103 Tasting Notes
In spite of its sterling reputation, I feel as though I have never bonded with this tea. The cup is always gone before I’ve noticed it as more than a pleasant, lingering sweetness on my tongue. It’s like a mild person about whom, after a chat, one can only say “she was nice”.
The whole ‘short steep’ idea has never really grown on me – whenever try it, tea tends to taste like tea-flavored-water. This time, I decided to try steeping in 30 second increments; re-steeping if I get the mostly-water flavor (this is pretty easy to do with my Breville).
Though 30 seconds turned out as expected (i.e. water + unidentifiable tea), I’m getting a much more complicated flavor profile at one minute than I’ve ever gotten with this tea. I’m finally tasting the spiciness in the background and the roasted favors up front. My normal 3 minute steeping time may strengthen the dominate flavors, but it also dulls the subtle ones.
Flavors: Roasted, Spicy
Although chocolaty black teas seem to be a steepster favorite, I usually prefer a more bitter cup when I select a black tea. Since ‘chocolate’ was the first descriptor on the list, I expected a sweet, desserty cup. To my relief, I instead found a slightly bitter, dry, woody flavor dominating, with a subtle chocolate undertone.
Flavors: Chocolate, Wood
Sip Down! Sad to see this one go. I’ve been drinking a lot of unidentifiable teas that I can’t review on steepster lately – not writing about the cup afterwards makes the drinking experience less rewarding. Need to put in another order with Whispering Pines so that I can start back on the tea drinking + thinking + writing equation.
I think even the most sophisticated of tea drinkers (which I do not claim to be) have their guilty-pleasure bagged tea. This one is mine. It is easy to make, easy to drink, easy to rest your thoughts on. It demands nothing of you, other than a high tolerance for cinnamon, and will sit contentedly on your shelf for years at a time without loosing anything.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Spices
It wasn’t there with the first sip, but now I taste it distinctly: smoke. With the next sip, it’s gone and again I taste a mellow green tea. Next, I taste a slight seaweed flavor. Each sip tastes different than the last, just like each dry leaf looks different than the one beside it. This is a mysterious and capricious tea.
I have to confess that lighter tasting green teas aren’t usually my preference, but this one was at least an adventure.
Flavors: Seaweed, Smoke, Vegetal
This tea will knock you back into yourself when you haven’t been feeling very self-like. Like Wispering Pine’s ‘Ailaoshan Black’ – this is a tea that you can sit and breathe with, each breath in and out revealing something new about the tea. The sip in is dark, toasty and a little coffee-bitter, while the breath out is pure malty sweetness. Further into the cup, and further into the breath, the tea mellows out to lighter flavors – more carmel and graham crackers than coffee and chocolate.
Sometimes I think the thing I value most about tea is how its complexity forces your mind to focus on it – and in that focusing, you forget yourself and are finally able to relax.
Flavors: Caramel, Coffee, Graham Cracker