560 Tasting Notes

Cavocorax sent me a package full of samples yesterday! As soon as I opened the envelope my kitchen took on the aroma of a cupcake shop. I’m very curious to find out which one (or ones) produced that smell.

I don’t think this one in particular contributed heavily but there’s no denying that it smells sweet too, in a fruity way. I had half the sample amount last night and am finishing the rest off this afternoon. The strainer that I used yesterday that I haven’t yet properly cleaned smells of lychee.

I don’t usually eat dragon fruit on its own, but it’s awesome in a smoothie or milkshake. This rooibos blend probably has nothing to do with dragon fruit, except that both of them are connected to “cactus”, make me think of a (not necessarily) white centered “fruit”, and have a sweet but watery flavour (ok, that may be a lot to do with dragon fruit).

I found this to be a bit watery when steeped under five minutes. I also enjoyed the fruity, and floral notes are more when it had cooled down. If I had more of this I’d probably play around with it a bit and see if its watery body could hold up as an iced latte.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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76

I made this up in a mug a couple of times and got bored two steeps in (too vegetal too quickly for me), but this sipdown gongfu session is turning out to be great!

The first steep is very floral, with a slightly fruity sweet finish and lingering taste (favourite oolong things). Richness is on the heavy side here too. I think I’m starting to get well acquainted with orchid notes. It’s one of the few floral notes where I go “yeah, I totally recognize this and can give it a name.”

The second an third steep are little more vegetal, like how the first two mugs of western brewing tasted. There’s still a sweetness to the finish, but the orchid notes are no longer there and it tastes like steamed greens with a very light slathering of butter or oil.

I butchered my fourth and fifth steep and I ended up combining the two together. It worked out somehow though, and the floral notes are back, alongside a zippy green note. This combo cup and the first one are my favourites so far.

I think I’ll end it there because I’m starting to feel uncommitted to this note. I still love Organic Sparrow Tongue most of all but this oolong is up there in the ranks with some of the tieguanyin oolongs I’ve tried.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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79

Ah, I started drinking this cup quite a while ago, forgot about, and ended up finishing it off cold. The honey malt smell came off strongly from the cooled off liquid a lot more than I thought it would. In between my cup of Da Yu Ling Oolong this was like drinking sugar crystals and the lightest, smoothest beer ever. There’s a bit of that peppered-ness too that I always look for.

This is good, and since this is technically a sipdown I should steep it more than once but I’m too distracted by this: http://tonematrix.audiotool.com/

I made a union jack and a dinosaur. Easily entertained. That’s me!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank DeTox by Yogi Tea
560 tasting notes

Indian food may be my biggest vice. The way I eat curry you’d think there was some sort of famine on the Northwest coast, or something. I’m angry at myself..

Which is why I chose to make this as my first “tea” of the day. I was expecting it to not be pleasant. I’ve had dextox drinks before and while I can’t attest to their life changing cleaning powers I do know they can taste pretty awful. This one is actually nice, like a spiced and more delicate chamomile herbal. The ingredients do not list chamomile so it may be the dandelion? The sarsaparilla root definitely makes me think of rootbeer, which is another thing I appreciate.

I steeped the bag in a cup for ten minutes in boiling water but the result is a very mild, spiced floral concoction that I’d actually be happy to drink often. I don’t know what a Forsythia Fruit or half of the other ingredients are but I guess that’s what Google is for.

The only thing that would’ve made this herbal brew better is magic. Magic to forget about the huge container of veggie korma sitting in the fridge. Magic to ignore the fact that the whole house smells like delicious food. Curry, why are you like this? I should get out of the house for a bit and mail Cavocorax’s matcha parcel.

Thank you Jackie T for this sample!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
gmathis

Question for an Indian food expert from an Indian food "no"bie (that’s like a newbie, but even less experienced!) Is there a particular brand of commercial Indian food fixins’ that you might recommend? We have no local restaurant options, but would like to give curry, butter chicken, etc. a quick try.

CrowKettle

I’m probably the wrong person to ask and have been spoiled on having too many commercial Indian restaurants close by. I don’t have much experience with the ready- made curry pastes, except for Pataks brand tikka masala which was far from amazing. I’ve made curry from scratch a few times but it always comes out a little different. I loosely follow various online recipes and will tweak the spices and “fat content” based on how rich and spicy I want it. Butter chicken recipes tend not to make the healthiest dishes and you have play around with the parameters.

CrowKettle

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/slow-cooker-butter-chicken/
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-indian-butter-chicken/ (I’m sure there are healthier ways to make butter chicken)
http://jeenaskitchen.blogspot.ca/2010/01/butter-chicken-recipe-murgh-makhani.html (I haven’t tried this one yet)

Hopefully other people on here will have more useful advice and experience with butter chicken and curry! I’m still learning how to cook. :)

yyz

I haven’t really tried any packaged curries or even pre-made spice mixes as I pretty well always make my own and even then I don’t have a fixed recipe. So I can’t really help you with a recommendation. I mostly ate as a vegetarian in India, though I did have some mutton curry, some fish and some tandori chicken at parties. I have tried some recipes from this website before and they were decent, http://www.khanapakana.com/recipe-search/s/butter%20chicken/t/e . It has recipes from all over the Indian subcontinent. Jain recipes do not contain any root vegetables, South Indian curries are often sweeter and may include coconut. Rahjastani and Punjabi curries can be very hot. My favourite curry is probably Palak(Saag) Paneer ( spinach and a fresh cheese). Have fun exploring.

OMGsrsly

I use recipes from showmethecurry.com. They have YouTube videos, but the sound isn’t always that great. However, the recipes I’ve tried have been fantastic. I’m spoiled like CrowKettle, and I also have a fabulous Indian restaurant 1.5 blocks from my apartment…

CrowKettle

Palak Paneer is one of my favourite curries too but I’ve heard it can be time consuming to make! All of these links to curry (and other food) recipes are definitely challenging my willpower here.. :/

yyz

It’s not really, and if you can’t find paneer, you can either use drained and compressed cottage cheese, or the fresh cheese you can find in some stores specializing in Latin American goods. I have a cookbook that has a recipe for making paneer as well but I have never tried it.

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68
drank Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons
560 tasting notes

This another gentle (some would say flat) tea for the day. It smells like it packs a punch of spices and astringency but the taste reveals it to be the exact opposite. There’s a bit of subdued clove but, even with a steep time of over five minutes, this doesn’t qualify for being astringently nippy.

It’s not bad though. I think it tastes a bit like a chocolate orange, without being overly cloying and candy-like. Even without the addition of milk, this cup conveys lightly sweet and creamy milk chocolate, with a bit of bitter nuttiness, spice, and citrus. I don’t know what’s in this or if it’s the spices that are fooling my taste buds but it undeniably has a chocolate orange flavour in the finish and aftertaste.

It’s not something I’d pick up for myself, but I did work through about an ounce of this in a few days without feeling the desire to add anything to it, and it does make up for not getting a Chocolate Orange this Christmas.

Thanks Fiddling for sharing some of this!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Fiddling

I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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92

Smoke, wood, nuts, and burnt desert vegetation.. I think I may be more into puerh teas when the weather is not as nice and I want to transport myself into a place of dry heat. Although, this may have a place during the hot summer evenings too, cicadas abuzz. It’s dry but it’s also strangely refreshing and clean.

I did a really quick rinse and then steeped this western style today for an excessively long period of time (my gongfu is packed up for the move out tomorrow). I don’t think my methods hurt it today, and the more I sip away at this the more flavours I’m finding to fall in love with. There’s a lingering taste of sweet Nutella (roasted hazelnuts) that is freaking amazing. As it cools there is something spicy sweet like apple pie. Maybe I could drink this particular puerh all the time.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

I love this one!

CrowKettle

Yes! I was looking for a staple puerh and I think this may be it. I just need to save up all my pennies now. :)

What’s your best prep for this?

OMGsrsly

Someone wanted to make a Verdant order soon. All I want is the chai spice blend, check the spreadsheet! :)

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70
drank Lucuma Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
560 tasting notes

This is robust flavoring and I still don’t quite know what “this” is. I think I picked it out for the funny name. It’s jammy and sweet, but not in a fruity way, and it’s slightly buttery. I can see where the “sweet potato” reference comes in. Despite my best whisking efforts this matcha tends to come out clumpy or grainy… I’ve whisked like a champ tonight and I’ve lost count on how many matcha lattes I’ve made myself. Maybe over ten. Not excessive at all. At least it makes the kitchen smell sweet and it helps to make Archer more watchable studying for my last final more enjoyable.

This may not be a keeper but it was, and still is, a neat experience!

Fjellrev

Haha hell yeah, Archer! Still haven’t caught up with the last season. When is your last exam? I have mine on Thursday and have been slacking a bit. The overwhelming amount of definitions and info = instant defeat.

Kudos for trying this out. I would have been too chicken to ever get it.

CrowKettle

I’m only at the beginning of third season but I probably shouldn’t catch up tonight. My exam is tomorrow evening and I’ve also slacked off.

If everyone is curious, next time we meet I’ll bring samples of my weirder matcha flavours. I have this, mangosteen, hemp, and queen jelly. I would normally be too chicken as well to get flavours like that but I had a ‘first time purchase’ 50% off code from Sil.

OMGsrsly

I haven’t tried the hemp or jelly ones yet… I ran out of almond milk and haven’t managed to get to Costco to get more!

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73

It’s been a while since I’ve dedicated a day to a Verdant tea and I’ve built up quite a number of them. I pulled this one out at random. I don’t have my gongfu on me but the shifty measuring glass, strainer, and tea cup method usually work just as well! I’ll add to this throughout the day.

I poured the whole sample package into the palm of my hand and got floral, peanut butter. The first/rinse cup tastes a little greener and savory but is no less creamy. There’s a hint of spicy green tanginess at the finish. It compliments this extremely processed and watery chimichanga that I’m eating right now. I think the oolong may have more pepper to it. I should make my own chimichanga or burrito in the future.

Second Steep, 7 seconds: This smells more buttery and sweet. The peppercorn is increased here and is now prevalently lingers. It’ also has a tangy red sweetness to it that’s very rich and taunts the boundary between fruity and vegetal. The effect makes me feel deceivingly full, like eating a well varied meal.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C

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75

First cup of the day and it’s a herbal. The liquor is a pinkish red and it smells like citrus laced red berry jam, or strawberry rhubarb pie. Hot, it tastes jam sweet, with a smooth, floral rose bridge, and a tart hibiscus/citrus finish. I’m liking this a lot more than I though I would, particularly for the citrus, but it’s not going to win over those wary of hibiscus. It’s also not distinctly strawberry at this stage.

I’m going to put the rest in the fridge and revisit this note later. This tastes like it would be just the thing iced or cooled.

Update cold cup- now it’s cold and I’m getting the sour and citric lemonade aspect from it. When it comes to teas I’m not a sweetener person, but this is unsweetened lemonade and would probably taste great with some syrup or agave. The flavours are still more berry citrus hibiscus than strawberry but it’s an enjoyable, refreshing cup. I think I prefer it hot though, for the pie jam.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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72

I tried to take of a sip of this after eating a bag of frozen blueberries and it was just bitter and awful; I thought I had wrecked this tea sample and would have to dump it. Luckily it was just the contrast of the blueberry sweetness, and rinsing my mouth helped. Yay for half blunders and commonsense! Lesson learned: never eat something sweeter than the thing you are drinking.

Ceylon is a very cutting, bright base as is apparent here. Not my favourite, and I was expecting something smokier, but this cooled off cup does yield a pleasant caramel apple flavour that I enjoy. The Ceylon makes the apple a tart green one but the cinnamon and sweetness rounds it out a bit. It’s actually a little bit like the baked, cinnamon, brown sugar apples my mom would make for dessert every once in a while.

So, not much bonfire from this one, except for a little cinnamon spice. The Toffee caramel is there though, and that’s the important part (for me). Thanks for the sample, Bluebird Tea Co.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

Ratings:

95-100: A Personal Favourite; I’m never without this tea.

90-94: Great! I’ll try to keep a small amount around.

80-89: Enjoyable; I may buy more at some point.

70-79: Nice, but not something I’d drink often. I may have a few problems with it.

50-69: Something about this tea falls flat for me. Still drinkable.

30-49: This isn’t a particularly pleasant cup.

1-29: …

Location

BC, Canada

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