121 Tasting Notes
This one’s good. I didn’t have much to say about the dong pian or the honey scent. But this black tea smells fabulous. Plums? A garden in some hot exotic climate. It is the kind of tea that reminds you that places with much nicer weather exist and makes you wonder if you will ever retire in such a locale. When I say it tastes tropical I don’t mean those chewing gum flavors. I mean it feels like I just landed in some island vacation destination. The history of why the tea came to exist is quite sad. But it is yummy all the same.
Flavors: Black Currant, Plum, Tropical
Fascinating. I will have to try more GABA tea before I can develop a more nuanced opinion, but I know the following things:
1. It tastes unmistakeably like sweet potatoes (고구마). When my friends were snacking on potato chips, my grandmother was placing endless bowls of steamed potatoes and sweet potatoes on the kitchen table as our grab and go snack so that is the natural level of sweetness to expect – not the candied yams level of sweetness in the American Thanksgiving side dish topped with marshmallows. Capisce?
2. There is an interesting longlasting buzz in the mouth. Hope that is normal and not indicative of absurdly high pesticide content or anything like that.
3. I became used to the roasty toasty taste of the MST GABA and have to admit I prefer that profile. However, MST’s is far more expensive so therein lies the tradeoff. This one from the Wang family is calming but also energizing. The finish is bold and aggressively… sweet potato-y. There is a mild but persistent, uncomfortably arresting sense of raw tuber in the tummy and in the chest that belies the tongue and throat sensations, a rawness that could possibly be avoided or cloaked by eating real food before drinking the tea.
Flavors: Sweet Potatoes
Glad I did not blind cake this. Given the positive word on the street I strongly considered it multiple times. But I picked up a sample w my last order. It is just smokey to me. Perhaps I am not brewing it right. But to me it is smoky and thin-bodied. Will have to let it rest more and try again but for now I recommend against blindcaking Arbor Red.
Steaming hot wet playground mulch, all the way. We liked it! We have historically responded well to teas that are woody. Fun name and wrapper art as well. Now if only someone would invent a tea that makes the drinkers mosquito bite proof… :( Got SEVEN bites for daring to share 40oz of this with a friend outside.
song pairing: mi persona favorita – alejandro sanz & camila cabello
Flavors: Wet wood
song pairing: What Am I – Why Don’t We
Separately from the tea, it is a fun wrapper by Stasia Burrington. Who doesn’t want to take a private bath in tea in a giant teapot in a forest? The little piglets are a hilarious bonus.
Thematically on point but innocent enough to be in a children’s book. And the bather looks like she could be East Asian!!! Also, it doesn’t remind us of outdated, sexist names like oriental beauty and drunken concubine. Nice to feel decently represented in tea wrapper art yet not objectified. A daydream indeed.
Was lucky to encounter this in the wild in Brooklyn at a tea shop with zero preconceived notions. I’m sort of out of the honeymoon phase with this tea at this point and feel interested to see how it will develop. But it’s very easy to fall head over heels for this unusual bundle of sensory wealth for a time. If you look up reviews from previous years, you’ll see that it is pointless to try and describe all the things it manages to be.
song pairing: Remember – Kevin Oh
Edit1: Brewing it grandpa in a LVZHU travel buddy clone worked out all right. The bottle got very hot so it needed a long thick sock. I’m still not really sold emotionally on the hot water in plastic idea but it tasted fine.
Edit 2: Mixing it cold w/ coconut water at a 1:1 ratio was delicious.
Wet leaf scent will immediately strike Koreans who grew up drinking hanyak as well… hanyak. I’ve half a mind to call my childhood 한의사 to ask if white tea aged for 6+ years was part of the recipe.
Taste is very mild if you gongfu, but I forgot I was steeping the last one and the resulting dark liquor tasted unmistakably like hanyak. This isn’t a bad thing. I’d be surprised to meet non East Asians who like this, though. It is probably an acquired medicinal taste.
As a Korean I want to boil the heck outta this tea and see what happens. But if you’ve never had eastern traditional medicine, see if you like it made with short steeps.
It would be fun to experiment adding dried dates and pine nuts and honey and maybe a cinnamon stick . Possibly also goji berries and snow fungus. It is a tea that invites attempts to make it into a complex but harmonious wellness dessert.
노백차 수미[老白茶 寿眉]
This person seems to know what he or she is talking about: blog.daum.net/puerchalove/7815983?np_nil_b=-2
Dry leaf scent: honey
Wet leaf scent: familiar
Soup color: rich orange amber
Reminds me of: Hot Brandy
Caffeine levels: feels very very very high
The taste of this one is overwhelmingly that of honey for me. Is this normal for sundried whites? I’ve been drinking “moonlight” white almost daily and the difference is certainly very stark.
Just like Hot Brandy, TD comes across as a blue collar energy drink, perfect for people who need to physically work their asses off in the next few hours. I will try to only drink this in the mornings. Do NOT drink this before bed or maybe brew very lightly. I guess 6g is more than I normally make of a tea.
Soooooo caffeine buzzed right now. It is 7:30pm and I feel ready for a 3 hour hike or some sort of dance marathon. Home Depot (where I’m headed next for a thingamajig to fix my dashcam mount) had better watch out. This tea should be called Rabbit Cheetah.
Song pairing: 흔들리는 꽃들 속에서 네 샴푸향이 느껴진거야 – 장범준
Edit: Oh, right, turtle doves are actually one creature [https://www.britannica.com/animal/turtledove]. How did I forget when that song for the 12 days of xmas specifically mentions them? On the 2nd day of xmas my true love gave to me, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree~~ yes yes. Well for one, I don’t believe they ever appear naturally in North America. Anyway, is the tea sweet enough that your true love might give you two bricks or cakes of it for the holidays? Sure. But from the monstrous energy levels available therein, it would seem that your true love might then expect you to do all the snow shoveling and gift wrapping this winter. Or did they mean the all-white domesticated hybrid that magicians are famous for using? I just want answers!
Edit2: What a rabbit hole. Okay. At first, I thought it had to be the magicians because of the turban. But the origin of the W2T Turtle Dove art is an 1800’s (Victorian era) tradecard and advertisement for Hall’s Vegetable Sicilian Hair Renewer
[https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/halls-vegetable-sicilian-hair-renewer-471419639] He cropped out only the lady from “Japan” and kept the other 4 for the brick label. In more recent years, it’s mostly Persia who graces the center of the Turtle Dove cake wrapper.
Edit3: As long as we’re looking up W2T label art origins, Nightlife wrapper appears to be a fun, star-spangled alteration of a June 1914 American Vanity Fair cover, itself digitally restored. [https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vanity_Fair_June_1914b.jpg]
Edit4: Splendid’s old lady in a bonnet AND spectacles AND shawl are from this 1881 Currier & Ives print. [https://bit.ly/2k1ldOf]
Edit5: Pussy’s woman w/ two cats is a May 1897 cover by Edward Penfield for Harper’s Magazine [https://bit.ly/2kesKcF]