Cloud Mountain Tea House

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Recent Tasting Notes

Western mug of this from earlier in the week; I was just feeling completely miserable when I got home from work (sore/in pain/massive headache) and all I wanted was a nice cup of tea in the pitch dark, covered in blankets in total silence. I ended up getting most of those things; but the tea was… meh.

It’s my fault; in my grumpiness/soreness I didn’t pay close attention to the steep time and I 100% oversteeped this tea. It’s a shame, because I could taste the sweet, juicy and floral notes of lychee and white grape coming through in the cup but they were just swallowed by a bitterness and astringency that tainted the entire cup.

Boo.

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82

From my mom’s BC Vacation haul.

When she stopped at Cloud Mountain Tea House I asked her to pick out a mix of stuff she found interesting and just whatever the owner recommended trying; according to her, this was his top pick/recommendation for something really unique and worth trying.

I do really, really love Lapsang Souchong – both smoked and unsmoked, like this one. So I was excited that this was one of the teas I wound up with. I’m drinking it this morning as a lazy morning cuppa to kind of ease into the day. It’s a very relaxing flavour profile, so it’s working well for this purpose.

I’d call it sort of medium bodied, with very smooth and gentle flavours. It’s interesting to me that the owner describes this as more of an oolong flavour because that’s exactly what I was thinking with my first few sips, before reading the description of the tea. Personally, Rou Gui sort of springs to mind. You know, that very smooth warming spice/cinnamon sort of quality with a mix of accompanying notes: some roast and malt, wood/bark, a stonefruit/peachy kind of sweetness but perhaps most importantly a floral kind of finish. Heady florals; florals with weight to them. It also has a bit of a quince sort of undertone, as well as honey and baked bread.

I’m really enjoying it, and this is one that mom got a larger amount of so I’ll definitely be able to try Gong Fuing it in addition to just having more really nice mugs of it too.

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79

Gongfu from a few nights ago!

I was really craving Sun Moon Lake, so I broke into my tin of this – which is a lot more empty than I remember it being. I guess I did drink a lot of this one last summer…

The tea leaf in the bottom of the tin is pretty broken up, so this wasn’t quite as aesthetically beautiful as it usually is – but I think I compensated by picking a couple of the irises and other purple flowers that grow along the walking path near my house to decorate my tea tray with. I love being surrounded by plants/flowers when I brew Gongfu! I also used my Taiwanese Black Tea dedicated unglazed shiboridashi for this session – the one from Inge Nielson. I love that shibo so much!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/By7tM6HAX9S/

Lots of yummy tasting notes in this session – a strong wintergreen note packed with sweetness and a refreshing finish, some raisin, caramelized sugars and molasses notes, and freshly baked bread. So, definitely on the sweeter side – but lots of yum packed into those steeps! A hint of astringency from steep three onwards – but nothing icky. Six infusions total; short but sweet.

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trtyiZbsmo0&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ&index=68&t=0s

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79

Recently had this one Gong Fu, shared with my Dad.

It’s not often I come over and it’s just the two of us, so we decided to steep up a tea Gong Fu and just have a really nice, extended session and catch up. I was a little shocked though; I absolutely adored this tea when I first had it but sharing it with him I almost didn’t recognize it at all. It was just so incredibly astringent all throughout the session. Thankfully, my dad didn’t really pick up on that and just enjoyed having something warm, and black to sip on but it bugged me all throughout the session.

Apart from just being highly astringent, this also had some honey notes in the start of the session and progressed into a very cinnamon and malt heavy overall profile. I played a lot with steep times throughout this session to try and find some balance for the astringency, but I never reached a point of harmony. After eight infusions, I just had to throw in the towel and admit that I was having a miserable time drinking this one and suggest moving along to a different tea…

Not every session is a good one, but this one was just surprising to me. Definitely feel like I have to lower my rating to account for how dreadful this was, and that’s a shame.

evol-ving

Hmm, maybe the water temperature or the quality of the water at your dad’s place? What do you think it was?

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79

From my mom’s BC vacation haul.

So Cloud Mountain is one of the places I personally requested that my mom check out, however unlike the other places I asked her to stop at this time I told her just to let the owner pick out a few of his favourites for me – I knew pretty well anything I ended up getting would be good quality, so I was open to trying whatever.

She got me a few things, but this is what she brought home the most of/what the owner has recommended the most, I guess? I was definitely excited when I saw it though! I love a good Sun Moon Lake; they’re always so smooth and delicious, and a perfect example of a straight black tea that’s really sweet and perfect all on its own: zero additives. I’ve yet to make one for anyone and have them not enjoy it.

Unsurprisingly, this was delicious.

I think it has a lot of the characteristics that I’m come to associate with Sun Moon Lake/Taiwanese Assams and my first few sips took me right back to my very first time experiencing one – from Butiki! Any tea that reminds me of Butiki is certainly magical in its own right…

Top notes: Honey, Raisin, Caramel, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla/Tonka

Body notes: Malt, Dried Fruits/Stewed Fruits, Plums, Cinnamon, French Bread

Finish: Cocoa, and a bit of light and pleasant astringency…

I love these kinds of blacks because they have SO MANY different flavour elements to them; like literally more than a dozen unique flavour notes. All of them are distinctive, but they’re not competing with one another. Instead, they smoothly transition into one another and form this beautiful, fluid flavour that overall is really rich and sweet but with notes that are almost borderline umami. It’s so well balanced and put together!

Fuck, this was SO good.

Helena

Never had Sun Moon Lake tea but it sounds great!

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92

I love the zesty spice taste I get from this tea. Perfect with a little milk.

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89

Big time Star Trek lover and nothing goes better with my morning than this fantastic Earl Grey from Cloud Mountain Tea House.

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