14 Tasting Notes
This is a very nice silver needle. Is it worth the price point? I don’t know. I’ve tried my sample once, now I want to compare it to other silver needle teas including Mei leafs before I decide if it’s worth springing for.
Prepared mostly as directed, 4g to 100ml 205 degree water, with a 30 second first infusion after a short rinse. Added about 5 seconds to each infusion after and got 9 infusions.
Very creamy and nutty. I could def taste the soy milk note they talk about. A bit of a grassy note in infusion 5, but mostly, creamy, nutty, and slightly sweet with a very pleasant aftertaste.
Finding Fuding Silver Needle is harder than it should be. I know One River Tea and Bitterleaf have it, though can’t vouch for the quality. Tao Tea Leaf has Zhenghe Silver Needle, which is from a nearby region. All the good ones will be expensive.
After last nights debacle with the pomegranate stuff, I decided to whip myself into shape this morning and follow some directions!
But as I write this, and look on the bag, I realize I only partially followed the directions. I did brew this tea at 194 as directed. I brewed gong fu cha style with about 7g of tea to about 6 oz. Water. I steeped 30 second steeps after a 5 sec rinse.
I don’t think this is a complicated tea. It’s very light and buttery with a sugarcane note in the finish. I’m picking up subtle florals with a hint of grassy ness. Very pleasant but not particularly mind blowing. I will gladly drink the rest of this tea but probably won’t restock it.
Middle of the night here and I can’t sleep. Perfect time to try a new tea, caffeine free of course.
I started to brew this as directed with one teaspoon in my infuser cup and it just looked pitifully inadequate so I threw in another heaping spoonful. In hindsight, one should brew to the instructions first time out the gate.
Boy, is this some strong tea. VERY tart. Touch of sweet. The tartness was overtaking the sweet, so I added a spoonful of sugar. This might have been my second mistake. Now I have myself a very tart, very sweet, somewhat syrupy concentrate. Perhaps best left for tomorrows cold brew. Goodnight cruel world.
I was inspired by beerandbeancurd’s tasting note to try this tea with pineapple upside down cake tonight but got so excited to brew the tea, I couldn’t wait until cake time!
I brewed it about 5g to 5 oz. Water at 194 degrees. 5 sec. Rinse.
The dry leaves smelled like cinnamon and dark chocolate. Wet leaves netted stronger cinnamon and vanilla.
Steeped at 30 second intervals for 4 steeps then 45 seconds, 1 minute, 1:30, 2 minutes.
Dark chocolate was prominent throughout followed by sugarcane, hay, malt, and spice. Did I mention the dark chocolate? A lovely light, slightly sweet finish ended each cup.
I kept my leftovers to cool and threw it over ice and yes, you guessed it, dark chocolate with a crystal clear, slightly sweet, finish.
This is a delicious tea that I have no hesitation recommending.
I decided to take a break from gong fu brewing this morning an opted for a cuppa Earl Grey instead.
My only other exposure to earl grey has been grocery store bags, so this tastes and smells quite good in comparison. I steeped it as directed, 2 tsp. To about 8 oz. Water at 203 degrees for 4 minutes.
I’m having trouble identifying notes this morning but do get orange and lemon which I think, is the bergamot? I’ve never had bergamot so am guessing. A rather short, polite finish, and overall very satisfying cup of tea.
Bergamot is a type of citrus, so it can be quite lemony in flavor. But I also find it can be more on the floral side, it just depends on the tea for me!
Ah yes, that makes sense! I almost noted a floral note but I can’t quite taste it even though I “know” it’s there.
Interesting how differently people perceive the same flavoring! To me, bergamot in earl grey tastes like a floral perfume. In green tea though, it tastes like cardamom.
I don’t care much for bergamot on Ceylon because it is lemony plus sour orange which is too much for me, but I like bergamot on Keemun or other roasty black teas or even smoky ones. Quite a bit, in fact.
I drank this tea a few days ago but got distracted and didn’t take good notes, so I drank it again today, with my family, and took better notes.
Prepared with 6g of tea to about 5 oz. 195 water. 1 minute infusions after a 5 second rinse.
First notes on the nose were of a pleasant campfire and a bit nutty. Strong floral.
The first taste of this tea and I remembered what I liked so much about it. A smooth long finish that tastes like toffee. It’s what inspired me to buy this tea and sure enough, it was there!
Second cup was very grassy and somewhat bitter. I let the infusion go to about 1 1/2 minutes by accident so I wondered if that is why the bitter tannin taste came out.
Third cup was even more bitter. I found myself with an internal struggle on wether or not to drink my cup as I LOVE the aftertaste of this tea but I wasn’t sure it was worth the bitter tea to be drank to get it. I ended up drinking the tea and have been rewarded with a lingering aftertaste that is still present while I write this.
So now the question is, do I recommend this tea? I’ve stopped using the number rating system for a couple of reasons. 1, it’s hard to use on an iPad. I can’t get to a specific number, only a ballpark and that doesn’t seem fair. 2, I don’t want my wacky newcomer opinion to skew teas ratings AND in situations like this, I’ve got no idea what to go with. I can’t give it 90 for the fabulous finish and 50 for the bitter grass all in the same review so better to just write out my experience and let the reader decide how and if to be influenced.
That being said, I decided to be my polite American self and recommend it although, I’m really 50/50 on this one.
I’d welcome any suggestions on how to avoid the grassy bitterness if it’s possible. Without that, this tea is wonderful in my humble opinion.
Some roasted teas are just bitter and grassy, or you might not like this flavour profile. (I tend to avoid roasted teas because they often taste one dimensional to me, though others get more out of them.) You might try shorter steeps of 30 or 45 seconds or so to see if that mitigates the bitterness while retaining the pleasant aftertaste.
I would say if you’re using gongfu parameters in terms of tea:water ratio, your steep times seem quite long. Generally after the rinse you would start with quite short steeps (10-15s) and gradually increase the length with each steep.
Thanks Leafhopper! I came back to this tea a few hours later and tried again and the bitterness had subsided! Had two more infusions with the pleasant aftertaste and no (or very little) bitterness. It must be magic tea. I will try the shorter infusions too.
Thanks Cameron. I’ve been a bit confused as the sellers seem to be recommending 1-2 minute steeps and so I’m trying to follow directions but am figuring out that they don’t always work. Yesterday, I shortened my steeps but today I was preparing for family so wanted to make it “correctly” so it would be good. Lol! That back fired. I will try much shorter steeps next time.
That’s interesting, obviously if that’s their recommendation for this tea it makes sense to follow it. But I would say if you’re finding it bitter, shortening the steep is a good thing to try.
I’m glad the tea worked out for you! I’d still consider experimenting with shorter steeps to see if you like that profile better.
I’ve been confused in part because I think they are putting western style brew instructions on their teas but in the product videos etc. they are promoting gong fu brewing? I’m starting to get more comfortable following my instincts and suggestions from the group. It makes total sense. This is the second tea I’ve had bitterness with and was brewing longishly.
Kaylee, I hadn’t thought of that with this tea, great idea! I’ll try it.
Im definitely going to shorten my brew times and try again. I think I’ll dig out the honey orchid and give it a go again too. Thanks guys!
I try to follow vendor’s instructions at first too, but if it is too bitter — shortening time of steep certainly helps. Leafhopper says they taste onedimensional to them and yet I have to disagree greatly. But of course, as others said, you might not like this flavour profile or tea itself. There can be “same-same, but different” teas as well. Consider my head-to-head ratings of Uva teas for instance.
Martin yes, I see what you mean. Teas can be very similar and still somehow different. Maybe a different harvest, or different finishing or processing. And it can be the difference between yay, or nay.
Tea ratings are so subjective; I would rate them on if you would purchase again or not. Or if you are happy just to try it and would swap it with another tea that someone else might enjoy more. There are certainly some beloved teas here on steepster, but there are plenty more that some folks like and some do not!
Good point Michelle. I should start noting if I’d like to swap certain teas, as I’m itching to get to swap in general!
The Teahouseghost on youtube talks about letting the tea tell you the time and temperature it likes, judging by the aroma when you first start preparing it. I use that method sometimes. When the water hits the leaves, I check the aroma and if ti is super strong or bitter smelling, it gets less time and lower temp. His videos are pretty helpful. It is So Han Fan of West China Tea House.
I’ve gotten lazier and lazier with my gongfucha ha ha, now I don’t time anything and just judge when to pour based on the color. XP
Ashmanra- that sounds super interesting, I will have to check out his videos. It makes sense though as even within the same type, it seems the tea has varying preferences.
Cameron- lol! Is it laziness or just your mastery of the process coming through? ;)
What a great conversation. I am quite new to gong fu but haven’t really embraced the scientific method… I know my first few steeps generally fall out as guesstimates of immediate/10secs/15-20 secs/30ish… if something starts washing out, I start increasing time more generously, etc. There are so many teas and temperatures and times that it makes my head spin. I’ll be off now to check out Teahouseghost and justify (er… refine!) my willy-nilliness. :D
This is for the winter (2022?) harvest.
I steeped 5g to 5 oz. At 185 with a 3 second rinse. First aroma is vegetal.
First steep 30 seconds, very strong buttery with hints of floral and sugarcane. My husband tasted Nori as well.
Second steep 30 seconds, much the same as the first. With a nice long finish and almost a Steele flavor, not unpleasant. Then 40 second steep, 60, 60, 60, 2minute steep to finish. Very creamy and buttery to the end. With the light floral throughout.
First steep was actually heavier on the leaf than I realized (I measured my tea after steeping and rather than my vessel holding 5 oz. As I thought, it is only holding 4 oz. So the first infusion was 5g tea leaves to 4 oz. Water at 210 for 30 seconds after a 5 second rinse.
smoky with camphor and malt. Very smooth, heavy taste with a lovely long finish. My husband described the aroma as: “warm hay you want to lay down in”
Second infusion was 30 seconds and 5 oz. Water. A bit better balanced and not as thick. Felt medicinal although it doesn’t taste particularly medicinal. It is a very intense tea, so we need a break after only two steeps.
Back for steep number 3 @45 sec. More of the same, just very rich and malty. This tea is going to the top of my list to be shared with family. It’s hard for two of us to get through a session as it’s so rich. But it’s so delicious, we keep wanting to come back to it after a while.
Wasn’t sure what kind of tea I was in the mood for today so I gave my husband a choice between a few and he chose this one.
Prepared at 180 for about 1 min. Each steep. 5.5g to about 5 oz. Water in my celadon pot. This is a smooth, relaxed tea, with mild flavor, nothing super exciting or complicated. The seller says notes of roasted sweet potato which I can agree with although it’s very faint. My husband says it has a similar flavor to Lipton. Or is what Lipton is going for perhaps? I’m actually more excited to try it over ice later this afternoon. I have a feeling I may like it better cold.
I hesitate to write this as I’m so inexperienced, I’m struggling to identify just what it is that I am tasting and smelling. After reading some of the tasting notes here, I’m intimidated and acutely aware of how much I don’t know. My desire to have this useful place to log my experiences, and see others experiences, just slightly outweighs my self-conscious discomfort though, so here goes:
I was unsure how to prepare this tea as the seller suggests a very cool, long steep (160 at 2 minutes) but my research and limited experience leads me to want warmer, shorter steeps. I settled on 180 for 1 minute varying to 2 minutes.
I used 2.5g to 4 oz. Water.
First steep 1 minute and brought out green bean and butter. Very smooth with a lingering light finish. Subsequent infusions were 1, 1, 1:30, 1, 1, 1, 1;30, 1:45, 3:00,. By the end, I was drinking water. I noted a hint of honey in the 6th infusion that I hadn’t tasted before that. The honey came back when I poured all my leftovers into a tall glass and added ice. This makes a very nice (expensive) glass of iced tea. The honey flavor was strong enough that I would have thought this tea had honey added if I didn’t know better.
Just have fun writing about it—some of the reviews (not mine) are highly precise and scientific, and then there are the loosey-goosey, rambly, highly subjective story lines that just happen to include tea. (Guilty!)
Yeah we all started somewhere and there’s a really broad range of types of tasting notes! It’s all a learning process.
Well, some of my notes are scientific and precise, some are like a diary entries, some are just easy-going ones. But you will find your way! And tasting buds are developing as well as the detection of flavours.
Thanks everyone! I am experimenting with different types of notes trying to find what fits me best. I think I might land somewhere in the middle. I want to record the steep times etc, for future reference but also want to record how a tea makes me feel drinking it. I’m curious if it will evoke similar feelings again.