347 Tasting Notes
My brother got me a 3 month subscription to the Amoda tea box, and I just got my first box! This is the only unflavoured tea in the box, and I actually really like it. It’s a dark, roasted oolong so it brews up a warm orange colour and has some lovely toasty aromas and caramel flavours. It reminds me of more of a chinese black/oolong tea than any indian tea I’ve had before, though there is a juicy fruitiness and a slight floral character that does remind me of a 2nd or 3rd flush darjeeling. It’s interesting! I like it.
Flavors: Caramel, Stonefruits
After many many months of looking over at it, thinking “wow I haven’t had a proper gongfu session in ages”, I finally got the tea tray and gaiwan out and used them to make tea! It’s amazing how I can develop these weird mental blocks about things where something seems like “too much trouble”, so I procrastinate forever, then when I finally go ahead and do it, it’s no big deal.
8g of tea is a LOT for my 100ml ruyao gaiwan from White2Tea so I’ve basically just been steeping this all afternoon. It’s a good black tea, medium bodied with a bit of astringency. Malty, somewhat floral early on, but in later steeps it develops a kind of “generic black tea” flavour. Not unpleasant, but also not very exciting? I did really enjoy the whole tea ball concept though, so I look forward to trying some more of them. :)
So I bought a sample of this years ago, and then lost it in the back of a cupboard, and recently found it again. Thought it might be a bit old and stale, but nope! I opened the package and it had a bit of nice roasty/floral aroma. Measured some out into a steeping basket, poured on the hot water, was standing there setting the timer when the aroma rose up out of the mug and smacked me in the face. I actually said (out loud, we’ll say it was to my dog) “damn, that is some good fricken tea!”. As I sit here sipping it, the aroma is a complex mixture of flowers and like, carmelized fruit, honey-drenched pastries, just yummy. The flavour is light and sweet and with only a hint of that mineral note I associate with rock oolongs. Lovely. :)
This is a darjeeling that doesn’t taste like a darjeeling? It reminds me of a Chinese black, like a keemun. Rich and full-bodied, surprisingly chocolatey in the scent, malty and fruity in the flavour. An aftertaste that lingers. It’s good!
Again, not exactly the right tea but close enough. I’m drinking:
Vahdam Jungpana Exotic Darjeeling Organic Summer Black Tea
Date of picking 2nd June, 2015; Grade FTGFOP1
This is nice, the scent is complex with floral notes along with something sweet and biscuity. The flavour is similar, but with a lot more of the grape skin note that I assume is muscatel, and some general malt and light astringency, like oh hey this is a black tea from India, hi. Some lingering flowers in the aftertaste (some sips more than others, I don’t know why). It’s interesting, I like it.
I have a slightly different version of this tea, but I’m too lazy to make a new entry. :) Finally trying to get through all these Golden Tips/Vahdam samples! So here is what the sample label says:
Vahdam Avongrove Premium Darjeeling Organic Summer Black Tea
Date of picking 4th June, 2015. Grade FTGFOB1
The dry leaf smells like a darjeeling, quite floral. The steeped tea has floral notes as well, and a slightly spicy note. The flavour is a bit lighter than I expected, lots of floral and fresh green, like freshly cut alfalfa hay. There is a slight astringency developing as I get about halfway through my mug. This is nice, I tend to drink more Chinese black teas, but when I drink a darjeeling I always think “yeah, I like these too!”. My thing is that I’m not sure I differentiate between different darjeelings very well? First vs second flush, yes, but would I be able to distinguish this from another summer darjeeling? Anyway, I’ll try a few more today, see if anything becomes clear.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Green, Hay
Meh. Why is it so sweet?
I’m getting mostly ginger and pineapple and sweetness. A bit of an earthy undertone. It’s not terrible, but it’s not really doing it for me. I’d almost suspect it of having some sort of sweetener added… I know it doesn’t have stevia because that always tastes terribly bitter to me, but there’s a bit of a weird aftertaste.
Weird tea. The first time I tried it, it was citrus and spice and the oolong itself was pretty much nonexistent under all the spices but it was ok if citrus-spice is what you’re looking for. The second time I tried it, was overwhelmingly bubblegum. How can anything taste so much like bubblegum? I took the leaves from that hot steep and cold steeped them overnight, and now… spicy bubblegum? Not bad, just extremely bizarre. :)
Well I decided to steep this western style tonight, which might be why it ended up kind of… intense. :) 3g of leaf, 10oz of water, 80C, 2min. The dry leaves are really cool – dark green and silver in colour, rolled into little nuggets. Dry, they smell like freshly-cut grass. Wet, they smell intensely vegetal, like… kind of like canned peas? The liquor is rich, with a thick, buttery mouthfeel. The flavour is again very vegetal, like cooked spinach and peas. There’s bit of fresh-veggie in there too, but less intense. This is a very savoury green tea. Looking forward to trying it in the gaiwan next. :)
Flavors: Peas, Spinach, Vegetal