2350 Tasting Notes
I positively ache tonight. I took a nap this afternoon but still feel so tired. It is hot hot HOT here and I have been walking with my neighbor several mornings a week, but the past two times my legs felt heavy. Hubby is sick, came down with fever and chills yesterday, and I am hoping that isn’t what is happening to me!
I should have gone to bed but I needed a little space for my head to clear. I decided to use a gaiwan tonight to really force myself to focus on the tea. I am also hoping it will blast all the pathogens to smithereens.
The dry leaves had that strong chocolate scent that blows my mind. How does green tea smell so much like chocolate? The first steep – no rinse – is chocolatey, floral, and grassy.
Steep two – I fumbled and burned my fingers. In the hoopla, this got a little oversteeped,but I didn’t want to pour it out. It literally tastes like grass and burned toast, but the most amazing super sweet aftertaste followed every swallow. I am so glad I didn’t miss out on this aspect.
Steep three – shorter, grassy and floral with a mineral taste. A little earthy. A little roasty.
Steep four – keeping this steep short and feeling like an athlete in training as I watch my hand while pouring the tea. I thought I was pouring to the middle, between the spots where I grasp the gaiwan, but I see that somehow my wrist angles the flow toward my fingers. I must concentrate on aiming more for my thumb, which will put the flow right where it needs to be. I am beginning to feel the position that I see when I watch a video of a tea master pouring. There is a lingering burnt wood taste in my mouth. I’m lovin’ it. Or… toasted walnuts! Yes! After I swallow the last sip, I feel like I am tasting confectioner’s sugar in my throat, like I have just eaten a Sweet Sixteen doughnut. (Or “donut”, as Susie Dent claims we Americans spell it.)
Steep five – Shortest steep and sweetest flavor yet. Don’t know if I am exhausted or getting a little bit tea drunk. Though sweet, the woody and grassy notes are still there with the roasted toasty flavor. Aftertaste is a little grassier.
Steep six – dogs barking. Checked outside. Oversteeped again. Toasted walnuts!
Steep seven – short again, and floral up front with grassy following. Toasted walnuts present but subtle. Aftertaste still lingering very nicely, more floral now with mineral notes.
I read the note by K S before drinking this, and miss him being on here terribly. Rest in peace, friend. Enjoy the celestial star gazing.
Then I read GMathis long ago note about the storms coming through, and here we are in the midst of terrible storms in the mid-west tonight, and I knew that not long after that note GMathis would lose her home to an F5 tornado. She and her family were safe, thank God. ETA: I had my timeline wrong. It was not long before she wrote her note on this tea that the Joplin tornado occured.
We’ve been through a lot together here on steepster. I hope we can keep meeting here.
And now we can look forward to tales of the new babies (Hi, Sil and Kittena!) and students
taking exams (thinking of you, Martin, and saying a prayer for those finals!) and all of life revolving and churning, while we sip our tea all over the world…together.
Probably tea drunk. Crying in my cup. Love you guys.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
This is a sipdown, but I see I had already taken it out of my cupboard. I am shocked to see that I bought this seven years ago. I would be ashamed of myself for not having finished it long ago, but for one thing.
This tea has aged magnificently.
The leaves are still a light, silvery green and covered in downy hairs. There is a bit of nutty flavor, but the fruity note has gone up two notches at least, and I am on the third steep.
I am trying to drink up my oldest teas and there are some I think I will just oackage up and send away, because they have hung around long enough that I know I don’t really want them. (I’m looking at YOU, grocery store impulse buys!)
This was so good, that instead of enjoying having a little extra space on my tea shelf, I looked to see if they still this so I could re-order. They don’t. That’s probably for the best.
I have been watching Teahouse Ghost videos and then boring my dear husband to tears with lots of tea talk. He mentioned that he couldn’t remember what sheng pu’er tastes like, and I told him that was probably because I never made him any. I didn’t think he would like it much. He was mildly affronted, or pretended to be, so I set up the tea tray for a gong fu session tonight.
After warming the gaiwan, I put in the leaves to rest and release their aroma. Peaches with ginger, heavy on the ginger!
My husband says his reviews are usually, “It was hot and had tea-like qualities.” This time he got creative, saying it smelled like wet hair – probably a good assessment since I use organic herbal shampoo bars. Then he said maybe what he really meant was earthy. Also not a bad descriptor for this tea, as there is a hint of distant smoke. He said it “had a wang”. When I told him that I tasted camphor, he said he definitely agreed and that was what he was calling the wang, but I think the astringency contributed to the wang. Ha! So sheng pu is what drew him out of his shell to attempt a real description of a tea!
Now for mine….I found this to have a lot of peach/apricot aroma with ginger, a little more ginger than I care for in the early steeps. We did many. The camphor I already mentioned, and the briskness reminded me of darjeeling.
The liquor grew smoother and sweeter as we steeped. I used 200F rather than boiling. The color was light gold, fading with later steeps.
I am left with a warm glow and feel very sleepy and so peaceful, which I really needed tonight. I may check back in on this in a year, but I don’t know. I own very little sheng and I want to start getting to know sheng better.
Perhaps I will hit up mrmopar for some recommendations since he first recommended this one to me.
I am very excited that I used my gaiwan and didn’t burn myself! Ha ha! I have hardly ever used it, and have not felt very successful with it, but it is coming a little more naturally to me now and I really enjoyed it. I see more gaiwans in my future…
I am trying to sip down a lot of my older tea, and I found a bag of green tea samples from Teavivre buried in the tea chest. We had this tonight with pound cake, fresh strawberries, mini chocolate chips, and whipped cream.
First, it is 18 months past its “best by” date. I know it has faded but it was still good. What astounds me is that after a few cups I was so hot I felt like I was having a hot flash, and I knew it must be the tea but I hadn’t read the reviews that talk about the warming sensation. I have the air conditioning on and still I was sweating. I decided to sit back and enjoy it like a nice evening in the sauna.
Our dessert was so sweet that I really enjoyed the earthy flavor amd light bitterness of this tea. It was a perfect foil for our cake. It really cut through the sweetness, and we had enough to make one fair cup for drinking after the cake was gone.
The leaves are adorable. They look like tiny pea pods! I believe we made four steeps in all.
I cleaned out my online cupboard a bit today as I have sipped down a few teas recently. I am also shocked at how many teas I have not added to my cupboard and I just don’t feel like doing it right now, but this is one that I need to finish soon but had not been added, so here we go.
My husband and I had one of our gongfu cha sessions on the floor tonight with this. I used one teaspoon for my little pot, which holds about seven ounces fully topped up with no leaves in it, but about five ounces with big oolong leaves taking up space. We used boiling water.
The first steeps were very floral, had a wonderful aroma, and a mild taste. This is bery green with none of the charcoal baked flavor of strong mineral notes of some. As the steeps progress, the taste becomes even lighter and fades to notes of hay with soft greens.
I think next time I will use more leaf and see if it can make the floral notes grow and last longer.
I used to have mixed emotions about gongfu cha, but tea is changing me in a lot of ways. Instead of viewing the preparations and clean up as a chore – is it really worth it? Ugh! – it has become a peaceful part of the process and I enjoy the process from beginning to end as much as the actual tea making/drinking part. Filling the kettle, carrying the tray to the spot we have chosen, setting out the teaware, and choosing the tea, all are an integral part and bring me quiet contentment in my task. Washing the tea things, drying them, and taking my time carrying each piece back to its resting place instead of rushing to finish the job, is a pleasure. I am trying to carry that mindset over to other things that I must do, as well.
A few days ago I glanced through some of the oldest bits of my tea log and noticed this blend. It had been so long since I’ve had it that I couldn’t remember it well. I knew I liked it and that I enjoyed mixing it with Rose Scented by Harney. I thought I might order it again sometime, and then…there it was on shelf at The Fresh Market today!
Our Fresh Market is a bit small and the tea selection not quite like the bigger ones in bigger, more affluent cities. But they have new tea! They even had Tower of London in loose leaf and they had four Kusmi teas in sachets! I should have waited and purchased it with a discount through Harney directly, but I was too excited.
I made it to go with Easter lunch and set out a cup for hubby to try it thinking he would take a sip and pass. He usually doesn’t like black tea except with milk and sugar, but he drank a whole cup plain and said he liked it.
Later we had chocolate cake and made a second pot and he drank several cups of it again. Plain! Yet he adds milk and sugar to Queen Catherine! I don’t understand. Ha ha!
I like it best with food. To be 100% honest, this is on the verge of being too harsh for me, which is why I was shocked that my husband liked it. The Keemun is A-Okay, of course…you know I love Keemun! And the Ceylon is great, as is the Formosa oolong. But the Assam…it is pretty prominent here and I just have trouble with how strong Assam is sometimes. It really is a milk and sugar tea to me, and I try not to add anything to my tea.
I think I will be softening it sometimes with Rose Scented as I drink it, and definitely serving it with food. It was really good with the chocolate cake I made for Easter and cut through the sweetness of the chocolate buttercream frosting.
For breakfast tea lovers, I think this would be nearly perfect, and I really truly mainly bought this because I am going to a women’s Bible study now and the teacher is super nice and loves strong tea, so I wanted some teas to share with her and to serve when she comes over, because she is really nice and I want to show my appreciation for all she does.
I will review this again after she drinks it, and let you know what an Assam lover thinks of it!
Chilling at home with the dog keeping an eye on all the tornado warnings. So far, none for my county but quite a few around us and several where my kids are. Hubby has to work through the storm, possibly all night if trees come down or we have more flooding, so here I am drinking tea, lighting candles and picking a good book to download.
Tea of the moment is Azalina’s Malaysian Black, paired with Peanut M&M’s cuz I am a grown woman and I can eat what I want. They are the pastel Easter ines which makes them even more delicious because they are cute.
First thought when steeping was, “Whoa! Pumpkin spice!” Then I decided it was much more of a Christmas blend aroma. I really assocaite clove and orange with Christmas. But the hint of lavender is really nice. It is just the barest hint and I could easily mistake it for rosemary.
I steeped it for just three and a half minutes because the leaves are so broken, and I am happy with the strength. It is not bitter or astringent, at least not with food, it might be a different story if I put the candy away.
No milk no sugar, as usual, and I find it very enjoyable. Thank you, derk, for the generous sample!
ETA: well, now WE have a warning! Currently in hall bathroom with dog.
ETA again! All is well!
This is another tea I received in a swap with derk. Many thanks!
Even though there were only four of us last night, we finished off two large tetsubins of this. I think it is safe to say that it was a hit! It has a nice nutty flavor, and I would call it a medium roast. We were steeping western style of course.
Since we were reading, eating, and listening, I didn’t give it all the attention it really deserved, but I can say that it was delicious and I would definitely order this, and would also try it gong fu to see how it changes.
Excellent tea. Thank you, derk!