1323 Tasting Notes
Bah, still feeling rather under the weather. I really wanted a january in which I wasn’t ill, but people around me seem to insist that there is probably more to it than just average female issues. And the more they say so, the more miserable I feel. At this point I’m strongly suspecting that they might be right too. Lexitus has reminded me to have lots of fluids, so I might as well continue posting about tea, yes?
Switched back to the Teaspring order for this one. I was in need of just a plain black cup. No additives.
The leaves look a lot like my Assam Deluxe FTGFOP from AC Perchs, except with fewer golden tips. They have a very fruity raisin-like aroma as well as a strong note of cocoa.
Due to the nature of the cup chosen, I can’t really comment on the colour, but in this cup it looks pretty default black. The aroma is very sweet and raisin-y. The cocoa is still there too, but now it’s less dominant than before. There is also something there that reminds me a little of vanilla. A malty sort of vanilla, which sounds weird, but it’s the best way I can describe it. I would not believe, based on aroma alone, that this was not a flavoured tea. But it isn’t. It’s plain.
The taste is surprisingly sweet for a plain black, and it’s definitely fruity. Teaspring speaks of plum-like notes, but I think personally I’ll stick to calling it a raisin-y note. I will agree with them, though, on the floral note. It’s only there if I really concentrate and taste it thoroughly, but once I’ve found it, it’s there. Dry-ish and floral. Like just a smidge. Like the tea bush grew surrounded by flowers.
I’m reminded of the Fujian Baroque that Bethany shared a sample of with me, which isn’t surprising because this tea comes from the Fujian province too. I like this one better though. It’s a little less loud on the fruity notes, and I can also find a cocoa note on the swallow. A very dark one that lingers as if there’s a layer stuck to the inside of my mouth. I couldn’t find that in the Fujian Baroque.
The success of the coconut cream pie inspired me to try one of the other ones I bought from the forgotten 52teas order. I’m not surprised I ordered this one and it was sort of screaming to me. Here’s the thing.
I. Love. Cherry. Cola.
Favourite soda (after orange) FTW.
Unfortunately it’s not something we can usually get here. I don’t know if you can over there on the other side of the water. I know you have Dr Pepper which to me is very similar, but also not available in Denmark unless you’re really lucky. We had it for a couple of years recently, but it was taken off the market again. Apparently it didn’t sell well enough. (I fear Mountain Dew has gone the same tragic way, because I can’t find that anymore either). Recently we’ve had a limited edition cherry cola from coca-cola which was yummy, but alas, that one seems to also have run its course. In my deprivation of proper cherry cola or similar beverage, I’ve found that I can make a relatively good substitute with ordinary cola and cherry cordial. It’s not the same, but it works okay.
What all this means is that I have VERY high expectations of this one. So high, that I’m likely to be disappointed. Anything below a clean 100 on this is not good enough. The question just is exactly how disappointed am I going to get?
The leaves actually do smell a bit like cola and something that I’m willing to call cherry-like. There is however also a note which to my own surprise I can only describe as vaguely menthol-like. This is worrysome.
After steeping, the tea has pretty much the same smell, only hot. The mentholness is sticking out a bit more here, which is a little odd to me because menthol (along with mints) is usually a cool sort of flavour.
Hmm… Flat cola with dusty vanilla. I can’t find any cherry outside of the smell. Something sour-ish, kind of citrus-soapy-like. So, yes, I did get disappointed. It’s just a question of how much.
This does require an amount of experimentation, but for a first experience, I cannot in good consciousness give it more than 65-ish.
Ah, so I did make an order with 52teas. The one I couldn’t remember if I made or if I had changed my mind. Either that or someone decided to send me a present which would be cool but also kind of improbable.
I’m starting with this one, mostly because the picture on the pouch looks like something that would be right up my alley. The leaves smell lovely sweet of coconut. Not so much of tea though. Dessert-like.
After brewing I’m finding an odd note of raisins… it sounds weird but somehow it fits. Again the coconut is prevalent. There is also a creamy smell which suggests that I ought to try this with milk also.
For now, I’m sticking to plain. Coconut, defintiely. Sweet, but not cloying at all. I can pick up the tea underneath too. It’s a strong base. Somewhat malty. One that would carry a little sweetener well, which is probably why it’s doing so well with the coconut.
I shall definitely have to try this with a little milk, but on its own as I’ve got it now, it’s quite nice too.
Here’s another one from my recent Teaspring splurge. Another tea that I have fond memories of. If I recall correctly it was on my first ever Teaspring order. I remember liking it a lot and then when I wanted to reorder, it was sold out. For a long time it kept saying ‘out of stock’ and eventually I gave up and forgot about it. But now we’re back in business.
Apparently, according to Teaspring, Queen Elizabeth really likes this oolong and is the source of the ‘oriental beauty’ name it also goes under. For a royalist like me, that’s a big selling point. :) Note how it doesn’t even have to be the royal family of my own country.
I can’t give a great description of the leaves at this time, other than they’re large, twisty and ranging in colour from black to almost whiteish, the reason being that I open the bag a little awkwardly and now it’s slightly broken. I need to handle it as little as possible, so that it doesn’t break further until I have a free tin. (Note to self: Buy more tins. I’m at least five tins short.)
The tea brews up very dark, looking rather like a black tea, and it has a very strong aroma. You don’t have to search for the scent and it seems sweet and floral. For some reason my mind insists on marzipan. Which is odd because it doesn’t really smell like marzipan at all. The little grey cells (or not so little, actually. Brain cells and nerve cells are actually quite large because they stretch so far) are very stubborn and won’t give it a rest at all. What is that other smell I can smell, though? I know I’m supposed to be able to connect it with something, but the stretched grey cells won’t recall what it is. I think they’re just prissy that I’m not giving in on the marzipan issue. It’s floral, but I kind of think I ought to be able to get a bit closer than that. Maybe I’ll think of it later.
It is indeed very floral in flavour too! If I didn’t know any better, I would think this was scented. It’s very vegetal and flowery and exTREMEly girly. The flowers that aren’t really there are so dominant in this, and I find myself wondering what it was about it I was so taken with way back when.
Unlike the Bi Lou Chun, this one is just not living up to the memories I have. I’m not very impressed. How disappointing.
I’m falling asleep at my keyboard here, and I need a pick-me-up. So, a strong black tea, yes please. So I picked this one.
It wasn’t until afterwards that I realised that this was the tea that I had yet to manage to brew successfully. This time I was careful not to oversteep though.
This tea has two very distinctive primary notes, and they are entirely, it seems, independent of one another. There’s a very sweet, honeylike smoothness and then there’s a somewhat astringent malty kick. It kind of feels a little disjointed. As it develops, the malty note starts to take over, but with the promise that the sweet will be back with the addition of a little milk to smooth the astringency.
(Given how sleepy I am as I’m writing this, there’s NO WAY I’m adding milk to this. That would knock me out for sure.)
Teaspring order is now home and unpacked. And yes, it did contain the beloved tie guan yin. phew! It also contained a load of other goodies (including a tibetan tea brick which I’m looking forward to trying as soon as I can persuade myself to break it to bits) and it was really difficult to choose which one to try first. Ippy-Dippy came to my rescue and here we are!
A lot of my Teaspring order appears to have been nostalgia. I remember this one as being one of the first ever green teas I had ever, and I remember being rather fond of it.
I love the look of the leaves. All thin and twisty and soft looking. Really they look like they ought to be downy but they’re not really. Cute leaves ftw!
It brews up, even slightly oversteeped, to a pale yellow colour. I tried with a short steep first, but after one sip, I poured it back in the pot and let it steep a little more because that was like just drinking hot water. The aroma was a strawlike grassy thing with hints of salted butter.
Due to the slight oversteep (I got distracted) it was a little astringent, but not bitter. It had the same sweetish strawlike notes as in the aroma. There was also a strong nuttyness that reminded me a little of the beloved pai mu tan.
The thing I remembered about this one, was a lingering, slightly minty aftertaste, and I’m pleased to say that I did not imagine that. It’s there too.
Towards the bottom of the pot it turned a little more buttery and vegetable-like and the minty aftertaste went away while drinking that. Strangely, now, several minutes after having finished the last cup, minty aftertaste is back with a vengeance. Cool.
This is definitely living up to the fond memories I have of it.
def living up to the fond memory
::Stares at cup::
Sugar? O.o I did not add anything to this cup, where did that come from? In a lapsang?
::sips again several times::
Yes, there is an undeniable sweet note there. I didn’t brew it differently or anything. Weird. It wasn’t there before, I could have sworn! Or was it, and I didn’t notice?
I’M SO CONFUUUUUUSED!!!
(I’m also a bit over-tired at this point just in case you hadn’t guessed.)
ETA: Also, I did not ask for that bit to be in italics, what’s going on? O.o
ETA again: Evidently you can also make italics by use of double ?s…
I have learned something crucial about this tea today. It can handle a magnificent oversteep relatively well.
My colleague made tea for me, but when she does, she just pours the water on and expects me to remove the filter bag myself after an appropriate steeping time. This is very easy when she makes it without telling me until half an hour later when she comments on the fact that I hadn’t taken any yet. Well no, I didn’t have time yet. And it took some two hours more before I had.
As is my habit, I always taste it before tossing it away, and while it is definitely strong and definitely astringent, it’s not bitter and it’s not at all undrinkable. It’s far from optimal, but it’s tolerable. It gained a coffeeish side-flavour which I’m not all that fond of, but it wasn’t completely ruined.
That’s good to know in other similar emergencies.
My order from Teaspring.com is waiting for me at the post office, yay!!!
… I wonder what I bought…? I can’t for the life of me remember what’s in it. I do sure hope there’s Tie Guan Yin, because this is the last of the good stuff that Jillian sent me. Unfortunately what with the closing times my local post office has, I can’t pick it up until wednesday. (Yes, I could probably find an order confirmation in my inbox and check what I bought, but let me have my little game, please.)
So now I’m still waiting for… uh… Well, I ordered from Nothing But Tea yesterday, so I know I’m waiting for that. And I seem to recall placing an order with 52teas a while ago. I think. I was definitely at the site, so the question remains, did I buy something or did I change my mind? (And again, if I did, I wonder what I bought?)
Just in case I didn’t buy any Tie Guan Yin (oh my gosh how will I cope if I didn’t???) I am savouring the last of this cup. There’s a reason it’s named after a goddess, I’m just saying!
After steeping fail on both teas I’ve had today, one of which I’ve documented, I just needed a proper cup of tea. One that can’t go wrong. I had a funny feeling that it was a specific one I wanted but it wasn’t until I saw the tin that I knew which one it was.
It’s funny with this one. When I was first introduced to lapsang souchong, I thought it was a really harsh and rough sort of flavour with smoke all over the place.
Now, the more I drink it, the milder it seems to become. The aroma is still the same. All rough and tough and smoke and manly. But the taste seems to have smoothed out for me.
If I pay attention and seek it out the smokyness is there in spades. But it seems to be a bit shy. If I don’t speak to it first, it doesn’t speak to me. The rest of the tea seems surprisingly smooth and mellow and with a round sort of feeling to it, as if I had added milk. I haven’t actually added anything, and I’ve only used the cup for the white pomegranate earlier today and rinsed it out in between.
You all remember my black powder blend, the one I recently bought a huge amount of. I’ve filled my tin at work with that so I have a good amount of that four days a week. It has lapsang souchong in it, the smokyness of which I think is part of the reason for the name of the blend, so could it be that I’m getting so conditioned to lapsang now that I’m having this experience of it?
The first time I had lapsang souchong, after I had first got into the black powder blend, I found it strangely lacking. Watered down. I was expecting the fuller flavour of the blend, not just one of the ingredients in it. I was afraid lapsang souchong as a plain tea had been ruined for me forever. I’m pleased to say that this is definitely not the case, as what I’ve got here tonight is an extraordinarily pleasant cup of tea.