111 Tasting Notes
Okay. I’ve decided to play Gongfu. After looking at the very beautiful gaiwan sets at Verdant, I decided I wanted to try and give it a go. That said, I’m simply using two mugs (one to steep with, other to drink out of) so it’s not terribly official. xD But you know, before going all out for the “authentic” experience, I figured I better at least try it out to see if I like it.
This is my first gongfu attempt, so it might turn out to be an utter failure. But let’s try it. I wasn’t sure what size Verdant meant by “medium Gaiwan” so I decided to assume 6oz and did a tbsp of leaves, once again assuming that that was how much ‘5g’ was.
Okay, I did my rinse. It was a disaster. I panicked so I didn’t know what to use to hold back the leaves, so the rinse was around 15 seconds. XD Lost some of the leaves when pouring, and also made a bit of a mess on the counter. Dangit.
1st Steep 3 Seconds:
This tastes like how when I western brew it. Deep, dark chocolately, not to bitter not too sweet. Interestingly, when I brew western, I always feel the need to add milk to this. With this, I don’t feel the need for it at all.
2nd Steep 6 seconds:
Another mini disaster. Was tilting my infuser without thinking when using it as a strainer, lost some more liquid onto the counter. Also, now that my mug was pre-heated from the first steep, I forgot how much hotter it’d be to pour boiling water into a pre-heated cup so I burned my tongue. Note to self, use hot but cooler temp.
I feel like I’m getting more of that cinnamon taste that Verdant promised, which I never really got out of Laoshan black western style. Even as a resteep, I never tasted cinnamon, I’d just get the same flavor but weaker. Chocolate taste still in the background, and it’s sweeter now.
Steep 3 9 seconds:
Realizing that the infuser can fit onto the mug I stopped pouring it over my drinking mug like an idiot and instead inserted into the drinking mug, and poured the steeped tea through it. There. No mess.
It’s still cinnamony and chocolately. I feel like it’s weaker already than it should be. I suspect the boiling water and the stupidly long rinse is the problem. Next I’ll use under boiling and be sure to be prepared from the beginning. This is tasting like steep two would with western brew.
Apparently I’m tired. I missed my mouth at the second to last sip and the tea went down my shirt instead of down my gullet. Oh well, keep drinking. I’m going to have my shower after this session anyway.
Steep 4 12 seconds:
Yeah, I definitely messed up with that long rinse. This tea is already starting to be done like dinner, and it should be good for several more steeps yet. I’ll try a couple more in case it resurrects itself suddenly.
Steep 5 15 seconds:
… And it’s done. It’s now a shadow of what it was, with a feebly colored liquor.
Well, I won’t rate this session, as it wouldn’t really be fair seeing as I messed up. I’ll try again sometime. xD; Hopefully this provided some giggles at least.
When I discovered that Mattu’s served loose leaf, I was quite surprised. I was even more taken aback at the surprisingly large variety! They even have a few oolongs. I can’t think of any coffee shop that serves oolong period. So needless to say, my curiosity was piqued so I happily went in and grabbed a cup while I was at the mall.
Anyway, this blend is a bit more on the Ceylon side than I would’ve preferred, and sure the paper cup taste was getting up in my face while drinking, but it was actually a pretty decent cup of tea! Not as malty as other Irish Breakfasts (probably because it’s so heavy on the Ceylon) but it had enough weight to be satisfying. The water was boiling hot, and the tea didn’t go bitter at all, so it’s definitely not poor quality even if it’s not the best.
This of course isn’t an end-all tea, but it was definitely enjoyable! When I’m in the mall, I’ll be sure to ignore Starbucks and go to Mattu’s instead from now on.
I’ve been quite enjoying this one. I find this one is a bit of a mystery, as I’m tasting a lot of things, but this past week or two I’ve been having difficulty pinning down exactly what those tastes are.
I definitely like it more at the five minute range. I think the best way I can describe the five minute steep, is that it goes sort of walnutty. It’s like, take a walnut, sprinkle some cinnamon and cloves on it, and throw on a couple pieces of hay for good measure. It finishes with a woody sort of taste, and as the cup cools, I can then taste the raw cacao notes at the finish as well, whereas I couldn’t really taste that while it’s still piping. Even then, very mildly mind you. The finish is woody with a trace of cacao. If I wasn’t looking for it, I’d probably have missed it.
Along with how it’s difficult to describe how it tastes, it’s also difficult to put a rating on it. I’m not really sure where it stands as a number. However, I know I really like this, and while I wouldn’t order it every time, I’d definitely order it every two or three times. :)
I expected to like this, but I wasn’t expecting it to like it as much as I do. :) You see, I tend to enjoy really strong black teas, and this one is advertised as being pretty mild, designed for some kick back and relax sipping.
Which is exactly what it does! Despite the fact that it is indeed a milder black, it’s still plenty flavorful. Now my learning taste buds are mainly picking up on the peachy notes at the end of the taste, but I do pick up on a very slight hint that could be a woody taste, though I wouldn’t have been able to identify it as mahogany! :)
Thanks to this tea, I now understand what a certain taste I got out of Premium Taiwanese Assam Upgrade was: the tobacco taste. While it’s not as heavy as the aforementioned, I can lightly taste its presence, and I feel super enlightened for understanding what that note is, now that I’ve recognized it in this tea too!
The texture of this tea is thinner than some of the teas I’ve been drinking lately, such as Assam, but it has a slight malty thickness that’s very satisfying.
As the cup cools, the peach recedes a bit more in the background, and I’m beginning to pick up more on that tobacco note, but that’s not a bad thing.
This tea suits two prefences: A black tea lover who’d like a calmer gentle cup now and then, or someone who wants to give black tea a go but is wary of it being overly bold. If either of those sound like you, then pick this one up! :) I know I’ll be getting more of this! :D
I really really like this. Partially because the name means Elephant Road (in addition to ducks, I’m pretty crazy about elephants. As is evident by my elephant mugs, and elephant pillow buddy thing among other things) and partially because at the 3:30 steep this tastes a lot like Mi Xian Black + malt which is fantastic!
I think this is the one where Stacy personally recommended throwing an extra minute on the steep time, so I’ll try that for the next cup with fresh leaves. My first cup I went with the website recommendation. I wanted to try both and compare, and pick which way I like better. The three and a half minute steep is lovely. It’s not extremely strong, but it’s still well flavored and fairly robust. I mainly pick up on the apricot notes than anything else, and it has a malty finish.
The leaves are quite different than what I expected. I guess after two different Premium Taiwanese Assams, Mi Xian Black, and Laoshan Black from Verdant, I tend to expect to see twisty bramble like tea leaves now, but these ones are greeny gold and curly. :) Thanks to the strong apricot notes, this is really nice and sweet. Yum! :)
I’m really in love with this already, and will definitely be picking more up on my next order.
I was very excited to try this. :) For one, Premium Taiwanese Assam is currently my favorite tea, and I also love caramel. So this combo almost seemed to good to be true! :)
At the beginning of the sip, I can really taste the Taiwanese Assam, but just when I’d normally get the raisin note at the end, it turns into CARAMEL~ instead. It’s a very buttery, creamy caramel that’s very guilt inducing, haha! I don’t really taste vanilla, but I suspect it’s what’s contributing to the creamy taste and texture.
This is probably my new favorite flavored tea. It’s just so yummy without being sickeningly sweet. If I could only have one between this and regular Premium Taiwanese Assam though, I’d choose the latter. But this does make a very tasty alternative for when that sweet tooth kicks in.
To be honest, I’d been dodging trying the Keemun tea from Butiki, ‘cause the description kind of scared me off. But I was so excited about ’banana walnut’ that I requested a sample of this in my most recent order.
This tea has a very earthy flavor from the Keemun, with a sort of nuttiness added by the walnuts. You don’t taste walnut really, but it definitely adds this sort of nutty hint of flavor that’d definitely be noticeably missing were it taken away.
And the banana … OH the banana! It comes out so strong and so irresistibly sweet just before you swallow. Don’t guzzle this tea, or you’ll miss out on the banana. Sip it, let it linger on your tongue for a moment, and then swallow with the glory of the banana. :)
Definitely avoid adding sugar to this, as it’s plenty sweet and not bitter at all. I feel like the natural banana taste would be ruined if sugar were added. Would turn it sort of artificial.
That said, I think I’m right about the Keemun. I’m not sure if I’d enjoy it plain because I’m not really into earthy — think soil rather than of roots or leaves or something — teas, but with the sweetness of the banana it’s become something quite fantastic and special.
So as soon as I heard about David’s new mug, purple with a gold elephant on it, I had to have it. I decided the purple elephants on my white David’s mug needed a friend, so I went out and got it on Wednesday after work.
While I was there I bought a few tins, 100g of Cream of earl grey, and 20g of this. I forgot to order Citrus Dream on my last Butiki order so I bought a b it of this to tide me over until my next.
It’s less complex than I remembered, but it has that sweet lemon taste that I remembered so that’s good. Not sure if I need to adjust the parameters or if it’s because of the horrible Thursday I had that’s at fault :( I’ll try this again tonight.
Either way though, this is a pretty good tisane, and is fulfilling the need for an herbal for a little while.