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Recent Tasting Notes
I have a few teas left that I never got around to from last year’s Lunar New Year “Tiger Box” from Volition Tea and Yao Cha Tea. As part of my effort to finish off my advent calendars, I’m trying to finish these too.
I steeped this one up gong fu style in my easy gaiwan from Butiki, RIP. I went with 175f, a quick rinse, and started with a 30 second infusion, increasing the time with each subsequent steep.
This was so good! Volition’s teas are pricy but I’ve found them to be consistently excellent, and this is no exception. It’s clover honey-sweet, with a thick mouthfeel and wonderful fresh green notes that come out more as it cools. It feels both decadent and bright at the same time, which has been really nice for a lazier-than-I should-be Sunday afternoon.
I decided to get Volition’s curated “Bunny Box” for Lunar New Year this year, which came with a beautiful hand thrown and painted rabbit teacup (in the photo below), two AMAZING white rabbit rice crispie treats, and this cake of sheng pu’erh with one of the most beautiful wrappers I’ve seen in a long time.
I definitely have to do a proper tasting of the tea still, but I made a tiny bit of it grandpa style after I unboxed everything. I don’t remember the taste very much but I do remember that the texture of the liquor was very soft and it felt really good on my throat as I sipped; lots of huigan and that fantastic warm belly feeling afterwards!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CnxeeQEuE8y/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WmhJBUPhh4
This tea was the sample for the final day of Lunar New Year and the Tiger Box! I was a little surprised to see an oolong since all the selections had been in order of tea type so far – I just assumed that meant we would be finishing with a pu’erh. However, despite the surprise, I’m certainly not disappointed! This was a very lovely yancha with a deep roast and woody mineral intenseness to it! Awesome grilled stonefruit notes right off the bat! However, it softened slightly over the steeps and the floral plum undertones continued to slowly build. A really beautiful way to close out this experience!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CaA52RTON_c/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tanz2wHqNQ
Sipped on this first pu’erh from the Tiger Box a couple days ago. for my afternoon session! It’s a rather stem heavy tea, but among the many stems are large beautiful leaves! Early on the session had a slight snap of sweet citrus to it, but quickly settled into a calmer and more consistent greener leaning profile. Still a hint of fruitiness alongside a light astringency – like lemongrass, in a few ways, and peach skins in others. Mostly I tasted a simple but distinct woodiness and a almost creamy bit of pandan. It’s not hooking me in so immediately the way many of my favourite sheng have, but I’m finding it very grounding and with a mild enough flavour to allow easily a more contemplative session.
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZ7o1Oauhct/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTaTBl0-YfE&ab_channel=Kitten-Topic
I love how syrupy the liquor of this black tea is even from the first steep, and with practically zero astringency save for the faintest little hint after the swallow. It perfectly suits the notes of melted caramel, perfectly golden and toasty sweet potatoes, and slightly tangy cooked red fruit notes – like a pomegranate molasses kind of flavour but a little less distinct than that. The later session evolved into more of a raisin-y fruity note with more of a malty rye bread kind of vibe alongside the sweet potato that remains a consistent note throughout. There’s something about the way these flavours have such brightness and thickness to them while dancing across the palate that just feels special!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/ChNSNKHu6ny/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF7N9pzM7C8
Definitely stoked I enjoyed this one as much as I did, since it’s the one tea that I also bought a tin of when I placed my Tiger Box order. The liquor is so full bodied and rich, and the taste is just spot on sweet potato pie, complete with notes of baked sweet potato, warming spice, toasted nut, and golden toasted marshmallow. Deep, dense, and deliciously decadent!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZ2iVQcuGGH/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nrEaHinGmY&ab_channel=GlassAnimalsVEVO
Steeped this one yesterday evening. It would have been interesting to taste this tea back to back with the Raw Jade that was included in the Tiger Box a couple days ago, but these two sessions were still in close enough succession that the flavours are pretty fresh in my head!
The liquor of this oolong is definitely a little more lush and full bodied, but still has a pleasant roundness and starts of quite silky. The taste reminds me a little bit of fresh buttery croissants with a very, very delicate undertone of cocoa powder. It’s also still very floral, but in a sweeter and deeper way. The entire session tasted distinctly of parma violet candies to me, mixed with a bit of a greener edge and other fruity tinged floral notes. I snacked on blackberries in between some of the infusions, and really loved how the jammy sweetness of the berries played with the plump florals present in this sample.
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZxcqTOOfKH/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udY2u5xgTiM&ab_channel=ScoobertDoobert-Topic
Gongfu from the Tiger Box!
What a gentle and lightly oxidized oolong! I think this is my favourite tea sample so far; the liquor of this oolong was just so silky and buttery and it perfectly complimented the fragile, sweet floral notes of this tea so much! Very aromatic and light, with the freshness of Springtime flowers and jasmine blossoms. About three or four infusions in it dawned on me that this was giving me the satisfying and warm sensation of a linens fresh out of the dryer – but through taste! That super clean, sweet and light coziness that just swallows you up and leaves you with a feeling of home and peacefulness.
We’re officially past a week into the Tiger Box and it’s been such a fun journey so far; while I haven’t really been able to catch any of the livestreams (timezones, ugh!), it has been a total joy reading everyone’s tasting notes and see all the different sessions each day!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZsKJz5uXuz/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WePwQ11UZhw&ab_channel=TakeThisToHeartRecords
Three days of green tea sessions in a row might actually be a new one for me, but I love being pushed outside of my comfort zone and having my tea preferences challenged. To my tastes, I’m finding this a pretty classic example of a Long Jing in terms of taste; a little bright and greener on the top of the sip but quickly slips into a much more buttery and nutty chestnut profile in the mid sip and finish. Nuttier flavours are some of my favourites in any type of traditional tea so this is one of the few types of Chinese green tea that I do often keep a very small amount of on hand!
I’m just glad that we didn’t get four green teas in a row in the Tiger Box…
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZm0SqauIiq/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iucc93cPTkg&ab_channel=CryingDayCareChoir-Topic
This was from the third day of the Volition Tea and Yao Cha Tea Tiger Box. It seemed to kick start a little mini marathon of green teas throughout the box. The two companies haven’t said this outright, but based on the trajectory of teas from the last six days I think we’re going to be exploring in tea type order, starting with white and ending with pu’erh…
Just a theory though!
Obviously I wasn’t thrilled to see a green tea, but can I tell you a secret!? Even though I am notoriously not a fan of most green tea I actually find that green tea leaves are the most gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing to look at!! Sorry pu’erh cakes. While the bright, fresh green notes and hints of sunflower butter might not have been exactly to my own tastes (which is okay!) I just couldn’t stop looking at the leaves before, during, and after steeping…
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZh9dNUu8OH/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6JheoQyAd0&ab_channel=Vilde-Topic
I’m a couple days late in saying it, but happy Lunar New Year to everyone on Steepster who may be celebrating!
This year I decided to pick up a “Tiger Box” (named after this year’s zodiac animal) from Volition Tea and Yao Cha Tea that includes tea samples to be enjoyed with the community over the next two weeks – this was the tea from day one! The tea is delicious with a thick creaminess to the liquor and fresh notes of cucumber pulp, snow peas, clotted cream and Timothy hay. Some of my favourite white tea tasting notes! I sipped it in a teacup with a tiger motif, in honor of the Year of The Tiger, and it was delicious for a couple different resteeps over the course of the morning.
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZcZlemOpZb/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLOPEkEtnb0&ab_channel=DavidDeanBurkhart