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Recent Tasting Notes
My last remaining lingering countdown calendar is the Yaocha/Volition Tiger Box from two (maybe almost three?) years ago. Just a few left from this one, so I’m working on finishing it off. This tea is Day 12.
I gong fu’d it, because it’s a Saturday and a nice tea and why not. I’m not as good with black tea flavor profiles – I think the astringency tends to throw me and as a result a lot of black teas tend to taste similar to my palate. This isn’t super astringent, just enough for that to be the thing my brain focuses on. Besides that, I find this very pruney: not like a fresh, ripe plum but more of a dried or cooked plum flavor.
This was day ten of last year’s Tiger Box, which I still haven’t quite finished but am working my way through along with the last of my advent calendars. Huge thanks to Roswell Strange for making a note at the time, because this is no longer on Yao Cha’s website and I had no idea how to steep it, having never had a coin before. In retrospect, I was probably overthinking it – I’m not sure that a coin is a significantly different form than any other compressed shape, like a ball, but for some reason I was really thrown by the new-to-me shape.
So, following Roswell’s example, I steeped this up grandpa-style. I really enjoyed watching the bubbles of air escape and the shape plump up in my cup! It starts off with strong leather, roasted notes. There’s also a berry jamminess that gets stronger as the leather mellows later on, though not quite as astoundingly jammy as the scent of the dry coin. This isn’t something that I would have picked up on my own but I enjoyed it a great deal. It’s absolutely the best-case-scenario of doing a box like this: getting to experience something you otherwise wouldn’t, expanding your horizons, and really enjoying it.
What I didn’t account for was the sneaky caffeine punch in this one. I never felt jittery or wired or anything, but then I was up until 4am! Definitely should have started earlier and cut myself off earlier.
Flavors: Jam, Leather, Roasty
Nibbled on some freshly sliced apple alongside an apple infused Wensleydale cheese while I steeped up this Tiger Box selection. This dry leaf of this hong cha smelled intensely of waxy overripe red fruits, which is why I decided this tea pairing of apples and sweet cheese would be the perfect compliment!
Steeped up this tea has a lovely body with saturated flavours of pomegranate molasses, malt, leather, honey, and chocolate with hints of black cherry and smoke in the undertones. It’s a little less fruity than I had initially expected but the robust and heavy flavours are plenty rich enough to stand up to this pairing, and I’m finding the brightness of the crisp apple is even drawing out more of the wine-y red fruit notes of the tea while making the notes of leather and malt seem all the more deep!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZ40s3lura4/
Steeped up this gorgeous coin for the tenth day of the Tiger Box!! Though pu’erh tends to be most go to tea to steep using this method, hong cha is really not all that far behind – and this is a very lovely and complex one with deep syrupy notes of dark chocolate, raspberry jam, malt, leather, oak, molasses, and black cherry! Mostly just so fudgey, though! Definitely makes me think of decadent truffles.
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZzpCDDOeky/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPa08P7e_e0
Broke out one of my bigger yunomi cups to steep up this Tiger box sample.Though the name may notoriously make you think otherwise, this tea has a pleasant fresh taste and thick syrupy liquor. As I sip, notes of sweet grass, lilac, white grapes, floral lychee, and just a hint of willow bark spring to mind. Although I tend to reach more for darker oolongs, this aromatic floral and playfully fruity profile is definitely something I enjoy very, very much.
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZus8JhlWe6/
This was today’s Tiger Box selection! This is a pretty lovely oolong – I’m getting a lot of the heady floral “Orchid” half of its “Honey Orchid” namesake in the latter session, though for the most part it was the very distinct mineral and petrified wood notes combined with the roasty and grilled nuttiness of the first steeps that commanded my attention. I don’t drink as much dancong as other oolong types, and my go to Mi Lan Xiang actually leans very, very heavily on the syrupy lychee and fruity plum side so this nuttier and more charred mineral flavours caught me off guard in a very nice way – it’s more inline with the oolong types I reach for most often!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZpZY04O0t3/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvBf-ey-y4&abchannel=ChrisThile-Topic
Tiger Box Day Four!
Steeped this one Grandpa style over the course of the afternoon! It felt very appropriate in this Lunar New Year themed DT Nordic Mug from a few years back. The tea is very fresh, light and crisp with notes of bamboo, snow pea, and bean sprouts. A nice mellow break up from some other more decadent tea blends I had sipped throughout the day…
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZkUvtku0ed/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsiOTH3MXXU&ab_channel=ANTI-Records
This was day two of the Tiger Box from Volition/Yao Cha. I wasn’t expecting to see a yellow tea in the box, so it was pretty exciting! I think I ended up selecting a #teapot that was a little large for the tea sample provided, but I still enjoyed the session overall. There was a pleasant fresh green bean and edamame note that immediately caught my attention from the first infusion, complimented by a gentle peanut flavour that is one of the notes I appreciate the most in yellow tea – just slightly warm and toasty! While I would have loved a deeper and more pronounced nuttiness, I think the larger teapot I brewed in ended up creating a fair trade off; I don’t really typically favour bean-y notes in teas and brewed more mildly like this I believe the vegetal notes I got ended up being much more pleasant for me than they would have been otherwise!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZfMuNgus3z/