26 Tasting Notes
using my standard sampling setup, the glass teapot, standard brewing for blacks, 30 second initial brew, +10 per additional.
first off, smelling the dry leaves is simply amazing. the leaves smell sweet, fruity, possibly of dried apricots, not sure. but its amazing, and makes me hungry.
the wet leaves smell of raisins, and the tea has a bit of the sweet fruity smell from the dried leaves. the flavor is very light while still hot, lightly sweet. has a bit of a leathery taste, a bit of bread. very light taste. its odd though, while it has a subtle flavor, it also seems to be full bodied and filling. it could just be me though. it has a nice sweet aftertaste that comes to you after a bit.
the second steeping introduces a bit of fruityness. quite pleasant. nothing els really changed overall.
on the third infusion, the tea is becoming noticeably darker, with a dark reddish hue appearing. the tea is giving off a sweet potato aroma, but still has a sweet smell under that. there is definitely a sweet potato taste present this time, which i find a bit surprising. being as its on its third steep, and with a total of 50 seconds, there is no trace of bitterness, which is nice. the flavors are actually a bit more pronounced than its first steep.
this tea is still going fairly strong at 6 brews, with the flavor tapering off slightly. definitely a workhorse. overall, its a good tea, but a bit….. confusing…. to me. it seems to be a full bodied tea, and “filling” if you will, yet it has mild flavors…. good for mornings or a calm day, but if paired with strong foods, the tea will be entirely lost.
this tea is processed into bricks, and the end of one of the bricks composed my sample. they sent a generous 10 grams, which came out to 9.7 when weighed, which is close enough for me, being a sample. there was really no smell from the leaves, and there were only a small amount of loose flakes, no dust. there are noticeable golden flowers in the tea.
one thing to note, i did not break up the small brick they sent, opting to let the leaves unfurl slowly to produce a much more stable and slowly changing taste profile. if this was a mistake, please let me know, as im still new to compressed teas.
based on what ive seen and read about the tea, im deciding to treat this like a puh in brewing methods, and using my glass brewing vessel. intial brew was at 20 seconds before starting the pour, no rinse. each additional brew will add 10 seconds.
the tea is a light golden brown. it has a light aroma, and is much like the pu that i have tried. the wet leaves have a smell that is alot like roasted hay. the flavor is really light, making me think that i may have to treat this more like a black than a pu. there is some of the earthiness as is in a pu, but none of the unpleasantness or “swampiness” i tend to associate with pu. light notes of sweet hay, which composes the aftertaste, which lasts for quite a while. even after the taste fades, inhaling through the mouth revives it some. quite impressive.
second brewing, the leaves still smell a bit of hay, but also picked up a nice roasted apple aroma. quite pleasant. the tea is much darker this time, nearing more to light brown. the taste is not much changed, there is still a very light earthy “bitterness” like in a pu. this longer brewing caused it to lose most of the hay notes, so i might try again at 25 seconds next brew. it still has its nice sweet hay aftertaste.
lowering the steep time successfully brought back the hay. really nothing other than that seems to be changing in this tea, so i will make my closing thoughts, and edit if something does happen with the tea.
All in all, the tea is quite modest with its flavors, which are fairly light, and not really noteworthy. i think this tea would be an excellent introduction to puerh, since it has some of the earthy qualities but none of the more harsh “swampy” taste that ive found to be in the pu’s ive tried. This tea will be a workhorse, with many, MANY steeps in it, especially since i left the brick whole when placing it in my teapot. the tea seems to have a medium to high caffeine content, but seems gentle on my stomach so far. i wont be ordering any more of this tea, its just too one note for me, despite having a nice aftertaste. once again, please let me know if you believe i brewed this tea incorrectly.
This was another sample given in return of an honest review.
the leaves in the package are beautiful, small handmade balls, and they look beautiful. the fluff on the leafs are wonderfully preserved, and make the balls look silky and shiny. there is a wonderful honey and clover smell, mostly honey.
once again im using the glass brewing vessel as not to alter the taste in any way. i used the entire 7.5 grams in the sample, and 8 oz of boiling water. initial brew is 25 seconds before i start the pour, each infusion will add 10 seconds to the previous brew.
the tea is a light brown, not really any red. it smells faintly of sweet potato.
after letting it cool enough to drink, the first impression is that this tea, like the last i tried, is nice and smooth, and the flavors are light, as is normal for a tippy tea. flavors are nice and balanced. The main flavors i get are sweet potato, with honey and a faint hint of cocoa.
on the second brew, the color is deeper brown, and still smells of sweet potato. the flavor shifts more toward sweet potato, but not much, and a little more cocoa. still smooth, and only light bitterness, only a hint.
third steeping the sweet potato is now almost completely gone, now leaving cocoa, a bit more bitterness, though still not much.
i will stop the review here, as the tea is becoming… not unpleasant, but not as enjoyable to drink.
Opening the package, the interior of the foil lined package is covered in a rich brown dust, the “fluff” from the leaves, if you will, and the leaves are a mix of dark brown and tan, and spindly. the smell is striking, rich clover with honey, hint of cocoa. exactly what i look for in a red. i placed it in my glass steeping vessel, and brewed for 25 seconds at 200 degrees F before starting to pour.
the heated leaves now smell strongly of sweet potato with the clover underneath. the tea is a light brown with hint of red, nothing really different from many red teas.
the flavors are well balanced, with nothing trying to dominate the other. the main flavors i get are the clover and honey, with a hint of sweet potato. this tea is extremely smooth, and is modest in the flavors, as i tend to expect from a tippy tea. long aftertaste of honey and clover, also muted.
Second steeping has 10 seconds added, and is much sweeter, swinging more toward honey and clover. the flavors are a little lighter, as is normal with an iterative brewing.
third steeping has a total of 20 additional seconds added, and has lost the honey, now becoming that of clover. flavor is once again ever so slightly more muted than the last infusion, the color a bit darker red.
i feel these leaves can go for possibly 2-4 more infusions, but i will end my review here. My final thoughts are that this is a really nice tea, silky smooth, modest flavors that are well balanced with each other. this can be enjoyed at any time of the day, but imo would be best suited for a calm afternoon, or paired with a lightly flavored meal/snack later in the day, as a heavily flavored food could cause some loss in perceived flavor of the tea.
i received this tea to sample and write a review for. I would have written one sooner but i have had family issues and had to go out of state for a while. Now i am back home and am able to review the tea as promised.
The leaves look to me just like someone took lawn clippings and chopped and roasted them. the leaves are a dark, dark green. The leaves smell just like the cheap store bought catnip that smells of mint.
I used two teaspoons for 8 oz, 170 degrees for one min.
The liquor is a green tinted gold, and smells like buttery spinach or seaweed. Kinda like an oolong. Sipping the tea reminds me of the Milk oolong i tried recently. It is buttery, light, and has a spinach taste, but also has a grassy taste too, and a sweet floral undertone. The aftertaste is lightly of buttered spinach.
Its not a bad tea. I am aware that different teas of the same type taste differently, so i would like to try some more sencha, just to see the possibilities in taste this tea can hold.
I like the tea enough, i could either drink this or the milk oolong interchangeably, i think, but i might not go out of my way to keep this stocked.
ooh, how i have been WAITING for this day… especially since i have been about… a month without a Chinese black, since my black dragon pearls from another company were a bust. literally. opened the bag to find crumbled pearls, while the whole pearls, and the replacement package, were bland.
ANYWHOO. The leaves are a lovely black and gold, my bag is more black than the pic on here. The scent is of honey, straw, and cocoa. Mouth watering.
I use 1.5 tsp for 10 oz of water, 200 degrees for 3 min.
The liquor is a lovely, dark brown-red, and smells of honey and chocolate. The initial sips while still extremely hot are of Sweet potato and honey. Cooled enough to actually drink, the sweet potato takes a step back and shares the show with honey, chocolate and light notes of straw. There is a lovely honey aftertaste that builds with every sip, encouraging you to forget about whatever it was you were doing before you picked up the cup and started sipping, and focus entirely on the amazing tea in your hands. I love the taste of this tea, but to me, the aftertaste is even better! There is no astringency, this beauty is silky smooth in anticipation of your time together :)
This is everything i remembered about this tea, and im quite happy with it, and i cannot believe how inexpensive this company offers this tea for. If you like blacks, and like/dont mind a sweet potato taste in your tea, you cannot afford to pass this tea by.
Finally! a darjeeling i think i can get behind :D
im coming to understand that i dont care for many teas other than Chinese blacks, and possibly greens. I have been through several darjeeling, and several oolong, and while they are pleasant, none really make me say “I like this!” like a good yunnan black can. But this one is just about there :)
The leaves smell slightly floral, and kinda like a classic Chinese black. The leaves are short, and thin, only slightly curly. The colors in the bag range from black to light brown, with even some silver sprinkled in.
I used 1.5 tsp for 10 oz water, tired of sipping on (what i consider) weaker tea. I used 190 degree water, for 3 min, adding a min for the second steep.
The liquor is a red tinged dark amber. It smells of floral honey. It has a nice earthy tone, undercut with light floral notes, and even less malt as in a classic Chinese black.
A slight astringency becomes noticeable as the tea cools, but is only there if you look for it. I did not notice any real bitterness, but i am used to drinking strong Chinese blacks, so i might not notice anymore lol.
For a darjeeling, this was quite pleasant, and if i have to pick a darjeeling to drink from now on out of the ones i have tried, this would be it.
This tea is from Lulu, a generous random sample that was sent out for what seems to be an upstart online business. It is a sun moon lake black tea from taiwan.
The leaves are LONG, thin, and spindly, and of course, black. They smell like honey, with a hint of straw. Quite nice, but this is def a tea that you would want to measure by weight, not by a tsp, just because of how difficult it is to get them in the spoon.
Not having any type of food scale, i just guessed about how much i should use, about 3 quite empty tsp lol, and 10 oz of water at 190 for 4 min.
the liquor was a nice, dark red with a brown tinge. It tasted quite light, possibly due to me not using enough leaf, possibly because thats just how the tea is. either way, it was still nice. It had the nice malty flavor of a black, with faint hints of chocolate. i have heard mentioned that this type of tea has a kind of cinnamon taste, and while it diddnt come though for me, there was SOMETHING there, almost spicy like, but not really. so in hindsight, i might not have used enough leaf. But this tea was still quite nice.
Over all, to me, this tea reminded me alot of golden monkey, only maybe replacing golden monkeys straw like flavor with a hint of spice. Im quite pleased with this tea, but i think i prefer golden monkey slightly more.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon, Malt
FINALLY, my samples from teavivre came in… after a month /sadface. So after having no tea for a few weeks, all of my packages seem to be showing up. Which i need, since my only truck threw a rod, and now is not movable. anywho.
This tea is in the form of small balls, roughly about the same size, and quite small, and each ball had multiple shades of green in them, from pale, cut grass to rich, dark jade. The smell is quite pleasant, but sadly i cannot think of a way to describe it other than to say it smells green, like early, early spring.
I followed the directions on the packet, using a little over 1 tsp for 10 oz of water, steeped for 3 min each at 212.
The liquor is gold with hints of green mixed in, quite pretty. Once again, i cant quite ID a smell, other than say it has a faint odor i am coming to associate with oolongs.
The taste, Thankfully, is better than all of the previous oolongs i have tried before, making me willing to try more oolongs. This is a lighter tea, almost reminding me of a white tea. There is that faint spinach/seaweed flavor that i now associate with oolongs, but it is quite faint, barely there, and i might miss it if i were not so scarred from the other bad teas i tried. I now understand the “buttery” taste i always see associated with this oolong. It almost reminds me of eating movie popcorn. There is also a light floral taste. As the tea cools, a slight astringency develops, but is easily overlookable, what with how silky the texture is, and with the butter taste. This tea will leave a gentle honey/floral aftertaste, and a nice silky feeling.
not a bad tea, i might restock at times. would be a good change from black tea.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Spinach
these leaves are small, spindly, and black, with slivers of green leaf mixed in. They smell of hay and honey.
I used just over 1 tsp of leaves in 10 oz of water, at 190 for 3 min.
the liquor is a nice amber. It has a slight astringency, but it is not bad. The taste is of hay and fall leaves, with a faint aftertaste of honey.
Not a bad tea, but i prob wouldnt go out of my way to keep this around.