572 Tasting Notes
I went for a walk while waiting for some new rubber seals, a boot and a lock to be installed on my truck’s camper shell. As soon as I strolled into another business’s parking lot, I ran into a coworker and her wife and two dogs… this other business being another location of the company we work for. Both of us on our days off, the four of them not visiting our employer but going for a walk along the creek across the street. I am often surprised by this ‘small town’ thing. I enjoy every encounter and learned connection I have.
After receiving dog kisses and getting a spritz on my shoe by a terribly excited standard poodle puppy, I walked back to the waiting room of the camper shell business and was surprised to find it spotless (I was scared it was going to resemble a junkyard bathroom — I’ll never go in one but my imagination was running wild after visiting a pick-and-pull last week and finding a brand new bra on the ground…) and with a selection of herbal and green teas on the counter. Picked this, something I’ve seen at Trader Joe’s but never considered purchasing.
I steeped one bag in probably 12oz of watercooler hot water and left the bag in while I sipped. I think the instructions said something like 1.5 to 2 minutes but I was feeling hypoglycemic and lazy. This tasted unlike any other tulsi I’ve had. It had a very vibrant aroma and flavor along the lines of star anise, clove and a bit of soft mintiness. No bitterness, no astringency, no flat herbaceous flavor that I was expecting. The texture was at first somewhat thin but developed into something more oily and medium-bodied as the bag continued to brew. I may have to purchase a box to have on hand until I grow my own tulsi.
Flavors: Clove, Herbaceous, Licorice, Mint, Smooth, Sweet, Tulsi
Another go at this oldie, this time as a digestive following a dinner of homemade Thai red curry. The alkaline flavor and ashy taste of this aged da hong pao were definitely muted after eating such a flavorful dish. I enjoyed the profile of the tea better following my meal versus having it on an empty stomach/clean palate. I still can’t seem to pull more than 4-5 (if I include the rinse) worthwhile infusions; like an oolong that’s given up a bit of its youthful essence with each trial by fire, I also don’t exactly possess the vigor that I once did. Can’t fault the tea for that. There is still a mellow strength to this tea.
Book pairing: Simply Thai Cooking by Wandee Young and Byron Ayanoglu
These recipes are excellent for restaurant-style Thai without being drowned in sugar, salt and oil.
It seems I already drank most of this sample but when, I don’t know. Based on my lack of notes, I may have found this sheng forgettable at worst.
I brewed half of what was left in my mini gaiwan. This tea has a great aroma – incredible dry florals – but I found it to be lacking in texture. It’s a very lofty tea, hanging out in my sinuses and head without much happening taste-wise on the tongue. The most prominent parts of the tea besides the aroma are its distinctly floral bitterness and the long-lasting floral-fruity aftertaste with a note of buttery apricot preserves. Astringency is present early but fades away.
Overall, I find the tea to be mostly floral and refined but not for me. It’s anxiety-inducing and has given me a slight headache, both of which I have experienced from highly floral aromatic sheng before. I’d suggest reading others’ positive reviews.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Floral, Fruity
My craving for a highly oxidized Taiwanese red oolong came late this year. I remember drinking a bunch of it around Thanksgiving in 2018 while picking persimmons from my aunt’s tree. The tree was pruned heavily this year so it didn’t produce anywhere near 300 fruits and therefore she didn’t need my assistance with harvest.
I’ve never tasted longan, the fruit for which this tea is named. To me, this tea tastes of overripe persimmon with no astringency. I hit the leaf with boiling water and was greeted with a balance between its nectar-syrup like body, deep fruity-floral-spicy-cocoa aroma and tastes, and a lingering perfume in the mouth. I was able to get only 4 infusions in gongfu before I had to carry on with my day, so the following day I dumped the leaves in a jar for grandpa and it was still as delicious if not more so. Certainly a tea I’d consider purchasing again. Thanks, Togo!
The one day I took this to work last week, I happened to be speaking to the British expat who was heating a kettle for Yorkshire Tea. He commended me on my choice and now thinks I drink British teas. But I don’t, really. Holy crap, this has to be the strongest English Breakfast I’ve ever had. Two bags steeped very short, like 1.5 minutes, in my thermos. Well smack me in the face and punch me in the gullet, I had to nurse that brew for 12 hours. This is the kind of tea I imagine was dumped in Boston Harbor. I’d take Yorkshire over PG Tips any day. It’s too much for me of the ‘no dairy added’ persuasion.
Flavors: Dark Wood, Heavy, Malt, Tea
Haha! I misrepresented the number of teas in my cupboard the other day. I probably have another 20-30 from a Liquid Proust group buy in late 2018. Is this really the first one I’m sampling from the Aged Oolong category? I was going to post this under Random Steepings, but I figured Liquid Proust needs some more cred on this site, especially considering his devotion to the leaf and the enthusiasm to spread teas aimed for the Eastern market far and wide.
Dry, warm and rinsed leaf aromas are fairly strong with dark chocolate with raspberry filling, modest roast, caramel, brown toast, dark brown sugar, hints of cherry and red currant. Once brewed, the aroma is mellow with berries, spice and cocoa. The taste is mostly woody and somewhat drying but there’s more going on than I can articulate. Not much change throughout the infusions, of which I was able to pull eight or nine. Late in the session I let a cup cool and a pleasant mineral sweetness came forward with salivation. The spice tone was also more noticeable, while a light unripe peach aftertaste did its thing. Roast notes were not at the forefront with this tea, more of a muted background deal.
I like it even though nothing about it stands out in particular. It’s mellow and calming enough to be a daily evening drinker without much attention having to be paid.
Song pairing: David Bowie — Heroes
First session with this tea. I bought it a few years ago and it has sat in a sealed jar since then.
Rich and tangy dry leaf scent with impressions of oak, smoke, berries, spices, currants, dark chocolate, pine. It reminds me of both a mulled wine and a smoky scotch. The reroast is the dominant vibe once brewed, integrating well with a berry and spice tone. Taste of ash, especially in the back of the mouth. Alkaline, some umami. I noted an early aroma of caramel and hazelnut with fleeting wet wood ash.
There’s a milky feel in the mouth after the swallow that slowly morphs into a throaty astringency and a drying, unripe peach skin aftertaste that lasts the entire session. I also notice tobacco and wood cask tones. Feel good, calm, with a light camphor effect deep in my chest. The tea quickly grows into a dry woodiness. I was able to pull only 6 infusions from the leaf (really only 4 that were worth it).
Other reviewers find this to be a favorable tea. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. There’s a dominant ash taste and an alkalinity to it that are a bit grating. Maybe the reroast is too much for me despite it not being a sharp, fresh flavor. Otherwise, the tea has a balanced, mellowed profile. It is tonal rather than possessing specific tastes.
My housemate brought home a 30-muslin sachet box of this from her employer’s tea drawer. Best before 12/2012; it’s 01/2020.
It’s clearly a victim of neglect. Very light red fruit-cream aroma and taste. No discernible green tea flavor. Very drying.
Going to drop the box in the work tea cupboard. Somebody else might appreciate it or throw it out secretly.
Found this in the kitchen. This company wraps their teabags in paper. I have no idea how old it is. For reference, the oldest teas I’ve found in the kitchen were Best Before 2012. It’s January 2020.
The recommended parameters for this chopped-leaf tea include boiling water. I opted for 175F.
Very clear yellowish brown, almost shimmering in my glass. Little to no aroma. The tastes are mild and all-encompassing for a green tea. It has some nuttiness, grassiness, minerality, citric brightness, a hint of apricot and florals that come in and out. Glassy-viscous mouthfeel that finishes clean and drying.
Sub-220 teas. Finally.
Holy crap I love this tea. It fits me like a good pair of pants.
Summer 2018 harvest, gongfu.
The fragrance and the way it carries into the mouth and lingers is on point. A caramel sweetness is suspended loftily by intense creamy white floral perfume maybe with orange blossom, the kind of heady scent that relaxes you. The deeper notes of the tea are distinctly sandalwood, nuts, musk and banana leaf. Great body with mineral brightness and salivation. Later, a succulent white peach aftertaste develops as the strength of the florals subsides. The finished cup smells so strong and sweet. Initial violet floral bitterness and vegetal-woody astringency grow ever stronger with each steep, eventually numbing the tongue. While I find those qualities to add depth to the experience, if there is one thing to turn others away, it’s the combination of growing bitterness and astringency. That and the low brewing temperature, which is a necessity. And the price. And the lack of availability. Shucks.
I wonder why it’s called Moondrops.