50 Tasting Notes
I like the green tea I have at the sushi bar and had tried to describe it or ask for something like it at the tea shop before I knew what I know now about tea. I gave that up a long time ago after being sold matcha and kukicha, and neither one was “on.” I bought this at the asian grocery store on a whim, having moved on from searching for “sushi bar tea.”
I steeped this bag for 3 minutes at 170F. The color was light and yellow green, as it should be for “sushi bar tea.” The taste had some vegetal green and some green tea nuttiness (not roasted rice nuttiness). It was not quite what I taste at the sushi bar, but close. Not at all unpleasant, but not very interesting. I will keep some of these in my desk for a simple afternoon green tea mug.
I tried this iced. I steeped the bag for 3 minutes at 175F in 6 oz water and poured over ice. The color is quite light yellow brown. The taste is dominated by a wet cardboard flavor I cannot recommend. The aftertaste is nice and sweet, with some bittersweet. Light astringency is present.
I recently enjoyed afternoon tea with two out of town visitors at Boulder’s Dushanbe Teahouse. This was one of the selections for tea at the table. It is one of the five suggested teas to pair with the afternoon tea fare. I agree.
This was taken with milk and the floral flavors were still stunning. The Earl Grey bergamot comes through the floral flavors clearly. The black tea was harder to identify clearly, but present. The flowers were strong. The description claims jasmine, lavender, and rose. I could identify them all, with the rose and lavender coming out first, sharpest, and most aromatic. The aroma over the cup had bergamot first followed by the floral bouquet.
We picked through the leaves in the strainer (poor form for afternoon tea, I know) out of curiosity. I was surprised that the lavender buds still smelled so strongly of lavender after steeping. There was also what appeared to be a chrysanthemum flower in the top of the steeped leaves. Was this for show?
I plan to buy a tin of this (and another for my Mom) next time I visit this tea house.
I enjoyed this tea at Boulder’s Dushanbe Tea House. I had afternoon tea with two visitors to town who I knew would enjoy the experience. Our table had white linens, a vase of fresh flowers, an assortment of scones (with clotted cream and lemon curd), cucumber sandwiches, and small cakes. We each picked a tea for our individual, small teapots. I chose this one.
It doesn’t appear on their web page’s tea list but was offered on the menu in the tea house.
When the server brought the tea, she noted that she had washed the oolong leaves with a few seconds long steep before putting in the less than boiling water. Appreciated!
Forest green leaves partially unfurled and gave a small pot of yellow brown liquor. This had a moderate oolong aroma. The flavors were delicate, with some light citrus rind and evergreen notes. I didn’t find much smoky flavor. The largest note was some vegetal green tea type flavor. Astringency and bitterness were absent.
This tea was excellent, but maybe too delicate to have with the scones and cakes.
I asked for and received another pot of hot water for a second steep. The second was better. All the flavors were more well-defined. The citrus rind and green tea flavors were stronger and some smokey notes came in. This had a touch of astringency that was absent before. Still, it was quite smooth.
I don’t know why this tastes so different than my previous few cups that I based the earlier note on. This time it was more: more bitter, more vegetal, more flavor. I liked this cup of tea much more. Hotter water? I think it was the same. Longer steep time? I’m pretty sure not. Different altitude? Both cities I made this tea in were at about 5000 feet. Must have been in a better mood this time?
Of the gen mai cha teas in bags I have tried, this one has the strongest toasted rice note and weakest tea flavors. The dry tea bags have the aroma of green tea and toasted rice in balance. The steeped cup has a light yellow color and nice toasty aroma. The rice flavors come through strongly, and it is hard to taste the tea. Still, the toasted rice on its own is pleasant.
I tried another one with a 8-ish minute steeping at the same temperature. That brought out the bitter of the green tea, and it was too bitter for me.
1.5 tsp of leaves in 12 oz steeping mug.
The dry leaves have a strong malty smell and some smaller chocolate smell.
I made two steepings of these leaves.
1st: 205F, 4 min. The liquor is a clear, light brown-red. The aroma over the cup is like the dry leaves. The taste is surprisingly smooth, without astringency, with light to medium body for a black tea. There is a deep malty flavor and some soft bitter tastes. There is a tongue-tickling sweetness that I like, too. Some light astringency comes out with swishing this tea around my mouth with some air. I have no desire to add milk or sweetener.
After this cup, I went out to get the mail. As I was opening the mail box, I was hit by a strong, sweet aftertaste like after eating cookies.
2nd: 205F, 5 min. After tasting this company’s “First Picking Spring Laoshan Northern Green,” I expected some steamed edamame flavors from this tea. They appeared in this second steeping. All aromas and flavors noted above are here, but muted. However, this is definitely not just a cup of hot water. There is still no astringency, but I note a stronger bitter flavor. This cup is also quite smooth. The malty and chocolate flavors are smaller. A sweet flavor and a vegetal bean pod aroma are more noticeable. A sweet and beany aftertaste remained through a short walk to see the nice sunset after dinner.
I’ve been drinking this again all week at work. Today the water was too hot and I got more of a green tea flavor (but not boiled green tea) with some peach notes. Still, it was not bitter. The hotter water did something to change the peach flavors, too, making them taste more “stewed,” which makes sense. There was nothing delicate about this cup. I don’t know how hot the water was, but I definitely prefer it when steeped in 165F water.
When I try to steep longer, with less water in the cup, to get more green tea flavor, the result is overpowered by the mint. Better to enjoy the tea and mint in balance and lighter. When brewed that way, I like the snappy flavors together, especially in the afternoon.
This one presents an interesting idea: pu’erh tea and chocolate flavoring in a breakfast blend. It also has mallow flowers on the ingredients. I don’t know what they are supposed to taste like, so it was one more reason I had to try this blend.
The dry leaves in my tin do not look nearly as oily as the leaves in the picture provided for this entry. The in smells heavenly. The biggest note is chocolate, but I can smell some aged tea smells in there, too.
The color is a red-brown, with some murkiness; it is medium in darkness compared to other breakfast blends I’ve brewed. The aroma above the cup is mostly that of black tea. The chocolate comes in next.
I first get the flavors of a nice black tea. Flavors are generally bright. I taste some cinnamon. The pu’erh provides some powdery, back of the throat flavor but is not dominant here. Chocolate flavor comes in as the last and lightest note. I appreciate this. It is there, and it is nice, but the tea flavors are clearly dominant.
This gives me gum-tingling astringency, which I like in a breakfast blend. Bitterness is balanced and at the higher end of what I can enjoy without adding milk, also appreciated in a breakfast blend. However, it could definitely be bolder and still be enjoyable, especially with milk.
Adding milk transforms this cup. The chocolate comes out front, making it remind me a bit of a milk chocolate bar. Some of the black tea bitterness goes away and the pu’erh comes out a little bit more, and these are interesting mixed with the chocolate bar flavors. I feel like, with milk, I could never get this cup confused with anything else in a blind taste test.
Astringency starts to make my tongue feel dried out by the end of the first cup. I love it!
This is an interesting blend that I enjoy.