Featured & New Tasting Notes
This was an incredible ripe tea. Most teas that call themselves ripe LBZ are fakes. Not this one. Made by Hai Lang Hao and sold by Yunnan Sourcing at a very high price you know it is real. The first thing about this tea that I really noticed was the Qi. In the second steep it hit me like a steamroller. It kept going for quite a while too. I can still feel it and I am on the 16th steep. This tea was perhaps the strongest tea I can remember drinking. It started out quite bitter. But this bitterness gradually changed into a sweet note. I did not add any sugar to this tea. But in the sixteenth steep it tastes like I did. There were definite fruity notes and perhaps chocolate notes but I am unsure about that. This tea was perhaps the best young ripe I have ever drank. And it is very rare for a ripe tea to have any qi, let alone a strong qi like this one. I am tempted to buy another brick at some point to store for the long haul. This was a spectacular tea when viewed over sixteen steeps.
I steeped this sixteen times in a 70ml teapot with 5.1g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 7sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, and 45 sec. I definitely recommend that anyone into ripe tea buy a sample of this from Yunnan Sourcing. This tea was so strong I altered my steeping pattern to have more short steeps. This tea was spectacular in the end.
Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Fruity, Sweet
Rant about life
So yesterday and today were a bit of a shitshow for me. I went in early to work yesterday to spread some holiday cheer (aka put presents on the desks of the coworkers I am actually friends with) only to get to my desk and realize I had to push everything aside because the lawyer who works on our team but is based in our U.S. office can’t do his job properly. He had to write a lengthy letter on behalf of our client and it took him over a week only us, as our boss put it, a “big bag of nothing”. So it fell onto my lap since apparently I can do this shit better than an actual licensed attorney but I had only the day to do it because the client has been asking for it and today/tomorrow are holiday days for me. I got it done but that meant staying late to complete it.
I finally left my office around 1.5/2 hrs late which was fine except on the way home I managed to get in a car accident. The person I dealt with was very nice and thankfully no one was hurt (save for my sore back). However when I got home I was tired and angry and sore so I went straight to my room and told my family I wasn’t hungry. My mom didn’t take that well and got pissed off, yelled, stormed around and closed herself off in her room. I went to bed at 9 pm.
Today I woke up and pretended like my mom didn’t throw a temper tantrum last night and that seemed to force her to get over it. We then took my car to get an estimate (about $5000 worth of damage because I drive a mini) and off to the collision reporting center we went. We got there around 3:30 and were told we had a 4-5 hour wait ahead of us. We sat down and they called #4, we were #73. So we waited and waited and waited and then some lady starts bragging to the guy behind us that she had #97 but went to the counter when they called a number which people weren’t responding to and they let her jump the line. She then said that she told them to take the guy behind us (#82) next. That didn’t sit well with my mother who went to the window the next time they called a number people weren’t responding to and complained. So at around 6:30, in an effort to keep my mom from causing an uproar, they took down our report and we left.
Unfortunately we still had to return my car to the auto body shop to be repaired so we did that and then went to buy alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol. Then dinner. And now, finally…tea. And not just any tea…the first tea of 52 Teas’ 12 Days of Christmas Teas!
Actual review of the tea
I was excited to see this was included since it is not one I grabbed for myself. As much as I enjoy these breakfast inspired teas, I find I need to be in the right kind of mood for them so I don’t drink them often. That, combined with the fact that the DAVIDsTEA version of this is much more accessible for me as a Canadian, meant I wasn’t as tempted to grab this when it was released even though it did pique my interest.
Sipping on it now, it is definitely a nice tea. Less eggy than the DAVIDsTEA version but more maple-y, which I think is better. There is also a definite bread note which works with the maple to sell “French toast”. Cardamom is also contributing a great deal of flavour here which sits nicely against the sweeter maple. One thing I do find I’m missing in the taste is the coconut which is weird since there is a lot of coconut in the dry leaf. I eat something that is buttery which could be from the coconut but I just wish the actual taste of coconut was more distinct. That’s just me though. All in all, I’m really glad I got the chance to try this one and am glad I have some to play around with.
not much to say today. I’m having a really bad day today and just want to go back to sleep. Long story short, apparently what i am worth to the company is not as much as i imagined my worth to be. Which would be fine if my manager wasn’t a total jackass and could explain the WHY behind things…instead of saying i should be happy that my salary is what it is, when we’re talking performance bonuses. the two are not related. either i performed well or i didn’t…. you don’t give me less because i changed jobs and negotiated a salary raise.
so i’m drinking tea….and trying to relax but it’s hard since i’m hearing multiple stories from folks this year across the business….all from women. So either there’s a problem there, or the men just aren’t talking about it like we are hahaha. Either way…not cool.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Keemun, Laoshan Black, or any other non- What-cha Golden Snail black tea (so good). I’ve forgotten how comforting they are in their cocoa-malt predictability, and subtle but rich profiles. I thought I was over Chinese black teas; it’s probably the time of year? Oolong is out, black tea and white tea are in- I need to draw a better year plan for my tea drinking habits so I’m not struggling at the height of tea-drinking season.
Anyways, this one is really red. Red is good. Red is warm. Red is Christmas. I’m drinking this in a festive red cup too. Lots of red happening.
I’ll write a more thoughtful note later.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Fruity, Malt, Muscatel, Red Wine, Stonefruits
Strong mineral note, a little bit of honeyed sweetness, and a little bit of generic “sheng-y” taste. No “green” or chlorophyl taste. It’s a little bit thick in the mouth, a little bit astringent, and there’s a little bit of lingering aroma in the mouth. Not much bitterness or potency of flavor.
It’s definitely easy drinking for a young sheng, but overall it’s just ok. I was expecting more potency and bitterness from a young Hekai tea. I’m interested to see what the “ancient tree” version will be like.
Flavors: Honey, Mineral
Here is yet another tea I forgot I had in my collection. I went ahead and polished off it at the end of last week. I think I have now finally finished all of the green teas from last year. Drinking the Keemun Maofeng and this back-to-back meant that I spent a couple days overloading on teas from Anhui Province, but hey, it was fun. I used to really love Huangshan Maofeng, but now I’m not so sure. Since I have been gravitating more and more toward green teas from Shandong, Fujian, Zhejiang, and Yunnan Provinces, it seems that I have been losing interest in many of the green teas produced elsewhere. By the time I finally got around to this one, it oddly did not seem like it had faded all that much, but I could not muster much of an opinion of it. It wasn’t bad, but unfortunately, it just struck me as being the sort of tea for which I would simply have to be in a certain mood to fully appreciate.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a flash rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 170 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by infusions of 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.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted pleasant, though fairly fleeting aromas of butter, grass, and green beans. After the rinse, I began to pick up scents of chestnut and pine. The first proper infusion brought forth a slightly malty aroma. In the mouth, I found hints of malt, grass, and chestnut backed by touches of butter, green beans, wet stones, and bizarrely enough, flowers. Subsequent infusions brought out strong pine impressions coupled with more robust notes of chestnut, green beans, butter, malt, grass, and wet stones. The floral impressions remained elusive, though I was reminded somewhat of both chrysanthemum and marigold at times. I also began to note emerging impressions of soybean, minerals, straw, and lettuce underscored by a slightly smoky presence. From the start of the session through its conclusion, the mouthfeel grew more and more mineral-heavy and alkaline. The later infusions were heavy on mineral, wet stone, and malt notes, though I could still just barely detect impressions of chestnut, lettuce, and grass.
A rather interesting tea, I enjoyed its very sharp, hard mouthfeel and pleasant mix of aromas and flavors, but I must knock it somewhat since it faded so quickly. Also, while I enjoyed the sharper, harder-edged mouthfeel for the most part, I would be willing to bet that it won’t be for everyone. If nothing else, this session reminded me of why Huangshan Maofeng normally seems to be a cult tea in the West. In the end, this was pretty good, but I would not want to have it regularly.
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Lettuce, Malt, Mineral, Pine, Smoke, Soybean, Straw, Wet Rocks
Having been super busy with work over the past few weeks, continual plans to visit DAVIDsTEA to redeem my points for 100g worth of tea kept getting foiled, so of course, when I finally got there today, it was too late as they expired on the 3rd. Damn. I kept thinking I had until the end of the calendar year.
But I was able to still redeem my free birthday cup of tea from last month. I chose this because I didn’t feel like dealing with their sugary sweet blends this time around. It was ok but expectedly astringent, so astringent that it covered up most of the plum notes I was picking up on. Nothing memorable, to be honest.
This was never added to my cupboard count so I am back up to 341 (technically more since the 12 teas of Christmas arrived yesterday) but that’s okay. I made this as an eggnog latte while simultaneously setting up a chocolate milk cold brew of Candy Cane Crush. This really is one tasty eggnog latte and I think because it is two beloved childhood flavors – cotton candy and bubblegum, which is the flavor I sometimes get from eggnog lattes. Yum!
Smoky black teas are not something I reach for regularly, but they have some sort of allure that keeps me coming back (albeit irregularly). Outlaw has a little more allure than most and kept me amused all last night (erm, unintentional Tobias moment).
Honestly though, I think I like this one. It’s something to do with the flat cherry vanilla coke vibe I’m picking up (I mean that in the most flattering way). It also reminds me of the time I got to lick a cave in Poland (mineral notes, kay). It’s a lot of fun, and I’m sitting somewhere in the 80’s on it. I’m going to hold off rating for a bit because I’m not having as strong a reaction to it as I did with the Black Lodge (I think someone thought that name to be nostalgic and homey, but all it makes me think of is some horror story).
And just look at all the parentheses it inspired me to use!
Flavors: Cherry, Mineral, Smoke
CrowKettle wrote yesterday " It’s an unholy merging of pure things that brings one to weeping in disgust and horror." LOL – ok – I just received my tin of this, so of course I had to try it.
While I may not be getting the same notes that she did – not getting the smoked bacon – I’m agreeing with the sentiment in that statement.
My first impression was charred black rotten mushrooms. As it cools that’s changing to 6 hour old burned to the bottom of the pot coffee.
I added a little sweetener and a splash (or more than a splash of milk)…. Now there is some banana in here but I’m not sure that’s a good addition to this party.
There is no doubt that this is an AU smoked tea, they all have something a little odd in the back. This isn’t a little odd…….
ETA: Because I’m a sucker for punishment I did a 2nd steep. I did 95C 4 minutes. I added sweetener and milk. The smoke has been shoved way to the back. There is some caramel banana in here (but some of that might be the sweetener). I’m also getting meaty/mushroom/umami something that I wouldn’t call truffle. This is better but still way too strange……
Free same in our group what-cha order. I tried this one today so i can divy up the rest of it for VariaTEA and Evolvingness. On the whole, not one i’d order for myself, though i generally like roastier oolongs. Had a cup of this while i tried to make wonton soup from scratch! haha. All in all, a decent cup but nothing to knock my socks off. IE. glad i tried it but that’s enough for me.
last cup of the evening i think since i don’t really have any herbals. I’ve been baking this week and for those here who know me..i LOVE orange creamsicles…every time there’s an orange creamsicle tea, i have to try it. Well i found a recipe for orange creamsicle cookies…so i made them and DAMN they are so good. I’ve eaten like 5 already. along side this tea – they were an incredible treat.
Final Count: 36
Dexter sent this to me in another life and i’ve finally picked some up for my cupboard since i had ZERO keemuns! This harvest isn’t smokey, but it is a tea that i’ll be adding a drop of maple syrup to when i take it in the travel mug i think. It’s got a bit of a cocoa feeling to it but not overly so….there’s a depth here that i am enjoying.
So, I woke up today thinking oolong.
I am just starting with the first steep and I have honeyed malt—a bit like honey black— against a floral backdrop. Interesting. Unusual. Nice.
Now, as much as I’d like to continue lounging around in my flannel pjs drinking tea on this massively foggy day, I am revving myself up to go participate in some movement. Part of my inspiration is that yesterday I left one of my travel mugs in my locker at the gym and I need it for my multiple steepings in the coming days. So I may as well go have a workout. You guys can be my witnesses as I get into motion. Getting up now….
Thank you, Crowkettle. A lovely entry into the selection you so generously shared with me.
The steeps will continue. Stay tuned.
Well, I drank this until the steeps gave up almost nothing. So, yay! Deliciousness!
And it’s a sip down! I’d happily order this one the next time What-Cha hears from me.
My friend got this as her tea and honestly I think I just drank her tea more than mine. The consensus was between the four of our teas, this was the best. It was floral and certainly an oolong but a creamy vanilla/buttery oolong with a honeysuckle type floral that was really nice. Plus it held up to the teapot prep method that seemed to lead to the other teas being oversteeped. Not to mention we added more water to the leaves and it still had a lot of flavor. I’d drink this again.
I’ve had a request to start writing tasting notes again. This confuses me, I stopped writing notes because I felt I didn’t have anything interesting to say. There are lots of people here who are more articulate and have a better palate than I do. But as requested, here goes…
Tonight I’m just hanging out at home, watching the hockey game, petting the cat, eating banana bread, drinking this tea.
I normally choose and prefer China black teas, but it’s always nice to break it up with something different. This one is light with the high notes I would expect from a Taiwan black. It’s really fruity – normally I would think grape/wine fruity in this style but these are stone fruit notes. There is also some tannin (?) and a little suck the moisture out of your mouth thing. There is also a little smokiness as it cools. I don’t feel this style will every be my favorite but this was fun to try and I think it’s different enough from a typical Taiwan black to make it interesting.
Thanks Evol for sharing.