lavender mood, today. I’m wearing a lavender based perfume (again), and very happily drinking this as a work cup of tea.
What is it with weeks when you’ve got Monday off? Tuesdays are always bonkers.
This is just the right amount of soothing and peppy to help me through a very busy morning.
Oh, and 300 notes—whooop!
Goodness gracious. I’ve been hanging out listening to the blues this morning and sipping on this loveliness. Such complexity that I wasn’t expecting. There’s walnut and then there’s chocolate and then there’s caramel. And that’s just straight up and unsweetened. Delicious.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Walnut
Aaah! It’s matcha launch day!
What does that mean? Well, it means I can finally talk about the three new matcha flavours that came out today; Kale, Maple, and Peach! The latter isn’t technically new, it was released as limited edition over the summer and now it’s back as one of our core teas. The other two are limited edition, and we’ve also released a limited edition Matcha Genmaicha as well. I still need to try that one.
As for the three flavoured matchas, this turned out to surprisingly be my favourite of the three. If you like straight matcha/Matcha Matsu this is fairly similar to the taste of a normal matcha but more boldly vegetal and umami. Like we’re advertising it in the description for this matcha, I definitely see it working well in smoothies. That said, I think it’s also well suited for matcha shots for people looking for some of the wellness benefits of matcha
and kale but who aren’t quite as big on the taste.
I do like the taste though; but I also like the taste of straight matcha as well.
On thing I do think it worth note; this has kale powder in it in addition to the matcha. In fact, that’s the only other ingredient in this. However, it likes to settle REALLY quickly and can kind of get sludgy on the bottom of whatever you’re drinking it in. Texture wise, that’s not an issue if you’re choosing this for a smoothie or shot but if you’re drinking this otherwise just remember to give it a stir every now and then.
Friendly reminder that I do not numerically rate DAVIDsTEA blends as I’m currently employed there and it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Any blends you see with numerical ratings were rated prior to my employment there. These reviews are a reflection of my personal thoughts regarding the teas, and not the company’s.
I decided to have something special. Tea Ave sent a sample of this tea with my last order. It came in an opaque blue bag with tons of detail on it – growth altitude, roast level, cultivar, oxidation level, instructions for four different brewing methods, and flavor notes. I love this level of detail! Unfortunately, I missed the part where it’s a teabag and not loose leaf, so I prepped my gaiwan, pitcher, etc. before opening the packet and realizing my mistake. Not a great start, but I am not so easily deterred. I switched to a mug and ended up getting… maybe 6? good steeps out of it. I lost count at a certain point. The teabag itself is interesting. It’s a pyramid sachet but not made out of the same plastic-like material as most mass-produced pyramid sachets. This is more like a cottony paper. The leaf inside is of course proper full leaf. There’s plenty of room for it to expand, and it does. The flavor is exactly what I wanted. Sweet floral honey paired with something else that I can’t quite articulate. It’s thick and rich and savory-sweet and distinctive Apparently I’ve reviewed this before, but it was two years ago so I forgot. Back then, I described this flavor as whole wheat toast (gong fu) and camellia blossom (Western style). That’s close to what I tasted this time, but not quite it. I would be more frustrated by my inability to name this flavor but the tea is too yummy and soothing to let it stress me out.
A friend and I went out for Korean bbq at lunch today and then we ended up sitting in a park sipping bitter delicious Americanos. That, in addition to my morning tea was enough of the hardcore boom caffeine for me.
This tea is the perfect antidote to the strong flavours of the day. So gentle. The predominant flavour here is coconut with the slightest bit of vanilla mellowing out the pineapple apricot gently floating over the white and sencha base.
Flavors: Coconut, Fruity, Pineapple, Vanilla
This is a review from memory, as I have had a busy weekend & been drinking tea on the move, so its a bit short.
This Oolong was a nice surprise, the perfume has elements of Tie Guan Yin, alongside the more expected Dan Cong Aroma. What was also nice was that the subtle buttery flavour had a citrus edge which is also reminiscent of the aforementioned green Oolong, that reminded me a bit of sour yogurt. Again, a nice surprise.
Another nice aspect was that it was quite forgiving to brew and remained nicely balanced – well, until the body gave out and I was just left with lovely fragrant water.
Thinking back, and if I had more to try it might come across like a Jin Xuan-Dan Cong, with a citrusy-milky thing, but at the time all I could think of was Tie Guan Yin had a baby with Ya Shii.
Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Flowers, Yogurt