17 Tasting Notes
Out of the tea samples I got from TeaAve (which included Magnolia Oolong and Alishan Jin Xuan), this is my favourite!
I’ve steeped it gongfu style in my gaiwan as well as Western style (90C ish water for 3.5mins)
This tea is delicious both ways!
Western style, it has a slightly stronger nutty flavour (which comes out lightly in some of the gongfu steeps), as well as the taste of very rich fruit! I get peach and plum a lot. Like, stewed peaches and plums. Mm.
In the gaiwan the flavour is similar – its a joy to drink. Its not overly strong but its not overly light, its just perfect, and delicious. Its sweet with that rich fruity taste (peaches n plums!) and some steeps get a nice nutty roastyness to them. It has a silky smooth feel in the mouth though leaves a dry finish thats kid of fun, not unpleasant at all!
I’ve steeped it gong fu in my gaiwan twice now.. and… Each time it made me incredibly sleepy! I felt so relaxed and drowsy, like I could melt right then and there and go to sleep. Is that what it is to be tea drunk? If so its pretty great.
Flavors: Fruity, Nuts, Nutty, Peach, Plums, Roasted, Roasted nuts
I think this is the best tea I’ve made with my gaiwan so far!
Its quite nice. I started off with a 15 second steep and added 5-10 seconds for each one after.
There’s a slight mineral taste, a general ‘green’ kind of taste, and the first couple steeps had a nice silkyness to them, slightly buttery. I’m on a 5th or 6th steep now?? and its tasting slightly the way cornsilk smells! Nice.
2min 30 sec @ 80C
It smells exactly like miso soup? Well.. thats mouthwatering, actually.
Ok. The tea has cooled down, and I have tasted it…. It does taste a little like miso! And then like slightly buttered, not-white-but-not-quite-whole-grain toast. There is a toasted nutty taste for sure. I quite like it! I would love a stronger flavour though, but I think I may have underleafed. Mmm. this tea is very food-like, super digging it. Would buy again.
Edit: 2nd steep @ 82C for 4minutes ish is more miso and more butter. YESSS
Flavors: Broth, Brown Toast, Butter, Nuts, Toast, Toasty, Umami
Mmm not gonna rate this one because its not up my alley at all. I don’t find it particularly floral or plum like at all… Instead I am getting mushroom and almost…. Idk. Its like I’m eating meat, like beef, the way it tastes as it touches my upper palate??? its just not a very refreshing taste. I dunno. Its weird. Not my thing.
Ok. So. On one of the many occasions where DavidsTea gives a free 50g of your choice, I picked Gyokuro. I would have preferred the Gyokuro Yamashiro but they never had it in stock :I Anyway! Point is, I have tried this tea, and tried to like it, so, soooooo many times.
This and the other Japanese Greens by DT made me thing green tea just wasn’t my thing, because I’d always end up with a bitter and unpleasantly astringent cup, even though I’d try cooler temperatures, shorter steeping times, gong fu bastardization, etc. Until, I tried their Japanese Sencha. Dang. It changed my mind on what green tea should taste like. From there I’ve been inspired to go revisiting other japanese samples in my tea cupboard and trying to wrangle em.
Basically, what my green tea wants from me is absurdly cool water. Now, my tea is a little underleafed so its a bit weak, but I finally taste what its supposed to be. My next cup is going to have less water so I can focus on flavour.
A long-ish rinse right under a cool tap in my perfect steeper is needed to get rid of the millions of tea dust bits that fall through even the tiny holes of the DT perfect steeper and into the bottom of the cup where they bitter-ify everything.
Next, water at 65C. Not 80C like the bag says, not 74C like the thermometer says. I’ve tried doing short steeps at these temperatures and they came out bitter and awful no matter what. But at 65C, it tastes mellow and the butteriness comes out. I’m going to further experiment in the future to see if this tea can handle a little hotter, like 67-68 or 70 without going to crap.
Anyway, basically, I need 65C water and short 30second steeps. But really, is my water weird or something? No one else seems to be having these difficulties!
Anyway, there’s no bitterness now, just a slight vegetal and slight buttery flavour – I think I can sense some sweetness and salt, but again, I think I underleafed for such a short steep, which would explain the light/weak flavour. Yay for bastardized gong fu… Well, I’ll be getting a real gaiwan in the mail soon enough!
Gonna go for a second steep now with a little less water.
Edit: Second steep was a bit too long @50seconds. Oops. Less water so there’s more flavour, but the tea has lost most of that slight butteryness, but now has a thicker feel in the mouth and I can taste more oceany flavours – a pleasant light briney kind of taste like seaweed + some dry land kinda vegetal. Its a little bit bitter and a little more astringent but I’ll put that down to the length of the steep, its still acceptable to me. Gonna go for a third with a shorter steep and the same amount of water.
Its a very finicky tea… I’m sure a top notch gyokuro would taste a good bit different. Would love to try the yamashiro version since it should be more buttery.
2nd Edit: 3rd steep – rinsed with cool tap water for 5 second, then steeped for 65C for 35 seconds. Bitterness and astringency have retreated. The seaweed taste is still slightly there, like an essence, which is nice, but now theres an interesting, very sunny taste that makes me think of the taste in the air when theres a warm breeze on a warm fresh kind of day… and at the end of the sip a sweetness on the tip of my tongue thats just plain sugary. Its SUGARY. All my wat. Not like sweetened green tea – more like a sip of tea gets swallowed and then someone sprinkles a few granules of sugar on the tongue.
anyway, on my 4th steep and its a bit buttery, but weak and no longer interesting.
Flavors: Butter, Seaweed, Vegetal
Interesting. I did a comparison between this and the Ashikubo Sencha by David, as I bought 10g of each to sample. Both teas were steeped as recommended by the David’s Tea Thermometer – 74C for 2mins 30seconds. Just under a tsp of tea for each.I don’t always do that but for the sake of comparison, I followed the directions. I made them at exactly the same time in identical mugs, water from the same pot and all that jazz. Only thing is I forgot to give either of them a rinse!
The Ashikubo’s liquor was a shade darker, slightly murkier. It is very vegetal and woody, kind of bitter, with slight nutty notes, and a lot of astringency (which I hate). I’ve tried it before and felt meh about it and I still do.
The Japanese Sencha’s liquor is lighter in color and clearer. Lighter in flavour too but not in a bad way at all – light vegetal base, very slight sweet floral and wood notes (compared to Ashikubo), very smooth with no astringency. Really pleasant to drink. I’m not a green tea person because every one I’ve tried so far is too astringent (besides genmaicha) and I really don’t dig that, but this changes things.
Anyway, final result is – I dig this a million times more over the Ashikubo! Which is great because its a good 6 dollars cheaper per 50g, lol. If you don’t like astringency this is for you. I’d dig a stronger flavour but that can probably be adjusted with steeping. Both my brother and my dad preferred this one too.
Interesting. I did a comparison between this and the Japanese Sencha by David, as I bought 10g of each to sample. Both teas were steeped as recommended by the David’s Tea Thermometer – 74C for 2mins 30seconds. I made them at exactly the same time in identical mugs, water from the same pot and all that jazz. Only thing is I forgot to give either of them a rinse!
The Ashikubo’s liquor was a shade darker, slightly murkier. It is very vegetal, kind of bitter, with slight nutty notes, and a lot of astringency (which I hate). I’ve tried it before and felt meh about it.
The Japanese Sencha’s liquor was lighter in color and clearer. Lighter in flavour too but not in a bad way at all – light vegetal base, very slight sweet floral notes (compared to Ashikubo), very smooth with no astringency. Really pleasant to drink. I’m not a green tea person because every one I’ve tried so far is too astringent (besides genmaicha) and I really don’t dig that, but this changes things.
Anyway, final result is – I don’t like the Ashikubo. I wouldn’t freely decide to sit down with a cup of it. If you dislike astringency, like me, this isn’t for you! Go with the Japanese Sencha. Funny how I like the cheaper one….
Edit: Retrying this tea for the millionth time, trying to get it to work and…. its just not happening. Ever. I’ve just been consistently decreasing steep times and temperature and it just doesn’t want to work for me. I even rinsed it then sat it in some cold water for 10 seconds and all I got was bitter, bitter, bitter. I’ve steeped it at 58C for 25 seconds, for chrissakes! And its still bitter! I can taste some butteryness in the background but then the bitterness just coats my mouth and destroys everything. Undrinkable. Is it my water or something? This definitely isn’t a bad batch, I hope, as this is the second time I’ve bought a sample, at a different store many months after the first attempt. Does my water hate green teas? Why?? WHY?
Just bought 14g of this to try out. Not impressed.
I can taste the toasty buttery notes but the bitterness is just too strong to really enjoy it. I brewed it at 80C for 1min 30secs with my perfect mug strainer/infuser, so I don’t see why it should be bitter. Possibly has something to do with all the tea dust left in my cup.
Edit: retried it in cooler water and short steeps aaaaaand…. green tea just doesn’t like me, does it? All I get is a fleeting glimpse of the taste described, and then bitter bitter bitter destroying everything. I try going colder and colder and shorter and shorter with the steeps but just nononono.
Bought 6g as a sample (enough for 2 cups). Pretty good tea! I don’t think I’m much of a green tea person, though.
I steeped mine for 3 minutes @ 71C, and I think that may have resulted in a lighter flavour. Some of the pearls didn’t even open halfway so I will try resteeping later. Ever so sllightly savoury/oceany/salty base with a hint of jasmine. Not bitter at all.
Flavors: Hay, Jasmine, Salt
Very good tea!
The dry scent is sweet and strong with the smell of jasmine. The taste is very deep – not rich, but deep and a bit woodsy/bambooish in a nice way. Very sweet and fragrant from the jasmine. There’s a hint of bitterness but I may just have steeped it too long – I put 3 pearls in 250mls of water with simmering water for 4 minutes, I think I’ll cut it down to 3 next time.
Edit: I’ve gotten rid of the bitterness and have come to really love this tea. Its full bodied yet light and refreshingly sweet. Boyfriend and his mom love it too! I ordered the 250g for 40% off because I love it so much and needed a good stock!
Flavors: Bamboo, Jasmine, Sweet, Wood