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Another tea from White Antlers Thank you :)
And same pouch as derk had, she sent the left amount to me. So yeah, June 2014 harvest, best before June 2017. But it still looks pretty well.
Dark green cannon balls, which looks bit more to oolong than actual green tea.
But anyway to the brew. I took around 10 those cannon balls, which were unknown weight, but on the label there is 3-4 balls per cup. I used again the 300 ml cup, so well, maybe it was just right? Steeping was minute and half, maybe two minutes recommended time is 45-60 seconds. I think I maybe used recommended temperature, it is said 75°C/167°F. But I haven’t measured it.
The taste should be good lemon blossom taste. Again, I have no experience tasting lemon blossom, nor smelling it, so I hope… it is correct. I noticed lemony notes, sweet grass, buttery and well others say astringency but I don’t had it at all. Maybe the age mellowed it?
Anyway, pretty tasty, though old. The caffeine boost was somewhere in the middle. Quite smooth and mouthcoating. I look forward to try another brewing methods. Maybe gongfu would work better to unfurl the balls completely.
Flavors: Buffalo Grass, Butter, Lemon, Lemon Zest
April 2016 harvest.
Dry leaf smells like rich chocolate syrup with undertones of black raspberry and faint wood. I went for the maximum recommended brewing parameters since it’s old: 2tsp (3g), 300mL, 180F, 45s
Steep 1, 45s: thin and watery with a hint of licorice root. Let’s go longer.
Steep 1.1, 90s: brisk with faint wood and malt. Let’s go longer.
Steep 1.2, 180s: fuller body, brisk, mostly wood, a little bit more malt, fleeting grass, hints of black raspberry and chocolate, lightly cooling. Aroma is noticeable now, with chocolate and black raspberry undertone like the dry leaf. I think I’ll stop here.
This was my first Korean black tea and I have no reference with which to compare. It reminds me a bit of Japanese black teas. Based on my limited experience with Korean green teas and tisanes, I would’ve expected a simple warm and roasty flavor profile. It has nailed simple; I’m guessing age hasn’t favored this tea. I’d be interested in trying a fresh harvest.
Thank you, White Antlers, for the opportunity :)
Flavors: Astringent, Chocolate, Grass, Licorice, Malt, Raspberry, Wood
This was a sampler I received in an old 2017 What-cha order. Still sealed. I wanted it to go with my potstickers for dinner tonight, so I brewed it up as a pot, western style. Smells precisely as one would expect, with strong nuo mi xiang herb aroma, as well as some fainter aromas of butter and minerals. Perhaps something lightly vegetal, like cauliflower?
Flavor is nice; I’ve really enjoyed a sticky rice pu’erh I have, so I was expecting to enjoy this. Lovely umami nuo mi xiang herb flavor, rice, butter, vegetables, and a faint minerality toward the end of the sip. I think the only thing I could possibly complain about with a tea like this is that I have to deep clean my infuser every time I make it, because the aroma is so strong every cup of tea I make afterwards will taste of sticky rice if I don’t.
Flavors: Butter, Herbs, Mineral, Rice, Smooth, Umami, Vegetables, Vegetal
It’s time to take a quick break from reviewing black teas. I finished a 25g pouch of this tea last week, and I have kind of been itching to review it ever since. It was easily one of the most unique white teas I have tried in some time.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted aromas of corn husk, malt, hay, straw, and butter. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond, sugarcane, cream, and golden raisin. The first infusion introduced aromas of honeydew, cantaloupe, and marshmallow. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of corn husk, malt, butter, hay, straw, and sugarcane that were balanced by subtler flavors of honeydew, cantaloupe, and golden raisin. The majority of the subsequent infusions brought forth aromas of plum, apricot, watermelon, vanilla, wheat toast, cinnamon, minerals, autumn leaves, white pepper, caramel, horehound, camphor, honey, and sweet potato. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of honeydew and cantaloupe appeared in the mouth alongside notes of wheat toast, marshmallow, cream, minerals, roasted almond, plum, golden apple, vanilla, apricot, bark, autumn leaves, caramel, red pear, cucumber, orange zest, sweet potato, horehound, watermelon rind, and honey. Hints of lychee, cinnamon, white pepper, ginger, and camphor lurked around the fringes. Once the tea began to fade, the liquor started emphasizing notes of minerals, malt, cucumber, wheat toast, watermelon rind, caramel, cream, honeydew, and sweet potato that were chased by lingering hints of orange zest, marshmallow, sugarcane, roasted almond, autumn leaves, vanilla, bark, horehound, ginger, and honey.
This was a durable and amazingly complex Indian white tea with a very unique mix of aroma and flavor components. It reminded me a good deal of an awesome Ceylonese white tea I purchased from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company several years ago. Compared to that tea, this one was somewhat less refined. Its aroma and flavor components grew increasingly muddled as my review session progressed, and the tea liquor thinned out a little more than I hoped it would. Still, this was a very nice white tea that struck me as stopping perhaps just a hair shy of crossing the threshold of excellence. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a unique and challenging white tea that is also an absolute blast to drink and pick apart.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bark, Butter, Camphor, Cantaloupe, Caramel, Cinnamon, Corn Husk, Cream, Cucumber, Ginger, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeydew, Lychee, Malt, Marshmallow, Melon, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pear, Pepper, Plums, Raisins, Straw, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Vanilla, Wheat
Alright, it’s time to review something I finished earlier in the year. I finished this tea sometime during the spring. I had no intentions to drink it when I did, but I accidentally tore the side of the pouch removing it from the box it arrived in, so I immediately started working my way through what I had of it. Oddly, Nilgiri black teas do not often do a ton for me, yet the ones that impress me really impress me. This was one of those impressive offerings for me.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 197 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaves prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of straw, blueberry, cream, orange zest, raisin, and strawberry. After infusion, I detected aromas of apricot, plum, honey, cherry, and brown sugar. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of straw, cream, apricot, plum, honey, baked bread, roasted almond, strawberry, raisin, malt, orange zest, blackberry, blueberry, red apple, cherry, pear, and brown sugar that were balanced by hints of butter, vanilla, and fig. Each sip then finished in a smooth, malty, creamy, and very fruity fashion.
I may be alone here, but I found this to be a knockout Nilgiri black tea. I loved its robust fruity notes and the smooth, mellow finish of each sip. What-Cha has been knocking it out of the park for at least the past year or two with their Nilgiri offerings. Each one I try ends up serving as a reminder that I need to devote some time to trying more Nilgiri teas.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cherry, Cream, Fig, Honey, Malt, Orange Zest, Pear, Plums, Raisins, Red Apple, Straw, Strawberry, Vanilla
Received four pearls from derk, thank you!
I took one, though there is written 2 pearls as good preparation, but as well 3-4 minutes steeping time.
I prepared grandpa. And I got baked bread, malt, and overral typical black tea notes. They were fine, it wasn’t bitter at all even it was steeping for 30 minutes or something. It has dissolved pretty well too. I have expected just more overall flavour, it was bit like washed out, but maybe because the age (spring 2016).
Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt
The loose leaf looks great, though it is 6 years old. As derk noticed, as it is from her, and actually from White Antlers (Thank you both!). The leaf looks pretty much as on photo, though bit darker.
I decided to brew 3 grams in my 300 ml glass cup. I broke my gaiwan today, so I have decided to order a new one! From Tangpin (someone suggested them and I kinda liked some stuff they had and this was the “last drip” to place an order)
Well, it wasn’t remarkable tea. It was green with mineral notes, quite dry. Overall somehow too much hay-like. This tea seems I will get rid off soon somehow. Not really impressed and having way more another greens which needs to be drank as well and they are better.
Flavors: Hay, Mineral
I was intrigued to see this very old tea in my package from Derk. Thanks for the sample, which may sadly reflect some of the older teas in my own collection. I followed the instructions on Steepster and brewed 2 teaspoons in a 355 ml mug at 185F for 2, 4, 6, and 8 minutes.
Dry, the tea smells like orange blossom and old-lady perfume, with a strong tinge of alcohol. The first steep has some nice flavours of orange, orange blossom, flowers, malt, wood, and spice, though these are unfortunately overwhelmed by perfume and decaying lawn clippings. This tea is like Constant Comment if it became a zombie. I went through three more cups of this tea, which grew maltier and more tannic but never lost that perfumey quality.
I won’t rate this tea due to its age, as I’m sure it would have been much more enjoyable fresh. As is, it’s a warning to drink my Indian and Nepali teas before they taste like something that should have been laid to rest long ago.
Flavors: Alcohol, Cut grass, Floral, Malt, Orange, Orange Blossom, Perfume, Spices, Tannic, Wood
The dry aroma of this tea is so strong, fresh and moslty of cashnew and chesnuts. I would not expect it is tea from April 2015; but it is and it’s Best Before date is April 2018. Though old… thank you White Antlers!
I was preparing it grandpa, but well… 5 grams were too much and while pouring (I thought it is for liquids only) it a big chunk just released and my cup of thermos I used instead of bowl, was full with tea. It was hard to spill it back to the pouch. So I think that about another 5 grams were dumped.
Anyway, back to the tea… 5 grams and 82°C water (I measured this time!), volume was 300 ml and well it was too strong, especially brewing grandpa. It turned out quite bitter with vegetal notes. Certainly past its prime time, moreover my preparation method wasn’t the most clever one. I have still lots of to try so won’t rate this time. I noticed as well the minerality, but hey so strong as those previous notes.
Need to re-try and with less leaf
This was the last of the Japanese black teas that I finished in September. Of the three, I found it to be the most challenging and least consistently likable overall. That being said, it was still not a bad tea. I am fairly certain that the way I chose to brew it brought out more bitterness and astringency than would have been present had I opted to dry a different approach.
I brewed this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose leaf material in 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material produced aromas of hay, malt, and autumn leaves. After infusion, I noted new aromas of cinnamon, cream, butter, baked bread, pine, cherry, and orange zest. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of hay, grass, malt, cream, butter, baked bread, autumn leaves, orange zest, lemon rind, vegetable broth-like umami, apricot, earth, cinnamon, Asian pear, red apple, plum, pine, kumquat, roasted walnut, oak, and cherry that were balanced by hints of bitter hickory, blackberry, and grapefruit pith before a bitter, astringent, tannic, and earthy fade.
As stated earlier, this was the most challenging and least approachable of the three Japanese black teas I polished off last month. I should have followed the brewing guidelines recommended by What-Cha, but I tend to brew my black teas strong in order to bring out the most in terms of aroma and flavor. I had also had success with longer infusion times for Japanese black teas in the past, so I did not see a reason to alter my usual approach with this tea. Honestly, I was just being lazy and trying to finish it off as quickly as possible. It deserved more attention, consideration, and respect than I showed it. Despite the distracting bitterness and astringency (again, very likely the result of me insisting on sticking with a 5 minute infusion time), this tea had some very nice aroma and flavor components. I would be interested in seeing in what someone with a lighter touch would be able to get out of it.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Bitter, Blackberry, Butter, Cherry, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Earth, Grapefruit, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Malt, Nutty, Oak wood, Orange Zest, Pear, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Umami, Walnut
This was another late summer sipdown. I think it actually may have been either my last sipdown of August or my first sipdown of September. As usual, I can’t remember. Anyway, this struck me as being a pretty good autumn flush Darjeeling black tea. I tend to be quite picky about such offerings, though, so some people are bound to enjoy this tea more than I did.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose leaf material in 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material produced aromas of malt, baked bread, red grape, and fig. After infusion, I detected aromas of plum, earth, black cherry, oak, smoke, cream, and cocoa. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, earth, grass, oak, fig, black cherry, blackberry, plum, red grape, cream, baked bread, cocoa, hickory, roasted walnut, and orange zest that were balanced by hints of smoke, straw, blueberry, lemon zest, caramel, roasted peanut, cooked green beans, and red pear. The finish of each sip was dry, oaky, and fruity, reminding me a bit of red wine.
This was a complex, deep, and in some respects, extremely refined offering. I absolutely loved the heft and texture of the tea liquor in the mouth and the way it finished on each swallow, but there were also some aroma and flavor components that clashed for me. Like several other Darjeeling black teas I have sampled from 2018 to the present, this one struck me as a mixed bag, though there was considerably more to like than to dislike about it.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Blackberry, Blueberry, Caramel, Cherry, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Fig, Grapes, Grass, Green Beans, Lemon Zest, Malt, Nutty, Oak wood, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Plums, Smoke, Straw, Walnut
Okay, people. I’m back. This whole not having a working computer at home thing is killing me. Hopefully, I can get that issue resolved in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’m going to bust out a handful of reviews while I’m here at my parents’ office in town. This was one of my sipdowns from either late August or early September. I found this tea to be enjoyable though inconsistent and confounding. No two cups were the same. Sometimes I loved it, and sometimes I totally hated it.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose leaf material in around 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of raisin, tobacco, prune, baked bread, and pine. After infusion, I detected new aromas of malt, straw, strawberry, green olive, honey, rose, smoke, and orange blossom. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of grass, straw, pine, raisin, strawberry, raspberry, cream, butter, prune, baked bread, pine, green olive, green bell pepper, honey, grape leaf, and smoke that were balanced by lighter, subtler impressions of earth, orange zest, tobacco, roasted almond, black walnut, rose, peach, orange blossom, and marigold. The finish of each sip was smooth, malty, nutty, and rather vegetal with some indistinct fruity and floral characteristics.
I tend to greatly enjoy Darjeeling black teas produced exclusively from the clonal AV2 cultivar, but this one was more of a mixed bag. For the most part, it was still a more or less very enjoyable offering, but there were times in which the aroma and flavor components I found to be the roughest and least appealing stood out more to me than I would have liked. As a matter of fact, I absolutely despised the first two cups of this tea that I brewed and ended up sitting the rest of it aside for a couple of days. I found it way more enjoyable after picking it back up, so maybe there was something up with me when I first tried this tea, but even after I resumed going through the remainder of my pouch, the tea remained somewhat inconsistent from cup to cup. Overall, this was a very solid tea with a lot to offer, but it was inconsistent and temperamental. I have definitely encountered several other Rohini black teas that I have found to be more enjoyable.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Cream, Dried Fruit, Earth, Floral, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Honey, Malt, Olives, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Peach, Pine, Raisins, Raspberry, Rose, Smoke, Straw, Strawberry, Tobacco, Vegetal, Walnut
Prepared western (4 grams) from same pouch as derk. So, Harvest in September 2015, best before September 2018 (only two years behind!)
Ehhm, although I had it in the morning, it seems it is forgettable. My thoughts about this tea are like in the mountain mist.
It was quite thick, velvety mouthfeel as derk said already, but taste… I don’t remember much. It was nice, bit like hay or yellow melons (again borrowing her words), bit drying.
But expected maybe more, maybe I wasn’t just paying much attention, as I was thinking just about the lunch I was about to prepare (Lasagne bolognese), which turned out great! Need to retry this tea.
The vegetal taste I get is peas. Sweet, then peas. Sweet peas, if you like. It’s definitely peas you pick from your parents’ garden off a trellis and eat fresh and bursting right there, but… A lot is going to depend if you like those vegetal notes in tea. It turns out I don’t much.
I now know I love corn and grass notes in green tea, not all vegetal notes. I wouldn’t have known that before this, because none of the greens I’ve tried before were so purely green-veg. It’s not a do again for me, but it’s very different from some other Chinese greens and should be tried.
Brew it cool! It was definitely better well below 80, even. The 70 on the packet is about right.
Flavors: Peas, Sweet, Vegetables
Finished the house cleaning and squeezed in a nap, and now I am very ready for some afternoon tea while I work on some of my manga scanlation projects! This was randomly selected off my list of 2017 purchases, which I’ve been putting extra emphasis on sipping down.
Brewed western, 195F water, 4g in a 500ml teapot — a lovely little Moriage redware Japanese pot (think “Japanese brown Betty”) that I was gifted from my recently passed grandmother’s estate! There were two of the little pots and they looked nearly identical, without the cups (I found some rice bowls that match that can serve as cups on Etsy, they get a bit hot to the touch but I’m not above using a napkin or tea towel while using them). I’ve put one set in storage and am using the other set for this brew today.
Has a rich, roasty, nutty flavor (roasted chestnut, walnut, others?). I’m also getting a baked bread taste with a hint of cinnamon and raisins. A bit of earthy woodiness, and maybe a subtle plum note that is more prevalent in the aftertaste. Deeply satisfying on an autumn afternoon as the temperatures begin to cool off.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Nutty, Plums, Raisins, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Walnut, Wood
Gosh, this is bland! First steeping has maybe the merest hint of peach. Someone below said ‘peach mineral water’ and that feel right. Second steeping and beyond picked up some of the fruit notes and I got a hint of jasmine. But there isn’t much to this. But it would be a perfect palate cleanser between courses of a meal.
Flavors: Jasmine, Peach
Same pouch as derk who sent it to me and it’s from White Antlers. Thank you a lot both of you!
So, it is harvested in summer 2015, while Best Before date is July 2018. But I believe there is nothing wrong drinking old tea. I had some lotus teas before (one or two, but always a tea bag), so it is unexplored world for me.
I have to agree with derk that tea seen probably better days, but it is still full of aromas, especially I am able to identify aniseed and bit of orchids. Maybe there are different notes, but not sure about my nose today.
I did quite strong tea, 3 teaspoons for 300 ml, and I think two would be suitable as well. Because it is so flavourful. I had coated whole mouth with lotus flavour, very floral. Again some aniseed hits the tongue as well, but that’s lotus probably. The base is quite vegetal, but overall it’s nice, smooth and tasty.
Trying fresh would be lovely experience.
Flavors: Anise, Floral, Orchids, Vegetal