50 Tasting Notes
My first impression is of Good Earth tea with apple flavor. I taste a strong but soft cinnamon biggest, then apple, with some slight tartness. It is plenty sweet without any sweetener added. This is relaxing and caffeine free. I look forward to trying it with milk.
I took a break with this between returning from running errands and before coordinating some family activity planning. This tea was again solidly (not excitingly) great. I was glad to see how much of the sample was left in the packet after removing the required teaspoon, looking forward to more cups of this.
This green tea is at once nutty, vegetal, sweet, and has a hint of bitterness. This leaves a moderately sweet aftertaste. It feels creamy. It has everything, and in balance.
I made a second hotter, longer steep which gave some more vegetal flavor and a stronger sweetness.
This is more balanced than some other gen mai cha that I have tasted, and not as balanced as others. I like the quite nutty toasted rice flavor. The green tea comes out a bit more than in the Motoyamamoto gen mai cha I tasted recently. This comes in a green tea bitterness that peeps out a little bit from behind the toasted rice and a very nice sweet aftertaste. I needed a calm-down cup of something warm with dinner after work today. This worked well.
A co-worker gave me a sachet of this in a plastic sandwich bag to take home and try. I put it in my shirt pocket. The rest of the afternoon I kept catching whiffs of a bitter, musty, cocoa smell before remembering the tea. The sachet smelled like dark chocolate and that pungent floral smell that the little rosebuds used in tea blends have. The chocolate aroma is definitely dominant over the rose aroma.
The tea under the chocolate here is a smooth tasting black tea (not a sharp, bright, bitter black tea). The bitterness from the tea and the bitterness from the chocolate seem to trade with each other which one is in control. The floral notes from the roses are hard to find. The chocolate is satisfying. I would buy some of this. The chocolate lover in my house thought this was the cat’s pajamas.
I had a cup of this again today after tasting a sheng puerh over the weekend. I was struck by how fewer the notes or complications of this tea were in comparison. However, I definitely think it offers enough interest and depth to justify the time required for sitting, contemplating, and enjoying.
The aroma of the steeped cup gives dried strawberries and, in the background, the smell that an old canvas tent has. The color is a deep purple-brown.
The taste has sweetness, but is not cloyingly sweet. Mostly, it is a tart, dried berry flavor with banana aftertaste. Some hibiscus tartness is here, but it is a lighter note here. The chicory is there, too, also a light note. I can’t taste banana or coconut explicitly.
This has a surprisingly more velvety mouth feel than other CS herbal fruit blends.
I have had this steeped by sitting in a pitcher in the fridge recently, and I like it hot. I had two cups today.
My first taste of a Sheng. I steeped 1/2 tablespoon leaves in 4 oz water, and each steep was 205F and for 3 min.
I took Spoonvonstup’s recommendation to start trying some teas in smaller steeping volumes with this one.
These almost whole, brown-black leaves with some iridescent, green-black leaves, twigs, and a few yellow buds are loosely pressed and come apart easily. The dry leaves smell of dried hay, strongly sweet, and a faint bit like leather. I also smell dried apricots.
1st steeping. The leaves unfurled and became greener with re-hydration. The liquor is a an orange-tan and transparent. Aroma is earthy, smoky, cedar. The first taste is delicate and smoky, smooth and some faint powdery bitterness, but very faint. As the cup cooled and I got to the bottom, I got some stronger bitterness and sweetness, giving over to bitter and leathery/barnyard at the end of each sip. Lingering sweet aftertaste.
2nd steep. This has a decidedly smokier aroma than last cup, then hay aroma; the color is the same. Smokey and sweet flavors at the start of the sip, with bitter strongest. There are aromatic floral flavors here. A sharper bitter comes in only at the end of the sip, and astringency is now here at the end of the sip, too, that was totally absent in the last cup. The powdery feeling is gone. The sweet aftertaste has a twinge of dried fruit — current? — then goes floral.
3rd steep. I smell hay and leather aromas over the cup. The steeps are getting more orange in color. This is smooth, without a hint of bitterness and without much astringency. It is still sweet. What are the flavors here? I get more feelings than flavors. Some part of what made up the leathery flavors is still here, and there is some sweet, lip-smacking velvety feel. There is a cooling feeling in my mouth. Oops, I ran out of this steep trying to get the flavors down. The aftertaste is strongly sweet and floral.
4th steep. This is light red-orange in color. The leathery aroma is almost gone. This has some vegetal, bean pod flavor. The cooling sensation is stronger. The sweet aftertaste is strong. The floral notes, smoke, and cedar all seem to be gone, but the strong, sweet aftertaste remains.
I enjoyed this quite a bit. I’m not sure sheng is my thing if this one is a particularly smooth and tasty one, but I did have a lot of fun and enjoy tasting it.
I’m ambivalent about the idea of puerh in a bag. Plus one for convenience, but is there something of what makes this kind of tea special lost when it’s put in a bag and available in my grocery store? I suppose it’s just tea leaves, so why not? Anyway, it’s fun to see it at the grocery store and I had to try it.
The dry tea smells like black tea; I don’t notice peaty or loamy aromas others have mentioned.
During the steep, the color was a rose-brown for about 1.5 minutes. At this time, the leaves released their magic. The liquor started turning opaque brown in a flash. There are rose red colors where the top of the liquor meets the sides of the cup.
The aroma over the steeped cup has a strong leathery note and some faint hay smell, some fainter smoke.
The first sip has a smooth mouth feel. There are dry, powdery, leathery flavors and some back of the throat bitterness. The sip goes like this: first an up-front sweetness, then soft bitters along the side of the tongue, then smoky leather flavors, then a soft back of the throat bitterness, and anything left of these giving over to a strong and long lasting sweetness. There is drying astringency.
There are no vegetal or hay flavors, which I expected from the aroma. The leathery flavors recede and the sips get sweeter as I make my way to the bottom of the cup.
This was an unexpectedly complex cup of tea from a bag. What fun! I look forward to drinking more cups of this.
I think this must be shu?
I drank several more cups of this over the last two days, 5 min steep in 205F water, taken with milk. My main complaint before was that the bitter was out of balance—too strong. Hot, and especially with milk, the bitter is strong but I can enjoy it. There is no noticeable maltiness, and only faint sweetness. Every cup has a hint of cinnamon flavor and a faint rose aroma.
I don’t know what changed, but I have had this twice today and darned if it doesn’t taste just like tea from the pot at the sushi bar. I didn’t measure the water temperature, so my suspicion is that I steeped it hotter than for my initial tasting. I just let the water sit in the kettle for 90 seconds after whistling. Anyway, it wasn’t a significantly different cup of tea, but more as advertised.
Incidentally, I tasted another family member’s cup that had the bag left in for many more minutes (10 minutes?) than mine (same water temperature as mine). It tasted stronger, but not bitter or in any way unpleasant to me. With the price, nice taste, and resistance to steeping time abuse, I could see this as having a semi-permanent home in the cabinet.