16 Tasting Notes
I chose this tea on a recent visit to a local teahouse since white tea is a consistent favorite of mine. Bearing in mind the sudden cold snap we have been experiencing, “White Tropics” sounded like a nice escape from the weather. The unique thing about this particular shop is that they serve their tea in French presses, so you can steep exactly to your liking. I really liked this as it was more interactive and gave me more of a connection with my beverage. The clear exterior of the press also allows for you to see the quality of the leaves as they are brewing. This particular blend had large leaves that had been dried delicately. After pressing my tea, it was a lovely honey golden color. Aromatically, it was very nice and tropical. The flavor left a little to be desired as the tropics (pineapple and coconut) were more of a subtle aftertaste. This would be permissible if the actual tea was more full-bodied, but unfortunately, it was not remarkable. It was not a bad tea by any means, but nothing particularly insteresting.
Flavors: Coconut, Earth, Grass, Pineapple
This is a tea I had a few times before beginning our class and never really had an opinion on it. I remember it being earthy and deep, like most green teas but I thought it would be fun to try it again now that I have learned so much more about the quality of tea and what to look for. For off, it’s in a bag and really finely ground, so it is probably safe to assume that it is of lower quality. I brewed it in a clear, blue, art-deco mug and aromatically it wasn’t that bad. When I tasted it, it was more bitter than I remembered and almost imparted a burned flavor. I feel like the plant it came from was rather young as there didn’t seem to be any depth in it. I didn’t get any joy from drinking it and I know the process it went through was very mechanical. I remember Professor Zhu talking about the more you learn about tea, the more you get out of it. I definitely feel that this is true as I can taste so much more nuance now. This is a tea I would have been fine drinking before, but now I can’t bring myself to reach for it.
Flavors: Burnt, Dirt, Earth
I have had this tea on numerous occasions as I love white teas, fruit pieces, and vanilla in my tea. Aromatically, it’s really lovely and full bodied. The leaves are not as whole as I would like them, to be so the quality is less decipherable, but it’s a little easier to see once they’re steeped. This time, I steeped it in my big, white teapot and let it steep for three minutes. My mom and I enjoyed it together in my small, white porcelain cups. The first sip is pear forward which builds as you continue and has a lingering aftertaste of vanilla. My favorite thing about white tea is the slightly numbing mouthfeel and this one, in particular, remains on the pallet. The only thing I do not like is that the smell does not linger, and wanes as you steep the leaves. Regardless. my mom and I both thoroughly enjoy sharing a pot of this tea.
Flavors: Apple, Biting, Pear, Vanilla
My mom brought home this tea the other day for the two of us to enjoy together. I steeped it today and in a big white teapot and used my favorite cups (the ones I will be using for the tea ceremony) for serving it. The tea has lovely aromatics of peach and earth. We enjoyed this tea together in our living room, sitting by the fireplace and looking out the window at the falling rain. The first sip did not have the traditional full-bodied, borderline floral flavor, but more of a dark tea with an essence of peach. As I continued to drink, the oolong flavor built and left a nice aftertaste. Overall, it was really lovely with a slight tang. We enjoyed it and the togetherness it brought us.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Peach
I picked this tea up because it seemed like the perfect Autumn treat. It had very pleasant aromatics of cinnamon spice that relaxed me and made me recall having cinnamon apple cider and playing in the fallen leaves as a child. Because of this, I decided to enjoy it in a beige mug with a warm brown rim that has been in the cupboard for my entire life. The actual tea steeped more quickly than I had anticipated, and was a lovely dark color. The taste was very nostalgic with earthy cinnamon and a light aftertaste of orange. As I enjoyed my tea, I reflected on how many Autumns I have been through (21!) and how tea has been present for the entirety of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed the cup, not only for its flavor, but for its ability to drift me through my memories.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus Zest, Earth, Orange
I recently tried this tea on a trip to a local tea house and had never heard of a milk oolong before. I was told that the process involved withering the leaves over a milk bath, which imparts a creamy, dairy flavor. It came in a little white teapot and as I poured it into my cup I found it to be slightly lighter and more opaque than a usual oolong. The flavor was quite unique as it has the traditional qualities of oolong (grassy, floral notes) but with a distinct milk flavor. I wasn’t a huge fan of this one as I don’t love milk on its own, so adding it to tea was a bit off-putting. My favorite aspect was the aftertaste as the milk flavor wained and became more toasty and aromatic. I’m glad to have tried it!
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Milk, Toasty
My boyfriend selected this tea while we were having afternoon tea. The tea shop has an eclectic mix of vintage items, so my teacup was rounder with fall foliage and his was flatter with delicate flowers. We were given the full pot over a lit warmer. We enjoyed tea snacks of finger sandwiches, scones, and miniature desserts. The tea was a nice compliment as it had a slightly sweet aftertaste. The initial taste was vegetal and earth, but the more we drank, the more full-bodied and floral it became. The lovely golden color was a pretty juxtaposition against the porcelain of the cup. As we drank our tea, we noticed an old black and white photograph of an English woman dressed in traditional Japanese garb hanging above us. It made me think about how we are selecting different art for our tea background, and how this was a nice addition to our moment of tea.
Flavors: Earth, Floral, Sweet, Vegetal
This first time a had this tea was during an afternoon tea outing on a brisk Winter afternoon, and it was the perfect juxtaposition to the chilly weather. I had it more recently during our tea tasting in class and had the opportunity to prepare it for everyone. It’s so much more enjoyable to be able to take the time to boil the water to just the right temperature for you, to fill the bowl of the teapot so that the bottom is covered with the beautiful dry leaves, and then after brewing you get to see how they have transformed and swelled with water.
The fragrance of this tea is a great enhancement and adds a moreish quality, the flavor is deep and earthy with more of a raspberry aftertaste. In fact, the lingering aftertaste is my favorite part.
Flavors: Grass, Raspberry
For our class assignment, I decided to go to a little tea shop near Little Five Points, called “Dr. Bombay’s” which had a large selection of teas to try from. I decided to go for the peach white tea since it the most opposite of the Pu’er I was thinking to use for my tea ceremony. The whole experience was really lovely, as we had it with a full high tea. My cup was dainty and white, with little flowers painted all over. The interior of the shop had a vintage, eclectic feeling which complemented the tea. The flavor of the tea was nice, but a little subtle on the peach. It had very little aftertaste, but a nice and refreshing base. The subtle color and flavor paired well with the ginger socnes I was served.
Flavors: Peach, Sweet
I received this tea from my professor after we had tried a small amount in class. I did not know the exact title until researching it later, but it had such a familiar smell that I couldn’t exactly put my finger on. It turned out to be rice! This was my first time brewing with bird’s nest pressed tea, so I was quite excited!
When I brewed it at home for myself, I chose to use my big white ceramic teapot for a nice juxtaposition in color. I let it steep for about five minutes before it was dark and fragrant. I poured a cup for me, and another for my mom as we sat down in front of our dining room window. From the fermentation process, this tea is almost savory and has a full-bodied flavor. There is a strong note of rice and a more subtle plant-like flavor. Extremely enjoyable and moreish. I will definitely be enjoying this one again, especially since the leaves can be used so many times!
Flavors: Plants, Rice, Umami