38 Tasting Notes
Used about 1/3 of cake (3g) in small gaiwan that holds about 50ml. 200 degrees, 10 second wash to start. Dry leaves were very fruity with sweet florals. Went 8 infusions (30 sec, 45, 60, 75, 90, 2 min, 2.25 min, 2.5 min). Lovely golden brew that got darker over the steeps. First was very smooth with a creamy mouthfeel and honey sweetness at the front and strong floral finish (but not too perfume-y). Lid of gaiwan after second steep smells just heavenly, creamy floral aroma; taste is sweet flowers – honeysuckle? Starting with third infusion, sweetness gradually recedes, but still pleasant smooth floral; starts tiniest edge of dryness. Lingering milky floral aftertaste becomes more pronounced. Flavor mostly held steady through steeps 4-6. Steeps 7 & 8 began slight flavor loss and mouthfeel on finish was dryer & thinner – but not weak or unpleasant at all. Put spent leaves in 8 oz water to cold brew & try out tomorrow.
Update: those “spent” leaves still had quite a bit of flavor left in them! Cold brew had prominent creamy florals, refreshing & pleasant
Update #2: Tried the remaining cake (~6g or so) in 10 oz just-off-boiling water for 2 minutes. Aroma is strong & lovely, much more honey giving way to floral. Color is honey, too. Flavor is nice; at first I feared it was weaker & less complex than in gaiwan, but it’s actually just a different experience – maybe “gentle” is a better word. Brew is lightly sweet at first, then gives way to very smooth, slightly milky, lingering honeysuckle floral, but not quite as strong as in gaiwan. Definitely picking up notes of fruit this way that probably were overpowered with gongfu – hints of mild white peach or perhaps Asian pear. (Prepared this way, reminds me very much of the “Snow Pear Oolong” from Silk Road Teas I tried at a restaurant.) Second steep (8 oz water, 2.5 minutes) brews up a little darker & aroma is less floral. Flavor has much less floral, though smooth honeysuckle is still there in the lingering aftertaste. Hint of dryness creeping into aftertaste as well. Overall very nice. While gaiwan preparation was lovely, I think I prefer it this way – should have followed the package instructions to start with!
(Gongfu, 5g/150ml/205 degrees/10 sec +5ff) VERY interested to try this herbal.
Dry leaf is lightly fruity and vaguely smells of dry herbs, with tobacco overtones. Wet leaf is similar with fruity notes slightly stronger.
First infusion 10 sec (forgot I was going to do a wash!), broth is very pale greenish golden. Aroma is a bit like green tea vegetal, but with a little fruity funkiness. Taste lives up to that smell – a fairly savory green tea base with earthy fruit notes. Steeps 2ff are still savory/meaty; a little mineral crispness, but smooth. Picking up on a medicinal aftertaste that grows stronger with each infusion after the first couple. After the fifth steep, it is too much for me and has become quite unpleasant.
(Gongfu, 5g/6oz/6sec, 10, 15, 20, 30 – just slightly longer than website directions)
Dry leaves smell delicious & wholesome, like a freshly opened box of raisin bran – strong raisin scent with baked wheat, malt, honey. Some woodsiness as well? Wet leaves have a fairly heavy tobacco aroma added. First brews are a lovely dark amber color & flavor is light, clean, smooth. I’m not picking up a great deal of complexity, but successive steepings remain smooth & pleasant. Starting to wash out at infusion 5.
(Gongfu, 5g/125 ml/205 F/5 sec rinse/6 sec + 2ff)
Dry leaves: Fruity, malty, toasty, light tobacco
Wet leaves after rinse: Roasted notes much stronger, raisin
Steep 1 (6 sec): Deep golden color, smell malty sweetness and toast. Taste is close to an exceptionally smooth black tea with light raisin, malt, touch of mineral. Overall smooth, pleasant; no dryness, astringency, bitterness.
2 (8 sec): Color is lovely, even darker gold, aroma sweeter & malty, less toast. Tastes a little thinner & lighter, still malty dried fruit, a little less smooth. Hint of dryness in finish.
3 (10 sec): Slightly lighter color & a bit sweeter in aroma, more like golden raisin, less toasty but still a hint of tobacco; maybe even a hint floral? Taste is about same, though texture is thinner, more dryness to finish, a little less smooth.
4-6 (15, 20, 25 sec, reduced water to 100ml): Keeping same trend with each infusion feeling a little thinner, dryer (definitely picking up that tannin dryness in mouth), though still lightly sweet with malt & raisin.
-I don’t pick up more/different flavors with each steep, just feels like each one is a little “less” than the one before – not weaker, just thinner. Leaves stayed fairly tightly rolled until at least fifth infusion.-
7-10 (30, 45, 60, 120 sec): Much less fruit/raisin in aroma, still sweet, but maybe a touch more earthiness rather than tobacco. Gradually lost strength, though even steep 10 wasn’t weak. Put spent leaves in 8 oz water for cold brew.
(Gaiwan; 5g/100ml/208/wash then 5sec +3 per instructions)
Dry leaves have sweet raisin & roasty aroma. Wet leaves after wash bring out light tobacco notes. First steep (5 sec) was a lovely dark golden color and sweet toasted aroma. Flavor is almost like black tea with its oxidation & dryness. Some cocoa notes at the end. Second steep (10 sec) lost the dryness and smoothed out nicely, with earthy, sweeter flavors of raisin & unsweetened cocoa coming in more. Steeps 3 & 4 (12 & 15 sec) stayed consistent. Steeps 5-7 (20, 30, & 60 sec) gradually washed out in flavor, though tea remained pleasantly smooth, sweet, and earthy. After 7 infusions, dropped leaves in about 8 oz for cold brew.
(Staying close to pkg directions: 3g/8oz/180/60 sec first steep, 15 for second)
Dry leaves smell lovely – grassy & very fruity, sweet. Wet leaves bring out the cooked greens scent, but still fairly sweet. First steep (60 sec) smells a little sweeter and a little less vegetal than the wet leaves, also with a buttery/creamy note in the aroma. Pale golden/green brew. Taste is somewhat thin but very pleasant – sweet, grassy, some mild baby spinach- like notes. Just the barest hint of butter in the taste, not quite what the aroma suggested. Second steep (15 sec), I reduced to 6 oz. Color brews up the same despite the shorter steep time. Taste is similar, a little stronger (prob from reduced water amount). Maybe a touch more buttery flavor? Third (6oz, 30 sec) is pretty washed out. Used spent leaves with 8 oz water for one good (though light) cold brew infusion.
Rates 65 prepared to pkg directions. Would like to try again with adjustments. Try gongfu-style ratio for one thing, plus Tin Roof’s website has very different directions for this tea – lower temperature and longer brewing. Also would like to try fresh cold brew.
Update: Cold brew (1g/100ml) is powerful but refreshing. Intense, fresh grassy flavor with a good hit of bitterness & sweetness, and a tiny bit of savory nuttiness adds some interest. Rates 75 as cold brew.
(4g/100 ml/200?/20 sec steep +5 sec following) (Suspect kettle, which was set for 200, was actually at 205 for first few infusions)
Dry leaves smell sweet & a tiny bit smoky. After 5 sec wash, wet leaves have much stronger smoky tobacco scent. Lid of gaiwan, however, has a nice sweetness. Steeps 1-3 have a deep golden color; a sweet scent with a hint of smoky tobacco. Flavor is close to a black tea, with savory notes up front, touch of dryness on tongue, a little sweetness on the finish. Strong roasted/smoky flavor notes on aftertaste really set this apart from the Tieguanyin I had from Verdant. I don’t like this one as much, but I’ll have to give it another try since I think my water temperature was too high. Rates about 60.
Update: Tried cold brew (1g/100ml, chilled overnight), and it is lovely – the light toasty flavor hits first, savory & crisp. A little grassy, nutty, buttery in the middle, and finish lingers grassy sweet. Very refreshing! 70 rating is from this preparation.
(4g/100ml/175/20 sec +10 following)
Dry leaves are sweet & grassy with a whiff of tobacco. Wet leaves are similar but stronger. Steep 1 (20 sec) tastes almost like it smells – sweet, grassy, green with a hint of tobacco. Package describes this as “straightforward without anything extra…just good, pure green tea taste,” and that’s about right. Aside from the tobacco note, there is no complexity. Steep 2 (30 sec) starts some bitterness, and the tobacco is a little more pronounced. Steep 3 (35 sec) has a little less tobacco & bitterness, so it tastes just slightly sweeter. Since not much interesting is going on, I’ll try the leaves in cold brew. (Rates 60 in gaiwan.)
Update: After 3 infusions, dropped leaves in ~12 oz water for cold brew. Iced is mild, uncomplicated, but very pleasant green tea taste. Might be best use! Prepared this way rates around 70.