1319 Tasting Notes
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.
This was without a doubt the worst cup of tea I’ve had in a long long time. It even surpassed Adagio’s white cucumber concoction in terms of vileness. And it probably wasn’t even the tea’s fault.
See, this is a backlog from this afternoon on the way home from work. I’ve got a 45-50 minutes train commute and sometimes I buy some sort of coffee drink to go for the trip. Today though, I was super-sleepy (through every fault of my own) so I thought it would be good with some caffeine on the trip. Coffee does indeed have plenty of caffeine, but cappucinos and cafe lattes also have lots of milk, and milk is not all that good at keeping people awake. So something without milk and with caffeine in it. I thought, “hey, this place has Numi teas! Why not give that a shot?” Of course they only had a smaller selection and not the chocolate pu-erh one, so I picked this one because it sounded nice with a vanilla tea.
Erm yeah. Staying awake. Decaf. NEVERMIND!
So that was the first mistake.
I get a to-go cup of water of a temperature that means business, but with my mitten on it was possible to hold the cup. I steeped and then removed the lid from the cup, so I could drink it and get the benefit of the aroma as well. And this is where is started to go wrong, Steepsterites.
The aroma was extremely fruity and sweetly berry-like. Vanilla was there as a hint and I think the thing that added the sweetness.
The tea itself was pretty weak in flavour, and what flavour that actually was there was largely cardboard-y and rooibos-y. Very much on the rooibos, actually, in spite of the bag wrapper not saying anything about it containing rooibos. In fact nowhere I look does it say anything about it containing rooibos so I can only conclude that it’s not supposed to be there.
There was no vanilla in the flavour at all. Not one bit. As a matter of fact there wasn’t even any black tea in the flavour either. Nothing. Not even a hint. All I could pick up was a watered down plain rooibos, which a) wasn’t what I wanted, b) I don’t even like that much and c) doesn’t exist in this place. In fact you could have blindfolded me and let me taste it and I would have said it was a rooibos and I probably wouldn’t even be
the slightest bit in doubt.
How in the name of all that is sweet and wholesome could this have gone so dreadfully dreadfully wrong? I wasn’t expecting perfection but I thought I’d at least be able to get a mediocre cup of tea. I think I know the answer to this.
I’ve had that happen before. A cardboard cup that stole all the flavour from an otherwise strong and oversteeped teabag. It was like drinking just hot water. I think this phenomenon was at fault here too. It stole most of the flavour and warped what was left of it into the rooibos-y stuff.
I’m not going to give this a rating due it the nature of the taste-thieving cup. Under other circumstances this might actually have been a lovely tea, but right now after having tried it, I still have no clue what it tastes like.
Let this be a lesson for you, Steepsterites. Cardboard to-go cups = Eeeeeeeevil! Beware!
I’m freezing! Also, I’ve followed Bethany’s example and gathered together all the teas that I only have a little left of and therefore needs to be finished off. I figured this was the closest one for getting warm what with all the spices in it.
Usually when I’ve had this I’ve done it the traditional way with Lena’s and Takgoti’s recipe, but I don’t have any milk so I went out on a limb and just brewed it like I would have any other ‘normal’ tea.
It’s been a good while since I’ve had any of this, but I definitely remember that I could have lived without the black pepper. For some reason, when taken plain like this it’s actually a lot smoother. Probably because I’m using less leaf this way, but it works. Pepper is diminished, although I could still cope without the note of it that’s left.
It’s still not something that I’m likely to be stocking up on, though.
Yay, I found the one I’d lost! I had two, brewed one and the other escaped and rolled off into obscurity. I even thought I saw which way it went but I couldn’t find it anywhere.
I figured it would show up eventually and dealt with the loss. Now I’ve found it hiding behind some tins in the cupboard. I don’t understand this because I definitely saw it rolling away. I’m sure I saw both of them rolling away. Now I’m in a funny sort of position where the one I found was actually the one I lost and the one I lost was the one I found.
It came at a perfect time though when I just needed a quick cup, but I have to admit that I’m not really capable of paying too much attention to it beyond ‘caffeine = gooooood’ at this moment.
I experienced a sudden craving. And to my delight (because I had given the last I had away in a swap) I had actually ordered another round of this in my forgotten 52teas order at the beginning of the year.
Lovely. Just a shame I haven’t got any milk. I’ve found that this is rather nice with a bit of milk.
Also, it is steeped to perfection with this awesome tea timer site that James Deville found.
I made a cup of this earlier and then forgot about it, so it’s all lukewarm and dull now.
As usual though, I had to test-taste it before tossing it and for a brief brief moment I thought I had actually managed to spot the peaches that JacquelineM found earlier in a different brand bi luo chun. I was all, “YAY!”
And then I realised that when I rinsed the pot out after the passion fruit from Adagio (unlogged) earlier I hadn’t done it properly and missed the pinch of leaves lodged in the spout. I’m pretty sure that’s where the sudden fruityness came from.
As lovely as this is when it’s warm, it’s rather dull when it’s not. So I think I’ll go make something else. I’ve quite lost the desire for this particular one right now.
I’ve been craving this one since last night when I went home from Lexitus’, but given the time I thought it best not to have any. I’m trying to learn to get back in the habit of getting to bed at a decent hour, and I have finally admitted that it may have something to do with the tea I’m having in the evening. I hate to admit it because this is not something that has ever bothered me before. But people change and people get older you know? Maybe it’s just one of those things. Possibly the development of Steepster into a more social site to hang out on compared to the very first incarnation of it is also making me drink more tea. Bottomline is, I knew I couldn’t have any when I got home at 10.30pm. (train delays for the GRRR)
But I can certainly have it now. Haven’t done any of my chores yet, of course, but I can certainly have my tea.
I’m not really feeling the inspiration to write a long and insightful post today, but I have other stuff that I’d like to be writing on, and I need to sort of get the floodgates opened up. Preferably before the time where I actually ought to have already gone to bed, you know? So I’m choosing to have one of my NBT samples tonight to force myself to write a proper post and hopefully get in the swing of things so I can work on my other project.
The leaves green and smells rather… At first I thought flowery, but the more I smell them the more I’m thinking citrus-y. My immediate thought here was, ‘did they give me another sample of the lemon oolong by mistake?’. I can’t see that there are any rose bits in there either. I was rather expecting petals, you know? The lemon oolong was super-yummy, so taste-wise I know I’m not in for a disappointment if there was indeed a mix up. At least that’s something.
I can’t say anything about the colour because of the nature of the cup, but I still think it smells rather citrus-y. However, there is also a flowery note that makes me think ‘roses’, so I don’t think they actually screwed up. I’ve also looked at the site and the pictures of the lemon and rose oolongs are very similar. I’ve left the cup to stand and develop a bit more and the more it does the more rosy the aroma becomes. Okay, so they didn’t mess it up. But it was weird that they seemed so similar initially. Considering how much I liked the lemon oolong, I’m taking it as a good sign though.
It tastes slightly overdone, but I’m pretty sure that must be my fault. I think the water was a bit too hot and I think I oversteeped it some too. It’s quite rosy in flavour though. Quite rosy. Very… rosy, in fact. Quite a very lot rosy to be honest.
I think maybe the extreme rosyness wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t mistreated the leaves. Right now it seems hugely dominant. Lovely, but too much.
On the second steep, I’ve let the water cool off for a few minutes before pouring it on the leaves and I’ve made sure to pay attention to when I did that instead of just winging it like I usually do. I’m hoping it’ll be more oolong-y and a little less rosy this time around. If it is, it’s lovely. If it’s not, it’s just good.
It’s actually quite nice on the second go around. A bit understated, but I’m getting a pretty good idea of what the first steep would have been like if I hadn’t maimed it. The rosy notes are not as overwhelming here and the oolong is not as sour. Not quite lovely but definitely better than good.
It’s definitely a girly girl tea, this. I’m not sure I can get Lexitus to drink this. (I’m not sure I’d do that to him anyway) I’m not sure it’s one that I’m going to buy more of, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did either.
Another one finished off! I decided that what I really needed was something black and fruity sweet, not something plain black.
So I took the rest of these leaves, again, enough for just half a pot, and botched the brewing. I put them in the pot, but by the time the water was done boiling I’d forgotten that I only had enough leaves for half a pot so I filled it up. I don’t like pouring a botched brewing away without tasting it first, so we’ll see if I just wasted the last of my leaves of this one.
Yes, it’s definitely a bit on the weakling side. It’s still tasting like a black tea though and there’s they sweet fruity note that I wanted clear enough. It just doesn’t really have much body. But that’s my own fault.
I like it. It was fun to try and I’m curious about this guanabana fruit. Unlikely to ever get to taste one, but still. I kinda suspect that I would like it. But it’s not a tea that I feel any need to stock up on.
Another one finished off. This is the last of a sample that Jillian sent me. It’s been a while and I can’t actually really remember what I thought of it at the time. I’ve only got a single cup here, because I only had leaves enough left for half a pot.
I steeped it a bit too much I think because it’s got a fairly astringent bite. There is a sweet note though, a sort of tongue coating one. Not quite caramel, but similar. Mostly I got the smokey peppery note which was probably brought out more by the fact that it was steeped a bit too long.
Anyway, this was a good enough tea to have in a sample. It was good to try and overall I liked it. I’m definitely interested in exploring the yunnan blacks further, but it probably wouldn’t be this particular one.