321 Tasting Notes
The one nice thing about waking up two hours before you’re supposed to get up and not being able to go back to sleep is that you get the opportunity to get up a few minutes early, take time to fix a semi-substantial breakfast, and sit for a few minutes with a cup of tea. Last night at work, I stressed myself out with a customer situation that I think I goofed, and teaching myself to handle these kinds of things better is like reinventing the wheel. I’m having the most trouble getting the idea out of my head that feeling stressed and guilty is the only way to properly address the problem with the other person’s interests in mind, and that NOT stressing about it is selfish and inconsiderate.
I’ve still got the super-nutritious (NOT) breakfast taste in my mouth, so I don’t taste it quite as much as I normally do. Will probably take some to work with me today to help me stay awake. Mmm black tea.
I have just discovered that it is, in fact, possible to oversteep this tea. I’m on cup 2 of infusion 2, and after steeping the first cup for 7 min (which actually wound up tasting a little weak), I just left the infuser in the pot. It’s not as unpleasant as several oversteeped teas I’ve had, but there’s that little soft bitterness that makes me go “Mmm – egh.”
I’m getting to the point where I may be placing an order for this soon. Which’ll provide me with an excuse to buy it in bulk, and try out the bailin gongfu and some others I’ve been eyeing as well from Teavivre. Oh darn!
Had an interesting experience drinking this tea this morning. I had to go to work this afternoon, and that was hanging over my head. I had gotten up and ready later than I had intended, and as a result had less time to do what I wanted. Which was learning the bass line for Led Zep’s “Ramble On,” which to someone like me is definitely a challenge, especially since the chorus is a lot of noodling that’s not done the same way twice. So I was a little stressed and not particularly happy.
Then I had a sip of tea, and I let myself focus in on the color, the flavor, the texture… and my mood changed. I found happiness in the little moment with the tea. I became more positive about going to work. I realized the bass line, although technically challenging, was within my grasp in terms of understanding the fundamental structure, especially since I’d just found a video on YouTube that isolated the bass and made it very clear to listen to. And I still can’t get over Teavivre’s lapsang and how much respect it commands.
This is why I drink tea. It allows me to “practice peace,” instead of “practicing stress,” which for some reason is one of the only anti-stress mantras that really works for me. It pulls me into the present moment when I, by nature, tend to live it in my head, whether in a good place or a bad. And it imbues that moment with something positive.
Cheers to Teavivre for making what could have been a brash, offensive drink into something delicious that helped me find a spark of positivity in my day.
I believe this is the one I have. They had to discontinue one of the nilgiris and replace it with another.
This is a backlog; somehow, I’ve had this tea three times and never managed to log it. It’s a “classic” black tea, if a little on the vegetal side. The third time I did it, I only steeped for 3-ish minutes instead of my usual 5, and I seemed to get more of the honey flavor. Good enough to enjoy; a little too standard to restock in favor of others.
OK OK I swear I’m going to stop writing tasting notes on this thing!
So I made it again tonight, and I got sidetracked and wound up steeping it for a few minutes longer than I really should have. Rather than the burnt turkey flavor I was bracing myself for, I got the usual barley-esque flavor… but this time, for a fleeting second on the very first sip, I got the slightest undertone of smooth and buttery. Indeed, this cup is a mite sweeter than I remember from past sippings. “Lingering honeydew melon sweet orchid finish?” I can kinda sorta see it.
(Two days after the mini Verdant Teas rant)
(creeps out, looks around furtively, and makes some more of this even though she complained about the barley flavor)
(looks around furtively as she drinks it at night because she didn’t feel like white or green tea)
(seriously considers buying a gaiwan)
(eats more crow)
Yeah. So after my big Verdant Teas rant last night, I’m actually quite sad that my sample of this is gone. It has turned itself into a wonderfully delicious little cup of tea with just the kind of off-center flavor that’ll make me crave it.
I don’t make sense.
How is it that I am disappointed to the point of mild irritation with teas that taste like grass and barley – scents and flavors which I don’t really mind, yet I find enjoyment in drinking teas that remind me of mushrooms, which I do actively dislike?
This tea is astringent as hell. Even a bit bitter. And that dirt-like, mushroom flavor isn’t a deep mossy bed flavor, it’s right here and right now and HEY! Stop daydreaming and wake up! Coffee substitute tea? Oh, yes. Why do I enjoy it so?
At the end of the day, I think it’s because mushroomy-tasting breakfast teas were some of the first things I tried when I began my giant tea experiment, and for better or worse, I now have that flavor engrained in my mind as “tea.” And I came to this tea expecting a stroooong breakfast tea. It’s kind of in the same category as lapsang souchong – it’s a really strong flavor profile that I know I’ll either enjoy or have fun thinking of ways to describe how goddamn strong it tastes.
And this brings me back to my ever-recurring theme with tea: expectations are everything. I wonder what would happen if I never read a product description before buying a tea again?
Anywho, in conclusion. Irish Breakfast: my go-to for those mornings I cannot drag my ass out of bed – and my head out of my ass – to save my life!
This is actually attempt #2 at this tea, because the first time I was so underwhelmed/distracted that it didn’t really feel fair basing my review upon that reaction.
It is time I finally admitted out loud that I am not the fan of Verdant Teas that everyone else seems to be. By now, I have tried all five of the teas from my $5 sampler. I’m growing accustomed to the Laoshan Black, but as for the rest, they’re all high-quality teas, but none of them are the flavors I want to be drinking when I drink tea. What’s more is that I’m developing hype aversion toward them, very similar to the lump in my heart I’ve had for years that is my feelings toward Firefly. It’s quite possible that I’m just “doing it all wrong,” but I kind of don’t want to give that company the satisfaction of trying it and proving myself wrong. Ah, spiteful closed-mindedness.
This tea. It’s an oolong, so I feel like I should be getting all sorts of complex flavors, swirling over my tastebuds like colors in a kaleidoscope. Well, there’s barley… and there’s barley… and it’s kinda grassy… and the item description says “creamy custard” and “burnt caramel” but there’s still barley… SERIOUSLY! Is something amazingly wrong with my tastebuds? Am I an uncivilzed brute? Did I oversteep the f***er yet again? Where’s the creamy, buttery taste?!?!? Am I crazy?
Not rating this one. My opinion seems to be an outlier. Perhaps it really can’t be appreciated unless you do short steepings in the gongfu. Which I do not own yet. Hmmmm, maybe that’s how I’ll blow my commission check…