911 Tasting Notes
My last oolong wasn’t all that hot so I decided to try something I knew was good. I’m surprised I have as much of it left as I do. And when I say that, I mean I’m surprised I have more than one cup’s worth of leaves. I have two. Woo!
Okay, but now that I’ve brewed a cup up, I have the one cup left that I figured I did before. Confused yet? I kinda am.
Anyway, the flavor notes say light, sweet and rich with hints of mango, passion fruit and caramel. I’m with ‘em on the first bit. It’s light and sweet but it’s got a rich flavor to it. More like condensed cream than just sugar. Sweet but richly so. I’m a little iffier on the mango, passion fruit and caramel. What flavor is Juicy Fruit gum? Because that’s what this always makes me I think of. Wikipedia says that they probably use pineapple, peach and banana, so at least we’ve got the tropical fruit thing matching. I can see the caramel now though. I’m pretty sure that’s what give this tea the rich tone to the sweetness.
Anyway, I do love this tea. The Silk Oolong Anxi was a little better but I think it lacked what I’m now going to say is the caramel. So when I say ‘better’, it’s really a personal preference thing. I think when this tea was fresher it had a bit more body to it (or that might have been the Anxi) but all in all, it’s aged pretty well. I need to be better about remembering my greener teas so I don’t have to worry about how they age.
Well, one cup of this left for some unknown date in the future. Then, aside from samples, I will be left with only Citron Oolong for my oolong teas. Yikes. I need to order some oolong, stat!
In my attempt to be productive today, I put on a load of laundry… and made more tea. That counts as productivity, right? Especially since that removed one more sample from my pantry.
Let me preface this by saying: I’m picky about my green oolongs. Because I love them. A lot. And have had some really awesome ones. Because of that, I honestly wasn’t expecting that much from this one It’s not a cheap tea at $20 for a 4.5oz tin, but I’m in love with some that cost four times that so I really don’t think this will be a fair comparison. But it’s a green oolong so I can’t not compare.
The good news is, I wasn’t really disappointed by this one. I mean, I didn’t expect great things and I didn’t really get them. That’s not to say that is it a bad tea. It’s not. It was pretty good for what it is, actually. Has a nice light, floral scent to it – sweetly vegetal with a hint of creamy. The taste could be a little thicker – I used 3.5g/6oz so I know it isn’t my brewing that made the taste thing (or it shouldn’t have been) – but overall it’s pleasant. The aftertaste is somewhat heavy – not a light floral aftertaste or thick, chewy green flavor that I’ve had and loved in different oolongs, but rather somewhere in the awkward middle.
By far the best thing about this tea is the scent as it smells really wonderful. But for me the taste is just… lacking. I want fresher, richer and more vibrant tastes. I think if I had had this tea a year or so ago, I would rate it a lot higher but now I just want more out of my oolongs than this one can give me.
I want more tea but I’ve totally over-caffeinated myself today. Like to an absurd level. Enough tea this morning to make my hands shake, this weird coffee-tea oddity, then drinking chocolate… I need tea but I need something with no caffeine or sugar more. So I chugged some water (which I was apparently craving) and then dug this lovely out little monster out to finish off.
Mmm, puffed wheat. So good. Sweet but no sugar to make me (more) hyper. No caffeine. Just lovely, sweet, wheat-y flavor. Mmm. And now it is gone. And I must order more. So many tea companies, so little pantry room.
I debated adding this or not but ultimately decided to because while I feel this isn’t really a tea beverage, I think the intent is for it to be a tea beverage. So I will log it.
Why don’t I consider this a tea beverage? Because it has coffee in it and the dominant taste is that of coffee. This tastes like something that you’d buy in the grocery store next to the Starbucks bottled Frappuccinos. Or actually order from Starbucks itself. Why do I think this was intended as a tea beverage? Because it’s from a company with ‘Cha’ in the name and they specify that they use Yunnan Gold black tea.
But does this taste like tea? No. I mean, I’m probably picking up hints of the tea and I’m sure it contributes to the taste, but I don’t drink this and think, mmm, tea. This is coffee. Actually, it tastes a lot like a diluted chocolate covered espresso bean. I think the chocolate comes from the Yunnan (cocoa notes perhaps) and the obviously large amount of sugar this has. Because this has a lot of sugar. It’s listed second on the ingredient list after water. And 16oz of this has 72 calories, which is the same as almost 5 teaspoons of sugar. Five. In 16oz. So yes, this is sweet.
That sweetness is probably what saves it for me and makes this enjoyable. I like chocolate covered espresso beans and this is like drinking them. So my big conundrum – how do I rate this? Do I rate it just on overall taste? Because it was good, I’d have it again (mostly because I do love me some sugar). Or do I rate this as a tea? Because expecting a tea and getting this? Yeah, that wasn’t so pleasant. As a non-tea bottle drink, this is probably a 73. But expecting a sip of tea-like beverage? This is probably a 23. So I’ll give it a rating with the average of those two.
So I didn’t exactly have a metric ton’s worth of luck the last time I made this puppy up so I thought I’d give it another go and use the hubby as a guinea pig to see if his tastes agreed with the tea more than mine. I also decided to brew this like a regular black even though there’s obviously other goodies in there. I could say it was something like I was experimenting to see what flavors I wanted to pull out of the tea, but in all honestly, the Zojirushi was set on 208, so I just used that. Apparently when I get lots of sleep, my mind is even groggier than when I get very little sleep.
This cup is actually more successful. But that’s only been on sips 2+. Sip one, things hit me why I wasn’t a big fan. Good brisk start to the sip, watery bland finish. That’s what did it for me the other time I had this – the taste at the end of the sip. It tastes raw and weak and thin. So I got that this time, made a face, then put the cup down for a bit while I checked out the flurry of activity that happened on here while I was asleep.
Letting it sit seems to have been beneficial in some ways since the raw, thin flavor is now gone from the sip but now there is a hint of bitterness right at the tail. It’s not unpleasant though, so I’m cool with it (others might not like it though). Fortunately, I’m drinking this out of my new 15oz mug so I can let the tea sit for a while without it getting cold. Which means to me, I’m only going to enjoy this tea in large quantities, when I can let it sit long enough to make that end taste transition but still remain a bit hot.
Still not a favorite tea or something that I’ll have to get in the future but definitely a more successful steep for me this time around. Gave the rating a nudge upwards as a thank you. The husband is quite enjoying his cup, though, saying it reminds him of a good morning coffee that he would actually like (neither of us are big coffee fans). He even went so far as to ask if it had Darjeeling and Keemun in it. I’d probably guess so and that helped me with that bitter flavor I get at the end – Darjeeling. Not sure what the raw, green flavor at the end previously was though, but now that I’ve let my mug cool a little too much while discussing Calibre sorting with the husband, I seem to be getting a little of that rawness back.
The husband also stated that he was a bit torn on this tea because it is awesome but borders on being a touch bitter at some times. He even went so far as to give it a low 5/5 stars. Which for him is huge. So yeah, apparently I’m the freak that doesn’t enjoy this tea.
Just finished watching District 9 and thought it was time to change up the tea I was drinking. I realized I haven’t had this in a while (and I’ve only had it once) so I pulled it out. It smells a lot more floral than I remember. Taste-wise, it’s odd. A little tart, a little floral. When I take a big sip, I get a raw, sharp green veggie taste (hello artichoke) and the aftertaste is slightly vinegar-y. The front taste of each sip is also odd. Almost a powdery floral taste. Very weird and this one bit of taste just doesn’t really go for me.
So yeah, dropping the score on this one just a little. It’s odd and go Adagio for attempting the weirdness because you never know until you try, right? This isn’t a great tea, but if I was in a weird mood, I think this would fit pretty well. Not a tea to drink when looking for a lot of subtlety because it isn’t a subtle tea and if you look too hard, you end up with powdery floral. But hey, want a green to smack you around just a little bit and give you something unexpected? This would do it!
Wanted something better than my last tea so I thought this one had good promise. The dry leaves smell a little musty/woody and they feel so freakin’ velvety. I actually held on to one just to pet it. So soft! I passed it on to the husband and he agreed with the soft furry of the leaf then ate it and said it tasted like fresh green beans.
The brewed tea has a similar green bean note. This is a note that I’ve gotten and hated in other white teas (that and soy beans), but that’s because it is an overcooked taste. This one isn’t like that. It’s missing the crisp snap but otherwise brings to mind the taste experience of munching on fresh peas with my granny when I should have been helping shell them. It’s got that type of summery sweetness and fresh green veggie taste going on.
It’s also remarkably cuddly. I mean, this is a good comfort tea. The woody/nutty under note gives it that delightful, “good tea to snuggle with” taste and the fresh, summery sweetness (which I’m guessing is the honeysuckle and peach notes but I’m not adept enough to pick those up as more than anything than general sweet summer) gives it a light and refreshing, happy feel.
This tea is awesome. And will be lovely to sip as I watch the Mythbuster’s MacGyver episode. Awesomeness all over the place.
I just finished watching a Modern Marvels show on tea ( http://bit.ly/11xMMn ). The History Channel is so cool. Anyway, it made me want something more on the green end of the tea spectrum so I rooted around in my samples and pulled out this one.
Okay, this bag? Has like the most minuscule amount of tea ever. One gram. One. For the way I make tea, this isn’t even half a cup. Even using Western style brewing, this isn’t even half a cup. Shame on you, Golden Moon. That’s pathetic.
I went ahead a brewed up a full cup of this but I’m honestly not expecting much. The resulting tea is less pale than I expected but the taste… Initially all I could taste was hot water and Splenda. I did not, however, add Splenda to this. It just tasted like I did (and while they say it doesn’t, Splenda totally has a taste). As it cooled, the Splenda taste became a bit like… well, something a little more flavored than Splenda but I can’t get enough of the taste to figure it out. Maybe honeyed soybean water. Which is probably the chrysanthemum (the honey taste) and the white tea (soybean water). The chrysanthemum dominates but the white tea pokes out more if I slurp but slurping also brings out a weird vegetal bitterness.
The more this cools, the more actual taste I get but I’m underwhelmed. The aftertaste I’m left with once my cup is done is that of Splenda-ed soybean water. So perhaps it is a good thing that I had such a tiny amount of leaf in my sample packet. Because I don’t think I’d like this taste at all if it were more intense. At the same time, maybe if there were more leaf, I’d get more depth to the flavors and not be left with a Splenda-like aftertaste.
I did a second steep of this one (@3mins) to see if I could find anything like what others have found (or anything at all redeeming) and all I got was soybean water with a little Splenda. I decided I didn’t need to experience another whole cup of that and poured it out. My rating is based on the first steep.
Need tea before my brain can work. Grabbed this one because I am finding I enjoy trying different breakfast blends. No clue why but I do.
Can’t really get any smell off the dry leaves. I mean, they smell like something but I can’t identify what. My nose is a bit stuffy so I’m not going to fault the tea on that one. The brewed tea smells very… tea-like. A little sweet, a little… nutty and earthy maybe?
The taste is smooth and rich but not overly distinct. A little heavy feeling, but not in a clunky way because the overall feel of the tea is smooth and silky. So more like a heavy satin than anything unpleasant. I really enjoy the feel of this, actually. Solid and hearty but not rough.
No bitterness, no real astringency (just a tiny dryness at the end maybe), the nutty flavor seems to be the most distinct. I seem to get a hint of my beloved cardboard every so often but it’s not very strong so I might be imagining it or hoping for it.
Overall, a good tea, I think. Not super-special or flavorful but I really loved the heavy feel of it, especially since it was coupled with a nice smoothness – no rough bitterness or astringency that seems to come from heavier bodied teas. I’m not sure if I’ll have to get some, but I kind of wish I had a lot more in my pantry to slowly go through. If that makes any sense. So probably not one I have to go out and buy RIGHT NOW but when I order from Tavalon, I bet I’ll get some of this.
I also made the husband a cup. He likes it quite a lot saying that it seems to give different tastes with each sip – sometimes it is like a heavy Irish breakfast and others like a smooth black. He’s finding a bit of bitterness/astringency on the very tail of the sip that he says keeps it from becoming a 5 star tea for him, but it’s a 4/5 for sure.
ETA: Had the second steep of this (@6:30) with some fairly strong, butterscotch-y cheese and crackers and it held up well. Even though it had a thinner body that the first steep, the flavor was still nice and strong enough to combat stinky cheese.
Lots of lemongrass. I’m anticipating something very lemongrass-y. But this smells nice.
I’m surprised – the taste isn’t overwhelmingly lemon/citrus. The smell certainly is but not the taste. The main flavor is sweet, fresh and light, but there is a nice, comforting mellow note running underneath the citrus-y and fresh lemongrass that has to be the green tea. It makes a light, refreshing tea have a little more depth. Quiet enjoyable.