258 Tasting Notes
Just received my LP tea order. I went for a darker mix (FT Dianhong, Dark Kitchen Sink, Jin Xuan and Coffee, Rummy Pu, Laoshan Chocolate Genmaicha, Swanns Way) because.. well.. I love dark tea. I sense that Andrew picked up on that and so he added this tea into my order. While I absolutely love the process (I love anything and everything birch), the CTC tea kind of makes me nervous.
So, I picked this one first. I followed directions and used 4g (1g over but just barely) and brewed it for 45 seconds. I set the temp for 200F just because I wasn’t sure and again, I didn’t want to get the tannic astringency and bitterness I normally associate with CTC black tea.
I have to say that this is WAY smoother than I thought. It has a fairly classic black tea flavor but I detect no tannic bitterness. As an added bonus, there is a faint birch flavor at the end of the swallow on the back of the tongue. Having had birch beer/pop and birch flavored candy, I am pretty familiar with the flavor. I’ll be interested to see if I push the steep time and temperature if I can coax out more birch flavor or if that just makes the tea go into bitter territory.
Second steep of 1.5 minutes yields less birch but still a good smooth black tea. Color me surprised. My rating for this is absolutely taking into consideration the fact that it is a CTC tea. I suspect if I had this experience with a whole leaf tea I might be a little more underwhelmed but this certainly outdid my expectations.
Well this is pretty interesting. Rice scented puerh. As soon as the hot water hits the mini tuo, there is a mushroom-y rice scent that wafts up. After a ten second rinse, I steeped it for 30 seconds. Someone who reviewed this mentioned that it tasted like the mushrooms from a basmatti rice, or something to that effect. And I 100% agree. That is the best way I can describe this. I get some white button mushrooms as well as a little wilder flavor of a morel. And it tastes like they’ve been boiled in the water that you will use to cook the rice and then you cook the rice and if that mushroom rice was liquefied, you’d have this. Or, you could pour off some of the water before it is all absorbed into the rice. Either way. Mushroom rice.
Fascinating for sure. Not sure that it is something I am 100% into. I don’t know why I shouldn’t be. I mean, I like rice and I adore mushrooms. But for some reason it is kind of weirding me out. I could see using this in cooking though. Maybe it will grow on me.
The second steep I only let go for 15 seconds as it got much darker much quicker. Same basic flavor though maybe the mushroom flavor is slightly amped up. Just a very unique experience here. I don’t know what to make of it.
So, what can be said of this is that it has longevity. I’ve been steeping it on and off all day long. The flavor is holding up quite nicely as is the color. It has certainly grown on me and after about 4 or 5 steeps a slight sweetness comes out to play with the mushroom rice flavor. I’m ticking up the rating a bit.
Flavors: Earth, Mushrooms, Rice
I am using this for a Ginseng Oolong because I have no idea what company it came from. My friend from my tea book club went on a two week trip to China and brought me back a gift tin of Ginseng Oolong. The tin and vacuum sealed bag is all in Chinese and she couldn’t tell me much about it. The only English it has on it says “A taste of zen.” I looked it up and couldn’t find a tea company with that name so I don’t think it is the company name.
This is my first ginseng oolong. It certainly looks pretty cool. The flavor I am mainly getting is the vegetal and slightly floral flavor of a lightly roasted oolong along with almost a sweet licorice type flavor that I assume is the ginseng.
The smell of the brewed tea didn’t appeal to me as it smelled very green and most greens and lightly roasted oolongs are not exactly my favorite. But the flavor, while being much of the green oolong, is saved a bit because I do enjoy whatever flavor the ginseng is imparting along with a throat coating sensation which I tend to enjoy.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Licorice
Oh man I love good black tea. This tea seems to fit that bill. The dry leaves have an intense powdered cocoa scent to it that reminds me of my childhood when I would get to make Nestle Quick at my grandma’s. I would pull out that yellow container with the goofy rabbit(if I’m not mistaken) and that chocolatey scent would waft up. This has a lot of that going on. Scents that invoke memories are my favorite.
The flavor is much of the same. Cocoa goodness. I’m not one to add milk to my teas. I don’t generally drink cows milk. I go for almond and coconut milk due to them being easier on my tummy. So, for me, I find they don’t translate as well to tea as cows milk. But back to what I was speaking to. I don’t normally add milk to my teas but this tea makes me curious as to what kind of sweet chocolate flavor I could coax out of it by adding some creaminess to it. Hmm…
Ok, I am back. I added some milk. It definitely makes it creamier but I’m not seeing that it made it MORE cocoa-licious. Yup, just used that “word.” Maybe some milk with HONEY! Hmm…
Ok, back again. I made a last minute strategical decision and put some granulated sugar in there instead of honey. Pretty good actually. Tested it on the kids and they both said it was yummy. My 9 year old asked if I had anymore for her to drink.And because I’m a scientist at heart (and because I made a big pot of this), I HAVE to try it with milk and honey. I’ll report my findings in a moment…
I’m really glad I’m curious and like to experiment. The honey and milk got me there. THIS is the flavor I thought could come out with some creamy sweetness. Hot damn that is good. Now we have a problem though… I know how good it is to add those things but I also know how not good for me it is to add those things… To be so lucky to have problems such as these.
Conclusion: This tea is mighty fine anyway you serve it up.
This is nice. A light green tea with a slight nutty flavor with a pinch of pineapple. I’m not sure if it is possible by adjusting brewing times or how much leaf I use but I would like to see the green tea remain light and smooth while increasing the power of the nut and pineapple.
If I’m being honest, I think it’s just me. Unflavored tea I pretty much have down. I can brew it with relatively few problems. But, flavored tea or tea with added bits and ingredients? Those usually give me trouble. Or perhaps I expect more out of them because I see the flavorful bits and get super excited to what flavor they might impart and then get let down because it tends to be weaker than the scent.
Either way, thanks to SuperStarling! for this sample.
Flavors: Green, Nutty, Pineapple
Another sample Brenden gifted to me during our tea session. I put 8g of this into my 100ml gaiwan.
I didn’t get much scent from the dry leaf. I rinsed the dry leaf chunks for about 5 seconds. I first detected a camphor type of scent. As I was sniffing that and trying to really make sure that is what it was, a brown sugar note hit my nose. Whoa. That was not what I expected based on the original scent I was getting. Very interesting.
1st steep, 10 seconds. The leaf scent went to the fermentation side after this steep. But the liquid has a sweet mineral mushroom scent. The first sip or two left me with the impression of smooth, slightly sweet, slightly creamy, and a mineral-like note. Just a hint, though. The color of this infusion is like a bronzed orange. Wow, yeah, as I drink it there is this caramelized brown sugar scent that wafts up. It isn’t exactly in the flavor but the scent is there.
2nd steep, 10 seconds. The scent of the leaf here is more brown sugar sweet. The shou chunks broke up and turned this steep liquor into a much darker color. Cola-like. The scent of the liquid has more of a typical shou character. Earthy. And the flavor gives off a bitterness on the back of the tongue. Maybe I steeped it too long for the leaves breaking up but wow this stuff is all over the place. Perhaps one of the more complex shou’s I’ve had in those terms. I do hope the bitterness goes away in further steeps as it is not an aspect I enjoy. It is not completely overwhelming but certainly makes itself known on the back end.
3rd steep, 10 seconds. I had to take about an hour break here but I’m holding at ten seconds in order to take care of the bitterness. While it is still there it is less pronounced. A bit smoother.
4th steep, 15 seconds. Ok, I feel better about this steep. We are back to a smooth creamy shou flavor. Very drinkable again. Also, excuse the fall off in detail of reviews. It has been a total of 3 hours since I’ve began drinking this. Life happened. Electrician stopped by and did some work. Kids wanted me to push them on the swing set. Dinner needed to be started. So, forgive the lack of detail. It started out so strong, too!
5th steep, 20 seconds. This is settling in to a nice session. I have to end the review here though.
Overall this comes in as a nice shou. The bitterness throws one off a bit in the first few steeps but after that it settles down and becomes fairly dependable.
Flavors: Bitter, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Camphor, Creamy, Mineral, Mushrooms, Sweet, Wet Earth
The dry scent of this tea is pretty amazing. It kind of makes me want to eat it like granola. Very rich fruity scents wafting up from the tea. The flavor gets a little lost upon brewing. There is still some of the fruit there but now instead of rich and sweet it comes across as a bit tart and thin. I’ve brewed multiple times using progressively more leaf and less water and increased steep time to see if I could strengthen the sweet fruit flavor. I would say I was minimally successful at that.
This is a decent tea and is drinkable. The scent of the dry leaves kind of made me want to flavor of the tea to be different than what it is.
Flavors: Cherry, Fruity, Mango, Sweet
This is a nice mellow tea with a slightly tart apple flavor. I think that the toffee is there but it is very gentle and gets lost a little behind the apple. Perhaps it blends and highlights the apple flavor a bit. A hot steep seems to work better than a cold for this tea.
Flavors: Apple, Tart
I have since brewed this tea hot again and did a cold brew with it. The cold brew is definitely better. The black tea base is way too bitter for a hot brew. I’ve tried multiple steep times with the hot brew and it always has a bitter astringent note to it. At least cold brewed it mellows out and allows some of the vanilla and lavender to shine through.
Flavors: Bitter, Lavender, Vanilla
I probably should wait to review this because I WAAAY overleafed this on my first brew. 3 minutes at 205 and yikes. Normally I am very calculated and measure everything out. Not today. Today, I threw caution to the wind. And look where it got me. With a brew that tasted of nothing but bitter. So, I poured out that steep and resteeped the leaves for about the same time. This second brew is still dark but some of the bitterness is gone. Not worth drinking however. There is potential here though. There are hints of lavender and vanilla. It kind of reminds me of Liquid Prousts Oolong Spa tea.
Despite me screwing this one up, the scent here wafting up from the brewed tea are lovely.
I ordered this for my tea book club. We are reading Let The Right One In and so I ordered a few vampire based teas, this being one of them. But they don’t have brewing parameters/suggestions on their packaging or their website (that I have seen). So here I am testing them out before the book club meeting in order to get them right. Hopefully I can do an updated review later when I actually steep it correctly.
Flavors: Bitter, Lavender, Vanilla