Monday, April 4, 2016

Quantitea: Hong Jin Luo and Golden Monkey, A Double Feature Tea Review

Today was a day of Dinosaurs, though hilariously not in Ark. I want dinosaur tea pets, specifically a few sea creatures (technically they are mostly reptiles, but shh) and many theropods, my most adored creatures. Problem is, they are either really big and not tea table sized (though it will fit just fine on my desk) or they are grossly old fashioned (few things offend me as much as a vertical Rex) and I will just spend my time glaring daggers at them for being wrong. Mostly my quest was not successful, I found some small friends, but they were a synapsid (hello Dimetrodon) and a pair of sea reptiles, though finding an Elasmosaurus was awesome. Ben found a Palaeoscincus he liked so that kinda counts, but no epic dinos for me...yet. Next up will be to paint my new small friends so they are more fun, because a solid gray derpy Elasmosaurus is just sad.

Today is a double feature from Quantitea, looking at the two red teas from their 'Starter Set' flight I got a chance to experience recently. I brewed them using their glass mug and basket that came as part of the flight, giving my gaiwan a bit of a rest and retracing my roots to my early tea drinking days. The first one I am looking at is Hong Jin Luo or Red Golden Spiral, a Dianhong (so a hong cha from Yunnan) with some of the prettiest little leaves, seriously I adore the fuzzy little gold spirals. The aroma of the leaves is malty and sweet, with strong notes of molasses and sweet potatoes with cocoa and roasted peanuts. It is a classic smelling Dianhong, both rich and sweet.

After my steeping and the uncurling of the leaves, the aroma takes on a richer malty and nutty quality, really bringing out the peanut notes that I favor in this style tea. They always remind me of my beloved boiled peanuts but without the copious amounts of brine usually associated with that snack. The liquid is a wonderfully sweet blend of molasses and starchy yams with a honey undertone.

With big mug in tow, I slurped it up while playing Ark, that is my favorite part of this system, I love gongfu, it is my favorite way of enjoying tea, but not always do my hobbies blend perfectly and a mug is required. I was able to get a couple steeps from the leaves, so points for longevity there, the first steeping was rich and sweet, strong woody and molasses notes at the front, middle notes of chocolate and yams, and a nutty finish of peanuts and malt. The second steep focused more heavily on the starchy yam notes and malt, with a brown sugar note that vaguely reminded me of my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. I had extra of this tea so later gongfu'd it and it is safe to say it is equally delicious that way as well!

Next up is Golden Monkey, or Jin Huo Cha as it is also known, this is a hong cha from Fujian and is also a favorite...and yes, I know at this point you are probably laughing at me since I have an overwhelming obsession with the red teas. The aroma of the curled leaves is strong in the sweet potato department, combine that with molasses and brown sugar and it smells like candied yams with a delicate distant flower note that seems to pop up in these Fujian reds, like distant orchids.

Steeping time, and the tea keeps up the starchy persona with strong notes of sweet potatoes and molasses, with a bit of burned sugar and a distant hint of peanuts. It smells sweet but not too terribly malty, this is more mild than the previous tea but sweeter in aroma. The liquid is sooo sweet, strong notes of sweet potato and peanuts, it is like a peanut crusted baked sweet potato pie with lots of molasses and brown sugar...and it is making me hungry.

This mug of red happiness is very sweet, and holds up to multiple steepings which is win. It starts malty and yammy (it is a word now) and moves to peanuts and molasses and the finish is a honey sweet lingering with a distant flowery quality that is light on the first steep but on the second steep the flowery note shows up in the midtaste and lingers into the aftertaste. It is a mellow red tea, one that I think is more suited to the evening or afternoon than morning, a tea for enjoying when you are more awake to enjoy it.

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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