453 Tasting Notes
Well, I just got an order of samples from Della Terra. After splitting them up with my mother, I decided to try out the S’mores.
I hate to be the one to say this, as it has such good reviews here, but it does not live up to its name at all. Unless you are imagining sitting around a campfire, making S’mores, when suddenly, a swamp monster from near by snatches it, spits it out, and leaves it all soggy floating in the water. Ok, ok, so the description makes it sound terrible. It’s not terrible, I mean, I like it OK enough. I might even drink another cup some time. But it really is kinda like soggy-swamp-water graham cracker with a hint, just a hint, of curdled marshmallow. But I can dig it if my mood is right.
I had this tea this morning, but Steepster was down (for me, at least), so I could not log it then.
I set my timer for 2min30sec as I usually do for this tea, but when the timer went off, I turned it off without taking the infuser out of my cup. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I have these moments sometimes. I estimate that it was another 5 minutes before I remembered the tea, so I can definitely vouch for its lack of sensitivity to over-steeping. It was still a really good cup!
I haven’t had a lot of black teas. I tried the occasional bagged ‘English Breakfast’ blends before I started buying loose tea, but mostly I drank bagged green teas. I don’t know quite how an Assam is supposed to taste, but based on descriptions I’ve read, I wouldn’t describe this as similar to one. I have Yunnan gold-tip teas from two different sources and I don’t think this tea significantly different in terms of strength and astringency. I’ll have to start expanding my black tea collection in order to make better assessments :)
Yay, I’m first to rate this one! All the more special considering that it’s the first loose tea I ever purchased (on january 30, 2012). The bagged teas that I drank before were mostly green teas and I wanted my first loose tea experience to be close to what I was used to. However, it took me a while to fully appreciate this tea. In fact, I left it alone for a few weeks, thinking I just don’t like Sencha. I never worried about steeping times with my bagged teas. I’d just leave the bag in the tea while I drank it. If I didn’t like it, I blamed it on the tea, not on the over-steeping. I followed the recommended brewing instructions for this loose tea, but I wasn’t too fond of the result. As for a second steeping, yuck! The tea kept giving, what I described as a muddy/dirty flavor. I suppose that’s supposed to be the bitterness? I never thought of it as bitter though.
After much research into ‘proper’ tea brewing techniques, I found one that gives me a really good result: Fill my (glazed) kyusu with two or three times as much tea as recommended and steep for 50 seconds with water at 165deg. I finally discovered what Unami must be! yummy <3 I can even get a decent second cup if I steep the leaves with near boiling water (around 190) for 30 seconds.
Going to brew my second steeping now :) …
Still really like this tea. Tried a second steeping this time (1st for 2min, second for 3min). The second cup isn’t as sweet, but the sweetness is still there. I like that it is muted the second time. Although I really like the sweet honey-like flavor, it could be too much of a good thing to have two strong cups of it in a row. I am particular about excess in scent and flavors. I need to try a gong-fu type session next time if I have the time to spend with it.
I’ve already brewed up three of these cute little cakes, but this is the first time logging it. Puerh is one of my favorite teas, though I’ve only tried some four different ripe and three raw varieties. Of these, I have three favorites and this is one of them :) It’s the perfect size to brew in my Gaiwan; super convenient!
All previous ripe puerhs I’ve tried have been in loose leaf form. I realized after the first time brewing this, that a few-second rinse is not sufficient enough to open the leaves for a good first infusion. I did a 20 second rinse this time followed by the recommended 1 minute infusion. While the cake doesn’t open up fully the first time, it is enough to produce a flavorful cup. I really like the subtle first cup. It’s as if its preparing me for the experience. The next infusion I did for 10 seconds; the liquor becomes super dark almost immediately now that the leaves are open. The third infusion I did for 20 seconds, and it was slightly lighter in color than the second. The fourth I did for 30 and a fifth for 40. I obviously intend to play around some more with exact times. The package suggests 10seconds for all, but I havent tried that yet either. I find the third infusion of my current parameters to be a bit more flat (lacking in complexity of flavor) than the others. Then the flavor comes back. Here is a picture of the first three infusions. The light in the room wasn’t perfect to show the difference between the second two, but oh well :)
I had never heard of Guayusa before I saw it on the Butiki site. I bought some out of curiosity and also hoping my husband might replace a few cups of coffee with it once in a while. This morning, I brewed it for the third time since I received it, while getting ready for class. I was short on sleep and had a quiz to look forward to, so I thought it would be a good choice. I also had it last week just before bedtime. It didn’t give me any lucid dreams as the rumors go, but it also didn’t keep me awake (it’s like magic!).
It brews up very dark, possibly green, but it looks black in my cup. The flavor is pleasant. It almost tastes like a good evening drink, being smooth, not bitter or astringent, a bit fruity. But the caffeine must have helped because I did not fall asleep in class ^^
I’m totally loving this oolong. Very generous free sample when I bought a teapot from Enjoying Tea. It smells vegetal in the bag, but very roasty after brewing. I don’t like a strong roasted flavor (not a fan of dark-roast oolong or genmaicha), but the flavor of this is wonderful. It’s sweet and mildly roasty (I do like a pinch of roastiness).
Just got home from my advising appointment for next semester. Going to be taking Three German classes (taught in German) and one English class (taught in English, of course ^^). Its going to be a really busy Fall semester.
Brewed up some Watermelon Xylophone. Waiting for it to cool a bit, as recommended, for better flavor (we’ll see). I haven’t yet added sugar to my teas and I don’t have any right now anyway. I did try honey once, and that did not turn out well for me. I had a mouth full of pure toasty liquid honey on my last sip of the tea.
Well, I think its cooled down enough now. First impressions: smells faintly sweet, mildly of watermelon. I like that it doesn’t smell too strong to be overbearing or artificial. The first taste I can detect is the watermelon, immediately followed by the familiar flavor of white tea (I love white tea). It’s a weird sensation like putting the tip of my tongue on a sweet watermelon, but what actually passes over my tongue is white tea. I actually like this one a lot better than the Cantaloup cream, although I was thinking I might not as I prefer my watermelons to be cold too (^.^) I put off trying this one for a while because of the cantaloupe one. It might have been the cream flavor of the latter that really put me off, I don’t know for sure. I had another tea that seemed to have a creamy texture, but not with a fruit flavor and I liked it. Still havent tried enough teas and flavor combinations to decide what part of a blend I like or don’t like.
The cooler this tea gets, the sweeter it seems to become. I bet this would be a good iced brew too. Even though I don’t like cold drinks as much, I’m a lot more motivated to try brewing this one cold than I was for the cantaloup.
This was a free sample with my Butiki order, I might just have to order some more :p
ETA: I did end up ordering some more, mostly so I could share it with my parents (neither of them liked it). It doesn’t taste better iced IMO (but I am biased to hot tea, so take that as you will).