442 Tasting Notes
A very good Darjeeling for reasonable price, even 1 year after harvest it’s still got a complex aroma. There is a lot of sweet floral notes, reminiscent of honey, dried dates and apricots, but at the same time some heavier whisky and lighter grass ones. The taste is less spectacular, but definitely enjoyable. It is slighly sweet and spicy with vegetal notes too. The astringency is not too strong and the mouthfefel is somewhat bubbly. The colour, as is often the case with FF Darjeeling, is a beautiful golden orange.
The steeping times I did were: 5s wash, 20s, 40s, 60s, 100s. It became a little flat and on the bitter side in the last one, but still retaining its character to a large degree.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Dates, Dry Grass, Honey, Spicy, Whiskey
What a lovely experience drinking a tea like this is! The smell is strong with prominent notes of banana and some spruce. I like the taste too, which is also somewhat fruity. I can taste cooked apple, grapes and a bit of egg (shells?) in the background. The aftertaste is slightly bitter and reminiscent of pine tree.
Where this tea got me though is the mouthfeel. It is so incredibly thick and velvety from the very first infusion! If you add the effect of the tea on your sensory perceptions, which is very enjoyable by itself, what you get is one of the best teas I have tried!
By the way, listening to some cool music should absolutely be part of every session with a tea like this.
P.S. Oh, and one more thing. This tea can really make you sweat if you drink fast, at least that’s what happened to me. It seems to be more warming than any other tea I’ve has thus far.
P.S. 2: I have just made a final infusion by simmering the leaves for about 30 minutes. It is quite different from all the other ones, being more nutty, sweet and a little bit shou-like (both in taste and colour). Very nice I must say.
Flavors: Apple, banana, Fruity, Grapes, Nutty, Pine, Sweet, warm grass, Thick
This tea has strong chocolate notes in the smell, supplemented by malt and pumpkin spice. As for the taste, there I notice more of a cocoa bean flavour than chocolate. It is also quite floral for a black tea and somehow evokes the feeling of cold and dry winter days. Overall, it is a sweet affair with very little bitterness or astringency, I think this is a pretty inoffensive tea. All things considered, the closest comparison I could make with regards to taste would be lychee I think. Finally, another strong point of the tea is its full body and silky mouthfeel.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Floral, Lychee, Malt, Natural Pumpkin Spice Flavor, Oats, Sweet
This is a very robust, balanced and fragrant tea, it ticks all the boxes of a good large leaf black tea. The body is medium, so I like to push the steeping time a bit. That brings out a bit more of the bitterness, which I enjoy, but even lighter brews are delicious. I get reminded of some Assam teas as well as Yunnan teas from the Ye Sheng varietal. The smell is sweet and floral and the aftertaste is significantly protracted.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter, Dark Wood, Drying, Floral, Mineral, Rum, Sweet
This time I can smell a strong dried apricot note in the dry leaf, it reminds me of apricot danish pastry a bit too. Generally, I found the smell somewhat more fruity, with some peach and nectarine hints too. Some new notes I got from the wet leaf smell include tobacco and strangely enough quite strongly also the smoke generated by smoke machines at concerts and such. That took me by surprise somewhat. Generally it’s quite a sweet smell compared to the taste, which also has some sweetness (this time I also noticed bubblegum in at least one of the infusions), but verges on the savoury side overall I would say.
Flavors: Apricot, Peach, Smoke, Stonefruits, Tobacco, Wet Rocks
I think this is the first white tea I tried that I thoroughly enjoy. The aroma is very sweet floral, with some hay/dry grass notes too. It is strong and calming, I spent a lot of time just sniffing :D
As for the taste it is complex enough even at low temperatures, which is something I lack in other white teas I’ve had. As such, one can adjust the astringency levels up to their liking without compromising the flavour depth too much. Overall, the mix of floral and vegetal qualities makes for a very delicious drink. The mouthfeel is not particularly pronounced, although it can get quite drying at high temperatures.
I am going to try to cold brew this one soon too, I think it could yield good results.
Flavors: Cannabis, Dry Grass, Floral, Hay, Honey, Metallic, Olives, Summer, Thyme, Vegetal
This is definitely the best shou I have tried so far! I literally like every aspect of it. It brews an incredibly rich and dark burgundy coloured liquor. The smell of the wet leaf is pleasant and cooling like an autumn breeze with some plum sweetness present as well.
As for the taste, it is very balanced – somewhat savoury initially with light coffee bitterness, which transforms into cherry and sugarcane sweetness soon enough. Especially the latter steeps are more on the sweet side. In the aftertaste, there is a dark chocolate note and I get some strange “dancing” sourness on my tongue for minutes after drinking it.
For a ripe pu-erh, I would say this is a full bodied tea with a soft and velvety mouthfeel that is a little cooling. I also noticed that it makes me more focused, without any caffeine rush. I feel like this would be a good tea for my office.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cherry, Coffee, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Red Wine, Sugarcane, Sweet
First few steeps were dominated by the bitterness and some mushroom notes mentioned by others as well. Later on, the bitterness faded to allow for some sweeter and fruity notes to come forward, nothing specific i could identify though. The body is medium overall and the astringency was fairly strong throughout the session. Even though I can’t really pinpoint many specific notes, it seems complex enough. There’s a lot of subtle ones that are very much in the background. I feel like this tea can benefit a lot from aging, but it wouldn’t be my choice for drinking right now. However, the rating I gave is with respect to its current state rather than aging potential, because really that would be just a pure guess on my part.
One interesting thing I did notice during the session was very strong warming effect around steeps 4 and 5, especially in the chest and throat area.
Flavors: Alcohol, Astringent, Bitter, Mushrooms, Spicy, Vegetal
At first, the smell seems similar to Japanese green teas, but then I notice an a floral & sweet note, a bit like honey, but not quite. In fact, it reminds me of breckland thyme to a large extent. The taste is fairly sweet and mild with only a hint of umami. I didn’t find any bitterness and only very little astringency from the third steep onwards. Next time, I can maybe use hotter water to see how the tea reacts. The mouthfeel is velvety and body is medium for a green tea.
Overall, it reminds me of some early spring chinese green teas I have had, but I like this one more because of its stronger flavour and thicker body.
Flavors: Berries, Floral, Honey, Jam, Nectar, Sweet, Thyme