8 Tasting Notes
Love. Schmultzy it’s true, but I’m a sucker for when mine brings home fancy tea apropos of nothing. The first white tea of my larder.
It’s one of those teas that you keep leaving aside for some worthy occasion. I thought today I’d better get around to drinking some – my love has gone to count fish species in the jungles of PNG, and if he gets his throat slit by bandits while he is there I won’t ever be able to bring myself to it again. I’d have to invest instead in some ancient, pungent black puer called “Grief” or some such. Hmm. Maybe there’s a market in such a tea. “Long-fermented widow”. “Bitter bitch with raisin”. Anyway.
So visually, Love is spectacular. It’s a walnut sized ball of white tea and jasmine, strictly for steeping in glass, and preferably with an audience, so that you can all watch it unfurl into a little underwater garden. Each ball is tufted with bright pink petals but I am unsure what this is…. They mention jasmine, but jasmine is always white, no? They also mention “flowers”. I don’t know, it’s probably a very pretty, subtle-tasting thing with a terrible sounding name. Pink Drudgeweed, or something. But isn’t it funny how colour changes your palate, I swear it tastes pink.
I steeped at somewhere between 80 and 90 degrees for as long as it took for me to get naked and light six candles by the bath (this is an official unit measurment of steeping time). Does white tea taste of anything, really? I can certainly taste jasmine, and the water feels slightly thick and softened. There is a very delicate astringency to finish, I think this was becoming more apparent as it cooled.
A very theatrical little tea, though spoken softly.
So I had read all the hype about Melbourne Breakfast on Steepster, and there is a just-opened T2 down the road. But I already have a vanilla and rose flavoured black, and a vanilla and strawberry favoured green. Really, it’s best that I exercise a little discipline. But then, lo! Left in the communal kitchen area of my workplace was a huge, Free-To-Good-Home pile of Melbourne breakfast tea bags! Well, this was a little different to the usual bench offerings I must say. I haven’t seen loot like this since the day some anonymous Green Thumb plonked several paddocks worth of fresh basil, parsley and mint on the table in adorable brown paper bags. The vanilla note is clear and warming, the black bold and fresh. I may have grabbed a larger-than-fair handful and stashed it under my desk for later.
So I’m gunna try not to be a flavoured-tea tart for a minute and taste something serious. I won’t read the other reviews until I’ve finished. So this is an Assam Darjeeling , huh. I don’t know what that means really except that it’s black. The dry tea smells…like tea. (Try harder, Curls). It smells a bit minerally, a bit dusty, a bit mushroomy? I added boiling water and steeped until it looked a nice rich colour (this is an official measure of steep time). It tastes like ….tea. Barky. Faint astringency that wraps gently around the underside of your tongue.
Sadly I am nothing but a tea floosy, I am about to add frothed milk and a dash of chai syrup, so help me God. Ahhhhhh.
Ok I have just looked up Assam on Wikipedia and would totes agree in hindsight that it tastes “brisk”. I missed the “malty”. I got the tannic qualities of the Darjeeling (similarly googled), but would have described this blend as more earthy than fruity or floral. Perhaps I need to taste them separately.
Or with honey and lemon. No! Floosy.
This tea is terribly pretty, which is part of the catch for me, as I store them in glass-lidded, magnetic tins stuck to my fridge door. I’m not sure what the striking little blue petals are, there are yellow petals and little chunks of mango amongst the green roobois. I haven’t had green roobois before . I had a temporary flirtation with red roobois in high school. That was a while ago. A very good while ago.
This tea also smells amazing dry, another draw card. There is mellow citrus but more of something else, like a heady cross between jubes and a dark liquor like brandy.
I brewed it with the kettle slightly off the boil, for the time it took to run some snoseal around the toes of my boots. This is an official measure of tea steeping time. The result was subtle. Too subtle? I popped the infuser back in and left it there while I lured little cups in sequence. Eventually the main thing to come out was orange citrus, it never got woody or bitter. Couldn’t really find the mango at all!
Here began my affair with Lupicia, and possibly my obsession with tea. This pretty little tin was brought home as a spontaneous gift of love from my boy (back in the early days of us living together, when he used to do such things frequently, ha!). Till now I drank tea thoughtlessly. I brewed it carelessly, and then blamed it for bitterness. But this sour cherry concoction demanded attention and was guzzled with delight. Our dear friend was also hooked, turning up to a gathering at our place almost too tired to stay upright in her chair, but unable to drag herself from teapot after teapot so that she could head home to bed. The second tin is now also gone, more is the pity.
Newbie, very new to this game. I believe this is my very first oolong, and anticipating that I will be a slightly trashy tea enthusiast, this is peach flavoured. This tastes soooo fresh. And, duh, if one pays some attention to steeping time, one gets no bitterness at all. Im in a whole new tea world.