16 Tasting Notes
This is a good Darjeeling to drink straight. It requires no milk.
I prepared this as Upton recommends: 1sp per cup at 212F for 3 minutes. I made a small pot of 3 cups.
It has a classic Darjeeling orange liquor with a citrusy nose. Less muscatel in aroma, but with some muscately and light wood flavor. There is only mild astringency in the finish.
Update 1. Made a pot at 195, 3 teaspoons, 3-cup pot. 3-4 minutes steeping. Good with or without milk. Not as full-bodied as some other Darjeelings I’ve reviewed of late. Astringency
of the long, pleasant variety. Lingering aromatics in the mouth long after you’ve gone about your day.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Muscatel, Oak
Beautiful orange brew is clear and bright. The liquor has a lovely aroma of dried orange peel. Flavor is strong Darjeeling with hints of foxy muscatel, dried orange essence and a long astringent end.
I brewed this per Upton’s instructions at 1 tsp per cup at around 208F. I made a 3-cup pot. The flavor profile mellowed a few minutes after I removed the leaves. It’s good to let it cool and settle down. Still, it’s somewhat too astringent for my taste to drink straight.
Drinking in the English style with a bit of milk (MIL please) mellows and rounds this out, allowing the lighter floral and fruit qualities to rise : it’s a great steep if you enjoy it in this way.
Brewing at 190 degrees changes everything. It becomes a beautiful liqueur with floral and fruit notes, best enjoyed without milk. I couldn’t get enough of the aroma. This could easily become a favorite special tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Orange
Gongfu Style. 190F 5g to 150 mL water.
Reduced temperature to 180F for later steepings (3, 4, 5…)
Malt, dried apple, peat, tannic finish. Faint dried cranberry and wine overtones in later lower-temp infusions.
Flavors: Apple, Cranberry, Dried Fruit, Malt, Peat, Red Wine, Tannic
This review is for the Laoshan Gongfu Black of Autumn 2016 from Verdant Tea.
Preparation style: Gongfu in Gaiwan with 5gr of tea to 150 ml with multiple infusions in 205F water at a consistent 10 seconds each.
With notes of burnt sugar, malt, and dried currant and apple cider, the first infusions show a full-bodied tea with a darker flavor, without bitterness.
The primary aroma is a combination of burnt sugar and tart apple — think home-made candied apple and you’re close. The flavor, however, is less sweet and fruity than many (esp. Taiwanese) hong cha. I like this tea, and infused correctly it could easily become a favorite.
This tea can easily be over-steeped and the lovely fruit notes and sugar will be lost in a murky dark brew. In other tastings found 12 seconds bring out an overly dark tea, whe re the tannin profile tends toward darkly astringent without bitterness.
I would recommend this for small-pot western style brewing only with careful attention to the short steeping time and quick tea basket removal.
Flavors: Black Currant, Burnt Sugar, Dried Fruit, Malt
Less-floral than some of this variety, this is a pretty straight-forward Tieguanyin. Light florality in the nose. Faint sweetness, very mild vegetal and mineral notes.
We brewed this western style in small pot (5 grams to 450 ML water at 190F).
This is a good everyday, Tieguanyin. Not overly complex, none of the flavors predominate.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Vegetal
Small-pot brewing method (400ml with 5 grams tea). Temp at 205F.
This is a nice fully-oxidized tea, with a balanced flavor. It’s got a bit of tannin zing—or briskness—but the astringecy is not strong and it finishes without bitterness.
Not a complex tea, and not as fruity as some hong cha, but a choice for black tea lovers who might want to step up to a solid loose leaf black without bitterness.
Flavors: Leather, Rosehips, Tea
Brewed Gongfu style.
Flavors and aromas in order of appearance: pea sprouts, butter, gardenia (very predominant and lasting in the nose), slight hints of saffron, cream, fresh grass, mild astringency and increasing florality after 2nd infusion. General evolution from creamy to vegetal.
I followed Verdant’s gong fu recommendations, but using only 5g reduced the water to 4oz (instead of 7g, 7 oz). Steeps of 10 seconds increasing by 2 seconds per infusion.
This is a very drinkable tea, mild, the infusions evolve but not dramatically. The gardenia in the nose is very predominant. Good if you like light cream with floral flavors.
This tea is too floral for my everyday drinking, but it has an interesting and at times delightful flavor profile.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Saffron, Vegetal
I like to brew small batches in the western style with teas I might ordinarily infuse as gong fu. Today we had this aged Yancha in a small pot. This was a sample of 5g, though I normally use 7 or 8 grams to the 400 ML of water. We infused at 203 degrees and didn’t remove the brewing basket. The first cup was poured about a minute and third seconds.
Impressions: a good tea for this style of brewing. The nose is lovely with a toasted butter cookie (think Leibniz) or arrowroot biscuit aroma. Liquor is a lovely coppery chestnut. The flavor retains the toasted butter-cookie flavor, but finishes clean and wet, with hints of dried grass, cooked millet, and parting hints of sour teff.
Flavors: Graham Cracker, Straw, Tea, Toasty, Wheat