193 Tasting Notes
I hate being the first one to review a tea. It always makes me so nervous that I’m going to describe something wrong or… I don’t even know. But here goes.
This tea is certainly interesting. I really can’t decide whether or not I like it. But I think that mostly comes from the fact that this doesn’t taste at all like I thought it would. In my mind I have this idea of a genmaicha but with black tea. This isn’t really the case. It does have that roasty quality to it, especially smelling the dry leaf which smells like peanut butter or sunflower butter. Roasted nutty, seedy goodness.
But, surprisingly it tastes like pu-erh to me rather than black tea. Really earthy is the only way I can describe it. There’s also some thick raw sugar or sugarcane noticeable. It’s not bad at all. I just can’t wrap my head around the disparity between what I think I’m going to taste, and what I’m actually tasting. Hm, the more I sip, the more I think I actually like it.
Anyone want a sample of this one? Let me know I’m not crazy!
Flavors: Earth, Roasted, Sugarcane
Yum, this tea is delightful! I brewed this in a glass teapot and you should have seen all of the little golden tea hairs floating around in there. So lovely.
This is a nice hearty tea. Not necessarily strong, just substantial. Malty with honeyed sweetness and a bit of that sweet potato thing I find in many Chinese blacks. Everything you would think a Yunnan should be. So glad I picked up 50g instead of a sample size.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
I don’t know why I continue to buy flavored blacks. They always sound so good on the website, so I buy them and then they get here and sit around until I force myself to drink them. You’d think I would eventually learn…
Anyway, Cameron just reviewed this one so it inspired me to take out my bag and try to get rid of some more of it. Now, I’ve never actually had a lychee before, so my only knowledge of the fruit comes from tea. I find it a bit floral, quite sweet and juicy. Almost grape like, but not quite. Honestly, I feel it would be more at home with a green tea, but it’s nice here too. It’s a very refreshing flavor that reminds me of summer. In this tea the flavoring overpowers the base a bit, but it still manages to be quite lovely. I probably won’t rebuy, but I greatly enjoy it whenever I make myself brew some.
I couldn’t find a listing for this one by searching or sorting through What-Cha’s page so I went ahead and added it. Hope I didn’t just miss it!
This one is super interesting. I’ve been wanting to try a Tan Yang for ages and for whatever reason just haven’t gotten around to it. I’m so glad I started with this one! It’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. Pure smoothness with a strong… something. I can’t really figure out what I’m tasting. What-Cha’s website says light honey and malt. And I certainly taste that, with the honey being especially prominent on the swallow, but there’s something else here… like wet grain. Is that a flavor?
I wish I could describe it more accurately because it definitely deserves a detailed rating.
Edit – Ah ha! I figured it out. It reminds me of Soba Cha.
Full disclosure: I have yet to find a houjicha that I don’t actively love. And this one is certainly no exception. The dry leaf smells exactly like kettle corn. It’s kind of amazing. There were no instructions on the little sample packet so I brewed it the way I usually do with my greens. 1.5 minutes at 175˚. Brewed, it still smells like kettle corn, just a bit less potent.
And the taste… yum! Oh so delightfully roasty and just a bit more caramely than a traditional houjicha. I like that the caramel is subdued as I could see it turning out too sweet otherwise. Absolutely delightful.
I do wish Bird Pick offered smaller sizes though. I’d love this one, but with 4oz being the only option I’m not sure I’ll pick it up. At least not until I finish all the other houjichas I have hanging around.
Flavors: Caramel, Roasted, Toasty
As much as I love Keemun in blends, I rarely find myself wanting to drink it straight. There’s something about it that almost seems too much. Like a chewy thick quality that is often quite heavy. This one is a bit different. It has some nice brightness that eases the heft. It’s quite creamy, but there’s a decent amount of floral notes that lightens the feel. Then there’s a bit of a green taste in it… almost like the way wet grass smells. Something I definitely wasn’t expecting.
I have to thank the lovely Cameron B. for sending me too many samples in our swap, because I’m totally counting them toward my sipdown goal. Which is only cheating a little bit
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Wet Moss
Sad sipdown on this one. Knowing I was nearing the end I almost picked up another tin during Harney’s sale this weekend, but I was a good girl and held myself back. I do really love this tea and it was a pretty quick sipdown considering it’s a 4oz tin. I have every intention of picking up more of this one when I get my cupboard under control.
My first few infusions of this tea left me wanting a bit more from it. It came off as weak, astringent and pretty boring overall. After quite a few tries I’ve found that using 1.5-2 tsp per 8oz and steeping for no more than 3 minutes actually produce a nicely drinkable cup if you aren’t going to add any additions. As this is supposed to be taken with heavy cream and sugar I understand that there is a need for it to have a good bit of astringency to balance those additions out, but it isn’t pleasant if you’re drinking it black.
I probably won’t reorder since I don’t like to add anything to my tea, but I’m happy I got to try it. Over-leafing it a touch it brews up a full-bodied malty tea that’s a great choice for cutting through the sweetness of desserts.
Flavors: Astringent, Malt
Oh, wow. The flavoring in this one is absolutely spot-on! Another review stated they found it more of a watermelon flavor, but I don’t taste that at all. This tastes like perfectly fresh juicy honeydew. Even hot it’s a match, though I imagine it would be incredible iced. Definitely the best flavored green I’ve yet to try.
It’s a shame Bird Pick only sells 4oz sizes. If it were available to purchase in more reasonable sizes I would snatch it up in a millisecond. But I’ll have to at least sip down a reasonable amount of my existing greens before even considering picking up 4 full ounces.
Flavors: Honeydew, Melon
Huh, kind of surprised by this one. The reviews speak of it so highly, but I found it kind of middle-of-the-road as far as Yunnans go. Of course I have yet to meet a Yunnan I don’t enjoy, but this one is just kind of ‘meh’. There’s a bit of malt, and some spicy orange notes. But overall it’s weak and forgettable. I’ll happily drink the rest of what I have, but certainly won’t pick up more whenever I get around to placing another YS order.
Flavors: Malt, Orange Zest