302 Tasting Notes
Backlog from this morning.
One of the samples from Nicole again. Was more careful about proper leafage this time, as well as only steeping it for 3 minutes. It was better. More honey-esque Assam-y flavor as well as more body. I dunno, I read things about Assams and I haven’t found one that matches up to my mental image of what I get when I read those things. I keep picturing a REALLY boldly malty and rich cup, and all the ones I’ve tried are not as bold or as malty as what I imagine. Then again, I haven’t tried all the Assam samplers I have yet… :D
Wait a minute I logged this before? When??? I don’t remember this tasting note. I remember there was one oolong I tried to do, but I crapped it up so much I didn’t even bother with a tasting note, and I thought this was it. Apparently not, because it appears I’ve rated the damn thing, and quite highly too. Argh! My short-term memory SUCKS!
I’ve found I don’t much care for the roasty-oolong flavor I get a lot, so I did this for about 1 min 15 sec (especially since the water was still a little on the hot side.) It’s quite pleasant. I need to stop comparing everything to bai mu dan, but honestly, that’s what it makes me think of out of the other teas I’ve tried. It’s grassy, but it’s also a little floral and sweet in a delicate, enjoyable way. A bit of brightness on top of that sweetness too, in a way I really can’t quite define. I’m wondering what would happen if I tried it for a little longer?
Also, for the love of god, somebody please start reminding me to use bottled and/or filtered water for my tea. I’ve been trying to be more careful with all the other variables in my tea-making, but for some reason, water is the one element people talk about making a big difference, and I’ve just always been kind of punk rock about it. We get well water out here, or we used to, and I’ve found it to be the most “neutral” tasting of the waters I’ve tried, but I’ve never given really good filtered water a try.
It’s busy season at work, and as of today it’s gone from “this is busy but manageable and surprisingly fun” to “this is busy and I’m starting to get really mad and I want to yell at someone.” So it’s what I call #@%&$! Tea Time.
This is a sample that Zen Tea Life sent along, and I will never complain about getting free samples, especially ones I don’t expect! The dry leaves smell AMAZING. It’s this fresh, floral, citrusy thing that Cher-slaps you and says, “Snap out of it. You are GOING to relax now.” The tea, however, falls a little short. The thing is, the flavors are all so distinct from one another that when you put them together, it winds up tasting like something that’s not really any of them. It tastes like an artificial version of the dry leaf smell. Then, right before the end of the sip, this slightly cherry-cough-syrup note comes in and it’s not at all present in the dry leaf aroma. And the aftertaste… it’s some weird combo of the cherry-cough-syrup motif and lemon. This kind of reminds me of how I always think fruity/flavored teas are going to taste and why I stay away from them.
I wouldn’t quite call it unpleasant, just pretty unimpressive, especially given how wonderful the dry leaves smelled. Glad to have tried it, though.
Got my Zen Tea Life order of this this morning, along with some free samples that I wasn’t expecting! Sweet!
But I still have a couple cups of the sample left, so I shall work on that first. Still delicious, still comforting. Mouthfeel is SO creamy.
Aaaaargh! Why is it so warm in the house this morning?!? I’m gonna go take a shower and play trumpet in the basement!
I went on a casual date last night. The guy messaged me afterward, and this morning I sent the “hey-I’m-not-really-into-dating-right-now-but-thanks-for-meeting-me” reply. Which shouldn’t sound like a big deal, but these kinds of things (possibly hurting someone’s feelings and/or making them upset) drive my anxiety THROUGH THE ROOF! Why am I so bad at handling these things? Sometimes I wish I was the kind of person who just… didn’t give a damn about what other people think.
…Sorry for the rant. I’m stressed and I don’t feel like I should be stressed and somehow that’s making it worse. Mmmm guilt complex.
So I’m drinking my comfort tea. I used 3 pearls per cup, which I’ve found is my happy place. I keep trying to find other chocolatey/malty teas, and there are some reeeeeeally really good ones out there, but somehow, it all comes back to this. I wonder if that’s because this is the first tea of its kind that I tried? It’s just so… perfect. Until I drank it, I doubted it was even possible to have a tea that smelled so much like real cocoa. (Cacao?)
Also, I would like to point out that I got mad that Steepster ate my note – and then I opened my other window and realized I hadn’t published it yet. I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T!
First off, I apologize if anybody’s been getting double likes from me on their posts? I don’t even know if Steepster does that, but… I go through and “like” every post I read, but when I do it on my phone, it doesn’t show me as having liked the post when I’m back on my laptop. So if it appears I’m being extra, extra enthusiastic about your tasting note, I’m not trying to be a creeper, technology is just silly!
Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Mmm. This truly is a Classic Earl Grey. The bergamot flavor is very assertive without being overpowering or chemical. It’s a very robust morning cup. Maybe I’m being influenced by the name, but to me EG’s always taste like a brisk, gray morning with mist hanging from last night’s rain. Even though it’s not pumpkin-y or any of those traditional “fall” flavors, somehow it tastes like the cold, light-gray part of fall that I secretly kind of love.
Still think the EG cream is my favorite, but I’m glad to have tried a high-quality straight-up Earl. It’s certainly made me have a higher appreciation for bergamot.
Thanks again to Nicole for the sample!
An interesting tasting.
I quite like the dry leaves – they’re green, rolled up, and really easy to handle. I meant to steep them for 1 minute, but that wound up not quite happening, although I think they’re still under 2. At the beginning of the sip, the aroma is that half-vegetal, half-roasted flavor that I now associate with oolongs (did I mention I’m still fairly new to oolongs?) But then something interesting happens. Now, I’m not familiar with the flavor of ginseng, so I’m probably tasting it without recognizing it as such. But the longer the tea remains in my mouth, the more of a bright citrusy tangent the flavor takes, getting higher and higher in pitch while the vegetal/roasty oolong base remains until I swallow. It’s almost a bitter flavor, but it’s such an unexpected development that, at least for this tasting, I don’t mind it because it’s a cool experience…
Did you know this goes really well with vanilla ice cream? I had absolutely no intention of them being a pairing, but the pointed, morphing quality of the tea makes a great contrast with the vanilla WHOMP. Damn!
Uh oh. Methinks I may have underleafed this?
I steeped it just under boiling for 5 minutes. The first sip made me go, WHOO ASSAM – and then all the subsequent sips have been a lot more mild. I’ve heard Assams are supposed to be bold, and while I’m certainly getting an Assam quality, it’s muted. I’m afraid to try brewing it more because I let it steep for 5 minutes.
No numbers for now. Next time I’m going to try more leaves. Oh well, still a pleasant morning cup.
EDIT: Forgot to credit Nicole for the sample! Also, it got more Assam-y as it cooled. Tea is so weird. Science.
Mm-hmm, I thought I smelled some Earl Grey cream in here. (I may or may not have ordered some from Zen Teas last night at 1 AM. Only a little obsessed, I swear.)
Dry leaves smell delicious, basically like EG Cream with a bit of rose. The pink little rose petals mixed with the tea leaves are charming.
This is good! I think in this case, something about the mix of the cream and the rose tip tip the aroma a little on the sweet side for me. The taste is a little milder, and it averages out. A little perfumey, which I don’t complain about, without being chemical-y. Nice bergamot, too. Yay royal weddings!
Thanks to Nicole for the sample! I’ve really been enjoying the Earl Grey batch!
The Fact That Black Tea Has Caffeine. I love it in the morning, I hate it at night. Why? Because any time I want to drink tea, it’s ALWAYS black tea I’m tasting in my mind. That’s… tea. Anything else just doesn’t sound quite satisfying, even though I know if I do a cup of black, I’ll be fluttering around at 2 in the morning, and nobody needs that.
I was going to do a new oolong in the gaiwan, but the experience wound up being such a stinker that I’m not even bothering to log it (tasted like the cup and smelled like burnt yuck.) So I, against my better judgment, went with this tea instead. Why? I don’t know why; I wanted something I hadn’t had in a while. It is the most generic green tea on the planet. And tonight, just like my failed oolong, it tastes like the cup. * sigh * Guess I’ll just have to hope for better tea luck tomorrow.