223 Tasting Notes
Welcome to the first day of Seeking a New Dawn: Carolyn’s quixotic search for the tea that probably doesn’t exist any more. I’ve ordered several batches of trial black teas from various companies: from inexpensive to pricey. In truth I really don’t care how much the tea costs as long as it fills that Dawn-shaped hole in my morning.
Today we start with an inexpensive Yunnan. The leaves are somewhat pretty with little golden bits. It has a classic tea fragrance with something light and fruity in the offing. It darkened up reasonably fast in the cup so I removed it. I’ve had a enough of over-steeped bitter tea after yesterday’s shenanigans in which no less than 3 cups of tea were ruined by my over-anxious boss’ sudden demands, which caused me to ignore the tea until it had reached the toxic stage.
There is a slight astringency but not so much as to be offensive. I’m not getting any bitterness but I suspect that it would not stand up to much more time steeping before the bitter set in. There is a very slight raisin after-taste. Overall it is an average tea. I would’t toss it, but it is not the Holy Grail of teas. I’ll finish my sample today (hoping it gives me strength for what has been a very difficult week) and move on tomorrow. It’s not a re-buy tea.
Slightly smoky fragrance with a leather undertone. The first cup was bitter so I dumped it and poured a second which had a leather taste but not much more. (Puerh improves with re-steeps.) Third cup still has a strong leather component and a slight bitterness but is developing something fruity in the fragrance. Third cup the fruitiness is gone replaced by a sober, rich flavor and fragrance as if apricots had dried without their classic sweetness.
Throughout this tea has a nice calming quality to it with just a little of the puerh buzz, that sense that one can be both meditatively alert and drunk on summer flowers at the same moment.
I steeped the tea and sniffed it only to recoil with an “Oh no! It’s kasha tea!” Kasha is a strong-smelling Eastern-European grain dish that my family makes. My father loves eating kasha mixed with eggs and fried onions and served with a side of pickled herring. (The kasha smells stronger than the onions or the herring.) My husband loves eating plain kasha. (I consider kasha to be a man-dish. One of those strong tasting things that only a man could like.) A few times a year I make kasha for my beloved and then pray for the smell to leave the kitchen soon. Once I made a cinnamon bread at the same time in the hopes that the cinnamon would defeat the kasha. No dice. Nothing defeats kasha. Nothing.
So, here I am sipping the kasha tea, I mean soba-cha. I’m surprised. It tastes good. The tea is roasty and sweet like cereal grains and it makes me feel good to drink it. But it still smells like kasha. I don’t know if I can get over that part. I’m going to share the rest of this tea with my kasha-loving beloved when I get home. Won’t he be surprised and pleased!
Much thanks to takgoti for sharing the experience!
Update: I’ve given my beloved a cup of Soba-Cha and he sniffed it and said, “It smells like kasha” then happily began sipping. He says it is wonderful and a very soothing tea. So I’m upping the rating to acknowledge his liking of the tea.
Andrea sent me this and I can see why she likes it. It is sweet with a fragrance redolent of cinnamon, cloves, and apple. I can barely taste the white tea base, but it is there and adds its own note. It was a nice calming drink for a difficult afternoon meeting. Thanks, Andrea!
It’s been a long, somewhat difficult day. So I pulled out this decaf to try tonight in hopes of a calming effect without the caffeine. It has a strong artificial flavor and taste. I guess I don’t really remember what grenadine tastes like. Somehow, in my mind, I thought grenadine tasted like maraschino cherries. I’m probably wrong about that. On the good side, there is very little bitterness to this tea. Every other possible taste is covered up by the strong strange taste that I am assuming is grenadine. Meh.
Is one especially patriotic if one drinks 1776 tea in the morning? Or would it have to be drunk on July 4 to get the patriotic points? It is a silly name for a tea.
The ingredients don’t seem to match what I think of when I think of revolutionary history either: strawberry, maple, Assam, Ceylon, and Kenyan teas.
None of them are even the teas tossed into Boston Harbor, which consisted of 240 chests of Bohea, 15 of Congou, 10 of Souchong (all black teas), 60 of Singlo, and 15 of Hyson (both green teas). Green tea accounted for about 22% of the shipments’ total volume, and 30% of the value. Now if someone wanted to create a Boston Tea Party blend in honor of the event in 1773, those are the teas to blend.
But I’m delaying telling you about this tea. Either I brewed it too long or it is naturally this bitter. There is a strong strawberry taste similar to Marco Polo. I don’t taste the maple. In truth, I’m not anxious to taste anything more from this tea.
Off to brew something else.