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Recent Tasting Notes
If you are new to pu er. Or have tried pu er and just… can’t… STOP! And try this one. For starters, you don’t need to break this one up with a knife. And second, there is no worry about fishy aromas or flavors. The only thing that may bother you is that this tea has been sitting in a tangerine for three years. BUT that is exactly what makes a good pu er. Time. Granted each is different. Citrus and tea has to be found in certain categories and done in a certain way (in my opinion). Rooibos and pu er, yes. Green, nope. But then again it also depends on the producer. Sorry, I’m rambling.
Be sure to rinse the ball once before consuming. Heat your water and give is a good wash for a few seconds, making sure it enters and exits the top and bottom through the leaves. This helps remove dust and whatnot as well as helping to wake up the leaves. Obviously, the tangerine will play the keynotes on this palate piano. They are strong and somewhat reminiscent of camphor with the zingy spearminty feeling it leaves. But you will also find earthy notes of dry leaf and dirt. Good dirt. Out of curiosity (and about 6 sessions) I peeled away the tangerine and left the tea in my gaiwan. Even without the peel present, the hygroscopic properties of tea show their finest with the very forward tangerine notes still very strong. However, I am not discovering a bit of the leaf notes that were harder to discern before. The cloudy dark liquor reveals notes of deep earth, tropical barks, and far north pinewoods and mahogany to finish.
After visiting New Zealand I fell in love with blackcurrant flavored teas. The problem was I could never find one as good as what I had there. This is closer but still not quite there. It has a nice touch of astringency without being puckering and the flavor is so close. I feel the blackcurrant could be a smidgen stronger.
Not all black tea is the same. It is amazing how different tea can be from country to country, city to city, and even how different they can be depending on how the farmer processes it. This Keemun is medium in leaf size so it will brew quickly but not quite as quickly as smaller-leaf tea. The dry leaf aroma is woody and pleasant. Mainly bark and mulch. The flavor is not quite as deep as I was expecting but it has a soothing woody note of deep woods, slight sawdust, and green wood. The flavors change a bit with the second steep. A bit musty, slight roast, a bit of malt, a touch of rye bread, and multigrain bread. Soft mouthfeel. I actually am enjoyed this second steep more then the first…
Enishi…. I stood there and pondered. I knew this name. The Buddist monk that brought tea to Japan? No. That was Eisai. And then it hit me. Enishi Yukishiro, the villain from the last, and best arc in the Rurouni Kenshin manga. But in a sense, this makes because Enishi, though born in Japan, went to China for 10 years. And in my head, this is perfect since Japanese greens are usually steamed and this is a unique Chinese green tea is steamed and not fried. Chinese greens are typically known for being fried. Greenish grey in appearance. Twisted and tightly rolled. Long, like longleaf pine needles. The fragrance is reminiscent of a Japanese green due to the steaming though in a way it also reminds me of Chinese restaurants. The flavor definitely leans more towards Chinese green as well. Very slight melon or some type of stone fruit and stewed greens. Grassy but higher in vegetal notes. Bits of asparagus, green beans. A bit of astringency. My fault. I pushed it a little bit too much to see what I could glean from the leaves but the astringency isn’t bad. Just enough to be peckish on the tongue. But this does give it bright quality.
In Chinese, this tea is called Enshi Yulu. In a way, you could think of this tea as the founder of Japanese teas. The great, great, great, great? grandparent.
2021 Homemade Advent Calendar Swap – Day 5
I’ve fallen a day behind in my Advent swap, so I’m starting my day with yesterday’s tea. I’ll forever be in awe of those of you who do more than one Advent calendar at a time. I drink too slowly or get distracted and take all day to finish my cup.
When I opened Day 5’s package, I thought at first it was another tuocha nugget. Much to my happy surprise, it’s a puerh-stuffed tangerine! I’ve always wanted to try one of these. I wasn’t sure how to steep it, so I watched a few videos but ended up following the instructions on Great Tea Road Co.’s website. I put the whole tangerine in a brew basket, did a quick rinse, then steeped with boiling water for 5 minutes. The aroma is floral orange blossom, so lovely! The flavor is lighter than I expected for puerh, so on the second steep I opened the tangerine to empty the tea and cut the peel into strips before steeping. I did another 5 minute steep with boiling water, and the color is much darker and flavor much deeper this time around.
This was such a fun experience and I’m so glad I finally got to try one of these. Thanks, Skysamurai!!
Flavors: Floral, Orange Blossom
Not sure what part of this is Minnestoan. Feel like it needs wild rice or pine needles… something to make it truly different from the other MN chai blends. Good spicy flavor. But the aroma is my favorite. Smells so good. Don’t get too close though. Better hot, though it was decent cold. With milk, it is also very good. Interestingly, it becomes more nutty but that is probably because I’m using oat milk.
SkySamurai’s mystery advent tea #7 backlog from 12/20
Appears to be a genmaicha without the popped rice – simply the unpopped rice (at least in my sample.) The scent is pure Honey Smacks cereal. The flavor is very much like Honey Smacks cereal with an underlying umami vegetal flavor. The blend was mostly the unpopped rice, with only a few green leaves, so I’m actually surprised the green tea flavor is even in the cup. Genmaicha never gets old for me — a cup of Sunday comfort. My guess: genmaicha! Was I correct? Yes. Another tea shop I have never heard of before.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for full mug // 32 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 30 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
From the Samurai TTB.
I don’t know anything about the ruby varietals that tea-sipper refers to, so I can’t speak to that. I did a quick Google search to find out a bit more, and honestly now I feel like too much of a novice to be drinking this tea. I’m not tasting any of the notes that are described – wintergreen, chocolate, licorice, camphor, ginger, clove, sarsaparilla, etc. I’m sure the list goes on. To me, this is just a good black tea. There, I said it. I do not have a refined palate! But I did enjoy it. In fact, this is another tea I enjoyed more and more as it cooled. It was just tasty. Sorry I could not do this one justice, SkySamurai!
‘Samurai’ Traveling Teabox – Tea #17
It’s always a joy getting to the end of trying teabox teas. I LOVE teaboxes and the wealth of teas I’m able to try… but equally great is knowing I’ll be back to my tea collection and revisiting my favorites, ESPECIALLY with my new sink water filter so I can be steeping with excellence. Both my collection and the teaboxes make me appreciate each other even more. The teaboxes reinvigorate my collection — happens every time. I love it.
This was not the best to end the teabox note on… I usually love Ruby varietals but this had little to no flavor of most of the Ruby teas I’ve ever tried. Really just nothing to mention! They are usually quite complex to me, so this is certainly not the Ruby to base anyone’s opinion on.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for full mug // 17 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 12 minutes after boiling // 2 min