102 Tasting Notes
1/28/14 Gongfu practice in the evening. 2.5g in my 100ml gaiwan. I’m on about the 8th steep of this, and will probably write a reply to this note when I’ve finished. This tea opened with a strong orchid/apricot aroma, and has gently been adding astringency and spicy notes with each steep. I’m enjoying it a great deal. The leaves are still pretty tight, some more so than others. I think I’ll take this tea to the club tomorrow, and see what it’s like brewed by a more experienced and focused gongfu-cha student. I get the feeling there’s a depth to this tea that I am just not skilled enough to draw out.
These are my tea toys! Filter bags in a bunch of sizes, an awesome little analog thermometer that fits right into the hole on the spout of my kettle, measuring spoon, strainer. The scale has a cupcake wrapper on it because it’s measure pan is too small for tea, so I tare out the cupcake wrapper (they weigh 0.333- 0.423g btw) and scoop the tea into it. Cupcake tea! Of course my timer, and the green silicone thing is a a Primula Tea Bag Buddy – fits right on top of a mug and holds onto your string and then lets you squeeze the teabag without burning your fingers. And my pop-up teacup notepad, for taking tasting notes! It’s from Up With Paper.
1/28/14 Morning tea. 3g/6oz/212F/5min. I made a large pot of this, and it is drinking very nicely with milk and sugar. A great straightforward tea. The brewed tea is an attractive dark amber, a pretty taupe with the milk in. The aroma and taste are tea, with a faint masala like spiciness that boosts the drink from ‘oh its tea’ to ‘Ahhh, tea.’ I’m happy I have so much of this tea! I think I’ll try a stronger infusion next time I brew this.
1/27/14. A tasting of all the Earl Grey’s I have in the cupboard. This was a fun tasting, and very easy to design a standard for. I checked the website for each tea, and they all said pretty much the same thing – 1 teabag or 1 tsp per cup (which none defined), boiling water, steep 3-5 minutes. I chose to use a 6oz pour, and a three steep time, since I was concerned about evoking bitterness from the teabags. All the teas were steeped in a glass 1 cup measure, which let me get a good look at the color of the tea before I poured it into my mug. 2 sugar cubes, equally 1 tsp of sugar, were put in the bottom of the mug before each pour. By not stirring the tea, this allows me to taste first the tea unsweetened, and then progressively sweeter as the sugar dissolves in the bottom of the cup. After each pour, I allowed the tea to cool for three minutes, so I wouldn’t burn my tongue.
The teas I tasted were, in order of tasting:
Bigelow’s decaf Earl Grey http://steepster.com/AnnaEA/posts/219340#comments
Earl Greyer, from Republic of Tea. My favorite of the tasting. http://steepster.com/AnnaEA/posts/219343#comments
Earl Grey CO2 decaf, from the English Tea Store. http://steepster.com/AnnaEA/posts/219344#comments
and Adagio’s Earl Grey Moonlight, a cream earl grey which was my least favorite of the tasting.http://steepster.com/AnnaEA/posts/219346#comments
All in all, a very pleasant way to spend an hour in the evening. It was neat to realize that I process bergamot as a ‘cookie dough’ kind of scent and flavour.
1/27/14 Last tea of an Earl Grey tasting. 1tsp/6oz/212F/3min. 1tsp. sugar. 3 min cool. Brand new sample, opened for this tasting. The dry leaf had an intense aroma of frosting – a very sweet vanilla/faint citrus scent. It brewed a very pretty amber gold, and was intensely creamy floral and vanilla in the cup. A vanilla oreo taste much more then citrus. I could taste very little of the base tea, and once the sugar came into play this was candy in a cup. I can see where this would be an enjoyable tea to many, and the flavors were on point and balanced for a cream earl grey, but I personally disliked it intensely.
1/27/14 3rd in an Earl Grey tasting. 1tsp/6oz/212F/3min. 1tsp. sugar. 3min cool. This tea is rather old, and the light leafing and short steep of the standard worked against it. The brewed tea had a faintly citrusy day old cookie dough kind of scent, and was a brown/amber. The taste was slightly watery, with a faint trace of bergamot and an understated pepperiness from the base tea. Once the sugar came into play it was a very drinkable, if weak, cup.
1/27/14 2nd tea of Earl Grey tasting. 1 bag/6oz/212F/3min. 1tsp sugar. 3min cool. The tea bag smelled pleasantly of bergamot, but there was little of the scent to the brewed tea. The liquor was very pretty, a deep red gold, and had a gentle bergamot taste over a faintly astringent pleasant black tea. The sugar enhanced the florals as it came into play. I brewed this to the standard, but it would definitely be improved by a longer steep, and using a second bag. The most enjoyable tea of the flight. Thanks to Tea Junkie for this sample!
1/27/14 1st in an Earl Grey tasting 1 teabag/6oz/3min/212F 1tsp. sugar. Did not squeeze bag. 3min cool. Single sealed pack teabag of indeterminate age. Faint bergamot/malt aroma and taste. The brew was very pale, and tasted quite watery. I wonder if the base tea is water decaffinated? Basically faintly floral sugar water.
1/27/14 3am insomnia banishing cuppa. 2tsp/12oz/212F/15 minutes. After a long and pleasant day with plenty of tea and only one spot of unpleasantness, sleep eludes me. So I’ll spend some time with the 100 Poems of Rikyu, sipping this tea, and hoping that sleep will arrive soon.
1/26/14 Tasted at a tea event. White teas are very light and aromatic, so having the aroma cup with this tea was a real treat. The first serving had very floral almost rose like scent, and a very light simple taste. The second serving was still floral, but with an additional toastiness to it, and was much richer in the cup. Our host actually brewed this tea four times, using a very tiny yixing teapot, and combined the 1st and 2nd infusions for the first serving, and 3rd and 4th for the second. I thought it was an intelligent way to heighten the flavor of a very subtle tea.