633 Tasting Notes
Backlogging from yesterday…I went to the mall with my fiancé. It was a really fun trip! I bought my first ever full-size Coach bag and looked at Tacori wedding bands!
The bag is gold metallic textured leather, and I got a great wallet too in a fun spring pattern. My Vera Bradley purse broke recently, so I needed a replacement. I’m usually not a fan of Vera Bradley, but that purse was a gift. It was brown and white with trees, birds, flowers, and Asian-themed pagodas. Pretty, but not very durable.
The straps were completely worn out and the clasp on the inside ripped right out of the fabric! So, it was time for a replacement and nothing in my closet would do. All I have is a collection of very small handbags. But I had gotten used to the medium-large Vera Bradley. I could put whole books in there! Books, hairbrushes, lunch, pretty much anything!
The Coach purse is a dream come true!! I’ve always wanted one but never been able to justify the price. Now that the fiancé and I have had good jobs for a while, our quality of life has substantially improved. Looking at wedding bands was almost as much fun as picking out my new purse!
I’ve made a running list of all the Tacori rings I like (my engagement ring is Tacori too). The list was up to 21 different styles before our venture out yesterday. Seeing a lot of the rings in person completely changed my opinion of them. I still think they’re beautiful, but many of them didn’t match my engagement ring the way I thought they would. So, now the list is down to 13 styles. And I’m pretty confident I can knock out 5 more at least.
I’ll settle on something eventually. My fiancé wants me to get the wedding band that matches my engagement ring (like the one they made to match it). But even though it’s pretty and definitely not off the table, I have my heart set on something a little bigger and more blingy. I’m a big fan of glitz and glamour!
I’m also a big fan of reality TV shows, so I’ve been watching all the wedding shows available on Netflix (we don’t have cable). My most recent addiction is Bridalplasty, where women compete to have plastic surgery procedures and a free, celebrity-style wedding. It is ridiculously hilarious, but I just can’t stop watching it!! I highly recommend it if you like reality TV. It’s my guilty pleasure.
Ohh, I’m 100% in the wedding planning mood!! We’ve got a trip coming up in a couple weeks to go look at venues, and I’m soooo excited!!!! I just can’t wait!! I’ve been waiting for this trip for about 4 months! We’ve been working on the guest list and have cut it down from 100+ to 87. That will allow us to have a much nicer event. Prices are just outrageous! I’ll probably never get over the sticker shock.
Anyway, this post is becoming really long and not at all tea related. This genmaicha was okay. I wasn’t floored by it, but it wasn’t terrible either. Of course, it’s always an interesting experience when you go into Teavana. I only bought a cup of this to have in the store. I was really feeling like a genmaicha, and I hadn’t had any tea that morning.
I ordered one cup, which cost about $5.50. The lady making it asked if I wanted it hot or cold, sweet or unsweet. I replied hot and unsweet. She said, “Okay, well just let me know if you change your mind. That one can be a little…mreh unsweetened.” Thank goodness she wasn’t looking at me, so she didn’t see me roll my eyes. A couple minutes later she handed me the cup. I could tell just from holding it that she must have brewed it with nearly boiling water. I said thanks and asked how she had prepared it. She replied, “Well, the water comes out at about 205 and I added 4 ice cubes. So, it’s supposed to be 175 but I didn’t really measure it or anything.” She said this perfectly nonchalant as if it didn’t matter that she was admitting she put literally no effort into making my tea. That was kind of bold of her. But I knew I wasn’t going to be making any new friends at Teavana anyway. Really, who adds sugar to an unflavored green tea before even trying it?!
We walked out and went about our shopping. The tea was perfect without sugar, so I’m glad I followed my instinct there. It was roasty toasty with a nice grassy flavor underneath. Overall, a success despite the slightly too hot water. That only added a little bit of bitterness to the tea, but at a tolerable level.
After the mall, we went to go see The Cabin in the Woods. After all the raves it received, I had pretty high expectations. It definitely wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t that surprising either. The twists and turns were predictable to me, and it was more of a comedy than a horror flick. It definitely wasn’t your standard psycho killer/slasher movie. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.
Okay, that’s the end of my un-tea related rant! Thanks for listening, and now I’m off to make lunch!
The chores are done, so it’s time to relax with a wonderful cup of green tea! I carefully cut open the silver package and discovered very thin, very dark leaves with a lovely aroma of spinach. The leaves are such a dark green that they look black. It reminds me of dried black moss, if such a thing exists, but with a much more appealing bouquet of aromas I’m sure.
I think I’m going to go for several steeps with this one to see how the flavors morph. This is going to be fun! I was generous with the leaf too because I almost always brew my teas too weak. First infusion for one minute, and the little leaves opened all the way up! They’re actually a very vibrant green color now that they’re open. The brewed aroma is very green, very vegetal. And the taste? Matches the aroma perfectly!
This first cup is alive! There’s no better way to describe it. It reminds me of spring, flowers blooming and grass growing. Vivacious and thriving with a nice balance between spinach and nori. It’s naturally sweet and light but also very flavorful. This is a perfect complement to my mood. :)
The greatest part of this tea is that it has a lovely lingering aftertaste. And even though it’s so green, it doesn’t taste grassy. It’s definitely a steamed veggie taste. Butter not chlorophyll. But as it cools, it loses its vibrancy. Time to move on to steep number two (176 degrees for two minutes)!
The second cup is less salty nori and…flatter. It’s still sweet, but a lot less so. It’s also no longer buttery. The first cup was definitely the best. But what’s remained constant is the lingering vegetal aftertaste, although it’s a little delayed now and less green. As this cup cools, it’s darker with hints towards, but not fully reaching, bitterness.
I don’t think this is a marathon infusion kind of tea. At least not the way I approached it with multiple long steeps. Maybe a series of short steeps would have yielded better results. Of course, now I’m sloshing with tea. So, I think I’m done for now. I was going to go for a third infusion, but I don’t think the leaves are up to it.
Still, that first cup was magic! So, I’m rating it accordingly. This is a solid choice for green tea fans.
Thanks to Mercuryhime for making this tea experience possible! This is the last tea of the many generous samples she’s shared with me. You’re the bomb, lady! :)
Wow! This has a lot of cinnamon in it! The dry leaf aroma was equally both orange and cinnamon. But the brewed tea aroma is pure cinnamon.
First sip, and my instincts are confirmed. This is hot cinnamon water with a weak black tea background. Perhaps it would have been improved with a longer steep time? The orange citrus notes I crave are sadly nowhere to be found. The base is slightly bitter and…waxy? It was crying out for milk and sugar, so I kindly obliged.
It’s more drinkable now, but pretty much still strong cinnamon in weak tea. It also doesn’t remind me of Christmas much at all. Then again, I don’t necessarily link cinnamon and Christmas. Cinnamon is great in Chai tea or hot apple cider. But this is missing all the other lovable spices that go in Chai. So, I’m left with a tea that’s just okay.
But, of course, you never know what a new tea will bring until you try it. If you like cinnamon, then this would probably be right up your alley! But I think there’s a green tea in my cupboard that’s calling my name, so I’ll finish this cup and move on to greener pastures. ;)
I wasn’t going to brew another tea tonight because that requires me to wash my cup and strainer. But I’m intrigued by this loose leaf sample from Lupicia, so I’m washing some dishes!
The dry leaves smell fruity and delicious! It must be the strawberry. Oh, it smells so good!! It’s funny because I just read a post by Angrboda where she said she had to try and type around a “sleepy but social cat (what do you mean make her go away??? I can’t! She’s cute!).” Now I’m doing the exact same thing, precariously balancing my laptop on the edge of my knees with my arms wrapped around a purring kitty who demands attention now. :) I can’t possibly move him when he lays his head on my hand and sleeps.
“You’re making this impossible,” I say to him. And he responds by looking up at me, still purring, and doing that slow blink thing cats do when they’re happy. He’s just the cutest thing in the world! How can anyone dare to disturb that happiness?
At least the distraction has allowed my tea to cool to a drinkable temperature. Wow, this tea is delicious! The strawberry is definitely the most prominent flavor. It lends a great sweetness to the brew so that I’m not immediately compelled to add milk and sugar. Still, I’m going to add just a tiny touch of milk anyway because the kitty decided to get up.
This is really really good! Even though I’m not individually tasting all the flavorings in this tea, I’m sure it wouldn’t be the same if they were left out. This tea has really impressed me! It’s too bad it’s no longer available since the holiday season is over. I really missed the boat with this one. But now I know to look for it next year! And that’s what I call a tea success!
A free sample tea bag of this came in my latest purchase from Lupicia. And by latest purchase, I mean the one I got about 6 months ago, hahaha!
I made this at work, so I don’t really know what temperature the water was or how long I steeped it for. I definitely used way too much water because I forgot that most Lupicia teas say to brew it in only 5 ounces of water. I probably used twice that much at least.
So, it didn’t really taste the way it was supposed to. Honestly, I couldn’t discern much beyond a low-grade green tea flavor. I’m disappointed I messed this up because I don’t really remember what it tasted like the one other time I’ve tried it. So, I guess the rating will remain unchanged. Too bad. I thought this was my second chance with this tea.
Alas, I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
This was a surprise from Ninavampi and I bet it’s going to be good! The dry leaves are little, rolled up, green leaves with huge chunks of dried lemon. The aroma is lemon, grassiness, and a bit of pepper.
The brewed tea smells and tastes really lemon-y! But it’s not overdone or even acidic. There’s a hint of bitterness from the green tea but no astringency or tartness that makes your face pucker. It’s a very well-executed lemon green tea. Ultra delicious!
That hint of pepper from the aroma of the dry leaves appears in the brewed tea taste too. It’s really interesting. I’m definitely going for a second steep! Three minutes later, I have another steaming mug of tea in my hands. The leaves really opened up on this infusion. They’re huge! Absolutely HUGE!
The second infusion is not quite as flavorful as the first, but still yummy. I like it best when it’s piping hot. This strikes me as a good bedtime tea, even though it probably possesses some caffeine. Now if only I lived in Ecuador… :)
Thanks to Ninavampi for sending me a tea that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to try!
Ahhh, the lovely strong aroma of bergamot. This tea wakes you up with just a whiff of the dry leaves! This really is the best Earl Grey I’ve ever had. It tastes exactly like the tea they serve in Paris. So decadent! So full and well rounded!
This is a completely different experience than the Creme Earl Grey by Element Tea that I just had yesterday. This tea makes that one look like water. The bergamot flavoring in this Lupicia version is much stronger and more flavorful. It’s truly a wonderful and uplifting cuppa. I’m raising the rating a couple points.
And now my whole office smells like a Parisian café. :)
I’ve been wanting to try this one for a while. Of course, it’s also been chilling in my cupboard for a while. Today is the day to break the cycle and finally try it out!
Part of the reason I wanted to try this is because it sounds good. But the larger reason is because Lupicia sells this tea and one called Wedding in individual packets for wedding favors. Since I love tea so much, I thought it might be fun to give out tea as favors! So I bought one favor as a test run to see how nice the packaging is and to see if I even like the tea I’d give to other people.
The packaging is nice and very appropriate for a wedding. It’s a white mesh, drawstring bag with one tea bag each of the Kotobuki and Wedding, individually sealed in opaque, cream plastic with gold lettering. So far so good.
The Kotobuki dry leaves smell very plum-y. The brewed tea aroma is still plum-y but with the added scent of green oolong. Wow! This tastes very wine-like. It reminds me of a sweet red wine I had at Olive Garden. It also has lovely floral notes that I don’t think I’ve tasted before. Maybe it’s the rose. I know rose teas are common, but I haven’t tried any yet.
This is sweet and delicious and possesses no astringent qualities! I’m confident that this would make a good favor because I think it would appeal to people with varying tastes. It’s also unique enough that most people probably haven’t experienced anything like it.
I’ll keep this in my mind as a possibility. But now I have to try the Wedding tea that comes with it. And before I try that one, I think I’m going to re-steep this. It’s just too yummy to throw the bag away after one cup!
Yet another tea provided by Mercuryhime. Thanks for sharing some awesome teas!
This tea is no exception. It has a well-executed bergamot flavor with a wonderful creamy component added to it. I’m not 100% sure how long I steeped it for because I set my timer for 4 minutes but then didn’t hear it go off. It doesn’t taste oversteeped though, and there’s only a slight bitterness. Nothing unmanageable.
I added milk and sugar and wow! Now it’s ultra creamy and delicious! I can’t believe I’m the first one to rate this tea. If you’re a lover of Earl Grey, you need to check this out immediately! The only reason I’m rating this in the 70s is because Earl Grey has never been one of my favorites. But I do still enjoy it, and this is one of the better EGs I’ve tried.
Very yummy and calming as I try to play Skyrim, which is continuing to freeze repeatedly even after patch 1.5 that was supposed to fix this problem for good. Screw Bethesda. They really suck. How could they release a broken game? It’s so frustrating! The latest patch has only made the freezing worse. It’s literally unplayable now.
This sounded like the perfect tea for tonight! I love jasmine teas, and I think they are complemented well when paired with citrus flavors. One of my favorite teas is Jasmin Mandarin by Lupicia. So, I have high hopes for this one by Ovation and kindly provided by Mercuryhime!
The dry leaf is very interesting. There are short, flat green leaves, rolled jasmine pearls, marigold petals, and little bits of fruit. Some of the fruit appears to be orange peel but there are these other little things that I swear look like orange seeds! But I’m guessing from the description of the ingredients that it’s little pieces of tangerine. I can’t imagine you’d get much flavor from an orange seed, so I don’t know why anyone would put it in a tea blend.
Anyway, the brewed tea aroma is a lot gentler than I expected. I often find that jasmine teas are overpowering in their aroma, very in-your-face. But this smells more like a citrus-y green tea with subtle hints of floral jasmine. Maybe I didn’t use enough leaf? I followed the directions on the package and brewed this with 1.5 tsp in roughly 8 oz. for 2 minutes at 175 degrees.
The flavor is soft and subtle like the aroma. There’s very little jasmine in this. Maybe the ratio of pearls to green tea was off. Or maybe this tea sat in my cupboard for too long waiting to be brewed, and the pearls have lost most of their jasmine flavoring. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely still good! Just a lot less jasmine than I would expect from a tea called Jasmine Citrus Blossom.
The most prominent flavor is the marigold petals. I’ve gotten used to the way marigold petals taste because of their frequent appearance in 52teas’ blends. It’s a very comforting, soft, floral flavor, and I think it’s a good addition to this tea.
Maybe I should try adding a few of my Teavivre Jasmine Dragon Pearls to the rest of this sample. That will give the added jasmine punch I’m looking for. Those little pearls are practically intoxicating (if one can become intoxicated from sniffing jasmine; uh oh now I’m just giving people ideas)!
Yes, it’s decided. I’m going to add ½ teaspoon of dragon pearls and another ½ teaspoon of this tea to the second infusion. I’ll be back in a few…
The flavor is much improved now. But I can’t say I’m not disappointed. I wanted this tea to stand on its own merits. Maybe I just need a fresher batch. I didn’t exactly store this in ideal conditions. But I’m willing to give it another chance. There’s still enough left to try again, and I might add this to an Ovation tea order. In fact, they’re having a free shipping deal right now. So, this may be the perfect opportunity to try out more of their teas!