302 Tasting Notes
This is one of the most highly rated teas I think I’ve seen on Steepster! I was looking forward to this one the most out of my sampler pack because 1) it’s a black tea, and I, like many, looooove black teas, and 2) certain reviews had mentioned a chocolatey note in the flavor, and every time I see that, I get excited.
It is certainly a high-quality tea. The way I’m going to describe the aroma and taste is going to sound very unflattering, but it works in the context of tea: it’s like fake chocolate flavoring. Deep, sweet, off-fruity, goes right to the head a little. There is little to no astringency; it’s a very smooth tea with undertones of something I can’t quite put my finger on, that takes me back to farms and fields I visited on sunny mornings when I was little. The word “barley” pops up in the item description; there’s something wheat or straw or something in there that’s not unpleasant. Both the chocolate and the “barley” (or whatever that is) linger in the aftertaste. This tea is flavorful if nothing else.
Is it my cup of tea? To be honest, I’m not sure. I really, really want to love this tea, but the “fake chocolate flavoring” taste is keeping me from doing so. I’m curious to see how infusion 2 goes, since I don’t think I over- or under-prepared this tea. It’s going to take a few tries to see whether this is a keeper or a sampler.
Edit: A few hours later
I’m currently doing infusion #2. The “fake chocolate flavoring” has given way to the barley or whatever the hell was so subtly present in the first infusion. GAAAH WHAT IS IT?!?!? It’s quite good in the strangest way. We’ll see whether this ends up being one of those I unexpectedly find myself craving. I doubt it, but you never know!
Tomorrow it’ll go away, tomorrow is the sipdown day
TOMORROW WE’LL DISCOVER HOW MUCH ROOM MY CUPBOARD HAS LEFT FOR STOOOOOOORE
ONE MORE TAAAAAAAAAAAAASTE
ONE MORE STEEEEEEEEEEEEP
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE
(flies flags while standing atop a barricade of tea tins)
Not even sorry. Les Miz haters to the left to the left to the left.
You know what? I’m just ready to be done with this tea. I’ve got ~2 cups left before it’ll be all sipped down. I keep telling myself I should go ahead and drink it just to finish it, but I don’t ever want to do it. I loved it when I first got into tea and was really, really into jasmine, but I have lost the taste for it. I’m tired of jasmine, and I’m tired of this jasmine. There’s this quality to it that makes it pretty much always taste like I’ve oversteeped it, even when I haven’t. Is it trying to be smoky? Is that what it is? Because smoky and jasmine do not go together. And the jasmine just goes right into the same part of my head that any food does when I get really tired of it. I used to love it, but now it’s too much like drinking perfume.
And the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced it’s mostly this particular tea. Teavana’s Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearl is less burnt and a bit sweeter; it actually works surprisingly well as an iced tea.
Just get this thing out of my damn cupboard, please.
My day off begins with some comfort food: buttered toast and ice cream for breakfast, me looking at floor plans for the Enteprise NCC-1701D, ambient noise of the 1701D bridge playing in the background, and a bit of English Breakfast. Dammit! I should have done my Earl Grey this morning to complete the theme! Ah well. I have an Earl Grey, but everything I’ve heard seems to hint it’s not the best one out there. I don’t think I’ve had a legitimately great Earl Grey yet.
Back to English Breakfast! The flavor I’m getting this time around is on the tip of my mind. It’s some kind of fruity thing. Not raisins, but similar kind of profile. What the hell is it?!? I’ve tasted it before in something else but for the life of me I can’t remember! Gaaah!
I need to start using my timer. I’m traditionally slightly haphazard when it comes to steeping times and temperatures, which is part of why I’ve veered away from green teas in recent history. I’ll watch the clock to make sure I get five minutes, but sometimes I go a little over and get some kind of flavor I wasn’t planning on getting! My boo boo.
Sipdown. Infusion number one before I head off to work.
(Edit several hours later)
So I did like 2.5? teaspoons of this in ~2 cups of boiling water. Didn’t let it steep quite as long this time, maybe 4 to 5 minutes.
PER. FEC. TION.
It was so good, when I drank it at work I had to stop and close my eyes for a moment, even though I was drinking it out of the traveling cup that tends to taste like dishwasher detergent. All of the right amount of malty and none of the wrong amount of mushroomy. This is how it’s done. Having a second infusion tonight as I practice my bass. A great way to finish off this sample I’ve had kicking around for a few months.