It’s been a long time since I’ve done a tea review here on my blog hasn’t it? Truth be told I did them for so long that it took the joy out of it and ever time I went to write one I dreaded it. It felt like I had to review everything I drank and it was pulling my love of tea away from me because it all felt like work and I would switch to that mindset every time I had a cup of tea no matter where I was; it felt like I was never getting a break and it wasn’t good for my mental health at all. So that is what inspired the re brand and the big change in my content which you will be happy to hear I now love writing and no long feel burnt out or joyless when I come to write and I feel like my passion and creativity is back.
I do however take tasting notes for myself every time I try a tea for the first time. My notes app is completely full of them so I thought why not share some of them with you every now and then. With no added pressure, completely separate from the format of a review and more a documentation of my tea experiences. The first tasting session experience I want to share with you is from my first ever session with Masters Teas – Jin Kong Que.
The dry leaves of this tea are slightly twisted longish leaves, fuzzy golden buds and with a rich golden colour on some of the fuzzy buds. Both dark brown and light brown colours in the leaves are also slightly fuzzy as well but not as fuzzy as the golden buds. Aroma wise, the dry leaves gave off notes of dark chocolate, toasted nuts like a mix of chestnuts hazelnuts and candied peanuts, sweet caramel that is just on the edge of burning but was taken off of the stove before it did, baked sweet potato, cocoa with an underlying roasted starchy quality. There was a honey sweetness to the aroma but it was quite subtle along with a mid strength malt note. Reminds me of the way a high quality chocolate shop smells.
After a quick rinse in my gaiwan the aroma began to be released into the room but there were definitely elements of it that changed and the wet leaves had an aroma of super dark chocolate with that trade mark bitterness and sharp almost citrus bite. There were still nut aromas but more roasted chestnuts and hazelnuts than the candied peanuts thatnwere present when the leaves were dry. The wet leaves did not smell anywhere near as sweet and instead gave off more of a wet mossy wood aroma with hints of wet autumn leaves.
From my very first steep right up to maybe the last two, the liquor of this tea was a beautiful colour reminiscent of mahogany mixed with cherry, which made me think of roasted dark plums drizzled with honey and had a hint of burnt orange. The colour of this liquor takes me to a thick forest on a slightly rainy autumn late afternoon where the air is still warm but still and the moon is at its brightest and fullest shining the trees and the leaves are crunching underneath your shoes and still cascading from the trees when the wind blows through them.
When it came down to the way that this tea tasted, throughout multiple steeps it was so much more more savory than it smelt, it had those notes of wet mossy wood and roasted chestnuts & hazelnuts that were present in the aroma during every step of my tasting session before testing. There was also a slight caramel sweetness with a sprinkle of salt, freshly roasted sweet potatoes basted with butter and a dash of soy sauce sprinkled with a mix of white and black sesame seeds, crispy on the outside but fluffy in the middle. There was a nice acidity to it, but for the most part it had a clear and calm flavour with a lot of depth. I know this might not make sense to some people but there was a note in this that tastes the way that a field of wheat smells on a summers day when its being harvested.
The dark chocolate note from the aroma of the wet leaves was present in taste but the bitterness luckily didn’t translate too much into the taste of this tea but honestly I’m more of a white chocolate / milk chocolate fan anyway and tend to stay clear of dark chocolate. There were also new notes present especially in the aftertaste like a light tobacco note and a coffee cream flavored hard candies, both of which complimented the overall flavour profile of the first steeps very well.
It’s overall mouthfeel was subdued, calm and smooth. There was a dryness to it but it was for the most part very smooth and only had a touch of astringency to it at the back of my tongue. It had quite a long finish but like I said it’s smooth and only mildly dry, with some lingering sweetness when you take a breath in only through your mouth which heightens that coffee cream hard candy aftertaste. The empty cups and fairness cup gave off a mostly sweet aroma with notes of fresh white grapes, chewy caramels and milk chocolate.
After my session with this tea I was feeling cozy, mildly caffeinated, calm and was able to go through my day with a decent amount of energy and concentrate on the projects I had in mind. For someone who is usually having to nap quite a bit (oh the joys of living life with chronic illnesses), being able to go through the day with a steady amount of energy was fantastic. I’ve found recently that matcha has been making me quite sleepy after I finish my morning brew so I’ve been looking for a steady something to fuel me through the day and will prepare this tea gongfu style in the future time and time again in the future.
I hope you all end up enjoying this new way of sharing my tea experiences with you. I’m looking forward to sharing more of my in depth tasting notes with you in the future.
Until next time. Happy Steeping – Kimberley