1327 Tasting Notes
Another Jillian tea!
The leaves are pretty! They’re golden yellow, large and twisted. The smell mildly smokey. Long ago I had a Golden Yunnan that I thought was rather smokey in flavour, but since then whenever I’ve mentioned that I have been met with disbelief, until I finally began to think I was remembering it wrong since I seemed to be the only person in the world ever to have thought it was smokey. I’m also picking up a note of honey, a really flavourful kind of honey so strong that when you eat it you almost have to cough.
That note goes quite well with the honey-golden colour of the brew. The aroma after steeping is the same kind of honey, but not so much on the smoke. It’s just to throw you off, really. You almost expect to get a mouthful of liquid honey and instead you get a prickly mouthful of smoke. I still agree with myself that it’s a very smoky tea. I am getting a small note of honey, but not nearly to the extent that I would have thought from the aroma.
I’m trying to find the peppery note that people have been talking about and so far I’m failing. I get some pricklyness, but that’s from the smoke I think. I can’t find any pepper.
Back in ancient prehistoric times when I last had a plain yunnan, I remember not liking it much. I believe my tastes have changed. I think it’s a type I’ll have to stock up on again next year. It’s not one that I think is OMG fantastic! But it’s a nice one to have in the cupboard.
Insteresting letter from Jillian in my letterbox today!
I’ve been trying to figure out what to try first and decided I was more interested in this. When I sent Jillian my ‘wishlist’ of things I’d like to try from her cupboard, this one mostly caught me by being pu-ehr, and I haven’t had any of that in ages, and a flavoured one at that, which I’ve never had. Little difficult for me to imagine flavoured pu-ehr, for some reason. But then, I initially felt the same way about green, white and oolong too and I can’t come up with a logical reason on why it shouldn’t be possible. Anyway, I didn’t pay attention to what else was in it at the time, so it’s not until now that I notice it has rooibos in it. That’s a bit worrisome, since I don’t really care much for that… Oh well, if you don’t try, you can’t win, so here we go!
It’s bagged and the bag smells like christmas biscuits! Do I have to drink it? Can’t I just sit here and sniff the bag? It seems almost a shame to get it wet. On the other hand, if I did just sit around, sniffing the bag, sooner or later I’d forget to pay attention and try to take a bite. Reflex, see.
Luckily, after steeping, it still smells like that. Chocolate and cinnamon are the dominant smells, and underneath it the earthiness of pu-ehr. It seems very dark in colour for a pu-ehr. I can’t really spot that reddish brown colour that it usually gets, but then that might be because the cup I’m using isn’t the best for looking at the colour.
The little satchel the bag was in says that the chocolate might sink to the bottom of the cup, so I’m giving it a little stir before tasting.
It tastes like sweets! Chocolatey and cinnamony like the blend I made yesterday (fate perhaps? Preparation for trying this?), but sweeter. I can pick up pretty much everything they say is in it, except possibly the nutmeg, but then I’m not really entirely certain which flavour I’m supposed to be looking for with that one. It’s not a spice I ever use for anything at all in my kitchen. And to my great relief, although I can defintiely find the rooibos, it’s only there to sort of add a little boost to the other flavours. If I hadn’t known it was there, I wouldn’t have noticed, but knowing that it is, I can tell what it does.
Great choice, me!
Second steep of last night’s leaves of this.
I am not impressed. It’s much weaker now and watery. The last of the already very faded cactus flavour is completely gone and, weirdly, it has gained a note of something almost chamomile-ish instead.
I’m not quite done with it yet, though, so I’m making myself a new pot, using the last of the leaves I had.
Since I bought this one, the shop has moved twice and switched owners at least once, so it’s pretty ancient. Had the leaves been fresher, they might have held up to the resteep better. I’ve seen that they have a green cactus flower tea on their website now, which they’re calling an interesting newcomer, so now I’m not sure if this particular tea that I’ve got has been discontinued and brought back or if it’s a new but similar tea. Mine doesn’t say anything about flowers. Could be either.
The rate I’m cleaning up nearly empty tins these days, I’ll have to do some shopping before I send the travelling teabox out, or the first person on the list is in for a bit of a disappointment! O.o
I was asked once, “what does cactus taste like?” and I floundered wildly to come up with an answer. I still don’t know how to describe. I could recognise it instantly; it’s even one of those flavours that it’s easy to imagine when you don’t have it, but I don’t really know how to describe it.
It’s sort of sweet and sort of fruity but not like your ordinary sweet and fruity. It has that cool sensation that you also find in mint and it has a certain freshness to it so it doesn’t get cloying. And a touch of fennel(*) too.
My leaves of this are fairly old and have been standing forgotten in the cupboard for a long time, so I can’t really remember how much flavour it had to begin with but I think it must have faded some. There isn’t all that much of the added flavour left in it, except in the aroma, but the green tea it’s based on is coming out loud and clear. It doesn’t say what the base is, but I’m guessing it’s probably Sencha, since the vast majority of the green flavoured teas in that particular shop are based on Sencha. Or at least they were at the time I bought it.
It’s been ages and ages since I’ve had a pure Sencha (that I knew for sure was Sencha) so I can’t really judge it on flavour. Only an educated guess. Due to the nature of the cup, i can’t tell you about the colouring of the liquid and looking at it as it’s poured doesn’t really give a very accurate picture. It did look a tiny bit neon-green though. Just the slightest hint.
The taste is definitely different from my chinese and taiwanese greens too. It doesn’t taste as green, kind of. As in, it doesn’t taste like it’s not a green tea, it just doesn’t invoke the same images of things that are green while drinking it. Or something. Gosh, that sounds ridiculous, but I can’t figure out how else to explain it. It reminds me very strongly of Genmaicha, to the point where I have to remind myself that it isn’t actually Genmaicha. Does any of this sound Sencha-ish to those of you who have more experience with Sencha?
.(*) Fennel, btw, might be an interesting flavour in a green or white tea, come to think of it…
With a twist today. I substituted one quarter of the leaves with Adagio’s cinnamon black. It turned out to be a very nice combination. I’m glad I didn’t add more cinnamon than I did because I think that would have overpowered the chocolate.
Well. I say chococlate, but really it’s more cocoa than it’s chocolate, I think.
As mentioned, though, a nice combination, which seems pretty nicely balanced between the two flavours if I do say so myself. I think a little bit of milk would have suited it too, smoothing it out a bit, but I didn’t have any so someone else will have to test that for me.
Weirdly, it’s also a combination that works tolerably well with this I-need-to-use-these-leeks-for-something-soon-improvisation-surprise-soup that I’m having for dinner.
I’ve napped, so I don’t know if it’s still snowing or snowing again either way, it sure is adding up out there. Good thing about naps though is that you get warm! Finally.
This is just another one for the sake of variation, and I’m still lazy so I’m still bagging it. On top of that it’s pretty oversteeped because I forgot about it. Apart from it going somewhat lukewarm, it hasn’t been damaged though. The cardboard flavour is fully intact
Still snowing. Still bagging it.
I can’t get warm. Brrrrrrrr! Just trying for a bit of variety here. Seeing as I log everything in my OCDness, you can probably expect a load of quick bag-logs like this while I’m trying to make my body temperature normal again. I’m already cuddling up under my duvet in the sofa.
This one always surprises me a bit when I taste it. How melon-like it is. How dry a sort of flavour it is. How clear a picture I get in my head of melons when I taste it. Hopefully it can also warm me up.
I don’t actually like this much. I’m not a very big fan of cinnamon in tea and I don’t really care all that much for raisins, but it’s a bag so it’s quick and it seemed the ‘warmest’ choice I had in those criteria.
I’ve been outside, giving my ruler some fresh air. Turns out my 30cm estimate was pretty accurate. And it’s STILL snowing. Great big flakes now. Yes, I whimped out when faced with snow and train delays again. I love the snow and I love getting a day off, but I kind of hate getting the day off because of this. It always comes with a side of guilt. Maybe the train would have come if I had just waited five more minutes before giving up. Other countries have way more snow than us regularly and they get by. Is 30 cm really that much? And so on and so forth. I know I’d be faced with O.o looks if I’d shown up at work, but still! (I did actually manage that once. 45 minutes late and nobody said, “Hi, good to see you arrive safely!” or even “About time you showed up!” All I got was " You’re here?!!! What are you, NUTS???" Nice to know they care.)
It’s pretty much just synthetic cinnamon that lacks any sort of sweetness and sour apples. I can’t find any raisins at all. Given the fact that as mentioned I don’t care much for raisins most of the time, I can’t really make myself see this as an all that bad thing.
The tea itself is… peeks into cup … are we ABSOLUTELY sure there IS any tea in this? checks box They claim there is. I’ll give them the benefit of doubt.
All that said, it IS a mass-production tea in relatively cheap bags, so of course it’s a different quality than what I’m otherwise used to. I’m rating it seen in that light and disregarding most of my other things instead of trying to compare them, because they’re worlds apart.
I needed a plain tea after all those flavoured once earlier today. I made this one somewhat stronger than I normally do in the hopes that it might give the flavour, and particularly the aftertaste a bit more punch.
It didn’t really work.
All I got out of it was a whole lot of astringency and that kind of hay-like, flowery, prickly sort of flavour that you get when something is severely oversteeped or too strong.
This also spares me trying out that uber-long steeping, or stewing rather, of oolongs. I sincerely doubt it would be something I would like.