521 Tasting Notes
I was very disappointed with this tea. I had an unpleasant experience with Teabox this year due to some shady advertisement tactics. This tea did not help that experience and I won’t be supporting them any longer, but I digress. The leaves were quite pretty with a pleasant typical aroma of lily, unripe mango, butterscotch, and a strong background of geranium. I brewed this in my Wedgwood teapot along with some bone china cups for a pleasant afternoon tea time; however, I was severely let down from the contents of the cup. This tea was plain with a flat and stale demeanor. I picked up zero complexity and depth of flavor; it was also lacking in any mouthfeel. I’ve had tea from Badamtam for numerous years, and this tea is drastically lower in quality. The leaves run for $1.50/gram which is a steep price to demand for a western style tea. I understand that the pandemic is largely influencing the market these days; however, I feel that most companies have done a great job at operating within these limits. It seems that the corporate giants don’t have much interest in integrity…
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Drying
First Flush Darjeeling has become very tricky to acquire this year; however, I was lucky to acquire this early harvest Rohini! I’ve been working with a few purveyors to try and sneak in a some packages of tea, but they may not arrive until mid May or possibly June. This tea slipped through and proved to be an amazing start to the first flush Darjeelings. The leaves are everything you want in an early spring harvest. You’re immediately greeted with a fresh floral and toffee aroma. It’s a delicate but encompassing aroma that easily filled the tearoom. I brewed this in my wedgwood for a nice clear and clean brew. The cuppa is full with a syrupy sweetness and fruit blossom exhale. You can pick up a clarifying pine tone that works well with the sugared background. It’s a straightforward brew with pleasant tones and aftertastes. This is not an overly complex leaf, it does fade quite quickly after the first infusion; however, this is sold for a bargain at $8.50/oz! Honestly, I don’t think you’ll find a readily available first flush that matches up to this tea at that price. I’ll be stocking up ;)
Flavors: Floral, Fruit Tree Flowers, Grass, Honey, Pine, Powdered Sugar, Toffee
I can’t believe I never reviewed this tea! This is truly an extraordinary tea, and I sincerely hope it is available for the 2020 year. The Moonlight White broke my record for most expensive western tea purchased with weighing in at 3$/g. This is a first flush from superior AV2 clonals in Badamtam estate. This tea is made exclusively for Teabox and there is only 4kg produced each year. This tea is wholesale purchased at around 3k USD per kilo, so they will gross well over 10K for this very small harvest. Amazing! Tea nerdiness aside, lets get down to the brew. When I start stepping into “exclusive” or “premium” teas, I put tastes/tones aside, for I’m really paying attention to texture and how this tea makes me feel. Nonetheless, this tea brings a transcendent sensory experience. The leaves carry an intoxicating aroma of french pastries and first spring flowers. If you crack this tin, heads will turn. Once the leaves are touched by the kettle’s water, my tearoom was engulfed with the scent of spring: blooming lilies, geraniums, and heady lilac! The flavor was exquisite (as any high end Darjeeling should be). You can expect fresh spring tones, unripe citrus, dry mango, and rock sugar. Now these great scents and tones are all well and nice, but the most important factor of this brew was it’s texture and how it made me feel. It’s hard to put into words but this tea was PURE. The texture was that of a fine aged cognac or rum and it presented its profile in such a clean and direct fashion. You cannot find the slightest impurity, rough edge, or astringency. This proves true even if you let the liquor cool. It’s truly an experience to indulge in. With each sip, you sink deeper and deeper into these leaves. I was amazed at this, for I did go in with honest doubts. I am always wary of marketing and “big stories”, but these leaves are the real deal. If they release a 2020 harvest I implore you to dip your toes into the Badamtam estate’s highest offering. You won’t be disappointed.
Flavors: Flowers, Geranium, Mango, Pastries, Powdered Sugar, Smooth, Sugar
This tea has improved so much over the past couple years! The leaves are long and stout and loosely compressed. You can easily pick up floral tones and a soft fruitiness from the leaves. Your gongfu session will begin with a soft and sweet Citrine liquor that will evolve into so many different things. In a short span of five steepings, I was able to pick up white pepper and kuwei to floral and apricot and on to bok choy and cream. This is a varying tea with a lot of layers. The clear constant is a thick mouthfeel with some nice viscosity. I noticed this puerh does best when pushed slightly, so you may want to add a few additional seconds on your steeping. I also found that the qi is quite varying; one moment I’d have high levels of energy, and the the next I was lulled to relaxation. This is a unique brew that I had a lot of fun tasting. I’m not sure if I’d seek a cake out, for I feel the price-point is a bit high. This is only due to my own personal preference; I’m sure others would jump at grabbing this cake!
Flavors: Apricot, Bok Choy, Brown Sugar, Floral, Pepper, Smooth, Sugarcane, Sweet
mmm…splendid! This is such an easy-going value cake! I always wonder how these companies name their teas. Do they name after the first sip? Do they drink a whole cake? Is it an inside joke? shrug This tea I feel I know why they named it Splendid. This is a loosely compressed bing that when warmed brings nice sugary and jammy aromas. The brewed leaf tastes so powdery soft, you’d swear it was a delicate sugared donut. This tea is not complex, it is not long-talking, it is not all too intense. It’s a simple brew with a light and sweet profile. This is the tea that an English mum would make alongside her scones. It is simply a splendid tea.
Flavors: Jam, Pastries, Powdered Sugar, Smooth, Sugar