526 Tasting Notes
I am not really surprised by the mixed reception of this tea, but personally I like it a lot. It is subtle and complex in both smell and taste, it has a long and evolving aftertaste and great mouthfeel. What’s more, it also increases my awareness without any caffeine rush. I am really in love with the purple varietals.
Throughout the session the leaves turn from brown with a purple hue to a mix of brown and dark green. They seem like a good quality and firm leaves.
I didn’t really pay close attention to the aromas and flavours, maybe I will add a more complete account of those from another session. The flavours that I did notice include butter and a surprising coriander (seed) bitterness in the finish. Early infusions were more floral, while the latter ones rather nutty and somewhat sheng-like. The aftertaste was slightly sour, spicy and warming with a strong fragrance.
The mouthfeel of initial infusions was mouth-watering, creamy and developed into a little astringent in the mouth. In later infusions, from about the fourth one, the mouthfeel became thick and oily, further deepening the resemblance of raw pu-erh.
Flavors: Butter, Coriander Seed, Floral, Nutty, Spices, Tea
A decent albeit quite light bodied Baozhong. The mouthfeel is super light, the liquid seems to almost vanish soon after it hits mouth. Once it cools down, it becomes a little bit more velvety. The smell seems fairly complex, but not so appealing to me personally. I noticed a strange mix of aromas, although not necessarily all at the same time – papaya, coconut milk, caramelized onion and citrus. The taste is floral in the first few infusions, with sweet and sour undertones. Interestingly, the aftertaste actually becomes quite savoury. The later steeps are much more grassy and citrusy overall. It’s a good tea once in a while, but not my favourite.
Flavors: Caramel, Citrus Fruits, Citrusy, Coconut, Floral, Grass
First thing I noticed is an unusual smell of the dry leaves, which somehow reminds me of old leather. Wet leaf scent also has that quality, together with a tobacco note. The leaves are actually quite broken up, but there is no dust really. The tea brews a very clear liquor. It is quite fruity with a short bitterness at the back of the mouth. The mouthfeel is interesting, even though not as thick as I would expect. It starts off coating, but becomes a bit powdery and dry in the finish. The aftertaste is fairly acidic and only a touch astringent.
Overall, the tea somehow strikes nice balance between being delicate and powerful. It is tasty and clearly of good quality. Nevertheless, I feel like the price is too high. Maybe I am just not the one to properly appreciate a premium Keemun black tea though.
Flavors: Fruity, Leather, Sour, Tobacco
As others have mentioned, this is an astringent tea. I can imagine myself choosing to go for a tea like this from time to time, but probably not too often. The smell is dominated by toffee and tomato vine aromas. The taste is quite citrusy with a good balance of sweetness and bitterness. Surprisingly, the bitterness really comes to the fore in the aftertaste. I wouldn’t say it’s unpleasant necessarily, but it took me a bit by surprise. The body is good, but not spectacular I’d say. Overall, I didn’t find too much about this tea that would make me want to revisit it.
Flavors: Astringent, Citrus Zest, Orange, Toffee
This is unlike any other tea I have ever had. I am not quite sure why is that the case though. Dry leaves give off an interesting and deep aroma that has a little bit of a leather quality. After the rinse, I get a fairly subtle, sweet and complex smell. There are hints of fish, nettle, swamp vegetation – I just can’t stop sniffing it. The liquor smell like dry bamboo and the empty cup more like rapeseed flowers to me.
The first two infusions after rinse are still just a warm-up. They are quite vegetal, salty and a touch bitter with an interesting aftertaste that’s a mix of fish and thistles. I know it sounds strange, but that’s the closest approximation I could come up with. This is a strange tea.
The third infusion is where the session properly starts. From then on, the tea is thick and incredibly smooth with a buttery and numbing mouthfeel. It is a Lincang tea, so naturally there is a decent amount of astringency, but it’s manageable and it only occurs in the mouth, there’s no drying sensation in the throat. Interestingly, the colour of the liquor is quite dark and with a brownish hue.
I enjoy the taste too, although it’s hard to place it. I would say it’s a mix of sweet, floral and alcohol flavours. I think I will need more time with this tea to be able to pinpoint it. The aftertaste is slightly acidic and floral at first and becomes nutty (think sunflower seeds) and sweet over time. It also lasts so long. As I am writing this, it’s been about half an hour since I last drunk the tea and I can feel it in the throat as if I just swallowed it! One quality of the aftertaste that just emerged now is a kind of vegetal (grape leaf) flavour.
Because of the protracted aftertaste, strong cha qi and a very good longetivity of the leaves, this turned out to be a really long session in the end. It’s not the kind of sheng I would drink casually or with little time to spare.
I think I like it a lot, but I will wait with the rating until further sessions. It’s hard to compare the tea with others because of how different it is. It’s a bummer that the cakes are sold out though, I would have loved to have this one in the collection. At least there are versions of this tea from previous years that I could pick up, but now I wonder which one should it be?
Flavors: Alcohol, Astringent, Bamboo, Fishy, Floral, Nutty, Plants, Salty, Sour, Thick, Vegetal
I am really enjoying the smell of this tea. It is pungent, robust and complex. The dry leaves have a aroma that’s a mix of fruity and floral notes with some nutty ones, like cookies. Somehow it also reminds me a bit of some Chinese green tea. The wet leaf smell is dominated by passion fruit to an extent, but behind it there are notes of macadamia nuts, charcoal, mountain forest, sage and thyme flowers. The empty cup and liquor smells of beeswax most notably.
The taste is robust and tangy at the same time. It starts of with some roasted nuts and charcoal notes, but the bitterness is very light. Soon after, it becomes more vegetal, only to get somewhat fruity with a mix of sweet and sour flavours in the finish. The astringency is very mild and comlements nicely the floral and cooling aftertaste. Overall, it’s a very refreshing drink.
Mouthfeel is a little on the thinner side, but very smooth and slightly mouth-watering. I definitely wouldn’t get the tea for the mouthfeel alone, but it’s good enough to not be a huge downside. All in all, this tea is worth the price for sure, especially if the idea of a Dong Ding with some high notes excites you.
Flavors: Char, Cookie, Floral, Forest Floor, Fruity, Honey, Nuts, Passion Fruits, Roasted nuts, Sage, Tangy, Thyme
This is a nice fruity oolong in the highly oxidized category. However, it doesn’t really stand out in any way other than the smell of the dry leaves, which is unusually strong. Especially the mouthfeel is somewhat subpar I’d say.
I found the overlap between the notes in the smell and taste to be quite large, the main ones being stonefruits (peach), dried fruit (dates) and spices (most I couldn’t quite pinpoint, but in the wet leaf there is definitely cardamon). Apart from that, there are also citrus notes (lime) and the taste sometimes reminded me of cheesecake.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cheesecake, Dates, Fruity, Lime, Nectar, Peach, Sweet
As one would expect from a good Long Jing, this is quite a delicate and nutty affair. The main notes I get are almonds, eggwhites, cooked vegetables (courgette, spinach) and also cooked poultry. It’s savoury, but maybe not as much so as it might seem from the flavours. Overall, the taste is actually quite balanced, with a touch of astringency and sourness in the finish, and very little bitterness. The mouthfeel is velvety, thick, and not too coating.
I can definitely recommend this tea to people who like Long Jing, but if you are not already onboard with this style of tea, you might want to look elsewhere for an introductory tea.
Flavors: Almond, Apple Skins, Meat, Nutty, Pleasantly Sour, Spinach, Umami, Vegetables, Zucchini
My favourite out of the three main offerengs by Material Matcha Uji. They are all quite different though, so I think it eventually comes down to personal preference or even particular mood on the day.
This one is incredibly smooth and rich. The dominant flavour is definitely umami, with sweet, peppery and vegetal undertones. There is very little bitterness to be found here.
Flavors: Pepper, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal