1314 Tasting Notes
I have two large tins in my kitchen in which I stuff various samples of stuff that are too small to be put in proper tin or I don’t otherwise know what to do with. Consequently the contents of these tins are frequently forgotten about. I had a rummage through them because that Stockholm blend thing that Luthien had was inspiring me and I wanted one of those ‘big’ blends with lots of stuff in it instead of these simpler things that I normally go for for a change. I found some lemon grass, honeysuckle flowers and some red rosebuds that I didn’t even know I had! Also a sample from previously mentioned local shop that I’m not sure why I got in the first place. It doesn’t really look like something that I would expect to like all that much… Anyway, this one is a teabag that I got through a trade at some point.
It has a number of things against it. 1) It’s bagged. 2) It’s ancient. 3) It’s been stored in a plastic ziplock bag. 4) in a tin containing other stuff too and consequently reeks of rooibos.
Obviously I’m not getting my hopes up here, but I’ve only got this one bag and I might as well get rid of it.
(I just realised now there’s a typo when I added the tea. ‘Manog’ tea, indeed. snicker I’ll fix it as soon as I’m done with the post.)
It smells a little bit of mango, still. It also smells like sugar and something sort of lemon-y. And of chamomile, weirdly enough. Quite a lot of chamomile actually. I wonder if, during the trade, tea bags might have been accidentally switched around so what I’ve actually just made is a cup of chamomile tisane. Well, there’s only one way to find out.
Nope, it’s not chamomile in disguise. There’s a little bit of astringency (yay learning this!) and that’s about it. It has very little flavour of any sort of in although it does actually vaguely remind me of chamomile. The reason I can say though that it isn’t actually real chamomile in disguise is that chamomile, even really ancient chamomile of dubious quality, in my experience doesn’t really fade in flavour the way this stuff obviously have. The dominant taste of the whole cup here is hot water.
I’m a bit wary of rating it because I would like to believe that in a better stored non-ancient bag it would have been better, but I have to go with what I’ve actually got.
After all these almonds, I feel almost treacherous for having chosen a different nut this morning.
I probably ought to have logged this one as a blend but I had already pulled it up on Steepster when I decided on a whim to add the little twist. What this actually is, is two thirds hazelnut black form Adagio and one third chocolate black form Adagio. After the almond vanilla success, I guess I just felt sort of inspired. :)
Also, I’ve had my eye on this hazelnut tea for a while in a combination with just a little bit of chocolate milk. I’m guessing it might turn into something Nutella-ish. Which would be AWESOME!
The smell is great! Nutty and chocolaty! I can’t decide if I should have added a little more chocolate or if it was just the right amount. I’m leaning towards just the right amount. It’s not something that’s particularly sweet, it’s got a sort of dark flavour and it’s very autumny.
Obviously I’m trying a cup with a bit of milk too. Just enough to cover the bottom of this (admittedly pretty wide-bottomed) cup and the result is a bit of a disappointment. The flavours of the hazelnut and the chocolate are mildened by the milk to the point of almost disappearing.
It was good without milk. Not so much with. Lesson learned, although it’s come as rather a bit of a surprise for me!
HAH! It really IS an almond pandemic. :D Everybody’s drinking almond tea.
Backlogged ever so slightly. Got another one of these to go this afternoon when going home from work. I know I’m supposed to be in stingy-mode and I am really being careful about saving money, but I was allowed this partly to celebrate that I have all of next week off (yay holiday!) and because I had collected nine stamps so it was free anyway. :)
I made sure this time to get it without anything sprinkled, sprayed, dumped or whatever on top in the hopes that it wouldn’t be drowning in cinnamon. Turns out the extremely cinnamon-y flavour the last time wasn’t really because of all the cinnamon they put on top. It just IS very cinnamon-y. I could still pick up vanilla and sugar too, and I’m still uncertain about anise, cloves and cardamom. Now that I’m home I’ve been in the kitchen sniffing and tasting a few of my spices. Now I’m also thinking allspice, but again, not sure. The only thing I could tell for certain was that there was something sweet in it that wasn’t cinnamon-sweet, vanilla-sweet or sugar-sweet. I just can’t figure out what sort of sweetness it might have been.
Also, I briefly had an association to do with oranges. Like… I really thought I ought to be able to find orange, but couldn’t. Odd.
Still not really sold on this here chai-concept. But you can’t say I’m not giving it a chance.
Continuing on the almond pandemic we’ve had around the site lately, after I went to bed last night and just on the verge of sleeping, this combination popped into my head.
Usually I have noticed a trend of preferring green and white in my travel mug in the morning, but today I wanted to try this, so black it was.
I took half and half (just about) of Adagio’s Vanilla black tea and the black almond tea from my local shop, Den Lille Tebutik (they’ve changed their name since, though, due to having been sold, so now I’m debating whether or not to edit the teas I’ve logged from there).
It worked really well. The two flavours suited each other and the vanilla countered some of the enormous sweetness of the almond and making it less of a dessert tea. I really liked this combination and will have to see if aforementioned local shop have a vanilla tea so I can try to recreate it.
Wake up, self. Look alive. Have only just done barely 300 words on NaNoWriMo today. As previously mentioned work was particularly tiring today. I hate meetings, I do. I much prefer to just zombie about in the lab and get the daily specimens out of the way.
I need to get some more words down, just half an hour more of writing would be acceptable.
So we took a black one because blacks always feel like they have more caffeine in them (even if they don’t really) and I went for this one, because I felt like something flavoured. One of my extravagant Adagio teas. I wish I could afford to shop there regularly. (I’ve seen a cucumber(!!!) thing among others that I’m absolutely desperate to try!)
It’s sweet without actually being sweet-sweet. It sort of tastes like vanilla smells instead of tasting OF vanilla. Hard to explain, but I’ve found that I rather like it a lot.
I’m still carrying around some tentative chai-inspiration from the chai-cino experiment of the other day, so I’ve tried a cup with a bit of milk. Not a lot, just exactly enough to cover the bottom of the cup (mind you, my current cup have a fairly wide bottom (snicker) and it’s not really working. Possibly it should have had a bit more milk, because somehow it’s like the watery-ness of the tea is all the more obvious. I think it’s because of the colour. You expect something with milky viscosity and don’t get it. It’s odd and sort of distracts the mind so you forget to pay attention to the flavour.
So, closing my eyes and taking another sip. Weirdly, this actually does help on the viscosity issue! It’s all in your mind, apparently. I wouldn’t say the milk really brings the best out in the tea here. On the contrary, the milk seems to get a kind of semi-sour sort of note to it. You know like milk that hasn’t actually gone off but has lost the sweetness and has just started to taste of fridge. I have to say that I’m a little disappointed that it doesn’t work with milk. It sounds like something that would have been lovely with a bit of milk.
Backlogging. Still drinking this one at work. It was particularly good today after first a meeting with the other lab that are being moved in with us. That’s going to be interesting. The sort of thing that even though it’s super-frustrating while it’s happening, it would be a shame to miss out on, because it’ll be a great laugh afterwards. Right now, though, we’re looking at a heck of a lot of confusion.
And then that’s followed by another meeting to do with pay regulation and who’s turn it is to get an add-on and how the negotiations for that are conducted between the hospital management and the union spokespeople. Dry and complicated stuff and likely irrelevant to me, because I’m pretty sure I’m not getting anything this year. I got some last year, so it can’t be my turn again, even though my immediate leader has ‘nominated’ me. (Not that I’d complain, mind!) Very dry and complicated stuff, most of which went completely over my head.
All in all, getting back downstairs to my lunch and a big cup of this tea = heaven on earth. I still stand by my first review of this taste-wise. I just thought that the absolute relief it was to get it today was worth logging. Just for that alone.
Hyrulehippie inspired me and you can blame her for the fact that I’m logging my third tea today. Or maybe I should just change my name to Spamrboda instead.
Anyway, I’ve listed this one as black (because it is) and fruit because it’s not fruit but it’s not a plain black either. See my dilemma?
It’s very sweet with the almonds and it has big almond chunks in it. You can smell marzipan from miles away just when pouring the water on. This tea is totally a dessert tea and I really ought to wait and have it after I’ve eaten dinner. But it’s slow food tonight and I can’t wait that long!
Another tea I’ve never logged. WTF? I thought since it’s such a relatively long time since I shopped tea (and I mean really shopped through!) that I could have sworn all my loose had been logged at least once.
This is my reward for having written concentratedly for 15 minutes. NaNo wordcount total is now 9356 words. I’m ‘racing’ one of my writing buddies though, a fun little game we’ve had for years, and she was hot on my heels this morning. I was only 21 words ahead! O.o
Thank heavens for wednesdays! I’m part time employed so I have wednesdays off and although I was a bit annoyed at the position being a part time one when I started five years ago, I have come to love and cherish my wednesdays and I’m not going to ask for more hours until I’m forced.
Anyway, I’m taking (another) tea break. Double win when it’s a previously unlogged one. I ought to just drink it while doing another 15 minutes and let the review be the reward. But there’s a limit to how much discipline I can muster at any given moment.
It’s a good solid black, this, originally bought to drink at work, but I ended up bringing a different one instead. It has a nice reddish colour and not all that much in the way of aroma. It’s quite mild, almost fleeting and I had to sort of search for it. It’s nice once you find it though. A bit surprising in a black, I find.
Especially compared to the flavour. I brewed it a bit too strong. Wasn’t really paying attention to what I was doing when adding the leaves and used too many for the size of pot chosen. Which is weird, frankly, because this small one with the farm animals on it has been my preferred pot for quite a while. My head must have been full of witches and caves and wordcounts and such while preparing. Anyway, it turned a bit bitter because of the strength but underneath it there is a lot of that thing which I have finally learned to recognise as ‘astringency’. Although, with the lab work in my background, the word still have some completely weird associations for me.
It’s a shame I used too many leaves, because it’s really pretty much all I can taste in this batch. I’m giving it a higher rating though, because I know from previous experience that if one pays attention to what one is doing, it’s better than this.
I’m in a green mood this morning. A lot of healthy stuff comes in the shade of green. That’s why call them greens. :)
I was originally amused by this one. I’d never seen a genmaicha before where puffed rice were all coloured green. I thought it looked hilarious, but figured it might have been done for the decorational value. Next, it surprised me by being very sensitive to steeping. If you brew with the leaves floating loose in the pot like I do, it MUST be decanted after steeping, because it will turn ridiculously bitter if left to its own devices.
Over on LJ, though, a resourceful person known as Iguanahey looked into it a bit and found that it was actually a variation of Genmaicha called ‘Uji Genmaicha’, in which a measure of matcha was added to the usual mix of sencha and rice. This would explain the mildness of flavour and the sensitivity to steeping.
I think I prefer the ‘usual’ Genmaicha that I had before, but this is really really nice too, and I’m dreading running out.
I think I should have let the water cool a bit more before brewing today. The rice of course have a toasted flavour, but it seems a bit more burned than usual this morning. Eh well. That’s what you get when you don’t have a thermometer and go by gut (and memory. Many’s the time where I’ve had to boil new water because I’d forgotten the kettle and it had gone way too cold) when brewing green and white.
Also backlogged. This is what I had this afternoon with the boyfriend. You may regard the following post as a collaboration.
Apparently these bags are getting a wee bit on in age, most likely, and haven’t been stored all that strictly according to what is best for the tea.
I could definitely pick up a citrus-y flavour, although it reminded me a bit more of lemon than of anything else. Something acidic, definitely, thought the boyfriend. We settled on citric acid.
The tea itself was rather bland. After a short while when it had developed a bit, read: steeped a little bit longer, it developed a little more character although not very much.
It did bring on the question of ‘astringency’, though. WTF is that? I’ve searched high and low for a proper easily understandable explanation of what this is supposed to taste like. I know it’s one of them ‘official technical terms’, but it has just never ever been a word that I have associated with any sort of flavour.
On the contrary, I work in a hospital lab, and when we talk about ‘stringency’ it has something to do with the environtment in which a given test is conducted being EXACTLY identical each time. Temperature and reaction times and such things. ‘Astringency’ sounds like the opposite of this and in the lab it wouldn’t really be all that good. It’s just the first thought that pops into my head, and it’s really confusing when talking flavour.
Hence, it’s really difficult for me to wrap my head around it not only being a sort of flavour, but also something good. I know that it has something to do with how tannins affect the mucus membranes of the tongue and such. But still.
Anyway, to make a short story long, we decided that this particular sensation that we found in it must be what people meant when they talked about astringency. I described it as something that could be mistaken for bitterness and the boyfriend, apparently having more imagination than me, said slightly like soap but not. After some consideration the soap was the conclusion we went with.
And then the boyfriend said he would award it 3 out of 5 chainsaws, which I thought on a 1-100 scale would translate to 60. And then he haggled me up to 65 on the grounds that chainsaws are cooler.
(It may take a couple of tries to make the slider hit 65 exactly. Bear with me if I have to edit a few times.)