Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Nannuoshan: Pomelo Tea, a Scented Black Tea Review

Today's blog is going to be a bit of a short one, I have been unwell lately and I am still not really functioning but after missing last week I didn't want to also miss this week. I have been keeping myself occupied in my convalescence catching up on video games, mostly Minecraft and Ark's new DLC. Minecraft is great as always, and of course Ark is a glitchy disaster that fills me with equal part wonder and joy...and rage because fix your game, Wildcard! Maybe since Extinction was their final DLC they will finally focus on fixing all the bugs in the game, but I doubt it. 

So today's tea is Nannuoshan's Pomelo Tea, a Jin Mudan cultivar black tea that has been scented with pomelo flowers. I love scented teas, it makes me wonder why anyone would ever want flavored when they can just have scented! The tea is so aromatic, strong notes of pomelo blossoms and honey with undertones of cocoa, hazelnuts, and citrus zest. Brewing up the tea, the aroma intensifies, especially the pomelo blossom notes, it smells almost like perfume or sitting next to a fully blooming citrus tree, it is intoxicating. The liquid is not quite as intoxicating as the wet leaves, but it is still quite aromatic, with notes of pomelo and chocolate with nutty undertones.

If you like black teas that are immensely sweet and richly aromatic, then this is a good pick. You taste this tea with your mouth but even more so with your nose, each exhale after a sip fills the mouth and nose with the intense taste of pomelo blossoms, honey, and lingering hazelnuts. As with all scented teas, the tea itself tends to last longer than the scenting, though the scenting does last for many sweet and floral steeps, I can get a solid seven pomelo blossom laden steeps before all I am left with is cocoa, malt, and hazelnut notes from the tea. I reserve my stash of this tea for special occasions, it is such a unique tea that it requires full attention.

Tea was a gift

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Eco-Cha: A Roasted Taiwanese Oolong Tea Review

In my part of the world, it is starting to get chilly! We had a nice inch of snow the other day and today a balmy high temperature of 27F and a low of 13F, and the last of the leaves are starting to fall away from the trees. Yes my friends, we have settled nicely into my favorite time of year which means time for roasty toasty Oolongs! I decided to look at a pair of teas from Eco-Cha today, a Dong Ding Oolong with medium oxidation and medium-heavy roast and a Tieguanyin which is a blend of half TGY and half Jin Xuan made in TGY style, which is pretty cool.

Dong Ding

I have reviewed so many Eco-Cha Dong Dings on my blog, and each harvest is a unique and delicious thing, it is always fun to see how they differ year to year. The aroma of these sizable rolled leaves is rich and immensely aromatic, strong notes of roasted walnuts and chestnuts, hickory wood, toasted grains, and a lingering molasses and dark honey sweetness that haunts my nose like a sugary ghost. The brewed leaves bring in a tanginess along with a surprising floral note reminiscent of honey locust flowers. Oooh, this might be one of the best harvests in a while! It is so sweet and thick, with notes of toasted coconut, walnut candies, sesame butter, and a lingering toasted wheat grain taste. I expected the later steeps to bring in that tangy roast taste, but no, it is sweet thickness all the way down with hints of strong roasted walnut shells. I am not sure my sample is going to make it to the end of the month!

Tieguanyin

Well hello you nutty tea! It is a dark oolong (in both oxidation and roast giving it a very dark color) and it smells dark, with notes of black walnuts, molasses cookies, brown sugar, roasted wheat, and a slight hint of cooked plums. Once steeped the notes remain but bring in a very surprising note of melon which made me do a nose double take.  This tea has a real oomph to it, it has the expected sweetness (with the Jin Xuan and all) like brown sugar baked plums, but it also has a really strong heavy grain toasted bread. You know, one of those breads that boasts having like 20 grains (do 7 different kinds of wheat really count as different grains?) but having been toasted and then given a nice slather of butter. The tea is mostly thick and smooth, but the roasting gives it a little bit of a mouth puckering tangy quality that livens things up, as roasted oolongs can seriously relax me into a fugue state and I need something to keep me lively. Later steeps bring in a touch of a fruity tobacco and even stronger roast somehow giving more oomph to an already strong tea. Both of these teas are great and show how varied roasty teas can be!

Teas sent for review




Tuesday, November 6, 2018

AprTea Mall: Black and White, a Tea Review

I will be so glad when my geranium can go back outside, and yes that is many months away (I am thinking late April if I am lucky) Don't get me wrong, I love my geranium, I got it as a cast-off earlier this year, a sad half dead leggy mess of a plant that I nursed back to health. I have never done that before, I used to be the well known plant murderer. Now the geranium is huge, happy, and healthy, full of its big red bloom balls...that fall off leaving petals everywhere. Especially when I rotate the plant or water it, it becomes a rain of petals, and since I have carpet I can't just sweep them up (vacuuming would just leave a red smear) so I have to pick them all up by hand. Long story short, carpet is the absolute worst and when I am able to own a place there will be no carpet, tile or concrete for all the rooms!

Ok so none of you care about my hatred of carpet, you want tea! Today I am looking at two teas from AprTea Mall, a Keemun Mao Feng Special Grade Black Tea and a 2012 Bai Mu Dan White Tea, two of my favorite styles of tea, though hilariously drank before and after my move so the tea desk looks completely different. That is always funny when that happens I think.

Chinese Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea Special Grade

These are such pretty leaves, I love Keemun when it is super curly, and these are definitely curly and very dark with little hints of gold trichomes. The aroma of the leaves is delicious, super sweet and fruity, with strong notes of dark cherry and plum with a chocolate undertone making it smell like a chocolate fruit tart. Once you steep the leaves their aroma picks up notes of pumpkin and malt which goes well with the fruity chocolate sweetness. The color of the brewed tea is fantastically light which contrasts the intense richness of the taste, strong notes of cherries, plums, and pumpkin bombard my mouth, and I am totally ok with this. The later steeps bring in notes of dark chocolate and stronger notes of cherries that last long into the aftertaste, I think this might be the most cherry heavy tea I have had and that wins it major points in my book. It lasts for many steeps (a solid seven and three very sweet and light ones) which is pretty good for a Keemun.

2012 High Mountain Fuding White Peony (Bai Mu Dan)

Hey, an aged white tea, always a favorite! I have a few white teas that I have deliberately forgotten so that I can have more aged goodness, don't get me wrong, fresh white tea is AMAZING, but there is just something wonderful about it getting a bit of age on it. The leaves are very fluffy and fuzzy, but have turned to a dark sage green and a bit of a browning to it. The aroma is a combination of white grapes, hay, and a touch of an earthiness and wet oat straw that reminds me a bit of a mid-aged Sheng pu. Hilariously the wet leaves smell like wet dog, also oat straw, grapes, and honey, but that wet dog note made me laugh a lot. The taste has no notes of dog, it is sweet and well rounded, with notes of ripe persimmons, grapes, and honey with a touch of straw, cucumber, and celery (haha, this BMD still has a bit of its cooling youth in it) though later steeps lose that youth and go all the way to aged with intense rich honey drenched persimmons. It lasts for quite a while, one of those teas I just sat with all day, I was entertained by the cooling start and warming finish, which makes me think that this tea will be even tastier in a few years.

Tea sent for review