414 Tasting Notes
Darn. No one had added this tea to Steepster and the this tea is no longer available on the TTC site. Oh well, I added instead a picture of a cute teapot and boat set that TTC has on sale. :-P
I wasn’t over-impressed with this tea. I expected a much sweeter and more fragrant tea. This tea was more on the savory side. It’s a nice enough tea, but it’s not what I usually expect from an OB.
So, I chose this for my dinner tonight (a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich). The package says “zesty cucumber” on it. I couldn’t have imagined what a “strong” cucumber smell was like before, but the wet leaves had this smell – very earthy and green. It was a little bit off-putting, to be honest. But the brewed tea was fabulous. It’s super-light and subtle and smooth. You do get a little bit of zest in the aroma, but there is no bitterness from tannins. (Somehow I expect zesty nose in the tea to correspond with the bitter flavor of actual citrus zest.) What a nice comforting tea for a chilly evening at home!
ETA: I almost didn’t receive this tea, because someone is stealing mail out of the mailboxes on my street again. Charming. (I would have thought this was so punk back in the day – think Dead Kennedys song.) Anyhow, apparently the thieves weren’t interested in tea and dumped this package on the side of the road somewhere. Thanks, USPS, for finding it and getting it to me!
I was really hesitant when I first brewed this tea. The liquor was very, very pale. But when I first caught a whiff of the aroma, I was excited by the smell of nectarines (my favorite fruit), which I had never experienced so vividly in a tea before. This is also one of those finicky teas which start to oxidize immediately upon brewing. The color was turning brown within just a few minutes. I decided to put the leaves back into the teapot after pouring my first two cups to see if I could get more flavor from this. I like this, but I don’t love it like I was expecting to. It has great qualities – so full of fruit flavor with just a hint of floral, cream, and vegetal notes. But it’s also kind of on the weak side, and doesn’t have the kind of sweet, long-lingering finish that makes me fall in love with a tea like this.
I really wish there was good tea education in this country! I am having this tea again this morning, and I am struck by an umami note (like tomato skin) in this tea. I’m really curious as to what cultivar is used to make this tea, or if this element comes from the processing. There have been at least a couple of TTC teas I feel like have this strong umami quality that I don’t usually get from a black tea. I love it, though. It’s a much better way of giving a tea a little more body than astringency or than smokiness.
On the TTC website, they mention at least one cultivar, T-20, used to make this tea. Does anyone know of any sites that might help educate me regarding tea cultivars?