2 Tasting Notes
This is the third time I have drunk this tea and I find myself particularly excited as I pour the leaves into the hot gaiwan.
The dry leaves in the hot gaiwan reveal two different sets of aroma on two separate sniffs. First dark berries, second (after a little shake) milky / cream.
The leaves are big, whole and very dry. I like to chew on leaves like this. The flavour is somewhere between red grape and cherry, with a background bitterness and the faintest hint of cream. In a blind test I’d think this was a high end gongfu red tea. The lingering taste in the mouth from chewing the leaves is pleasant. The moisture has been fully removed which suggests a longer, more careful withering and drying.
The aroma of the wet leaf after the wash brew reveals something more vegetal, almost earthy. Think I awakened something.
First steep the liquor is vibrant yellow, like a white wine. Viscous and oily. Fragrance reveals the creamy notes.
The mouthfeel is thick, the flavour milky / cream and the vegetal / berry notes are hard to find. Definitely transitioned into the creamy flavours while brewing.
It’s delicious actually – I really like it – the cream flavour is not overpowering – actually the liquor is very bright and clear, it looks like it should taste vegetal, which is confusing but interesting. There’s some floral there too. Quite dominant floral on the breath after drinking actually.
Fragrance in the cup holds on to the vegetal notes and cream equally.
Nice cool huigan on the sides of the mouth and back of the throat.
As the steeps progress we shift from the obvious, creamy notes fade into more mineral, watery, subtle flavours. There’s a herbal element that creeps in to the aroma on the lid of the gaiwan. Like rosemary. The flavour profile of this tea likes to bounce around and reveal all sorts of notes that you think wouldn’t work together, but they actually do.
I’m happy to see this one through for about 7-8 steeps.
There is an underlying ‘green’ bitterness to it, which I quite like. Overall the flavour profile holds together really well. No jagged edges, nothing that sits out of place. Balanced.
Definitely recommend this tea, would like to have some around permanently. This was a medium sized sample I got three sessions from.
Note to Bitterleaf: Thank you for coming up with a duck related name and not plastering profanity all over the packaging.
Flavors: Cherry, Cream, Floral, Grapes, Milk
I got this tea before I had read any descriptions or heard anything about it actually, so I had no idea what to expect.
The aroma in the pack was giving off a kind of shellfish smell, which surprised me, but I think that was mostly just me picking that up. Underneath that was a dark, creamy sweetness and that is what is expressed in the liquor.
The tea is not tightly packed, it crumbles easily into small chunks, making a consistent brew.
After a wash brew, the first infusion is a strong deep red (I brewed the first infusion about 10 seconds) and the aroma matches the dry leaf aroma, just with a bit more life to it.
The liquor is not as thick as some puers, more mellow and somewhat transparent, vibrant red.
The flavour is simple – oats, malt, rice and other cereals. There’s not to much mystery with this tea and it stays consistent over the mutliple brews. Getting lighter and lighter as you go.
Very patient. After the first steeping I did a couple of flash brews then slowly increase brew time. I went right up to 15 brews, it still had something to offer, albeit much weaker than the first infusion.
The energy is very good. Comfortable. Warming for sure and positive, reassuring. Very balanced. I don’t feel I could get an uncomfortable or anxious feeling from this tea – it’s consistent and balanced. Really good for meditation and paying close attention to.
There’s not much of a kick to it, no overwhelming ‘hit’, just a nice, deep, mellow energy that moves quickly to your whole body. An internal warm bath of sorts.
It’s not the most complex of teas – wears its colours on its sleeves – creamy, slightly sweet, malty and oats – all the way through start to finish.
No signs of damp, mold, forest floor or compost – which is nice. Very much a ‘go-to’, happy to have it in the collection kind of tea when you’re looking for something that tastes and feels great without knocking your socks off energy-wise.
Would love to try the ’98 version to compare and contrast.
Flavors: Cream, Malt, Oats, Rice, Wheat