1111 Tasting Notes
Yummy yummy yummy, I got tea in my tummy…
This was actually inspired by Alana237 who had the Sticky Toffee Pudding from Whittard of Chelsea, which sounded mightily interesting. Her description of it made it sound rather like one I would enjoy, so I’m going to try and remember that the next time I find myself in the UK and near a WoC shop. I started wondering how it might hold up to Kusmi’s Caramel, which, as you all know (and if you don’t, you shall learn very quickly) is one of my all time favourites and currently holds the spot as my Perfect Caramel Tea. Standard Panel Tea and whatnot.
So I made me a cup, which has now cooled to perfection. The caramel is coming out as rather dark today and prickly, and I was actually thinking of something a little smoother. I know this tea, in spite of being a black, really responds better to not entirely boiling water in order to bring the flavour out. If boiling water is used the tea base shines through and it’s already pretty subtle flavouring to begin with.
Unfortunately, I’ve got that base tea flavour mostly here. I can’t really find that caramel yummyness because my water was too hot. I can just taste that it’s a nice Chinese black with something added.
Lucky I tend to prefer the Chinese blacks, really, isn’t it?
As it cools a little more, however, the flavouring is rescued somewhat. It’s still not entirely the same as a cup brewed to perfection, but it’s definitely got more distinct flavouring coming out and it seems to develop just a hint of texture, which is more what I was looking for.
So, yeah. A fairly mangled cup of an otherwise wonderful tea, and I’m wondering how the sticky toffee pudding might hold up to this.
Seeing as the vanilla Nilgiri from Chi of Tea appears to be very out of stock, I’ve been forced to look for a replacement, just as I had decided it was my perfect vanilla tea.
First place to look is close to home obviously. After all, I might get lucky. So I got this one in my latest order.
Now, the Chi of Tea one had bits of vanilla pod in it, and I’ve been trying to see if this one does as well. The problem is, though, that the thing about vanilla pod bits is they are small, black and kinda glossy. And the thing about black tea leaves is they are small, black and kinda glossy. Which makes it kinda hard to tell.
The aroma of the leaves is strongly vanilla, though, and reminds me quite nicely of the Chi of Tea, so one is hopeful. Same with the post steeping aroma. It’s very sweet and thick and has a very pod-like quality to it.
There is, which I also mentioned something similar about on the Chi of Tea vanilla Nilgiri, a distinct difference between vanilla aroma and actual vanilla pods, which is that the aroma is sweet and vanilla-y, while the addition of the pod gives it a rougher sort of impression not unlike leather. Note, it doesn’t smell or taste of leather, but the pod itself is leather-y in texture and that texture somehow translates into flavour as intensity that is only rarely found in the absence of pod.
This particular vanilla black has that quality in the aroma. On the flavour, however, it’s a bit thin. Not at all what I would expect from a description like ‘creamy, bailey-like’. It’s not really that particularly creamy on the tongue. I can’t be certain about the bailey-like bit, as I’m not that fond of liqueurs and it’s been ages since I’ve had a bailey and there for don’t have a very clear memory of what it tastes like beyond the strong alcoholic feeling which I dislike and therefore clouds the memory further.
I do believe I can spot some of that pod-ness though, it’s just that I would have liked for there to be more of it. Thicker somehow. But it’s still closer to the Perfect Vanilla Nilgiri from Chi of Tea than the Whittard of Chelsea vanilla black is, the latter having a somewhat more synthetic feel to it.
For the time being this is close enough. I may move some of it to another tin and doctor it with a whole vanilla pod ala JacquelineM and see if that gives me the desired difference. I suspect though, that the root of my problem here lies in the fact that it doesn’t have the same tea base to start with. I can’t tell what this is, but I really don’t think it’s Nilgiri, and not just because A C Perch’s don’t sell Nilgiri plain. This base is a bit rougher and has a front note that reminds me primarily of Assam, a very different from Nilgiri type indeed.
As it is, I think it should work well enough as a substitute, but I’m not even remotely as happy with it as I have been with the Chi of Tea.
Good morning, Steepsterites.
This one is actually a bit funny because I bought it not knowing what it was. On the Danish version of the website it was named (in direct translation) “Emperor Tea” and the description only said that it was a Chinese tea using top shoots, much the same as the description in English does. Nothing at all about region.
I am always interested in a plain Chinese black. Always. So I bought it and planned on seeing if I could guess the region on tasting and write the shop afterwards asking for confirmation on my guess.
Then it arrived and I went to enter it into the Steepster database. So I found the tea again in the shop and switched to English view and suddenly it was named “Keemun Deluxe”. Well that solved that mystery, but why hadn’t they translated the name? Or, why had they not called it Keemun Deluxe in Danish as well? Oddness abounds.
Anyway, I’m quite pleased with it being a Keemun. I’ve been putting some small thought into the perfect Keemun for a while without having explored enough to really find one that I thought was outstanding above all others and also available to me. (I have met one or two that were, but lost a lot of points by not being available to me, and having to order something by having someone else buy it and forward it for me takes a lot of Perfect Points out of the equation, no matter how good the flavour)
What I want from the perfect Keemun is a solid base of sweet grainyness, a strong reminder of proper Danish rye bread, a smooth and rounded flavour and just a touch of pseudo-smokyness with just a hint of a floral top note, all coming together as a whole.
This one delivers in smoothness and grainyness in the aroma, but not the other aspects. In fact it’s almost semi-honeyed in the aroma which is a good sign for me as well.
As for the flavour, there is a strong wooden note to it, which develops into the pseudo-smoke and leaves a long heavy aftertaste of floral perfume-y notes. And the problem is that this seems to be it.
Mind you, I may still have a tongue/post-illness (I am on the mend, definitely) problem to deal with here, but this just isn’t a candidate for perfection at this point. I’m lacking the grainyness in the flavour and the pseudo-smoke note is so strong that smoothness is just not anywhere on the agenda at all.
Underneath all this, I can find that note of sweet but strong honey that I also found in the aroma and thought was a good sign, but it’s just not enough.
This is a good and pleasant tea when in the mood for something smoky without going full-on Lapsang, but it’s quite far from my idea of a perfect Keemun. I shall keep on searching.
(To be honest though, I fear that I have already met my perfect Keemun, the hao ya A from Teaspring, but I would strongly prefer if the perfect Keemun could be a rather less expensive…)
This has been on my shopping list for a while. I had a sudden need for berry-flavoured black exploration a while back and AC Perch’s had a number that I was interested in, but couldn’t make myself buy them all at the same time. I got their black currant black tea a while ago and have been enjoying that, so that definitely didn’t harm my interest in the others any.
Spurred on by taste success of the green blend earlier this evening/afternoon, I’ve moved on to the next, sharing a pot with the boyfriend as he suggested it sounded like something one might have during a cold (he’s poorly too, poor us) so here we go.
The aroma is sweet and fruity and not as penetrating as the black currant aroma is. This is sweeter and seems milder. On the aroma alone, I like this better than the black currant, I think.
Aroma, however, is not all, and direct comparison between blackberry and black currant is probably a bit like comparing apples and oranges. Unfair to both parties. It does however seem to be a milder, more discreet sort of flavoured, whereas the black currant is fairly violent on the flavouring intensity.
I like this. The blackberry isn’t really recognisable as 100% certainly blackberry but there is a fruity undertone, definitely, to a primarily black tea. The black base is even coming out a little strongly here, which makes me think I probably should have used a little less leaf. I was brewing in a different sized pot from the one I use 95% of the time, so it’s always a little touch and go with that.
As I said, I like this. In spite of it being a little on the strong side and the blackberry being rather shy (I’ve mentioned before that I quite like these subtle flavoured ones in general), but I’m not sure if it’s really a keeper. I can’t really see myself developing a craving for it at this point, but we’ll see how that goes. I remember having a similar thought about the black currant and I go through periods now and then where I have that one almost exclusively for two or three days. So we’ll see if the same thing happens with this one.
The boyfriend just popped his head into my room just now to say pretty much the same thing. He also liked it but agreed with my thoughts that it’s not, as he said, “a punch in the face with blackberry”.
Since my ‘woe, I’m dying horribly’ post earlier today I’ve been to the pharmacists and have eaten something fever-reducing so I’m going to cautiously try my hand (or tongue) on one of these new teas that I just picked up from the post office today (conveniently placed right next to the pharmacy). What torture, having new teas and not really being able to taste them properly due to permanently odd flavour in mouth.
But now, being medicated, this seems to have diminished a lot, so I’m giving it a go. Also I’m very curious about this one. What we’ve got here is a green tea strawberry and orange. I’ve already got a green tea with strawberry but the addition of orange really intrigued me.
The aroma is very fruity with the orange clearly running the show, both in the dry leaf and the steeped cup. Dry, it smells almost like fruit concentrate, the sort you dilute with water before drinking. Steeped, the strawberry peeks out as well, but it’s largely just orange.
What’s surprising about this is that when I actually taste it, it tastes very green. Judging from the strength of the fruit in the aroma I would have imagined the green tea to be completely overwhelmed by the fruit here, but it’s really surprisingly harmonic.
It’s still heavily orange, though, orange dominant over strawberry, but there’s just enough of it to make it a nice green tea rather than a round of warm cordial.
I’m quite pleased with this. I don’t know if, in the future, I would keep this one around as well as the green strawberry from Kusmi. Probably not. I just haven’t decided yet which of the two I’d be more likely to choose to stock up on, if any. (One thing is a really good tea. But just because it’s a really good tea doesn’t necessarily mean that it has the longevity to keep it around indefinitely.)
And yeah, the funny side note? Not noticable at this time.
I am in the sort of state where real tea, no matter how good, just has a funny unpleasant side-flavour. I do have an absolutely vile mix of licorice root and chamomile which, while soothing, is, well, vile.
On top of that I’m feeling partly the effects of fever and partly the effects of little to no tea, and therefore little to no caffeine since around noonish yesterday.
This seems to be the obvious choice under the circumstances. I’m not sure if I would call it particularly soothing, but at least it doesn’t have as much of that funny flavour. Or maybe it does, and I’m not noticing it as much because I don’t know it as well as I know tea. Or something.
It’s not giving me a lot of smoky notes, but looking at the post I made about it originally, I didn’t get a lot of smoke out of it when my tastebuds weren’t twisted all funny.
I’m mostly getting a heavy greenery flavour out of it today, the pea pod and mint notes. I’m not sure about the pea pod note, but the mint note at least is quite welcome today. Note that I don’t usually care that much for mint. It doesn’t really have the full freshness of mint but it’s leaning sufficiently in that direction to help alleviate this funky taste in my mouth that no amount of tooth brushing can seem to get rid of.
I believe I’ve found my purpose for mate. It seems to be a good tea substitute when poorly.
(And yes, I am also remembering to try and drink a lot of water)
Ah yes, this is the good stuff. It’s been a long time since I last had any of this because I knew the tin was running frightfully low, but I made a cup this morning. I expect to keep these leaves going all day, and will definitely have to put in an order for more in the not too distant future.
(I need to optimise how I use the shopping list feature here…)
Ah pink tea! The tea that almost wasn’t because I had a heck of a time getting the lid pried off the tin.
Actually this is inspired by the fact that A C Perch’s wrote in their newsletter today that they have a new rooibos which is flavoured with rhubarb. Now, admittedly I don’t much care for rooibos, as in not at all, but I can’t for the life of me imagine those two flavours together. I may have to push it on the boyfriend so that I can get an opinion on the matter. Although he may find the rhubarb flavour rather too girly…
Not that rhubarb is really a girly flavour in and off itself but in this green tea, it’s turned into something uber-girly. Pink and fluffy and reminding me of bubblegum.
I actually used too much leaf for this pot because I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing, so here I don’t seem to have quite as much pinkness as I remembered it having, but there is a good deal of the green tea shining through. Which would have been nice if it hadn’t been for the fact that it’s also a little harsh from the fact that there is rather too much leaf in there. Oh well.
Anyway, it’s still a quite nice cup for those uber-girly moments. It’s just not one I really feel like having very often.
Steepsterites! I am coming to you from out of the past!
We have had a succesful move and are still in the process of unpacking and figuring out where everything goes. One category of belongings that we have already figured out what to do with is our teas. In the dining area of the kitchen a corner has been turned into Tea Station. For now it’s just a table, but in time it will also involve an arrangement with shelves and such. It’s absolutely awesome, I have an actual real tea corner now. I’m so pleased about that.
Right now I’m taking some time to relax and enjoy a cup of tea before working out what to do with all this other stuff in my room. Obviously it was time for something really very nice so I dug in deep in the pile(!) of tins and found a Keemun which I know to be extremely pleasant. Or at least I suspect it to be. I think Auggy shared some of this with me once, but as I’m coming to you from out of the past, I can’t, in my present, look it up. Either way, you rarely go wrong with Keemun anyway.
The aroma is pleasantly floral and grainy with something fruity that reminds of figs or similar fruits. It doesn’t really have any notes of smoke in the aroma at all. It’s just completely smooth and thick.
The flavour is somewhat more prickly, though. I’ve made a good strong cup, but not too strong, and the familiar pricklyness of pseudo-smoke has come out quite nicely. With it, a heavy floral aspect, a little dusty and forgotten, but not so much that it becomes a cup of perfume. Some would say, and sometimes so would I, that this was really the same thing but experienced in different ways, so that one person might call it smoky while another would call it floral. Most of the time, for me, it’s 100% smoky and not at all floral, although I can see what Team Floral mean when they say that. This time I’m getting both and it’s not a question of being unable to decide which of them I think it’s more like. It’s actually the fact that I seem to be getting both of them at the same time. It’s quite an interesting combination, really (although I’m not sure flower scented Lapsang Souchong would be such a brilliant idea…).
There isn’t really much of a presence of grain here, not the sort of thing that usually makes me think of proper danish rye bread, and I expect it’s because the floral and smoky aspects have come out so strong.
All in all, it’s a good strong cup of black tea that knows what it wants from the world as well as from the drinker, and by all appropriate deities, it gets it. This is right up my alley, this tea.
Added in the present present: Only a few hours out of the past it would seem. Yay internets!
Quickie post, because I’m supposed to be busy packing boxes. Chocolate, raspberry and cream, apparently.
I can definitely spot the chocolate both in flavour and aroma, but mostly the flavour. The other two, not so much. The cream shows up later as the cup cools and develops a bit, but primarily in the aftertaste and as a sensation of cream covering the tongue. Not sure I’m really a fan of that. It’s rather too fat for my liking here. If I concentrate then I think I can spot the raspberries, but they are somewhat distorted by the other flavours and not immediately recognisable as raspberries. At this point though, the chocolate notes seem to have completely faded into the background, and that one may very well have overpowered the other two from the beginning.
I don’t know, it’s nice enough, but it’s not something I would really go after if choosing something for myself. I’m finding it rather heavy.