224 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.
This tastes remarkably like a cherry cordial. Or at least it tastes like a cherry cordial if it were coupled with very dark intense chocolate. In the end, I added honey to the tea to take down the slight bitterness of the tea. Just a smidgeon brought out the decadent tastes of chocolate and cherry and satisfied my cravings for the afternoon. Much thanks to Janefan for steering me toward Culinary Teas. If this is indicative of their quality, I think I will be extremely pleased with their teas.
I’m finally beginning to understand what is meant by a tea having a “strong cha ‘Qi’”. I’m normally a pretty thorough rationalist so talk of a tea’s qi just makes me roll my eyes. However, I’m beginning to see that something real is meant. The tea brings a great sense of relaxation, sensuality and feeling of happiness and well-being as I resteep and drink it. I think I understand why PeteG is able to drink puerhs at night without harming his sleep. Perhaps I could with this tea as well.
As I move through the steepings and re-steepings of this tea it develops a sweet, fruity, slightly floral taste. There is a tiny bit of sharpness with a note of resin as well. It has fragrance notes of apricot and lychee and sweet honey. Very nice tea.
This is definitely not a maidenly tea. The first steeping has notes of musk, cheese, and a surprising bitter bite for a puerh. Subsequent steepings are sweeter.
Update: As I’ve continued on with the re-steeps this tea has transformed into a sweet, floral, slightly peachy tea. It’s very nice.
This is very nice. It has a sweet honey melon flavor. The liquor is pale yellow moving to golden as the tea resteeps. I’ve resteeped it several times and each time the sweetness and fruitiness are more pronounced. Sometimes it is more like honey. Sometimes the flavor is fruitier.
Update: Apparently 12 resteeps are enough to overwhelm the leaves. My twelfth re-steep was listless and barely flavored. So I’m moving on to another raw puerh.
Yesterday was such a great adventure that I feel that I should be a bit more adventurous in my morning tea choice. So I’m trying this Tanyang Gongfu black, which is quite a pretty tea with small twisted leaves and little golden tips mixed throughout.
Later on I’ll be doing more puerh exploration with my new Xiying tea pot which I seasoned day before yesterday. More on that later today.
In the meantime this tea is quite nice. It has a very sweet fragrance with notes of a very light fruitiness and a slight coconut or vanilla note. It brews up into a reddish brown liquor with some slight murkiness. A slight bitterness and astringency mars the sweetness of the tea but it is otherwise a fairly nice black tea with complex notes of fruit, cocoa, raisins and something else I can’t identify. It gets sweeter as it cools.
We just returned from a five hour trek through a frozen swamp. It was exhilarating crossing logs, creating our own shaky log bridges across treacherously deep swamp waters and then walking (him) or crawling (me) over them.
It was terrifying when we fell through the ice and ended up in deep water and even more frightening when we realized we were lost, soaked, the temperature was dropping down to 12 degrees and we might not get out of there. Our bones might decorate the swamp just as the skull of the small creatures we saw going in decorated it.
Thankfully we’d packed Clif bars as emergency rations and we ate them to get enough calories to encourage our bodies to make heat to dry our jeans and clear our minds. Not that it worked all that well as a heating trick. Our jeans froze hard as boards when subjected to temps in the teens and a brisk wind. But it did clear our minds sufficiently to find a way out again.
Once we arrived home the obvious question for me (that I’d been contemplating since our fourth hour slogging through the swamp) was what tea was suitable to serve as a warming celebration beverage after such an adventure? I picked this one and added a bit of honey. Mmmm. It tastes like victory. Swampy victory.
It really is a yummy coconut tea and the addition of the honey and Silk creamer makes it even yummier!