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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlogged review from Friday. I’ve been so busy this weekend I just now had time to finish writing it up from my notes (herein lies the reason why I don’t do gong fu much!)
It’s the first day of a mini 5-day staycation I’m having, and my friend Todd from the Bay Area is flying in today to see my condo and my rescue kitty! His flight doesn’t come in until later and I have to get the house ready, but this morning I decided to start the day with a gong fu session, since I didn’t have to just throw something in a travel mug and head out the door to work. This is a sample I got from the Discovery Traveling Teabox, so thank you to Skysamurai for organizing and to all those involved in that box for sharing their teas! I had a 1.5g sample and prepared it in my baby sized gaiwan.
1.47g / 40ml (gaiwan) / 205F / 15s|20s|25s|30s|35s|40s|45s|50s
On the initial steep the tea was a pale amber color and had an aroma of autumn leaves, rose petals, sap, and honey. The leaf in the cup was dark, twisty, and smelled of malt, wet leaf pile, molasses, and a bit like a burnt piece of toast smothered in floral honey. The flavor of the initial infusion was quite weak, with some slight notes of autumn leaf and floral dew; the color was much darker on the second infusion, with a citrus flavor of mandarin and pithy orange peel and a strong rose florality coming forward. The tea became a bit bitter on the tongue, with a bite on the back of the tongue and some astringency left after the sip. The bitterness thankfully smoothed out during the third and fourth infusions and was gone in later infusions; a strong rose aroma and taste remained throughout most of the session. Citrus notes were also quite strong, though the third infusion the citrus presented more as a lemony note and less as pithy orange. Malt notes started coming out in the third and fourth infusions with a light toast flavor, with the fifth infusion presenting the maltiest flavor of the session. The tea had lost most of its flavor and gone quite weak by the eighth infusion, which is when I decided to wrap things up.
Since I really enjoy rose/floral notes, I enjoyed this one a lot, as I found that a very forward flavor note. It held up rather well for being a (assumingly) older tea from a teabox and I appreciate the chance to try it!
Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Burnt, Citrus, Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Malt, Molasses, Orange, Rose, Sap, Toast
Another tea I really liked at the Toronto Tea Festival and was also selling for a really good price. The aromas remind me of magnolia, moth balls, cooked vegetables, okra, rice fields and antique shops. Taste is sweet and grassy with hints of green apple, citrus zest, cardamon and various florals.
It’s not a prime example of a Darjeeling FF, especially now a year after the harvest, but given the price I am very happy with it.
Flavors: Citrus Zest, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Sour, Sweet, Vegetables
Chalk up another for the too-old teas, but at least since this is an oolong, it’s still tasty to drink, just likely missing some of its previous sparkle (if it had any). So yeah, it’s a green oolong. It’s smooth going down, light on the flavour, a good balance of florals and cream. Not too much in the way of those “green” flavours (agh, what are those compounds called).
This actually is decent enough to rate – judging by the notes of Sil and Raritea (thanks for the sample, btw!), it probably wasn’t a spectacular marvel of a tea, but a good, solid, green oolong. I’ll be looking forward to the few cups of this I have left.
Finished this one off today. Figured i might as well try and focus on it today vs yesterday. Today i actually like the cup a little less than yesterday. Maybe it’s because i’m paying attention but today it’s got some floral notes in it that i’m not a fan of. there’s also a hint of something in the background that i could do without. Suspect this may be more of a darjeeling vs black tea given the notes i’m getting.
Another sample from VariaTEA from earlier in the morning. I can’t remember much from this one other than the fact that i drank it all up, rather quickly. Not a tea that knocked my socks off but something i think could be a decent every day drinking tea. Luckily there’s more for me to try so i can make a better descriptive tasting note next cup :)
This is not an actual sipdown, however I am not a lover of darjeelings and though this is a nice one I just dont think I appreciate it like a darjeeling lover would. I happen to be having dinner with a friend who is a fan of darjeelings so I will be passing the rest of the sample on to him.
As far as darjeelings go, this one is nice. Muscatel and raisiny per usual but not overly floral as darjeelings can sometimes be. A little bready even. A good darjeeling for those new to exploring darjeelings. Thank you for sharing, Evol Ving Ness!
Another single serving from the Discovery tea box. I really wanted to go light on steeping this one, in my experiment to eek out more flavor by using cooler water and shorter steep times for initial steeps. This seems to be a black tea with flavoring and it’s delicious. Nice cocoa flavor with hint of cherry in the first steep. Considering the cool temp and short steep, there was quite a bite to the black tea when it cooled. In the second steep, the cherry disappears but there is quite a starchy quality. The description says Ceylon… I usually find Ceylon boring but this one is delicious with these flavors. Otherwise, the base might be boring by itself, but not as boring as Ceylon CAN be. This was quite the lovely tea to try.
Steep #1 // 1 1/4 teaspoons for a full mug// 20 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate
Discovery TTB #2
There was only a teaspoon left of this one, so I finished it off. It was a very light black tea with a mild, fairly natural mango flavor and an unfortunately sharp aftertaste. Not a huge fan of this one.
To be honest, I had this a few days ago and don’t really remember it. It is pretty light tasting, which isn’t usually a black tea I can remember anyway. The leaves were larger, making the flavor even less strong than I’d want in a black tea. I CAN say the tea was probably better than this tasting note!
Malty and honey-sweet accents, not really a full-fledged full-bodied tea, but its smooth and creamy toffee-like flavour coats the inside of the mouth in a wonderful way.There is a faint hay/straw note lurking somewhere in the aftertaste.I’ve tried with different quantities,brewing and temperature ratio, but 100 g later,it’s still there.
Nevertheless ,this should not deter anyone from enjoying this tea.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Malt
Discovery tea box – Tea #5
I feel like I might have had this tea under a different name before? Or some mango teas have the same not-quite-mango flavor. It seems more like a generic fruit flavor to me. It’s not bad, but a bit disappointing. If a tea was just called ‘generic fruit’ flavor or something, I would probably be less disappointed in what to expect. I would love an authentic mango tea that really has that particular flavor of a mango… kind of like Lupicia can nail that melon flavor. Or maybe NO TEA can compete with eating actual fresh fruit!! I think I just found the answer to my fruity tea problems.
Another TTB tea. This is a sipdown because I gave the rest of this to a friend who gave me a bunch of teas to add to the teabox.
This is a really solid black tea with deliciously creamy vanilla notes. The base itself has flavours of raisin and malt, maybe even cocoa. I’m impressed. Normally vanilla teas just aren’t quite what I’m hoping for, but this one is very good, and made even better with a splash of vanilla soy milk.
Flavors: Cocoa, Creamy, Malt, Vanilla
A tea from the TTB
The dry leaf has a weird scent, but the tea itself was pretty tasty. I drank it hot, but I think it would do well iced. The mango flavour is quite natural, similar to dried mango. It was a nice cup, but not something I need in my cupboard.
Flavors: Mango, Tropical
Another tea from the TTB 2018
This is a really nice black tea with some darker fruity flavour. It reminds me a bit of raisins or dried date (but not sweet).
This is a really flavourful bold black that is not overly bitter. The fruity flavour is nice, but more of an afterthought that a prominent note. It is fairly smooth but I don’t taste any malt. I don’t have experience with Nilgiri teas, but I think the wiki description of “dark, intensely aromatic, fragrant and flavoured” is very accurate.
Flavors: Fruity, Raisins
I always enjoy chatting with Joel about tea and life at his booth at our local tea festival.
Last year, I mentioned that I was making more of an effort to focus on varieties of tea at a time to learn a bit more about them and explore their range. So he said, just pop me a note about which ones you are focusing on currently and I’ll throw something in your next order that I think you might like to try.
And that is how I wound up with this tea. And omgwow! The leaves are long, thin, wiry and speckled with gold strands of leaf. The flavour of the steeped tea is honeyed stone fruit and malt, more like a Darjeeling, in my understanding, than a Ceylon.
Just a beautiful tea, one which I will be adding to my next order.
Thanks, Joel! Sorry that I missed you this year.
Finished this one off today. Making slow progress in terms of numbers on my cupboard but doing a great job in getting my weight down, which is vastly more important. If i can keep it up, maybe i’ll let myself place a small order this month :) I’ve enjoyed having this one in my cupboard but it’s not exceptional. A good sort of every day drinking tea imo.
Back from work travel and trying to relax….still a little sick but much less so than before. I suspect that this is going to be alot of a cough hanging around. Ian took the doggo out for an adventure to give me a chance to unwind after my parents met up with us for breakfast. Always nice to see them even if it’s for a short time. Happy to be back with my cupboard :)