1277 Tasting Notes
ARGH! All these posts about the funky Adagio flavours that no sane person could have thought up are so jealousy-inducing. I went back and checked when I made my one and only Adagio order and that was in June. And it’s only the Tie Kuan Yin that I don’t have any more of. (That stuff never lasts long around these parts) I want so desperately to try those new flavours. If I shop really really really seldomly, like twice a year tops, I can defend placing the odd Adagio order, right?
And yes, I know they have a European store too, but they have a very small selection, so that’s a good place for stocking up on well-known favourites. But not really much else.
Second steep of this now. And I’m going with literature on this one, and giving it a four minutes steep. I’m a bit worried that I’ve ruined the leaves with the long steep this morning, but there’s only one way to find out.
Nice and golden colour this time around, but the aroma seems a bit sour. A bit stewed, you know? The flavour doesn’t seem to have taken any damage, though. Bit weak but I suppose that’s only to be expected considering the way I’ve treated these leaves.
Supplier suggests a steeping time of 8-10 minutes on this. Up to TEN MINUTES on a green tea? One that literature tells me will get crazy bitter if oversteeped? And one that same literature suggests 3-4 minutes on? Now what am I supposed to think here?
In the interest of proving the shop wrong once and for all, I gave it nine minutes. It’s a dark yellowy brown in a highly suspicious sort of way, but there’s nothing wrong with the aroma. Lots of kick in that.
Still, I’m a bit scared to try this out.
Okay, it’s not undrinkable, but it’s clear that it’s so not been brewed optimally either. I’m picking up a note of salt here and a lot of nuttyness. There’s a touch of bitterness at the back of the tongue in swallowing which tells me that just 30 seconds more would have turned this undrinkable.
I would definitely trust the literature on this one and steep for no more than four minutes for an optimal brew.
It will be interesting to see if I can resteep this successfully or if I’ve just managed to ruin the leaves.
Backlogging, yesterday during work.
Or, work and work, I was at a course all day and this is what I assume they gave us. It was definitely citrus-y and when you serve a citrus-y tea to a large group of people without bothering to tell them what sort of tea it is, this is usually it.
It was watery weak and synthetically citrus-y. Drinkable, but only for the lack of better. On the next course day, if we’re not having it somewhere where I can pop into my own lab and make me a quick cup, I think maybe I’ll just drink coffee instead.
Backlogging, yesterday morning.
I had this in my travel mug yesterday morning and right now I’m working off some scribbled notes in my notebook. it’s the last variety from that sampler box I bought and this one is just (supposedly) white tea. I’ve taken all the bags out of the box and put them in my pretty little wooden teabag box, so they’re all a little further away from each other. It should keep the contamination of flavours down at least a little bit. Of course that’s probably too late, but there you are.
Anyway. The aroma was nutty, but the taste was rather boring. That said, at least it actually tasted white and it didn’t seem to have been contaminated by the other flavoured and more smelly varieties in the box.
It’s not by any means an outstanding white tea, but out of the four in the box, it was by far the best and it would be excellent for use in the travel cup.
Oh gosh, what a day! I hate the first day back at work after having been on holiday. Especially when first day back at work after a holiday coincides with the first day of moving lab craziness. I’m in bad need of some good tea. And a nap. And some ice cream. (And a little pity would be nice too)
I think this would be the sixth steep or something like that. Since the fifth was getting a bit on the thin side, I’ve added just a pinch of fresh leaves.
It’s still as clear as water while pouring and it still gets that funky greenish colour in the cup. Lots of nutty aroma though, and the pinch of fresh leaves gave it a little more kick.
However, even if it wasn’t for fact that for hygenic reasons, the leaves are being discarded today (and probably hygeine-wise should have been yesterday. If I get ill, I get ill. I doubt it’ll kill me), there probably wouldn’t be enough kick left in them for a seventh steep.
(Mind you, I may have used slightly too cold water, because I almost nearly forgot about it. I can tell because the fresh pinch leaves got into the cup and are refusing to sink to the bottom… pokes them. Poke poke poke)
Backlogging. Had this in my travel mug this morning. Wasn’t something I was really drinking quickly and I found the melon flavour very pronounced.
It was relatively okay for a morning tea, I suppose. Mostly I’m kind of indifferent to it.
The bag was okay for the morning though where I didn’t really care all that much about anything else than caffeine content.
I’ve been to my littlest cousin’s 7th birthday today. I have been fed a lot of food as well as some hot cocoa, which was nice, and some coffee, which was terribly awfully acidic. Don’t know what brand that was, but definitely not one to my taste. Tea wasn’t offered, and I don’t like making a nuisance of myself about when I am actually fully capable of drinking coffee and there are other beverages available. On the way home I had to switch trains and had a fifteen minute wait for the next train, so I went into the kiosk and got me a bottle of this stuff.
Let’s start with the beginning, the description of the… the… tea, for lack of better word. “A touch of apricot.” A touch? A touch?!!! You’re joking, right? If this is a touch of apricot, then they’ve touched this stuff to a mighty large apricot. I like apricots a lot, though, so I can deal with that.
It also contains not tea, but tea extract, which if you ask my snobby self, although they are both made of tea is no more the same as tea, as raisins are the same as wine in spite of both being made of grapes. (Gosh, what an awkward sentence! You know what I mean, right?)
Let’s not mention the synthetic smell and go straight to the flavour. I can find some tea in it, mostly in the dry astringency, but very little actual tea flavour. Mostly it’s just like a sort of apricotty cordial, though. Sweet, but not too much so, and refreshing too. And definitely not as boring as the wide selection of carbonated soft drinks. Sometimes you just don’t want bubbles, you know?
I’m debating with myself how to rate this, and I have decided that I should rate it primarily on how much I like it on its own terms, because I do think it’s an excellent alternative to fizzy drinks.
If I had rated it on how much I like it in terms of how much I think it had to do with tea, it would have been about a 25.
ARGH! I accidentally did something weird and the post got eaten. I think it must have been a stray back button click. Oh well.
We’re gearing up for steep five of this. I was advised last night to put the leaves in the fridge over night, and then while I was sleeping I was adviced to not do that under any circumstances ever. Hm. Well, I stuck them in the fridge because that was what I had to go with at the time of going to bed and to be honest I felt best about doing that from a hygeinic standpoint.
I took the pot out some 45 minutes ago to let the leaves acclimatise themselves a bit, but primarily because the idea of pouring 80C hot water into an ice-cold favourite teapot with farm animals on it sounded a bit risky to me. I’ve seen what happens when you pour newly boiled water into a glass that wasn’t technically made for it. It… exploded… So yeah, I’m cautious. And especially with this one. (Farm animals!)
Again, it’s got that funny green shade in the cup and it’s as clear as water while pouring. Still got some aroma to it though, and while it has lost colour in the cup, there still plenty colour left.
Tastewise, it’s faded a bit. It’s definitely beginning to taste weak now. I think if it got a little help from just a pinch of fresh leaves, there would still be plenty of kick in it. It just needs a… crutch, so to speak.
Cheers to the next 100 posts. I’m still drinking this. I’m on my fourth infusion now.
Steeps two and three still had loads and loads of flavour in them. That sourness in the aftertaste that I mentioned is almost non-existant at this point and the natural sweetness of the tea is more pronounced.
Steep four is turning slightly greenish in colour. It’s almost completely clear when pouring, but after it has been allowed to stand and develop a little more in the cup after pouring it turns into that same golden colour again. It’s the same with the flavour. Beginning to show a little weakness at first, but once it has had a few minutes to develop in cup there’s still lots of flavour in it.
I don’t have time to do any more steeps of this tonight, but I would rather like to see how much flavour it’s possible to wring out of this very nice tea. My resteeping experience only goes so far as to immediate resteeps. Is there a good way to somehow preserve the leaves over night? Like, should I rinse the pot out and put the leaves in the fridge overnight or should I dry them or some such?
This is my post number 100! Happy Steepsterversary to me, yay!
This is one of the teas I bought earlier this week when I first feel off the stingy-wagon. I haven’t tasted it yet as I have saved it for this very occasion and this particular post.
Pai Mu Tan has always been for me one of THE white teas. This one and Yin Zhen. They are the very essence of white teas and nothing can surpass them in greatness. They don’t need to have fantastic outstanding flavours, they are carried by their names alone.
Today has been a day in the name of glazed teapot maintenance. I very rarely clean out my pots on the inside other than a thorough rinsing with clean water, because a teapot that you can see is in use is a teapot with character! And it also greatly reduces the threat of accidentally making up a pot of tea that tastes of soap residue. However, I felt that this tea for this post deserved as clean a pot as I could muster. So that was eight teapots total, half a tub of baking soda, god only knows how many liters of water boiled and even more water for rinsing. (The planet probably hates me now.)I am very carefully brewing this as well as I can without actually owning a thermometer. I’m a bit surprised that the shop recommends a steeping time of 6-8 minutes which I think is eons for a white, so I had to consult my literature. To my enormous surprise, the literature agrees! O.o Have I been brewing whites all wrong all this time? Very well, I shall give it 6-8 minutes, although it’s really difficult to convince my head that this is a good idea. My literature also informs me that green teas are best steeped without the pot lid on so as to prevent it from stewing in the steam and a gentler preparation. I’m assuming that this also goes for white tea.
It’s steeping now, there are five minutes to go. I’m really nervous that I’m going to ruin this. What sort of Steepsterversary post would that make! O.o
Anyway, the dry leaves are large and green and they have a fresh, grassy sort of smell. You can dream yourself halfway to China on this smell, it’s very nice. Because I’m impatient and can’t wait until I’ve poured a cup, I’ve been sniffing the pot too as it steeps. The grassy smell is more prominent here when mixed with the steam, but it’s hard to really pick up on the notes this way.
I have made sure to choose a big white porcelain mug that allows me to drain the pot in go. Of course, I have to say yay for surface tension here and I’m not going to attempt lifting it! :p It’s a darkish golden colour, very unlike the murky brownish stuff in the cheap teabags, and after pouring, it darkens a little further quickly.
It has a very clear sort of vegetal and leafy smell that you don’t have to sit and search for. It flows right up and out of the cup and fills up your nose on every sniff.
Mmmm, no, the long steeping time definitely didn’t ruin it. Once again it would seem that the literature is smarter than me. It has a natural sweetness to it. It’s not as delicate as I had expected. I’ve had white teas before, obviously, but I think this might be my debut with this particular variety. It leaves a sort of fresh feeling in the mouth on the sides of the tongue, the same way that mint does, only without actually tasting of mint at all.
However, it does also leave behind that somewhat sour aftertaste that lasts forever. I like a tea that has flavour that doesn’t go away immediately, but I’m not really a very big fan of this particular sourness. I find, though, that it decreases considerably if I don’t keep the tea in my mouth for too long before swallowing.
I am not in the slightest disappointed by this. (And will have to take my white tea brewing methods up to some serious revision, it would seem…)