13086 Tasting Notes
I mean, there’s really not a lot to elaborate on with this tea; do you like thick, syrupy white teas? The taste of honey? Then this is a tea for you because it’s perfectly named for its essentially singular tasting note. Just very, very rich golden honey!
(Reminds me of Kuura’s other infamously honey tasting tea, Honey Jar. I think I’ll always regret not buying more of that one when I had the chance.)
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ce__mq7O-Q3/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaN13lWZkdQ
I’m on vacation for the next two weeks and it’s honestly probably a good thing because I spent yesterday catching up on the last (six hour) episode of Critical Role’s EXU Calamity series. It was a long one so I made sure I had practically a half dozen drinks to sip on over the course in order to stay well hydrated. It was needed because I think I cried for about five of those six hours… It was such a good series.
Honestly I don’t love this kombucha. It’s probably the weakest of Rise’s summer series of flavours – at least in terms of actually matching the flavour of what it’s claiming to be. There’s no vanilla at all and though it does taste like berry it’s more of that generic red berry taste than actual raspberry. However, I was thankful to have something cold to sip on while watching yesterday and even if it doesn’t match the titular flavours it’s also not unpleasant tasting.
Gongfu Sipdown (1709)!
Thank you Togo for this sample!
The aroma coming off the leaves after the initial couple steeps was heavy charcoal and roast with a herbaceous pungency that really reminded me of dill. However, the steeped tea itself has a lot more of a mouthwatering juicy floral quality that really stands out among the other tasting notes. Very, very lychee forward. Of course, it’s still pretty roasted with a lot of those charcoal, woody, and heavily roasted chicory root type notes – but it’s just much more dynamic and nuanced overall, and with no dill! Though I love a nice, roasty oolong I have to admit that notes of chicory are not something I usually enjoy because they’re usually coupled with a sharp top note sourness, but I only got that in one or two steeps of this tea session and the lovely sweetness of the lychee more than made up for it!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CfEeJoTOMXQ/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWmJbtJsx_w
Our final tea of the night was actually a tisane! This was a straight sage from the spice shop owned by Marika’s family and it was easily the best sage I’ve ever had steeped. It was so intense and aromatic, and you could just tell from the first sip that it was insanely fresh with all of its natural oils still… intact? That’s not really the word, but you know what I mean. After a night of heavy tea drinking it was really great to end on something so fresh and cleansing feeling, and I think it was just the perfect cap to a great dinner/evening.
Our final tea blend of the night was this Brutaliteas blend that Marika is absolutely obsessed with lately. I own this tea as well, and I enjoy it but definitely not to the level of sheer delight it clearly brings her. What struck me though was how much more it tasted like maple to me when Marika had prepared it versus when I make it for myself. I actually did like it more with that maple note coming out, so I may have to prod her for more details on how she’s usually preparing it when she makes it for herself…
After our two oolong sessions we switched to a sort of weird gongfu/Western tea steeping hybrid because we wanted to break out some flavoured teas but weren’t interested in committing to steeping a full teapot’s worth of tea or whole mugs. I was pleasantly surprised how well this tea worked with the weird steeping method. It came off more gin-like to me than necessarily the highly aromatic and pungently floral/pithy bergamot that sometimes comes through, and with a real unexpected sweetness to the top notes as well!
This was our last gongfu session of the evening, though not our last tea. I don’t know why but Marika only ended up brewing two steeps of this before switching to a different tea. I thought they were quite nice though – and the Oriental Beauty we had just tasted prior was a hard tea to come after! Predictably and familiarly smooth and creamy though, with the mix of floral and creamy notes I know and love about this tea.
After my two little mini sessions we switched back to Marika steeping up some Camellia Sinensis selections. I realized as I was enjoying my first cup that I’m pretty sure I had never tried the Oriental Beauty from CS prior – which is surprisingly given how much of their oolong selection I have explored through. It was impressive though, and I think in particular we all were blown away by just how sweet and floral the first infusion was. Really tasted like fresh white grapes, lychee, and beautiful Spring flowers but with a more mineral and slightly roasted undertone to pull you back from the aromatic top notes and ground you.
This was the second tea I steeped for us over our dinner party. If the Nadeshiko was the overall crowd favourite, I think this would have handily been the runner up. It’s an incredibly unique tea and from that first steep it just felt like perfect late summer evening backyard tea. Thick early smokiness but with such a clean finish and an almost sweet green floral character to the body. Kind of like lilacs. It reminded me of something I used to do as a small child at the end of the evening when camping. We would pour water over the fire to douse it, and I was dance through the smoke filled steam that would fill the air for the next few minutes. It was the freshest, cleanest smelling smoke you can imagine.