1107 Tasting Notes
QuiltGuppy is a right little treasure and I hearts her dearly. Look what she sent me! Look what she went out of her way to get for me!!! Just… just LOOK!!
I’ve been out of this for so long, but having to economise a bit with how many orders I put out in one go and all that rot, so the TeaSpring order had been temporarily postponed. And here it is again!
Oh joy, oh rapture!
I can’t wait to actually make me a cup of this, but I’m afraid it’ll have to wait just a little while longer. I’m not finished cuddling the pouch yet.
On a scale from one to ten, QG is awesome twelve and a half, and if you were here right now I would treat you to a cup.
I think this one was received in a swap with Wombatgirl ages and ages ago, since she’s the only other person to have posted about it. I’m sharing it with the boyfriend this evening as he requested ‘something I haven’t tried before’.
I haven’t tried it before either, so I may have just given him a cup of ewww…
It’s also rather later than I thought it would be, so I think I’ll relocate to the bed to read while drinking my tea, so I’ll make this short.
Aroma is as it should be. Sort of thick and cow stable-y. Little bit of sweetness to it, little bit of cat breath and a little bit of something floral.
The flavour is a little bland and watery, though. It’s got a clear honey note though. Very sweet and not super-stable-y.
it’s relatively good, apart from being thin, but not really very interesting. This one would probably have benefited from a longer steep. The leaves have not been discarded yet, so I might try that tomorrow.
I so hit the magic spot on this one today. I wish I knew what that tiny difference that gave this result was because, cor! This cup is positively bursting with sweetness, and the smoke is just surrounding it like awesome tasting wrapping paper.
This one was next in the cold brew experiment. It worked out relatively well. The bananas are coming out a whole lot when brewed cold, and I’m not entirely certain that this works to the tea’s advantage. I don’t think there will be more than one pitcher of this. While it is more refreshing this way, it just appeals to me more when it’s hot.
And while I have your attention anyway, Steepsterites, may I draw your attention to this picture? The Tea Corner has been shelved. Er… I mean, there are shelves in the Tea Corner.
Yes, that’s the Bits’n’Bops Basket on the table there. I’m sure you can understand why it’s currently difficult for me to remember where it all came from although it was very nice of the people who contributed to filling it. A blanket thank you to all those who were or have been previously involved.
Recently I had the great fortune to get back in contact with Auggy. Some of you may remember her, she used Steepster a while ago, but stopped using it due to various reasons which are not relevant. We share so many opinions on what is good, awesome and not-so-good that we decided that surely we must be taste-twins. I trust her judgement on Things Ang Might Like implicitly. She has never let me down. Receiving samples of her is always a promise of awesometastic flavour experiences. As such we had exchanged a few packages before she left Steepster, so when I happened across a tea that I thought I should share with her, I already had her address and so send her a package of assorted goodies. Turns out she too had found a tea that she felt like sharing and my package provided her with my new address. Two minds, one thought.
This would be the one that prompted her to think of me. One of the many tea loves we share is for the Tan Yang Te Ji (♥) from TeaSpring, and this tea reminded her of that tea. Well, it’s Fujian Province, thinks I. What could possibly go wrong then?
I’ve had it before actually. TeaSpring’s, not TeaCuppa’s, but the same tea, and I remember having the same thoughts about it that Auggy wrote to me. Smoother and slightly milder. I even went and looked it up, and I found that I had made noises about making it a Standard Panel tea. And then I forgot all about it apparently. (I’m also coincidentally awaiting a Bai Lin Gong Fu from Shang Tea, as a matter of fact, but the splendid customer service from that company is a different story which I will tell you the next time I have one of their teas.)
The aroma of this cup is very sweet and caramel-y, with something sort of grainy and slightly fruity underneath. It’s one of those cups where, if I didn’t know it wasn’t flavoured, I would think it probably was.
Tastewise, I’m getting a lot of the familiar Fujian-ness, and the comparison to the Tan Yang is definitely very easy to make. I’m not sure I would be able to pick them apart in a blind tasting, but now that I know what I’ve got, I feel I can find some subtle differences.
It’s softer and milder, definitely. It’s not a get-up-and-go tea, it’s more suitable for later in the day. Coming home, for example, and needing something relaxing and calming. It’s not an invigorating tea, it’s a phew-what-a-day-tea.
So, softer and milder. It’s almost as sweet as the aroma suggested, but without that same flavoured quality to it. It’s a more natural sweetness and it has a fruity touch to it, something leaning vaguely in the direction of oranges or mandarins. Underneath that, a grainy body, firm and dark, but friendly once you get closer. Finally a floral top note to round it all off in a neat, yet complex package.
Once again, Auggy has struck gold with this one. I would probably go so far as to say that the standard collection could contain either Tan Yang or Bai Lin. But I would still prefer it to be Tan Yang.
I’ve been cold brewing this in the fridge all day as part of the Decupboarding Day, and I’ve just now tried it for the first time. I don’t think I’ve done that with this tea before, I’m fairly new in general at this cold brewing business.
My mind? It is blown!
Steepsterites! Wow! Why did I never try this before?
Good morning Steepsterites.
Today, I’ve decided, is decupboarding day. Let’s see how many I can get through.
This one is one I got from some kind soul once, the identity of whom I’ve forgotten because I’ve got so much gift tea from so many people lying around and no reliable system for remembering where it all came from. I’ll devise something of the sort, but there are a few things that need to come in order first. It’s all part of getting the tea corner sorted out. The tins are still all kicking around on the table in an only slightly organised pile. Not for lack of trying, though, but by the time we finally picked some shelves for that corner, they were not in stock. (We also bought a shelf for the bathroom but can’t put it up yet because we got a middle bracket instead of two end brackets. Typical!) After the shelves have been sorted out, I have some ideas for a gift remembering system which may or may not work out.
Anyway, the first time I had this it seems I wasn’t really all that impressed. That fits badly with how I ended up drinking quite a lot of it in a short time until the sample was nearly gone. Having waited a good while, I’m polishing it off now. I don’t know, I think it was something to do with how perhaps the flavour itself wasn’t really what I was looking for, but I liked the idea of it so much that I just kept trying.
It’s a pretty good tea to drink, really, just not one that makes you sit down and want to try and pick the flavour profile apart. It works best as a whole without too much thought activity. Probably not super-suitable for a first tea of the day tea either, but I can’t really say as I care. :) I imagine it’s probably a pretty good tea to have while reading a good book. I’ll go test that theory out I think.
(I love wednesdays. Have I mentioned lately that I love wednesdays? I feel for all you poor souls out there that have to be at work today and I’m not jealous at all. Aaaaah wednesday. The Weekend Minor.)
I’ve been having resteeps of this all day. I’ve got girly issues, and far worse than that I’m having a hard time getting my head around the terrible things that happened in Norway yesterday. It’s unreal and incomprehensible that it could happen, and for a Dane it happened right next door. It feels very close to home.
I thought Norway was one of the most peaceful places in the world.
Resteeps of this serves as comfort tea today, and I’m keeping our Norwegian steepsterites in mind.
Now, here’s one from the Basket that I do remember where came from. It was included in the Big Box O’ Tea that Pamela Dax Dean sent to me a while ago. (I’m still not even remotely close to having got through that box yet). As it is in the category of the ‘Rather Special’ I have been saving it for a special occasion. ‘Special occasion’ as apparently synonymous with ‘having survived another Ikea trip by bus and in the rain’.
I wasn’t sure how to brew it; whether to take the leaves out of the mandarin or steep the whole thing as it was. I opted for the latter. Then there was the issue of steep time. Since the leaves were all inside the mandarin and didn’t fall out when the water was poured on as I thought they would, I was uncertain about the steeping time and decided to give it plenty. Pu-erh doesn’t really, in my experience, become easily oversteeped to undrinkableness, so I felt confident in doing so, and as I thought, it worked out well.
I did think, though, that it would be a lot more orange-y in flavour. Or mandarin-y if you will. Citrus-y at any rate. It does have some, but it’s mostly just the pu-erh. Maybe I’m too used to the orange pu-erh from Nothing But Tea which is a Standard Panel tea, but I really was expecting more fruit.
Surprised at how well the tea flavour came out through the mandarin peel though. It’s a quite good pu-erh, if somewhat generic. It’s nice but not really anything outstanding.
The boyfriend was in favour of this cup as well. I think I should find another pu-erh for the Standard Panel for him.
So a good but fairly generic tasting pu-erh is worth some 80 points or so, I think. The fact that it’s inside a citrus fruit adds another few points as those two flavours go well together, even if there isn’t a lot of the fruity flavour. Finally, the over all experience of brewing this, the uniqueness of the presentation (unique for me anyway, I know it’s not completely unheard of) and the specialness of it are also worth something on the score.
I was thinking around 90 points was a fair score for it, and look, that’s exactly where it ended up. That was not adjusted afterwards!
I am celebrating the fact that I’ve washed my floors by having a good cup of tea. In fact I have actually withheld said tea from myself until after the floors were done. They are now done. For bonus effort, I have de-crumbed the boyfriend’s toaster.
Now, the first time I had this tea, I was at a complete loss for words. Just… no inspiration at all. I shall try to do better this time. Considering it’s the last of the leaves, I certainly hope I will. Back then I described it in very basic terms. Typically Yunnan-y qualities, but of a raisin-y note to the aroma, quite nice on the whole.
The aroma of this cup does indeed have a slight raisin-like quality to it, but that’s far from at the forefront. The first thing that actually struck me about it, was this unusually sharp note. Very fruity and pepper-y, but with a surprising sting to it. Being prepared for that sting, however, it seems a little less pronounced. It just sort of jumped me from behind and tried to jam a pick up my nostrils. Pretty violent, eh? I’m on to its game now though, and the loss of the ambush advantage has calmed it down somewhat, so that I am capable of concentrating on the notes that lay thickly beneath.
As mentioned it is indeed quite fruity. It’s sort of warm juice-y, or perhaps warm wine. Yes. It’s best described as having a cup of mulled wine in a barn surrounded by fragrant hay. I find that spice-y hay-y note to be quite standard from Yunnan teas. It lends a very characteristic profile to the teas from that region.
It’s amusing, however, that I once thought Yunnan teas to be quite smoky, naturally. I can find none of that smoke today. I eventually found my perception of the note developing into something more pepper-y. There is not a lot of pepper in the aroma of this one though. The hay note, however. The hay note is alive and kicking both in aroma and in flavour. It’s a very deep golden coloured flavour, exactly like a bale of straw.
I mentioned above that I could only find pepper in the flavour but not in the aroma. To make up for this, it seems like there’s about three times as much pepper in the flavour as I was expecting. Once again the tea got the upper hand on me, giving me a mouthful of pepper and holding my nose so I’d have to swallow. That too, however, I managed to subdue by letting the cup cool to a more managable level.
Back in control, the pepper is still strong and it leaves a fair amount of astringency behind. The whole mulled-wine-in-a-barn idea that embodied the aroma is a little lost to me at this point. I think it’s all the pepper. Imagine that barn with fragrant hay and having your mulled wine in it, only to discover that someone emptied the pepper mill in it when you weren’t looking. At first there’s shock, then curiosity and then to your enormous surprise, appreciation.
In spite of all the above it’s a rather nice tea, but it’s not a tea for weaklings. You have to be able to take some flavour with your cup. It’s strong and forceful and you can’t really trust it. Turn your back for a moment, and you will likely as not receive a firm kick in the rear. Ill behaved and borderline feral, that’s this tea. But once you have tamed it, it’s very enjoyable.
Gosh, what a cup. Is it tea or is it a wrestling match? Either way it put up a damn good fight.