1251 Tasting Notes
YIPPIEEEEEE! I BOUGHT A STEEPSTER SELECT ITEM! Now that that’s out of my system here’s the confession. I haven’t got the first clue what pumpkin tastes like. Or smells like. Or anything. Pumpkin pie even less. In Denmark we get little bitty pumpkiny things for decoration in variating colours and shapes and big ones that people make pumpkin lanterns out of. It’s not something we really eat a whole lot of.
Therefore I’m not particularly concerned when everybody seems to complain about their various pumpkin pie teas not tasting all that much like pumpkin. Because… I wouldn’t know anyway. After the vanilla date debacle this probably ought to worry me a bit. I mean, what if it turns out I don’t like pumpkins at all?
Well, the smell of the leaves is sort of dark. It’s a dark smell. I can find the cinnamon but mostly it’s dominated by this other smell that I don’t know how to describe. Kind of spicey but not. Sweet but not. I’m reminded a bit of fennel which I suspect I shouldn’t, but it’s the closest I can get to a description.
It brews up a sort of dark golden. A bit like a dark liquid honey. The aroma is a bit like the loose leaves, but the tea itself is shining through, making the whole thing sweeter, less spicy (but not) and less of the fennel.
Okay, I oversteeped this a bit, I think. It’s got a very notable astringency like Indian black teas tend to get if you overdo it. I can’t figure out how to rate it because of this, as it’s difficult for me to look away from it.
I’m not going to give it a rating yet. I think I’ve ruined this pot. sigh Oh poot!
Five down, four to go! Yup, I have been christmas present shopping. These were all the easy presents, to the people who are usually difficult to buy for. But this year I have actually been supplied with wish lists. For! The! Win!!! I guess my grandfather wasn’t about to risk a repeat performance of last year where he got three copies of the same book.
When I was about halfway done I passed a cafe and sat down for a cup of tea and a yummy yummy chocolate orange cake. If ever there was a spongecake rating website, I’d give that one at least a 95.
This tea was a bad choice though. Oh the TEA was just nice. Very jasmine-y aroma and a surprisingly light brew. I thought it tasted pretty good, and was for once pleasantly surprised by Kusmi. They’re better than your average teabags for sure, but I’ve always felt that Kusmi was generally just the teensiest bit overrated. I liked this one, though. It could have had a better balance between tea and jasmine as the majority of the flavour was jasmine, but it could definitely have been so much worse too.
It’s just a shame that it was a far too delicate tea to go with the cake I had chosen. :/
I don’t know why I bought this. I don’t even like dates! O.o pokes tin
Processed dates, I can eat. Dates by themselves, no thank you. So why oh why is the first tea I see when first visiting 52teas.com a date flavoured one that makes me all yearning to try it? No, I don’t get it either.
The dry leaves have big pieces of coconut in them and they smell like… like… like… I don’t know actually. They have a VERY strong smell that’s making me sniff-taste the tin, and finally coming to the conclusion that the aroma that I’m picking up is coming from the label which I’ve cut off the pouch to label the tin with. The aroma is sticking to it so much that I can smell it as if it was right under my nose even though it’s lying an arm’s length away from me.
It smells sort of like perfume. Not artificial, just something that you could imagine being a note in a perfume. It’s got a sort of spicy-ish but not quite smell. It’s a sort of smell that’s easily recognisable, but I can’t really tell you what it smells like. Maybe this is just how dates smell? How should I know?
The brew is a dark amber colour and the aroma is the same as the leaves but a bit sweeter and has a note of raisins. That’s not surprising because dates have always sort of reminded me of giant raisins, only not as wrinkly.
Okay, the date flavoured tea for the person who doesn’t like dates. (WHAT was I THINKING???) Here goes!
It’s like… It tastes EXACTLY like it smells. It’s like liquid aroma with a dusty sort of note and weird aftertaste. I can’t really find the vanilla but I can definitely find a strong note of coconut. It sort of reminds me a bit of the honeysuckle flowers that I’ve got lying around that I’ve learned to be very careful with. I can drink it but… Another time I probably shouldn’t fall for a tea flavoured with something that I already KNOW I don’t like.
Srsly, what WAS I thinking? I hate to admit it, but this just didn’t work for me.
IF you like dates though, I feel pretty confident that you would like this a lot.
Sshhhhhh! looks shifty I’m skiving off for a few minutes!
I took this one with me to work, because frankly it’s too boring really to drink at home. I have now found out that it’s not very suitable for work either. It’s difficult to brew it consistently and there are enough distractions at work that oversteeping happens every now and then. It’s not a very forgiving tea about that.
It’s got a bitter edge today because I forgot to take the leaves out in time. I don’t think I’ll buy this one again and I’m not sure I’m going to keep it here at work. I think maybe I’ll take it home again and bring something else. If I get around to it before the tin is empty, that is.
Better get back to some sensible, productive activity.
YAY! I received my tea from 52teas today! It was an awesome day for it too because I’ve been feeling kind of odd all day, like the head I currently inhabit doesn’t really belong to me, and finding this package in my letterbox when I came home from work helped the mood considerably.
I got this one and two others and I’ve spent a good half hour just trying to decide which one to try first. I’ve even been sniffing at all the bags, but they’re packed in a smell-proof pouch, which for some reason smells like curry. Maybe the postman had Indian food for lunch, I don’t know.
Finally I decided that this one was shouting the loudest in the chorus of “TRY ME! TRY ME!”
The leaves look nice. Not the hugest leaf size in the world, but there are plenty of liquorice root bits and cinnamon bark bits and the whole thing smells sweet and sort of a bit like cough medicine. I had a nasty throat infection a few years ago and the doctor prescribed me this absolutely vile cough medicine to help me with the cough. It smells a bit like that, so at this point I’m a leeeettle bit worried.
Those who have tried steeping a bit of liquorice root all by itself will now that it results in a very yellow liquid. The colour of this tea is hard to describe. It’s sort of a normal sort of dark sort of goldeny tea colour, with a sort of liquorice rooty yellow sort of edge to it. Sort of.
The aroma is not reminding me nearly as much of cough medicine now that it’s been steeped. Now it’s more like a set of individual smells. I can pick up the cinnamon and the liquorice root easily enough and if I concentrate a bit, I can pick up the tea underneath as well. Cinnamon and liquorice root are both really sweet things and the tea is sort of binding it together and preventing it from getting too sweet and cloying. It lends a bit of strength to it. I keep sniffing at it, trying to figure out how to describe it and if I’m not careful, it’ll just go cold, so let’s just leave the aroma and appearence bits at this.
It’s the taste that matters, anyway. At first go, I’m thinking it’s a bit watery. I don’t know, maybe I should have used just a few more leaves. It felt a bit thin. I’m not getting any of the sweetness from the cinnamon and liquorice root. I can find both, but they don’t taste sweet. The cinnamon is reminding me a bit of chai, and it’s making me wonder if a spot of milk might not suit this tea nicely. On the other hand the thought of liquorice root and milk together just doesn’t really work in my head at all.
Mostly, I’m just picking up the tea, and while it doesn’t say anything about the origins of it other than it being Indian, it definitely feels Indian too. It’s got a full sort of flavour and the liquorice root and the cinnamon is just sort of undertones rather than taking over the flavour.
It’s not really what I was expecting (I don’t even KNOW what I was expecting), but I definitely like it. I think I’ll have to experiment a bit with milk and cane sugar, because I think it might work with either of those two. But not both, I think. Not at the same time, anyway.
I can’t seem to make this consistently. Maybe it has something to do with whether or not it boils over horribly. Last time it boiled over and it turned out kind of concentrated and sweet. This time it didn’t boil over and it’s extremely peppery.
I could still live without the pepper.
It’s very christmassy, I think the next step on the christmassy scale would be glögg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulled_wine#Gl.C3.B6gg) and that’s an entirely different thing.
I’m being encouraged to try and blend my own, so I’ll probably give that a go one of these days.
PS: The link up there looks strange, but it’s been tested and it works. Even if it looks strange.
Goodmorning Steepster. If it is a good morning. I doubt it.
It’s one of those mornings where I first woke up and went, “OMG it’s light outside, I’m late for work, why did the alarm clock not ring?” and I’m halfway out of bed in a state complete panic before I remember, “Oh wait, I think it’s sunday…”
And then went back to sleep which turned out to be stupid because I proceeded to have a strange dream about nuts and woke up with a massive headache. Lovely.
This calls for a good plain black, and while I had initially thought Lapsang Souchong, I changed my mind and decided that I might as well finish off this tin instead. Apart from the Pu Ti Cha which is for even more special occasions than the Pai Mu Tan, I’m officially run out of Teaspring teas.
So what do we think of it? I can’t remember what I thought the last time I had it but the rating I’ve given it seems to be a bit mediocre. The aroma reminds me of english breakfast. It’s the same sort of prickly tea smell with honey notes that you also get in the average Ceylon. It has a bit of that special Ceylon smell. I wonder if that prickly bit is what people mean when they say ‘peppery’, although it doesn’t remind me of pepper at all.
Teaspring describes it as having a peppery note and a sweet finish. If the prickly that doesn’t remind me of pepper at all is the peppery note, then I’ve found it. If it isn’t, then I’m stumped. Not sure about the sweet finish, though. I’ve got a finish that’s different from the initial flavour, yes, but I wouldn’t call it sweet. I’d call it… slightly grassy. Slightly green. Mostly though I’ve got the peppery stuff in the aftertaste.
It’s a pretty strong black, this. Dark in the cup too and with plenty of flavour. LOTS of flavour. It’s just a shame that it’s not a flavour that shouts, “HEY! DRINK ME!” At least it’s not shouting very loudly. I might as well have had a Ceylon or a good quality english breakfast blend.
I’m pushing the rating up a bit, though, because it’s better than that when put in the right comparisons. But I can’t give it more than this.
Seventh steep now while watching Midsomer Murders and still no crutches. It’s definitely getting a bit thin now, but still seven steeps is like a new record for me. I’m really depending on that little stir before drinking to get it all well-mixed at this point. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of flavour at this point. It just that it comes with a side of… water. It’s like you get two different flavours. There’s the white tea. And then there’s the hot water.
(And for those keeping track, Barnaby is put on a diet and to make matters worse is initially put on the case of a stolen goose. So much lol involved with this. Poor Barnaby!)
EDIT: 8th steep like 7th. Nothing new here. Just wanted to add in a reminder about the Travelling Teabox! Don’t forget to sign up by emailing me at [email protected] before 2009 is out. Details on the forum thread here: http://steepster.com/discuss/102-travelling-teabox
STEEPSTER! You are BACK! Never leave me again! cries, cuddles
This is the fifth steep of these leaves, the same leaves that I started last night. I’ve been so panicky about Steepster not working that I kept forgetting to make tea. I boiled water for these leaves several times and then forgot to use it so the water got way too cold. You would think this downtime would mean that I’d be getting my chores done instead, but uh… Let’s talk about something else.
But we’re back in business (I hope), although I’ll probably be pressing post with my fingers crossed.
For four steeps now, and one of them a bit overdone, I’ve used these leaves with success and lots of flavour. No crutches this time at all. They fade a little but it’s not really noticeable. If you served fourth steep of this and didn’t tell me it was a resteep, I’d never catch on.
The thing with steeping in the cup instead of the pot though, is that in the cup I feel like I get the best result if I give it just a little stir before drinking so that the concentration of extract from the leaves is the same all over the cup, or the top ‘layer’ is just warm water. This happens automatically when pouring from the pot.
I’ve kicked the rating the rest of the way up and am making myself a sixth steep now (still without crutches) in celebration of Steepster coming back to me after several hours (so many hours!) apart.
Yeah, I know I just said ‘Pai Mu Tan for the rest of the evening’ a little while ago. But then Mike went and logged that caramel tea of his, and whenever he does that, I want a cup of mine. It NEVER fails, it’s totally contagious right out through the internet and the monitor and everything.
And the weird thing is, mine really just kind of mediocre… Yeah, I don’t get it either but there you are.
I think I’ve managed to make it a wee bit better today than usual though. I just made a little cup, but there is some more caramelly flavour than usual on top of the tea flavour, so I gave the rating a notch upwards.So cheers. :)