1323 Tasting Notes
I have received the experimental samples from Peony Tea S! You know, the offer for people outside of the US to test the shipping procedure. Three things I got, and this one was the only one I asked for. For the other two I just said which types I’m not usually very keen on and let Derek Chew pick something out for me. I suspect he may have been looking at my previous posts on Steepster, and my general likes and dislikes. One is a Dancong, which is a type I’ve had very good experiences with recently and the other is a Wuyi Sacred Lily, which is something I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted before. I’m almost always up for something new. Especially something new coming from Fujian, om nom nom!
Now I’m just waiting for the two orders of the First Wave of Post-Wedding Shopping to arrive. A massive one from TeaSpring which I would be surprised if it didn’t result in a customs fee and a smaller one from a Danish tea shop I haven’t tried before. There’s a 100g of Panyong in the latter. If it’s even remotely as lovely as my beloved Tan Yang Te Ji, then I shall definitely return to that shop. Again and again and again. My debitcard will thank me for keeping the Te Ji as a special occasions kind of tea.
Anyway, that was a tangent. THIS one came to me for absolutely free because of Peony Tea S’ very friendly offer. (Customs people opened the box and apparently 150g total of tea does not land me with extra customs fees. Explain then the time I had to pay fees on a similar amount from 52teas! Anyway. That’s also a tangent.)
As mentioned this is one I had requested, because a) I would never say no to a Lapsang. b) I would never say no to a Fujian black of any sort, really. c) I have never had an unsmoked LS before.
This is a whole new territory for me. How exciting!
Now, you may or may not remember me having talked about the Perfect LS before, about how it must be smoky, not too much and not too little, and how it must have a robust, fruity-sweet substance to it underneath the smoke, so that it does not just become something akin to standing in a smoke-filled room with a mouth full of water. That is my Perfect LS.
Therefore, I am expecting from this one a lot of the robust, fruity-sweet substance, and perhaps something along the lines of floweryness or pseudo-smoke like in Keemuns.
The leaves certainly smell like I expected. They are fruit-y sweet and with a strong aroma. There’s something vaguely floral about it as well, and I am very pleased to say that it also has a lot of that special Fujian cocoa-y note. It smells quite similar to Tan Yang.
That’s a good start!
The similarity doesn’t end there, and the brewed cup also smells somewhat Tan Yang-y. It’s a bit grain-y now and still with the cocoa note to it, but with the fruity sweetness of the LS. I have never experienced these notes this clearly before, they’ve always been masked by smoke.
PTS describes the flavour as ‘fruity, light with a sweet aftertaste’. I agree, although I find it cocoa-y as well as fruity. There is fruit there. My brain thinks of fresh figs, which is odd, because I don’t actually like figs and I’ve never been able to tell what they taste like apart from ‘unpleasant’. Like my tongue just concluded they were no good and refused to finish tasting them. Apparently I like them as a naturally occuring note in tea. (I’ve had a fig flavoured oolong once. It was… not for me, really)
A flash of lightly prickly pseudo-smoke at first, like in Keemun, then the brief appearance by cocoa, and finally we slide into a long fruity note and aftertaste. Again, very reminiscent of Tan Yang, but a little drier. Not particularly astringent, mind. Just… drier. (Synesthesia report, dark, dull-y grey, like something black and shiny which has not been dusted for a while.) Not as smooth as I had expected, but then no Lapsang has ever been smooth, really. Smooth under the smoke, perhaps, but I can’t claim to say that smoke is a smooth note in itself. This just goes to show that it’s not only the smoking process that makes an LS prickly.
I find myself reluctant to share this one with my husband. My brain says it’s because I’m not sure he would enjoy that overall dryness much (he hasn’t in the past), but my heart suspects it’s because I want it for myself.
Until recently I had never even heard of unsmoked LS before. I wouldn’t even have been able to imagine such a thing. Now? This is definitely a type that deserves a lot more attention. And it is a type to itself. It feels like a completely different beast than your regular smoked LS. This stuff? Really very lovely.
So, if you don’t care for Lapsang Souchong because of the smoke, don’t let that scare you away from an unsmoked LS.
Huh, I thought I had posted about this…
I’ve definitely had it before.
Anyway, as many of you may already know, I don’t actually care much for Darjeeling. I find it too finicky to brew and too prickly and grassy in flavour. I honestly don’t understand all the Darj. hype. I can only imagine that once upon a time somebody somewhere did some excellent marketing.
So when I was given 100g of this along with 100g of EG (sigh), it was accepted with as sincere a smile as I could muster and a secret thought that it would be exclusively for the husband, as he doesn’t dislike it as much as I do.
For the sake of thoroughness and openmindedness and what have you, I did try a cup of it though. This is the one I thought I had posted about, but apparently hadn’t. I wouldn’t say I particularly enjoyed it, but it wasn’t totally offensive either. I think I would say it was probably worth around 70-75 points, and drinkable. The things that I dislike about Darjeeling weren’t standing out so much.
This may be a question of leaf quality. The bag has no information on it at all regarding origin, so I assume we’re talking about a blend of several estates. This also makes me suspect that it’s a somewhat lower leaf quality than the FFs Darj-lovers happily shell out small fortunes for every year. The bag doesn’t even have any information regarding leaf grading on it.
So hot, it turned out surprisingly drinkable.
On a whim I tried putting some in the fridge for a cold brew last night and I have tasted the result this morning. It’s quite weak in flavour with a smidge of that prickly grassyness that I associate with Darj and don’t much care for. However, in a cold brew it doesn’t seem to bother me as much, probably because the flavour of the tea itself is so very, very delicate.
I wouldn’t say it was like drinking a glass of cold brewed tea really. It doesn’t really taste like something that is easily identified as tea unless you know about it. It’s more like drinking a glass of cold water with just a little bit of flavouring to it to make it interesting to drink. Not very different from how you can make a jug of ice water more intersting and refreshing to drink by tossing in a slice of lemon.
We finally have summer around these parts! (Said the woman who has been out of the country for a fortnight. But it’s a small jump from England to Denmark, and we often have the same general sort of wheather.)
This is not something I would usually think very suitable for a morning cup, but today it’s warm and I’ve slept super comfortably in my own bed with my own pillow and with the fan turned on! I wanted something… fresher than the usual black or occasional dark, roasted oolong. I figured this was a good choice.
Also, the husband (omg I can write that now!) isn’t up yet. He’s definitely sleeping in this morning, so I didn’t have to think about what he wanted to drink.
Awwww, you guys…
Thank you so much everybody! I’ve tried to keep up with comments on my posts while we were away, but it wasn’t untill the last week or so (out of two) that I got around to tackling the recents page. (I had to go back 60 pages!!! O.o Damn me, for being unable to make do with the dashboard and greedy enough to wade through all posted!) As mentioned wifi at our B&B was a bit… dodgy, and I didn’t really want to clock up more roaming charges than I absolutely had to.
So yeah, I’ve seen all your comments and thank you very much for them. I’ll see about some proper replies once I work out where to even start, there are so many!
There should hopefully be a complete trip report up at LJ soonishly with photos and whatnot in it. I’ve been carefully writing down what happened each day.
Honeymoon is nearly over and we are leaving Norwich after breakfast. I’ve ticked a few more of those Very English things off my list such as fish’n’chips and brown sauce with breakfast sausages. Also banoffee pie and a large number of J2O flavours.
Most importantly though, THIS was as close as I got to a real proper cream tea. I could have had it. I was supposed to have it. But I’d had a large lunch and I don’t know if you are aware of this.steepsterites but cream tea involves an awful lot of food. There are little sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and cakes, and I just couldnt eat all that without bursting, so we went for just tea and cake instead.
So clotted cream and cucumber sandwiches are still unticked but i saw someone else having it so I was definitely close.
I hope you all have been behaving yourselves in my absence. It was the plan to try and keep up womewhat with the phone but the B&B wi-fi is dreadfully slow.
This. This was my first cup of tea as a married woman. No, it wasn’t actually, but it was the first cup of tea that I knew what was. The other was pre-brewed at the restaurant and didn’t come with any identification. It was nice though.
But this? This was had in our hotel suite while we had a bit of a break before moving on to the next restaurant.
I’m not going to go into a deep analysis of it, other than to say that it, and the last half of the cup especially, was pretty dire. The now Mr Ang, who has the regular teabag version everyday, also felt that this… stuff was sub-par.
The wedding in general, though, went swimmingly, and you can see a picture here https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/b5FCJK6KIyQ0doQ8zn5eCr_V8Y8A_9IgxTPLskMdTM0?feat=directlink
We had a good time at both the actual celebration with buffet lunch at the first restaurant and with the travelling guests in the second restaurant for dinner (where the owner presented us with a bonus present in the shape of a nice painting)
This is definitely not a brewing system that will catch on in our house.
I would just like to point out that I’m not actually around at this point. Well, I’ll probably pop in for a bit here and there, but not properly. I likely won’t be again until in a couple of weeks time when we have returned from our honeymoon.
Only two sleeps now! Best man and his girlfriend have arrived safely from the UK and we have fed them dinner this evening. We had also bought them dessert, but as it had to thaw out and we forgot, they didn’t get any. So we’ve shown them where we live and how to get here so they can get here bright and early on Saturday morning. He will be going with the boyfriend into town while I’m at the hairdressers (we think) and she will be helping me into my dress and then going into town with me.
They brought us two pouches of Whittard of Chelsea as a present, this one and a first flush Darjeeling (which annoyingly doesn’t state the estate on it, so I just put it under a generic Darjeeling already in the system). sigh Well, they weren’t to know that both of these are pretty much non-hits with me. Particularly the Darj, which I’ll try, but it will probably be one mostly for the boyfriend.
Anyway, they just went back to their hotel about twenty-ish minutes ago, so I put the kettle on so we could try one of these new ones before going to bed. The EG was requested, so that’s where we’ll start.
As I was spooning out the leaf I noticed a fair bit of aroma. At that distance from my nose, it was suprisingly sweet and it reminded me rather of that Girlie Grey I had from Jeeves and Jericho some time ago. TeaEqualsBliss, you might remember that one, I believe I shared some of it with you.
This of course made me curious, so I put my nose closer to the bag to get a better idea of it, but then it was just all sharpness and sort of dusty turqoise bergamot. From a distance though, it smells a bit like a citrus-y pudding.
This makes me hopeful.
After steeping, it’s more or less the same thing, although the bergamot is softer and retains that dessert-y touch to it, even when my nose is closer to the cup.
This makes me even more hopeful.
I did oversteep it a bit, but only by a few minutes, so no real harm was done, and it doesn’t seem to be showing up in the flavour. It tastes very creamy and smooth. If I didn’t know better I would think it had a smidge of cream-y flavouring added or perhaps a touch of vanilla. It says nothing of the sort on the box, though.
I actually like the EG! I think it’s because it’s not just like being pelted with bergamots. It’s not so sharp and dusty like they can sometimes get. It has that extra dimension of creamyness which makes it slightly pudding-y. Not very, just ever so slightly.
I’m suspectly, actually, that this may have more to do with the base blend (unfortunately not elaborated on) rather than the flavouring process, because it is indeed very very flavoured. For once it’s just not completely offensive. I feel certain we’ll get through this tin with little trouble.
Sing it with me now, Steepsterites!
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I’m gonna get you too
Another one bites the dust
Cupboard status down to 27! Boyfriend beginning to fear there won’t be any tea left. :D
For the longest time I had this one filed under ‘herbal’ because I just saw those great big buds and thought ‘this is some kind of flower’. It was sent to me in the days of yore and from whence I cannot recall, but eventually I had a proper look at it and got it put back in its proper place. Actually I think it’s gone back and forth between white and herbal a few times, as I distinctly recall at least one instance of ‘what are you doing here?’
I used most of the sample in a combination with something else, a magnolia scented yellow that I thought I had a lot more of. Nothing more annoying than emptying a sample pouch into a large pot and finding that, GOSH! That’s not even enough for half a small pot! It felt like so much more. So I grabbed a random white that I knew there would be plenty of to boost it up a bit, and ended up with a result that was…
Let’s just say I poured it out and started over. Dill and pickles are also flavours I don’t much care to find in tea. Good time to try the rest of this sample though. Properly mind.
First thing that I notice is that when this is gently steeped, it’s very very pale in colour. Second thing I notice is that my tea strainers need replacing, because pale tea + old strainer = grey tea.
There is a herbal sort of aroma to this, reminding me a bit of licorice root and spearmint. I suspect this is the element that interacted so badly with the yellow as mentioned above. Also quite floral, but primarily licorice root and spearmint-y for me.
Okay, all I can taste is licorice root. Seriously, this doesn’t even taste remotely like tea. It both tastes and feels like chewing licorice root. If I hadn’t actually seen the leaf, I would be dead certain that’s what it was.
So at this point I cheat and look at the company description and other people’s reviews, and I just can’t recognise anything. Anything at all. All I can find here is licorice root, complete with that specific flavour at the back of the tongue that you get when you swallow a licorice root infusion.
I did eat licorice earlier today, but not right now and I haven’t touched a licorice infusion for months. I only drink that when I’m sick!
I will put this mysteriousness down to the age of the sample which as you can see is a bit on the iffy side. I really ought to learn to throw things out before I let it get this old. Or even better, use it up.
I’ll just pretend the rest of this cup is a licorice root infusion, because that makes it easier to deal with.
On the upside I’m now down to 28 teas! O.O