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223 Tasting Notes

71

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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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80

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.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

Carolyn! We haven’t seen tasting notes, comments, or discussions from you in months and some of us were pretty worried. Welcome back, you were missed. <3

LadyLondonderry

Welcome back, Carolyn! It’s great to see you on my Dashboard again. :) I have you to thank for introducing me to Panyang Bohea Select, which in turn led me to Panyang Bohea Supreme, now one of my all-time favorite teas!

Carolyn

@Cofftea: No need to worry, everything was just really busy and I settled into drinking The Simple Leaf’s Dawn tea everyday (and therefore had nothing to say and no time to write). Unfortunately I went to order more Dawn and they’ve closed up their shop. Obviously this means I must find a substitute for Dawn and Steepster is a good place to work things out. I’m still busy, but I clearly can’t deal with life without tea, so I’m back.

@LadyLondonderry: I love the Panyang Bohea Select. I’ll have to try the Panyang Bohea Supreme. Thanks for the comment.

Cofftea

Yeah we’ve been talking about SL’s closing for a while. No one can find out what’s going on. I still think of you every time I drink or comment on a pu erh tasting note:)

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100
drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
223 tasting notes

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100
drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
223 tasting notes

This is my favorite breakfast tea. I’ve had it most mornings. The taste has a lovely chocolate note that wakes as it soothes. It is also difficult to oversteep it. I don’t think I’ve had a single bitter morning when Dawn was in my cup.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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78

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.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Leafbox Tea

Is it good to compare a tea to this Kasha???

So this is a hold-you-nose kind of tea…

Pete

Carolyn

The tea smells exactly like kasha and I think it actually is a version of kasha when I note that kasha’s other name is roasted buckwheat groats and this is a roasted buckwheat tea. However, it doesn’t really look like kasha. Kasha has grains about four times the size of the grains of this tea. (This tea’s grains look like they’re the size of aquarium gravel.)

A lot of people like kasha. I think it’s a stinky cereal. However, when my husband comes home and the house smells like kasha he gets more excited than when the house smells like bread. So it is clearly a pleasant smell to him and when I’ve made it for guests they’ve claimed to like the smell (or pretended to).

The problem with kasha is that it really isn’t possible to hold your nose. It has a very penetrating aroma that lasts. When I make kasha the house smells like kasha for a week. This tea isn’t quite so penetrating, but it is very strange to catch a whiff of it and think “kasha”.

Aren’t you in New York? If so, it is easy for you to get a bit of kasha. Just go to your nearest Jewish deli and ask for some kasha (they will almost certainly cook it with egg). Or drop by Nathan’s in Coney Island and get a kasha knish.

Carolyn

OK. I just asked one of my co-workers (male) to sniff my tea. He’s pretty white bread in his tastes so he’s a good test of a normal person. He says it smells delicious and makes his mouth water. This lends more support to my hypothesis that kasha is a guy thing.

sophistre

It’s interesting…I’ve never had kasha, but I’ve had soba. I know that I like soba, but I wonder if the end-product of soba isn’t as aromatic as kasha? I can’t for the life of me recall what it smells like. That’s probably the answer to my question. This one is totally on my shopping list now, though!

DragonWell

I’ve never had kasha or soba-cha, but they both sound great! I’ll have to try it. Thanks.

Carolyn

@sophistre Soba does not smell like Kasha. Soba has a very neutral smell and a slightly nutty taste. If soba and kasha had a cage match, kasha would wipe the floor with the noodle-like soba.

@DragonWell You can have my share of the world-market for kasha. I’m glad it sounds good to you.

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85
drank White Ayurvedic Chai by Teavana
223 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec
sophistre

This one always makes me think of red hots. The candy, I mean. ^^

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50

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
takgoti

That’s what it tastes like to me – maraschino cherry juice. Jillian revealed that it’s actually made with pomegranate [part of my brain still refuses to accept that], but I still associate it with cherries.

Jillian

I think it does have sort of a cherry taste but I also get pomegrante flavour out of it too. But it’s very sweet, and very syrupy-tasting.

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32
drank Blend 1776 by Culinary Teas
223 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
S

Wow, I’ve impressed by your history skills! I’ve never heard of any of those teas, except Souchong. And, now I’m craving a black-green blend.

Carolyn

I’m married to a history professor so any history skills I have are just the product of rubbing against his skills. (Which sounds like it should be more fun than it actually is.)

In this case, I knew that the colonists couldn’t have been using Kenyan tea (because it hadn’t been planted there yet) and knew that the tea of choice in the colonies was Bohea since it makes an appearance in several poems and works of literature from that period. Since I was miffed at the tea for being ahistorical in ways I knew were wrong and for being bitter to me, I just looked up the exact composition of the cargo using the great Google. So I’m less impressive than I might first appear.

Peggie Bennett

Maybe because the colonists were bitter, so the tea blend was bitter? :-)

I’m no historian by any stretch of the imagination. I can’t even remember last week.

teaplz

Carolyn, your explanation of the Boston Tea Party’s shenanigans was awesome. I’ve been wondering what the teas were that were dumped into the harbor for a long time, but I never took the time to research! Thanks for the info!

Auggy

Now I really wish there was a blend reflecting what was actually dumped overboard!

sophistre

Living in Boston myself, I can tell you that the harbor has probably never smelled better than it did that evening in 1773.

S

LOL sophistre! I second that!

Cofftea

Patriotic any day, double points on any US holiday other than July 4th, triple points on July 4th.

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Profile

Bio

I’m a suddenly enthusiastic tea aficionado. I had no idea how varied and delicious teas could be. Also I’m a dairy-free vegetarian, so if you see me say “cream” or “milk” it means soy milk or soy cream.

Location

Memphis

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