9 Tasting Notes
I really like White 2. I like their marketing, I like their owner, and I like their teas. This one is no different, I absolutely loved this.
The early steeps, starting at 10s (+5s each steep), had a lot of sweet earth and baked goodies in the nose, and the tea itself was, as advertised, smooth as heck, with no jagged edges. It was very sweet, with a comforting touch of bitter, and a cooling sensation in the mouth after sipping. Later steeps got a little jammy, with some brown sugar notes, of course. I messed up the fifth steep, but pushed the six and seventh to one and two minutes. The tea did very well, and could probably have been pushed a lot sooner, maybe going up by 10s instead. It got nicely complex with a hint of spice/herb notes.
Longer review with pictures! http://writing.drab-makyo.com/posts/tasting/2016/04/14/white2-brown-sugar/
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit, Earth
Wow! I purchased this tea after reading a bunch of reviews here on Steepster and finding out that it was as cheap as it was. I hardly regret my purchase, and will likely add some more to my cupboard at some point. Following the reviews, I gave this tea two boiling rinses of thirty seconds each, with a firm shake of the gaiwan in between to loosen up the nuggets. The lid of the pot smelled rather savory, with notes of beef broth and dark earth. After time this loosened up and I started to smell more of the chocolate that I had been reading about, and knew I was in for a ride. The taste began dusty and like dark earth, which flowed into a rich chocolate, almost like dark chocolate brownies. There was a definite savory note, of course, but it was the savoriness of the salt you put in the cookie dough, rather than a fishy sense. After a while, the cocoa started to fade, and I was left with something more like a snickerdoodle or soft oatmeal cookies sweetened with molasses. The sweetness went on and on. After six steeps, I tipped the tea nuggets into my thermos and poured about a cup and a half of boiling water over them to let them sit for ten minutes. I’d heard about boiling this stuff, but I guess my pots are aluminum, because everything tastes metallic and awful, so I figured this would do. The broth I wound up with was earthy, bitter and sweet, with lots of molasses cookies and a tinge of mineralness that was very good.
I reviewed this tea with some pictures here: http://writing.drab-makyo.com/posts/tasting/2016/04/07/white2-laochatou/
Flavors: Baked Bread, Broth, Cacao, Chocolate, Cookie, Molasses, Sweet
This was a very interesting tea, but not at all what I was expecting. Reading the reviews, I was expecting some horchata-like white, though I wound up getting that so much from the Tribute White that I almost wonder if I wound up with the wrong teas! This tea leapt forth with cranberries, gooseberries, and sour grapes from the fore, which settled down into plenty of berry salad mixed with a little tarragon. Early steeps had some tamarind in them as well. The tea never got sour in the mouth, but was a nice, calm sweet/bitter combination that was very pleasant, with a heady aroma of berries. It was…well, rather like a white tea had some age on it, and was allowed to calm down. Even though it wasn’t what I was expecting, it was still quite nice!
I reviewed this and the Tribute White from Bana with pictures here: http://writing.drab-makyo.com/posts/tasting/2016/04/07/bana-whites/
Flavors: Berry, Cranberry, Grapes
I’m not huge on whites, but these aged ones might yet win me over. I’m used to more medicinal and sharp white teas, but this one burst forth immediately with honey and malt and milk. In fact, it reminded me so much of my childhood breakfast of hot Grape Nuts and milk topped with hone that I was made hungry almost immediately. The early steepings were mostly honey and grain, while the mid steepings shifted to more of honey and autumn leaf pile, very tasty. The later steepings started to calm down quite a bit, still milk and honey, and the tea pooped out around six steeps, though it was tasty all the way through. I found myself quite tea-drunk, by the end, and my notes don’t make a whole lot of sense :)
I reviewed this with Bana’s Moonlight White with pictures here: http://writing.drab-makyo.com/posts/tasting/2016/04/07/bana-whites/
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grain, Honey, Malt, Milk, Sugar, Sugarcane
No notes yet. Add one?
Got this with my monthly White 2 box. Wonderful packaging, as always, for a delightful young sheng. The tea starts out with notes of hay and grass, and a decidedly pleasant sour flavor. The sourness starts out acetic and then moves toward citrus, and after a while, once the hay toned down into pleasant bitterness, I got hit in the face with Arnold Palmer. Quite delicious.
I did 7 steeps, 10s 20s 30s 40s 50s 60s 120s, and the tea could likely have gone on further. I’m a fan overall, but I’m curious to see how this sheng ages.
Read the longer review, with pictures, up here! http://writing.drab-makyo.com/posts/tasting/2016/04/06/white2-fade/
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Hay, Lemon, Pleasantly Sour
I picked this Da Hong Pao up from Bana with a loose pu’er as part of my search for more portable teas than the pu’er cakes I’ve taken a liking to. The brick was intriguing, but the ability to break it up with one’s hands sold me. I’m aiming to try it as a travel tea, but to start with, I did it gongfu style. Early on, I noticed a ton of caramel and roasty sweet flavors, like a caramel corn or those sugar roasted almonds that you get at fairs and festivals (but only really the skins, no real nuttiness). After that, the flavor settled down into more of a middle-of-the-road oolong (to my uneducated tastes), which was pleasant and made me think that this would be fantastic iced as well. My water started cooling off, so my steeping pooped out rather early, which is alright – the remaining leaf smelled plenty herbal and very fresh, which makes me think I could’ve gone further and explored more pleasant bitterness and astringency, but I felt I had had my fill. All in all, I’m sold, this will make a wonderful traveling companion.
I wrote a much longer review with pictures, but it wasn’t conducive to pasting! Check it out here: http://writing.drab-makyo.com/posts/tasting/2016/03/24/da-hong-pao-blocks/
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Earth, Kale, Rice Pudding, Roasted
This was a fantastic pu’er, my first REAL brewing of sheng. Unfortunately, I started with much hotter water than was recommended, and I paid for it with bracing astringency in the early steeps and relatively few steeps. Once the astringency calmed down, I was greeted with an intensely sweet and fruity tea. The huigan lasted forever, and the flavors hovered between plum and apricot. Wonderful feeling from this tea, too, nicely euphoric, with a little silliness. I may revise the rating after getting a proper temperature steeping from the beginning, because the early bitterness, while pleasant, overwhelmed the rather more pleasant stone fruit flavors.
I wrote a lot more, and it’s not really conducive to being copied! For the full review, see http://writing.drab-makyo.com/posts/tasting/2016/03/22/misty-peaks-spring-mountain-2015-puer/
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Camphor, Plum
This was the tea that got me back into drinking tea. I stopped drinking coffee back in November, 2015, after running out one week and noticing that my anxiety dropped like a stone without. I’ve been careful about caffeine since. I stopped in Ku Cha on a whim and puttered around before settling on this TGY superior.
I’m very, very new to tasting tea, so most of my experience comes from tasting wine and spirits, forgive me if I misstep here. Dry, the tea is clean smelling, dry-but-not-dusty vegetal, with some overt notes of jasmine and honeysuckle that just sort of peek through without being POW in your face jasmine or anything. Wet, the tea smells much more complexly floral, without a focus on any one specific flower. The vegetal scent is still there, but it’s clean, rather than forest-floor, almost like fresh cut romaine or something. New is the scent of honey, a clean one like Tupelo.
The taste is wonderful. It’s thick without being creamy. Floral and clean without much of what I’d associate with either Jasmine or green tea. This is my first oolong, that I know of, so maybe it’s more typical of that. On the fore, it’s mostly floral, jasmine, lilac, and honeysuckle. In the mid, it settles down into a very clean cut grass and vegetal flavor. The aftertaste is very, very sweet, without being cloying, almost like someone put honey in it.
I brew this by the pot and fairly weak. It’s good strong, no doubt, but I find that it starts to pick up some astringency I’m not as big of a fan of. I can get a few brewings out of it this way, too, though I’ve yet to go beyond three.
Glad to be back in tea land!
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Jasmine, Sweet, Warm Grass, Vegetal