308 Tasting Notes
There are certain kinds of teas that, when you try them for the first time, produce an effect sort of like limerence. Something about the flavors catches you so pleasantly off guard that, for just a second, your head spins one or two loops and you get a little hazy-eyed. Once you get to know the tea and what to expect, it’s a pleasant cup but you lose that effect. But then you find new teas to try, and every once in a while you’ll hit that one whose flavor is just that kind of intoxicating that you can’t stop sipping it, trying to sort out exactly what mix of hues that is that you’ve never tasted before.
This was one of those teas. I got my Harney & Sons box and my Butiki box (a day earlier than expected!) today, and the first thing I did when I got home was to open them, open the H & S bags (YAY zip bags!), and sniff them.
And this was the first one I sniffed. When I think “Paris,” I think of a light, brightly delicate rose-flavored tea, with a twinkling little menagerie of nuances. This was different. I knew to expect caramel, and I got a bit of caramel in the center, but it was surrounded by something I still can’t put my finger on. It’s some kind of floral, but it’s not quite rose, it’s a little darker and sweeter, something purple-magenta. (Actually, if I wanted to be cynical, it’s perfume-y. But I don’t mind perfume-y.) But there’s a ringing bright overtone too, citrusy. I actually sat there blinking and went, “Whoa. Oh my god. Wow.” It was one of those that took me to a different place and time, which only added to the romance. I let my non-tea-drinking mom smell it, and she said, “That smells different!” In a good way, in that it wasn’t anything she had an immediate association for. Exactly how I felt.
The leaves are tiny. I didn’t get to see the color of the liquor, but the taste is pretty much like the aroma, except the caramel is a bit more pronounced. I drank it while we watched The Wolverine tonight, and I didn’t want to stop sipping on it because I wanted to figure out exactly what combination of flavors I was getting. And I still haven’t.
This isn’t my favorite tea yet, but I’ve quite enjoyed it. One of the great joys about experiencing things you’re looking forward to is that they’re almost never how you expect them. H & S also sent me a sample bag of this along with my order that included this tea, and I look forward to several more cups.
Not the greatest night’s sleep last night, and just woke up feeling a little off. You know, when you wake up stressed out for no good reason. It’s all the little things getting to me, I guess. This wasn’t quite the flavor I was hoping for this morning, but I like it and I have a lot of it left so I don’t have to ration. At least the roses are nice and perky.
OH NO. NO NO NO NO NO NO. I just looked at a different version of the set list for the concert I just wrote program notes for – and I MISSED one of the pieces! NO! To be honest, the way my version of the music list was arranged confused me, and this ONE piece wound up being on the page after the rest of them, and the one that I thought was last was “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” which is traditionally performed last. And the notes will have already been sent in to print by now! CRAP CRAP CRAP! … Well, there’s probably not many people at that concert who have never heard “Sleigh Ride” before.
When I first started my tea thing, I LOVED LOVED LOVED jasmine, but I wound up drinking so much of it that I made myself sick of it. By the time I got this one as part of that 5-for-5 Verdant sampler, I took one whiff and went, “Ugh. No.” Well, after several months of not drinking jasmine, I decided to give this one a try.
I have this abiding memory of JustJames describing this as “a work of art.” I don’t know if I’m quite there yet, but it is certainly quite tasty. The leaves are long and frosty-white-green and smell fresh and jasmine-y, with some red-pink flowers I don’t recognize. I put this on a low temperature for about 2 minutes. The main thing I get is a fresh jasmine flavor, but there’s a little something else… almost juicy. Grassy maybe? I was expecting it to be kind of buttery (which is exactly what turns me OFF jasmine teas), but it really doesn’t bother me at all. A nice, refreshing, quiet cup.
Did like 2.5 teaspoons for my cup this morning. Seriously, people. Seriously.
I think I’ve reviewed this before, but I don’t think I ever got the flavor quite present enough. Once you figure out the Overleaf The Heck Out of Adagio Teas to Make Them Taste Like Anything game, this is not a bad tea. I was expecting something maltier and darker, but it’s actually a little earthy. Slightly astringent, but that could possibly get fixed with a shorter steep time (I didn’t time mine exactly, but it was around 4 -5 min.) The aroma reminds me of black dragon pearls. The taste less so, but it’s fairly enjoyable.
Worth a try but not a restock; flavor not distinctive enough and too much leafage required.
Tonight wound up being a bit of an experiment. I did TWO sachets for a cup instead of just one! And I got busy responding to an email from Stacy of Butiki and wound up steeping it raaaaaather long. Ah well.
The flavor’s a little fuller bodied tonight than it usually is. It’s a bit on the spicy side, though. Not like “ow that’s spicy!” but enough to define the flavor of the tea. Next time I’ll have to be a little more careful with the steep time.
So I’ve got orders coming in from Harney & Sons and Butiki, both of which are new companies to me (excepting this tea… OK and a couple of Butiki black teas too) and I’m quite excited. I was going to get some teas I’ve liked from a few other companies as well, and maybe try one or two new ones (I really REALLY want to try some French teas)… but I wound up getting a rather large and unexpected bill from my health care provider last night. I’m not sure it’s not my fault, since I didn’t really read the fine print to see what would and would not be covered before I scheduled this thing I’m paying for. But it is still unexpected. Guess who’s going to be on the phone tomorrow… sigh
Firstly, I’d like to apologize for falling off the NaNo front last month. Well, I don’t think it’s something I really need to apologize for, but I’m doing it anyway. I got SO pumped for writing it, and then I went to do it, and 1) in less than a week, finishing that novel lost almost all importance to me, and 2) I was only reminded of life priorities that are bigger to me than writing a novel. I’m lame, huh?
OK, enough with the ramble. I’m still a little funny with this tea, but it was about the right texture I was looking for this morning.
Seeing that this is the 9th time that I’ve logged this tea, I wasn’t going to post a tasting note – but then I had a little bit of a different experience this time. I steeped it a bit on the 3 min side, in contrast to my normal tendency to go 5+ minutes. The first several sips tasted just about like they always do. But then I had the cup close to my nose and happened to sniff – and there was fruit. OK maybe more like sweet potato, or maybe it really is plummy. It was a flash of scent, gone as soon as it came. I taste it when I’m looking for it, just shimmering under the surface.
I swear, tea is halfway a psychology experiment.
I wanted to use up some of this quickly, so I made two cups. And given my previous luck with leafage and Adagio teas, I used. about 4.5 teaspoons for two cups. That was about the right amount; the flavor is now present enough to seem “real.”
Shroomy. It tastes shroomy in that tart, slightly astringent way. It tastes like a lot of teas I’ve had before. Not a bad tea, but not exceptional enough to get again. Especially when it takes 4.5 teaspoons to make 2 cups worth.
I went to fix myself this tea this morning and realized I had TWO cups’ worth left, not just one like I thought. This morning I put the tea through my accidental “steep it way longer than 5 minutes” test that seems to be becoming a trend…
It’s still great, and if anything, the longer steep time brings out the rose flavor. I’m upping the numbers on this. Anywhere below 95 is just not accurate anymore.
If I get one Teavivre tea in my splurge, it’ll be this. This is one of the rare teas I can’t get over my awe of.
…I did place my first Butiki order last night too.