69 Tasting Notes
This is a truly delightful black tea. Intense red grapes fruitiness but with delicious charred notes. I haven’t tried petmez/pekmez but that’s how I imagine it would taste – grape must that has been boiled down until all the sugars are nice and caramelized and resemble sticky sweet molasses. Then there’s some roasted cacao beans on the finish and maybe just a hint of rose. I should order some more of this.
Flavors: Cacao, Caramel, Grapes, Honey, Molasses, Smoke
An update to my previous tasting note and a bump in the rating.
Not sure if it’s because of the preparation parameters or something else altogether but this was an extremely delightful cup of tea. Woody notes aside, it was like having a plate of scrumptious toasty waffles served with a dollop of mouthwatering vanilla ice cream and some light maple syrup for good measure. I was ready for some good shou but this totally blew me away.
Flavors: Caramel, Creamy, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla, Wood
I had this at work a couple of days ago, so the memory is a bit vague. Chikondi means love in Chichewa – a Bantu language spoken in Malawi. These beads hold their shape quite well. They hadn’t unfurled fully by the time I was done with them, which probably means they still had some juice left in them. Using a 350ml mug has the downside of getting to enjoy fewer steeps.
This tea produces a light brass colored liquor with a distinctive biscuity flavor. Freshly baked langues de chat, a hint of burnt sugar and roasted squash. An interesting white tea for both looks and taste.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Butternut Squash, Cookie
“So smoove we got you sayin SH!T, DAMN, MOTHERF$CKER”
Amen to that, 2Dog, amen to that!
It’s been a while since my last shou indulgence and, boy, I enjoyed every last drop of it.
It’s smoove alright, and it’s sweet and creamy. Balm for the soul it is. Just a touch of wood and that lingering brown sugar goodness. Mmm, mmm, mmm. It’s the simple things in life y’know.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Sweet, Wood
Had this at work yesterday. 5-6g in a 350ml mug at 90C instead of the recommended 80C but for half the recommended time. This results in a pretty light and delicate floral green tea. Lots of lilacs, simple white sugar sweetness and just a touch of greenness. This green note gets stronger in subsequent infusions. The lilacs remain on the breath for some time after swallowing. Overall pretty good if you’re in a mood for something light and undistracting.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Sugar, Sweet
Interesting to look at but nothing unique and unexpected in terms of taste.
It is by no means a bad tea, especially considering it consists of only stems :D Not being true leaf means it takes a longer brewing time to extract the good stuff. The liquor has an enchanting polished bronze color, with no floating particulate.
The tea has a nice deep taste and aroma of honey and stewed apricot. I gotta get my hands on some lychees and get that taste memory sorted once and for all. As of this moment I can neither confirm nor deny their appearance in the overall taste profile.
The body feel is pretty neutral as well, caffeine content being quite low in the stems.
Flavors: Apricot, Honey
This is a strange one. The dry leaf is quite dark and resembles a Wu Yi oolong with a few stems in between that are quite thick and somewhat out of place. When wet the leaf takes on a deep olive green color. The leaves are quite large but broken up in pieces. It doesn’t really look like a fully oxidized black tea to me. Liquor color is dark gold with a very light purple tint.
I’m having this at work so I’m using a 350ml mug with a strainer basket. I’m using a fairly good amount of leaf and have cut the recommended steep time of 2-2:30 minutes almost in half. This helps keep the astringency at bay. Not that it’s particularly heavy but still.
In terms of aroma and flavor this tea delivers a fragrant bouquet of dark and vine fruit. I get blackberries, black and red currants, muscat grapes, grape skin astringency. The liquor has a pleasant sweetness. There is also some greenness and a light roasty flavor like from an oolong. There’s a lingering moscatel aroma after swallowing. It’s a nice tea but won’t be making it to my list of favorites.
Flavors: Astringent, Black Currant, Blackberry, Grapes, Green
I like this one. It’s quite fruity. It brews a nice light golden liquor with a peachy pinkish hue in the initial steeps. Do shorter brews to keep the bitterness at bay. I get pears and quince, dried apricots, plum jam, a hint of wild strawberry. There’s sweetness but it’s not overwhelming. On the finish I get herbal honey and jam, some light floral notes as well and maybe even a touch of baking spices.
Overall, this is quite pleasant and would make for a pretty good and uplifting everyday sheng.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Fruity, Honey, Jam, Pear, Plum, Strawberry
I haven’t had many black teas so far, so here’s me working on that. This is an interesting black tea. The first thing that I noticed sniffing at the wet leaf was some savoury smokiness which came to me totally unexpected. It was almost barbecue-ish. That toned down quickly and by the third infusion there was still smokiness but no longer so meaty and savoury. The other dominant notes were tobacco and herbs – of the medicinal type, not those you use in the kitchen. It reminded me of those herbal medicine shops, where you can’t really pick out any one herb but it’s all mingled in a single powerful redolence. All this was backed by a thick body, slightly malty, with some underlying sweetness. In later steeps some fruitiness was present as well. The liquor was a beautiful amber color and teeming with tiny hairs when seen against the bright window. The empty cha hai had a strikingly strong sweet aroma reminiscent of herbal honey. This tea had a very gentle uplifting effect even though it was a long session.
Flavors: Fruity, Herbaceous, Smoke, Tobacco, Wood
Today I was in the mood for white tea so the White Tripel freebie (thank you white2tea) seemed like a good candidate to satiate my craving. I’m quite happy with the choice.
Anakin goes Vader, that’s what popped up in my head thinking about this tea. It goes from light to dark – taste, smell and color. It can surprise you with something new even in steep 10+ so don’t give up on it early. I think this is my first tea with such a prolonged development.
Gongfu, 6g, 130ml, 25+ seconds (I have to buy a timer, counting after the fifth or sixth infusion is not something I’m particularly good at.)
Dry leaf is always a bit hard for me – sweet and floral but also something stronger and heavier I can’t pinpoint.
Wet leaf is a beast. Starts all light, sweet and floral, some green nuttiness. I even got some very light red berries, like raspberries and redcurrant maybe. It darkens progressively. At various stages I get some rose, oxidized fruit, darker honey, and even spices like cinnamon and tonka bean.
Liquor also starts light – say acacia honey, and darkens with time to a deeper orange wildflower honey. It has a relatively think mouthfeel and quite a lot of bud hairs floating around even though there aren’t that many buds in the leaf. The hairs produce a sort of scratchiness in the back of the throat that I am not very fond of but I guess that’s what it feels being part of the Dark Side (phhhhhh… phoooo… phhhhhh… phoooo… I’m Vader).
The taste isn’t as complex as the wet leaf smell but follows the same development. Starts light with flowers, honey and green nut milk(?) and by the end with the rose, spices and oxidation it’s almost like drinking a very light black tea. (I wouldn’t know what kind as I haven’t had that many blacks so far but I’ll have to work on that.)
I don’t often mention body sensation because I’m relatively new with tea, and coffee was never my thing, so I almost always get the caffeine rush. This tea is no exception. It’s not as strong as sheng puerh but I’m definitely wide awake and alert.
Overall I’m pretty happy with this tea. It’s most interesting to follow it along its transformation. I wonder how it will age so I’d consider buying a cake.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Honey, Spices