Writing

Teas of Late

Posted in tasting on 17 Sep 2016

20 paragraphs • 795 words

2016 teadontlie

I know I kind of fell off the wagon of regularly posted tastings. I really do feel bad about that, too, because it’s a lot of fun to drink a tea and think about the whole sensory experience that goes along with that, then try and distill that down into words. I’ll really try to get back into that soon.

For now, though I figured I’d pull together some impressions of the teas I’ve been drinking of late. And that’s a lot of teas. A lot.

In fact, I got curious the other day and sat down with my laptop by the tea stash and catalogued everything I’ve got stored in my little cupboard. You can see the list and some charts on the data here. for instance, You can see that my stash consists of about 80% White 2 teas (what can I say? I’m hooked), and a little over 50% sheng. I’ve been branching out more into black teas lately, too, and having loads of fun with all that delicious, malty goodness.

Anyway! What have I been drinking lately?

White 2 - 2016 teadontlie

This is the session pictured at the very top of this post. Of course, I ran it through a very heavy filter in Prisma, but boy howdy, that’s basically how I feel with all that teadontlie in me. This tea started off smooth and light for exactly two steeps, then rolled over on me all at once.

There was a lot of astringency, balanced by a lot of sweetness, like chewing on a peach pit after you’ve already eaten the peach. The tea remained smooth throughout, though, coating my lips and tongue with an oily goodness and leaving a slight numbness in its wake.

White 2 says the astringency will chill out over time, and although I only got a 25g sample this time, I’m tempted to buy a bing and test that out, because the feeling of this tea was out of this world. Within three steeps, I was feeling fuzzy and buzzy and quite tea-drunk. I couldn’t tell whether I wanted to curl up into a purring ball of laziness or to smash my way through chores.

Whispering Pines - Earl Gold batch #8

Earl Gold

When I first read about Earl Gold on steepster, I knew that I had to get some for myself. Unfortunately, they were already sold out of the batch #7, so I had to wait until this summer for the next batch to come out. I’m really thankful that I had the chance to order a few ounces of this delightful tea.

I started on tea drinking when I was 12 or so, with a cup of Earl Grey on our British Airways flight, and so Earl Grey has always had a special place for me, especially ones that are intensely bergamot flavored. I was not disappointed with this tea. The dry tea kind of punches you in the face with bergamot, though that’s far mellower when brewed as suggested in the gong fu method, with the notes from the base golden snail tea carrying through more strongly.

The tea has a wonderfully malty flavor that’s very smooth and sweet, with a lingering tail of that flowery bergamot flavor. The scent of the tea has more of the bergamot notes, while the wet leaves still smell quite intensely of it. In all, it’s a fantastically blended take on Earl Grey.

White 2 - Hoplite oolong

Hoplite

While I do like oolongs sometimes, they haven’t grown on me to quite the same extent as pu’er and black teas. They head a little too easily into sour or cooked notes, even if one’s super careful about water temperature. The obvious exception to this is a good tie guan yin, which explodes with honey and floral notes.

This tea took a different path, though, and I fell in love with it during the first steep. It was, as I put it at the time, like having your face ripped off by sitting down by the fire with a bowl of stew and a loaf of fresh-baked bread. The roasty goodness carried through for several steeps, warming me and getting me prepped for autumn, and never winding up in that sour, steamed spinach territory that oolongs and some lapsang souchongs can wind up in.

This was a sample from the White 2 tea club, and I think I’ll have to pick up more of it. This tea would be a wonderful addition to a blustery fall day.

I’ll try and get better at written tastings, especially as I make my way through the rest of the spring pu’er samples I got from White 2. Some of them (I’m looking at you, Tu Hao As Fuck) were wonderful and deserve many good words!

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