1317 Tasting Notes
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. :)
Celebration: New dashboard FTW!!!! That’s pretty much how I imagined it once people started suggesting tabs. I’m especially in love with the tab about notices about posts that I made. No more having to scroll through tons of notifications, keeping an eye out for my name. YAY!
Comfort: Taxes FTL! >:( Long story involving own stupidity and unexpected december expense. BOO!
Needless to say there was only one tea I could possibly drink today.
It doesn’t really work very well when the cup isn’t big enough that I can drain my small pot in one go, so for the next steeps I’m just going to transfer some of the leaves directly to my little cup and hope I can get it right. I don’t usually use these little cups… Eh well, I can add more from the pot and I can take some out of the cup. How hard can it be?
So yeah, this last bit of the first steep is a bit over-done. It’s got a slightly dry quality to it and the flavour doesn’t win from being somewhat stewed.
It’s a bad day when you need a comfort tea after having had celebratory tea! O.o
Luckily, the second cup brewed directly in the cup is more up to par with previous experience with this tea. It’s a bit strong, so I’ll have to remove a few of the leaves, but it’s definitely better. Much nicer and sweeter, even after leftovers of last night’s slightly spicy dinner. This tea works remarkably well as a dessert, actually. It can’t completely replace a good cake or ice cream or pudding or what have you, but it’s a nice after-meal tea.
I think I’ll stick to this for the rest of the evening.
Tonight I am absolutely for absolute certain going to bed at a decent hour! And I refuse to lie awake until half past 1 too.
So tonight I’m having just-before-bedtime chai. Tea before bed isn’t usually a problem for me sleep-wise, so what I’m really looking for here is the warm milk aspect to hopefully help me fall asleep afterwards.
Of course… There is a fairly good chance that this is going to be pretty awful, due to getting sidetracked and the whole thing boiling over. Gah! Yay for ceramic cooktop scraping things. grumble
The taste is a bit… concentrated. Especially in the sugar department. Probably due to having overdone it a bit on all the boiling steps, but it’s totally drinkable and the flavour hasn’t been significantly changed. It doesn’t taste burned or anything. There’s just less of it this time than there was the first time I tried it.
The fact that it’s sweeter this time helps with the pepper taste too. But I could still have lived without the black pepper. Easily.
And this me now going to bed at a decent hour. Goodnight steepsterites. (
Travelling Teabox planning in second stage now, as in taking addresses of participants and people (hopefully) signing up and stuff. So far this stuff is way easier to organise than I had imagined.
I’m making a pot of this here apricot tea because apricots are yummy and so by extension so should apricot tea be. I refuse to accept the rating I’ve already given it as truth. (And kindly don’t point out that peaches and pears are also yummy but just not in tea.) Secondly, I’m feeling like this sample has been kind of neglected. I can’t remember when the last time I had any of it was, and I’m frankly puzzled as to how there can only be about a fifth left of the sample tin. If I hardly ever drink this, then where did the rest go??? O.o
It tastes a bit watery… On the other hand I did just have dinner and it involved a lightly spicy sauce which may have affected my tastebuds somewhat. With my tongue in this state, it doesn’t even taste that apricotty. Looks like it won’t be today that I can shift the rating on this one. How sad. :(
Kitch3ntools inspired me to make me a little pot of this. It’s yummy! I’ve checked my local shop and they don’t seem to have any blueberry tea at the moment. There is a shop in the city where I work where they might have some. I don’t like their coffee grinders in the shop, though. I can’t actually taste the coffee pollution, but it’s enough that I know they ideally shouldn’t be there. It’s a snob thing.
So I’m drinking this while working out some guidelines and tentative travelling teabox planning (and wondering if maybe, just maybe, I’ve lost my mind). I’ve got nearly ten people so far, myself included, so that should be enough for it to be fun. Once I’ve got the guidelines worked out, I’ll start collecting addresses and plan the final route.
In my organisational eagerness, I oversteeped the tea though, and now it’s got a slightly bitter finish note. It’s still good, though. Just a little… drier.