302 Tasting Notes
So after my bizarre Laoshan green affair, I decided to try this, since it’s another reason I’ve been waiting for my gaiwan. I do have to admit, while this tea’s not quite my thing, I am much more in favor of it!
Steep 1: 10 s. Verdant says to do this with boiling water. I let the water cool a lot below boiling, so this is probably underdone. Flavor in the cup is softer and more subtle than what I’m used to with this tea. If I concentrate, I get a bit of the caramel center in the item notes. But the most surprising part of all was when I smelled the wet leaves in the cup. Is it just me, or did I pick up some pine scent?!? Not that I’m complaining…
Steep 2: 12 s. Barley aroma a bit more pronounced in the wet leaves this time. Same with the taste. There’s some floral-fruity note that I can’t pin down. I keep staring at “honeydew melon sweet orchid” and trying to figure out if that’s it. I still don’t think it is.
Maaaaaan. I’d wanted to do at least a third steep, if not a fourth and a fifth, but I haven’t eaten in a while and my stomach is starting to get a little peeved with me putting all this greeny liquid in it without any food. (siiiiiiiiiiiigh) Welp. ’Til next time, gaiwan!
OK. I have been holding off on doing a legitimate review of this tea because I was convinced I was doing something wrong. Every time I try to make it, I feel like I oversteep it. I take one sip, and then can’t even finish the cup. So this evening after work, I decided to make this one my inaugural gaiwan tea.
I’m still on a learning curve with the gaiwan, but I’ll get there. I think I have the gist of it though?
I’m going to rain on the Steepster parade with a brutally honest account of my personal experience. I don’t know what the issue is with me and this tea. I don’t know if I got a weird batch, or if I’m still making it wrong – or if this particular flavor profile just doesn’t sit with me. Dry leaf smells like fake chocolate flavoring on top of a green base, and the two aromas do NOT jive together for me. It’s the same fake chocolate flavoring I tasted in the Laoshan black, but unlike black tea, it does not go well with green. When I make it – even with a gaiwan, with water that is even cooler than what Verdant’s website calls for – it always tastes like I overdid it. The thing is, I’ve done it so many times now, and the taste so resembles the smell, that I’m doubting it’s my error, I think it’s the tea. The wet leaf aroma and flavor are completely unappealing to me. There’s a light vegetal taste, which is fine until it’s overpowered by a burnt, sickly sweetness that legitimately makes my stomach turn.
Suggestions?!?!? My gaiwan steeping was ~1 tsp of tea at 170 degrees for 10 seconds (although I may accidentally have gone a little over, which may partly account for the burnt quality.) Am I doing it wrong or do I just have an aversion to this particular flavor profile?
I interrupt this broadcast to celebrate two things:
1. MY GAIWAN CAME TODAY!!! MY GAIWAN CAME TODAY!!! Aaaaaah! (happy dance) I feel like a real tea connoisseur now! Good thing I haven’t sipped down my last Verdant oolong yet! It’s so gorgeous and delicate! I’m scared I’m going to drop it, but I’m so excited to try it!
… Uh, how do I use it?
and of course it showed up after I brewed a pot of this tea. Ah well!
2. Got a notification that my Teavivre order has departed Bethpage, NY. Only a few days! Making the dragon pearls last just long enough to make it until the big bag comes.
So there is a lot of DAVIDsTEA hype going on up in here, and until Steepster I’d never even heard of the place. I went onto their website to check locations – none in Ohio! Damn you Canadians and your densely DAVIDsTEA-populated areas! Well, to be honest, most of their stuff doesn’t sound like what I’m really into, but still! It would be nice to have a tea store besides Teavana within driving distance from me! Also, not gonna lie, anything pumpkin is about to get really tempting within two weeks…
This, again, is me working on sipping down my Arbor teas. I think I like Arbor, but I don’t love them. There are many good things to be said about them. My favorite thing about them is that they have by far the best selection of Fair Trade Certified teas I’ve found from any of the tea manufacturers I’ve seen, and I looked through quite a few of them. Also, they’re one state over from me, so they’re close, and all of their tea packages come with a handwritten little note (the second one said “Thank you again!” They keep track of their customers!) But as far as the teas go, I’ve tasted one or two I’ve really really liked, and the rest are all just… good but not making the floor drop out from under me. Of course, I’m saying this having tried these particular kinds of teas for the first time. So who knows, I could turn out to be utterly apathetic to nilgiri and ceylon in general.
This one’s not bad. At first, it was disappointing because it was too straightforward green flavored. Tonight, I’m kind of okay with that.
Our stores are now creating little micro-sites where you can go to a website for each individual location and see stuff like the employees (including pics, bios, and stuff), events scheduled in the store, etc. It’s a little daunting because I don’t want people looking at my page and assuming I’m THE EXPERT OF ALL THINGS TRUMPET, but I’m having a lot of fun working on it. Man, I miss playing trumpet…
I’ve been drinking this the past couple of days, mostly because it’s the only black tea I now own that isn’t earl grey (which, with Teavana’s version, I have to be in the right mood for), Irish breakfast (which is nice, but not something I want every single day), or pu erh poe (which still smells and tastes like FIIIIIIIISH!) The fact that I’m still not in love with this tea is beside the point. I wanted some time to sit down with this tea, dump music into my iTunes library, and work on whatever non-stressful project I wanted to at that time. Mmm, tea moments!
Got it! I need to figure out the exact water temperature I had this at, but it’s just barely hot enough to hear the faintest hissing of the water in the kettle, then I steeped for 3 minutes. I’ve had hit-and-miss luck getting the flavor of this thing to come out, and I think I’ve finally got it down.
The first line of the first tasting note you see on the Steepster page of this tea is me squealing about swimming anime. God in heaven why.
And in addition to changing my name from Aeoliana, I decided to change my userpic as well.
I need to stop doing tasting notes on this tea, but I can’t stop drinking it! I’ve figured out 3 pearls per cup for 5 min in the teapot is my bliss; any longer or more pearls and it gets raisin-y, although it’s still great. I’m getting dangerously close to a sipdown. And I’m beginning to wonder if I should have done the free China Post shipping on my Teavivre order. I’m not the most patient, and 22 to 30 days is starting to be a really long time… ah, first world problems.
Announcement: I’m changing my username from Aeoliana to TeaKlutz. I considered DragonPearlKlutz but damn, that’s long.
Anywho, tieguanyin. This wound up being a sipdown.
I’m so embarrassed. Here I am, prancing around thinking I’m turning into such a fine-palated tea connoisseur, and then I go and turn a high-end, finely made oolong with a fresh/green/fruity flavor profile into something that tastes EXACTLY like the microwaved pesto tortellini I had for lunch. I know it’s me and not the tea, because I’ve made the tea before without it tasting like pesto.
Reason #74 Holly Needs Her Gaiwan To Arrive So That She’s Forced To Actually Pay Attention To How Long She Steeps Her Tea Instead Of Walking Out Of The Room While It’s Infusing Like An Uncultured Moron.
The Benadryl Hangover, Part 2. Actually, my coworkers were laughing yesterday because I came in on the remnants of the Benadryl fog, and since I don’t drink, they were going, “It’s the one time we’ll see Holly hung over!” OK, so it’s not THAT bad, but it took me until like 3 PM to shake this yesterday afternoon. But hey! I have a Saturday OFF (say WHAT?) and that makes everything better!
So I’m doing the Captain Picard thing this morning. It’s pretty astringent, and the bergamot (I assume that’s what I’m tasting) is on the punchy side. Does anyone have earl grey recommendations? I’ve heard widely mixed reviews on this one. To me, it’s not bad, but it definitely tastes a little chemical-y or something and I can see why people aren’t as crazy about it. I’d like to try an earl grey that’s really highly regarded to see what it’s like.