1254 Tasting Notes
From the queue. (I’ve upped the posting frequency from the queue because it seems to be growing faster than I’m posting at the moment… 25 pages and counting.)
Bleurgh… Husband is not home tonight so I’m fending for myself dinner-wise. Husband is vegetarian, and I am one on most days for the main reason that I can’t possibly be bothered to cook two separate meals for two people when whatever he’s having is just as good as anything meaty. However, on the occasions when we go out, have take out or I’m feeding myself, I usually fall into the meat trap. It’s possible that I over-do it a bit. Bottomline is, I enjoy the food while eating, but afterwards always feel far too full in the entirely wrong way. Full on meat feels very different from full on a vegetarian fare. To top it all off I also had half a glass of red wine, unusually for me but it’s one of these very posh wines. The sort of that comes in a box with a tap on it, you know. So I’m very very full and kind of sleepy. Hence, bleurgh… In short, my tummy is right now a rabbit of negative euphoria. ( sigh I shall miss Cabin Pressure)
I am in need of something light and restoratative. Green and fruity? Yes. Time for another Try from the EU Travelling Teabox, now winding its way towards Italy.
I’m not generally a green tea person, but I took some of this one because… I don’t need to go into this again, do I? Berry, attraction, done deal.
It definitely smells like blueberry. Actually it just smells blue all round. I’m getting a very clear sky blue. There’s a sweetness to it as well which is not all berry but reminds me of vanilla. There isn’t actually vanilla in it at all as far as I can see, so that might just be my personal vanilla obsession, but that is nevertheless what I’m reminded of.
At first, when I sip, I just get the green tea. It tastes fresh and vegetative, but not in the sort of fat, thick, almost salty way that some greens, particularly dragonwell for me, have a tendency to. This tastes more spring-like and crisp. Then, after a split second, the blueberry comes in. It’s a very clear blueberry flavour, here. Very sweet and a little creamy. Again, it’s as if it has been mixed with a little vanilla. The blueberry flavour sort of builds up as I sip, so that it’s as if the flavouring becomes stronger and stronger.
This is really a very good tea. It’s the sort of thing that makes me wish green blends caught my attention more often. I’m glad I got to try some of this one, although I do wish I’d pinched all of it now. This is a brilliant tea!
This is also from my recent Tea Palace order. I have to admit that while I am very attracted to berry flavoured things, I may or may not have purchased this one primarily for the tin. Look at the picture! Isn’t that just lovely? The other tins from Tea Palace or purple. Attractive as well, but this one is just lovely. (I think Husband finds it (the tin) fairly awful, but then again, he’s not a girl so what does he know?)
The tea itself, I’m pleased to report is also rather lovely. It smells strongly of berries, strawberries especially, both in the leaf and after steeping. It has that juicy note that reminds me of warm strawberry jam.
The flavour is the same as well. Strongly berry-ed and juicy, but not only strawberry here. I can pick up a hint of raspberry as well, but not really any black currant. Still it’s primarily a strawberry tea, which one might have guessed from the tin.
I find it aptly named. I can’t help feeling slightly posh when I drink it. Very lovely, this.
This was an EU Travelling Teabox Try.
There’s no two ways of saying this. It smells like soap. Not even perfumed soap, just soap soap. No hints of vanilla or of rooibos. Only soap. It smells exactly like the way accidentally getting a little shampoo in your mouth in the shower tastes.
It tastes like rooibos and not too much like soap. There’s a little bit of that sensation hanging in the nostrils after sipping, but I expect that’s because of how closely related to taste the sense of smell is. The vanilla flavouring is not very strong and mainly shows up as an aftertaste. Unfortunately that’s where it gets mixed in with that shampoo in the mouth feeling, so all in all, this is actually not very pleasant.
I can’t seem to get rid of that feeling of shampoo in my sinuses.
Originally I had intended this to be a Take and take all of it, but having tasted it, I thought better of it and put it back in the box. Demoted.
A vanilla flavoured blend that I’m scoring low. Of all things! O.o I’m very disappointed.
I should point out that this post is from the queue, if you can’t work that out based on the references to NaNoWriMo, which takes place in November. This should also give you an idea of exactly HOW LONG the queue is.
This is WAAAAAY old! It’s actually the last tea from last year’s advent calendar. Not even the reblend that goes up for sale afterwards. The actual little envelope from the actual calendar. It’s been languishing for ages here in the box because I was under the mistaken impression that it was a green base, and I’ve just rarely felt like a green tea at all.
And then of course it started getting really old and I got a bit embarrased that I still hadn’t got around to it yet, so…
This is me, owning up. I still have this sample from the advent calendar of 2012.
Well, actually I don’t have it anymore as I’ve, at the time of posting this, drunk it. You know what I mean though.
I’ve been on holiday this week, but Husband haven’t. I always take a week’s holiday in November. Originally it was for the sake of NaNoWriMo, but I haven’t really been doing that this year. I didn’t really feel like it and didn’t have any ideas, so I’m going through a month now of chronic guilt, because this is the first time in I believe nearly 10 years where I haven’t even tried, so it’s sort of second nature to me by now that I ought to do it. Obviously not enough that I’m actually getting anything done, but even so.
Anyway, I’ve been on holiday, so I’ve really been making a crack at the box of things not yet tried and written about. All the words of fiction that I haven’t written? Yeah, those are now tea posts. My word doc of posts ready to, well, post is now 18 pages long and has 10+K words in it. At least two thirds of those were written this week.
Therefore, finally owning up to still not having drunk this sample.
The stupid thing is that I actually expect to rather like it.
It has a black base, which I like. It has marshmallow root, which I like. It has peppermint, which is something I’ve warmed to considerably in my tea over the last year or so.
I also remember that there was a sample in the advent calendar which was very similiar to this, only it had spearmint instead of peppermint, and I didn’t much like the spearmint. I theorised at the time that if it had been peppermint, I’d have enjoyed it a lot more. Or something to that effect. I can’t really recall what that tea was called, so I can’t go and look it up.
Anyway, this smells very peppermint-y, so at least we know age hasn’t deadened it completely. I can also pick up the marshmallow root under the mint, but it smells very much like those candy canes. Stripes and everything. But also, I’m afraid, a little bit like mouthwash. Base tea? Not so much, really.
Oh, peppermint. Lots of it. One sip and my mouth has gone all minty. Sweet too, again I can pick up the marshmallow root quite clearly. These two really work well together, totally creating the illusion of minty sweeties, and not at all mouthwash-y.
I can feel the base tea underneath that, but it’s really mostly there to provide some body for the other two flavours. I’m not sure exactly what the base is, but it seems to be very forgiving and none the worse for
Yes, this is indeed quite nice. Had I actually tried it at the proper time I’m not sure it would have been ’I’ll-risk-customs-fees!‘-nice, but I’m definitely enjoying this cup.
I believe the hypothesis RE spearmint versus peppermint is proven.
This + freshly baked scones with a variety of marmalade, honey and lemon curd.
In all my humblest modesty; OM NOM NOM NOM!!!
(No clotted cream, though. I know of one place only where I can buy that here and I wasn’t about to retrace my steps. Research has shown me that it’s supposedly super-easy to make your own but it’s an overnight sort of job. Requires more preparation than my spontaneous cravings)
Another from my recent TP order.
I expect if I told you that I had made an order and NOT bought any of this, half of you would probably have been ready to call an ambulance for me or something.
And I must say, it smells heavenly! All sweet and vanilla-y and awesome. It doesn’t have the punch and strong caramel-y notes that my favourite from Fru P does, but it’s still pretty good. Mind you, I think the Fru P blend is a wee bit on the pungent side aroma-wise, so if I end up having a cup that tastes like Fru P’s and smells like this one does, then there it is. The Perfect Vanilla Black.
Hm. It’s quite a harsh flavour just at first. I’m not certain exactly how vanilla can be harsh at all, but that was my immediate thought when I tried to think of a word to describe it. Then after that very initial harshness it blooms into full on vanilla. Again it’s not as strongly flavoured as Fru P, though, so I’m afraid it’s not really coming up to Perfect standard.
Still quite good though, and it gets more vanilla-y when slurped and when it cools a bit. It has quite a caramel-y aftertaste to it as well.
It’s lovely, this, absolutely lovely, but I still prefer Fru P, which is probably best as I can get that in town.
Scheherazade sent me this one. Chai is not really something I’ve ever been particularly fond of, although I’ve sometimes wondered what I’m missing out. The problem with chai is partly that they invariably contain ginger and cinnamon, neither of which are things I’m fond of in tea, but mostly a rather traumatic introduction to it at around age 10. I will tell you what happened.
As a child, I was a scout for many years. At around age 10 or so, my group got new leaders. These were two guys who were… Well. A bit hippie-y in some ways and very correct in other ways. These two traits came together in a common purpose whenever it was time for giving the children some sort of treat. Like when we were camping or the last meeting before the Christmas holidays or what have you. For a child age 10 or so, this sort of occasion is pretty much synonymous with hot chocolate.
BUT GOSH, NO! Hot chocolate, that’s full of sugar! And fat! Very bad for children! Also very very common and boring, let’s put our own personal Eastern spin on things.
Let’s give the children chai instead, what a good idea!
I think they even had their own spice blend for it. Dear scout leaders that I had at around age 10. No, it was not a good idea. It was in fact a totally rubbish idea. We, the children, drank your strange spicy concoction dutifully because it was that or nothing, but I’m willing to wager a rather large amount today that none of the children even knew what chai was and the vast majority of them would most likely much rather have had hot chocolate.
A couple of years later, when we got new leaders again the concept of chai for these special occasions went the way of the dodo right quickly.
So yes, I will definitely claim to have had a rather fraught and difficult introduction to chai in general.
I have never really warmed up to it, although I’ve tried again several times. Now Scheherazade is providing me with another go. It seems a fairly simple one. It has tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cassia, which is also some kind of cinnamon-y spice. So not a complicated one, just the base ingredients that I would associate with chai. It strikes me as being a very good starting point, really.
I made it with half milk and half water. I gave the cup of milk about 90 seconds in the microwave, put in the bag and filled up with boiling water. The milk makes it difficult for me to see when I think it’s done steeping, though. I’m not at all used to milk in tea, but I have learned this much in my adventures with chai; milk is essential.
It smells very nice indeed, actually! All cinnamon-y sweet, but not soapy and nostril-assaulting like cinnamon can sometimes be. Cinnamon sugar and rice porridge cooked with milk. This cup smells pretty much like Christmas.
It tastes quite mild and milky. Possibly I should have used more water and less milk? I plopped the bag back in while drinking though, to see if I could get it to be a bit stronger. I can’t pick up anything in the way of a base here at all, which I’m rather missing. This doesn’t really feel like I’m drinking tea at all. It’s more like warm milk with spices, which in itself is actually also quite nice, but not really what I was hoping for.
The spices are tempered by the milk and not even the ginger is bothering me in this. Ginger is usually my downfall because I don’t much care for the burning sensation. This is a chai that I could actually drink because it’s so mild and unassuming. A true chai fan might find it a bit dull though.
Here’s another one from my recent Tea Palace order. My first order from them, but certainly not my last!
However… Hong Mao Feng?
As we know it’s so called because they use the buds and they curl up in the same way that mao feng green tea does, but hong mao feng is a black tea.
So when I get a tin of large curly leaves, many of which are sort of silvery and/or dark green and which smells distinctly floral, I get a little bit concerned. Especially when I know that the shop actually also carries mao feng green.
I decided to put my trust in TP, however, and brew it like I would any other black tea. This gave me a light yellow cup with almost no aroma at all. What is there is sort of peach-y. A very delicate mineral flavour with touches of grass and a warning hint of bitterness when swallowed.
A far cry from the description of a smooth yet robust flavour and typical Keemun full-bodied taste.
I think, by accident, they’ve sent me a tin of mao feng green, mislabeled as hong mao feng. I shouldn’t have sprung for the large tin what with it being a limited edition product and all then.
It seems drinkable enough, though, so I can’t be bothered to start making too much of a fuss about something that was probably an honest mistake. I can easily see how it could have happened with the similarity of the names. I’ve emailed the company and asked if I should return it. They didn’t want it back, so I’ll just drink it, but they are going to send me a replacement. I had an email reply only a couple of hours after I sent mine in.
(On the bright side, if I’m correct that it’s mao feng green, I’ve actually received a much more expensive product than I’ve paid for. Shame I’m not more into green tea then!)
It is now a few days later, and Tea Palace have sent me a replacement and a profuse apology. They didn’t want the mistake tea back, so I’ve got a big tin of that as well. From my corrospondence with them I sort of got the impression that I’m correct in having received the mao feng green the first time, so that’s what I’ve decided that is.
Now this is more like it. I could tell as soon as I saw the leaves, and it also brews up nice and dark. No nasty surprises here. It does indeed smell grainy and keemun-y too. Imagine that. Keemun that isn’t keemun!
It’s a good strong tea, this. It has a strong cocoa-y note at first and then all the grain-y notes underneath. There’s malty sweet notes in here as well, which in combination with the cocoa notes make it a rather sweet cup.
It doesn’t have keemun’s natural almost-smoky flavour, though, but I’m fine with that. It’s a very good cup of tea, this, and I’m glad I a) sprang for the 100g tin and b) decided to make a fuss about the green tea mistake after all.