1328 Tasting Notes
It was one of those days. Clumsy like a very hot place. At mid-afternoon I was thinking if we couldn’t just skip the rest of today and go straight on with tomorrow. I needed a cup of tea really badly and actually had one planned until I came home and face to face with the to-be-finished pile. Right then. My conscience bid me to look through that first, and as I did I discovered a tea from Bethany that I had completely forgotten I had! First win of the day. No, really. First win.
I actually needed a cup so badly that I just brewed it up and quite forgot to even look at the leaves. I didn’t even think to look up what sort of tea it was. Let’s just say that I was lucky it wasn’t a fragile green…
After having steeped it though, I looked it up and read the description. The colour was golden as promised and the aroma was floral and somewhat wood-y also as promised. There were some talk about notes of tropical fruit too, but I couldn’t find any of that.
The flavour had the same sort of wood-y, almost rooibos-y note. What is it with me finding rooibos-y notes in indian teas lately? First that decaf indian vanilla thing from Numi the other day (the one with the Cup of DOOM!) and now this? Again, nothing on the tropical fruit front, though.
I’m not a fan of the wooden rooibos note, especially considering that there isn’t any rooibos in it at all. I like oolongs but I swing towards the greener chinese ones, generally. I have yet to meet an indian oolong that I fell for. This one is from Darjeeling and even though a lot of black Darjeeling teas are technically borderline oolong, an actual oolong from the area just tastes kind of unfinished. I’ve had a Darjeeling oolong before, but that was years ago and I honestly can’t remember anything about it, so I can’t tell if this is characteristic or not.
Smells pretty much like the one from 52teas. There’s a peppery sort of note in the aroma too that prickles my nose and make me want to sneeze.
It’s sweet. Somewhat spicy, it sort of warms that mouth with prickly. And then it’s kind of sweet as if it has sugar in it.
I am still getting a hint of that slightly soapy, rough sort of flavour that I’m also getting in the one from 52teas, it’s just less here. I’m thinking maybe that would be the pumpkin. And if that is the case then I’m still not sure I actually like pumpkin very much.
Thanks for letting me try it, though, Jillian.
Night and stars above that shine so bright
The myst’ry of their fading light
That shines upon our caravan
I don’t care if that’s supposed to be a desert caravan and not a russian one, it still pops into my head whenever I see the name of this blend. Rather like JacquelineM’s River Shannon blend inevitably makes my brain go Oh Shenandoe, I love your daughter… Even though it’s not even the same river. Or the same country. Or the same continent. Can’t help it.
This one was put in the to-be-finished-off pile due to it being sample-sized and, I’m sorry to admit, quite forgotten.
The aroma right now just after pouring is pure bonfire and a hint of what I think Auggy and Takgoti mean when they say ‘burnt sugar’. Just a little bit. Not so much that you really recognise it as sweetness, but it’s enough to make me stop an wonder what that was. The more I sniff at it, the more clearly it comes out along with a note of dark chocolate.
I steeped it only four minutes (using the phenomenal steep.it site), and the flavour here strikes me as rather smokey. There’s something else too. I can’t quite identify it but it’s sort of like a middle thing between nuts and flour, or perhaps borderline cocoa-ish. Which weirdly is an entirely different flavour from both nuts and flour. Yeah, I don’t know either.
It certainly has a good kick, but I do think it’s a shame I did that shorter than usual steep just to see what would happen. I’m wondering what would have happened with that sweet note in the aroma if I hadn’t done that.
ETA: As I make my way down through the cup and it cools off a little bit, the unidentifiable flavour is turning out more and more cocoa-y, I think.
I’m giving this one another shot today. It’s not in the pile of teas I’m supposed to be finishing off, I just wanted it, so it’s a semi-sinful indulgence for me.
My first encounter with it was the inevitable disappointment that comes after having had seriously impossibly I’m-not-kidding expectations of it from the start. Second I tried to recreate the cola aspect in a more authentic sort of way by making a strong concentrate of it, putting it in the fridge and then mixing it with ordinary unflavoured carbonated water. This did not go well.
After that I was a bit put off and wondering what to do with all the rest of it.
Today though I’m trying again, to see what I think now that I’m not expecting it to be a miracle in a cup. I have to say I’m still getting a sort of artificial like soapy sort of flavour, but I can ignore that. Underneath is the astringency of the black tea base, which is probably in some way partly my own fault. I wasn’t being very particular about steeping parameters. I can definitely find the cola and a touch of vanilla. The cherry, apart from in the aroma where it’s strong, is still escaping me.
Jillian sent me another couple of bags of this yummy yummy stuff. It seems fitting that I should have one of them this morning just as I stumble out of bed to find the winter olympics ceremony is on tv. I’m not sure if it’s a direct transmission or not. If it is, it must be seriously late in Vancouver… But hey, I turned it on just a few minutes before the danish delegation came in. How’s that for timing, eh? :)
Of course I did mess up the brewing of this. Yes, Angrboda can’t even brew a teabag! It was a minor incident involving me pulling the string off the bag and then managing to poke a whole in the bag with a fork when trying to fish it out of the cup. Oh well, I’m used to having leaves in my cup. Just now this size. And I can probably resteep it, but I’m not sure it would be a good idea under these circumstances.
I was a little worried about whether I would like this less now that it’s not christmas considering how it had initially reminded me of a liquid christmas cookie. I’m glad to report that even with christmas behind us and with a small teabag-mishap, it’s still yummy.
(Oh yeah, btw Jillian, your package arrived yesterday)
I’ve never tried had a green pu-erh before and I’m surprised at how large the leaves are.
Today’s cup isn’t very good for determining anything about colour. It looks a deep yellow, borderline orange, but it might be a bit off.
The aroma is rather sweet with a note of citrus fruits. It smells fresh. Not fresh as in ‘just off the bush’, but fresh as opposed to cloying. Fresh as in something that perks you up a bit. Airy. Not at all like regular pu-erh smells. I wouldn’t even suspect this was a pu-erh if I didn’t know it to be.
The flavour on the other hand completely blindsided me. Based on the aroma, this was NOT what I had expected. I thought I’d be getting something light and slightly sweet maybe with fruity hints. What I got was a strong green tea with some prickly notes on the side of the tongue and upon swallowing. But again, I wouldn’t have guessed on a blind test that this had ever been anywhere near pu-erh. Knowing, however, that it is a pu-erh, I can recognise the aftertaste as such. Here it is much much more pu-erh-y than in ANY of the other parameters.
Nothing But Tea recommends using boiling water, which strikes me as odd considering that this is based on a green tea rather than a black, but maybe the fermentation into pu-erh hardens the leaves to better withstand the higher temperature, I don’t know. I personally thought it best to let the water cool for a spell like I would with any other green tea. The steeping time was also based on NBT’s recommendation.
What, I wonder, is this supposed to taste like? Is it really supposed to be like a strong, badly brewed green tea? Say it ain’t so!
ETA: The wet leaves after steeping smell exactly like whiskas tinned cat food. Now I kind of wish I hadn’t tried smelling those…
Hey, my supermarket have new do-it-yourself check outs! I scanned all my stuff myself and paid and everything. Great fun! It takes remarkably little to entertain me, but that’s probably just because I’m not doing it 7½ hours every day five days a week.
I thought that called for some small amount of celebration, but since I’m on a strict mission to get through the pile of Teas To Be Finished Off, the dearly beloved pai mu tan is currently off limits. Luckily I had this caramel tea which I put in the pile not because it was almost out but more because I had completely forgotten I had it.
A rediscovery. It should do just fine. Using the steep.it site I’ve given it 4½ minutes. The label says 5-6 minutes but I thought 5 last night was a bit rough, so we’re going for a slightly weaker route today. It’s not as rich on the caramel and a little watery, so I’m not sure I like this weaker version better than the slightly rough five minutes steep.
Still though, based on how much I found I enjoyed it last night, although I didn’t post about it, I gave it a small nudge upwards on the rating.