1192 Tasting Notes
Posting queue appears to be growing explosively at the moment, so I’m going to do daily posts for a while. Blame the second round of the EU TTB! (But also a number of moments involving certain indiscretions made on certain webshops… Had to admit to having been a very bad dog last night.)
This came out of the EU travelling teabox (round 1), and I can’t actually remember if I took all of it or not. I think it’s possible that I did. I initially only took half, but then I can’t remember if I pinched the rest when I discovered I hadn’t taken enough to be able to close the box.
Anyway, the leaves smell absolutely wonderfully sweet, custardy, caramel-y vanilla. Very promising! After steeping it still smells wonderful, but this time it’s more vanilla-vanilla, rather than custard-y caramel-y vanilla.
The flavour, however, isn’t quite the smooth and soft vanilla-y flavour that I would have wished. I mean, it does taste like vanilla, very much so especially on the aftertaste, but there’s a certain harshness to it as well, which I think has to do with the base. I think the best base for my perfect vanilla is something that is smooth and full-flavoured, but doesn’t try to dominate the vanilla. I think this one does. I think it’s a little too strong for the flavouring. I shall have to try it with a shorter steep, I think, and then see what I think.
The level of vanilla is great, but the base doesn’t seem to want to play nicely with it.
This one I got out of the EU Travelling Teabox (round 1). At first I wasn’t even planning to try it at all, but then two things happened.
1. I found myself rather forced to take some more stuff out, because I couldn’t tetris everything into the box and close the lid.
2. Scheherazade shared a couple of bags of surprisingly pleasant (well, it surprised me) chai with me, so I thought why not?
The more I thought about this one, the more appealing I thought it was. Nuts, you know. :)
I’m trying it tonight while I’m home alone and rather need something warming. I haven’t quite reached the point where I can only stand peppermint herbals yet, but let me put it this way. In the last 48 hours I’ve watched 23 episodes of As Time Goes By. I think that speaks volumes about my current health, really. I’ll be taking season four with me to bed as soon as I’m finished writing this.
I don’t usually like milk in my tea, in fact I tend to generally be of the opinion that milk and/or sweetener is just ruining the cup (especially the sweetener, blech!), but I’ve come to understand that I really do need it there in a chai. Otherwise it seems unfinished, somehow. Even so, I’ve got a few mouthfuls of this in a second cup without milk, so that I can taste it unadulterated.
I’ll start with the non-milk version. As it was the dregs of the pot, it’s gone a bit bitter. It smells very cinnamon-y but it doesn’t have an overwhelming cinnamon taste. Mind you, I can’t taste any nuts either but that might be the dregs-y situation’s fault. If it hadn’t gone so bitter, it does taste like it would be really rather nice.
As for the milked cup, I fulled the mug about a quarter up with milk and nuked it. I am too damn lazy for saucepans when it’s such a relatively small amount of milk we’re talking about. Then I poured the finished tea into that, and this does smell quite nutty. And milky. It only lacks chocolate and it would smell like hot nutella. I can detect the cinnamon as well, but it’s even more discreet here than without the milk.
It’s not at all bitter with the warm milk in. It’s very sweet, actually. Partly I think because of the nuts, and partly because of the milk. (Seriously, next time you have a glass of milk, pay attention to it. It really does have a sweet taste to it) The spices are very low here, as is the base tea, so I pretty much feel like I’m drinking warm nutty milk.
Which, actually, is really rather nice. For all the lack of base tea and spices, I strongly suspect that I would notice them NOT being there, so I don’t think they’re completely invisible. They’re just… background noise. Rounding everything out. As the cup cools the spices come in to play more, but still mainly as an aftertaste.
I’m glad my tetris-inabilities forced me to pilfer this one. It’s really very pleasant. Perhaps I can learn to enjoy chai. It’s just a question of finding the correct chai.
This is a tea that Scheherazade shared with me. I have never heard of anything by the name of Yuzu before, so I had to look it up. Initially I thought it was the name of the type of green tea, but it turns out that it’s the fruit it’s flavoured with. Further investigation reveals that it’s a kind of citrus fruit that grows in East Asia. It looks like a mandarin and supposedly tastes like a mix of grapefruit, mandarin and lemon. So I’m left to expect something that can somehow manage to be sweet, bitter and tart at the same time. How is that going to work?
Citrus-y conundrums aside, I tend to find that green tea and citrus go quite well together, so I’m rather looking forward to tasting it now.
It does actually manage to smell like all those three citrus fruits mentioned earlier all at once. Imagine a triangle with grapefruit, lemon and mandarin at the corners. Right there in the middle of the triangle. That’s what it smells like. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible. Now, the danger of lemon-y things is that they might wind up smelling a bit like washing up liquid, but I don’t think this one does. It smells rather like a fruit I would like to taste.
There’s a good deal of bitterness in the flavour. It’s not oversteeping-bitter or too-warm-water-bitter, it’s more like grapefruit-bitter. Like when you get a bit of the peel as well as the fruit. Apart from that the flavour isn’t really reminding me all that much of grapefruit, mandarin or lemon, although it is decidedly citrus-y. More sort of bergamot-ish to me. Like a bergamot that has been tarted up a bit with some lemon. It does go really well with the green tea though.
Hmmm… I’m not sure what I think of this. It seems to be rather refreshing, but I’m not sure I can drink very much of it without getting a bit tired of that bitter note.
Jenier order arrived today. I’d forgotten they did that, but when the very first thing I see when I open the box is a small envelope with my name on it and containing a little hand-written ‘hope you enjoy, thanks for your order’ card, I get a happy! Also, I bought another 50g pouch of their golden monkey, but the actual pouch weighs 120g. They did the same thing last time when I also bought a supposedly 50g pouch of golden monkey. I’m definitely not complaining, but… they must have really poor scales in Scotland.
This is an older one I found in my Haven’t Yet Posted About Box (which needs a better name) and it was Sil who shared it with me.
I don’t know anything at all about this oolong, so I had to look it up. Apparently it’s had leafhoppers. Isn’t that the same thing that happens to Oriental Beauty? I’m not too keen on OB these days, actually, but there can be several other factors involved with that. It would be silly to expect immediate dislike just because they have leafhoppers in common. It could be loads of other things that make OB not really appeal to me.
This one looks darker than OB. Has it been roasted a little bit? It smells like it has. It also smells extraordinarily like peaches! And a little nutty as well, but mostly peach or some similar stone fruit.
Okay, this is already seeming much better than OB! Isn’t it strange how the more conscious you are to NOT compare with a specific other kind of tea, the more you find it impossible to avoid it?
At first when I sip I get a borderline sharp bitterness. Perhaps I oversteeped it just a little bit? This note turns into a sort of coal-y thing on the aftertaste, like burnt toast where it has been attempted to scrape the worst of the burn away. This, for me, is the top note.
Underneath that it’s gone all fruity. Again I’m reminded mostly of peaches or similar, but I’m not really getting this honey note that the description mentions. Perhaps that’s the note that is coming out as peaches for me.
The bottom note is very fleeting. It’s only sort of there if you squint, but if I really pay attention I can find a whiff of something nutty there. Just for a moment before the other notes completely takes over. I can’t find it on every sip no matter how closely I pay attention, but every once in a while, there it is. I’m thinking of a relatively sweet-flavoured nut like almond or hazelnut. I associate those with a modicum of sweetness. (Walnut is more sort of tree-like for me and not sweet at all. I’m not sufficiently familiar with other types of nuts to be able to categorise them. I’m not much of a nut-eater really. I’m merely a nut. :p )
This is rather nice, and not like OB at all. That just goes to prove that it’s not the leafhopper effect that makes OB less interesting for me.
Hurrah! My second Tea Palace order arrived today, containing four new black teas none of which are already in the database. Typical. I’ll add them… later. Also, Steam now have a family sharing feature which gives me access to all the games that Husband has bought and vice versa, meaning that I have today discovered Terraria. Four hours have gone into that particular time-sink already… So let us celebrate with another post from the queue, and what better way to celebrate the arrival of a TP order than by posting about the last tea from the first TP order?
My last tea from the TP order.
This one is… It smells strongly of peppermint. What was I thinking??? Is it possible that I was simply seduced by all the pretty blue flowers? Yes, yes it is. It has Yunnan tea, peppermint and these blue flowers and that’s it. So what in the world possessed me to put the sample tin in my basket? Granted I’ve been more inclined to think favourably of a peppermint tea lately than I was just a year ago, but even so. It’s hardly a must-have sort of thing for me.
Oh well, perhaps I’ll be wiser once I’ve tasted it. As mentioned the aroma is very sweet and minty and the blend has pretty blue flowers. I’m not picking any note up from the base of it, though.
The taste comes across as an anonymous black tea with a lot of peppermint at first. It’s really very sweet with the mint here, and I’m only vaguely getting Yunnan-y hints from the base. The sense of the smell of hay and earth and ‘thickness’. But not the actual smell or taste of it.
Call me strange, but this is actually a sizable plus in my book.
I still can’t imagine why I bought this in the first place, but obviously I should trust my instincts in these matters.
(I checked the order confirmation and I did order it. It’s not another mistaken inclusion like the hong mao feng/mao feng confusion)
Oooh I did an Ang™ on this one. Veeeeeery full cup. Yay surface tension. My small china pot fits these mugs exactly and knowing this, sometimes I become rather more focused on emptying the pot than the fullness of the mug. Resulting in… well, you can guess.
Anyway, here’s another one from my recent Tea Palace order, and it’s one that I’ve been looking forward to trying. The name of it rather appeals to me for some reason that I can’t really explain. Also the description says it has notes of caramel, and we all know what the c-word does to me.
It doesn’t say anything about where in China this was grown, but it smells like it may have been Yunnan. Which means that the both of the unflavoured black teas I bought from TP come from my least favourite tea-producing part of China. I wonder if I should be concerned about this? It does smell Yunnan-y, though with the strong aroma and the prominent hay-like notes. It smells very malty as well, which isn’t something that I can remember if it’s a characteristic of Yunnan as well, but my subconscious says ‘yes, that’s Yunnan.’
I may actually have to write to Tea Palace and have this cleared up…
Ooh this is quite full flavoured, but not the mouthful of hay that I was beginning to expect. It is indeed quite sweet, and I can see where they get there caramel notes from. Personally I think they’re more malty than caramel, but it’s still that same sort of ‘family’.
It’s the sort of dark, full flavour where I would expect to find a lot of grain-y notes, but there aren’t really too many of those. It’s just all… smooth and slippery. Rather earthy, actually. As it cools it starts to remind me very much of a quite mild pu-erh, reinforcing my Yunnan theory further. I am 99% certain it’s a Yunnan tea, this.
It’s quite nice, but rather more of a mouthful than I had anticipated. I think the sample tin is enough for me, as I suspect this is going to be a special occasions sort of tea for when serious flavour and pick me up is needed.
Husband loves lemon flavoured things, so this one was a combination of something he loves (lemons) and something I love (berries). His lemon fixation has sort of rubbed off on me and I frequently find myself going for a lemon-y option if one is presented to me. So I nabbed this one out of the EU travelling teabox.
Unfortunately, though, he only found the combination pleasant but not awesome. Oh well. I tried, though.
Personally I found it really nice. I used to have a lemon tea and black currant tea, both from AC Perchs that I would mix half and half. I thought it was pretty awesome, but I tended to be the only person to think so. This blend is rather in the same sort of vein, so I’m feeling a little bit vindicated right now. It’s not just me!
As mentioned, I’ve enjoyed this cup. I find the berry and the lemon in a pleasant balance with the base, and it leaves a sort of veeeery slightly astringent feeling on the tongue, just like when one has been eating something with lemon juice on it. Considering that this is a lemon-y tea, I consider that a really great touch.
Apart from this, I’m afraid I haven’t been paying too much attention to it, as it got caught up in writing the moving notice for our current landlord, trying to work out what we could expect to have to pay for a painter to whack a fresh coat of paint on the walls after we’ve moved (the alternative is doing it ourselves, and as I’ve never painted a wall in my life… I’d rather start my painting career on something that is mine you know) and general house-excitement.
Funny that this should be next in the queue, when I’ve been drinking another Irish Breakfast blend today. It feels a bit full cicle-y
This is another take from the EU travelling teabox, one I didn’t really have to think too hard about before pinching. I rather like breakfast blends, but I never seem to actually buy them for some reason. I think it’s because, in the actual ordering situation, I either get too focused on interesting flavours or on unblended teas, and if they have a breakfast blend at all, then I don’t even look for it.
But I do like a good breakfast blend, so perhaps it’s something I should start paying more attention to. They are so varied, because many companies make their own unique blend that for them is breakfast-y, so it’s not a tried-on-tried-them-all sort of thing at all.
My perfect breakfast blend is actually quite easy to find. In fact I can go out tomorrow and pick up a box from the supermarket. You see, I grew up on Pickwick tea bags when having tea, and their English breakfast blend have a distinct note of honey to it. At least it did 15 years ago, who knows what sort of shenanigans their product development people have been up to in that time? I rather enjoyed that honey note, so that’s what I want in a breakfast blend.
Irish breakfast or English breakfast, though… I can take either. I’ve never really been able to put my finger on exactly what’s supposed to be the difference here, so one is as good as the other for me.
This one smells vaguely grassy and quite malty-sweet. There’s a fair bit of grain in here as well. I find this bode well for the possibility of that honey note.
Unfortunately it doesn’t taste like honey at all. At first, when I sipped, I thought ‘oh no, grass! Darjeeling!’ but then the malty notes came in and sort of took over. Those Darj-y notes aren’t actually so bad after all, so now I don’t think it’s in there at all. It lacks the prickly spicyness of Darj, fortunately. Maybe some other high-grown tea. It really is a quite sweet tea, this one. Under that, forming the body, there is a bit of grain and a whole lot of general Assam-ness with malt and a whiff of raisin. This is robust, strong and lightly astringent in the aftertaste.
This is quite nice. It’s not the sort of tea that I would want to drink all day, but it works well for the first cup of the day. Which this actually is, actually. Evidence to this can be found in how the leaves were initially given a short rinse in cold water because I forgot to boil it first and then had to pour it back in the kettle. Yay for strainers… I hope it’s not going to be one of the those days.
Husband found it pleasant too. He said it was a good breakfast tea and better than most English breakfast blends he’s tried (which likely came out of a bag, mind you) which were often much too (and here he made a funny face). And this one wasn’t.
PS. Lightly astringent turns into quite astringent if you drink this while eating yoghurt, apparently. So don’t do that.
From the queue. (I’ve upped the posting frequency from the queue because it seems to be growing faster than I’m posting at the moment… 25 pages and counting.)
Bleurgh… Husband is not home tonight so I’m fending for myself dinner-wise. Husband is vegetarian, and I am one on most days for the main reason that I can’t possibly be bothered to cook two separate meals for two people when whatever he’s having is just as good as anything meaty. However, on the occasions when we go out, have take out or I’m feeding myself, I usually fall into the meat trap. It’s possible that I over-do it a bit. Bottomline is, I enjoy the food while eating, but afterwards always feel far too full in the entirely wrong way. Full on meat feels very different from full on a vegetarian fare. To top it all off I also had half a glass of red wine, unusually for me but it’s one of these very posh wines. The sort of that comes in a box with a tap on it, you know. So I’m very very full and kind of sleepy. Hence, bleurgh… In short, my tummy is right now a rabbit of negative euphoria. ( sigh I shall miss Cabin Pressure)
I am in need of something light and restoratative. Green and fruity? Yes. Time for another Try from the EU Travelling Teabox, now winding its way towards Italy.
I’m not generally a green tea person, but I took some of this one because… I don’t need to go into this again, do I? Berry, attraction, done deal.
It definitely smells like blueberry. Actually it just smells blue all round. I’m getting a very clear sky blue. There’s a sweetness to it as well which is not all berry but reminds me of vanilla. There isn’t actually vanilla in it at all as far as I can see, so that might just be my personal vanilla obsession, but that is nevertheless what I’m reminded of.
At first, when I sip, I just get the green tea. It tastes fresh and vegetative, but not in the sort of fat, thick, almost salty way that some greens, particularly dragonwell for me, have a tendency to. This tastes more spring-like and crisp. Then, after a split second, the blueberry comes in. It’s a very clear blueberry flavour, here. Very sweet and a little creamy. Again, it’s as if it has been mixed with a little vanilla. The blueberry flavour sort of builds up as I sip, so that it’s as if the flavouring becomes stronger and stronger.
This is really a very good tea. It’s the sort of thing that makes me wish green blends caught my attention more often. I’m glad I got to try some of this one, although I do wish I’d pinched all of it now. This is a brilliant tea!
This is also from my recent Tea Palace order. I have to admit that while I am very attracted to berry flavoured things, I may or may not have purchased this one primarily for the tin. Look at the picture! Isn’t that just lovely? The other tins from Tea Palace or purple. Attractive as well, but this one is just lovely. (I think Husband finds it (the tin) fairly awful, but then again, he’s not a girl so what does he know?)
The tea itself, I’m pleased to report is also rather lovely. It smells strongly of berries, strawberries especially, both in the leaf and after steeping. It has that juicy note that reminds me of warm strawberry jam.
The flavour is the same as well. Strongly berry-ed and juicy, but not only strawberry here. I can pick up a hint of raspberry as well, but not really any black currant. Still it’s primarily a strawberry tea, which one might have guessed from the tin.
I find it aptly named. I can’t help feeling slightly posh when I drink it. Very lovely, this.