Featured & New Tasting Notes
Sloppy Gong Fu.
- Four infusions
- Really smooth; thick mouthfeel and no astringency
- Malt, cocoa, sweet potato, grains, honey, stonefruit
- In that order!
- Also some red fruit undertones
- Some of the most gorgeous dry leaf I’ve seen in literal months!
Really enjoyed it; will try to do better notes next time.
Second hard sipdown of the week…
Finished this one off hot, straight and pure. That back to basics style of finishing it off seemed the most appropriate way to honor this tea – my first Butiki tea. It’ll be missed, always. The best watermelon tea I’ve EVER tasted, and likely ever will.
At 7 am, I was awoken by the noise of metal clanging against metal, closely followed by drilling and hammering, at what felt and sounded like inches away from my head. Oh, contractors ordered by my neighbours to do whatever on the roof and eavestroughs and drainpipes and what all else.
A couple of hours later, I receive an email from one of the neighbours stating that the contractors will be at work today and tomorrow. No mention of what they are doing and where they will be working so that I can plan for that. The vagueness gives two options: stay and be woken and/or disturbed and have your day disrupted or stay gone.
And oh yeah, thanks for letting me know.
I am wondering how challenging it is to be considerate of other people, really? Truly I am at a loss to understand this lack of connection and understanding towards the people around you.
Am I asking for too much here? How difficult is it to shoot an email a day or two in advance saying, hey, it’s going to be noisy from when to when and where and where because blah blah blah is going to be happening. Just wanted to let you know so that your day won’t be disturbed.
Thankfully, I reached for this this morning. I just happened upon it and boom, stellar!
I am having it with sriracha peas for breakfast.
Three steeps of deliciousness.
Flavors: Earth, Peach
My sample is a nice, loosely pressed piece of cake with medium sized green leaves. Smells very “green.”
Brews a medium yellow. This is a medium strength young sheng with medium-low bitterness. Super strong honey aroma and flavor, the bottom of my cha hai smells just like warm honey. Other notes of green wood, clay, wildflowers, and grain/baked goods.
This is a very nice tea, especially for being on the cheaper end of YS’s 2016 lineup. It’s a shame though how pu’erh prices have gone up since I started the habit, I remember when I bought the 2012 Wuliang in 2012 it was only $25-ish.
Flavors: Clay, Flowers, Grain, Green Wood, Honey, Mineral
Not feeling this one. I like the berry aspect. I like citrus. I like spice. The combination of this, however, in my cup is not working for me. The berry is there. However, the citrus I am getting is the bitterness of lime rind. And the spice I am getting is mostly clove. The base is nice though coming through with occasional creamy notes. I’d like more berry. And possibly vanilla to sweep in and soothe the what to me are discordant flavours.
Flavors: Berry, Clove, Lime
I’ve been holding off on this review for most of the day, but I finally decided to just go ahead and post it. This is apparently intended to be Whispering Pines’ house green tea, the sort of basic tea one may generally refer to as a “daily drinker.” I do not know much about this tea’s origin-the Whispering Pines website did not go into specifics-but I’m willing to bet this tea is Chinese in origin. A glance at the leaves revealed that this is a Bi Luo Chun, so this has to be Chinese, right? Teas of this type traditionally come from Jiangsu Province, but these days they also come from Yunnan, Sichuan, Zhejiang, and even Fujian Provinces. If I had to place it’s origin, I would guess Yunnan Province, but beyond asking the vendor directly, it’s not like I can be sure. Regardless of this tea’s origin, I found it to be a basic, pleasant, drinkable green tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. I usually do not rinse green teas, but I decided to do so here. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 175 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 11 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 35 seconds, 45 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of grass, asparagus, bamboo, sorghum, and smoke. After the rinse, I detected wood and straw. The first infusion brought out hints of nuts and spinach. In the mouth, I detected mild notes of smoke, asparagus, grass, straw, wood, bamboo, and sorghum underscored by traces of nuts and spinach. Subsequent infusions brought out spinach, chestnut, hazelnut, seaweed, mandarin orange, lime zest, pine, green pea, corn husk, and mineral impressions. The later infusions were dominated by straw, mineral, seaweed, spinach, and wood notes underscored by subtle smoke, pea, grass, and citrus impressions.
This was not a bad tea. It would most definitely do the trick as a reliable, basic house green tea. I, however, had difficulty giving it my full attention over the course of a session. In truth, I found it kind of predictable. It did not surprise me much at all. I expect a lot out of the offerings from Whispering Pines Tea Company, so maybe I’m being somewhat harsh, but I just don’t think this tea compares to many of their other offerings. Also, I feel that while it is a quality green tea, I think it may be a hair too expensive for what it is. In the end, I would say that this tea is worth a try, but there are better teas of this type out there, and it is certainly not representative of the best this particular vendor has to offer.
Flavors: Asparagus, Bamboo, Chestnut, Citrus, Corn Husk, Grass, Hazelnut, Lime, Mineral, Peas, Pine, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Straw, Wood
Bought this because I thought it would be interesting to try a tea from Georgia, the former Soviet Province, not the US State. This tea is relatively good. It is slightly bitter and it has a strong malt flavor to it. There is more depth to this tea though and I would say it has a bit of a fruity character largely in the background. Overall I like this tea.
I steeped this tea on time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 minutes.
I picked the most generic looking Tieguanyin to start me on my +15 guanyin journey.
I did a short rinse, and a first gongfu steep of about “how long it takes to open up a little and for the water to change colour.” The aroma is incredibly floral, like jasmine with a smudge of lilac. This carries over into the flavour profile, which is a buttery floral bouquet.
Second and third infusions are incredibly sweet, with a vegetal element. Just to show that my family doesn’t have a flower nose, my mom said this cup smelled like “rose, dandelion, sweet, orange blossom.” Name all the flowers and eventually one will be right. We can all agree it smells and tastes “beautiful” though.
Fourth and fifth infusions became increasingly mellow and smooth. The floral notes have taken on a backseat role and become more of a soft honeysuckle. The vegetal sweetness is front and center.
I had to cut this session here, which is too bad because this was slowly becoming more and more delicious.
Steep Count: 5
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Jasmine, Peas, Sweet
[Note: I just realized that the version of this tea I have been working on is the 2016 harvest from Yunnan Sourcing. I have deleted the previous review that I mistakenly posted under the Yunnan Sourcing US heading. Please note, however, that the content remains unchanged.]
After mowing down a couple of smaller samples, I decided to take a break and spend some time with a tea I had been looking forward to reviewing for at least a month. Of the Wuyi oolong cultivars, Shui Jin Gui is one of the most revered, and it is also often one of the most expensive. Apparently, Shui Jin Gui is very sensitive and does not yield in large quantities even in the best of years, making it one of the pricier Wuyi oolongs and one of the more difficult to obtain. I found this particular Shui Jin Gui very appealing.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 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, and 3 minutes. While I enjoyed the tea, I was not totally happy with my gongfu method this time around and I will be attempting to tweak it a bit in my next session.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaves produced aromas of char, wood, smoke, spices, and dark chocolate. The rinse saw the previously mentioned aromas intensify. They were also joined by hints of damp grass, stone fruits, rock sugar, and coffee. The first infusion brought out touches of vanilla bean, roasted almond, caramel, and distinct impressions of cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweet ginger. In the mouth, I picked up notes of dark chocolate, wood, char, sweet ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, rock sugar, caramel, and smoke underscored by coffee, damp grass, and stone fruits. Subsequent infusions brought out the vanilla bean and stone fruit impressions. I began to get distinct notes of yellow plum and apricot. I also began to note emerging mineral, butter, and tobacco notes, as well as touches of camphor, clove, hay, and eucalyptus. The tea was quick to wash out, which is not all that unusual for Wuyi oolongs, though I am fairly certain that part of it was due to the brewing methodology I employed for this session. The mineral notes became much more pronounced and I began to detect notes of butterscotch and buttered popcorn. When I really focused in, I could still detect traces of tobacco, damp grass, char, wood, smoke, vanilla bean, and perhaps a touch of dark chocolate at one or two points. Yunnan Sourcing’s product description insisted there were notes of sweet potato in there somewhere, but I couldn’t find them. Yunnan Sourcing was, however, right about this tea being difficult to describe.
This was a fun and interesting tea. I am not certain my description does it justice; the aroma and flavor components were mellow, well-integrated, and constantly shifting. Every time I dug into it, I got impressions of something new. I would definitely recommend this tea to fans of traditional Wuyi oolongs. It’s not exactly a bargain, but it’s not nearly as expensive as other examples of this cultivar I have seen, and for the price, it has a ton to offer.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Butter, Butterscotch, Camphor, Caramel, Char, Cinnamon, Clove, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Grass, Hay, Leather, Mineral, Nutmeg, Plums, Popcorn, Smoke, Sugar, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wood
This is a very nice tea. It is a complex mix of malt, dark chocolate, and a certain amount of fruity flavor. It is very good. So far all the teas I have gotten from Vahdam Teas have been good teas. None of them were bad at all. This one is not as nice as their first flush Darjeelings but is very good. Tasates more like a black tea than the first flush that is for sure.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper witih 3 tsp leaf and 190 degree water for 3 minutes. I will probably go back for a resteep.
“Oddly accurate” as my mother describes it. The rooibos base is great (flavours of honey, cake, sweet and rooibosy goodness), creamy mocha coffee, carob, rich cocoa, milk (despite no milk ingredients in this blend), and coffee beans. The cocoa + cream + coffee + sweet rooibos is just perfect for the name of the blend. I’m impressed at the unique blend, as I’ve not had coffee flavoured tea before. Plus, this is low caffeine (trace amounts from the coffee beans and chocolate chips, but not the same levels as a black base.
This is sweet enough on its own, but it is fabulous iced or hot. Both ways would be good with milk, especially almond or cashew milk for a nutty taste.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee, Creamy, Espresso, Honey, Milk, Mocha, Rooibos, Sweet
This scented Jin Xuan is slightly more nuanced and subdued than the other Milk Oolong I’m drinking alongside it. It distinctly and consistently smells and tastes of creamy mango pudding. Sometimes that mango morphs into peach yogurt, which is equally fun. The pink-orange stone fruits with cream vibe make for a nice springtime cup.
Oddly enough, I find this one to have a powdery texture, but that may be my relationship with those particular fruit notes.
Steep Count: 3
I had some roasted seaweed with the last cup and somehow that doubled the mango flavouring. Food pairings work in mysterious ways.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Mango, Peach, Umami, Vegetal, Yogurt
Over the weekend, I came to the realization that I still have far too many tea samples lying around the house. I get bored with things pretty quickly, so I tend to mostly order samples rather than larger amounts of tea. Rather than keeping the amount of tea on hand low, however, I just end up with mountains of 10 gram samples. So, I am now working feverishly toward reducing the number of tea samples I have. I started working on this one last night and finished the last of it this morning before going to work. I found it to be an interesting oolong, but I do not think it would be something I would want to have on a regular basis.
I tried preparing this tea two ways. First, I conducted a three step Western session in which I steeped 4 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 195 F water for 2, 3, and finally 5 minutes. I was not impressed by the results. I was expecting strong aromas and flavors due to the amount of leaf I was using, but the liquor was very mild and subtle each time. I then used the remaining 6 grams for a gongfu session. After a very quick rinse, I steeped what I had left in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by infusions of 12 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, and 3 minutes. The results were much more interesting this time around, so I will be limiting this review to a description of the results of this session only.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted subtle aromas of honey, cream, cinnamon, and grass. There was a floral presence too that I could not identify. After the rinse, I detected clear aromas of lilac, hyacinth, lily, and honeysuckle. The cream, cinnamon, and grass were still there, but I also began to catch hints of spring honey and vanilla frosting. The first infusion produced a similar bouquet, though the vanilla frosting, cinnamon, honey, and floral aromas were stronger. They were also now joined by hints of saffron and coriander. In the mouth, however, the liquor was extremely mild. Flavors of cream, butter, grass, cinnamon, and vanilla frosting were evident and there were traces of flowers and honey toward the finish, but not much else. Subsequent infusions saw the honeysuckle, lily, lilac, and hyacinth appear somewhat more clearly on the palate while the already noted impressions of cinnamon, butter, cream, vanilla frosting, and grass strengthened. The coriander and saffron arrived as well. I also noted the emergence of impressions of hay, cucumber, beeswax, and an indistinct nuttiness. Interestingly enough, the tea, despite its complexity, was dominated by a clean, pure honey tone that sat atop the other aromas and flavors. The final infusions briefly featured clean, pure honey notes, but were soon dominated by cream, butter, grass, and a mineral presence that emerged later than anticipated. At points, I thought I could detect cinnamon and vanilla frosting lingering in the background.
This was a very complex oolong, but the dominant honey impressions made it seem lighter and simpler than it was. Fans of very honeyed aromas and flavors would probably love it, but I was hoping to see the honey integrate more with the other aromas and flavors. Still, this was a quality tea (glancing at the lovely, full leaves was confirmation of that) and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a respectable high mountain oolong. It just was not what I was expecting. In the end, I liked it, but it did not offer what I tend to look for in Ali Shan oolongs.
Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Frosting, Grass, Hay, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nuts, Saffron, Vanilla
Before I begin this review, allow me to state that I do not normally go out of my way to buy old tea. If I buy an older tea, I will always buy from the most recent harvest. Well, I guess I should say that’s what I almost always do. This was an impulse buy a month or two ago. I was placing an order with Yunnan Sourcing US and wanted to tack on another tea just for the sake of justifying the shipping cost a little more in my head. I couldn’t find anything else new and interesting, but then I saw this tea. It sounded interesting and I had been trying to spur myself to become more familiar with Dan Cong oolongs, so I bought it. I figured the worst case scenario would be that I wouldn’t like it or that it might be a little weak. Fortunately, neither ended up being the case and that should not have surprised me. Yunnan Sourcing always seems to do a great job maintaining and storing their teas and I found that to once again be the case here.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 7 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was followed by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, and 3 minutes. I’m still trying to get used to that whole pack the gaiwan to the brim thing that many Dan Cong enthusiasts do. I’m also still trying to figure out a gongfu method that works for me when it comes to brewing these teas as I’m not so certain that what I do for other teas brings out the best these oolongs have to offer. I’ll keep playing around with it in my spare time.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves gave off subtle aromas of butter, cream, citrus, and honeysuckle. After the rinse, the bouquet intensified slightly. I could pick up stronger hints of butter, cream, and honeysuckle coupled with distinct impressions of pomelo and lemon. I also began to catch hints of lilac, gardenia, and vanilla. The first infusion produced a bouquet that brought everything together. I now got extremely robust floral tones. I was reminded of a mixture of honeysuckle, gardenia, lilac, and magnolia. There were big aromas of vanilla, butter, and cream too. I also thought I began to catch hints of nuts, lime, and grass. In the mouth, however, the tea liquor was surprisingly flat, offering muted notes of grass, lemon rind, pomelo, cream, butter, and vanilla underscored by traces of bitter, oily nuts and fresh flowers. Fortunately, subsequent infusions upped the ante considerably. The cream, butter, vanilla, grass, pomelo, and lemon rind notes were still there, but they were considerably stronger. I was now better able to pick up that bitter nuttiness (it kind of reminded me of fresh black walnut at points, but that comparison is far from exact) and the notes of lilac, gardenia, honeysuckle, and magnolia really began to pop. On several of these middle infusions, I could detect notes of lemongrass, daylily shoots, yellow plum, bitter orange, lime, and orchid. I also began to detect a growing minerality. The later infusions were very subtle, almost to the point of being flat. Minerals, grass, and nuts were the dominant impressions available to me, though I could still detect ghostly citrus, butter, and cream tones on the swallow.
This was an enjoyable tea overall. It peaked quickly and faded just as quickly, but I think part of that may have come down to my brewing method and part of that may have come down to the tea’s age. Whatever the case, this still had more than enough life left in it to be thoroughly enjoyable on several levels. I guarantee that I’m going to keep playing around with the remainder of this tea over the next several days.
Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Mineral, Orange, Orchid, Plums, Vanilla, Vegetal, Walnut
Morning tea to kick the day off with an oldie. I have a long day ahead of me with a ton of work, a visit to the dr and a job offer than i need to accept or turn down. On top of that we put in an offer on a car yesterday since there’s no way we’ll ever afford a house in toronto. bah! i hate adulting. :) enjoying this year’s harvest of this one. I think 5 pearls is about right for my jumbo mugs.
It’s floral, flavourful, and smells good, but I don’t think it’s going to stick out from the 15 or so Tieguanyin samples I have right now… and before you ask, no, I don’t know why I have that much Tieguanyin, especially since I’m a simple Milk Oolong person.
Steep Count: 4
The second steep brought the sweet and lilac cream custard Verdant advertised, with lingering tart fruit notes.
Third steep I left a minute over. The liquid’s aroma has taken on a quality like powdered sugar on light pastry, with a dash of tart. It’s sort of dessert-like and light.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Lime, Pear, Powdered sugar
Here is another tea that I have been meaning to review for some time. I bought this one during the second half of last year, but I don’t remember precisely when. I finally tried it for the first time last night, finishing the remainder of my 10 gram sample this morning. I found it to be a quality oolong highly reminiscent of Taiwanese Gui Fei.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 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, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of dates, raisins, spices, honey, and roasted almonds. After the rinse, scents of osmanthus, peach, apricot, apple, butter, malt, and wood emerged. In the mouth, I picked up on notes of honey, osmanthus, apricot, dates, raisins, malt, butter, roasted almonds, and wood underscored by gentle spice, apple, and peach flavors. Subsequent infusions saw the spice notes separate into distinct impressions of cinnamon and nutmeg while the wood notes became reminiscent of cedar and pine. Impressions of rose, brown sugar, vanilla, and minerals also began to express themselves on the nose and in the mouth. The later infusions were milder, offering lingering notes of minerals, butter, malt, almond, vanilla, and wood balanced by increasingly distant impressions of honey, peach, osmanthus, dates, and rose.
Both extremely approachable and surprisingly complex, this oolong made for a great late morning/early afternoon session. I appreciated its strength and the tenacity of its aroma and flavor components. If you are a fan of traditional Taiwanese bug-bitten oolongs, I’m willing to bet you would also appreciate this tea.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Cinnamon, Dates, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Osmanthus, Peach, Pine, Raisins, Rose, Vanilla
Alright everyone, we have another sample sipdown to celebrate. I polished this one off earlier in the evening. At this point, I am beginning to think that I’m starting to get a better handle on what to expect from first flush Darjeelings. This one was interesting. It reminded me a little of the Goomtee Exotic (a tea that wasn’t bad, but didn’t do as much for me as the others I have recently tried), but I found it to be much smoother and more floral.
I prepared this tea Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves produced subtle floral, grassy, nutty aromas. After infusion, I detected scents of grass, hay, malt, rose, and nuts. In the mouth, I immediately detected mellow, surprisingly refined and well-integrated notes of almond, chestnut, nutmeg, malt, butter, cream, grass, coriander, and hay that were soon balanced by impressions of spring honey, rose, Muscatel, and wood. The finish was gentle with a slight astringency. I was still able to detect faint, lingering impressions of butter, cream, malt, Muscatel, rose, and wood.
This was such a nice tea. At first, I was a little uncertain about it, but once my nose and mouth became accustomed to it, it really grew on me. I came to see it as a subtler, sweeter, more sophisticated version of some of the Gopaldhara and Goomtee Darjeelings I have tried recently.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Chestnut, Coriander, Cream, Grass, Hay, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Nutmeg, Rose, Wood
I feel like utter crap today. I couldn’t sleep at all last night. It had little to do with caffeine intake either. For one thing, I got my on-call schedule confused. I thought I was on-call this week, but I’m not. I spent the last week getting myself in the proper mindset for that and now my body and mind still want to remain alert when I’m free to get some extra rest. Secondly, I have started dreading going into the office so much that I now have difficulty relaxing when I’m at home. If I didn’t need the insurance and the extra income, I would go ahead and quit, but that won’t be a possibility until July or August at the very earliest. Anyway, I was milling around the house in the wee hours of the morning and ended up using the last of my sample of this tea to calm my nerves.
I prepared this tea Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted pleasant fruity, grassy aromas with floral underpinnings. After infusion, I noted scents of grass, hay, malt, almond, citrus, herbs, and Muscatel underscored by hints of dried flowers. In the mouth, I picked up notes of almond, malt, nutmeg, straw, grass, lemon balm, tangerine, apricot, peach, mango, rose, and Muscatel. I also thought i caught hints of chrysanthemum and dandelion petals, but that may have just been me reaching. The finish was smooth, though slightly astringent, offering lingering traces of almond, straw, grass, malt, and Muscatel underscored by a ghostly, indistinct floral quality.
This was another nice first flush Darjeeling. To me, it was more flavorful than the Glenburn Classic I recently reviewed, but not quite as smooth and approachable. Of the two, I can safely say that I preferred this one. It had a little bit of bite, as well as a pronounced muskiness that I enjoyed. I would have no issue with recommending it to fans of first flush Darjeelings.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Citrus, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Herbs, Malt, Mango, Muscatel, Nutmeg, Peach, Rose, Straw
I wrote a review for this tea last night and tried to post it at least four separate times, but it got eaten each time. Steepster was hungee!!! Anyway, this was another of the samples that Vahdam Teas so kindly sent to me. I had long been aware that the Arya Tea Estate was one of the most consistently acclaimed tea producers in Darjeeling, but until I tried this tea, I had yet to try any of the teas produced by this estate. If this one was representative of their offerings, I guarantee I will be trying more soon.
I prepared this tea Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted a pronounced Muscatel aroma underscored by grass and sweet corn. After infusion, I again picked up a strong Muscatel scent balanced by sweet corn and grass, but this time I also picked up nice aromas of citrus, malt, herbs, and peach. In the mouth, there was a strong Muscatel note from the entry to the swallow. Notes of white peach, tangerine, sweet orange, grass, herbs, malt, cream, honey, and sweet corn provided balance. The fade offered lingering traces of Muscatel underpinned by citrus, honey, grass, sweet corn, and malt.
This was a seriously impressive offering. Of the first flush Darjeelings I have tried, this one probably offered the clearest and strongest Muscatel presence. Fortunately, there was a lot more to this tea than that. I would recommend this one highly to those looking for a sweet, fruity first flush Darjeeling with a well-defined Muscatel character.
Flavors: Citrus, Corn Husk, Cream, Grass, Herbs, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Orange, Peach
I need to hit up Kensington Market more often. This place made it to the tea festival in January, but I didn’t get a chance to see their teas because it was swarmed with people all the time. I’d been meaning to visit ever since.
I chatted with the owner for atleast half an hour before picking some of this up. He recommended this one, highly. and he was right.
I’m finding notes of sweet potato, molasses, maybe corn? second infusion had a slight menthol effect, and the third one has a bit of smokiness to it.
Very sweet on it’s own. Reminds me slightly of a baked ham, with brown sugar (sans pineapple and saltiness haha)
On a more personal note, I had some disturbing news from the doctor yesterday. This tea purchase was my aftercare. Still processing things. Nothing life threatening but I don’t think it will go away and it has me questioning every decision I’ve ever made. and the medication… seems I have more decisions to make now. Sorry for the vagueness. Sighs. Curveballs suck.
Another tea added to the “favorite black teas” list. The tea had a slight yellow/golden hue to it. The mouthful was surprisingly thick. The flavor had a nice malt, cocoa-wheat, and slightly astringent body. Definitely a tea that could become a daily drinker once I get some samples out of the way!
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Wheat
Having ever tried the original Snickerdoodle, I won’t be able to compare versions, but here we go. As a preface, I haven’t had snickerdoodles before either. Seriously. My family never made them and whenever I had the desire to make a spicier cookie, I opted to make pepparkakor instead. Although I’ve always been curious to see what the big deal is about them, that curiosity never truly pushed me to go out of my way for one. Even whenever I saw them at bakeries or coffee shops, I never bothered grabbing one because there was always something more intriguing to try if I were in a dessert mood. My guess is it’s basically a sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon sugar, so I’m going into this tea with that in mind.
This is also the fifth or sixth time drinking this tea before writing a note, I believe, and I have enough leaf for one more cup so I realized this morning that I better write my thoughts before it’s gasp too late. The dry leaf smells like cinnamon bark, basically, with maybe a slight hint of sweetness on the brown sugary side.
In regards to flavour, it’s a little weaker than I would have liked. Again, gentle cinnamon sugar, with more emphasis on the cinnamon, but still quite muted. If I think cookie, I can semi-trick my brain into thinking that this kind of has a vague bakery note in the background but I’m thinking that that also may just be the whole milk adding that element to it. Also, to note, this is a ground cinnamon profile rather than cinnamon red hot candies. While I prefer this type of cinnamon in tea, this still leaves me wanting more, and only reminds me how I haven’t had Tea Desire’s Cinnamon Star in ever, which has been a favourite of mine for over ten years already. That one has the same ground cinnamon vibe but with distinct bakery and icing notes supporting the spice.