1114 Tasting Notes
I have guilt squared! Just dropped the kitties off at the animal hospital for spaying, ear tatooing and vaccination. Luna was looking at me as I left, betrayal painted across her little face. Will be picking them up again between 2 and 3 o’clock this afternoon and we’ll see if they hate me horribly then. In the meantime I must have something to soothe my frazzled nerves.
This is the last of the three I ordered from J&J, the three in my cupboard from them that I have left to try are the three free samples they included. I’m not sure why I bought this one, actually, given my reservations towards the Grey family. I think it’s some sort of thing where that’s a kind of tea that I have decided that I would like to like, so I can’t quite get myself to completely ignore it. The straight up Earl Greys are not the problem. It’s the variations that attract me. This one, I think, had me at ‘Girlie’.
Now the aroma of the leaves does indeed very much resemble the description by J&J, as ‘a boudoir in a cup’. I can easily pick out the bergamot, and lemon is not hard to find either, given the huge chunks of dried lemon in the leaves. And not just lemon peel as has been seen before by other companies. This is the first time I’ve actually seen actual dried lemon pieces in tea leaves. Peel and fruit bits and all!
Secondly there is vanilla and rosebuds, giving the aroma a sweet and floral aspect respectively. These two are what actually provides the majority of the girlie quality for me. It doesn’t smell quite pink, but we’re definitely in the lightly purple area here.
All in all, the aroma is quite pleasant, if a bit heady.
The flavour is very smooth and citrus-y. The vanilla is giving it all a creamy sort of feel to it and the bergamot is not too strong. It’s very clearly present, but it’s not overwhelming and it seems quite fresh and crispy. I think it’s the lemon that’s giving it that lift. It seems to me that I have a tendency to enjoy the Grey family more in general if there is either smoke or lemon involved. Perhaps one of these days I should try to make myself a classic EG with a slice of lemon in the cup.
I’m not sure what the rosebuds do here. I can definitely find some floral notes in the tea, but that might as well just be bergamot top notes. I can’t tell one kind of floral from another, so I can’t be certain of this at all. I choose to believe it comes from the rosebuds in this case.
This is a tea with a whole lot of stuff going on in it. Bergamot AND lemon AND vanilla AND floral rosebuds. It’s a very busy cup, which I find somewhat confusing to drink. It’s hard to get a proper grasp on the flavour as a whole, I think.
On the other hand, if it didn’t have so much going on in it, I’m not sure I would have cared for it much. A lot of these things are things I normally wouldn’t care much for but here are evening each other out in a pleasant way.
I think I will rather enjoy this tin. I’m not sure I’ll buy more of it after it’s gone though.
Oxford. I always get associations to something rather posh when I think ‘Oxford’. Same with Cambridge really, but having actually been in Cambridge, these days my associations with Cambridge have more to do with excessive book shopping to be honest.
Anyway, the tea smells rather posh too, and although the chap on the tin is definitely Oxford-y, he looks rather too mischievous to be associated with this sort of posh smelling tea.
The tea is blended of Assam and Keemun, and I have to say they’re pulling it off extremely well. I can easily pick out both flavour profiles. The high, slightly astringent notes of Assam, with semi-cardboard flavour and raisin notes and the grainy undertones of Keemun providing the body, with floral flower-y notes and smoothness.
It’s really a very pleasant blend this, well suited both for mornings and afternoons, and I suspect if you were a milk-in-tea-er, it would carry milk nicely as well.
My first order from Jeeves and Jericho has arrived and it’s full of goodies. I ordered three tins of tea and a strainer shaped like a leaf.
I have received three tins of tea, a strainer shaped like a leaf, three samples of tea, a plastic measuring spoon, a button with their logo and a postcard.
The leaves have a lovely smoky aroma, which I could smell as soon as I got the lid off the tin. Smoky and wood-y and remarkably sweet. Like dark, dark caramel. Not just dark, but daaaaaaaaaaaaaahrk!
After steeping it’s almost the same, although the wood-y parts of the aroma has been rather turned down. Now it’s mostly smoky and dark, dark caramel. I can detect something vaguely floral now as well.
All this bodes quite well for the flavour, I should say.
Surprisingly, the first sip is Darjeeling. Forcefully so. Some of you may remember I had the Samovar blend from Kusmi, which I suspected of containing Darjeeling. I can’t remember, though, if it was merely a suspicion or if it was confirmed to have Darjeeling in it, and to be honest I can’t be bothered to look it up now. (I think it was confirmed) This tea reminds me of that blend, mainly because of that very bright initial meeting with Darjeeling in the flavour.
With the Samovar blend, I was mildly sceptical at first, but it really did grow on me, so in spite of my usual misgivings about Darjeeling in general, I am not concerned. Besides, I did know from the beginning that it would contain Darjeeling. But you see it also contains Lapsang Souchong. And LS trumps all!
Anyway, we have established that it reminds me of the Kusmi Samovar blend. First sip, Darjeeling. Bright and cheerful, bouncing up to say hello to the tastebuds. Slightly grassy and slightly spicy, but not offensively so. Hello to you too, Darjeeling.
Second sip is larger and contains more smoky notes than the first, but also more Darjeeling. That Darjeeling creature really is all over the place in this blend. It’s like a little over-eager dog who’s trying to greet every single family member simultaneously and so is bouncing up and down and around, very nearly actually succeeding in being in five places at the same time.
Let’s ignore the unruly Darjeeling for a moment though, and maybe it will calm down and behave itself.
There’s a grainy note as well here and something floral, which tells me the Keemun is present and accounted for. It’s very subtle though, and easy to overlook if one doesn’t pay attention or if one is overwhelmed by aforementioned Darjeeling. I could very much have wished for this aspect to be stronger.
I should have liked the LS and the smoke to stand out a bit more as well. As smoky blends go, this one is pretty mild. A beginner’s smoky blend perhaps. (I shan’t say a ‘girly kind of smoky’, although it was the first thing that popped into my head.)
Last night we had Italians for dinner. As in, a colleague of the boyfriend’s and his wife, not actually for dinner.
The menfolk having that icky fermented grain beverage, Mrs. Italian was interested in trying this tea, which suited me fine because I’m not that keen on it myself so it was a good way to use some leaf. Actually, when I asked her what sort of tea she would like, she answered ‘something spicy’ and I suggested this one to her. In truth, I think it’s actually the only real spicy tea I’ve got. I don’t really do spices in tea.
Anyway, I made her a big pot of it so she could top up if she wished, and it got me rid of a large amount of leaf. I have to admit though, that I forgot to ask her what she thought of it, but she didn’t look like she found it unpleasant, so I’m going to assume that she did like it.
From Ricky again.
This is quite pleasant, but frankly I’m not super blown away by it. It’s smooth and soft, somewhat buttery and there is a hint of apple in the flavour along with a whole lot of floral-ness.
It’s a pleasant cup to have while reading, but it’s not one that sends me into throes of ecstacy or invites long moments of contemplation.
(I know I haven’t been around much lately, and lurking when I have. I’ve got a new stack of books and am also terribly distracted elsewhere on the internets for the time being. I shall return as soon as possible to my usual patterns)
Another tea from the Steepster Select August box that dear Ricky sponsored for me.
I was in the mood for this. I’m not sure why, I just was. It’s weird because I’m not actually a Darjeeling fan at all. I tend to find the grassy, spicy notes rather too prickly and sharp. I used to really appreciate it, but things change.
But today this was really nice. Of course I do have that sour aftertaste now which is making me contemplate what tea to have next to make it go away with, but otherwise it just really hit the spot. Possibly because it wasn’t really all that offensively strong on those aforementioned prickly sharp notes of grass and spice.
Election day. I have been to cast my vote, fingers crossed for the result I’m hoping for.
I didn’t really have anything in the collection which I thought fitted with the whole election theme, so I picked one which could sort of represent the result I’m hoping for.
If you can work out how this tea does this, good for you. If not, I’m not likely to tell yet, although there may be a reaction to the result later on. (I try to keep these things strictly to myself, but you see, I’m just not very good at it.)
A short post, as it’s before dinner tea. In dry form it smells rather like Kusmi’s smoky Earl Grey, but with spices in it. After steeping it’s still the smoky EG, but not as spicy. More sort of slightly sugary sweet, and then a little spice underneath.
Taste wise, it’s still the smoky EG with spices. It’s not very heavy on the bergamot, which I approve of, and it’s got a heatlhy amount of smoke in it, which I also approve of. And then the spices just adds a little touch of the unexpected. A little exotic pinch. A bit of hey-where-did-that-come-from? It leaves a very slight burn on the tongue, as if I’ve just had something with a pinch of chili in it.
Quite nice. I’m glad I was recommended this one. It scores pretty high and would be a competitor to aforementioned Smoky EG from Kusmi. Wether I prefer one over the other, though, or they are more or less interchangable, I haven’t yet decided.
My Shui Tea order arrived today. It’s my first experience with that company so it’s rather exciting. The closest I’ve come to them before is having their Moscow After Hours recommended to me. (Yes, I also bought some of that. It was my primary reason for placing an order, as a matter of fact. This one was the bonus) So I was adding them to my cupboard, on two different tabs because Steepster is a slow-poke, and when I came back later to see if they had been added, Steepster had opened a post window on this one. Well, that decides which one to try out first, then, doesn’t it?
There was one small detail, by the way, when I opened the envelope and checked the contents. I really rather liked the personal touch of the handwritten in blue pen “I hope you will enjoy this. Cheers, Jim.” on the packing slip. (Jim being the founder of the company) I’m aware that he probably does that routinely to all his customers, but it does rather make a person feel like a Very Special Customer.
Secondly, on a more amusing note, the two pouches I had bought came wrapped in a piece of silk paper, which had taken on some of the aroma of the two pouches. Apparently that is super-interesting smell if you’re a cat. I had to take it away from them as I didn’t really fancy sweeping up microscopic shreds of paper from all over the lounge…
The dry leaves smells very fruity. I can detect both kiwi and pear in it, but I can’t for the life of my decide which one I think it smells most like. Kiwi, I think. No, pear. No wait, kiwi. After steeping it’s the exact same problem. Kiwi, but pear, but kiwi, but pear. A pear-y kiwi. Or possibly a kiwi-y pear. It’s like whole new fruit really. The tangy, stabby, sharp notes of the kiwi and the rounded, juicy, soft flavour of the pears. (I’m thinking those big yellow pears here, the ones that you have to eat quickly or you’ll have torrents of juice running down your arms. Impossible to eat in a civilised manner)
Oh my word, this is rather nice! I’ve had a similar flavoured white before, although that one was kiwi and strawberry, and I remember being concerned about the fruit flavouring overwhelming the delicate white tea. I can’t actually remember what I thought of that one at the time, only that I needn’t have worried. Neither is there any need for worry with this one.
In the flavour I’m finding primarily pear and then the kiwi tangyness on tops and edges, framing the flavour. Underneath all that there is still the unadulterated nuttyness of the white leaves. And you know something, Steepsterites? These flavours and this tea, they suit each other so wonderfully.
I’m glad I bought some of this, only if it’s only a sample. A large sample, but still a sample. I can see myself coming back for more of this.
Gosh. We have fleas. Or rather the kittens have fleas. Not many, I think, but I have seen a number of live ones. Killed them on sight, of course, but the thing about fleas is they jump. And when they’ve jumped, they’re gone.
Have therefore been on a super-detailed hoovering mission in the lounge and in my room. When the boyfriend comes home, he will find himself nagged into doing his room as well. Under the furniture. Not just around it. Every nook and cranny and all the cracks between the floor boards. Kittens acted kind of like if getting rid of them involved that sort of racket for hours on end, they would rather prefer the fleas, thank you.
I’ll do the rest of the house tomorrow and am considering a second dose of Frontline even if it hasn’t been four weeks yet since the last one…
I’m knackered now. What better in this situation than a tea that says GRAWRRRRR!!!!
I have even deliberately steeped it twice as long as I normally would have, and it does indeed both roar and growl.
Funnily enough, getting twice the steep has made it change character altoghether. Where’s the hay? Yunnans always taste heavily of hay, so why is the hay suddenly missing?
It’s drier now, more wood-y than hay-y, and it reminds me a bit of dark chocolate and not-too-strong coffee. It has never done that before. I think I quite prefer it this way.
(I’ll trade you all the fleas we’ve got for one piece of dark chocolate.)