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Recent Tasting Notes
Gongfu Sipdown (2307)!
My Dad has an absolutely gorgeous and very large garden, so I’ve been enjoying a lot of tea outdoors in that space over the past week – especially now that I’m not feeling sick anymore and I can walk on my ankle again. So, that inspired me to do another “teas I drink in a day” roundup centered around that outdoor space!
This was a very early morning session, after a small bite to eat so I wasn’t drinking this pu’erh on an empty stomach. I found it enjoyable, and kind of interesting. I tend to really love Yiwu productions for either their softness or fruitier tasting notes, but this tea was a little bit outside of that generalized profile. I was a little fruity in a way that made me think of candied orange peels, but also it still had a lot of pithiness to it as well that pulled away from the most sweet fruit elements and drew attention to the vegetal notes of cooked or steamed greens that were present – like boiled brussel sprouts with a faint woodiness to their undertones. Also, it reminded me of this chestnut honey I have that’s surprisingly kind of bitter for a honey. Still dark and a little sweet, but just has an edge to it that’s so particular and ever so slightly abbrasive.
I definitely wouldn’t seek this pu’erh out again, but it was very interesting to sip on and watch the flavours develop. I think it was excellent quality, just not the profile that I personally lean into…
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CvdVk3lOL2I/?img_index=1 (First Photo)
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cn1XmbaCaaA
Advent Calendar Day 16
Ooo, this is nice! While I’ve definitely been enjoying trying out all the different flavored teas this month, a straight black tea will always be my favorite way to start the day. And this one is GOOD. The flavor is super rich and full-bodied, yet smooth with no bitterness or astringency. It’s very fruity, reminding me of raisins, but with a touch of dark chocolate in the aftertaste. This may be my favorite of the calendar so far!
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Raisins
October Tea Society offering. Another Korean black tea. I prefer the Bosung over this one, but I still enjoyed experiencing this. The dry leaf smells intensely of cacao nibs, but the chocolate flavor is more muted than I would have expected. Some nuttiness as well. Subsequent steeps have a much more earthy, leafy flavor.
This tea is so rich and cozy, and I needed something comforting after this terrifying day. I’m still getting those chocolate and dried fruit notes, but there’s a touch of tobacco now as well.
I have enough for one more cup, and although I really enjoy this tea, I won’t be repurchasing. It was the Mansa Tea Club September offering, and it’s still only available for Tea Club members…but it’s $58/2oz. It’s good, but not that good.
The September Mansa Tea Society offering. I’ve been quite busy, so I wasn’t able to join the live September or October tea tastings. I’m just now getting around to watching the recorded September tasting and experiencing this tea.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a Korean black tea before, so I was excited to experience this.
Deep dark chocolate, dried fruit, and tobacco in the finish.
Like a dark chocolate covered cherry.
Flavors: Cherry, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Stonefruit, Tobacco
Mansa’s July membership tea. I’m really, really enjoying being part of Mansa’s members reship program. Basically, you get an ounce of tea sent to you every month, and Ashley (the founder/owner of Mansa) puts together readings, webcasts, and guided tastings throughout the month. It’s been extremely informative, and I’ve really enjoyed being part of it. Highly recommend!
As for the tea, it’s one of my favorite raw pu’erhs that I’ve tried. Notes of wildflower honey, slightly overripe stone fruit, and a bit of damp hay in the first steep. Subsequent steeps lose a bit of the sweetness and develop into something much more earthy.
Gongfu Sipdown (884)!
Sipped this one down yesterday evening after getting home from work. It’s got some surprising thickness to the mouthfeel, and the flavor reminds me a lot of the smell of hay on a hot prairie summer day, and clover – LOTS of clover! I’ve been on a bit of a black tea binge this week, but my insta friend teajay9 got me craving some aged white tea that morning. I had to wait to get home from work to brew some up though, but it was worth the wait…
What was really good was that I chose this Mansa sample completely by chance, but then they ended up doing a livestream that overlapped with my session so I got to drink one of their teas while following along with their live. There have been SO MANY instagram livestreams since the pandemic started, it’s been very fun but also hard to keep track of.
Two final thoughts about the tea, though…
1. Despite tasting pretty good, the leaf quality was pretty questionable visually. You’ll see it in my photos if you take a look, but it was VERY broken up…
2. Mansa describes this as tasting like white chocolate, which I did not personally observe in my session. However, it got me thinking and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that flavour from a straight white tea. It’s just an interesting (to me) and standout flavour descriptor…
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQOaarIvjh0
Gongfu Sipdown (724)!
This was a late Sunday afternoon tea session w/ some fresh pomegranate and it was perfect! I’ve actually really been impressed with Mansa so far! I actually fully brewed out this tea, and I managed to stretch my session over the span of like two and a half hours! I’ll admit there wasn’t a lot of flavour progression throughout the session, but the taste I was getting was pretty incredible and I was feeling pretty buzzed and light headed after like three or four steeps.
This pu’erh is lovely – it has a fresh feeling sweetness to it, with aromatic floral honeysuckle and orange blossom notes accompanied by the taste of lightly roasted nuts tossed in a light drizzle of honey, with a fruitier undertone more like an overripe nectarine – but soft.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdabIfmcqSQ
Gongfu Sipdown (706)!
Picked up one of the samplers from Mansa Tea because the teas seemed interesting/intriguing and I was in that kind of mood where I needed a bit of retail therapy – and my go to retail therapy is, of course, buying tea. I also wanted to try out a new company and I’ve literally never heard anything about this company so it seemed like a good opportunity to have a completely fresh and blind experience and form my own impression…
I don’t know why I started with this tea in particular – I think I was just curious!? I’ve actually never had a Golden Flower tea before even though I own several of them. This was a nice one session size sample so it was the perfect way to dip into one and get a first impression. Another interesting this about this company is the tasting/flavour notes they’ve included on their packaging – they’re really specific and atypical sounding, and in some ways remind me of the style of tasting notes that August Uncommon does? I was critical of how accurate they’d be – but excited to see if I could understand what the company was going for. So, that said, here’s my write up from instagram:
…to be completely honest the pink apple note described is actually EERILY accurate to what this tea tastes like, especially in the first few steepings! Hooray for my former grocery store/produce clerk knowledge kicking in and allowing me to know specifically what a Cripps apple tastes like!? Aside from the taste of sweet, crisp apple notes I’m also getting a medium bodied and relatively clean tasting earthy note throughout the sip, along with sort of stewed fruit/“fruit leather” and oat undertone, and a bit of a molasses & black pepper-ish quality. Really enjoying this tea a lot; perfect cap to the week!!
So overall conclusion? I liked the tea a lot and I think it was a good intro to this company, and maybe golden flower teas in general!? Certainly makes me curious to explore some of the other ones I own and have been sitting on for a little while now…
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Srq1FqFPwj0