166 Tasting Notes
Today I’m trying Taiwan Dong Ding gong fu style using the instructions provided by Teavivre. I got 7 infusions, tasted each one a few times, then poured them together to finish. This is a lighter roast, more green oolong. It had good character and flavor through 7 infusions. I would describe the flavor as light green vegetable with underlying floral sweetness, even a hint of buttery character. It will appeal to those who enjoy lighter oolongs and is a good value-a very nice tea.
Measuring out the tea, I observe long, full leaves, consistent gold color and a pleasant sweet aroma. Mmm, nice. I anticipate an enjoyable evening with this tea. I’m curious about it-how will it compare to Teavivre Yun Nan Dian Hong Golden Tip which I adore, and Bailin Gong fu, running a close second. Without trying a sample of this first, I had gone out on a limb and ordered 100 gms. I’m glad I did. The drink is smooth and tannin free with notes of oven-roasted sweet potato. The low astringency and sweetness of this tea make it a great every day tea.. The price is reasonable and I’ve been looking for an economical everyday “go to” Chinese black. My experience with TeaVivre has been exceptional. Golden Monkey is a little less pricey, which makes it a tea I will likely keep on the shelf.
As I was sipping along on this very enjoyable oolong, a new box from TeaVivre arrived-I get so excited when I get a new box of tea. Previously, I had enjoyed a sample of the unflavored version of this oolong and this is my third time drinking the flavored. I wish I had the two side by side to compare. Going from memory, I probably prefer this one, though both are very good. I have not brewed it exactly as instructed because I was afraid of going to boiling with this light oolong. I used 5 gms of tea in my Perfectea Maker, which is similar to using a Gaiwan due to the large brewing basket. I did a quick rinse, then brewed in 6 ounces water at 195. I steeped for 1 1/2 minutes to start with and added 30 seconds for each subsequent brewing. I added just a touch of sweetener. I would describe the overall taste as pleasantly floral and creamy, very nice. For today, I have steeped it 5 times so far, with great results. It just keeps on giving! Not sure I’ll try for more because I want to try Taiwan Dong Ding which came in today’s package. This is one I would order-its something a little different when you’re in the mood for a “comfort” tea.
I had held off on drinking my last bit of this, knowing that it is no longer available. Finally, I couldn’t wait anymore and I finished it off yesterday. This really is a fabulous black tea. If I had to pick just one tea to keep on hand at all times, this would be it. Unfortunately that won’t be possible. I have some other wonderful black teas, but this is the best! I’ll always be looking out for something similar to come along. (Maybe David will get some more on this trip to China!)
Although I got in on the tail end of it, I have really appreciated the “free matcha” promotion that Red Leaf has offered. The promotion, along with the positive reviews on Steepster, have spurred me on to go ahead and give flavored matcha a try. The hardest thing has been making a decision on what to order since there are so many exciting choices! I have loved Caramel and Pumpkin Pie, so it was time for something fruity. I found it at http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/boysenberry-matcha.html
This was my first fruity matcha from Red Leaf and I had really been looking forward to trying it because of the great reviews. The delicious aroma of this selection made my mouth water as soon as I opened the packet. I have enjoyed boysenberry syrup on many occasions in the past, back in the days when I used to eat waffles and pancakes. This definitely captures the essence of boysenberry nicely with a great balance between sweet and tart. I was too impatient to pull out the whisk, so I did what others have suggested, and mixed it up with 2 oz of hot water , then added some almond milk, a splash of cream, a small amount of sweetener, and some ice cubes and shook it up to make a chilled latte. I will eventually try it hot, but I have really been in the mood for the chilled lattes lately! So this was the third flavor I’ve had from Red Leaf, and all have been outstanding. I’m afraid they could be somewhat addictive. If you haven’t tried boysenberry, you should! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
I have waited awhile to try this one, wanting to have the time to prepare it Dragonwell style which was the recommended method on Verdant’s website. I measured out 3 Gms and placed it in a very broad shallow 6 oz porcelain teacup which was part of a huge set of hand-painted bone china my great-aunt, a professional china painter, had made for me. The beautifully painted delicate dogwood blossoms on this teacup were a nice contribution to my experience with this tea. I soon ran in to a stumbling block in that I just could not drink it at such a hot temperature, and I was afraid that letting it cool down with the leaves in the cup would change the results quite a bit. So I strained out the leaves and proceeded Gongfu style. Once the first cup cooled some, I was able to thoroughly enjoy it. Though Dragonwell style is suggested as the preferred way, I certainly enjoyed it brewed Gongfu as well. It is delicate, sweet, a little vegetal in a very good way, and certainly not bitter or drying to the mouth. I’m glad I purchased enough of it that I can experiment a little and maybe even try it chilled. To summarize, this is a wonderful Dragonwell, even though I wasn’t able to prepare it in the preferred way.
I had some excitement at my mailbox yesterday when I found my package from Red Leaf tea and I knew my two matcha selections had arrived: Boysenberry and Pumpkin Pie. Which one to try first? With a bit of fall in the air, I decided I was in the mood for Pumpkin Pie. I had high expectations for this one because Caramel, my first flavored matcha from Red Leaf, was so wonderful. Well, Pumpkin Pie was equally fabulous-in fact for my own personal taste, since I am a big pumpkin pie lover, Pumpkin Pie trumps, but you can‘t go wrong with either choice. I opened the packet and immediately knew I was going to like it, since the scent was delicious. So far, I have found I prefer chilled matcha to hot,but I haven‘t tried a latte yet. That might be good. This time, I mixed a teaspoon of the matcha with 2 oz hot water and whisked it until it had some froth. I then put it in a shaker with 15 oz unsweetened almond milk, a splash of cream, and some sweetener. Added a few ice cubes, and Wow, fantastic!! Pumpkin pie without so many calories. I am amazed at how well it captures the real thing. A fabulous frothy dessert. Just go to http://steepster.com/teas/red-leaf-tea/29698-pumpkin-pie-matcha?post=133233to order.
Got the foam I was looking for! So this is my second note on Caramel Matcha. I measured 2 oz of 175 degree water and added a small amount of this water to 1/2 tsp of the sifted matcha, mixing to make a paste. I added the rest of the water and used my bamboo whisk (chasen)to produce the foam. I placed it all in a shaker, added 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, a splash of cream and a bit of stevia and shook it for a minute-nice and foamy! Maybe it’s psychological, but the foam just makes it seem better. It was great the last time I made it, but the preliminary step of using the chasen to get it more foamy before I shook it up with the almond milk made a big difference for me. Can’t wait to try this with the Boysenberry and Pumpkin Pie when they arrive in the mail.
I appreciated this sample that I received with my order. I have enjoyed every tiguanyin from Verdant, and this is no exception. The light roast is quite pleasing. Being somewhat lazy today, I did 20, 40 and 60 second steepings but put them all in one big cup. I’m sure I’ll get several more infusions. I do not have the gift of discerning and describing all the nuances of each infusion the way people like Terri Harplady do. I’m glad for people like Bonnie, Terri, Azzrian, and numerous others that do this so well on Steepster. All I can say about this particular selection is that it is very good and I’m glad I’m sipping it today.