495 Tasting Notes
We had a spring snow storm. Not as “stormy” as they said it would be, but it was awful cold and we got a few inches of snow.
It was a long day on campus and I was looking forward to coming home to a cup of tea during most of it. I brewed up another from my order of Della Terra samples. I’m going to have to get some plain Rooibos so that I can tell what part of the flavor it is.
My first Rooibos was a vanilla blend and it was super nasty. Now, when I smell the vanilla in this and in the Winter Nog that I tried already, I almost don’t want to drink it. But this one is alright. The vanilla is more on the nose and mint in the flavor. It’s a descent cup on a cold day, but I think I prefer black tea for my minty blends.
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
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 ^^