239 Tasting Notes
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.
this one was getting passed around the office with “Ewwww” attached to it. I don’t know why, it is a fairly intense green tea flavor, and not a bad one at that. Just a hint of rhubarb tartness…not enough that I could identify it as rhubarb or natural to the tea leaves. In fact, I dumped the spent leaves onto a plate and sorted them. I found two 1" shavings of rhubarb in the pile (I ate them to be sure). So, while it might be called “Rhubarb Green”…its mostly just a good green tea.
1 heaping tsp, 180 deg. water for 3 minutes. Got two good steepings from it.
My first exposure to a quality white tea, this from the Steepster Select offer.
My first impression, upon opening the can was “What!, this can’t be tea, its grey”…and I thought it looked a bit moldy! Come to find out…it’s not moldy, it’s hairy; an important distinction :-P
I read the directions on the can… 1tsp, water at 170 for 5 minutes—and promptly ignored them. I used 1 tsp in a paper sleeve, water at boiling, for 1 minute. I took the leaves out of the water and gave them a squeeze (gasp!). The brew was such a pale yellow that I didn’t think I had anything in there! I was wrong. I thought this being white tea would equate to low caffeine—it doesn’t. note to self, don’t drink at 10pm.
The tea is a pale yellow, turning amber/brown as it cools and oxidizes. The taste is incredibly light but flavorful. Not grassy like some green teas, but definetly vegetal and wholly unlike a black tea. Nothing in the way of spicy, or earthy or any of the other descriptions I’d apply to black teas. This tea is in a world of its own and I highly recommend it. If I fix it “right”, it might get even better…have to try that sometime ;-)
Got this in yesterday from the Steepster Select offer. I’ll echo everyone else’s description. Yes, they did pack a lot of tea in the tin. What I am most impressed by is the simple, but perfect packaging. A plain steel tin with a tight fitting, friction fit lid..all wrapped in their paper lable. Simple, elegant, infinitly reusable.
The tea is as the picture, small black/gold leaves. The smell is earthy, but clean—not musty or moldy. I did my tea a bit on the short side compared to others. 1tsp, 90 seconds, 205deg water. Got a nice rust colored brew. Medium boldness, no astringency as others have noted as well. Smooth, slightly earthy…a good black tea flavor with no grassy tastes.