12 Tasting Notes
This tea smells horrible while brewing, strongly of tobacco. And on its own, I just can’t stand it. I understand that a lot of people love gunpowder. It’s just not for me. However, I decided to try making Moroccan mint before I gave up on it, and sure enough it makes a pretty good Moroccan mint with enough mint and sugar. At least it won’t go to waste?
I think I just don’t like oolongs. I’ve tried Pouchong, Oriental Beauty, and Ali San, and really didn’t like any of them. And not just disliking them to the point that I’m not sure how I’ll finish the sample, but Ali San especially to the point where I actually dumped the cup today instead of finishing it. Am I doing something wrong?
It’s not like I’m coming into this not liking tea in general. I love tea. I love green tea and black tea. I feel like I ought to like oolongs, too.
The first thing that struck me about this tea was its smell. As soon as I opened the package, I did a double-take. Was this a blend? I had never smelled a green tea before this with such a floral/herbal smell. The taste is very delicate. I imagine this is a love-hate kind of tea, but I love it. This is my favorite green tea I’ve tried. At 160, it can be steeped several times, and honestly the second and third steeps are better than the first. Really a pleasure to drink.
Flavors: Flowers, Herbaceous
Around Christmas, my sister gave me an old sample of Sejak tea from Upton that she had never opened, and it quickly became one of my favorite green teas. Since it is not currently available from Upton, I decided to try Harney’s Jeju Sejak as a replacement. I saved a couple of tsp of the Upton Sejak so I could compare, and this morning I made the two side-by-side.
Initial thoughts: The leaves look very similar, though the Upton leaves were slightly darker, less green, and more broken. This could all be because the sample was 5 years old, of course, but it was still interesting to note. The flavor profile was also similar – mild, not overly astringent, with a slight sweetness. Again, probably due to age, the Harney Sejak had a stronger, more assertive flavor. It was far sweeter, almost a sweet corn aroma going on. I liked it, though to be honest I think I enjoyed the flavor of the Upton Sejak better. I enjoyed its milder flavor. I think I can grow to like this one just as well, but my initial thought was that it was just a tiny bit too sweet-smelling for a green tea.
This is another one from Adagio’s Earl Grey sampler that I thought I wouldn’t like. I was glad to be proven wrong. The Earl Grey flavor was milder with this one, which I think is the right decision for a green tea. It was very balanced, a nicely flavored green tea.
This tea smells sweet and grassy, exactly how I expect Korean green tea to smell. The taste is delicate and smooth, a refreshing and easy to drink cup. This is currently my second-favorite green tea. Good for at least two infusions. I’m almost to the end of my sample, and Upton doesn’t have this in stock, so I have more Sejak coming from Harney and Sons. We shall see how it compares.
I bought a sampler of this nine years ago from Adagio, and honestly forgot about it in the back of my cabinet. I discovered it earlier this month, and surprisingly it is still a decent cup. The jasmine flavor is still very strong, which is good because I’m sure the tea itself is well past its prime. I tried an improvised gongfu (teacup and saucer for a gaiwan) for the first time with this today with. Trying to practice the technique with this before trying it with better teas.