1317 Tasting Notes
Hello there Steepsterites.
I bring to you a post that it took most of the day to write. I just took notes when drinking and figured I could write a proper post afterwards so as not to get distracted away from the cup by the forming of proper sentences and hopefully coming up with something witty here and there. I’ve been hibernating for most of the day, so I’m not really in any condition to be seriously posting about a tea I’ve never had before, but for some reason I was inspired to try this one today.
It’s a Bethany-tea and she sent me four balls. I used two for a glass cup and saved the other two. The pellets are large and tightly pressed. It’s hard to pick up any sort of aroma from the dry leaves but I feel like I’m catching a small whiff of cocoa. As I dropped them into the cup, one of them bounced off the edge and rolled off on adventures. Those little things can really roll! Found it again several meters away on the other side of the living room.
Having thwarted the escape attempt, I poured water on and watched the cup while it steeped. The unfurling seemed rather slow and the occasional small bubble of air escaped to the surface. I resisted the temptation to stir the cup to see if I could get something to happen, but I could see a clear difference in colour around the leaves at the bottom and the water at the top of the cup. I didn’t want any thin nearly tea, I wanted a representative cup, so I waited until I thought it should be well steeeped and gave it a gentle stir, trying to not whirl everything around too much and let the leaves stay at the bottom of the cup. If I had made it in a pot instead this wouldn’t have been necessary since pouring would have mixed it up. It made the balls fall completely apart and the colour went from palest pale of paleness to a reddish amber that actually looked like a black tea. A bit cloudy, though.
Sniffing at the aroma I suddenly learned to recognised ‘malty’! I’ve noticed that particular taste and smell lots of times before, but I’ve never connected the two until now where it seems wildly obvious. I once upon a time found a tea glossary (here: http://www.chowbaby.com/10_2000/glossary/glossary.asp?synchpage=1&Z=4597646780) but I’ve learned that such a thing is pretty useless, because the only way to really learn how to recognise these things is by experience. To me, anyway.
Anyway, while waiting for some of the top water to get any tea into it, I managed to oversteep the bottom of the cup. Lovely. By the time I gave it a stir, the whole thing had acquired a slightly bitter bite. It had a malty flavour, but I couldn’t really find any of the cocoa notes that I had spotted in the dry aroma and remembered having seeing others mention. I even started wondering if it was something I had just imagined to be able to smell because I thought it was supposed to be there.
Given the slight bitterness, it probably would have helped with a little milk or a little sugar, but since it was brewed directly in the cup, that was not an option. I don’t really like the idea of those additives directly on my naked leaves.
Rating-wise I would say it was around 65, having knocked it down a bit due to the oversteep.
Second time around it was still a very malty aroma. An aroma that really filled the nose when sniffing it. I like that much better than the ones you sit there and smell and search for something TO smell.
It coloured up much quicker due to not having to wait for the balls to unfurl and it also meant that stirring wasn’t necessary. It had a more golden colour this time.
First thing I noticed on the first sip was a very sweet aftertaste. Almost as if it had been sugared. It was less malty that the first steep but I did find some cocoa notes this time, although still not as much as I had expected.
I liked the second steep a lot better, and I would rate this around 78
The colour is really pale now, and the aroma initially is just the smell of steam. I tried so hard to find some that I actually ended up dipping the tip my nose in it. Found nothing. Except, of course, a wet nose. After a really long steeping, mostly because I got distracted and momentarily forgot, some aroma showed up. No malt, but definitely cocoa.
Tastewise the third steep was very like the second, only much weaker. The sweetness was a little sweeter and the cocoa was a little cocoa-ier, but otherwise there wasn’t really anything noteworthy about it. I wouldn’t recommend bothering with a third steep at all.
This one was down at around 55.
Based on these three steeps, I’m landing at an average of about 66, but I’ll push it upwards a bit on account of the first steep having been a bit overdone.
Second steep of the leaves from last night this morning.
You know, I think I really like the first steep better. It was much more buttery this time around, and rather too much so. Not nearly so far as to be greasy or nauseating, but definitely headed in that general direction. The chameleon colour shifting is gone too.
I will say this about it though, it has a certain snacky quality. For me it works remarkably well as a way to avoid those naughty little snacks during the day. Chocolate, biscuits, popcorn, pudding, whatever. Have a cup of this instead. It doens’t work every time when I’m craving something, but it’s close enough.
A ton of people posted Genmaicha or Genmaicha-type teas and it reminded me that I still had this tin which has been untouched for a while, so I thought I’d join in. It’s been so long that I have to do a post about it with all the details in it.
It’s magic colour-shifter tea! Immediately after brewing and pouring, it was a brilliant sun-yellow. After a few seconds of standing in the cup untouched, it’s turned that funky radio-active green colour. It’s funny because if you remember the blustery-day-on-the-beach kind of green tea bag I had the other day, that one was the other way around. Neon-green first and then yellow.
The name, Genmaicha, is actually misleading in this one, because it’s one of the ones that also contain a small amount of matcha powder, so I know from experience that it should have a short steep. I counted 30 elephants.
The aroma is primarily popcorn and just a little bit of nut-like sweetness. It’s funny how it can smell so strongly of popcorn and taste completely unlike same. It tastes like rice, but with the sweetness from the green tea. I’m also getting a strong hazelnuttish note from it which completely blindsided me. I had not expected anything like that. No notes of saltwater or seaweed which had been feared given the colour.
Again, it’s showing some chameleon-ish tendencies. Colour is now back to yellow, but a darker, warmer and more brownish sort of shade. I wonder what sorts of colours it might turn if I left it long enough.
AC Perch’s claim the Queen of Denmark actually drink this blend. Since they deliver to the royal household I see little reason not to believe them. This is a very awesome detail to know for a royalist-to-the-bone such as me.
I’m not really an Earl Grey fan. To me it’s either so citrusy that you could have called it a lemon tea and fooled me easily or it’s rather bitter. Bergamot is, to me, a fairly rough and throat-scratching sort of flavour. On top of that, it’s too common. Tell someone to name the first tea they think of and I would be shocked if most of them didn’t blurt out ‘Earl Grey’. It’s boring and every-day-ish when there are so very many other interesting teas out there.
Still, for some reason I made cup of this today. I think it was because I saw someone make a post about an Earl Grey creme, and of course now I can’t remember exactly which tea it was or who the poster was, but it did inspire me to try this one with a bit of milk in it. Normally I don’t really do milk in tea. 97% of all my tea is taken plain. No milk, no sugar, just tea.
It’s definitely benefitting from the milk. This is a fairly strong Earl Grey so it’s got a lot of the scratchy bergamot flavour and none of the lemony wannabe, and the milk is smoothing it out a lot. I think I definitely like it better this way.
On the other hand the addition of milk seems to have drowned out the Gunpowder in the blend, so it’s really like a two-in-one tea. It seems to me to be very different with and without milk.
I’ve been gathering courage for this. After dropping a certain package off at the post office I was attacked by sudden drowsiness. Initially I thought, “bad time for tasting a new tea”, but then I thought, “half unconscious is probably a pretty good time for tasting a new and intimidating tea, actually…”
For Christmas I got this great big mug with the word ‘tea’ on it (which btw isn’t very good to drink from. Too large and unwieldy), some biscuits, a tea measuring spoon and a tin with these bags in it. I can’t find anything about which brand it supposedly is or which type of green tea it supposedly is.
It looks like dust and fannings in the bag, so I’m not getting my hopes up about the quality. Also, it smells rather a lot of salt water and seaweed. Like, when I smell it, I can almost hear the seagulls. It smells like something you ought to drink on a blustery day while standing in the dunes and looking out towards the sea.
Oh look, it’s radioactive green tea again! That must mean there’s a good chance for it being a japanese green, but then it quickly turned a much less amusing sunny yellow, so now I don’t know.
It still smells pretty salt waterish, but not as blustery-day-in-the-dunes-ish. It’s more like after you’ve gone home again and you’re feeling all blown through, so you need something warm so you can feel like a person again, while waiting for dinner to be ready. The dinner bit comes from a buttery note in the aroma.
Okay, there’s no way out, so I’m taking a sip. Aaaaaaaaand we’re back on the beach. Very strong note of seaweed in the flavour here. To continue with the blustery-day-at-the-beach scenario, a fricking seagull just flew off with my dinner so now I have to make do with seaweed in a cup! And not that fancy sushi stuff either. I’m actually finding myself wondering what it would have tasted like if it had been brewed on lightly salted water instead of just tap water. (I’m not even remotely dumb enough to actually test that particular theory out, though)
All that said, I’m not actually completely disliking it, it’s just different. It’s a pleasant enough sort of taste once you’ve reconciled yourself with it. If you expected something sweet and grassy, you would be hugely unhappy with this. But if something like this was what you were expecting, it’d probably be quite nice. Having remembered to take a good sniff at the bags before steeping, I had a fairly good idea of what I was in for, so I’d probably give it around 65 or so.
This isn’t the first unknown green tea I’ve had and others might need it too, so I’ll refrain from using the rating slider.
The last of the three Lexitus-teas.
Somewhat oversteeped and gone a bit cold due to me being distracted, so I’ll have to try again for a proper post and rating later.
The initial impression is promising though, and it may indeed live up to the ‘Deluxe’ and the *F*ar *T*oo *G*ood *F*or *O*rdinary *P*eople.
This is a Lexitus-tea that I got for Christmas. It’s one that I saw on AC Perch’s site and wanted to try and he remembered that, so yay him.
It’s a very interesting tea for me, this one. My first ever tea from the South American continent so I have little clue as to what to expect taste- and quality-wise. AC Perch’s say it’s similar in flavour to Japanese greens, but I have little experience with them, so it doesn’t help me much.
The leaves are large and very dark, so at first glance it looks like an average non-jade oolong. A fair amount of twigs in there too. The aroma of the dry leaves is fairly typical green. Not overwhelming in strength and sort of leafy sweet, a hint of nuttyness. Due to the leaf size it’s a bit difficult to scoop so I’ve fallen back on the same way I scoop my Pai Mu Tan. For one small pot with farm animals on it: Plenty.
AC Perch’s recommend a steeping time of six minutes, which I thought was rather a lot for a first go, so I’ve given it a little less, and since I can’t empty the whole pot into this cup in one go, I’ll get a second cup with a longer steeping time so I can compare there.
The colour is very light, and it’s one of those funky coloured once that makes you wonder if it might actually be mildly radioactive. A pale yellow greenish sort of glow-in-the-dark colour. You know those white stars? It’s nearly that colour. It has a very special smell too. There is an extremely sweet note to it that if I didn’t know any better, I’d think there was a lot of sugar in it. It’s kind of vanillaish, and maybe just a touch, the slightest little bit of something salty or seaweedish. It’s very very very little though, and the primary aroma note is the vanillaish sweetness.
It tastes nothing like it smells. There’s a typical green sort of nuttyness and not really any vanillaish sweetness. It’s got a good kick to the flavour, a bit more woody than grassy. It’s actually rather nice, but it’s not a tea that you can keep on discovering. What you see is what you get.
The second cup, which had a longer steeping time (longer, probably, than the recommended six minutes) is darker and much more yellow in colour. The aroma is pretty much the same, but strangely enough it’s not even remotely as strong as the aroma in the shorter steeped cup. The flavour has lost much of the nuttyness and gained quite a bit of astringency instead, and a sourish note too. I definitely liked the shorter steep better, but I feel that this bodes well for another couple of steeps.
ETA: Interesting. Second steep, although nearly forgotten and therefore severely oversteeped is actually still quite nice. It’s got a bit of a bite, but nothing like the second round of the first steep. Mostly it’s pretty smooth, I think.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! After the sadness of using the last of this yesterday, I have today been fortunate enough to leave work some 3½ hours early due to extreme boredom. By around noon we had received the grand total of ONE sample, so we drew lots on who got to leave early.
On the way home, I stopped in at my local shop in the intention of stocking up on this one. I have stocked up. BOY, have I stocked up!!! O.o Turns out I’m pretty much the only person who buys it, so they took it off the shelf to be discontinued. They had some half of a sales tin left of it in the back, and the guy made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He let me buy the lot and when that runs out, all I have to do is stop in and say, and he’ll order another lb for me the next time they order stuff home AND he promised he would try to get a little discount for me. Everybody say awesomesauce!!
Yeah, I just bought 1½ lbs of tea. Of just one blend. Tin has been filled, Great Big Bag of Tea has been safely stowed away in a suitable place.
And I am celebrating with a cup. Right now.
Rating is already in top, but if it hadn’t been, I’d have given it a notch upwards for awesome customer service.
OMG I just noticed this morning that Ricky’s no-icon-uploaded-icon isn’t actually, because it’s mirrored! Never realised that before.
I’m feeling a little more human today, so I’ve made a pot of one of the remaining Bethany-teas.
I’ve tried sniffing the leaves, but they didn’t really seem to have much in the way of a smell. Pouring a few out in my hand, all I could really smell was my skin. I’m fairly certain the leaves aren’t actually supposed to smell like me, so I’m assuming it’s actually me smelling like me.
My expectations based on other people’s posts about this are dangerously high, so I’m a little worried about that. It’s always better when it’s the other way around. Low expectations -> pleasant surprise. I’m also dangerously impatient and tempted the start before it’s really done steeping, even though I know that this rarely gives a good result.
Right, it’s ready now. Cocoa notes, check! And I’ve only poured the first cup. Fruity notes, check! They’re loud too. It smells a bit like when I was little and my mother made homemade jam from the blackcurrant bush we had in the garden.
What a surprising flavour! It’s very fruity in flavour. I’m surprised that this is supposed to be a plain tea. It definitely tastes like there’s been some sort of addition to it. I’ve checked the other teas that Bethany sent me, and I don’t think it sounds like any of those have rubbed off.
First there’s a little bit of a peppery sort of note, just a hint, and then there’s the tart fruity flavour. I can’t pick up the cocoa in the flavour, only in the aroma. Or maybe there is a small hint of it on the finish, but I’m not finding that on every sip, so I’m a little in doubt as to whether or not it’s something that I’m convincing myself that I can find because I really want to find it.
It’s good, but my enormously high expectations haven’t really been fulfilled. I could have lived with the fruit note not being quite this strong.
(Are we sure there isn’t any flavouring in this?)
ETA: I’ve pushed the rating down again as I’ve been drinking. This fruityness is getting a bit… much.