1324 Tasting Notes
Queued post, written May 25th 2014
MissB shared this one with me. It feels a bit weird to have a Christmas themed tea at the end of May, but I have a box to empty and I can’t just have it lie around until December. Normally Christmas blends don’t really appeal to me much. They’re usually far too cinnamon-y and I don’t really care for cinnamon in my tea to be honest. I find the combination of tea and cinnamon a little strange, which is also why I’m having such trouble with chais. I find that the typical Christmas blend is usually in that same sort of category as chai.
I’m not certain what’s Christmas-y about this. It doesn’t really taste like Christmas to me. It’s an orange tea with some sort of spice in it that makes it quite sweet, but I can’t really recognise it as any particular spice.
It’s pleasant enough to drink but not something that has me falling over with glee.
Queued post, written May 24th 2014
This one is from the Christmas calendar, actually, and I’ve only just got around to trying it myself now. I’m using the rest of the tea, having given most of it away and also made some of it for Husband once when I was having something else myself. He thought, if memory serves me correctly, that it was a very pleasant tea. I’ve shared it with MissB and Courtney, and MissB in turn shared it with Jump62359. All of them thought it was pleasant, although MissB found it triggered one of her allergies, so I’m quite confident that I’m going to like it.
I used the rest of the leaf that I had, and that turned out to be a bit more leaf than it looked like because it brewed up fairly strong. No matter, I like a fairly strong tea, so it hasn’t lost anything on that account.
It’s very rhubarb-y in flavour. I can’t comment on the aroma, because my nose is running a bit. I hope I haven’t caught anything. Or rather, I sort of hope that I’ve caught something, because I’ve never suffered from pollen allergies of any sort in all my life and I don’t much fancy starting now. But it’s got lots of rhubarb flavour and it actually tastes like rhubarb. It also tastes like green tea. It’s about equal parts flavour and base and they are flavours that seem to go quite well with each other, finally ending on a sweet note.
I might actually purchase some more of this if it’s still summer when I’m allowed to buy tea again. I doubt it is, to be honest. It seems like there’s still lots left in the box I haven’t tried yet. Next year, then!
Queued post, written May 23rd 2014
Auggy’s shared this with me in the most recent care parcel. I looked it up when I added it to my cupboard, but I don’t recall now what it is. It smells a bit raisin-y and fruity though. Berry-ish, I thought. After steeping it’s more floral, but not very floral like it was scented. Just a thin layer of floral on top. It’s sort of wood-y underneath that, but neither cocoa-y nor really grainy.
The flavour is quite floral as well, and also quite wood-y. Again, neither cocoa-y nor grainy. It’s not hay-y either. There’s a bit of a fruity aftertaste to it, which reminds me of cherries.
I honestly can’t tell what this stuff is. It has none of the characteristics of the areas I know best. Could it be some completely new to me area?
I have to look it up.
Oh, it’s from Taiwan! That is indeed a fairly unknown region to me. That explains why there were no recognisable elements to it at all.
As I drink and it cools a bit, I feel the flowery notes get a little more pronounced as do the fruity notes. The fruity notes actually expands a bit, no longer content to being merely an aftertaste. I still think it’s mostly a dark cherry, but I see on Steepster that others have likened it more to plums. Oh well, they’re both stone fruits. Close enough for jazz.
Cooling a little further, we’re at gulping temperature now, the floral note has changed and turned from floral into something more spicy. I felt like it was reminding me of something particular, but I couldn’t think of what, so I nipped off to the kitchen to have a snuffle around the spice shelves. This didn’t yield any positive results so if it is indeed something I ought to know, it’s not a spice we currently have. I did, however, narrow it down that I think it’s a bake-y spice rather than a cooking spice. Others have mentioned cloves and cinnamon, but I didn’t really think that was a match for me either.
This is a very interesting tea. It’s not that often anymore that I get to have a completely new region’s tea for the first time where it doesn’t remind me strongly of a neighbouring region.
Queued post, written May 21st 2014
Another green tea for Green Tea Day. Apparently it’s not only Green Tea Day, it’s also Ancient Tea Day because this one came from Auggy and it’s even older than the other two. Well. By a couple of months but even so. Still older. In my defence she sent me a few of these and I’ve only got one left. I just haven’t written about it until now.
Smells lovely of green tea and cherry. A very fruity juicy sort of cherry. The sort that I hope some of all the myriads of cherry trees in our garden will produce. (Little hope there, though. Husband’s father thinks it’s a decorative sort of cherry, not an edible one. And he’s worked with plants in some way or another, both at his job and in his garden, for 40 years, so he should know. Still. When there is fruit, I will test it the best way I know how. By biting one.) It strikes me that red fruits generally go quite well with green tea. I think a 4 red fruits blend on a green base might be rather lovely, but I expect that already exists somewhere out there.
The flavour is very floral, reminding me that this is scented with cherry blossoms, not flavoured with cherry. Isn’t it funny though how the flowers sort of smell like the fruit? The green tea is fairly strong compared to the other two I’ve had today, and it’s got a smidge of bitterness to it. No, not bitterness… But a note that tells me that if brewed hotter or longer, it very likely would turn undrinkable. It’s borderline. At the point where it is now, though, it lends body and strength and is quite enjoyable.
Queued post, written May 21st 2014
The second green tea today and the second ancient bag. This one was also from Fleurdelily and therefore a couple of… years… old. By a funny coincidence when I posted from the queue this morning that was also a post about a green darjeeling, a much newer one than this one, and having just read that post again, I can totally recognise it in this cup as well.
I’ll take that as a sign that this one carries its age quite well, then. It’s got that lemon pith-y bite to it on top of something that is sort of generically green tea. I shared some of the other green darj (the one I posted about this morning) with MissB who found it apricot-y. I can see what she means with that now. I think it’s mostly lemon pith-y, but I think it’s the same note that we experience slightly differently. I can totally see how it could be apricot-y.
This has a bit of a floral touch as well, which I thought the other one didn’t so much, but that could be differences in the harvests.
I’m skipping the queue with this one, because I want to show the GTT team that I am actually gratefully writing and drinking the things they shared with me. Sort of like a proof that I’m keeping my end of the bargain, even if the other two samples will likely wind up in the posting queue and turn up in due course. I just didn’t want to have the first post wait that long. The oldest posts in the queue at the moment are from May, you see. (I haven’t been adding to it nearly every day though, so it’s not as long as one might fear.)
Shortly before I went on holiday, I received an email from Green Terrace Teas, inviting me to try a few samples from them and writing about them. This put me in a bit of a dilemma, because you may recall that I have this box on my desk of things I haven’t yet tried and the goal for 2014 is to empty it. Completely. So empty that you could turn it upside down and nothing would fall out. As a consequence I am strictly prohibited from adding to said box.
But if they’re offering to give me stuff which I didn’t ask for first… Then technically I’m not the one adding to the box. So that must be okay, right? I mean, I can’t be held responsible for other people’s actions, right? So I said yes please and chose three things. Well, actually I chose two things and dithered on the third to the point of saying ‘surprise me’. I chose the two black teas (of course) and also wanted to try an oolong, but I haven’t had much experience at all with these green type oolongs in recent years, so apart from a couple that I was already familiar with, I didn’t even know where to begin. Hence, ‘surprise me.’
Now, this particular tea is the one I’ve been looking forward to the most.
Both the steeped tea and the dry leaf have a strong note of something which is very hard for me to place. It’s sweet and malty, but I’m not sure I would say it was necessarily honey. Maybe a very concentrated honey note, but I’m leaning more towards honey with something else. It’s the something else I’m having trouble with. The malty note is quite strong though and it’s only enhanced further by the honey note. As it cools to a sippable temperature, the honey note develops further, gradually making it stronger than the malty note. At this point the something else is also developing a bit, and I’m starting to think berries. A fairly tart sort of berry, possibly dried. Black currants and/or blackberry are the first things that come to mind. Perhaps also a little bit of plum, but I’m uncertain about that one.
The tea itself is surprisingly strong. It’s not strong in the overleafed or oversteeped way, it’s just a naturally strong tea by it self. The first and foremost note that I notice is something sort of wood-y, like how a dark oolong can be quite wood-y in flavour. Not the dark sort of oaky wood that black tea can have but something a bit lighter and sharper. I have a specific type of wood in mind that it makes me think of, but unfortunately I don’t know what kind of tree that’s from… It’s a light wood with a sort of pinkish-golden colour and the wood grain is very well defined. Anyway, it tastes to me like wood that looks like that. (Bring on the synesthesia. Why can’t I have this phenomenon in a normal way?). As a result this whole tea kind of tastes like that pinkish-golden colour, complete with wood grain and everything.
Along with the weird wood note, I’m also getting a strong note of honey. It’s amazingly sweet this and the honey notes is very clear. A little spicy and hay-y too, which reminds me of Yunnan teas, especially the sort.
These naturally occurring notes (rather than flavourings) are always rather subjective, so I was uncertain about how much honey I would actually find in it, but I’m very attracted to things to do with honey. I’ve had supposedly peach-y teas before and not found even a whiff of stone fruits, so I tend to take that sort of thing with a grain of salt. This one, however, definitely delivers. There is a bit of astringency on the swallow, but the aftertaste is all honey.
If bees drank tea, they would drink this.
I have returned from the wilds of Cumbria, where a ‘large road’ is any road that is wider than single track. And the wilds were indeed wild. Especially that time we got a little bit lost. Or the time the satnav were supposed to take us to the Lakeland Motor Museum and deposited us in front of Holker Hall. (Which coinkidinkally we had visited earlier in the week) And mountainous. Very mountainous. I climbed two little ones. Husband claims they were hills and that he could have done it in flip-flops. HA! I know a mountain when I struggle up one and these were mountains. And he never proved the flip-flops statement either.
Have earned my mountain goat badge and my map reading badge, I think.
Oh, and I posted this without actually pasting in the actual post. Here you go.
Queued post, written May 21st 2014
Let the green tea day commence! Well. That is to say. How many green teas can I drink before I have to choose between making a black or going crazy?
I’ve started with an effort to do something about the tin of random bags. I’ve got a handful of bags and I’ve put them in a tin in order to stem chaos. Trouble is, I forget to look in the tin when searching the box of untried things for something new, which is why the ones I’ve taken out and hope to be using to day are a bit ancient. This one, for example, was shared with me by Fleurdelily in 2012! O.o So were a couple of the others.
Hopefully they will still produce some flavour then.
Now, this one. I usually have a black tea in the morning and usually an unflavoured one. Since it’s Green Tea Day, I couldn’t have that today. Then I saw this one said gingko on it, and if memory serves me correctly that’s one of those things that are supposed to be refreshing and providing a bit of a mental boost and energy and whatnot. Seemed a good choice for the morning, then. Or am I confusing it with ginseng? Either way, I have no idea what it’s supposed to taste like.
This is a fairly mild tea (or it has become a fairly mild one) and the lemon flavouring is quite strong, but not sour. It doesn’t taste like biting a lemon, but it has a very pleasing lemony aftertaste.
I can’t say anything about the base though. It might have faded into almost nothing which makes lemon all I can taste because it’s all there is to taste, but even so this is actually a very pleasant blend. Husband, being a lemon fiend, would probably have enjoyed this greatly, but I only had the one bag.
I shan’t rate it, though, because of the sheer age of it and then flavour being such as I can’t tell if it has changed over time. Sometimes you can sort of taste the ghost of what it could have been with a faded tea (or an accidentally mis-brewed one for that matter), have you noticed that?
This post is skipping the queue, because I want one more post in, mainly to say that I’ll be away for a little more than a week as we are leaving for the UK tomorrow. I shan’t have time to access Steepster before then and internet access may be sporadic while we’re away because I don’t know if there will be wifi and I’m not made of money if there isn’t. The EU may have forced phone companies to lower roaming charges, but that hasn’t magically made it cheap. Just less expensive.
This is the one of two Assams that Husband and/or my Dad bought for me in Germany. I’ve had trouble describing the first one. There is a post about it in the queue and you’ll get the story of the purchase of the tea in that one. The words to describe it just wouldn’t come to me. I’m afraid I’ve got a similar problem with this.
The trouble is though that I’m having it at a moment where I’m fairly stressed as we’re going on holiday tomorrow and I’m not ready. I’ve got to do my packing and also have to cook dinner and also have to go to work tomorrow and leave on time and we’ll set off as soon as I get home. Argh! I won’t even have time to think between then and now.
Anyway, this was supposed to be a Life-Giving cup of tea, and it is, because it’s good and strong, but without being bitter or very astringent. There is some, but only of the pleasant sort. It’s very flavourful. It’s quite Assam-y with that funny cardboard-y note that is so characteristic of Assam and it even has a bit of raisin-y notes on the finish. In between it’s malty and a bit wood-y.
This is a very good tea and just what I need right now. I just wish it could also pack my suitcase for me.
Right. I’ve got a list of things to get on with. I feel like I’m having to work quite hard in order to go on holiday.
Queued post, written May 18th 2014
Here is another one from my recent Auggy parcel. I’ve seen this one around before on Steepster, but it never really caught my interest enough to check it further. It just got lumped automatically into the ‘sounds nice but unavailable to me’ box and so I put it from my mind.
Now I get to have some anyway. I find the name of the blend attractive for reasons that I don’t even understand myself. If I were shopping somewhere and saw a black blend of that name, it would make me have a closer look.
This is one of those rare blends, where not only have they listed what goes in it, they’ve also done it in a more detailed way than usual. Many companies would just have put ‘Indian, Ceylon and China tea’. Some would go a little further and put ‘Assam, Ceylon and Keemun.’ This one actually specifies the two Ceylons used (Uva and Dimbula)! It made me go YAY! I wish more companies would take heed of this.
Now, Uva is a highgrown tea and Dimbula is as well. I don’t actually care much for the high-grown Ceylons although I find them easier to drink than a Darjeeling. As is my experience, though, a Darjeeling in a blend can become quite acceptable in a blend because it is tempered by the other ingredients, and this is the case with the high grown Ceylon in this blend as well. Assam and Keemun are both fairly strong teas for me. Some people classify Keemun as mild, but for me it’s not that mild. I think maybe I measure strength differently. Something with that much flavour in it feels strong to me. They both do an excellent job with keeping the Ceylon in line in this blend. It is primarily a Ceylon blend, though.
I’m actually getting very little of the characteristics of the Keemun and Assam. No grain-y notes, but a little bit of floralness which may or may not be part Keemun and part Ceylon. No cardboard-y notes from the Assam, but a great deal of body. It’s like the Assam and Keemun work to enhance the deeper notes of the Ceylons rather than add their own flavour to the mix. I find I quite like that. It makes the blend taste very balanced. It reminds me strongly of low-grown Ceylon actually.
I’m quite pleased with this one.
Queued post, written May 17th 2014
Auggy shared this with me in the yearly care package. It’s not yearly by design, btw. That’s just how long it happens to take collecting good things. The care package is largely about sharing really good and/or interesting things. Mine to her is nearly ready I think.
This year, due to a number of things, the care package is a little different because I suspect it contains things that were ‘cleaned out’ because she can no longer have them. There are certainly a couple of head-scratchers in here. :)
Anyway, there is also some really good stuff, this one included. Auggy pretty much keeps me in A&D as she has shared samples of most of it with me. I can purchase this myself, the shipping being below my limit, but the times I’ve done it it has been a bit of a hassle because their site wouldn’t accept my foreign address, so I had to go the email and paypal route. It’s possible, obviously, I did it with Joseph Wesley recently and I did it with Shang Tea a few years ago as well, but it feels like such a hassle. Good thing I’ve got Auggy to show me what I would otherwise be missing then.
I had to choose a tea for the morning and I couldn’t remember what was in this one, but it was A&D and so therefore couldn’t be completely off the mark.
It smells… red. That’s all I can really say about it. It smells red, and I can’t think of any other words. Perhaps a bit wood-y? Maybe with a smidge of honey? I’m not certain at all. It just smells red. Hello synesthesia! Haven’t seen you around in a while. Why is it only sometimes? Why is it only certain smells and flavours? You’d think it would be all the time, wouldn’t you? Perhaps I haven’t actually got it really, and the colour/shape/gender thing is something that just steps in to hide the fact that my imagination is failing me?
I think there’s Darjeeling in this. Or a high grown Ceylon. It tastes strongly Darj-y with the floralness and the grass and the slightly sour aftertaste. The latter there is tempered by whatever else is in there. Something stronger and maltier. Maybe Assam and/or Keemun. It’s not very grainy so I’m leaning more towards Assam. I can even catch a bit of cardboard-y notes in it as well. That’s usually an Assam tell-tale. I just really think there’s a third thing in here as well. The more I think about it the less I think it’s Keemun. I think we’re in Ceylon territory here. A mid- or low-grown one. Unfortunately when people add Ceylon tea to something, though, they don’t bother stating which area it’s from. I wish they would. Just look at all my Project Ceylon posts, the differences are HUGE between high-, mid- and low-grown and Sri Lanka produces tea at all three altitude ranges. Anyway, Darj, Assam and Ceylon is my guess.
I should have liked it better without the Darjeeling, but that’s hardly news. I find it quite tolerable in this blend, though, because the other teas mute the things I dislike about Darjeeling somewhat. It’s a bit like the Afternoon Blend from Jeeves and Jericho, which I recall as being very similar to this one. I can happily drink a tin, but then I don’t need to buy another afterwards.
We got two steeps out of this one, the second steep being just as strong as the first one. That’s unusual for Indian/Ceylon teas in my experience.