7 Tasting Notes
I’ve sat through two brews of this tea wondering, sip after sip, how exactly I should describe it but have found myself at a loss for words. Well, here goes nothing!
This is a type of Darjeeling, or so the counter staff at TWG told me, and everything about it — from taste to fragrance — is delicately floral. Perhaps it’s just my wonky nose playing tricks on my brain but at times, drinking this tea felt like drinking silken tofu. It had that kind of smell … oh, I don’t know! This is hard. LOL. I haven’t been able to identify anything that would define this tea.
You guys are such prolific writers (and tea drinkers) I’m having trouble keeping up!
Anyway, I keep hearing about Lapsang Souchong but have never tried it myself, so when I saw a box of these teabags at the supermarket, I had to get it! I wonder, though, if I should be creating a new entry for the teabag version instead of adding this note under the loose leaf one …
To sidetrack a bit, teabags are such convenient little packets for lazy bums like me. I’ve got some loose leaf Maloom and Okayti sitting around untouched for a whole week but I tore straight into my new Lapsang Souchong purchase instead, because all I had to do was throw a teabag into a cup of hot water. It’s less troublesome than yanno, actually brewing tea. xD
So my first impressions are: wow, this is very smoky indeed! I’m drinking it plain at the moment and I think it tastes rather earthy, like Pu’er, only slightly sharper/more acidic(?). Also, is it just me, or does this tea dry your throat up? The smokiness isn’t for everyone, but I like it even though it made me sneeze and gives me smoky breath. LOL. ♥
Prolific… Obsessive… Addicted… You take your pick. ;)
Yes, it does have a certain throat drying quality, but I find it sweet that it made you sneeze. :D
Also, I agree with the comparison to Pu-erh. It is of course not even remotely the same thing, but in terms of unique flavours pu-ehrs would be the closest thing. The (then) owner of my little local shop and I decided to agree on this a few months ago when I was craving lapsang souchong and it was sold out (and she wasn’t stocking up at the time due to imminent sale of the shop), so we agreed that the closest alternative she could give me would be the plain generic pu-ehr. Pu-ehr doesn’t have the smokeyness, but underneath that I think lapsang souchong definitely has the same dark sort of solid flavour.
There are worse things to be addicted to. ;D
LOL, it’s probably the smoke drying up your throat, and I suppose it’s my excessive sniffing of the tea that made me sneeze. Guess I was too excited by this smoky novelty. ;)
Yup, I was referring to that complex earthy/dirt-like taste you find lurking beneath Lapsang Souchong’s smokiness and Pu’er was the only thing I could think of describing it with. Otherwise, they’re definitely two different teas. I used to drink Pu’er after lunch at work everyday but I don’t think I can do so with this!
There is no middle ground: either you love lapsang or you hate it. I fall into the latter category, unfortunately. Too bad; I hate not liking any variety of tea.
Much better as is, IMO. The interesting thing is, even though the taste of the tea itself is so mild, I still experience a strong lingering honey and vanilla aroma with every sip. It’s like I’m literally drinking in the fragrance, if that’s even possible. I quite like that sensation, LOL.
I generally dislike fancy-flavoured tea but this one caught my eye because I’m almost instantly sold on anything related to bees. Well, I’m mostly glad I took the plunge — this smells pleasantly of honey and vanilla, and because it doesn’t contain any caffeine, it’s nice for you to relax with, even late at night. I foresee this coming in very handy when I am struck with yet another bout of insomnia.
As per serving suggestions, I sweetened it with a teaspoon of Manuka honey and the result was something that tasted like … honey chrysanthemum tea … with a lingering vanilla aftertaste. I’m kinda neutral on this. I can drink it every now and then, but it probably wouldn’t be my beverage of choice if I could have proper tea instead.
This feels like such a redundant review.
The review was informative for me. I’ve been on the fence about Manuka honey since it’s so expensive, but I may splurge. Right now I’m only adding brown sugar to herbal teas. Good luck with the insomnia.
Just tried this with milk and sugar. Hmm, it makes for a very light beverage that nevertheless retains a touch of fragrance, which is fine by me — I’m OK with delicate flavours. Taste-wise, it’s like a mild version of Taiwanese bubble milk tea. Easy on the palate, but I think fans of strong concoctions would find this bland.
By the way, sorry about the bad picture — it was the best I could do in poor lighting, LOL.
One of the sellers I purchased some tea cups from included a bag of this with my package. It’s pretty thick — I’ve only steeped it for about 1 minute plus and the liqueur was already a deep amber. One cube of sugar wasn’t quite enough to balance out the astringency and so I plopped in another, which turned out to be half a cube too many. I’m sure I would’ve been able to enjoy it much better if I hadn’t given it a sugar overdose (and milk) but despite that, it still tasted decent. This tea is strong and definitely gives your engine a kickstart when you’re feeling lethargic.
TWG’s Imperial (Formosa) Oolong doesn’t taste like Chinese tea at all! More specifically, it doesn’t taste like the Chinese tea I’m used to.
This one has got a woody/musky taste with a hint of lingering sweetness riding above it. It also carries with it the aroma of … well, Lipton/generic “Western” tea, for want of a better word, and it feels like it would go well with milk and sugar. In fact, I shall try it the next time.
It’s not that I didn’t like this tea; it’s just that I’ve got preconceived notions of what oolong should taste like, and it definitely isn’t like this, so I won’t rate it until I’ve gotten over my stereotype upheaval and can approach this tea from a more unbiased POV.
Thanks for your comments! Note that TWG Tea’s Imperial Oolong is in fact from Formosa (Taiwan) and is therefore processed according to Formosa methods (i.e. up to 70% oxidation) which makes this oolong more akin to a black tea than a green tea. China oolongs are only oxidized up to 12%, which make them much lighter and fragrant, more akin to green teas.
Chances are, you’d love a Chinese method oolong, such as Kwai Flower Imperial. :-)