1149 Tasting Notes
This tea is brought to you by one part glee and two parts comfort.
Glee. Mr Prime Minister finally saw fit to announce a general election. It’s about freaking time too; now let’s get it over with. If he had waited until thursday next week it would have been the longest time between general elections ever since the current constitution was passed. (Every four years. The PM can choose any time which works for him, but he can’t go over those four years. Not even by a day.)
Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn political. I certainly know what I’m hoping, but I’ll keep it to myself. There may be some jubilation or drowning of sorrows once the result is in, but otherwise I shan’t bother you.
Comfort 1 I have a cold. Again. I’m pretending it doesn’t exist, but I would like the comfort.
Comfort 2 This was not even supposed to be a factor originally, and it’s brought on by the fact that I apparently tinned this in a tin with a very tight fitting lid. A VERY tight fitting lid. Very. I’m sure you can guess where this is going.
Maybe half a pot’s worth on the floor. That’s a lot when you only bought around 25 grams and my floors are not in any sort of state for leaf salvation.
So as you can see, I have ample reason to bring out the big guns here. This tea is going to have to infuse me with some energy and optimism. Only the Very Best will do under such circumstances.
I have a rather ambivalent relationship with Yunnan. I think it’s because they have such a very distinctive flavour profile. Sometimes they’re the bee’s knees and the cat’s pajamas, and other times they’re simply ‘meh’. Or even worse, like drinking hay. Makes me feel rather like a cow, really.
When I first had this one it was obviously a bee’s knees phase, and during those times I like it so much that I feel it’s unfair to fiddle with the rating now that I’ve been in meh phase, if not an actual cow phase, for so long.
Today, though, I decided to have it based on the fact that it’s been so long since I’ve had any. I have a couple of different brands to choose from and it’s only now, after I’ve made my cup, that I realise that had I chosen a different brand I could have crossed off one more sample. Oh well. Ten samples, three tins to go before I am allowed to make a new order. I’ll get through that quickly enough anyway.
I think actually right now I’m not quite in a bee’s knees phase, but it’s not quite a meh phase either. We’re in-betweening here. I think I’ll take this cup with me and watch some tv, maybe. After having checked a few things and places and all, of course.
(Work. It ought to be illegal!)
I have attempted a cold brew of this one.
It’s erm… exactly the same tea, only chilled.
This surprised me. With other teas I’ve tried to cold brew the flavouring have really stood out and the tea taking a more background position, but not with this one.
It works quite well as a cold brew, but I think I prefer it hot. I shall attempt cold brewing it half and half with a good vanilla black as well later on, which is also a blend that works well hot, and see how that turns out.
Three tins, twelve samples to go.
The boyfriend requested a Gunpowder and I happened to remember that I happened to have something sample-sized of that sort. Excellent!
The aroma isn’t particularly strong, but it smells quite green and chinese. Somewhat floral as well, which, if you squint, I suppose could be the pseudo-smoky note that some people can find in Gunpowder. Me, I’ve never found it, it’s always been primarily floral for me and I can’t help but wonder if some people let themselves be slightly biased by the name of the tea. But then again, floral and pseudo-smoky notes are very closely related to one another and people interpret them differently.
Taste-wise I still find it rather floral, more so than smoky. I love smoky, I want it desperately to be smoky, but it just won’t be. With that disappointment (again) behind me, it’s actually a very pleasant tea, this one. It’s not so overwhelmingly Chinese Green in flavour and even strikes me as borderline oolong-y and with a smoothly, thick creamy note.
Quite pleasant, this.
This tea is almost legendary. I had a sample of it once from Wombatgirl and I yummed it up as you can see from the rating. And after that it was just… gone. No more Tangerine Blossom for little Ang. Sadface.
Oh well, life goes on.
But then all that lovely Shang Tea customer service business happened and I could make my very own Shang Tea order. Yaaaaaaay! It was of course clear as day that this should be part of the order.
And now I’ve been partly craving it since and partly holding back. At first I was holding back because I didn’t have a tin to put it in, so I couldn’t open the pouch. (It’s a rule. No tin, no opening.) Then I could tin it, but still held back because what if it wasn’t as awesome as I remembered. What if the memory of that lovely tangerine flavoured brew would be tarnished and ruined? Oh woe, almost too much to bear!
And then now, where I decided that I was feeling rather malnourished and deficit in the Vitamin T (get it?) department, and I finally decided I was feeling brave enough to do it.
And you know what? It’s still awesome. Sweetly floral and citrus-y juicy. Just absolutely wonderful.
This was given to me by Wombatgirl a good while ago and I did not like it. Not one bit. I gave it 24 points and felt like I was actually being quite generous based on the fact that I could tell that it was doing what it was supposed to do, it just wasn’t something that I liked. Then the rest of the pouch has been standing around not doing anything since. I didn’t know what to do with it. I couldn’t just throw it out, so I kept it in case I would get a chance to give it away.
Then this summer I’ve been doing some coldbrew experiments and discovering how fruity teas turn out entirely different when made that way. So I’ve made a small pitcher of this cold brewed over night.
My biggest objection to this when brewed hot was the alcoholic note. That was just unacceptable to me, so I was interested to see how it would turn up in a cold brew. And the answer is, it doesn’t. Not at all.
What I’m getting mostly is the honeybush which is sweeter when brewed cold and somewhat less wooden, and the coconut which also seems to work better for me on it’s own when cold brewed. Not sure about the pineapple though. I can’t really find large amounts of it this way.
I am so relieved! In a cold brew I can definitely drink this. I’ll even give it considerably more points. It’s still not, however, something I would say was deeply awesome or suitable for me, but it’s acceptable and nice for something refreshing. As a hot drink, however, I would stick to the previously awarded 24 points.
Now, I’ll definitely manage to finish off the pouch without having to resort to giving it away.
This is one that Auggy shared with me recently. I don’t know if she had been peeking in my posts when making that decision or not and seen that I had been rather vanilla interested lately. Even to the point of having an exchange of comments with someone (who were you?) about the sugar-y sort of vanilla versus the coconut-y sort of vanilla flavouring and them liking the former, me leaning towards the latter. This one has coconut in it as well as dried pineapple, so it must surely be the right sort of vanilla flavouring for me.
But how did she know?
Oh yeah. Taste twins. :D
There’s something in the leaves. Some sort of crystallic blue-y white thing. I can’t tell what it is and the description of the gives no clue. So I ate one. It tastes sugar-y and vanilla like, and it looks like after after steeping they have been dissolved as I can’t spot any in the spent leaf.
It smells like cake. There’s tons of vanilla in this aroma and the pineapple underneath it all, at the very bottom of the aroma, giving it substance. It makes me want upside down cake. And custard. The coconut is there in the aroma as well, but it works more like a booster for the vanilla and a filler for the the pineapple rather than a note by itself. I suspect this is what creates the whole ‘cake’ thing.
Oh Auggy! You sent me happiness in a tin. It’s so vanilla-y, so fruity, so sweet, so thick and creamy, so ME!
It definitely confirms for me that my perfect vanilla tea does indeed have those coconut notes to it. The coconut is really carrying this vanilla and enhancing it in most wonderful way.
The pineapple is still taking a backseat to the other flavours here. It’s there at the bottom being juicy and fruity and reminding me of cake (I want caaaaaaake!!!), but it’s not the star of the show and it’s not trying to be either.
This is very very good indeed. I shall hoard the remainder of Auggy’s generous gift.
And it’s goodbye to the Kenilworth.
I went into this one with rather low expectations, having not had all that much luck with Ceylons in general before. And then I encountered this. It is shocking and unnatural how much I actually liked this. I’m of a mind to re-explore the Ceylon teas now, so I may get me some samples from Nothing But Tea whom I happen to know have a large selection. Their shop is summer closed at the moment though, I think, so it will have to wait. Which is probably just as well, all things considered.
The second reason for having Ceylon this morning harks back to the Passion fruit black I had yesterday. Remember I had a synesthesiastic colour association with the base tea in that one? Reddish brown like polished cherry wood, and it sort of said ‘Ceylon’ to me. We are now checking if that same colour applies itself to a cup of confirmed Ceylon.
Wait, why does this cup smell like those fancy little perfumed soaps? Sort of flowery and sweet-ish, but not sweet in a way that you would necessarily want to eat… It has never done that before.
Right flavour. Colours. What say we?
It’s a bit strong, because it’s got some extra leaf. There was more than one pot in it, but less than two. But yeah, I’m getting some hints of that colour association. I’m not sure it’s really it, but it’s fairly close. It’s definitely reddish brown, but I’m not sure if it’s not more red than brown.
Yeah, I think the base in that passion fruit business yesterday could very possibly involve Ceylon, but I’m not sure if it’s only Ceylon. Or it could still be something else entirely, but my immediate semi-qualified guess is Ceylon.
I wish I had a cherry flavoured black. That’s just exactly what I’m in the mood for right now. As it happens, however, I do not currently possess a cherry flavoured anything.
So I searched through the black teas in the collection, looking for something that would fill the same sort of criteria. Fruity and black. My first thought was a strawberry black. Which I also don’t have. Second thought was either black currant or blackberry, both of which I have and both of which are really nice, but I’ve just had those recently. Not again already.
Passion fruit then. Very un-cherry-like, but still fruity and I see that it has been rated consistently high by others. I think this one came from QuiltGuppy, which reminds me that my lack of received samples, swaps and gifts organisation is soon to be a thing of the past. See the whole story in the brackets below.
Apart from this sudden onset of fruity black craving, I’ve actually been eyeing this one for a couple of days now, especially when preparing that morning pot. I just don’t think it’s very suitable for that particular purpose. Not the first cup of the morning, and not a shared one when I’m fairly certain that the boyfriend prefers something unflavoured at that point. He does now and then request something flavoured when I bother asking about preferences and sometimes when I don’t bother and just tell him what I intend to make and would he like some, he also agrees. It just never came to pass with this one yet. It’s an ample sample, though, (Ample sample! TEEHEE!) so he’ll probably be subjected to it sooner rather than later anyway.
The dry leaf smelled absolutely wonderful. It was all tropical fruity and even slightly yogurt-y and cake-like. The yogurt-y, cake-y notes are gone in the steeped cup, but the fruit is still strong, and it smells more genuinely passion fruit-y than it did in the dry leaf. There seems to be a touch of vanilla to it as well although this may just be the sweetness of the fruit playing tricks on me.
The flavour is strong and again very fruity. My problems with teas flavoured with passion fruit and mango and papaya so far have been that they all strike me as very similar flavours, and in some cases it’s quite synthetic in flavour as well. Consequently my interest in tropically flavoured teas have been rather low, as are my expectations when trying them out. This one, I’m pleased to inform, have none of those issues. It’s very clearly passion fruit rather than some generic tropical flavour and it tastes real. If I were to say anything negative about it, it would probably be that the flavouring was just a smidgeon too strong and slightly overwhelming. I should have liked a touch of subtlety here.
The tea base is also coming through nicely, in spite of the heavy flavouring. I can tell that it’s tea and that it’s black, but I can’t say anything else about it for certain. It’s a fairly strong bodied one and I’m thinking possibly something Ceylon-y. There’s something dark about it, a dark brownish red flavour that I would immediately associate with that flavour. A sort of polished cherry wood colour. I need to make up a plain Ceylon later and pay attention to whether that one provokes a colour association and whether that too is a dark brownish red.
All in all, I’m very pleasantly surprised by this one. In spite of previously mentioned reservations towards the tropical flavours family, I actually had some pretty high expectations of it, and I’m glad to say I was not let down.
(The boyfriend has bought me a plastic storage box of a suitable size and everything that was kicking about in the Sample Basket is now in the box, sorted according to type.
I’m going to need another box for pouches such as the ones from 52teas and Chi of Tea and suchlike. They don’t really belong in the Sample Box, even if a couple of them were gifts, but they don’t look very attractive on the shelves either with the tins. Now if I had one more shelf… but there’s no room for that unless we stretch to reach the new top one. I don’t think we’re very interested in that.
Anyway, the original plan was that each group of samples should be sorted according to where they came from, but that didn’t really seem to work out too well in the box. Partly because I can’t remember where I got all my current ones from, so I can’t sort them for certain and also partly because I’m not really likely to stand there and think, ‘Oh, I think I’ll want something from QG today.’ I’m more likely to decide I want something black or green.
I shall instead device a numbering system. I need a small notebook and some small labels, and then I’ll just number the lot according to who the gifter was. The boyfriend says I’m being highly OCD about it, but he did seem to agree that the current non-system of being unable to remember who to thank is a little rude of me. If OCD is the solution then so be it. :) )