1327 Tasting Notes
Queued post, written August 29th 2014
This one is the very evidence of my greed of purchase when I finally bought tea after having forbidden myself to do so until the box of things not yet tried was empty. I already knew it existed. It has been in the back of my mind since someone, I don’t recall who, shared a peach and thyme flavoured tea with me, so I’ve known for a good eight months now that I would buy it eventually and probably sooner rather than later. So when given the opportunity, I immediately took a caddy. It comes in these wooden caddies that are very attractive looking (see the tea photo), but for actual tea storage when the plastic bag inside is opened, fairly useless. I try not to rip the plastic bag, but if that happens, I have to tin it. I then proceeded to the till with my loot and saw NUTE sample satchets. Without thinking, bought two satchets as well. Of the same tea. And only realised this afterwards.
Well. Yes. As I said, greed.
It smells lovely. Thyme and berry in equal parts. Thyme a little more obvious, though, because it’s a fairly unusual flavour in tea. It’s on a green base, which I imagine will work well with the raspberry. I can’t remember what kind of base the aforementioned peach and thyme tea was on, so I don’t know how the thyme will behave.
Oh, it’s quite thyme-y and with a background of raspberry. There’s a long aftertaste of thyme. The raspberry and the base tea are sort of in the middle of a thyme sandwich. First thyme, then raspberry and green and finally the thyme aftertaste. This may sound like a strange combination, but it’s actually really nice. Really, really nice.
I’m not generally too interested in green tea, because it’s not really substantial enough for me. Thyme has a strong and distinctive flavour, and I find it adds a lot of substance to the green tea. It makes it stronger, if you know what I mean.
I’m glad I got a whole caddy of this.
Queued post, written August 26th 2014
I am a sucker for anything caramel or toffee or fudge flavoured. I’ve seen this brand before, but only in a sort of dual-tin sort of deal. You buy a pack with two tins containing something that is different but sort of matching the same theme. In a way. If you know what I mean. Every single set I have seen has had one tea I would very much like to try and one tea I found it doubtful I would like. And with 75g of each? Just say no.
But now they had this toffee flavoured one, and NOT in a dual tin thing!
It has little bits of toffee in it, which taste lovely and fudge-y. I tasted a few before I made the tea and I found it very promising. In general this tin has been smelling absolutely wonderful and tempting on my desk.
I gave the pot a good stir with a spoon before I poured it, just to make sure that all those little now melted toffee bits were evenly distributed, and again, it smells faboo. Caramel-y and a bit nutty. Just the way I like it.
The flavour was not in any way disappointing. For a long time Kusmi’s caramel was my ideal caramel flavoured black, but recently I’ve not been entirely satisfied with that one. Now I think this one might take its place as my favourite caramel-type black. It’s all rich and lovely, but still not so much that I don’t feel like I’m drinking tea.
I enjoyed this while spending a little time in the Steepster Chatzy room, so I wasn’t paying super-much attention to it, apart from what you see here, but I still know enough to give it this score. It’s really lovely.
Queued post, written August 21st 2014
Hurray, I can now start in on my Bad Dog teas. We are pretending that I actually didn’t buy them until just now. In which case I’m totally allowed and not a Bad Dog at all.
Husband was quite keen to try this one, as he had developed a bit of a fascination with all things rhubarb lately. We shall be growing some in the garden. Just imagine that. A rhubarb crumble made with super-fresh rhubarb that grew in your own garden! Gosh, stop me, I’m drooling.
For a long time now I have consequently made flavoured black tea with less than boiling water. I find that if the water is around 90°C or so, as opposed to 100°C, flavourings tend to present themselves better. It always makes me pleased to see when a company recommends less than boiling for a flavoured black. These people say 95°C, but my kettle doesn’t do that, so I chose 90°C instead. To be honest, the temperature in a kettle is never 100% accurate at all times anyway, which is why it amuses me a little when someone is unwilling to accept a kettle that can’t give you 1°C increments. (There was an annoying person on Steepster a few years ago who refused to accept less than one degree increments. She was… well, let’s be honest, I rather considered her my best enemy. Always good for an eyeroll. No need to name names though. Those who knew her may know who I mean. Those who didn’t, well, they don’t really need to, do they?) There will always be +/- one or two degrees to whichever temperature you ask it to make. It really doesn’t matter.
This is also flavoured with strawberry which becomes apparent when tasting the tea. It really tastes more like strawberry than rhubarb. There’s a bit of tartness to it, suggesting rhubarb, but it’s strawberry, mostly.
The base is Assam which… Hmmm… It’s nice, but a bit peculiar in combination with the flavouring. It’s like it clashes a little bit. It’s possible that this might grow on me though, and it’s quite a pleasant tea to drink otherwise, as the rating shows, but it’s not all that it could be. It’s not really rhubarb for crying out loud. Certainly and sadly not my favourite red fruit, favourite strawberry nor favourite rhubarb.
If it does grow on me, I might adjust the rating further upwards. For right now, I’m happy with an 80.
Queued post, written August 21st 2014
And thus, Steepsterites, I Emptied That Box!
Huzzah! I am now allowed to buy new stuff again. Point me in the direction of the nearest Dancong, please.
This last boxed item was one that Auggy sent to me, and she did so this spring, so it’s not even several years old, unlike some of the other things in the box. Right now it only contains my Bad Dog purchase from the other day. Ha!
Anyway, it’s the second of two matchas that Auggy sent to me. The first one was ginger flavoured (same brand) but didn’t taste all that much like ginger and quite a lot like just drinking super-strong sencha. Mind you, I’m not complaining about it not tasting like ginger.
This one is rather the same. Super-strong sencha, but not really much in the way of flavouring detected. I’ve had yuzu flavoured tea before, so I have a tentative grasp on what it’s supposed to taste like. It’s a kind of citrus fruit, which in itself should give a hunch. I’m just not really getting anything. There is a wee bit of a citrus note on the aftertaste, but not overwhelmingly so.
I don’t think my stance on matcha has really changed at all by trying these two. It remains the same. Matcha? Wasted on me. Sorry. I just can’t see the attraction. I’d much rather have a cup of flavoured actual normal sencha. Eating tea leaves doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.
Queued post, written August 20th 2014
This one was shared with me by Courtney. I have actually had this stuff before, although from a different vendor, and I wasn’t exactly impressed. Watered down cocoa, it turns out, is not something I find pleasant.
I considered trying it as a mixer this time, but I didn’t really have anything that I thought it would mix well with.
I considered steeping it in milk and heating the lot on the hob, but that would take is into something more appropriately posted to ‘cocoaster.com’ if such a thing exists. Or ‘Chocster.com’.
Then I decided to just try and squeeze all the cocoa out of it that I could in one feel swoop and see if I couldn’t take it beyond the watered down hot not-really-chocolate stage.
Courtney had written steeping recommendations on the bag, and I threw caution to the wind and pretty much ignored them. The entire sample went in. All of it. The lot. Well, okay, I didn’t completely ignore them, because I adhered to the time and temperature.
No, it doesn’t work.
Oh, it tastes like chocolate all right, so if this floats your boat, by all means hurry out and get some. Chocolate does float my boat as well, but only if I get the whole experience. The richness. The thickness. The creamyness. And again, I am left with chocolate flavoured water.
I get the flavour. I don’t get all the other things that I associate with chocolate and it just leaves me wanting.
Queued post, written August 20th 2014
This one came from the Fru P Christmas calendar that I had. It’s the last one of those teas that I haven’t had yet, and we used the rest of the leaf today. The weather has gone from heat wave-y to downright autumnal over the last few weeks, so it was appropriate.
I’ve shared some of it with MissB earlier and she was very pleased with it, so that stopped me being too scared of it. I like chai now and then, but it’s never something I would seek out and it’s extremely rare that I want to drink any. I don’t find it unpleasant. It’s just not very me. Maybe scared was an inaccurate word to use. Perhaps it would be better to say that MissB’s enjoying it made me less disinterested.
It is indeed a well balanced cup. I can easily pick up spices but none of them stand out in particular. It’s more of an ensemble performance, everything blending in neatly.
It’s quite sweet, and I’m getting a sort of impression that there might be a little bit of licorice root in there. Not very much, though. Not enough to get that tell-tale licorice root feeling at the back of the throat, but just enough to make it sweet.
It was quite nice.
Two more teas to go before I’ve emptied the box!!!
Well. I say ‘emptied’. Two more teas to go before I can start in on what I added to the box the other day because I was a Bad Dog. We had Husband’s Sister visiting for a long weekend, and took her into Skanderborg because she wanted to buy a souvenir and we wanted to buy some more plates and Husband didn’t want to drive in Århus when Skanderborg was closer and had the same sort of shops. While there, Husband suggested that we pop round to that chocolate shop we found last time we were in Skanderborg. They have NUTE tea. You may recall I wrote about one of those some months ago. Came in a very attractive but hopelessly useless wooden caddy.
“I’m not yet allowed to buy anything,” says I.
“Come on, you’re on holiday,” says Husband.
SEE?! Not my fault!
Came out with two NUTE caddies and another tin and six NUTE sample satchets. It all went a bit wrong. Especially since I went into a sort of feeding frenzy state where I didn’t realise until much later that two of the sample satchets were the same tea I also bought a caddy of.
“I can’t tempt you with some of our handmade chocolates?” says Shop Lady.
“It doesn’t exist!!!” says I, somewhat desperately.
Yes. It all went a bit wrong.
Queued post, written August 19th 2014
MissB shared this one with me, although I’m afraid it’s not going to be something for me, really. It has spearmint in it, which I tend to find rather too toothpaste-y and also jasmine which I plainly just don’t like. So… But I shall try to keep an open mind!
I have to say, I don’t find it a very nice smell. It reminds me mostly of soap, which I believe must be because of the floral element. I’m not keen on flowers on my tea, and to be honest, I’m generally not keen on flower-smells in general. Not even actual flowers. Sometimes people around me can go ‘ooooh doens’t that smell lovely?!’ and I’ll sit quietly to myself thinking it stinks to high heaven. Geraniums fall into that category for me. We have some outside and they are forbidden entry to the house on account of reeking. Blech and blech again, says I!
So flower perfume? Frequently not going to score many points with me.
After a bit the flower perfume and soapy associations go away though and it smells more minty. Primarily spearmint, unfortunately, but I can also pick up the green tea and the rooibos underneath.
To my relief, I can’t actually taste the jasmine much. There is a bit of it around the edges that I don’t much like, but it’s not bad. There is a great deal of mint, particularly spearmint, but that was to be expected with a name like that.
Apart from that I can pick up the green and rooibos again, and also a bit of cinnamon, particularly on the aftertaste. Rose and rosehip seems pretty much absent, but that doesn’t bother me.
I’m getting a slightly messy feeling from this. Mint, floral and cinnamon. Not things I would have thought to put together. The combination strikes me as a bit odd. I could have taken mint and floral on their own (logically, I probably wouldn’t have liked it) or mint and cinnamon on their own. I could even imagine floral and cinnamon on their own. But all three together? It seems a little bit of a jumble to me.
It’s far more drinkable than I had anticipated, but I won’t cry over the fact that I can’t have it again.
Queued post, written August 6th 2014
Another one from the Yet To Try box, which is getting very very close to empty now! Not counting this one there are now only four things left in it. I am quite pleased with this achievement because it was full to bursting when I started and it’s not actually a small box.
It’s another Frenchie. The name is French. All the information in the database is in French. I haven’t the faintest idea what this is supposed to be, but I gather from Anna’s post about it that I should expect something with cherry and almond on a green tea base. Very well, that sounds pleasant, actually. It was Anna who shared it with me as well.
It’s very very easy to find the cherry here. It smells almost exactly like the steam from the pot did the day I tried making cherry cordial with our own cherries. I just made a small amount to see if we liked it, so we got maybe two glasses each. And we liked it. A lot. I don’t care what kind of fancy-schmancy cordial you all can get in your various supermarkets around the world, I can promise you without a shadow of a doubt that it can not, I repeat it can not beat home made stuff. Not the last time I’ve made cordial, let me tell you! And it was stupidly easy as well. Anyway, home made cordial boiling away on the hob, that’s what it smells like. This is a very auspicious start indeed.
After a little bit of cooling and sniffing, the almond comes out as well, and I’m now getting a more marcipan-y smell than cherry smell. Thick and sweet. I have a large roll of marcipan for baking purposes in the kitchen and this tea is making me want to go and bite it. I shall excert some self control though.
The flavour is strongly almond, but with a fruity note of cherry to it. I think almond is the primary note, but the cherry note is fairly large as well. It’s just more of a side-dish note than the almond is. Like how you would say, “for dinner I had a grilled fish with some potatoes,” but you wouldn’t say, “for dinner I had boiled potatoes with some fish,” because that evokes a strange idea of what you dinner was like. In the aftertaste, however, the cherry is the star and it’s a long note too.
The thing about flavoured tea is I greatly enjoy a flavoured tea, but I don’t want it to be so strongly flavoured (in most things) that I lose the feeling of drinking tea. I want tea with flavouring, not flavouring with tea. I’m actually a little uncertain about where this particular tea falls on that scale, but I think that must be due to me not really drinking very much green tea in general, so the base doesn’t stand out to me super much. I’m willing to give it the benefit of doubt on this point.
It’s quite a pleasant tea and I’m very much enjoying this cup, but I’m not sure it would really hold my interest in the long run what with it being green. I like green well enough, I just don’t find it as good as my blacks, so I’m not very good at drinking it. In spite of the fact that I think cherry and green tea are two flavours that suit each other very well indeed, I’d be more inclined towards a black base blend of this. (And here, that brioche blend from American Tea Room springs to mind, actually.)
queued post, written August 5th 2014
2 more workdays until my summer holiday. 14½ work hours. Is it Friday yet?
In another attempt to empty the Yet To Try box, because I really want to buy some tea soon and I know more or less what I want to buy. Been craving dark oolong for weeks now. Anyway, this is one that Auggy shared with me and I have to admit I’m not sure why she did that. To be honest, I’m not sure she knows either, because she wrote in her letter that she didn’t fully expect it was something for me. Head-scratcher.
If I swap with someone I usually ask them not to send me matcha because I haven’t got the proper things for making it and the few times I’ve tried them, I’ve not been impressed. To me, it’s just not a necessary type of tea. It tastes like your average Japanese green tea, and leaf tea is just so much easier to make and drink. Basically matcha is wasted on me.
But Auggy still thought she would share two kinds. The other one is yuzu flavoured, which… I know I’ve had a tea flavoured with that before, but I can’t remember what I thought of it. I’m not too keen on ginger at all, but I’m having it first due to lucky dip.
It was my ambition to get one of those proper whisks before I tried them, because I figured I might as well give it my best possible go. This plan was abandoned when I realised how much those things costs and how little I’m likely to use it. Just Say No.
So instead I saw someone mention that they usually just stirred it with a fork and I thought, “that’s what I’ll do. Beat it like an egg.” So I did.
I was uncertain about how much powder to use for the size of my cup, but eventually decided to compare it with those instant chocolate powders. How much would I use of that for this size cup? Seems to have worked out all right, if a bit on the strong side.
Obviously, being powderised leaf, matcha isn’t actually soluble. You can make a suspension of it, but if you leave it alone long enough, it’ll settle. You can actually see this with the naked eye just looking at the top of the liquid. Give it a little stir and watch the patterns. It reminds me of a staining solution we use at work, which is a sated solution of a salt and a red powder. It makes these same kinds of patters on the top of the liquid, only much much more distinctly than the matcha does. Still, it’s the first time I’ve ever looked at any tea ever and thought, “it’s like congo red!”
Now, the flavour. Again, I’m struck by the thought that I might as well just have brewed a cup of sencha. Really, it tastes like sencha, only more concentrated and with a note of near-bitterness. Over-brewed is what it tastes like to me. This only gets worse the longer I take to drink the cup, so that when I’m halfway through my smallish cup, it’s so bitter as to be impossible for me to continue. This is not really a suprise to anyone since we’ve already established that matcha is non-soluble powdered leaf. Therefore it’s only going to keep steeping. The key, apparently, is to drink it fast, when I rather prefer to have a larger cup and drink it slowly.
The actual ginger flavour is not too strong actually. I can only just barely detect any ginger in there and it isn’t trying to burn my mouth and throat up with gingerness, so that’s absolutely a plus for me, but probably a minus for someone who was actually looking for something ginger-flavoured.
Since it was a small cup and I had very little of it before it turned undrinkable, and since I’ve made a few experiences, I thought I’d try again right away. This time I used half the amount of powder and have indeed not managed to get that near-bitterness again. But it still just tastes like I might as well have made an ordinary sencha, and if I had made an ordinary sencha I could have taken my time drinking it instead of sitting here feeling like I should hurry up with it.
I just don’t get matcha. I don’t get what it’s supposed to accomplish and I honestly find it more bother than it’s worth.
Queued post, written July 30th, 2014
If the weather people are to be believed then there is a chance that yesterday was the last day of the actual heat wave and that from here on we’re looking at more normal Danish summer weather. Temperature around 25°C and hopefully some rain soon. All the rainwater barrels are empty and the lawn is looking a bit yellow. Yesterday I passed a place with one of those enormous outdoor thermometers/clocks and it said 32°C. At half five in the afternoon! Seemed a bit excessive, but then I don’t know if the actual measuring bit is in direct sunlight or something. Horrid weather, if you ask me. I suffer in the heat. To the point where yesterday it actually made me a bit ill. At least the heat being the culprit is the theory going at the moment, as it was very sudden and after an hour or so I felt completely normal (if a bit hot). But let’s not go further into details with that. Just in case, though, I’m only eating gentle foods, and this is also behind my decision to go for a puerh today. I hear it’s settling on an upset tummy. (I did attempt a mint tea made with some of our fresh mint. It was… not very nice tasting. Apparently mint wants to be dried before being made into tea.)
Auggy sent me this one as well. It’s actually a re-run because she’s shared a couple of touchas with me before. I always did those Western style, though, and so I thought that I might as well try it gong fu now that I had the chance and had been experimenting with that.
I started with a 5 seconds pre-steep, which I didn’t actually taste. It went into the sink before I realised what I was doing.
15 secs: A bit longer for the first real steep than I’ve done before and it’s gone rather cold while I’ve been typing. Tastes a bit like wood and charcoal and with an aftertaste that reminds me mostly of coffee. Having read my note on this made Western style I can’t recognise it here at all. Not at all. Maybe this is because I let it get cold. Could also be that the actual steep time was rather more than 15 seconds because I had some difficulties getting it to pour properly.
15 secs: Another similar steep, this time less charcoal-y and bitter. I didn’t have the pouring problems this time, so the steep-time wasn’t prolonged that way. It seems to have helped a great deal. It also hasn’t gone cold, which also helps a lot. Problem with only brewing four mouthfuls at a time like this is that it goes cold just looking at it. It smells a bit earthy but mostly the smell of it sort of reminds me of moss. I’m not even certain if moss has a smell as such, but that’s the thought I get. It’s still quite strong tasting, with a bit of that finish that reminds me of coffee. We’re in borderline-bitter territory here. Perhaps I shouldn’t have started with 15 seconds? Oh well. I’ll do a few more at 15 and it should even out eventually.
15 secs: We’re getting closer to something enjoyable now. There is a kind of not-quite-syrup-y sweetness to it. A little bit, but some. It’s still very earthy and rough tasting, and kind of rocky as well. I’m reminded of granite mostly, although that might be a synesthetic sort of ‘this tastes like granite looks’ sort of thing rather than an actual flavour. Still a bit bitter when it starts to cool though.
15 secs: Again quite sweet, soft and smooth. Almost thick tasting. That granite feel is gone now, as is the vast majority of this-reminds-me-of-coffee when swallowing. Now I only get that one when I search for it, and possibly only because I’ve already made that connection. Other than that there isn’t really much going on here. Fairly sweet without being sugar-y and primarily earthy-soft and a bit mushroom-y. Pretty much a one note thing. Yeah, I know I mentioned three aspects, but that’s because it’s a mix of the three rather than the three, if you get my drift.
This is as far as I got. It really is just too hot for this sort of thing.