Shanti TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Another twisty tea from Indulgashinna. It’s funny, I think the Thousand Arrows looks more like unicorn horns than this does. Thousand Arrows is uniformly twisted. These are fuller in the middle.
I had the impression of joints when I first looked at them. I needed a reality check so I asked the BF to take a look. He said: “looks like weed.”
In any case, the two teas smell very similar in the tin. Which makes me wonder whether they are made from the same underlying leaf?
I put 3 “horns” in the gaiwan, rinsed, and steeped at 195F for multiple steeps starting at 15 seconds and increasing by 5 each time. I did 4.
The first steep gave a very light colored liquor, just the palest yellow, and not a ton of flavor. The note that Terri mentioned (bleach) was something I was also aware of, though I don’t know if I’d have called it that without reading her note, but there was also a sweetness.
Steep 2 gave a much more in the realm of oolong pale yellow liquor and an even sweeter tea. It’s not really a honey sweetness like I got with the Thousand Arrows, though. It’s more like spun sugar.
Steep 3 is where the tea starts to bear an aroma and flavor similarity to the Thousand Arrows. The liquor is deeper in color, and the wine/grape note is more prevalent. The sugary aspect also takes on something deeper, darker, and more honey like.
Not as charming looking as the Thousand Arrows, but a very interesting presentation nevetheless. This alone means I’ll be holding onto it for a while as Shanti no longer has this available on its website and it appears to have been discontinued.
I’m rating this where I rated the Thousand Arrows and bumping the Thousand Arrows up some.
Flavors: Cotton Candy, Honey, Sugar, White Grapes, White Wine
Visually, this tea reminds me of the Blink Bonnie from the now departed LeafSpa. Definitely a more interesting than usual look.
The Blink Bonnie was a green tea and this is a Sri Lankan oolong. Interestingly, Blink Bonnie was also a Sri Lankan tea — it was Indulgashinna as well. It appears that Blink Bonnie may be an estate, but it also appears that Indulgashinna makes more than its share of these twisty leafed teas.
Sri Lankan oolongs generally aren’t among my favorites, but I might have to make an exception for this one — mostly because I just looked on the Shanti site and they don’t have it available anymore.
It would be a shame not to have in my collection a tea that looks like this. It’s just too cool.
In aroma and flavor, this isn’t like the typical green oolong, nor is it like the typical dark. It has a sort of wine-like note to it, but it’s not overly sharp. I am afraid I’m relegated to describing it more by what it is not than by what it is.
Not: floral, orchid, lilac, dairy, butter, milk, toasty, roasty, woody, smoky, stonefruit
The best I can come up with is nutty-honey-grapey-wine. The tea starts out a sort of butter yellow and becomes a darker gold with repeated steepings. I rinsed and steeped in the gaiwan at 195F for 15 seconds and added 5 seconds more each time, for five steeps.
Something to hold onto until it returns to Shanti or another Indulgashinna distributor turns up — but most of its points are attributable to the visual rather than the flavor.
Flavors: Honey, Nutty, White Grapes, White Wine
I now have whatever it is the BF has. Thanks, dude. I guess you missed that day in preschool when they taught everyone to cough into the crook of their elbow. (He really did cough right in my face! Nasty!)
So maybe I’m not tasting as well today as I should. I did manage to sleep pretty well — didn’t wake up to cough or anything. But if history teaches me anything its that coughs linger with me. I expect at some point I’ll have to put in a request for cough syrup with codeine. Ugh.
But in any case, this has a mild, grassy smell in the tin. Very different from yesterday’s goddess. No toast at all.
Gaiwain. 195F, rinse, 15 seconds, +5 through 4 steeps. I would have done more but I have an appointment this morning at 11 and I want to get through some other teas first.
The tea is a medium yellow and clear, and it smells a little milky, a little sweet, a little like flowers. It tastes just like it smells.
This is what I typically think of when I think if tieguanyins, and it’s a good representative of its type. Very drinkable, just not necessarily unique or transporting. It could get there with a bit more of a distinct floral aroma and smell. Maybe it will be different when I am not sick.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Grass, Milk, Sweet
The smell in the tin is fruity, like some mish mash of berries. I steeped in the gaiwan at 195F after a rinse starting at 15 seconds and increasing in 5 second increments.
The tea is golden bronze and clear after the first steep and smells like grapes — juice or wine, it has both characteristics. The flavor is very grapey as well, but mild, and not sharp.
I get the comparison to darjeeling, but darjeeling is usually not as smooth — it tends to have a sharpness that isn’t present here.
I’ve had Sri Lankan oolongs before (the LeafSpa comes to mind) but the ones I’ve had have been greener, and it has been easier to see them as oolongs because they bore some similarities to Chinese green oolongs. This is a darker oolong and unlike anything I’ve had before.
The liquor became darker on the second steep, a sort of burnt orange color — more heavy on the orange than the burnt. The flavor is fairly constant, though. Like a darjeeling lite. I sort of feel disappointed by this because I expected something else. If I wanted darjeeling, I’d have darjeeling.
Now I feel as though I’m being unfair and not very open minded. But then again, if something is going to defy expectations, it my view it better do it in a way that is so awesome that you’re glad your expectations were defied. Alas, I don’t feel that way about this tea.
If I could get past that and just enjoy this for what it is, how would I feel about it? OK, I guess. But not much more than that.
By the third steep, the liquor is a fairly vibrant orange. I don’t know whether the color has anything to do with it, but I’m also getting a flavor note that is orange-like. The tea’s astringency has become pronounced — lots of drying in the mouth.
I stopped after the fourth steep. I felt as though I had a plenty good introduction to this tea at that point and I really wanted something that fit more with my expectations of an oolong — so it was time to move on.
I love the name of this, and the idea of it. I just don’t love the tea. It isn’t bad, it’s just that it isn’t what I think of when I think of oolong and for that reason it was bound to disappoint me. It’s kind of like when you are expecting someone to give you a Labrador retriever and you get a fox terrier? Maybe not the best analogy, but the point is they are both dogs — you were just expecting the big pawed, gentle family dog and you got the little yappy, skittish one.
Flavors: Astringent, Grapes, Orange, Red Wine
Sipdown no. 130 of 2018 (no. 486 total).
I’m not sure what went wrong with my initial tasting of this, but it didn’t deserve to score that low. Bumping the rating.
Because it had rated low, I drank this as a take it to work tea every day this week.
By the end of day 1, I knew I liked it better than I thought. Partly for that reason, I couldn’t bring myself to put it back in rotation.
It was a tough week. Everyone trying to get everything done right before the holiday shut down.
I deserved jasmine.
The dry leaves smell a little like… beer? Very odd. (There is no beer under the Steepster flavors menu). I think it’s a yeasty smell that makes me think of beer. And of course, there is also jasmine and a grassy green tea smell.
The tea is pale yellow and clear, and it doesn’t smell like beer. It doesn’t really smell much, actually, and the flavor is very, very subtly jasmine.
I also get a sort of a strange fruitiness, like a mystery tropical fruit of some kind. Mango, maybe.
All of this is very strange and unexpected, and it makes me wonder what is up here. Do I need to steep it a bit longer or a bit hotter than usual? I had hoped this would be a juicy, strongly flavored jasmine after reading some of the notes here, but that’s not what I am getting.
I’ll try again a different way. For now it gets a provision rating of borderline.
I’m so disappointed. Jasmine greens are pretty much my favorite teas. There should be a law against them being less than perfect.
Flavors: Alcohol, Fruity, Jasmine, Yeasty
Sipdown no. 5 of 2019 (no. 493 total).
This is one of those things where if I had the ability to keep an unlimited number of things for an unlimited amount of time, I would not have sipped this down now.
It’s actually very tasty, and quite tasty as a cold tea unlike most other smoky teas I’ve had.
I probably rated it a bit lower than it ought to have been rated, so I’m bumping the rating. But my decision to put it into the cold brew queue was based on its former rating.
Somewhat sad to see this one go.
Very dark brown, long, twisty leaves. In the tin, they smell so roasty as to smell burnt.
I steeped in the gaiwan at 195F after a rinse, starting at 15 seconds and adding 5 seconds in each subsequent steep.
The tea is dark, a sort of copper-dark amber. It smells smoky, with a curious and elusive floral note that swims in and out. Flavor-wise it is also quite smoky, with a mineral/stonefruit pit flavor.
I took this through five steeps and didn’t notice much change from steep to steep.
Maybe I don’t have my tea tasting legs back quite yet. I like this, but I don’t love it. Maybe because the smoke is a bit heavier than I was expecting to start my morning with.
Flavors: Burnt, Floral, Mineral, Roasted, Smoke, Stonefruits, Toasty
Continuing with the project to taste everything in my cupboard and write a note about it at least once so I don’t feel continually haunted by the pages of cupboard that remain noteless.
Which also dovetails with the project of making sure I have green tea (my take it to work tea) available for the transition from one tin to the next should it happen mid-week. I see a sipdown of my current tin on the horizon, so I’m applying the law of conservation in anticipation.
I am feeling pretty good about the stash culling project. I have basically completed project chai sipdown and project lapsang sipdown. I’m also pretty far along the road of project white tea sipdown. In fact, I might be pretty close there though I do have some samples and flavored versions I may not have tried yet.
Occasionally, I find another black tea I haven’t tried, so I’m trying to get to those as well. But I’m surely within striking distance of having tried and written a note about all the black teas I own.
Which leaves oolongs and pu-erhs. I’ve barely started with the oolongs. I have a ton of samples of both, in addition to what’s in my cupboard. So that is going to take a while.
Anyway, this tea.
It smells grassy in the tin with a slight smokiness. Not as smoky as gunpowder, though.
After steeping, it maintains that but also takes on a somewhat vegetal character. It’s a medium yellow green color.
The flavor is somewhere between a gunpowder and a dragonwell. It’s not a juicy, sweet, vegetal tea — it’s more of a grassy, toasty flavor. And I don’t get the plum aftertaste.
But it is easy to drink and I could see it being a perfect tea for work. Don’t know if I’ve had others of this type, so I’m rating it to benchmark against.
Flavors: Grass, Smoke, Vegetal
I had thought Shanti had gone away as a company, but then I realized I got it confused with the Simple Leaf. I’m glad the company is still around. I don’t remember it being Canada-based, but maybe it has been all along?
As you can tell, it has been a while since I thought about this tea. I am cracking it open because I’m about to sip down another green. Law of conservation and all that.
It took me a while to develop a taste for Dragonwell, but now I quite like it as a rule. I like the juicier China greens as well, but Dragonwell is great for those days when I’m looking for something a bit less vegetal. Gunpowder green can fill that void as well, but like lapsang, it’s something that I like as more of a sometime thing than a regular thing.
In the tin, the leaves have a grassy-hay-like smell, almost tending toward the woody. After steeping, the tea is pale golden yellow and clear. It has a sweet, vegetal aroma that is reminiscent of asparagus with a grassy overtone, and a nuttiness in the finish that tends toward the cashew. As is characteristic, it’s less juicy in its vegetalness than some other China greens, which gives it a sophistication.
Very nice indeed.
Flavors: Asparagus, Grass, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal
This was a sample I got from MissB forever ago, and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get around to drinking it.
Silly me didn’t read up on this before I brewed it, and just assumed it was a black. I brewed it at boiling, was a bit surprised by the light infusion, then panicked on taking my first sip to find that it was clearly a dark roasted oolong. The panic didn’t last long, though, because even brewed at boiling this tea is incredibly smooth! No astringency whatsoever. The nutty, charcoal oolong flavour is most prominent (possibly because of how I brewed it) with sweet, lighter maple notes behind it which last into a lingering sweet syrupy finish. Now, we all know how much I love Butiki’s Maple Pecan Oolong, and even though this is quite different it’s still the closest I’ve come to finding anything resembling that wonder of a tea. As a result of that comparison, as well as on its own merits of course, it has gone straight back on my wishlist.
Thank you MissB for facilitating this discovery!