348 Tasting Notes
My morning started off on a down-note. I called up a tea company, following up on a resume I submitted. Unfortunately, it wasn’t news I wanted to hear. And…that put me in a foul mood. The type of mood that only alcohol would cure.
Well, it was only 10AM, so that would’ve looked a little – um – sad. So, I went with something moderately fermented, but far less damaging. A young sheng pu-erh. This was a loose sample I received back in January, but was just now getting to a write-up on.
As a lot of young sheng pus go, it’s very youthful in its flavor presentation – a lot like a green tea but without the bitterness that comes with it. That and it holds up to boiling water well. No vegetal kick. It was all fruit, earth and flowers. Oh, and youth.
A good way to start the day and kick away job-related doldrums.
Blog featuring this tea: “Do Tea Drinkers Dream of Electric Kettles?” – http://steepstories.com/2014/03/24/tea-drinkers-dream-electric-kettles/
Instagram pic: http://instagram.com/p/l719Laknc_/#
Flavors: Earth, Fruit Tree Flowers, Grapes
This is the first Quanzhou milk oolong I’ve had in awhile. I’ve always been fascinated by all the care that goes into making an oolong that reminds me of buttered popcorn. Seriously, that’s what it tastes like – well, minus that feeling of artery-hardening failure afterwards…and greasy hands. Great way to start the mornin’.
Yet another tea I forgot I even had. This is starting to become a trend. Not sure how I missed the giant bag! this was in…but whatever…
I hadn’t opened these little suckers from their vacuum-sealed packages since I got them. And that was back in 2011. So, in theory, they’ve been accidentally “aging” since then – airtight. Three years ago. That’s a long time to forget about a tea.
Straight butter and lotus blossoms. I’m not usually a fan of the Iron Goddess, but given three years to cool down and she’s as sweet as the rest of ‘em. I should forget about teas more often…but I don’t think I’d have the patience for it.
Mum and I ended up at Smith HQ today, and – contrary to my usual sensibilities – I was craving Chinese tea. On a sunny day like this, I usually aim for Darjeeling…but for some reason I itchin’ for robust wood-sweetness. Who knew?
Anywho, I ended up with a wonderful two-person pot of the stuff, and sipped it rather deliberately. Not spoiling one cup of it. Meditative yet wakeful.
I actually forgot I had this. Today, after work, I plopped down for a nap. Horrible decision. Got up at the crack of 7PM. Then I got the bright idea to throw caffeine into the mix.
Since (as I mentioned prior) my roommates have been sick, I went with a white tea. When I checked the ol’ white tea tin, I came across this li’l puppy. Perfect!
Got three steeps out of it before the leaves lost their kick. It is a note-for-note replica of a Chinese White Peony, if slightly more fruity. A common trait (I’ve found) with Malawi whites.
I actually purchased this at World Tea Expo last year from the Hankook Tea booth. It was an odd sorta beast – powdered Korean sejak leaves. But they did their best impression of a Japanese matcha I’ve ever come across.
The stuff fluffs up nicely into bubbles when whisked, the color is pretty, and the taste is very…uh…sejak-ish with more of a matcha kick. Basically, like a green tea espresso.
I’ve practically been emptying my li’l tin of this stuff for the last two weeks while various plagues have gone through both my apartment at work. So far, I’m holding up fine…if a tad bit over-caffeinated.
One such over-caffeinated adventure can be found here: http://steepstories.com/2014/03/07/teaity-chat-adventure/
I actually bought this at World Tea Expo back in June…but hadn’t dipped into it until – well – now.
I gongfu-ed the hell out of this old sucker. For a ten-year-aged oolong…it’s…uuuugghghbarlghghgh…tea-drunkening. The flavors present defy logic. Roastiness comes first, followed by a medicinal quality makes your brain feel fuzzy (in a healthy way), and the rest is just…uuuughsserblblersbaaaflerp.
I’m sorry if this isn’t more…uh…“immaculate” a description.
Someone take away my keys.
I got a good helping of this stuff from Lochan Tea to play with. And play with it, I did. I gongfu’d it, I boiled it, I did a green tea-ish approach with it. Basically, I’ve been rolling in this particular tea for the better part of a week.
But what I hadn’t done was observe the brewing recommendations from another vendor selling the stuff. I looked at the Butiki Teas page, and they recommended a four-minute steep at 170 degrees. That seemed light, but I gave it a shot.
So much going on with this oolong. It’s slightly malty – like an Assam. There’s a grapiness to it – like a Darjeeling. And, oddly enough, there’s a bit of pekoe-ish-ness – like a Nilgiri. On top of that, a bit of white tea character also shines through. It’s like an amalgamation of many different teas and traditions.
For this, the lighter approach is the best approach. So much nuance.
Oh yeah, I also did a guest blog for Lochan Tea about Indian oolongs in general. Go looky, if you wanna: http://lochantea.com/index.php?route=pavblog/blog&id=21
I paid a visit to The Jasmine Pearl earlier in the afternoon right after work. With traffic, I was worried about making it on time, but I arrived with an hour or so to spare. Originally, I intended only on having their yellow tea and any other new orthodox offerings they had on hand.
Then I came across this blend.
I rarely go for blends. Even rarer is my inclination toward a cooked pu-erh blend. But this…whoah. It tasted like…earthy root beer. “Root Beer of the Earth”! Oh man, I have to write that down. Great book title idea.
Where was I?
Oh yes, great blend. Tastes like a flavored tea without any flavoring. Tastes pretty darn spiffy when iced as well.
I was actually getting done posting my write-up about this tea (which you can find here: http://steepstories.com/2014/02/25/taiwans-wild-side-big-brass-butikis-round-1/) when I thought to myself, Oh yeah! I should brew up some of that! First time that’s ever happened. So, for my way-to-work tea, I brewed some of this up.
SO much going on here – cocoa, malt, mint…uh…awesomeness. I seriously wish I had more of the stuff. It has all the features I adore in Taiwanese black teas plus a little roughness behind the edges – like porno hair. (Wait ,no!)
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt