242 Tasting Notes
Let me first say, this tea is delicious…close your eyes and just drink it. But, I’ve got to bust Golden Moon’s chops for relying on “spice oil”. You see, I’ve had this type of Chai from a company (who’s name I dearly wish I could remember) who used the real, whole spices to make it. GM’s attempt is more like camouflage for the “spice oil”. I searched the tea sample and found 1 1/2 cloves, five “bits” of cinnamon, four empty cardamon pods, and one cardamon seed. The cardamon pods are big and noticable, but useless…they’re like putting in corn cobs, all filler and no value. The rest of the spices were real but, in my opinion, were window dressing for the real flavoring, the spice oil.
This made a nice, drinkable tea when steeped as a black tea, and the windows were well dressed ;-)
From my first glimpse of this tea, I knew it would be something special. I expect to see small bits and fines with blended teas; however, this tea had large leaf fragments (1-1.5 cm). Salt and pepper, with the promised “golden tips” and the regular black tea. Very visually appealing. Taste was excellent as well; being a mellow, malty flavor with no tannic bite. This has to be one of the best Irish Breakfast tea’s I’ve had.
Got a second steep from it…not much to write about there, as the sampler was a bit wrung out by the first steep.
My first Pu-erh! I was looking forward to this one coming out of the grab bag (ok, I helped it…). I had no idea what to expect. The leaves were ugly, that’s the only description that comes to mind. I followed the directions, 3minutes with boiling water. I got the darkest tea I’ve seen, excepting the obvious brewing mistakes. It was very smooth, earthy, woodsy. Had a bit of weight to it in the mouth, almost like coffee. It is not a tea I would describe as “bright and sparkly” in the cup. I don’t know if I liked it. I didn’t dislike it…I need to do more pu-erh’s. different, definetly different.
yesterday’s grab bag special…and my first official “gunpowder” tea. I had no idea what to expect, but from the looks, I guessed green tea. I ended up a little over steeped, so tea had that sharp, astringent bite that they all get when overdone. Immediately thinned with some hot water and it was a pleasant tea to drink. I think I got what I suspected; the tea had massive green leafy vegetables taste, like spinach or kale. Not a problem, as I like greens, but not expected to be that “in your face” bold.
The tea was a greenish amber in the carafe (I have a clear pyrex carafe for tea) with little fines floating around. I did not get a smokey flavor as suggested by GM writeup. Finished a full 12 oz mug, but declined to resteep. I’d drink this again, but not one that I’ll likely go out of my way to get more of.
I’ve been remiss in logging my teas…so going back a couple of days. This tea was a puzzle. When I opened the sample, I got a strong smell of spearmint…like Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum. I was astonished by it so much that I called over a fellow tea drinker and asked him what he smelled! “Mint”, he said, looking at the lable askance. I/We have no idea whats up with that. Brewed the tea up, water just at boiling. Lots of floral notes and a little citrus…but not what I would identify as bergamot. The florals were present when drinking the tea, and again, not what I could call “Earl Grey”. In fact, it was more like “Lady Earl Grey” from Twinnings than anything else. As it cooled, the flavors got odd. Not such that you couldn’t drink it odd, but rather the florals receded and more of a citrusy mint something was left. I could drink this again, but there are much better teas to be had and its not something to please the Bergamot! Earl Grey crowd.
Today’s GM Grab Bag Extravaganza winner! and this one is one. Unlike yesterday’s “French Breakfast”, about which I had no preconceptions, today’s English Breakfast has a particular tradition to live up to; which this one does nicely! A full-bodied EB that is appropriately bold with a nice mellow finish. Not too tannic and no “bite” with 3 minutes of brewing. I think I could have gone longer, but I wanted to save a bit for a second steeping. I got two 12oz carafe’s worth and unlike the French variety, the second steeping held up just fine (a third would have been out of the question).
backlogging yesterday’s GM Grab Bag Extravaganza :-) “French Breakfast”…not a name or type that I’ve heard before..might as well call it “Queensland Extra”. Seriously, I think they made up the name. Nonetheless, this was a fine Ceylon with a nice bright and sparkly appearance in the carafe. A bit of an earthy undertone, but with the normal briskness I expect of a Ceylon tea. I’d put it in the good/average class for a Ceylon…which means I’d be happy to drink it any day. I got two 12 oz steepings from the sample, the second being a bit peaked.
Sinharaja was today’s GM sampler grab bag winner. And what a winner it is! I used slightly less than a teaspoon of leaves in my brew basket and a good 12 oz of boiling water. 3-4 minutes and I had a good steep. The flavor was fantastic! Slightly earthy and a little light, sweet. Has a brisk little tannin that gets stronger as it cools…recommend it hot. I put the last little bit of fresh leaves (not enough for a full brew) on top of the 1st steep’s leaves and had another go after 5 minutes. love it. I’ve got a cup or so sitting in the fridge to try iced…i suspect it wont’ be that good, as the the tannin’s will probably give it teeth.
GM Sampler #1. got this from the GM sampler on “Select” last week (or so) and this is the first out of the grab bag. I used the whole sample in a large mesh ball, boiling water and about 1 minute steeping. The dry leaves had a pearish smell, sort of like dried pears. The brew is light red/brown, plenty so given the short steeping time. The taste is, as I read someplace, all the flavor of honey without any of the sweet. Not something about which I am particularly enthusiastic. There is a definite pear flavor, again missing the sweetness that should accompany the flavor. Not quite a medicinal flavor, but it could go that way in a hurry. I’ll give this another try tomorrow, perhaps with some sugar, although I suspect that would make it worse, and as an iced tea…where I suspect it could be good.
Edit: Next day…I left the leaves overnight, intending to brew them again this morning to take as iced tea, to work. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it…you know that comment about the medicinal tincture? Well, they went there overnight in a BIG way. Chemical, medicinal, artificial in some way bad. Tossed them and thats that.