142 Tasting Notes
Surprise after surprise after surprise. I plucked this tea more or less at random from a giant delivery of nearly all of Camellia Sinensis’ herbals. The first surprise: it looks just like that photo! All of their herbals look just like their ridiculous photos. They look like someone may have cut the stems out of a lovely dried bouquet. Next, the tea brewed up to a deep purple I’ve never seen in a tea. Then the flavor – floral herby basil. Emphasis on the herby basil. I think this will be the perfect pre-bedtime tea.
This and the huang zhi xiang in Verdant’s latest club shipment have opened my eyes to dan congs, and I want to try lots and lots of them now. I think I once tried one I didn’t love and decided ‘dan cong bad.’ Duh. This one has a delightful woodsy sweetness, and I think the only reason it doesn’t go back on my wish list is that the huang zhi xiang knocked it off the list with its non-woodsy marmalade toast sweetness. Still, this is a really charming tea and still working on convincing me to keep it. Which I might.
I guess I’m reviewing me more than the tea. But after tasting this tea (and many others), I think I can finally make the sweeping statement that I like my white teas scented, blended, or cold brewed (which, at least the way I do it, seems to make them taste like black teas anyway). I certainly don’t hate this tea, but I wouldn’t pick it out of the collection voluntarily either. It turns out I don’t love that hay flavor. If you do like white tea though – you should really check out the other tasting notes on this. It gets raves.
For whatever reason, this wants to take over the spot in my green tea collection reserved for Bi Luo. I just don’t need both, and I think I like this better than any Bi Luo I’ve had. It’s sweet and precious and delicate and borders on very light oolonginess (the highest praise, in my book). This is love.
I love it when free samples expand my horizons. I would not have tried this – I don’t love smoky teas and don’t keep many blacks around at all. I happen to have just reviewed yesterday Shang Tea’s Tangerine Blossom though, so this is perfect timing for a comparison. The base tea here really only has a slight smoke, despite the description, and it’s at a level that makes the tea more interesting for me but doesn’t overwhelm. And I have to agree with another reviewer that the citrus notes are more like dried orange than fresh – with just a slight spice to it. Where the tangerine blossom is more delicate bright citrus floral, this has a slight smoky, spicy, fruity flavor. This one is actually quite a bit closer to the Constant Comment profile, though with subtler flavors. I actually really like both this and the Tangerine Blossom, I suppose depending on whether you’re having a winter night by the fire (Romanoff) or breakfast on the balcony (Tangerine Blossom).
Love at first sip. I think if you could make dessert out of vegetables, it would taste like this. I agree with other reviewers about the bean and asparagus flavor, and there’s a creamy sweetness to it. [Disclaimer: I’m apparently overly sensitive to sweet tastes – I usually hate them where they’re intentional and only love them where others may not find them at all. Like here.]