1298 Tasting Notes
I finally got around to this one, and it’s just as well, because it’s taking up a lot of space on my desk. I’ve taken to keeping the teas I haven’t posted about yet on my desk next to the computer so that they don’t disappear in the collection or end up like the four red fruits black from Le Palais des Thes which we’ve gone through 200 grams of and I never actually posted about it. I thought I already had!
So yes. New system. This system keeps them in full view at all times, and encourages me to get to them faster so that I can get my desk back!
This one is from the Verdant order I made some time ago and had been standing there un-opened, taking up a lot of space. I usually have pretty good experiences with Dancong and tend to find them very similar to Da Hong Pao, but somehow more me.
I suspect this is one I’ll be drinking throughout the day today. It’s wednesday, which means I’m off work (oh I luuuuurrrrve working part time!) and I’ve got a to-do list the length of my leg. Well, nearly. Two pages anyway, with half the usual margins and slightly smaller font size. 116 items. Many of them are tiny things that will take maybe five minutes but which I’ll forget to do otherwise so that’s why it’s so long. This approach worked out awesomely for me last week with nearly 80% completion and Husband commenting on the all-round tidyness of the house when he came home, so I’m repeating the success. So here we go. A tea that can be repeated easily throughout the day.
To that end I started out with twice my normal amount of leaf and half my normal steeping time, and the result is something that smells remarkably like honey. And milk, somehow. Or at least sort of creamy. The aroma isn’t very strong, so that’s all I can pick up at this point.
It tastes like Dancong. That’s my first thought when I tasted it. Tastes like Dancong. Um, right. I should sincerely hope it would! O.o And also like oolong. (Duh, brain. Pull yourself together with the associations, please!) That sort of dark, slightly woodsy and kind of humid oolong-y taste that all oolongs must have. If they don’t, it’s a serious flaw for me.
I also like my darker type oolongs to have a sort of caramel-y note. Not outright caramel flavoured, because for some reason I can’t actually imagine that would work, but a natural swet and creamy note that invokes caramel. This is not a requirement in the same way that the oolongness is, but I do prefer it.
Third, it must not be too floral in flavour, and this is where Dancong and Da Hong Pao part ways for me. Da Hong Pao has a tendency to be more floral for me than Dancong. This is not always so, but it seems to be a tendency.
This one has the oolongness and the honey-y, caramel-y creaminess and none of the floralness that I could find. The flavour is somewhat delicate though, and I suspect I could actually easily have left my steeping time at my usual two minutes, even though I had used more leaf. I didn’t really take the volume of the leaf properly into account when I thought I doubled it, so I suspect that I actually used close to my normal amount although it looked like a lot.
Mind you, this is very nice, but do hope that I can bring some forcefulness out in the flavour in the next steeps.
The second steep is back to my normal steeping time. The flavour is the same as the first steep, only stronger this time. All the notes are there and in the same amounts compared to each other. They’re just less delicate now. This is what I hoped would happen.
I’ll take a break with it now and leave the computer before this hospital e-learning course drives me completely batty! It’s mandatory and involves watching a little film which I have now restarted more times than I can count because it just won’t play right. I officially give up! throws up hands
This one came from Auggy and one of the last ones I’ve got left untried from her massive parcel.
I’ve only had milk oolong a few times before and have never quite been certain what to make of it. I’ve liked it, but I have never fallen head over heels for it like so many other people seem to have. Two, I think I’ve tried, and mind you, I have not even the first clue about whether either of those two were actually flavoured with steamed milk (I think that’s how it’s done?) or with the milky note naturally occuring and I don’t know which this one is either. It’s possible that the difference between these two types may mean a rather large difference in the head over heels department.
This one tastes primarily green oolong-y. At first when I just made it, there was lots of milky aroma and the first few sips had lots of it in the flavour as well.
Now that it has sat here and cooled slightly and developed a bit, the milky note has been pushed rather to the back. It is now there in the aftertaste and peeking out here and there in the actual sip, but not really able to get a word in edgewise.
So what I’ve got left seems like it could have been almost any sort of green oolong, just not counting the aftertaste. Somewhat vegetal and slightly sharp, it reminds me of dark, leafy greens, and with a very strong oolong-y wood-y touch to it.
Because I know it’s a milk oolong, I can pick up on the milk in the aftertaste and in between here and there, but if I hadn’t known anything about that, I wouldn’t have been able to guess. And do you know what? I almost think I prefer it that way. Milk oolong in general sounds like something that I might find a bit cloying if overdone and I definitely like this one better than the first one I ever had. I remember that one primarily because both the smell and the flavour of it gave me associations of warm yoghurt. (I’m fairly certain that one had been made with the steamed milk, actually)
It’s been too long since I’ve had a regular green oolong, so I can’t actually tell if I like this better than green oolong in general or the other way around. I’ll have to have a regular soon, but right now I’m finding this one rather enjoyable and not at all what I had thought I would get.
Dear foreigners! Have you ever had elderberry soup or is that a German and Scandinavian thing only? When I saw that I could by dried elderberries to use as a tisane, elderberry soup was the first thing that popped into my head. Elderberry soup is a treat for dessert in autumn, I think. Piping hot, and possibly with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream. Clearly then I had to try this.
That combined with the fact that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen elderberries (or elderflowers for that matter) in conjunktion with tea or tisanes. I don’t know why it’s so rare.
So obviously I had to try this. I really very much had to try it.
I went in to ask Husband if he also wanted to try a cup and he gave me a thumbs up sign before I had the chance to tell him what it even was. So we shall see where that bit of bravery will take him. Or foolhardyness, possibly. We shall see.
The berries are just berries. No leaves, no additives, no nothing. Just berries. They smell a bit like dried cranberries, actually, but then again elderberries do have that same sort of tartness to them.
After having been steeped, the aroma is elderberry soup alright, although it’s obviously not as viscous as the soup. It’s not quite as violently purple either which I have to admit came as a slight disappointment to me. Half the fun of elderberry soup is eating something with that colour.
The flavour is much milder than the soup too. I admit I was a bit worried, because if it was as strong as in the soup, it might get to be a bit much pretty quickly. I like the soup as an occasional treat, as mentioned, but I can only eat so much of it at the time before it gets to be too much.
I don’t think there’s any danger of that with this tisane. It’s quite mild and pleasant. Fruity, slightly tart and kind of semi-earthy in flavour.
You know, I really don’t understand why this berry doesn’t get used in flavouring tea! To me a strong flavoured berry like this seems totally obvious to flavour things with. With the amount of flavouring that comes out of these dried berries alone, however, it should be totally easy to make my own. Any otherwise dull tea should be spruced up considerably but adding a spoonful of these to the leaf. Elderberry soup usually has apple in it as well, so an apple flavoured tea without probably be awesome to use as well.
I’m not sure I would buy these again, just to drink them on their own like this, but I could totally see myself buying a small stock to experiment with mixing in other teas.
Husband, bizarrely, thinks it tastes like tomato soup. I don’t know, Steepsterites… Tomatoes??? O.o I can’t even!
This is my third green tea in, oh, about a week I think! It all started that day when I suddenly had this green tea craving. It’s a whole little phase with me, I think. I wonder how long it’s going to continue, because it’s a peculiar time of year to develop such a phase.
Still, I don’t mind. I would like to be more of a green tea drinker, but it’s just more than reasonably difficult to find any that can truly compete with my love for the black tea types.
But, here is another one! This one I got as a sample from Chaplon with my recent order and I initially chose it because I thought it was an Indian green tea flavoured with lemon. I didn’t actually bother with reading the description until now, because it turns out that it’s a blend of Sencha and Chun Mee flavoured with lemon oil from a variety of lemon called Indian Lemon.
Aha. Learn every day and all that jazz.
The dry leaf smelled mostly lemon juice-y and after brewing there is something along the lemon note which must be the base tea. It’s just coming across as sort of spicy. Kind of pepper-y, bizarre as that may sound. There are also the more standard sort of green tea notes, the vegetal leafyness, but mostly it’s lemon and this funny sort of spicy sub-note.
The flavour is not as fresh and perky as I had expected. It doesn’t give me that sort of ‘Ooooh refreshment!’ spike of tartness and summer that lemon normally gives me. I think this is caused by the blended base. Had the base been a single tea, it would have been a sharper flavour, I think. As it’s a blend of two on their own already pretty flavourful teas, the base has become far broader and has much more presence. It seems to cover many more flavour points than any single tea of each type could, and somehow manages not to make a mess of it. And stretched over this whole thing, is a fairly strong lemon.
And it is a strong lemon. This lemon reminds of those really cheap Earl Greys, where the bergamot has been stretched with lemon flavour. It’s actually very close that same flavour, only here it’s much better than in something pretending to be Earl Grey exactly because it’s not claiming to be an Earl Grey.
As a flavoured green tea, this is very nice, and I suspect Husband might enjoy this one. I have used half my sample for this cup and will make sure to share the other half with him.
As something to take care of these green tea cravings, however, it’s not really working. It just seems like an entirely different beast than a clean, single-type green tea.
Damn and blast! My post disappeared! That stuff never happens to me. That’ll teach me not to write in a different place and copy/paste like I normally do.
Anyway, the gist of it is the following,
-My nose and tastebuds are still broken. Or re-broken, as they worked briefly.
-I am touching base with familiar favourites and reacquainting myself.
-Still have a cold to some degree, but do not feel otherwise ill, so it’s tolerable.
-I am getting ready for NaNoWriMo, and would like to hear from the people going by Butchcraft and Nephele on nanowrimo.org so that they can tell me who they are, as they don’t appear to have ever been added to my inter-site spreadsheet and I’m sure I must know them from somewhere. So if they see this, could they please contact me?
So I was just sitting here quietly, recuperating after a weekend with my parents and little to no choice when it comes to tea. Two kinds, Steepsterites. TWO KINDS! That’s like… nothing! At least it’s good stuff, because it’s AC Perch’s own bags with real leaf inside that I bought for my Mum for Christmas once (and now seem to be drinking for her, because she sticks to her cheap stuff and saves these for me. headdesk ) So anyway, I was sitting here, minding my own business when suddenly,
I was hit by an unusual, but strong craving for green tea. A craving that meant serious business!
Nothing for it but to comply, then. I remembered that Autumn_Hearth sent me a number of green teas that I never finished sampling, so I thought dipping into those would be an excellent thing to do under these circumstances. I chose this one because I made a pot to share with Husband and the amount of leaf was Just Right for this purpose.
Bear in mind now, though, that my nose appears to be wanting to close up again so my sense of smell and taste may be ever so slightly off. Also the fact that I just ate a Fisherman’s Friend… Yeah. Ultra-good circumstances to try something new in, yes?!
I don’t usually bother much with the description of the colour of the tea, because tea is tea-coloured and I wind up repeating myself a lot if I do. So for me, that’s a fairly irrelevant bit of information unless something really strikes me about it, like it’s unusually dark for the type, or if it reminds me of something or if it’s, I don’t know, blue or something. Okay, maybe not blue, but you get my point. Unusualness.
This one struck me as being exactly the same colour as a gooseberry when I first poured the water on. I have to admit that I’m disappointed that it didn’t retain this colour all the way through, but I wasn’t really expecting it either.
What little I’m capable of smelling is totally floral. I’m not one of those people who can really tell the scent of different flowers apart, so either stuff is floral or it isn’t. This particular one, however, reminds me of lavender just off the top of my head, so I’m going to call it a lavender note.
That’s all I can find in my present state, though. I’m sure there must be more to it, but my nasal mucus membranes are not currently interested in participating in the experience.
Based on this, I fully expected something with a strong floral flavour, and what I actually got was a surprise. It doesn’t taste floral at all. Not even slightly.
There’s something vegetal going on here, which strikes me as borderline spinach-y, and then there’s something behind it that seems kind of salty.
Salty? O.o How absurd. I know other people have consistently found salty notes before, but I’ve never in my life really been able to pick that particular one out. It has always struck me as a pretty bizarre note to have in green tea, but I’m definitely getting it here. And I say again, O.o
I sincerely doubt I’m getting the full picture here, my health situation being what it is (I really thought I was finished having a cold! Why is it coming back?), but what little aspects I am able to taste here are very pleasant and definitely hitting that green craving spot.
I think Husband is enjoying it as well. He finished his off before me and accepted seconds. This wouldn’t happen if he didn’t like it.
I had a sample tin of this two years ago, in that Russian Blends sample sets, and back then I rather liked this one. But I finished the sample and didn’t pay any further attention to it.
Untill recently when it suddenly got inside my head that I wanted it again. I mean I wanted it! So after going around for a while with that want in the back of my head, just to see if it would stick around or go away or what, I finally decided that it was staying and not just a passing thought.
So I bought me a tin.
Drinking this now is like meeting up with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time. Everything I said in those posts of a few years ago still stands.