313 Tasting Notes
Yet another woefully backfired “early to bed early to rise” plan + stupid allergy season makes my throat scratchy every single morning = mmmmmm black tea. I was generous with the leaves this morning, so it’s pretty mushroomy and “atmospheric.” You know what I’m talking about, right? Atmospheric tea? Oh gods I love this tea.
P.S. Anyone know what’s going on with this Steepster Select? It looks like it’s some kind of tea-of-the-month club. So how do they pick the teas? Do they find them from Steepster reviews? Are they all from different tea companies?
Sipdown of my sample, thanks again Nicole!
Made some of this before work; deliberately made one cup to drink at home and one cup to take in my thermos. Well, I didn’t have a lot of time this morning, so I drank about half my cup, then poured the rest in with the tea to go in the thermos. The tea I tasted was decent, but I knew I’d underleafed a bit and decided to steep it a little longer.
Baaaaaaad plan. That was most definitely NOT Assam flavoring I was sipping on the commute. Whoops.
I am a baaaaaad trumpet player right now! I’m practicing while drinking tea! And it’s not even a week before I’m leading an instrument care clinic at our store, which will probably include me mentioning that anything you’ve eaten or drank right before playing will go down the trumpet and build up on the inside! Welp, I am planning to get it chem cleaned within the near future. That’s my excuse.
Today’s tea is Guatemalan Black Tea by Teapots & Treasures, a little shop full of tea and knicknacks just off the main circle in downtown Indianapolis. Went there with my friend when I visited her in July; it’s a little bit of a cramped maze, but it has very sweet and personable associates. Also quite the range of medicinal teas… especially for women.
This is infusion #2 of this tea I’m doing today. The first one was okay; I don’t remember thinking a whole lot about it. I think it’s growing on me though. It’s almost malty or something, but there’s a fruity note and a sliver of astringency, possibly from me oversteeping. Not really bitter. Aftertaste is a bit odd. It reminds me of other black teas I’ve had, but I can’t remember which ones. Oh boy this is an eloquent review.
Probably not a restock, but a pleasant little morning cup. I’ve got a few ounces, so this should last me a while.
SO SLEEPY! But happy. This is surprisingly refreshing. I had popcorn earlier tonight, and this is just green enough to feel cleansing.
I really need to get some pre-bedtime tea with substantial flavoring. I have my two white teas, which I like, but I usually want something with a bit more presence. I’ve tried to tighten up my budget a bit, which means less room for random splurges on tea, but I’m starting to get tempted again. Do I really want to wait for Black Friday?
Backlog from this morning plus tonight at work. This is always the tea I bust out when I’m stressed. My boss has been gone the past couple of days and tomorrow, which means I’m in charge, which I’ve done several times before but it always makes me just a little nervous. Then, one of the part-timers scheduled an “instrument fitting” (when the kids going into school music programs try out different band instruments to figure out which one they want to play) at a time when both the people in the store (myself and the other part-timer) aren’t fully qualified to do fittings, and for some reason it made me get REALLY STRESSED. Luckily, it worked out that I got one of our lesson teachers, a former band director, to do it. I owe her some kind of baked goods. And now I’m working on my program notes, which are probably fine, but I’m entering that stage of paranoia and perfection, in which I start wondering if I’m writing notes that are helpful enough, or accurate enough, and then I start thinking of what might happen if some hoity-toity music critic from New York read my notes and thought they were absolutely the most asinine analysis of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto he had ever seen. OK, TeaKlutz, time to step awaaaaaaay from the Word document!
So after my serendipitous trial of this tea yesterday, I’ve been drinking it for the rest of yesterday and today. I think I shouldn’t overdo this tea, because it’s just distinctive enough I could make myself tired of it if I’m not careful. But still very delicious and brisk!
So yesterday, my day off, was supposed to be my R & R day. Well, until I got an email… there is a local professional (professional-level?) symphony orchestra that I’ve been helping to write program notes for; the lady who normally does it was my really awesome music history professor from college, and she knew I could do them because one of her assignments was to write program notes for the pieces we were covering. Well, the email was an offer for me to officially take over writing program notes, since she was no longer able to do it. Perhaps I should only be mildly excited about this, but I’m thrilled. If I could make a living writing program notes, I would. It’s writing, which I a) majored in and b) am good at (at least, when I try to do it well, not in my Steepster babblings), but it’s writing to help listeners appreciate what they’re hearing, not academic or jargon-y or intimidating. I get to talk about music; I get to research; I get to explain things in ways non-music people can understand and give tidbits of music history knowledge; I get to gush (in a professional and educational manner) about works I love and look for beauty in the ones I don’t; it’s everything I love and why oh why oh why can’t this be a living?
The only downside? First set of notes is due Friday! Aaaaaah!
So there’s a Russian grocery store right next to the store where I work. A few weeks ago while a friend was visiting, I went there for the first time in my 2+ years of working there… which was something the shop owner, who is himself Russian (or at least Russian-speaking), chewed me out for. “Two years?!? Typical American!” You got me, sir. You got me.
Of course, I can’t be in a store with loose-leaf tea without buying some, especially when I have no idea what to expect. So I got this! It’s nothing if not brisk. But it’s not your “typical” brisk black tea. There are these incredibly bright, perfumey notes I can’t identify (rose?) It’s something that I feel like I shouldn’t find pleasant, but somehow, I do. It’s hard to explain, but… it’s like I’m taken to a different time and place. Not to mention it’s a great wake-up tea.
Even though I was hoping I’d enjoy this tea, it truly is an unexpected pleasure!
So I was going to make a particular remedial tisane, but then I got paranoid about the fact that it has natural aspirin in it and my foot seems to be collecting bruises. (I don’t know how, I think it’s just particular strain points from where it’s receiving extra pressure with the sprained tendon… ow!) So I poured it out, and was going to make myself a nice white tea because it’s late. And then TWEEEEEEEEEEET went the kettle and I thought, “Welp, I’m in it now! Black tea it is!”
So I did my Presley/Nixon tea (see my earlier review of this for that reference.) I’m still pretty conflicted about it, but at least it has nice comforting flavors.
Backlog from yesterday. Had a cup at home, then drank another cup throughout my work day.
And now, a summary of my weekend.
FRIDAY: Went for a pretty awesome bike ride with my parents. We did… 8 or 9 miles? Which is longer than my normal trip, but it felt like I got a lot of exercise without being killed. Doc says I need more regular exercise to up my good cholesterol, so there ya go…
SATURDAY: Worked. And while I was at work, I sprained the CRAP out of my ankle when I tried to do a running vault over merchandise to answer the phone, only to land entirely the wrong way. It even made me cry. And then I left work 1 hour early to drive to Indianapolis (I tried to leave earlier, but the part-timer made this slightly judgmental comment and then we got really busy anyway) to visit a friend. It rained all the way from the state border on, of course right after it got dark.
SUNDAY: Friend and I went with her parents to see a dinner theater matinee of Les Miserables. It wound up being actually really cool, since it was a much smaller production than that show normally gets, and once I got over that and the mostly-synthesized orchestra, we got really into it and raved about it all the way back to her place. And then I drove home, and as soon as I crossed the state border, it got dark and rained.
And now I am sitting at home, going back and forth between Epsom salts and an ice pack on the ankle, which is not a pretty sight right now. I’m considering making tea, but I’m not sure. I did have three cups of coffee during the show, anyway. Ah well!
After I enjoyed this so much yesterday, I made another couple of cups this morning. Came out on the smoky side rather than the earthy side, but still delish. This tea is also great with sweet foods, I have found.
So funny. When I first tried it, I could have sworn it wouldn’t be a restock. Now, I’m not so sure. It’s growing on me!