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Recent Tasting Notes
Bought this so I could compare to the 2003 7542 from mrmopar
This definitely tastes aged. I think Camellia Sinensis’s description is spot on. However, I do find the bitterness unbalanced. This 1998 is smoother, less drying and a little sweeter (almost whisky-like) than the 2003 but not as strong with the camphor. Maybe the type of storage and 5 years more of age have transformed the acidity I get in the 2003. This tastes more humidly stored and verges lightly alkaline. The body is nothing to note; I don’t recall noting it in the 2003. Qi is calming and warming, caffeine isn’t very high — I can fall asleep without issue if had in the evening. After 3 or 4 infusions, the qi urges me to take a break. Over the next several infusions, the power is gone and the tastes devolves into bitter, peaty swamp water.
Overall, it’s ok, the feelings elicited are nice and early infusion taste good but I feel like it’s missing the depth needed to make this a very good aged tea. For the price, I pass but it is worth trying.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter Melon, Campfire, Camphor, Drying, Earth, Peat, Petrichor, Resin, Smoke, Smooth, Spicy, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood, Whiskey, Yeast
[Spring 2021 harvest]
I was excited to try a sample of this tea, expecting something different, at least. When dry, it smells of nuts, meat and chard. On the other hand, wet leaves have a very distinctive cabbage aroma.
First infusion is quite savoury and nutty with a mild bitter bite and honey sweetness. The flavours have a a good depth and the mouthfeel is very velvety with no astringency. The protracted aftertaste starts off juicy, buttery and warming, eventually a bit of vegetal sweetness appears from the bitterness though.
Subsequent steeps are pungent, vegetal and floral (still like honey, but without the honey sweetness) with a hint of spiciness and some astringency appearing too.
I don’t know if I’ve ever had any tea that you could say is truly a “yellow tea”. It’s certain is that this one is unlike any other tea I’ve had. It’s a bit hard to describe in what way though. Most of the specific aspects can be found in other teas, but the manner in which they come together is certainly unique. Also, the strong cabbage aroma is quite memorable.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Dry Grass, Floral, Honey, Meat, Nutty, Vegetables, Vegetal
I’ve had previous iterations of Camellia Sinensis’ Li Shan and enjoyed them, so I picked up this spring 2020 harvest in their September sale. I’ve had it three times now and have gotten slightly different flavours in each session. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of brown sugar, coconut, spinach, honeysuckle, and lilacs. In the first steep, I get lilac, sweet pea, gardenia, butter, coconut, grass, spinach, and pastries. It has a nice, viscous texture. The second steep is sweeter, with custard, cream corn, green apple, and honeysuckle. Steep three offers more honeysuckle/gardenia/other florals, particularly in the aroma, and the veggie, grass, and spinach notes become stronger. (I also got pineapple in previous sessions, but sadly, not in this one.) The next couple steeps display more of the cream corn sweetness, which I guess could be interpreted as custard or condensed milk. The tea is also still very floral. The steeps become more vegetal after this point, but with lots of floral sweetness to balance them out.
This tea is full of florals and is sweeter than many Li Shans, with some of the tropical fruit flavours I like when I leaf it heavy. I agree with Daylon that it’s kind of midrange, and I also prefer their less expensive Shan Lin Xi. Still, I might pick it up again if it’s on sale, simply because of the relatively reasonable price and the convenience of buying from a Canadian vendor.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Coconut, Corn Husk, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Green Apple, Honeysuckle, Pastries, Pineapple, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
X is for… Xiao Zhong!
I actually had a few X options to pick from for this day, but they were all pretty hyper traditional teas and I didn’t really end up having time during my work day to brew up more than just this one with the care I felt it deserved.
I did make this Western style – but I feel like it came out really well! It’s very chocolate tasting to me, but really dark chocolate with a healthy amount of bitterness to it. I know Camellia Sinensis describes this as a bit vegetal, but I didn’t get that all. Aside from the dark cacao/baker’s chocolate type notes, I mostly got a bit of a smoky edge, some red bean, and a woodier/oak-y backbone to the sip. Full bodied, complex even as a Western brew, and just very rich with a long lingering finish.
Cannot wait to brew this Gongfu – I feel like I’m gonna have some high expectations now.
This second flush is from 2020, which makes it relatively new in my tea collection. It caught my eye because Camellia Sinensis noted it was representative of the style, and even though I’ve had many SF Darjeelings, I still look for benchmarks of what they’re “supposed” to taste like. I steeped 4 g of leaf in a 355 ml mug at 195F for 5, 7, and 10 minutes.
The dry aroma is of caramel, nuts, and flowers. The first steep has notes of autumn leaves, nuts (yes, hazelnut seems accurate), caramel, butter, wood, flowers, saline, and a hint of muscatel. The finish is rather woody and drying, especially if the tea is held in the mouth for any length of time. The tea also has some tannins. The next couple steeps are heavier on the nuts and caramel and lighter on the fruit and florals. I get some minerality in the third steep.
This tea is a good deal more restrained than the luxuriantly fruity, floral second flush Darjeelings I gravitate toward. However, I think it is indeed a high-quality, well-made example of the type, if not one that really wows me.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Caramel, Drying, Floral, Hazelnut, Mineral, Muscatel, Nuts, Salty, Tannin, Wood
2021 sipdown no. 81
I’m working on a sipdown of this because I enjoyed it when CS first sent a sample, but since I ordered 50g I am over it, sadly. It seems to be all malt and nothing else.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, it’s a fine tasting tea. I’d just prefer other straight black teas from CS.
Giving the remainder of this one to Lex’s mamma for her enjoyment.
Only have three samples left from the Leafhopper trade. Again, thank you!
I was debating on what I wanted this morning, and since it’s a crisp spring day, a slightly autumnal or floral Darjeeling would probably go well with it. This note is going to be shorter than my usual verbose nonsense because I decided to do this western.
I emptied the entire sample in my french press that I do not actually press, and let it sit between 2-3 minutes. I sipped a little pour to see how it would play out, and it was sweet floral and savory, a little nutty, but thin. After a full brew, I filled my mug. Same descriptors apply becoming more specific: orange blossom, butter, roasted and salted nuts, and a savory but very woodsy finish. There was a little bit of cocoa in the notes, but not a lot and the tea was definitely not malty.
Second brew had much the same notes, but woodsier and nuttier. The finish was pretty drying but not quite as flavorful the first time, so I stopped there.
Looking at Camellia Sinensis notes, they make more sense. Caramel, “saline” notes, and hazelnut are the more vivid descriptors, and they actually amped up the woodsiness on their flavor wheel. I haven’t totally agreed with some of the other flavors they’ve described before applying different approximative adjectives for the same thing (supercalifragilisticexpialidocious), but I agree with their assessment this time. I will say that saline does make it a little bit more fancy than just “salty”. Curse negative connotations.
Either way, the mix of floral, sweet and savory components were nice, and what I like about Darjeelings. I’m not sure if I’d buy more due to me using the big bucks for my outrageously expensive usuals, but I would say yes every time I’d be offered up this one. I think it would be a nice entry for straight second flush teas, but I wouldn’t add cream AND sugar to this one since it is on the fainter side, though some sugar might be nice. It made my morning anyway.
Flavors: Butter, Cocoa, Drying, Floral, Hazelnut, Nuts, Orange Blossom, Salt, Savory, Sweet, Wood
Q is for… Qimen Hong Gong Fu!
…and, as the name would imply, I brewed this one Gongfu!
I didn’t take great notes for this one because I had it while at the studio over my lunch break and I was a bit rushed – but I enjoyed it a lot and was impressed by how many infusions the leaf seemed able to take. Definitely a longer session than most Qimen I’ve had in recent memory. It was super smokey (but in a natural way, not a “smoked tea” way) with these delectable woody top notes & a jammy stonefruit undertones peeking out. It’s hard to find a good Qimen, but this was solid.
[Spring 2021 harvest]
Fresh green teas are always something to look forward in the spring (if one can get hold of some). Even though this one isn’t the most remarkable one, it certainly satisfies that need.
The profile is quite vegetal with floral, umami, sour and herbaceous notes trailing behind. Some of the flavours to be found are eucalyptus, alfalfa, lilac, kohlrabi. In the aftertaste, a mix of lime and green wood sweetness emerges. The liquor texture is velvety thanks to the large amount of leaf hair present, but it also has a nice bubbly quality. After swallowing, a minor drying sensation remains, but there isn’t really any astringency. The aromas are hard to describe. Some of the notes I’ve already mentioned – such as lime zest and eucalyptus – but there is also a scent that reminds me of moss covered in dew.
Flavors: Alfalfa, Citrus Zest, Eucalyptus, Floral, Flowers, Lime, Moss, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet, Umami, Vegetables, Vegetal, Wet Moss
J is for… Jin Shuan
Thank you Roswell Strange for the share! I am having this while eating Wendy’s and watching Drag Race. It’s an odd combo since I don’t usually have tea with my meals and if I do, it’s usually cold and picked to go with the meal. This just sort of worked out to be the accompaniment to my meal.
It’s smooth and a touch metallic. Some roastiness. It’s also quite buttery. It doesn’t stand out among other oolongs but it’s a solid option. Also works with the meal better than I expected it to.
Really interesting flash steep one that keeps giving for days. I was a little concerned it would be tricky to brew, but flashing the hot water when I’m not paying attention was fine and it gave me plenty of variety in flavor.
While a bit sharp and bitter with it’s char, it’s got a pretty complex character that meshes smoke with some bright red and orange fruity elements amidst water stream minerals. My brain likes the combo because it gives me a lot of sensual output in my imagination, and adds atmosphere while I play Ghost of Tsushima. I know they drank Matcha and most teas were green from the Kamakura period, but the constant onslaught of rain, mountains, sunsets, fire and smoke vibe with this one.
Getting into more precise lingual abstractions of taste and smell, the flavor of the first cup came up with a note I very rarely taste in natural teas: goji berry. I got general fruitiness from the dry leaf, but it was not as pronounced as it was in the cup wet. It was after 10 seconds, but it was rich, a hint floral( orchid-it was not too obvious), incredibly honey sweet, and then finished with nice wisp of smoke in the finish.
Second steep amps up the minerals and the roast bordering on salty, but remains fruity broadening into gooseberry and tropical fruits like guava with the biting acidity of grapefruit. More steeps had more gloshes, and I amped up the steeping time to a minute in steep five, but it was too bitter, so I returned to quick flashes. The flavor improved, and while it had some sharp bitterness that was a little bit more floral, the denser notes of the fruits and charcoal remained.
Currently, it’s leaning more into fruity acidity, but the midtaste is kinda grainy and woodsy reminding me of dried bamboo. Leafhopper nailed the hops and grain.
I’m going to end the note here. It reminds me a lot of David’s Teas old Supreme Oolong they used to sell because of its mineral, fruit smoke “mead” combo. I really liked this tea, but I don’t see myself drinking it often because it can become pretty harsh even with flash steeps gong fu. I do think it’s a lot easier to brew than some dancongs that will take a lot longer to coax some flavor out of since this is consistently amped up in aroma and flavor even in the later steeps.
Definitely a more intermediate to advance drinkers tea that like flavor. As for rating, it’s a tossup between 84-87 for me. It satisfies my needs for what I like in Dancong, though I wouldn’t drink it often due to its sharpness. I’m really glad I got to try it. Thank you Leafhopper!
Flavors: Astringent, Bamboo, Bitter, Char, Charcoal, Citrus, Dried Fruit, Drying, Goji, Grain, Grapefruit, Guava, Honey, Mango, Mineral, Salt, Smoke, Tropical, Wood
Interesting one. Heavy florals and flavor bordering on soapy.
Trying it out intuitive gong fu, the smell was super heady from the wet leaf. It tasted and smell like Orange Glow, and funny enough, there was some pleasant dark woodsiness in the aftertaste in a buttery texture. The second was still floral, bursting with orange blossom, honeysuckle, orange, tangerine, apricot, sweet potato, with some slight bitterness. I’m actually a little overwhelmed right now. Third, the smell is super breadsy like a fresh bagel, or sourdough like Leafhopper mentions. I’m glad I shortened the steep time. The Apricot +orange combined really nicely.
Next few steeps will be shortened, and I will return in a little bit….
I’ve got a few more notes I need to make up…
So after I took some Jasmine on my way to getting the Ghosts of Toshima, I had a little bit of a caffeine Euphoria. Getting back to this tea, 15 seconds, and orange syrup coating sweetness, yams, and some florals giving me a little bit of a headache. The leaves still smell good, but I might have to switch to my more milder ones tonight as I power through some notes and historical gaming.
I feel bad that I’m stopping on this one, but I think I got what I needed to from it. This is my kind of black tea, though a little bit strong in caffeine and florals, even for me. This is the kind of tea I would drink if I was taking things slower, but definitely a tea to drink in the morning on the weekend when I’m not quite awake, and have enough time to be careful and to take in the aroma. I think it would be good for newbies who like citrus as they get into straight teas, and are getting into teas like Earl Grey or Jasmine as a novice reference. However, it could be overpowering, and it looks like I was not the only one.
I’m personally rating it 80, though I think it’s between the 75-85 range in terms of quality to price. The big reason I’m rating it lower is the headache from the HEAVY citrus florals.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Dark Wood, Floral, Fruit Tree Flowers, Honeysuckle, Orange, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Pastries, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes
Dirty quickie note before I do some gymnastics tomorrow morning.
Thank you Leafhopper! So, the site is surprisingly sparse on the description of this one, and cranks up the floral profile on their tastometer. I’m sorry, that was too American of me: “flavOUR wheel.”
Onto the tea-it’s good. I gong fu’d it in my Manual Tea brewer (essentially, a gaiwan with a double walled glass vessel) in a rinse. Mostly green, and soft. Texture is oily as expected.
First steep after 25 sec, honeysuckle, lettuce, a little bit of apple skin, though crisp more than fruity. Boomin aroma.
Second steep, 35, more floral, a little lighter, but still refreshing with the lettuce. Gardenia.
Third after 25, gardenia and honeysuckle dominant aroma, more florals in flavor, lettuce, green bean in a short aftertaste. Aroma is more pronounced than taste.
Fourth, honeysuckle, lilac, some greens.
Fifth, more green. A little bit of lime, but mostly green and viscous.
6th, florals, spinach. I lost attention while helping my brother out with his college paper.
7th, flash steep, osmanthus aroma, osmanthus in the taste, but a little grassy.
Mini-reflection- good one. I am already biased, and like Shan Lin Xi from the company more. Tea is very smooth and nicely vegetal, but I personally could use a little bit more flavor. Mid-tier in my personal Lishan rankings so far, upper middle tier for overall teas. Definitely liked it. I need to do another quickie not before I come back to this one, and then off to bed for muscle up tomorrow.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Green, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Osmanthus, Spinach, Sweet
2021 sipdown no. 65
This started out okay. I mean, it wasn’t my favourite. There was the mineral taste with not much that I could specifically pinpoint in the background. But as the tea cooled it got more and more bitter. I was watching an interview and was quite engrossed and still the bitterness cut through.
I wish I went into this one blind so I would not write notes based on the power of persuasion. My allergies are also just getting to me in the middle of this snow filled spring day on April 1st, so April Fools. But I am starting the day with one of my favorite kinds of tea.
I brewed this up in my gong fu to go, 5 oz. Ish, and doing it 25, 30, 35, and four more flash steeps. First brew was light, creamy, and crisp. I got lettuce, coconut, butter, and nuttiness. Second steep and later steeps in this half of the session were dominated by the Macadamia for me, and the viscous texture reminded me of almond milk. I did get the weird cherry note, but it wasn’t obviously cherry. It was more subtle like cascara, or coffee cherry. Maybe fresh cherry is better.
There were also more florals like plumeria, which bloomed in steep three, but dissipated. I think that’s the vanilla note the site mentions, but it’s too floral and subdued for me to think vanilla. The recent florals have leaned more vaguely in the honeysuckle and hyacinth (how many times have I mentioned that one) direction, but the tea is overall creamy, like “Fresh, creamery butter…”
The leaves were getting trapped, so I gave the tea a bigger vessel, and just did 8 oz. I tasted a little bit more mango in hints, really more in texture. Coconut, butter, nutt approximations of macadamia and almond, and then wheat grass.
There’s more to go, but I’m not sure what else to add. This is an especially creamy and nutty Shanlinxi that I like. Without my kyusu, which has been broken and disposed for a few months, I’ve been kinda limited in my larger gong fu sessions. It could be why I feel like I’ve missed things in recent gong fu sessions, or I could just be rushing them too much like an assembly line as time itself fades into yesterday, minute by minute in this limbo of a spring break.
But hey, I have tea for my existential moments. As for my usual general audience blurb, this is great for the price and one of the better Shanlinxi’s I’ve had. I still prefer to get some from my usual stops, but I do recommend this one. I think it’s best for intermediate drinkers since it might be too vegetal for super newbies, but it’s a great one to introduce people to high mountain teas and Shan lin xi. I’m also going to hold off on rating it for now until I get more from this session. I’m slowly getting more pineapple now than I did before, especially as it cools off.
Few hours later, and I’m ready to rate it. It’s higher tier for price to flavor ratio, and it’s very durable. I wish I divided it into one session for gong fu, and the other for tumbler fuel. 88-90 is the number range I’m feeling. I really like it.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Cherry, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Lettuce, Milk, Nutty, Pineapple, Spinach, Sweet
I’d assumed that this was a wuyi before reading Leafhoppers note, but the sharpness and minerality was Dancong. I was also a dummy with this one.
The dryleaf was very fruity, and reminded me of kiwi and salted grapefruit. I dumped the entire sample in my Gongfu2go tumbler, was going to flash steep it-until-I ignored it while cooking. 35 seconds, and it’s sharp, tart, mineraled, sweet, and bitter. Kiwi, grapefruit, minerals, honeysuckle, and a sour finish. A bit too strong, but something I could enjoy and work with.
I did too more flash steeps; one last night, and one this morning. The second steep was stronger with grapefruit for me, and again, a little bit too bitter and sour. The third steep needed a transfer of vessels, so I put it in one of my French Presses-NOT PUSHING DOWN THE PRESS OF COURSE (barbarians) for more room. Kiwi and more sour fruits. The tartness is a lot more balanced this time, with some mineral.
Now, another steep, 25 ish seconds, and more florals than fruits alone. Still sharp, but lilies, jasmine(or osmanthus?), again, honeysuckle, salt, char, fruit, and acidity. I can partially see peach, but it would be a younger peach. It’s still more kiwi to me with its tartness.
I could probably push this one, but it’s a bit tart for my preferences. I ignored wisdom in using more leaves than I should have, thus I get the session I have. Dancongs being tart or bitter is nothing new for me and why I either love them or dislike them. This one is in the middle. I personally liked the roast, and did not find it to be too prominent. I was more distracted by the acidity. I’m glad I tried it and it ranks as a tea in the variety I like, but it’s just okay overall since it was personally too sharp.
Flavors: Bitter, Char, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Grapefruit, Honeysuckle, Melon, Mineral, Pleasantly Sour, Salt, Sour, Tart
2021 sipdown no. 63
This one has that mineral flavour that I find oolongs get, but there’s also a lovely maltiness cut through with hints of floral here that adds a nice depth.
The second steep has just slightly dulled flavours, but it allows the maltiness to almost come neck in neck with the mineral, which was nice.
1st steep 4 minutes
2nd steep 5.5 minutes
I’m happy to have tried this one, but that mineral flavour just isn’t my favourite.
Dry leaf smells like spiced walnuts, pineapple-mango-coconut, vanilla sugar and flowers. Wamring brings out a sweet, creamy vegetal character with spinach, coconut cream, walnut and vanilla sugar. Intoxicating. Rinse brings out a more pungent, tropical fruit character with pineapple, mango, coconut and jackfruit on a spinachy base.
The leaves quickly unfurl. The tea is silky, oily, mouth-watering with salt and other minerals. Complex, rich and evolving aromas, tastes and aftertastes. The strength of the aroma gives the illusion of sweetness, but I’d say the tea is rather mineral-salty and somewhat tangy. Lofty notes of coconut cream, vanilla sugar and rich white florals on a crisp lettuce-straw base change to macadamia and coconut to cream and butter. The aftertaste contains the fruitier notes of the tea. The sweet aromatics blend seamlessly into the aftertaste and when that subsides, the fruitier notes of the tea display with green apple skins and pineapple. Some gentle cooling in the mouth early and later, an impression of sugarcane fills the throat. At the end of the session, coconut and floral vanilla make another appearance in the aftertaste. Burps bring out some of that spinach quality of the warmed leaf.
This tea easily takes boiling water and lower and does well with a variety of brewing methods. I couldn’t stop preparing cup after cup. It’s really that easy-drinking and addictive. The creamy quality of the tea suggest Jin Xuan cultivar to me but I see it’s actually Qing Xin. A beautiful representation of Shan Lin Xi. Thank you, Leafhopper :)
Flavors: Apple Skins, Butter, Coconut, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Green Apple, Lettuce, Mango, Mineral, Mint, Nuts, Orchid, Pineapple, Salty, Spices, Spinach, Straw, Sugar, Sugarcane, Tangy, Tropical, Vanilla, Walnut
I was pleased to see this unusual type of Dan Cong in Camellia Sinensis’ catalogue. This is the April 2020 harvest. I initially steeped it as I normally would a Dan Cong (6 g, 120 ml, 195F, 7/10/12/15, etc.), but it tasted like roast, apple, and fake movie popcorn butter. I’m hoping the parameters given by the Camellia Sinensis team in the 2020 summer sessions will produce better results. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 203F for 25, 10, 25, 40, 55, 70, 85, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of roast, chocolate, honeydew melon, flowers, and caramel. Roast is the dominant note in the first steep, along with caramel, toast, butter, wood, honeydew melon, kiwi, and faint florals. The next steep resolves the florals into lilies, orchids, and other flowers, though the tea is a bit sharp. The third steep has notes of honey, malt, and faint apple, with the roast still being the most noticeable quality. By steep five, there’s a funky rye bread sort of note, combined with strong roast, charcoal, honey, caramel, toast, and faint flowers. This steep has a nice floral aftertaste. The final steeps have flavours of strong roast, charcoal, tannins, honey, and nuts.
Using the steeping instructions from Camellia Sinensis produced a much nicer session, though the prominent roast detracted somewhat from my enjoyment of this tea. I like its thick body and interesting florals, but wish they’d stand up to that roast a little more. I need to find some more lightly roasted Dan Congs, or even some unroasted ones if that’s a thing.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Butter, Caramel, Char, Chocolate, Floral, Honey, Honeydew, Malt, Nuts, Orchid, Red Apple, Rye, Tannin, Wood
2021 sipdown no. 68
I’m planning on placing a CS order this Friday since I’m running low on Earl Grey Cream and I doubt I can live without it. This means I’m also enjoying cups of other CS teas in my cupboard to see what else needs to be added to the order.
I am really enjoying this tea, and this is a sipdown of the wee sample I ordered in February. I can’t decide whether or not I should order 50g of this one. I have a TTC Gui Fei in the cupboard I can’t bring myself to drink, but perhaps I should attempt to finish that one first?
I enjoy that the floral and mineral aspects to this tea are toned down and fall toward the background, while a lovely sweetness bubbles more forward and the three together create a nice balance.
This tea is so tasty! I have such mixed feelings on the Gui Fei it seems. I loved Butiki, did not enjoy Taiwan Tea Crafts, and now love this one.
I only have one more cups worth in my sample and I’ve drank 2-3 steeps of each cups worth from the sample and each one has been so tasty I’ve sipped it down far too quickly.
The floral aspect is very much toned down and far more in the background here as just an accent, if that. There’s a sweet baked type flavour with very little to almost no mineral, oolong-y type flavour that I’m not much of a fan of.
I don’t think this review really does this tea a lot of justice, but it’s a re-order for sure.
1st steep 4 minutes
2nd steep 5.5 minutes
I’m drinking this tea for Mastress Alita’s St. Patrick’s Day challenge, as I either forgot about the other theme days or didn’t have appropriate teas for them. I don’t have an Irish breakfast tea, so I decided to go with a very, very old green. I bought this poor, unloved, and sort of pricy gyokuro around five years ago, then “archived” it because I wasn’t sure I was steeping it properly. (Camellia Sinensis only gives instructions for the first three steeps.) I also thought I’d posted a note on this tea, but I must have had it in my pre-Steepster days. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml clay kyusu at 160F for 25, 10, 15, 30, 45, 60, and 120 seconds.
There’s a reason you shouldn’t keep green teas for five years! The originally vibrant raspberry notes are there but muted, and the sunflower seed note is a bit stale. I also get spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cream, and umami. Later steeps add asparagus, green pepper, and minerals to the mix, and fortunately the stale sunflower seeds aren’t as prominent.
I might consider buying this tea again, but only if I can finish it in a reasonable time!
Flavors: Asparagus, Broccoli, Cream, Green Pepper, Lettuce, Mineral, Raspberry, Spinach, Umami, Vegetal
Alright y’all, here’s my Birthday Tea (several days ago now). I was born in 1983 — a tea one year off fits the bill well enough. I don’t feel old, even around teenagers but put in the perspective of tea years, I should be tasteless and dry by now. But I am neither! And neither is this tea. It smells a little musty, dusty and sour so in human years, I’d put this around 85 years old :P
The dry leaf smells a little of this, a little of that — sour, musty, dusty, woody, cookie, soy sauce. Warmed, it smells rich and sweet with date syrup-coffee-caramel, aged wood and pepperoni, fire-spicy, complex. The rinsed leaf smells like stale coffee, wet earth and wet vegetation. Once brewed, the tea has a forward note of ash. Its general character is spicy, woody, and mineral with a gentle unrefined palm sugar type sweetness. There’s also kind of an underlying umami-seaweed tone. There’s an awesome black sesame oil high note (lets say peanut for the sake of adding to the flavor/aroma list) that pierces through everything for 4 or 5 infusions. That note smells and tastes exactly like the homemade black sesame ice cream the sushi chef gifted me with my pandemic to-go birthday dinner.
Thanks, Leafhopper, for allowing me a sample of the oldest tea I’ve had thus far! It was an interesting sip for sure and not a bad one by any means. It’s still a supple, complex oolong with a bit of an opinionated fiery bite.
Flavors: Ash, Biting, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Coffee, Cookie, Dates, Dust, Meat, Mineral, Mint, Musty, Peanut, Plants, Pleasantly Sour, Seaweed, Smooth, Soy Sauce, Spicy, Sweet, Umami, Wet Earth, Wood