414 Tasting Notes
Popped into the Urban Tea Merchant today, and after smelling this tea at the counter decided to give it a try. Sadly it wasn’t on the Tea to Go menu, but he offered me a pot instead. It was the first time I’d had tea in the sitting-room at the UTM. It was a little more awkward than I would have liked, because a) all the tables are set for two, and I was alone and b) I was only having a pot of tea, no meal or tray of petit fours.
I didn’t realize this tea had rose in it until I sat down and glanced over the little menu. I hadn’t seen/smelled it in the sample. However, surprisingly it didn’t completely turn me off once I got my pot. The ingredients listed rose, berries and almond (although the description on the tin and website list ‘bergamot’ instead of berries). I smelt the berries as I poured the tea, but couldn’t find it too strongly in the taste. The rose was at the front of every sip, but surprisingly smooth (although I still wouldn’t say I “liked” it). Each sip finished with sweet almond cream; It was, overall, quite delicious. The tea base made a minimal appearance, but it often does in flavoured teas. It’s odd, because you can tell it’s Ceylon, but it’s not that wonderful /Ceylon/ you get when you have a cup of unflavoured Sri Lanka alone. It was barely there, but it gave a good base for the flavours added. I think this is a good tea for rose fans.
I got to enjoy the ambience of the tea room, although I think next time I’ll order some food as well.
Was having trouble deciding what tea I wanted to drink, then realized that I only had about a scoop and a half left of this one, so I finished it off.
I still rather like it. It’s definitely creamy, and the nuttyness is sweet, not too strong. I kind of wish you got more of the oolong taste (it’s still present, though), since it’s sort of swamped by the others, but evaluating it in terms of the flavours added and not the base, it’s delicious. It doesn’t resteep too well—mostly because I do the first steep at three minutes anyhow—but the second steep has more of the tea coming through.
I think I’ll have to get more. When I got this, it had been my first (and only, so far) trip to Teaopia, and I went there specifically for this one—there were no others I was interested in trying. There still aren’t, really. Maybe the other flavoured oolongs.
It smells a bit like sharp cheddar cheese, which I find… Unencouraging.
It’s got the taste of a typical greener rolled oolong (or the taste of the ones I’ve tried), with a light hint of cream. Not thick cream, just the stuff you buy for your coffee. Not getting too much sweetness. It’s interesting.
It settles into a thicker mouthfeel as you sip, and a bit of sweetness develops.
First steep: Two minutes.
Second Steep: Two and a half minutes. It’s sweeter, but less creamy. The steep instructions Davids provided read 4-7 minutes. That seemed a bit crazy, but I may have to consider it.
I layered the bottom of my handled gaiwan with leaves instead of using just a teaspoon’s worth for the cup, and then steeped for half the recommended time. More tea leaf, less time.
The taste is less sharp, but I still get none of the fruity sweetness that I love about dan congs. It’s got more of a raw cocoa taste, and gritty mouth-feel. Ahwell, it’s still an interesting cup, and I’ll get a few more steeps out of this cup one yet, I think.
Edit: It’s becoming a little astringent and bitting again as it cools, but not outright bitter. Lends more to the cocoa feel.