613 Tasting Notes
This was probably my favourite guayusa blend; it definitely got me through some rough deadline crunches. I used the last of it this week, and it helped me me slay one final essay (but not the related terrible rhymes).
Mourning the loss of this blend is more than marking the passage of a delicious staple- The Killer’s Vanilla was also a smooth and efficient tool. Guayusa to stay conscious, vanilla to make palatable, lavender for curbing stress, mint to make fresh the rotting husk which is my soul on a deadline.
It’s going to be fun looking into replacements.. if only I didn’t associate the raw taste and smell of guayusa with the nausea of sleep deprivation!
Flavors: Earth, Lavender, Spearmint, Vanilla
This floral, buttery-sweet oolong makes for a particularly floral and buttery jam and nut butter. At the best of times it’s a cup full of scone goodness, but something about the flavouring doesn’t quite do it for me. It’s still an enjoyable tea, albeit one I won’t miss too much.
This is more me saying goodbye to Stacy’s Organic Sparrow Tongue (I will find you again!).
Cue my Beatles-inspired Organic Sparrow Tongue theme song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgd15XcAzys
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Nuts, Raspberry
I’ve had this a few times now, but I don’t remember the powder sugar being so pronounced.. or there at all. I think it was mostly plum before- now it’s all in with the cashew cake and tangy-sweet syrup. Magic. The kind that’s probably connected to cooler drinking temperature, shorter steep time, etc. Also, paying attention to what I’m drinking.. I don’t know.
This is going to help me not eat the last of the cheesecake in the fridge. Yes it is. The last of the cheesecake was the perfect accompaniment for this tea.
Flavors: Cake, Nuts, Plums, Powdered sugar
The first steep was very vegetal, with a touch of floral and buttery notes. This steep reminded me more of a green tea, than an oolong- I was trying to figure out what steamed veggie this reminded me of (asparagus, maybe)!
That steep, at 4 minutes in 180F, was a little too long for me with the amount of leaves I used, so I cut the second steep down to just under 3 minutes. Now it’s smoother, with my ideal butter to veggie ratio.
So far the third steep is just like the last steep- rich butter and heady florals, with a touch lightly boiled asparagus, and a sweet melon finish.
Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Floral, Melon
I made up the rest of the sample, without destroying it this time (2 min. at boiling for first steep), and the balance of jasmine and milky oolong is now perfect. I’m not big on jasmine, but I can’t deny how smooth it is here: the cream, fruit, sweet, and floral notes work well together. Huge improvement from last night’s session (which was still pretty satisfying).
Flavors: Cream, Fruity, Jasmine
On the first steep, This oolong has light roasted notes of nuts and barely, with a vegetal taste which is kind of minty, and almost like it’s lightly spiced with sweet cinnamon. The aroma is on the smooth side, hinting at fruit and nut flavours.
Third steep is my favourite so far. All the flavours mentioned about have been smoothed out to a sweet, nutty silk.
For me these notes are filling- I can almost forget I haven’t eaten anything yet. It’s a satisfying cup and quite the contrast to my two other Tea Ave samples, which are both flavoured/fragranced and use the Alishan Jin Xuan as a base.
On a side note, I love that Tea Ave includes the altitude, as well as the roasting and oxidation levels with scales, on the packets. It’s incredibly helpful and informative to an oolong newbie like me!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Mint, Nuts, Roasted Barley, Stonefruits
I forgot I had this steeping in the kitchen. It probably sat for 10 minutes while I was eating sour keys and staring into The Void. That’s exactly the last thing I wanted to happen with a jasmine tea (I find less is better with this flavouring). Luckily this tea appears to be a particularly light and forgiving one!
The jasmine scent and flavour is now akin to a Body Shop jasmine frangipani candle (extreme flower and slight cream). There is also a hint of floral/veggie bitterness, but it’s still drinkable.. and enjoyable.
I’m looking forward to the subsequent steeps, and a second session, so I can get a better feel for this tea. Right now it’s promising!
Addition— getting to my unconventional fourth steep now, and there is a substantial amount of pepper spice to the finish.
Flavors: Cream, Jasmine, Pepper, Vegetal
Tea Ave went above and beyond with their sample packages and labeling. I wish I was more gifted with words- I’d offer something besides a huge THANK YOU! I’m grateful there are people like Roswell Strange to make up for my lack.
‘Ginger’ made me decide to try this one first. It was a good choice. I re-steeped this about six time last evening (at a time I shouldn’t have been drinking tea), plus once more this afternoon, and it’s probably one of the best and most soothing tea sessions I’ve had since last spring.
The ginger is a vibrant, sweet finish to this silky Jin Xuan. I second the person who says they now want to try this base oolong unflavoured. It’s been so long since I’ve had a milk oolong.. my roommate doesn’t understand right now (she’s giving me a weird look as I go pacing about the apartment with my tea mug). It’s an exciting thing.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Ginger, Sweet
This is goodbye, Lemon French Macaron. I didn’t always get it right with you, but you never failed to be that warm, “in front of the fireplace with no deadlines” comfort tea. You came from an awesome joint order with OMGsrsly- forever associated with randomly buying quince, and kangaroo burger patties. Good times, old Macaron.
Please don’t leave yet.
Flavors: Almond, Cake, Lemon Zest, Meringue