103 Tasting Notes
1/23/14 Evening pot. 3g/6oz/180F/3min. First impressions. A soft vegetal aroma , and pale translucent brew. Bitterness. Almost a hoppy character. Heavy in the mouth. Good. I like it a lot. A lasting finish. The opened leaves are velvety looking. I want to try brewing this gongfu style when my gaiwan arrives.
1/23/14 Afternoon pot. 3g/6oz/212F/5min. Revisiting an old favorite after a few years. The aroma of the tea in the bag is as lovely as I remember – bright and winey, currant and raisin scents. The scent of the brew is similiar, with a note of creaminess I don’t remember. This brew is stronger then I recall, more upfrontly bitter and astringent, and darker in the cup. The recommended measure of the tea – 1 heaping tsp – weighed 2.15g, so perhaps it’s overleafed at 3g/6oz. I’ll experiment with that another day. Right now, I’ll just enjoy getting back together with this tea.
1/21/14 PM Decaf. This is a mixed brew – the Tea Forte bag for the flavour, and a bag of Bigelow decaf green tea to add body and let me brew a large mug. The predominant aroma is of cinnamon with dried apple undertones. The cinnamon and apple carry well into the tea, and the rooibos works well them. As I suspected, the Harvest Apple tea is more then a match for the green tea, making the mixed brew a great way to extend this tea. I sweetened this with honey.
Caveats: the Tea Forte tea bag is so utterly kawaii that I doubt my judgment of this tea can be trusted. I am crushed by the cute.
1/21/14 Afternoon tea while cleaning my kitchen. 3g/6oz/190F/4min. First impressions. This tea is befuddling me. It brewed dark, and had an aroma, and trying to find the words for the tastes or scents is just… befuddling me. I"m glad that I still have a few more grams of it for some more cups. I like it, I think.When I was 15, I got a job in a Chinese restaurant, and there were three different teas in the kitchen – the big urn that I brewed every morning to serve to any random person who ordered “hot tea”, the box tea bags that I brewed to order for VIP customers, and the good tea. The good tea was teabags that came in bundles wrapped in paper and closed with orange paper bands covered in Chinese writing, and the good tea was for the owners and their family, and anyone who ordered in Chinese directly from them instead of off the menu.
This tea reminds me of that good tea – I worked at that place for years, earned my up from kitchen/dishwasher drudge to second wok, and got promoted to good tea as well as cook. What is befuddling me is that the good tea was a fairly light jasmine oolong, and yet when I drink this dark utterly non-floral brew, that good tea is what rings in my tastebuds in my head.
So many words to try and explain how my reaction “this tastes like restaurant tea” isn’t insulting to this tea.
A fun toy. Doesn’t brew any better or worse then my teapots, and not particularly easier or harder to use and clean. I like it, and use it when I want brew just a cup or two directly to a mug. I put 6oz and 12oz lines on it with a sharpie, and have a couple of saucers I use with it, since I lost the little tray it came with, and some sort of saucer or tray is necessity if you don’t want to accidentally spill tea.
I got back and forth between being deeply entertained and mildly disturbed that using it inevitably reminds me of one of those peeing baby dolls.
My go-to grocery store tea bag tea. Need a huge jug of iced tea for a picnic of non-tea-people? Red Rose to the rescue! Need half a cup of “strong black tea” for a recipe? Red Rose to the rescue! Need cold wet teabags to put on my eyes when hungover? Red Rose to the rescue! Need an acceptable basic black teabag for any purpose? Red Rose is probably the answer.
Plus, the big box comes with a cute little collectible figurine in it! Find a rare one, and an avid collecter will take it off your hands in a heartbeat, making each box a fun little “will this pay for itself” lottery.
1/21/14 Pot for the morning. 3g/6oz/212F/5min. Brews a dark red/mahogany, with a rich heavy scent. I drink this with milk, lightly sweetened. The taste is a brisk comforting tea-ish taste, with smoky tones. If a Red Rose teabag could reincarnate 500 times, become a bodhisattva, and achieve nirvana, this it what it would taste like when you finally brewed it. One of my favorite teas.
1/20/14 Evening pot. 3g/6oz/190F/3min. This finishes off my sample of this. The tea brews a pellucid pale gold green, with a heady aroma of clover honey and spice. It is light in the mouth, smooth and with an astringency that fades as the tea cools. The changes in the taste as the temperature changed were lovely, from a bright ping in the first sips to a sweet dryness in the last.