56 Tasting Notes
I’ve reviewed this one several times but I find my rating increases a little each time. I’m still relatively new to quality tea (quali-tea, hehe) so it’s probably a combination of developing taste and preference as well as refining my brewing methods for different teas. The more I drink this tea the more I find myself liking it!
After a white tea left me feeling a little meh I tossed two pearls into a preheated mug, poured over water somewhere just under boiling and let it rest with a lid on for a while. Since when did this tea get so damn delicious?! I liked it before but I’m really diggin it today. The chocolate notes are hitting me hard, the mouthfeel so very creamy and heady! I refreshed the mug and added just a little cream. This is now my black of choice.
Dry leaf smells like corn husk and sweet peas, after the first steep a little char character peeks out and the fresh sweet pea is more of a steamed green pea.
Maybe white teas aren’t my jam, I was pretty underwhelmed by this. First steepings were subtle and sweet with a peach-and-cantaloupe-fruitiness, green pea and steamed corn flavor. Later on the texture became just a little creamy with the corn sweetness strengthening and a little toasty char flavor to match the leaf aroma came into play. Not much on the nose throughout.
This was by no means bad, just a little on the subtle side for me today, I think. Maybe I’ll get a grandpa-style black brewing.
Edit: a later cold steep of this tea reveals a delightfully sweet plum and rosehip brew!
Flavors: Cantaloupe, Char, Corn Husk, Kettle Corn, Peach, Peas
Open brewed in a glass pitcher, 30sec- 40sec- 50sec
This is one of my favorite teas. I did a little session right after a tasting of a Shi Feng Dragonwell; they seemed similar in my mind and I wanted a quick and fairly direct comparison. Jury’s out on my end: This tea is tastier.
Compared to the dragonwell, it’s not as full bodied in the texture and nut flavor department but it has an umami character I’m really diggin, a little soy, a little buttered green beany. It’s also sweeter, which I am truly a sucker for. The spiciness in this green is more peppery and less mineral. It’s not quite as complex, lacking in late floral notes and with the subtle spiciness peeking out only in later infusions and as the tea cools. Overall it’s more green, more umami, more sweet upfront, less floral, less full bodied and nutty and less spicy (until it cools, at which point it becomes very delightfully spicy!)
Maybe I’m a pleb for rating a less complex but more delicious tea higher on the scale but I can’t lie to the smiley faces above the numbers. The dragonwell made me :) but this tea is really making me :D
Open-brewed in a glass pitcher, let the leaves rest in cool water between infusions. 5g/6oz 30sec- 40sec- 50sec
I clumsily spilled a little on my desk; it was a great tragedy. This is my first foray into dragonwell. I know it’s a famous one, I know it is often a little overestimated, I’m still pretty impressed.
raw leaf smells like sweet dry hay, first infusion is so delightfully fresh and nutty! Strong fresh cashew flavors but somehow without a heavy umami like I’ve noticed in other nutty greens. A wonderful full green flavor, a hint of toasty crackers, fairly round body, eeeeever so slightly spicy, with a very pleasant sweetness left on the palate.
In the second infusion the spiciness strengthens but doesn’t overwhelm the cashew notes, the body remains full and pleasantly vegetal.
In the third steeping, the tea has suddenly lost its body! A very light floral flavor remains and a tiny hint of mineral spice is still in there somewhere. Still not a hint of bitterness, which is nice, but where did the nuts go?!
Is it typical of Dragonwell to give up all its flavors so readily? Should I not have rested the leaves in water in-between rounds? I’ve heard that greens can steam or oxidize themselves bitter if left without a little water on top. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!
Flavors: Asparagus, Floral, Grain, Grass, Hay, Mineral, Nuts, Spicy, Sweet
Brewed grandpa style with about a 1:1 grams/oz tea and water. I’m sensitive to bitterness so I typically do my grandpa style fairly cool.
The water at 175 may be a little cool for this one but the tea did come out delightfully subtle, predominantly green with a mild butteriness, a little like buttered steamed green beans. If you find this tea too popcorn-y I’d recommend it this way but if you like the strong butteriness I’d go gongfu.
I’m afraid my package is old and growing a little stale but these little cacao nibs pack a punch. Absolutely delicious and soothing, tastes like a fruity, snappy dark chocolate bar. Definitely add cream and sugar to this sweet treat.
Flavors: Cacao, Fruity, Tart
This tea is much better served hot than cold brewed. I don’t find any new characters jumping out at me, just dimmer versions of the tastes I find in the hot version.
To be fair, I’d already gongfu brewed this tea quite a few times before an attempted cold brew. I’ll give it another shot starting with raw leaves, but I can say for now with certainty that this tea is not one you can stretch simply by icing after a gongfu session.
I’m happy to report that my heavy-handed brewing didn’t ruin a subsequent attempt at an iced version of this tasty tea!
After abusing the leaves terribly I still managed to make several delicious cold infusions that tasted satisfyingly like steamed white rice. How do they get that flavor in there? I dunno. Must be magic.