58 Tasting Notes
not 100% sure if this is the exact tea I’ve got in my cup, but Sil sent me a sample via OMGsrsly of Giddapahar SFTGFOPI (SPL) Musk 2nd Flush. It’s been sitting in the depths of my sample bin because, in all honesty, I’ve been TERRFIED to try it! I’m SUPER anti-darjeeling. I treat it like a delicate green, doing shortish steeps at low temperature, and I STILL end up with a hellishly bitter cuppa. So I tend to avoid darjeeling like the plague.
I made a cup of a sample I got from Fjellrev earlier, that had a darjeeling base, and I couldn’t finish the cup. I barely got halfway through it before giving up. It was super depressing, actually.
So I poked at my Facebook groupies, looking for advice as to how best to make a cup of this Sil sample. I got some great suggestions, and have made the cup but….
it’s sitting on my desk, in front of me, ready to sip, and I’m too scared to try it. It SMELLS lovely, a bit earthy, but with an underlying crispness. It’s a lovely coloured liquor and crystal clear. I just can’t convince myself to try it.
I’ll report back shortly, assuming I don’t end up dying from “Attack of the Bitter Tea”
Wow, I’m actually REALLY pleasantly surprised by this one. It’s definitely not what I expected, given that it’s a darjeeling. It tastes a bit more like a very short-steeped yunnan. It’s on the cusp of astringency, as if I pulled the infuser out milliseconds before the bitterness would’ve come out, and it dried out my mouth slightly, but in a good way, if that’s even possible?
I have enough leaf for a cup or two more, and I definitely won’t be afraid to steep it now!
Now, if only I could find MORE darjeelings like this one to add to my collection…
1 tsp Lapsang Souchong (Silk Road)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
hearty splash of homemade strawberry syrup
I’m not sure what to think of this. It’s not horrible, but it’s not exactly tasty either? The spice of the pepper flakes goes great with the smoky lapsang, and the strawberry both heightens the fire and dulls the burn (how is that even possible?!), but strawberry with smoke? It’s like bacon dipped in strawberry jam at breakfast, only not, because bacon dipped in jam is amazeballs, but lapsang with strawberry? not so much. The strawberry’s sweetness makes the smoke stick too much, which is weird because I mix lapsang and maple syrup allll the time and it doesn’t do that? Hmm.
I can easily finish this cup, but I’m not sure I’d do the combo again. red pepper + lapsang + maple? totally! strawberry’s just….odd..
Random slightly-over-steeped assam
Splash each of homemade hazelnut syrup, homemade english toffee syrup, and pure maple syrup
Hot goat’s milk
Hot goat’s milk foam
This is apparently what came out of a “What tea should I make right now?” game on Facebook. OMGsrsly suggested toffee/caramel and maple black/pu’erh. She decided to make herself a hazelnut/toffee/maple mix, and it sounded freaking amazing, so I decided to do the same in latte form! I’m on a bit of a goat’s milk kick right now because a friend has a goat who’s producing way too much milk to feed both her baby and my friend’s family, so she’s been giving me a bunch and OMG YUM!
Pretty darn tasty latte, made the assam strong enough that it wouldn’t be overpowered by the syrups and sweet-and-tangy goat’s milk, and it turned out perfect! Might need another one momentarily, or I might mess around with a different combo.
Another Fjellrev sample and, I believe, my third Harney experience (first loose leaf H&S blend, the others were sachets).
It smells mostly like coconut. I expected there to be something floral to it (I mistook the amaranth petals for pieces of rose) and am pleasantly surprised to realize that the petals were merely to prettyfy the blend.
I only steeped it for 2min30sec in 175F water, but it’s kind of bitter. Makes me think there’s probably darjeeling in the base and I’m really not a darjeeling fan.
There’s a faint sweet aftertaste, but I’m not really getting coconut or chocolate, just generic sweet.
I have enough left for a cup or two, so I might play around and make a latte out of it next time and see if that makes any difference. I’m all out of milky stuff or i’d add a splash to this cup and see what happens.
Thanks Fjellrev for the sample!
I am possibly the WORST person ever right now. I’m super backlogged on notes, half the stuff I’ve sipped down I never wrote notes on (but enjoyed very much), and what I do have I’ve lost the page I wrote down who gave me what to try, and UGH! Life. It hates me right now! I think this came from Fjellrev ?
Anyways, this is my first B and B tea as far as I can recall. Sorry if anyone has sent me others, I either still have them hidden in my “to try” box, or I had them and failed to write a note. As I said, I currently suck super bad right now.
I’m currently in full-blown breakdown mode, smack dab in the middle of the worst anxiety/depression bout I’ve had in YEARS. It’s to the point where I’m so stuck in my own head and all these really intense feelings and such that I haven’t been able to get out enough to walk from one side of my room to choose a tea, to the other side to make a cuppa.
I was finally convinced (well, threatened-with-violence-if-I-didn’t-finally-make-a-cuppa) to make a cup, and blindly grabbed this one. Not sure what to expect, but it smelled lovely in the baggie – crisp and sweet.
Steeped, the liquor is a pale green, and smells almost creamy. I want to compare it to honeysuckle, but that’s not quite right. Close though.
It tastes almost like it smells. There’s a crisp freshness, without being overly grassy or vegetal, combined with a sweet fruitiness that I can’t really pinpoint. It’s really lovely, nice and light, a bit like a sunny romp through a grassy field, all in a teacup.
I’m glad I have plenty left to enjoy later, when I’m a bit less, umm, emotional? because I can see this being a tea I’d like to keep on hand. It was definitely a glimmer of sunshine at the end of an absolutely horrificaly stormy day, so thank you Fjellrev for the generous sample!
As always, a visit to Janet’s left me with a grin on my face and a slightly lighter wallet. If you’re in Victoria and haven’t stopped in to Janet’s Special Teas in Sidney (on Beacon Ave), you don’t know what you’re missing! Janet, the owner, is a total hoot, and treats everyone like family. She’s truly passionate about the tea she sells and offers generous sample pouches for $1 (with enough leaf for at LEAST 3 cups). She’s even been known to bring in teas that she wouldn’t normally carry for customers who request it, so don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t see what you’re looking for.
But on to the tea itself. I LOVE orange teas, and orange juice. Which is funny because I can’t stand oranges (but I’ll happily eat a whole grapefruit) or creamsicles. But I do make my own “creamsicles” every summer, using tea and condensed milk. And that’s actually the main reason I picked up 50g of this tea.
I generally make my creamsicles out of DAVIDs Orange Blossom rooibos, but after experimenting last year, I found that rooibos just doesn’t make the nicest popsicles, it’s just not strong enough. So when my lovely hostages, I mean tea companions, asked to sniff the Dolce Orange, I couldn’t resist grabbing some to play around with. I brewed up some double strength when I got home, then split it into two parts. I added 2 TBSP of condensed milk to one part, and 2 TBSP of vanilla simple syrup to the other (when making popsicles you really do need to add sweetener. The extreme cold of freezing the tea cuts a lot of the flavour, and the sweetener helps to highlight the flavour of the tea and make it pop despite the coldness, without being overwhelmingly sweet). Poured into popsicle molds and put them in the deep freeze overnight. Wehn I finally crawled out of bed at 2pm, and despite the below freezing temperatures outside, I grabbed one of each pops and tested them. The creaminess of the vanilla in the tea, mixed with the smoothness of the black base, the pops really didn’t need the condensed milk! I prefer them with just the vanilla syrup, actually. In fact, next time I’ll cut the syrup in half and do just 1 TBSP.
Of course, after testing the popsicles, I had to warm up, so I made a cup of this hot. And by cup I mean my 750ml teapot-sized-mug, haha! 2 heaping tsp (so close to 1 TBSP I guess?) to 750ml of water, steeped for 2.5minutes at 175F. Beautiful orange liquor with a sweet and creamy scent very much like melted creamsicles. First sip was pure orange goodness with a bit of vanilla left on my breath at the end of the sip. As it cooled I got more vanilla notes, and a slightly malty black note as well. Janet mentioned Sri Lanka, but I don’t remember if she was referring to this or to the back based Sidney Sunrise (which I also picked up even though I have a bit of the rooibos base left. The black base just smells nicer, though I’ll keep the roobios based blend on hand for the sake of having a tasty caffeine free option. but I digress.), but I almost wonder if the base to this one is an assam?
I’ll definitely be popping over to the shop on Friday on my way to see the pony (since he’s boarded literally across the highway from Janet’s shop, so when he’s going good and steady in the cart I want to attempt to drive him over and tie him to a post outside her shop, haha) to get more, both for drinking and for popsicle making. This may be my favourite non-spiced orange tea, very slightly beating out the blood orange pu’erh I keep on hand.
Flavors: Cream, Malt, Orange Zest, Vanilla
I LOVE jin xuan! The milky creaminess, sweet buttery notes, and crisp finish make it feel like I’m drinking creamy yogurt.
After spending a few months bed-ridden after a really serious ankle injury and not being able to make tea to ease my deep depression, as soon as I was able to start making tea again I took full advantage! Tonight is the first time I’ve been able to sit down and do a gungfu session, and I reached for the sample I got from Tea from Taiwan of jin xuan to celebrate.
The sample was packaged in a single serve vacuum sealed package, enough for two gungfu sessions (I tend to use less leaf when doing oolongs this way because of the shape of my little glass gungfu pot. Too much leaf, while giving a more authentic steeping session, unfurls to block the sieve in the spout, and I can’t actually get any tea out! haha) or for one mug. the leaf is tightly curled and bright green with a lovely sweet cream scent as soon as I tore the packaging. the vacuum sealing was a smart move on the company’s part, and protected the leaf well during transit. There was minimal leaf “dust” at the bottom of the envelope.
I typically do 5 steeps in the following order:
The liquor retained the thick creamy sweetness right through to the 5th steep, and I’m actually going to lay the leaves out to dry so I can use them some more in the morning. I’m really impressed, other milky oolongs I’ve tried have “dulled down” by the 3rd steep, but this one has some staying power. By steep 3 there was a bit of vegetal notes coming through, like sweet peas with fresh churned butter. Simply lovely!
I’m definitely enamored with this tea, and I’m glad I have enough left for a few more steepings. It’s definitely one to restock!
Finally getting around to reviewing this. I got a sample from the Vancouver Meet crew a while back, but drank it too fast to manage a tasting note, haha!
First off, I definitely didn’t have optimum steeping parameters. I’m still laid up after trashing my ankle (though at this point the ankle is pretty good, but I still have hellish nerve pain in the thigh of that leg), so being able to do a decent steep is REALLY tough. I tend to stick with teas that I can just toss in a filter bag and throw in a leakproof travel mug with hot water, and basically forget about it. Normally not the best idea with blacks, but after getting my package from OMGsrsly and being punched in the face with grapefruity goodness as soon as I opened the box, I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait to have a cup of grapefruity bergamoty amazingness.
My filter bag has been in my 16oz leakproof mug for probably 20 minutes (water was originally about 90C so that I could drink it fairly quickly) and while it’s a tad pithy at this point, it’s not really bitter or astringent. It’s still incredibly juicy with a burst of citrus vibrancy, the grapefruit pithiness is just starting to show itself. But I like the pithiness, it’s part of why I like grapefruit so much. I’ve been living off of grapefruit juice and fruit cups (Costco has individual servings of grapefruit segments in white grape juice, so it’s easy for my mum to throw a couple of the cups in a cooler with a cold pack for me to eat while she’s at work) while i’ve been laid up. I can’t get enough of the stuff.
My only qualm with this tea is the fact that it’s only available at Bayswater in Vancouver, and I never get over to the mainland. But that’s why I love OMGsrsly so much, she makes a killer tea mule! ;)
Thanks again buddy, this has really made my “stall rest” a LOT better (and my room smells freaking incredible!)
Now to get around to trying all of the samples OMGsrsly sent (that she received from Sil and graciously shared with some of us Islanders via the package sent to my place) and add to my list of places I want to order from after the holidays as a reward for not causing mayhem while being laid up.
steepster ate my note! Or I fell asleep and someone turned off my computer for me and I lost it…. yeah, that sounds like what must’ve happened.
I’ve been stuck in bed with a trashed ankle for 6 weeks now. Fell off of JAva and got my toe caught on part of the stirrup, so as I fell, my whole body weight came down on my ankle, snapping it back. Not a single bone is broken, but I shredded the ligaments and totally dislocated the foot. Let’s just say that if I didn’t have skin, I wouldn’t have a foot right now…6 screws, 2 plates, and a couple different casts later, and I’m put back together (for now). second surgery in January to remove the hardware, more time off the foot, and then a TON of physio. Ugh. Breaking my ankle would have been WAY better. Ah well, worst injury in 16+ years of horses so I shouldn’t complain too much.
The worst part of this bedrest has been my inability to make tea! I’m stuck in bed, less than 10 feet from my tea wall and my kettle, but crutches + trying to fill a kettle/make tea = bad times. Dad got a wheelchair for me, and I can finally make tea myself! still need someone to fill my kettle for me though…
But because it’s still tough to make a proper cuppa, i’ve been living off of teas and tisanes that I can toss in a filter bag, toss in a leakproof mug, then toss across to my bed. This has been one of my go to choices.
I LOVE mulberry leaf. It’s sweet and buttery and feels a bit rich. it’s a comforting thing. I enjoy Mulberry Magic, but find it to get a tad bitter after a while, possibly something about the macademia nuts in it. I really really like the pistachio substitution, it’s a lot creamier, doesn’t get bitter no matter how long it steeps, and the chamomile has been an added comfort that takes the edge off of any soreness I’m feeling.
All in all, the perfect balance of feeling like i’m drinking proper tea, easy grab and go, satisfying my sweet tooth, and bringing comfort and warmth to an otherwise depressing existence.