Featured & New Tasting Notes
Had a brief but lovely exchange with Lala today in order to swap GCTTB1 and GCTTB2; we met up at the Vintage Tea Room which is a lovely little British style tea house. While sadly she couldn’t stay for tea, I managed to sneak in a pot and some food before I started work at one…
This was definitely what I had been craving all morning; the maltyness that’s typically associated with Irish Breakfast blends in particular sounded like the perfect flavour note to really hit the spot – and it did deliver in that regard. I definitely wish that this particular Irish Breakfast wasn’t CTC though because the tea house put the leaf directly into the pot and then it strains as you pour so it got pretty astringent/bitter quite quickly. It wasn’t anything that a little milk and sugar couldn’t cure but I prefer not to add sugar if I don’t have to.
As far as food goes I got my standard Cranberry Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwich, which I highly recommend to anything who gets the chance to visit the tea house in the future. And for dessert I got a slice of Coconut Cream Pie which was definitely decent though not the best dessert I’ve had from them: the Pecan Pie in particular is DIVINE.
I don’t visit the tea room enough, it’s such a convenient walk from work…
Flavors: Astringent, Malt, Raisins
Drinking this iced… finally, I’ve done it. For the first time I have captured that Butiki taste and feel through the cold steeping of this!
The wonderful vegetable, semi sweet, with summertime grassy notes coming through with a mild buttery texture from the baozhong (Beautiful Taiwan Tea) works so well cold. Throw in some notes of wet watermelon in there… YES!
I served this hot awhile back and I was iffy about it, but now that I am drinking it cold I have no doubts that I could drink the rest of the batch if I needed to :)
Bought this a couple weeks ago from Puerhshop. I have not tried too many of their raw teas and this one was somewhat expensive at around $88. It also claims to be ancient tree material about which I in a sense can’t comment. How do you prove it is ancient tree material. It is supposed to be Bingdao material. What it was was really very good, really just short of the best raw I have ever had. I’m not sure what I would call the best raw I’ve ever had but this one was very close. It had very little bitterness, a little crept in around the third steep once the leaves had opened up but was gone by the fourth steep. It had no off flavors of any sort, no storage flavors. Certainly no wet storage flavors. I would say it was predominately sweet tasting with apricots and stonefruits as the main notes. I also performed something of an experiment with this. The first time I steeped my kettle for the first eight steepings I used Iceland Springs spring water. For the second time I filled my kettle I used filtered water from my Zero Water filter. While the Zero Water filter did a surprisingly good job the spring water was better, just not by a lot. This tea also doesn’t have any unpleasant aftertaste to it. It really didn’t have a strong aftertaste but what was there was pleasant. Again this was the best raw tea I have had in quite a while. Puerhshop has some excellent teas, but because they also sell a lot of cheap bargain teas they do not have the greatest reputation on Steepster. This tea if people try it could change people’s impressions on Puerhshop. It was that good.
I steeped this twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 8g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. The tea was not finished but I had had enough. There was no indication the tea was getting weak in the twelfth steep. It would have gone at least four or five more steeps had I wanted to continue.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Stonefruits, Sweet
Really like this sheng. Its fruity and pleasantly sour. With a slightly thick mouth. The strength of taste isnt too strong at first, and I have had three cups during extended lie-in butnow im buzzing. Its a bit too strong for me, as with other Tea Urchin teas I have tried they seem to hit me quite hard.
Slightly camphor nose & a comforting fruity & vegetal that I seem to like from Yiwu, although this one isnt as round as the snake blend, but there is something soft about it. I sometimes get creamy from this as well – its something like milk, not taste, but in its structure and feels in my mouth. Nice stuff, but im currently balancing on the edge of it falling into sourness, which isnt my preference with this milky-structured (to me) sheng.
I freally really dig the wrapper art as well :D
Flavors: Apricot, Camphor, Fruity, Milk, Pleasantly Sour, Sour, Vegetal
Evol has let me finish the quest for this tea. It is a shame that DAVID’s discontinued it because it is quite lovely and highly coveted. But since my really strong Jade Oolong addiction developed, I’m glad that this is no longer a temptation.
My sample mostly had mulberriess and only a few white tea leaves gold in color. Brewing it up, and coconut and mulberries come up with a good thick tea body. I’m getting the jam quality. Very, very good.
I actually ended up enjoying this more than when I originally bought it. It seems with time, the flavours have had a chance to mellow out a bit and blend together to produce a smoother taste. It also seems to taste less artificial than it did back in October. Go figure!
If this comes back in the fall/winter, I will likely purchase it again for egg nog lattes! Oh man, I don’t dare even think about those yet ;)
I’m drinking some of my best teas after coming home from the hospital with a stroke (very minor thankfully). I thought I was just adding a note to an existing review but was surprised to see I hadn’t written this one up yet.
Tsang Liu is probably my favorite YQH tea (out of 8 that I’ve tried). The tea has a core of stone fruit surrounded by a complex aura of wood, spice, and occasionally a bit of veggie that detracts from the taste for me. The feeling is the mouth is full and rich; I feel there are layers of flavor that I can barely detect that are adding to the rich complexity. I’m a sucker for complex teas, which explains why I like this tea so much.
The balance is excellent: a smooth transition from aroma, to taste, to finish, with the finish fading slowly over a few minutes. The cha qi is very powerful, though I’m not noticing it as much today as I sometimes do. All in all and excellent tea, and when I first drank this tea I finally understood why people get so excited about YQH.
This is this week’s tea of the week: I was inspired to create this blend because one of my favorite summertime indulgences is heating up a little bit (or sometimes a lot!) of chocolate hazelnut spread (ie: Nutella or Justin’s – which I prefer) and then dipping strawberries in the warmed chocolate-y hazelnut-y goo.
I’m happy with the result of my attempt to recreate those flavors in this tea. Now, mind you, it IS a tea and not the thick, wonderful goodness that is that chocolate hazelnut spread – so you’re not going to get that same thick, rich texture that is almost as satisfying as the flavor. But the flavors are definitely there.
I like this without sugar too – but just a little bit of sugar (I use about 1/2 teaspoon of raw sugar) will enhance the overall chocolate/hazelnut/strawberry flavor.
Flavors: Chocolate, Hazelnut, Nutty, Strawberry, Sweet
Got this one out of the pu’ box.
At first I thought it was the yellow tea pu’erh stuff that I drank almost a year ago: https://www.instagram.com/p/3AIuZMRYBb/
Has a very distinctive mushroom like taste with some more funk going on. Brews pretty light and isn’t so harsh. Has a tian jian vibe to it, like that sour’ish sheng taste.
Not really my thing because I believe…. I believe, my taste in sheng always has to have some sweetness I can identify. While this is a great leaf, easy to brew and consistent, it just isn’t for me.
A sample from Roswell Strange. This has to be one of the oddest combinations ever? I mean, mate, black, herbal…? Surely it’s hardly herbal if it’s got both mate and black tea in it, neither of which are renowned for their caffeine free-ness. I can get behind the idea of mate and black, though, and caramel works well with darker teas as a flavour, so…maybe?I have another question. What’s monk fruit? Please don’t say fruit eaten by monks. I could google, but the people at work would think I’m odd. Or odder than they already think I am, anyway. Maybe that’s one for later.
I gave the bag 3 minutes in boiling water, and it’s brewed up to a medium golden-brown, no additions. The initial taste is very heavy on the mate – quite earthy and pungent with a burnt coffee-like aftertaste. There’s also something smoky, although I can’t pinpoint exactly what. Maybe the mate? The monk fruit? Ha. I didn’t get much caramel initially, but as the cup cools I can begin to taste it. It’s a little on the artificial side, but not too badly, and there is a hint of salt. The salt actually works really well with the savoury flavour of the mate and the smoke – somehow it helps to bring everything together. Then with the underlying richness of the caramel, it actually makes for a pretty decent cup. I’m not even sure how it is that earth, coffee, smoke, salt and caramel taste good together, but they kind of do so there you go. My befuddled morning brain can’t make any more sense of things than that.
Part of a joint order with OMGsrsly, which I forgot about for months until I found my portioned ziplock hidden in my closet.
Mango flavour paired with toasted rice is very tasty and satisfying as long as I don’t remember Marshmallow Treat and start craving that instead.
… And I ran out of both my flavoured genmaicha blends within a week of getting back home from Japan. I’m struggling oh so much.
Flavors: Mango, Toasted Rice
So this isn’t awful but it isn’t great either. I mean, I’m well aware of the fact I’m not a huge fan of milk oolong but continued experimentation doesn’t really hurt. You never know if your tastes are gonna change.
The dry leaf smell is so strong, and it reminds me exactly of buttered toast. I definitely was hoping that wouldn’t translate so clearly in the flavour: honestly butter is like the ONE typical toast topping that I hate. However, this does indeed taste like liquefied buttery toast. The vegetal/floral flavour of the oolong is fine, but that’s just too much butter flavour. Ick.
Thanks again, Teavivre! The description mentions this one as being more flowery than the Iron Goddess which seems impossible to me, as I adore that oolong. I was already in love with this one at the scent of the rinsed leaves. There is such an ambrosia to this one — a gorgeous floral flavor. There is also hints of spice to the flavor, a kick to it, which I would prefer wasn’t there, since it would be nice if this one just had a full flower flavor. But I don’t think it’s an overbrewed spiciness, since the flavor was still a sweet syrupy nectar. Perfect for sitting outside and reading with, on this late Spring day. With the second and third steeps, that spiciness has disappeared and smoothed leaving only the explosion of floral flavor. I don’t think there could possibly be more flavor, and I think I brewed it perfectly. Is it more flowery than the Iron Goddess? The last harvest I tried, I think it definitely is (though it is fairly similar to the Iron Goddess of a couple years ago). This is definitely the oolong I would want to have in stock! How can tea taste this amazing?!?
Harvest: October 2015
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 16 minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 1 minute steep
Flavors: Flowers, Orchid
Wow…Evol Ving Ness, I will be covered for a while. Thank you so much!!!
So I had to tag along the club and try this. The smell is great. Being impatient, I gong fu’d this entire sample. The first steep was really lovely: vanilla and strong hazelnut in the first steep with a roasted caramel oolong body. The second had more oolong and hazelnut. The oolong was definitely on the greener side but high on the roast. Farily vegetal. I wonder if this was a formosa-it was curled up like one.
The third cup is mostly nutty and vegetal losing out on some flavor. Anyway, “Pleasant” is the word to describe this tea. Not something I mind having every once in a while, but not something I’d reach for.
Sipdown! This will be a fond farewell, because I love it so much and it’s really difficult to get hold of David’s in the UK. I’ve had three cups from the sample so kindly provided by Roswell Strange, though, and I’ve resteeped each one once, so six cups in all. That should be enough to keep me going until next time I manage to get hold of some!
It’s not goodbye, but until we meet again. I hope.
The Trails of LBZ, Case 10 of 6
(Liquid Proust search for his favorite laser beam zensheng)
Eye candy before reading https://www.instagram.com/p/BGXhClmxYAJ/
First I just need to reiterate as I do many times that I wouldn’t drink all these ‘top notch’ teas if it wasn’t for the amazing tea community. Many times I am surprised with random acts of kindness that I myself am use to being the sender and not receiver. There’s something special about teamail, especially when it’s something you want but can’t afford currently. This time, someone from Instagram hooked me up. A huge thank you to this person as it provided happiness as I went through the samples sent to me. This type of generosity is not just found by those who spend hours online talking about tea and sending it out. The tea community is very welcoming to trade with many people so please never shy away thinking your cupboard wouldn’t interest someone as many times it’s the idea that helping anyone out is an invitation that has been waited upon.
On to the tea.
I could easily sum this up as: Worth the price. However, that would be prior to shipping and what not. A 5g session, which is what I had, runs $8’ish and I firmly believe that what it provided was well worth that tag; speaking in which 5g brews out 20+ steeps while a glass of wine doesn’t refill itself.
The first three steeps were not bitter, but it was easy to tell that the leaf had a little unfurling to do before the smoothness of the session began; but I will make the comment that the lip smacking sweetness is gone by steep four as it begins to mellow out. Once I got this leaf down to where it brewed out something similar on each brew, I began to notice how gentle each sip was in the way that you describe the higher end rice used for sushi versus everyday rice; if you know what I mean, imagine the difference of ramen noodles versus handmade noodles (good ones).
It wasn’t long until I started to taste a combination of squash and a dry sweetness like grape/apple skin. While dry ended teas are not my thing, the flavor of this one made it acceptable in the way that a great yancha also does. It’s hard to say if the look of the leaf or the taste is more appealing as the leaf is just beautiful.
Going into the later steeps it mellows out and provides a thinner soup base texture; this may be due to the drying of my mouth and wetness making contact, or a possible increase in viscosity as it brews. I found myself playing with some steeping time as it went on to see how 45 seconds would do and it didn’t bring out any bitter notes which was awesome; but if it is brewed longer there comes a tart like sweetness at the end of each sip rather than a minor grape/apple skin taste.
It’s the clarity of this leaf that leaves me considering a purchase, but I’ll wait for a group buy and jump on 25g as that would be 5 sessions; and if I find friends who would share near me it would be what… $2 a session if 4 people join in. While it’s not as powerful as the 2009 stuff I had, or as remarkable, it has that purity to it that I found in Last Thoughts, Midas Touch, and spring Bang Dong (which I suspect will double in price as I drive the market to it… :P )
Grateful to have tried this once, online banking will disagree with me by the end of the year : )
https://www.instagram.com/p/BGXhUpaxYA_/ Bath time.
Brewed this one up western style this morning. I buy mini tuocha specifically for that purpose. This one is fairly good. It has a fair amount of fermentation flavor. That flavor is not fishy or unpleasant. It is sweet with little bitterness. It is good for a mini tuocha puerh tea. I can’t say that it is likely high quality leaves but it tastes good just the same. I bought twenty of these so I didn’t get a lot. I would buy them again.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 buttons or about 15g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 20 second rinse. I steeped it for 30 seconds.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
Cold brewed this one again in an effort to finally finish the tin. I’m not there yet, but we’re making good progress! I’ll probably continue with this one over the next few days until it’s finally gone, because I enjoy it so much more cold than I did hot. It’s got good peach/apricot flavour, and a deliciously refreshing white base, and it’s been in my cupboard for far too long…
I was surprised how fast I got my Taiwan Sourcing Order. I got this with a lovely note and everything fell into perfect alignment. I’ve been wanting to try some of the higher elevation jade oolongs from Taiwan Sourcing, yet hesitate because of price. Even 25 grams can be a little bit much for a sample for me.
But Taiwan Sourcing, or Scott (I think), granted me this generous gem. I wonder if he’s been watching me on Steepster because this pick is definitely the kind I prefer. So far, Qing Xin’s have been the tea varietal that I can drink without any complaint. They always remind me of tropical fruit or crisper fruits like apples, pineapples, peaches, or pears. Shan Lin Xi’s are what LP hooked me too when I began my tea journey. Now here’s some more from a much higher elevation with a name of mythological proportions: Long Feng Xia, or “The Valley of Phoenix and Dragon.”
The first smell dry leaf is what I’m used to: fruity and green. The first steep is fruity and floral. The first 15 second brew yielded more florals with fruit. There was a bit of a fresh woodsiness that I guess is the bamboo. I’m so used to the dry bamboo taste of Dan Congs that I forgot how floral that sensation could be.
The second steep at about 18 seconds was fruity and floral, as in creamy fruit and light creamy florals with a honey nectar sweetness. Then a huge wave of euphoria came over me. I couldn’t help but smile. It’s like all my knots from lifting weights dissappated, and every breath launched a mist of endorphins. I awkardly stumbled putting my right foot in front of my left. Then I go to look at the description on the website, and every description suggested strong qi and tea drunkenness. I was officially tea drunk.
It’s been a while since I got tea drunk from a green oolong. It’s continuing from steep three at 23 seconds and four at 32. In terms of taste, it’s more fruity, but with the recognizable florals in the back ground. Still creamy, pungent, and nectary.
I’m not quite sure how to describe the fruitiness this has other than nectar. It’s juicy, but also very light. It distinctly reminds me of a stronger version of the BTTC Misty Mountain but in a Gong Fu form.
45 seconds. Green Fruity, light nectar with a hint more tea drunkenness.
One minute, light fruit, green, and grassy.
2 min, floral, green grassy.
3 min, floral and grassy.I’m more than thankful that I sampled this tea. It was one of the higher end oolongs, or higher end at least for me, and I am gladly savoring it.
Flavors: Creamy, Fruit Tree Flowers, Fruity, Honey, Nectar
Sipdown no. 61 of 2016 (no. 272 total). A sample tin.
The leaves are gorgeous and look like a cross between silver needles and dragonwell leaves.
I had two servings left of this and took one to work last week. Taking the last bit with me today. My original note on this is still my opinion. I’m interested in trying other yellow teas for comparison.
Got a sample of this in a recent order from Teabox.
The leaf is a lovely mix of blackish green through olive to silvery green leaves and buds. Dry, it has a hay and citrus aroma. The liquor is golden in colour with a citrusy and floral aroma. It tastes of mango, citrus and something floral. Basically, it’s a tropical mix that is not as sweet as some Darjeelings I have had, but is really light and refreshing despite the heavy flavours. Two thumbs up for this blend.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Hay, Mango
I really must have been more than half-asleep when I first tried this, because I definitely got cherry chocolate second time around. No raspberry, and definitely no blueberry. I should probably also note that the base is honeybush and not rooibos, which I generally always find sweeter and less woody anyway.
So yeah. Not sure what I was thinking last time. This is good, though. Cherry, milk chocolate, and a light, smooth base with very mild honey notes. This one’s going to be my go-to pre-bedtime blend for a while.