New Tasting Notes
Been a garbage week, so one half of my tea haul arriving in the mail today was a welcome respite. This has translated into oversteeping this cup by about 20 minutes, but fortunately I don’t think it suffered much…
Not gonna lie, this stuff smells dank and not at all like vanilla or orange. When I stick my nose in the gravity pot, it’s all cardamom and some herbaly whiffs in spite of seeing almost nothing but apple pieces and orange peels. What kind of dark sorcery is happening with this tea? It’s like Whole Foods distilled into a perfume.
Fortunately, this tastes smoother than it smells. Somehow, it’s managed to capture a vanilla-y smoothness with no vanilla in the blend. The orange half is is a little dicey, since I’m mostly just seeing apple in the pot, but I think I can’t judge this fairly until I do a more-lucid, not-forgotten second steep later.
Flavors: Apple, Cardamom, Vanilla
2021 SIpdown: 92
I love this one and would definitely reorder it next time I get more teas from Lupicia. I steeped up my last cup of this and unfortunately made the wrong decision while debating whether I should check what temp I normally brew this one at. I assumed it was boiling but it turns out I should have used 200F instead. As a result, it was quite bitter and not the most pleasant sendoff. I added some soymilk and that helped a lot to hide the bitterness. Usually, when steeped correctly it has a lovely flavor that reminds me of sparkling wine. It’s floral with a bit of fruitiness and resembles a strawberry soda.
This was one of my more recent sipdowns. I purchased a 100g pouch of this tea when it was first listed back in the spring of 2018 and ended up storing it until I worked through many of the older teas I had. I finally got around to trying it a couple weeks ago and spent the better part of four or five days working my way through all of it. It had held up well in storage and struck me as an enjoyable enough Yunnan black tea, but I’ve had better. It seems that I always end up feeling this way about teas like this one.
I opted to prepare this tea gongfu style. After quickly rinsing 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water, I started the session off with a 5 second infusion. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, raisin, dark chocolate, sugarcane, prune, cedar, and cinnamon that were underscored by a subtle scent of leather. After the rinse, I detected new roasted peanut and cooked green bean aromas. The first infusion brought out a baked bread aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor expressed notes of malt, earth, baked bread, cream, cooked green beans, and dark chocolate that were balanced by subtler notes of cinnamon, roasted almond, roasted peanut, caramel, and raisin. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of earth, smoke, orange zest, marshmallow, roasted almond, and sweet potato. Stronger and more immediately apparent impressions of roasted almond, roasted peanut, caramel, and raisin expressed themselves in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, vanilla, sweet potato, sugarcane, marshmallow, and orange zest. I also detected hints of leather, cedar, smoke, prune, grass, honey, pear, and apple. Towards the end of the session, the tea liquor softened and settled, emphasizing lingering impressions of minerals, earth, malt, marshmallow, caramel, orange zest, and cooked green beans that were chased by fleeting hints of raisin, sugarcane, honey, grass, roasted almond, dark chocolate, vanilla, and baked bread.
This was not a bad Yunnan black tea overall, but I also felt that it was not particularly memorable or unique. I have tried numerous teas that were very similar to this one, so I was hoping for at least one enjoyable trait that would stand out enough to set this tea apart. Unfortunately, I failed to find that trait. This was an enjoyable Yunnan black tea, one that had more than enough depth and complexity to be satisfying, but it did not strike me as being anything truly special.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Baked Bread, Caramel, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Leather, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Prune, Raisins, Smoke, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla
From subscription box
You know, this might be a first. Yeah, I totally get cinnamon rolls. At least from the scent of the steeped tea. In that scent I can totally see cinnamon and bready and maybe some brown sugar.
I don’t taste it however. nor do I taste chocolate. But flavor is a combination of smell and taste so I can see where people are coming from in their descriptions. I don’t get any harshness in the flavor. Its very smooth and pleasant to drink.
I have only tried one other unsmoked Lapsang Souchong and I wasn’t too fond of it, but mostly because I found it too floral for my tastes. This one seems to just hit the spot. I think I really like it.
Stands up well to a second steeping western style. A little less cinnamon and brown sugar to the nose, but the flavor is still going strong.
I suspect this might be a good pairing with a spiced dessert of some kind. Would make a good complement. Like cinnamon rolls, spice cake, or fruit cake.
Oh! Nutmeg cheesecake!
An Ode to Tea challenge #2– S Redux
An actual sipdown to repeat for ‘S’ again. A decent lasting strawberry flavor, if you don’t mind the jello type of strawberry flavor. Even on the second steep. But it’s also very earthy flavored now. And at 102 sipdowns I just hit the total number for 2020! Yes. The goal of 130 for the year is now looking possible!
2021 sipdowns: 102
An Ode to Tea challenge #2– S
oh darn, really thought this would be a sipdown when I measured it out! But next time. The flavor here is lasting quite a while. Tasting: Raspberry. Rhubarb. Vanilla. I had to look at the description to see if these were actually in the tea (I haven’t had this much and it’s old) and yes, all three of these flavors were there. I like this combination! I wouldn’t mind having this stocked. I love a tea with lasting, accurate flavors. That probably means this last serving will linger around.
I drank this tea to keep me awake on a long drive. The flavor is pretty simple. I get some toasted mate and a bit of dessertiness from the chocolate chips. I had it with almond milk, and it tasted decent, but not very interesting or special. It needed something to amp up the chocolate. As it was, it was mostly just toastiness, and it could have used some added complexity/intrigue.
The liquor is a beautiful deep gold and smells like burnt sugar. The leaves have that smell too, but it’s joined by some kind of fruity, intensely sweet smell I can’t name. It reminds me of fruit soda flavoured chapstick from the ‘90s, of all things… It’s intoxicatingly strong.
I first tried brewing this like gyokuro – 10g tea in my kyusu, 1:30 steep time, 160F water. The results were underwhelming; it tasted like it should have had umami notes brought out by the steeping, but didn’t, if that makes any sense. Even so, it had a rich, kind of malty flavour.
Brewed gongfu at 180 F, it still yielded a beautiful liquor. This style suits it much better, I think. The wet leaves smelled similar to how they did in the kyusu, but the higher temperature brought out a faint chocolatey note as well. The taste was malty, with mild bitterness. It had that umami note I knew should have been there! Very warming, and lighter in feel than black teas I’ve tried with a similar flavour profile.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Umami
Our ears are roasting, and I’m not talking about the corn crop! Any tea I’ve made this week needs to fit the “two hot sips and then ice it down” category. Good old solid, dependable Tazo to the rescue. It’s strong enough to open the eyes and get me out the door without any sharp edges to cut myself on—not tannic or acidic, and doesn’t get too watery on ice.
My current supply will not outlast this heat wave. It’s on the grocery list.
First experience with this tea:
After the rinse the leaves smell very sweet: wood, forest floor, something like dried plums, a little flower and nectar. No smoke, no leather. no camphor. I think “nice”.
After that I get dried yellow fruits, hay, mushrooms. The first 2 infusions are light and clean, with a delicate woody/fruity sweetness and a gentle slightly bitter huigan. Medium body.
Third brew is thicker, with a low toned nectar sweetness and slightly drying.
Fourth feels thinner and more astringent.
Fifht gains some spicyness and bitterness.
I think this tea doesn’t feel six years old, or maybe it’s been stored in very dry conditions. Anyway I find it very indecise, and lacking personality. There’s not much here that satisfies me for how this tea is at the moment. As for the body feeling, I don’t get any noticeable effect.
Sixth infusion has a dead leaf aroma and a slightly savory/spicy soup with medium body and astringency, and a medicinal/roots huigan.
Seventh shows more mushroom/soil and chamomille tea.
mushroom/dead leaves. Thin soup.
Sweet ginseng from the wet leaves, the soup has a round and semi-pleasant root bitterness.
Light sugarcane sweetness.
While I have not had extensive exposure to Gyokuro, from the ones I’ve tried thus far I’ve found that I’m not that big of a fan of drinking them gong fu (though I do get highly buzzed drinking them that way!) because they just taste a bit too strongly of seaweed/marine notes for me… but I have really enjoyed them cold brewed, which seems to bring out a cleaner, sweeter taste. Since I’ve been exclusively cold brewing lately, I grabbed this 20g sample that I got from Yunomi back in 2018; they source it from Nishide Tea Factory in Kyoto.
With a straight green tea, my preference is 5g for a liter pitcher. Brewed this way, I’m getting a very refreshing brew, with a clean green taste that has a more subtle seaweed note, as well as fresh, sweet grass, peas, cucumber, and mineral water. I get a sweet melon sort of note left in my mouth in the aftertaste of the swallow.
Lovely cold brew, even for such old green tea.
Flavors: Cucumber, Grass, Melon, Mineral, Peas, Seaweed, Spring Water, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal, Wet Rocks
This comes as a sample from the “2020 Chen Sheng Dictionary Raw Pu-erh Tea”. I don’t have any other information and I can’t find it for sale anywhere. If anyone knows something more about this tea please enlighten me.
About the tea:
Aroma at first is something woody and dark floral, tasting the rinse I’m surprised by the strong power and pleasant bitterness, I drink the whole rinse feeling it would be a waste to discard it. The first infusion is… wow, astonishing cacao/herbal bitter-sweetness, round, full in the mouth. The flavour glues from the roof of mouth to the top of the throat, lingering for several minutes after swallowing. I find it really intense and satysfing. The qi hits immediately leaving me quite destabilised.
From the second infusion I get a nice spicy/woody/herbal/floral aroma, quite strong. The soup keeps being intensely sugary-bittersweet, with some ginseng/liquorice. The act of swallowing feels like downing a bucket of thick, oily, aromatic substance that permeates the whole body. There’s a bit of cooling feeling.
Aroma is more malty and fruity, soup is stable and strong, a bit more dry. Qi is very aggressive and feels like my brain is melting. This tea reminds me of W2T “I am”, I need to try that one again.
dryer, less sweet. Bitterness gets sharper.
aroma gets lighter and a bit more cooling. Soup is still strong but sharper more herbal.
Start feeling a hole in my stomach, maybe time to eat something.
I’m still doing 5 seconds steeps. More vegetal this time, strong bitterness but thinner body. Some vanilla.
Still strong but definetly dry and quite bitter.
more mushrooms. Now it’s hard on my stomach, and getting more stimulating. I should stop.
I wonder how many more steeps this would last… Anyway, it was a very remarkable experience. Not for everyday because of the heaviness. After 1 hour I still feel high in a strange way, I’m also sweating. I feel some more age would make the last infusions more friendly.