124 Tasting Notes
Okay, so this is ridiculous.
My fiance is over and we are playing Wine Pong.
First round, he won.
Second round I insisted we take a break and play a round of “Tea Pong”. And what tea to play with than Merlot Tea?
Keep in mind for this tasting that I have some lousy Yellowtail Cabernet Merlot on my palate ;) (okay, it’s not that bad).
For the leaves I get the best whiff of chocolate. Yum.
(Oh yeah, buzzed side note: my fiance assisted me in explaining gongfu tea ceremony by calling the tea tray “kind of like a tea toilet” describing the water disposal. You can, of course, see why I love him.)
Back to the Merlot Black Tea. Oh wait! Damn the merlot. I forgot earlier – I took pictures so you can all see how ridiculous this is.
The merlot tea now.
Taste wise, this reminds me of my comfort black tea (okay, red rose, but a really good red rose!). My fiance was reminded of Thai Red Tea. I’m not getting a ton of wine flavor until the finish which is nicely astringent in the same way that wine is.
Okay so we played tea pong and if I ever edit down the footage I’ll upload it to my flickr. Until then you can just picture a slightly drunk tea-afficionado making tea jokes while sipping this tea and playing pong. It was awesome.
The tea is great. My fiance and I both enjoyed this – not so much wine flavor but definitely wine astringency and tea flavor.
Thanks, Amanda for sending this along in the package :)
I love that this smells like puffed wheat cereal. I’m a weirdo – that is one of my favorite cereals :)
I didn’t really notice the matcha dusting visually in the leaves.
Wow, the flavor. This is not like any tea I have had so far. Bizarre… I don’t dislike it but I am puzzled. First I am hit with a nutty puffed wheat flavor. Then a little bit of green then… metal? I am tasting a kind of light tin flavor. Imagine chewing on tin foil and then having, not that initial burst, but an aftertaste of that. I feel it right at my gumline behind my teeth… so weird. Even weirder is, I don’t dislike it. Weird… weird weird weird.
Now I can kind of taste that matcha. It’s faint. I get more of it if I kind of do the wine tasting thing and incorporate air with the sip (aka “slurping”).
Tin flavored tea. I honestly have no idea what I think of this. I’m still drinking it and it’s interesting.
Yay! Marshmallow roasting time!
Seriously the dry leaf has the lapsang souchong scent but with another sweeter note. Marshmallow!
I have a special fondness for marshmallow (good marshmallow, that is). I have the incredible privilege of living near the great salt marsh. My sister and I grew up playing on it, running across it, conquering its muddy rivers and creeks. We would leap into the salt water at high tide and at low tide we slip down the slick muddy banks and go like seals or penguins through the bottoms of the creeks. The sun would bake the mud onto us and as the tide rose again we would rinse off and let the winds and grasses dry our legs.
It really is that free and perfect.
Marshmallow is not just the sticky stuff in a tub, it’s also a plant. Sometimes around here you can find decent homemade marshmallow. I love the word though – we named our boat “Marsh-mallow” (or Marsh-mellow, we never could decide!).
In good weather we take the boat through the inlets and channels. We push the throttle up and skim across the water in the big channels and then laughing, let it putter down and muddle through the water sending only smooth ripples to run around us.
We beach ourselves at a little scrap of sand and marshgrass where snails are always in abundance. I like to leap off the edge of the boat, plunging down into the increasingly chill water until I just touch bottom and push off to the surface. Then someone throws me a tow-rope and we drag the boat closer to shore. You have to be careful not to step on all of the little snails that litter the beach there, hundreds of them. Horseshoe crabs lurk underwater as well, so boat-shoes are a must!
We eat sandwiches, leap around amongst the driftwood, and then after we are getting chilled we change into new clothes (if we were smart enough to pack them) behind towels and pack up onto the boat.
The ride back is a study in wonder as the sun sparks flintlike on the water and hits the back of our eyes, closed to the wind, in meandering patterns that map themselves like rivers in the mind. We drive fast now because we are all cold and tired. Speeding along, riding at the bow, leaning over the edge, drunk on sunlight and salt air is a moment of transcendence.
Great Salt Marsh. Seriously. Read about it. Go there. Donate to save them. I hate to think about the damage being done to them by building, contamination from trash, as well as whatever was causing them to die off up and down the coast. We are always careful when we go not to damage them. We might play on them, but we avoid the nesting birds and are careful not to cause erosion on the banks.
You can see some pictures of the changing seasons here: http://www.townofstratford.com/content/1302/402/625/1100/5066/5085.aspx
Back to the tea. It is good. It reminds me of camping (which is a completely different set of free associations, although still marsh related as we used to go camping at the beach when I was a kid). I like the smokiness of the lapsang with the sweet burned marshmallow.
Thanks Amanda – this was part of the package she put together :)
Brewed up this smells kind of like amaretto – it has a light alcoholic scent.
This is neat – it’s a really smooth nice rooibos. There is a caramel flavor here that really works. That and the cream flavor. The chocolate flavor is a bakers chocolate kind of flavor in the background.
This was another of the samples that Angel from Teavivre sent along (thank you!).
I toyed with the directions a tiny bit. I did use boiling water for this oolong (I usually use just under boiling) and steeped it for 2 minutes. The leaves didn’t smell too distinctive – mostly just very vegetal and… chalky perhaps? In a good way :)
Brewed up though this smells mind blowing. Buttered greens. I freaking love the scent of oolongs.
This is very thick with a little bit of astringency. I can sense the creaminess here… it goes nicely with the buttery flavor.
A few seconds go by… ummm yum. It is doing the “oolong throat coating” that I love. Oh! And a surprise! There is a salty sweet aftertaste at the finish with… I don’t even know what the flavor is. Something great and “back of the throat sweet”, if you know what I mean. Artichokes maybe, if artichokes were actually sweet (and lightly salty).
This is great – it keeps unfolding. Not super complex, but super tasty :)
Wow – first time tasting matcha I was completely surprised by the flavors. Grassy, vegatal… my first impression was honestly “ick!”. After a few sips though some great nuttiness came out. This has an incredible zing to it. I seriously felt kind of drugged or loopy.
I made a second one with milk to see if I could emphasize the nuttiness and it really did. I kind of like the matcha plain but I love it with milk. I think if I give it time I can get accustomed to having it plain.
The tuocha smells nice – subtle, just a little dark in some way. Not smokey – more like a sweetness of something like caramel.
Tastewise, I’m not digging this. My first infusion I only tasted something like wet cardboard. The liquor smelled much fishier as well.
I figured the steep time might need to be increased so I did a second infusion for 4 minutes.
The second steep was much more flavorful. It had a funny astringency (the cardboard flavor) but it actually worked when the supporting flavors came out (there is a creamy richness under this, like I added heavy cream or something and a nice cocoa flavor).
I had a really hard time rating this tea because it kept changing. I wasn’t wowed by it, but then again, I’m not a pu erh afficionado. I am going to keep playing with this one.
I like this tea. I like it because it completely shocked me.
Green apple, huh? I was expecting something sour or bitter (I’m not a huge green apple fan). This is neither of those things.
What it is is a surprisingly smooth green tea. The apple peeks out, mingling its astringency with that of the green tea. I don’t taste the other dried berries so much as… perceive them, I guess. They are on the periphery offering a tiny bit of sweetness and a tiny zing. I smell them more than taste them. I really love the mix of apple, cranberry, and green tea. It’s nothing I would have put together myself but it really works.
This tea is just plain interesting. I keep thinking that it’s just a basic sipping tea and I keep finding myself enjoying the aftertaste (that’s where the berry flavors come through) and the interplay of the flavors.
ETA – Thanks, STEAp Shop for the sample! This is for the Virtual Tea Tasting 9/23/12
Confession: I don’t really like mint. I know… mint can be so awesome. It is good if you feel sick, it smells amazing, it’s great in candy canes and of course, in mint juleps (I do like making mint juleps with my own wild mint and homemade simple syrup), lots of great stuff!
But mint in tea isn’t my cuppa. That said, this tea was pretty nice. I feel like there is stevia in it, it had a pleasant sweetness to it. I ended up getting to my cup when it was a little cooler. I want to try this again, hotter and with a little more leaf to water.
But heck, I’m impressed. It was a mint tea that I didn’t dislike!
ETA – I just saw in the description that the tea has ginko in it – maybe that was the sweet element? I definitely have to try this again!
ETA Again – Thanks, STEAp Shop for the sample! This is for the Virtual Tea Tasting 9/23/12