26 Tasting Notes
Brewing this in my gaiwan the initial scent after a quick rinse surprised me. It smelled so much like banana. I mean like Now & Later banana, but in a very subtle way. The first tasting had a little of the same banana but was more reminiscent of dried papaya. It has an acidic quality that brings a brightness to the cup, and reminds me almost of the smell of a hair salon. All of this comes together nicely for a mellow, bright, sweet fragrant light tea. It is perfect for the finishing touch on a long day, which is exactly how I am using it now.
Flavors: banana, Fruity, Honey, Tropical
I have a strong affinity for teas from Nepal, some of the most overlooked teas in the world come out of this region. Several of the very best green teas I have had have come from Nepal. This is a very lightly oxidized Darjeeling-style tea. It has many of the excellent flavors found in its more expensive counterparts, but overall it is not quite as complex. Still a delicious tea I would buy again.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Herbaceous, Muscatel
Okay, so, I don’t typically drink flavored teas. The closest I’ve gotten to flavored tea in the last five years is genmaicha and an experiment I conducted on creating my own Earl Grey. When I read the offer for a sample of this from Soleil though I was intrigued. Hops and juniper berries? These aren’t your typical flavoring components, nothing sweet, floral, or fruity, at least not typical for the market today. This might be something I could get behind.
The sample came quickly and was generous at 14g. Now a bit of disclosure… I used to drink entirely too much alcohol. Even that is probably an understatement, but I haven’t had a drink in more than 6 years. When I opened the bag the strong smell of juniper and hops came over me and suddenly I realized why I must, at least subconsciously, have been drawn to this blend. Juniper is the primary ingredient in gin and hops, well you know what hops are used for. I had somehow completely missed the connection. Now I don’t want to give the impression that this is a bad thing. The smell was fresh and wonderful, like walking through the woods, and I always did enjoy my gin.
The base tea for this blend is delicious, lots of cocoa, which I love. Once brewed the juniper was very mild but it’s presence compliments the base very well. I couldn’t make out much of the hop petals, although the bitterness I expected they would impart may have just blended in with the natural bitterness of the base. Overall this was a delicious tea. I am glad to have had an opportunity to try it and to find a blend that I really enjoy. I hope more blends like this come out in the future. Thank you Soleil for the sample!
Flavors: Citrus Zest, Cocoa, Fir
I got this sample from Good Tea Leaf. I hadn’t heard of them before, but apparently they offer samples of tea from various tea vendors for a discounted price once a month. This one came from Nepali Tea Traders. Now, I typically try not to drink tea after about 9 but I just got home from work and it was such a snowy night here in KC that I couldn’t pass up a little tea time. I chose the white tea for it’s relative lightness, and lightness is exactly what I am getting.
I put 7g in my gaiwan and gave it a quick rinse. The little buds and leaves smell very mildly of dried grass with a touch of sweetness. A 10 second steep and I can barely make out any flavor profile. 15 seconds gives me a touch of the same sweet grass as before. I went ahead and skipped to 30s, 45s, a minute… still just sweet grass, maybe a touch of something citrus. When I reheated my water and gave it a longer steep at a highter temperature a decent amount of astringency came out. I will use the rest of the sample to brew this Western style.
Overall I wouldn’t buy this tea again, there are just too many good white teas out there. I also wonder when this tea was picked. A quick scan of the original website didn’t give a production date, and if this is a 2014 or before much of the original complexity could very well be gone. That said, I WOULD order samples form Good Leaf Tea again. Quick shipping and an overall good experience.
Flavors: Grass, Hay, Honey
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Flavors: Blood Orange, Malt, Toast, Yeast
This is one of the most enjoyable oolongs I have had in a while. In fact I enjoyed it so much it sparked about an hour of browsing various other medium roasted type oolongs that I am now considering buying. I had been on a streak of trying oolongs that I didn’t really care for but this one has effectively ended it. It has a peach/apricot like fragrance that was released as soon as I put into my heated gaiwan. The flavor was deep and complex and for lack of a better word, juicy. I was planning on writing this while I drank it but it stole all of my attention. I got about 7 great steeps out of this.
Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Floral, Peach
This tea was sent to me accidentally instead of the tea I originally ordered. When I reached out to Royal Tea Bay they were apologetic and quickly, actually very quickly, sent out the correct tea. Now I have a kilogram of this tea. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it but after some experimentation I am really beginning to appreciate it. For me it is best brewed in my gaiwan. It has a pronounced smokiness to it that reminds me of the gunpowder green I used to drink, reminds me of hot rocks around a campfire. After a couple of quick rinses the smokiness moves to the back and leaves a thick smooth broth. It tastes like incense burning on a rainy day with the windows open, of wet rocks on a forest floor. The aroma is reminicent of a candle burning on a cold night. It has has both a sweetness and a richness to it and just a touch of astringency that leaves a bright taste at the end. I brewed 8g for 10s, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40 ,50. I may just keep going.
I am thinking of attempting to age a portion of this bundled in cloth. I have no idea what effect this might have on it but it might be interesting.
Flavors: Ash, Mineral, Smoke, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks