108 Tasting Notes

88

Warming leaves smell like potato chips with salt and oil, roasty, smoky. Feels like I’m about to take an unctuous bite rather than a sip. Immediately after pouring, the wet leaves smell like roasted, in-season asparagus — super green and full of umami. Pour is nearly-neon yellow and smells of peas, asparagus, almonds, salt, potato. Taste is much more mellow, with a medium bodied asparagus broth, grass, the tiniest peck of astringency, creamy rice. Pineapple and sugar scents at the bottom of the cup.

Nori and sesame, like that shaker concoction that health food restaurants used to keep around, coming from the wet leaves after the second pour. Nose is not nearly so pronounced on this steep, but still lovely like an asparagus soup or risotto — vegetal and creamy. Tastes of roast, umami, a tinge of floral that I can’t quite grasp, still some minor astringency and definite vegetal notes. More pineapple and cotton candy at the bottom of the cup!

Something like fried okra chips coming off the leaves now — like a crispier, oiler, toastier green than the asparagus was. Still pouring bright yellow, but the nose is starting to empty a bit. Some more grass and astringency in the mouth, with seaweed and steamed rice, though I’m getting some barely-there fruit notes as I swish, too.

Spinach from the leaves as they give up their fourth pour, and further steeps start tasting like a more generic “green tea” profile.

The savory character of these Chinese-style greens continues to absolutely delight me.

Flavors: Asparagus, Astringent, Cotton Candy, Cream, Grass, Nori, Oily, Pineapple, Potato, Rice, Roasty, Salt, Seaweed, Sesame, Smoke, Spinach, Sugar, Toasty, Umami, Vegetal

Cameron B.

The nori and sesame topper is furikake! Love making it at home so it’s not so sweet. XP

beerandbeancurd

Ohhhh, of course! That’s so funny, I was recently trying to find a furikake without fish and absolutely did not make the connection that that was the same stuff. Durr. Brains, I tell ya.

Cameron B.

My favorite version is gomashio, just roasted sesame seeds coated in salt! Easy to make at home too. :)

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64

I had a sampler of this a while back and didn’t decide to reorder; should have trusted myself, but the folks on the AU Facebook are so friggin’ bonkers over this offering that I felt like I should give it another chance.

I initially brewed it up and felt like it was lacking, so I added some almond milk and maple to it. All I could taste was cloying sweetness that the tea didn’t support, so I dumped it and started over. Left it plain.

Sigh. It’s fine. It’s truly fine, it’s not repulsive. But oy VEY, I don’t get it. Yes, there are butterscotch notes; yes, it’s sweet; yes, there’s some lapsang doing it’s smoky thing. There’s a lot in the nose; a smattering of it translates to the taste. Bourbon? Eh. I tend to the nerd-side of whisk(e)y, so I’ma let that slide. The base is just. so. thin. There’s nothing there to push all these potentially big flavors into climax; they just sort of putter around in the fishbowl without any destination.

I love love love the artful descriptions AU pours out, and I love their big unique inspirational reaches, and I have loved a couple of their single-origin teas (I see from browsing Steepster that I missed a yellow that sounds gorrrrrgeous before I discovered them). But, eh… all the flavoring in the world can’t fix a meh base. Can we imagine for a minute what a good malty, strappy brown-bread black could do here? Or a barrel-aged pu-erh accent? A brandy oolong? Guhhh.

Here’s to trusting one’s self, Steepsterites… cheers.

Flavors: Butterscotch, Smoke, Sweet, Thin

derk

Creative words to describe your experience. I realized at some point I love teas with body and so very often flavored teas don’t have the hips to carry the weight of all that top-heavy aroma. Quality base teas make such a difference for me but I realize we all have different itches to scratch.

beerandbeancurd

I feel the same way about where flavorings often sit vs. where the bases come up (or fail) to meet them. Hips is a good word.

And yes — I enjoyed reading through all the notes on it and seeing some torch-bearers who adore it. One of these days I’ll dive into the underworld of tea swaps and send it onward to a better home that can love it more <3

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82

Warmed leaf notes of linalool oxide, baby powder, mango. A little wet dog/fur.

I just barely got 5g in my 5oz pot before reading the 3g recommendation. But I feel okay about it; 7g is my default, and there is a LOT of room between these leaves. Some of them are absolutely monstrous. And beautiful! So many colors in the dry leaves — greens, browns, yellows, blacks, and reds.

I let the first steep go to 30 seconds, as the whites I’ve been enjoying lately seem to do really well with a heavy-handed opener. It’s also where Nathan started the white we drank in-house.

Smell coming off the first steep, best I can describe, is like a very light Moo Goo Gai Pan sauce. Light soy, white mushrooms, stock, sesame. Herbs, linalool oxide, a whiff of jasmine. Rice.

Cooling in the mouth. More linalool (this flavor is slowly growing on me). Smooth and slick mouthfeel. Second steep brought some hay and barnyard on the nose, umami. A bit of astringency in the back of the throat, with further notes of pine, mint, light potato.

The leaves in the pot now smell quite herbaceous, with olive oil and white florals (reminds me of women’s perfumes)… like mom is making chimichurri down in there.

Scents off the pour are dissipating with the third steep, with fleeting tobacco; the cooling linalool is still there, astringency is moving forward in the mouth, a little potato and maybe some olive. It kept pouring with strong color and good mouthfeel, but no more flavor revelations. I didn’t really get citrus or tropical, which is what I was expecting. No bother.

I will likely stick to 5g brews, so I have 2 more. I’m probably not a repeat buyer at this price point — but this tea is lovely and from an unexpected place (I believe the Callisto folks told me Eva has a black coming soon, as well). I’m grateful I got to have some.

Flavors: Astringent, Baby Powder, Barnyard, Floral, Fur, Gardenias, Hay, Herbs, Jasmine, Mango, Mint, Olive Oil, Olives, Pine, Potato, Rice, Sesame, Tobacco, Umami, Vegetal

gmathis

Linalool! I learn stuff here!

beerandbeancurd

Hahaha — linalool oxide is the flavor that had me scouring the interwebs to pin down, because I kept tasting it and needed answers! I had been describing it as menthol/camphor-ish, but knew that wasn’t quite right. It’s so common, especially in whites and Darjeelings!

derk

This tea sounds really interesting.

beerandbeancurd

Yesssssss, derk, a tea I could send you that you don’t already know! :D

gmathis

Science nerds, supertasters, we are quite a bunch, aren’t we?

beerandbeancurd

I’m so grateful for the internet, truly… I imagine I’d get lonely subsisting on the polite-but-baffled smiles of nearby meatbags.

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88

A coffee-less morning here, as I felt more drawn to my teas and a gentle start. Pulled this one down, weighed it, and promptly dumped it into my fairness cup instead of the pot. Off to a great start.

This is a sweet black that I might assume was a Taiwan red oolong if I didn’t know better — it manages to stay light and juicy, without much in the way of tannin or malt/bread/etc. I see the cultivar is the same as the What-Cha four seasons red oolong I drank a couple days ago; the processing here seems to have fully exposed what is darting and peeking in that one.

I didn’t take notes; getting the leaves in the right vessel was good enough for me, and there are great notes already here. It’s incredibly smooth, with persistent honey sweetness, gentle cinnamon, fruity florals (think honeysuckle and nectar, reminiscent of bug-bitten character), green grape and apricot. Steeps for days, and long steeps only find a hint of tannic ping. Some spring water minerality in later steeps, which may be contributing to how smoothed and nuanced the flavors appear… an invitation to explore, rather than being clunked over the head.

Flavors: Apricot, Bubblegum, Cinnamon, Fruit Tree Flowers, Honey, Honeysuckle, Juicy, Nectar, Spring Water, Sweet, White Grapes

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82

I’ve been loving the rain, but today felt like spring and I got so much done in the sunshine! ’Twas glorious, and inspired me to put some spring into my pot with these fragrant green joy-nugs.

Big big lilac everywhere. The first steep whispered smoke, actually(!) — then more expected flavors of grass and cornsilk, with creaminess after a few steeps.

Not the most refined leaves — the bottom was a little thin, and flavors were more distinct than melded — but a little sunshine-bringer nonetheless.

Flavors: Corn Husk, Creamy, Grass, Lilac, Smoke

Leafhopper

I miss having good TGY. I need to check my tea museum to see if I have any left.

beerandbeancurd

The examples of TGY I’ve had have all been so different — lots to discover!

derk

It’s still raining here. What a long season and it’s not over yet up here. I’m ready for some sunshine. Need to get my grubby tea fingers on some green tieguanyin this year.

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