157 Tasting Notes

99
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
157 tasting notes

(From the UTTB.)

Gosh…I feel like I shouldn’t even be writing about this tea. It’s indescribably lovely. It’s exquisite and refined. It’s vanilla and brown sugar, spice and baked bread. There’s a wonderful natural sweetness to it that’s making my eyes roll back in my head. The first two steeps were a minute long and they were very subdued, in my opinion. I would have liked them to be stronger…but there was the promise of greatness there. Third steep was two minutes. Now I feel like we’ve gotten past the paltry pleasantries, the “hello, how are you”s, and we’ve started to really get to know each other. How could I describe the taste or the texture of the tea? All descriptive words are coming up short. It’s soft and silky. Some people are saying “creamy” but I don’t think I would use it to describe the way the tea liquor feels. More like…the way it makes your mouth feel after you’ve swirled it around your teeth and swallowed. There’s a chocolate maltiness that begins to emerge, slowly, as you continue steeping. Restrained and intriguing. It’s heavenly. Yet, despite all its breathtaking loveliness, it’s a very humble cup! It’s the kid in the corner of the classroom who you didn’t know was a poet and a genius because he speaks so softly. I don’t know what I did to deserve this moment with these leaves. If it maintains flavor for as long as others have said, I’ll be holding on to these leaves for days, stretching out these moments as long as I can. I’ll listen to the secrets they unfold and hope that one day, I’ll be able to put them into words…

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cocoa, Honey, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla

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86

(From the UTTB.)

Having this tea for breakfast this morning! The tea liquor is a coppery red-amber and the aroma is smokey sweet. First sip was a little astringent, and I was worried that the entire cup would be that way. Not so. It has a bold, no-nonsense way about it—like an Assam. The more I sip the more the initial bitterness becomes a distant memory. It’s chocolatey, malty and caramel sweet at the end. There’s a drying fruity taste to it that’s like raisins or cranberries…maybe plums, with their slightly bitter skins. I like the briskness and the bittersweet qualities of this tea! It’s exactly what I needed this AM!

Drank straight, but could stand up to milk and sugar. I would recommend brewing at lower temps…MzPriss wrote 180F on the packet, but I brewed closer to 200. I couldn’t imagine using boiling water. It would be much too bitter for me.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Floral, Fruity, Raisins, Smoke

Joseph Wesley Black Tea

happy to read that you enjoyed the tea. Cheers, Joe

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(From the UTTB.)

First steep: The aroma of the tea is kind of like Laoshan Green—it’s beany. The taste doesn’t quite match. It’s savory and a little grassy. There’s a fruitiness that reminds me of lychee fruit and citrus…as I’ve said in other notes, I often think of colors when I’m tasting something. Especially tea. This one is like citrus because it makes me think of citrus colors: bright green, yellow, and orange…it doesn’t necessarily make me think of citrus fruits. It’s bright with a savory-bitter background that’s like vegetables. There’s a floral creaminess to the aftertaste, but it’s not very noticeable.

Second steep: It smells like…squash? There’s a little more tang and a little more vegetable in this cup. The citrus/lychee is stronger, too. It softens at the end of each sip, turning once more into a flowery, creamy flavor. Predominantly it’s grassy and vegetal. I left it to cool and returned when it was lukewarm. The cooler temperature made it seem more creamy, with a bean-like softness to it. This makes me wonder how it would taste cold-brewed.

It’s not a bad tea, just not for me!

Flavors: Artichoke, Bitter, Citrus, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Lychee, Tangy, Vegetable Broth, Vegetal, Zucchini

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83

(From the UTTB.)

This is everything I imagine when I think of an Assam. It’s bright, vibrant, and a little fruity with a touch of caramel sweetness. It’s cheerful! The first cup was more bold and drying on the tongue. Not very astringent, but definitely drying. I’d say it’s a medium-bold tea. The second cup mellowed out a bit to allow some of the sweet caramel notes to peek through. (Wasn’t getting much in the first.) I think it’s a good breakfast tea. I prefer my calm-chocolatey-floral-sweet evening teas, but this was still quite nice! I drank it straight but it could definitely stand up to some milk and sugar.

Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Tannin

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(From the UTTB.)

This is a gentle and unassuming tea. Lightly roasted, with a buttery taste and floral background. It’s clean. Fresh. Green. It’s like spring water and flower stems to me. I prefer more oxidized oolongs, but this is still nice. It’s just not something I could see myself craving.

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95

(From the UTTB.)

The leaves are very pretty: tiny, curled little things that are a dusky brown color. Some have an orange tint, others are touched with silver. As soon as the leaves hit they all turn a deep autumnal orange. They’re still dark in tone.

The smell…wow, to describe the smell. Very complex. I kept sniffing while it steeped because I was so surprised by all of the scents I was picking up. At first it was fruity with this tart, astringent undercurrent. Then it was like bell peppers. It was peppery, both like crushed black pepper and bell peppers. Kind of earthy. Then it was sweet and fruity again. Now, it’s sweet and spicy on a backdrop of cinnamon. It smells kind of like bread. There’s also this other quality that I can’t describe…I’m guessing it’s muscatel. It reminds me of olive oil. It’s blowing my mind over here.

I’m sipping now and it’s not going to be any easier for me to describe the taste! There’s so much going on. Here are my impressions, in order: light body, green, fruity, sweet, cream, olive oil, more fruit, silkiness, soft, bread, lingering sweetness. It’s even a little malty. It covers your mouth with softness and a sparkling fruity taste. There’s also a certain earthiness to it. That bell pepper thing I was talking about. It’s got spice and pep. It has the qualities of both a black tea and a white tea! I love it.

Second steep, smells light with a little fruitiness and spice. It has a roastiness about it. It tastes like fruit with the same olive oil/muscatel notes as before. There’s more spice and pepper in this cup. There’s a touch of nutty roastiness too. In the aftertaste there’s something that makes me think of apple skins…the crispness of them, the fruit taste matched by a sort of darker, bitter note. (The tea itself is NOT bitter.) There’s some earthiness with a lingering sweet cream flavor. It’s soft with a guava-like sweetness.

I’ve got to run but I’ll probably be back for a third, or even a fourth steep. This is just too good. No words can describe. None. (:

apt

mmm nepalese tea. if darj is the champagne nepals are ummmm…. the cristal?

TeaBrat

the teas from this estate are always good…

tea-sipper

Single Origin’s Jun Chiyabari strikes again! :D

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88

From the UTTB!

Sipping on this right now. Man, it’s good. First and second steep were very similar, though the second steep is a bit sweeter and creamier. I’m getting a light hay- or wheat-like flavor, followed by honeysuckle and an indescribable fruitiness. It’s a sweet fruit, it’s very light and delicate. Kind of green and juicy and melon-y. (I guess that’s where honeydew comes in.) It’s buttery and medium-bodied. Not too light, but not heavy enough for me to call it malty. (I brewed at a much lower temp and slightly lower time than recommended.) It’s very velvety and smooth. I can pick out notes of peach in the aftertaste, along with cream. I’m into it! Wow, white tea. Who knew this is where my life would take me. (:

Flavors: Cream, Guava, Hay, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Peach, Wheat

boychik

Glad you enjoyed this tea. What’s your parameters? I’m struggling with whites most of the time.

kimquat

It’s hard to say because I use a kettle that’s not clearly marked (and I don’t have a thermometer). It’s the Adagio utiliTEA and the dial has color markers. I usually turn the dial to the lowest end of the green bar. If I had to guess, it’s between 160 and 180 degrees. I brew for two minutes if I don’t have instructions. Sometimes more if the color is too light or the aroma is barely present. For this one specifically I think I brewed for 2.5 minutes.

boychik

Thank you, will try again.

MzPriss

I’m glad you liked it. I put some in the box partially to see how others did with it. I’m not much of a white tea person and I’m the fence with this.

kimquat

A year ago I wouldn’t dream of drinking white tea, much less liking it! My tastes have definitely changed. Thanks for including it in the box!

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94

Quick review before bed! Another one from the UTTB.

(2 min)
It’s surprisingly jammy and fruity upon first sip. There’s also maltiness, notes of dark chocolate, and a lingering sweetness. It sits thickly on your tongue. There is a touch of bitterness that doesn’t detract from the other flavors at all; it comes with the impression of dark chocolate, simply adding to it.

(2min 35sec)
Very fruity and peppy with a heavy caramel sweetness. (It reminds me of a Yunnan tea—Zhu Rong. It’s certainly similar.) My favorite kind of black tea. (: It’s juicy and sweet and decadent. Simply delicious! Little to no bitterness in this cup either.

(3min 20sec)
More bright and fruity. The caramel is a little softer. A little buttery, even. Becomes more pronounced as it cools.

Overall a very lovely tea. I’m glad I got the chance to try it!

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Jam, Malt, Sweet

tea-sipper

oh this one sounds good!

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95

Drinking this one right now! It’s from the Unflavored TTB. (:

(2 min)
Wow is it good. The dry leaves are gorgeous: large, delicate, and beautifully colored. It was difficult to measure out a teaspoon, so I had to use some guesswork. When I added water to them the pale green leaves flared into a bright avocado green. The aroma was like citrus fruit. They were “deep” notes rather than “light” notes—if that makes any kind of sense. It was distinctly citrus but it didn’t make me think bright or sparkling; it was something entirely different. Anyway…sipping, I’m first hit by the citrus flavor, then an brief mineral interlude before a smooth, sweet creaminess. It’s so good.

[I should interject here that I’ve never been a big fan of white teas. They always tasted a little too mild. They were a little too light. But that’s not the case here—this is GREAT. Is this what I’ve been missing the whole time? Maybe I’ve been drinking straight tea long enough to pick up on the nuances of white tea. Who knows.]

(2min 45sec)
Second steep, the citrus aroma is still present but it seems more juicy and full. It’s definitely still in the taste but it’s a little subdued, and it’s sweet. There’s little to no discernible mineral taste. And that creamy aftertaste. Oh my gawwddd it sticks to your tongue and just stays there. It’s like clouds. (A taste will often remind me of a color, and this one makes me think white. Or maybe a very pale, soft yellow.) It’s kind of like marshmallow but it doesn’t punch you in the mouth with marshmallow, it wraps you up in a blanket soft as kittens. I love this. As it cools to lukewarm I think I’m catching hints of buttery floral notes. It becomes even sweeter.

(3min 15sec)
Very much like the second steep. Juicy in a way that makes my mouth water. Still creamy and sweet. The aroma is difficult to discern. I guess it’s still citrus with a little mineral earthiness? Very light. It has lost some flavor, but not a lot. (:

Overall it was a positive tea experience! This one and Butiki’s White Rhino have made me reconsider my relationship with white teas. There’s a lot there that I guess I had been missing before. I think this would taste excellent iced. I’ve gotta try it! Thanks so much Single Origin Teas!

Flavors: Citrus, Cream, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Plants

KiwiDelight

Not a white tea person either but I’m now really looking forward to trying this!

kimquat

No regrets. I’m definitely ordering some of it. I hope you like it as much as I did! (:

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65

Backlog. I had this a few days ago and only took a few notes.

(1st steep, pre-boil, 3 min.) Floral, mineral, buttery, with a distinct taste that I associate with high mountain oolongs. Kind of “heavy”.
(2nd steep, pre-boil, 3 min.) This time it’s more buttery and sweet like kettle corn. Has a very “oolong-y” and plantlike aftertaste, which makes me think of chewing on tea leaves. It reminds me of the sensation. Slight mineral taste (not much). As it cools, there’s less mineral, more butter. Still a bit floral. Reminds me of chewing on sugarcane. The texture of it, not the taste specifically. It’s sweet with a fruity aftertaste that’s like pears…or peaches. Can’t quite pin it down.
(3rd steep, pre-boil, 4 min.) I don’t have anything written down for this. From what I remember though, it was a lot of the same flavors but muted. Not really enjoyable. Not bad, just really thin.

To conclude, it’s a decent oolong. To me it just didn’t have very much depth of flavor. There were a lot of the same flavors in each steep, just varying intensities. Pleasant but boring.

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Bio

I am still relatively new to loose leaf, as I have only been drinking it since 2013. I’m amazed at how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I have met such lovely, kind individuals on Steepster and am so glad to have become a part of this community.

Pure black teas are my favorite. I drink black tea daily and I try to keep a variety on hand. I also enjoy white tea, puerh, and the occasional oolong. Matcha is something that I love though I haven’t tried a large variety. The very good matcha that I’ve had is quite expensive. In general I try to stay away from flavored teas—especially those with artificial flavorings—but I will make rare exceptions, and I do enjoy a well crafted blend of straight teas. Things I (usually) don’t like: green oolongs, rooibos, straight green teas.

Rating System
90+ The very best! Teas that I always need in my cupboard!
85-89 Teas that I enjoy immensely and will try to keep around.
80-84 Makes a very pleasing cup. I will enjoy drinking them, but won’t necessarily try to keep around. (There are exceptions.)
70-79 Decent, but could be better.
60-69 Mediocre.
40-59 Gross. I might still try to finish the cup.
39 & under Undrinkable. I probably dumped this cup. Depending on the specific rating, I probably threw the rest of the tea out as well.

Some of my favorite tea companies are:
-Whispering Pines Tea Co.
-Verdant Tea
-Mandala Tea

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