377 Tasting Notes
hmm. so two steeps so far. the first one i made a hash of (operator error) because i had green onions with dinner and failed to anticipate that the delicate nature of the tea afterwards would resonate as orange hued scallions. with milk. ew. i brushed, i gargled, i waited and tried again… but i’m still not managing to recreate the smell from the dry blend into a liquid equivalent.
i will suspend numerical evaluation until i can actually accomplish a detectable result. i’m getting a hint of orange and a hint of cinnamon, but nothing remotely strong enough to be considered a christmas pudding. second time round i even over leafed, over steeped and used less water! let me know if you have any suggestions…
UPDATE: okay, three strikes and i’m out. i have been having a bad tea day and even with stacy’s guidance i am not convincing this tea to do what it’s supposed to. it doesn’t like me. obviously. however i have a very keen tea buddy who wants to take a shot at it. SCRIBBLES….YOU’RE UP!
For the most part I consider myself a perennial optimist, and I make that statement less out of ego and more out of intent: there’s always a silver lining, even if the silver lining is having learned something so you don’t do whatever it is again. However, we all have our moments and right now is one of mine.
The bonus though is this— in telling you that my day is grim on this website (while brewing tea) it means that it’s not just a standard pity party, it becomes a pity TEA party! My tea is steeped and prepped in the most comforting manner that I know (part of a Chinese sugar cake and cream) and I am sufficiently bolstered to tell you why I am underwhelmed by today.
I fell at work halfway through April. We thought it was a scaffoid fracture (the bone that allows you to have an opposable thumb) but instead it is nerve damage stemming from the rotator cuff. I also have a nervous system disease. I have been casted or splinted since April 13th. Not the end of the world, but at least with a fracture you have an idea of when you’ll be getting out the constrictions! (I have no clue and neither does anybody else). The important part of my right hand has very little strength or is frozen. The whole thing has been a gong show. (insertion of strong opinion at this point): ANYBODY WHO TELLS YOU THAT WCB IS YOUR FRIEND HAS NEVER DEALT WITH THEM.
My employer made 48 BILLION dollars profit in Canada alone last year. I fell over aging SAFETY equipment. An ergonomic mat that was reported to management more times than I can count. Hell, a mat that TRIPPED management more times than I can count. Right off the bat they suggested it was my fault because of my disease… uh, no. The more I spoke with my managers the more it sounded like I was going to lose my job… not a sad thing in terms of job fantasticness, but not good in terms of financial stability for my family. I expressed my concern. Verbatim my manager replied ‘you don’t lose your job over something like this, you just don’t get any hours.’ (I should explain that for the sake of reader relief I am keeping things short…. Sad, really, that this is the short version.) and I have been on WCB ever since.
I get a fraction of my pay (which wasn’t much to begin with), but I think it’s the endless harassment that I find so exhausting. So I grabbed my brain, did some soul searching and signed up to go to school in September. In the meantime everyday is filled with physio, doctor’s appointments, nagging from WBC ‘are you better yet, because we don’t want to pay you’. Almost 3 months of this because a conglomerate employer doesn’t like to protect it’s employees. What prompted this rant you may be asking yourself. This isn’t new… why today? Because they have me going in for an MRI. Through a private firm. It’s one of 2. I do these routinely at the hospital…. Once, twice a year. No big deal. The only other time I’ve had one through a private company the tech screamed at me the whole time and actually listed her insults in her report!
I think it just comes down to: you can only push someone so far before you get a negative result. WCB doesn’t let up, the appointments don’t let up and I have had enough. I managed to botch my ‘with open eyes’ brew this morning by underleafing, when my American teas order arrived today I discovered that my samples arrived, but the one tea I really wanted ‘brioche’ had not (operator error). I resent it when outside stress impacts my tea!
I needed tea. I needed something comforting. There are so many teas I love, what to choose. Well, I suppose I was hoping for a new perspective on the day so I wagered a gamble on a tea I’ve never had before… who did I choose? In honour of the laughter I gained from my sample yesterday I chose ‘pancake breakfast’ by 52teas. And it worked. I won’t say the day is great, or relaxing, or that I have any faith in this imaging procedure, but this tea helped ME.
I love breakfast for dinner, I love pancakes. Frequently with too much butter and real maple syrup. The blend gave me buttery, syrup, the really light cake flavour. All the components were there, plus a caffeine settle down. The Chinese sugar added some extra richness, the cream is my standard….. thanks for reading my rant. We all have days where we are…. Other. This tea gave me comfort, familiarity with a favourite food and a moment away from all the nonsense. Thank you 52teas… and thank you CHAroma for sending me the sample.
I’m sure I’ll be back to myself once the MRI is over. Grrrr.
indeed! today has been a day of tea arrivals… a very exciting swap box from CHAroma, my butiki order and apparently i was zoned because i missed a delivery from american tea room! do i really need to spell out how smashed my good intentions, budgeting and good intentions are? (did i mention my good intentions?) well, i suppose we’re none of us perfect… and under duress to provide an excuse it would be credible that i am celebrating my student loan and september attendance to school…? okay,excuses excuses. i’m just badly behaved. i should sit and reflect over improving that failing while drinking tea.
back to the tea at hand! (in hand?) very strawberry when dry… lovely little balls of fresh smelling strawberry goodness that unfurl when i empty my kettle over them. i have a distracted moth moment and i dream up a potential art project comprised of a catamaran made from oolong, getting underway via the power of hot water… quick head shake…
i smell no fake flavours. i smell none of the oolongs i’ve had previously: spring, roasted, standard black. this is new. it reminds me of ice wine, with an almost winter, frosted grape scent/taste peeking out from behind the strawberry. very light, very fresh…. no grass, no smoke, no grainyness. the tea itself really does remind me of grape leaves (not just the fruit)… like the ones you find wrapped around rice in dolmathakia only sweeter…
this is the most hysterically ridiculous tea!! (in the very best way possible).
i have biases against bananas, nuts in baking and orange peel that has dug into the pith placed in tea… but unlike many i have nothing against jello. it was an awesome dessert when i was a kid… i remember being lectured as i tried to taste it while i was stirring.
‘no james, see the powder at the bottom? it isn’t dissolved yet.’ and later ‘no james, see? it’s still soup— it has to stay in the fridge longer. you know i can still see you, right? put it down!… … don’t make me count to three…’ (invariably i wound up in my room).
jello evolved into salad mixed with whipped cream when i was a teen, and later still jello shots… now we entertain our teenagers by stabbing vanilla cake with a fork and pouring jello over top, finishing it up by covering the whole chilled mess with cool whip (we encourage healthy eating in our house? lol).
this tea is all of those things, AND it makes me smile. it caught me offguard. i swear i’m eating jello, and my mother is back to lecturing me for sipping it out of a mug. it meets my flavoured tea requirement of still being able to taste tea within the inventive flavoured convection. the green tea is definitely there and perfectly balanced with the other ingredients there.
in conclusion: dammit, i’m going to have to review my profile and list this vendor in amongst my favourites (it seems i’m constantly editing)!!! very nicely done 52teas. and a ginormous thank you to CHAroma for the boxful of samples from this company.
my only sad note is that it’s a one hit wonder, or in other words the first steep is awesome, but the second it becomes a shadow of its former self. STILL! this is a win. can’t wait to try the rest.
oh. dear. robitussin was not meant to be a tea flavour!
the name casts a beautiful image… mt. fuji and sayuri (memoirs of a geisha) and the fact that when i was little i said i wanted to be japanese when i grew up (katanas! tea ceremonies! sashimi!) (okay, when i was a kid it was mostly the swords….) needless to say i am still an irish punk and not a japanese punk, but a tea named snow geisha? i love cherries, and i still had a coupon left over for any iced tea of my choice for a dollar… what better way to sample a prohibitively expensive tea than with a coupon than iced on a hot day?
i don’t know who invented cough syrup or robitussin in particular but if it was japan then i choose to live firmly in denial! i didn’t even have to the heart to say anything, because they are so nice and were so hopeful i would like this one after my allergic reaction last night. i just took a couple of sips and tried to make sure i was smiling not grimacing.
hee hee hee… although i enjoyed sowing a bit of dissent today. i have so much tea and i really think tea is meant for sharing, so i brought a bit of verdant tea with me. the looks on their faces as they sniffed, LOL!!!
i hope they enjoy it. and they are a lovely staff at mayfair… but i truly despise this tea (obviously through no fault of theirs).
in the interest of objectivity i gave the rest to my youngest son (without telling him anything about it) who has just started into loose leaf and often steals swigs out of my mugs if i don’t watch him and he was horrified! so it’s not just me.
i love figs, i love rose in tea… when i was at teavana today i was given a coupon for an iced tea… just one dollar. sure! it had been a long, errand filled day. i could do with a tea. and this was the one i chose.
something was wrong. and i said so. ‘i taste a cake type base (but not the yummy kind)’. the sales people were surprised and scurried to read the tin. ‘well, the figs are coated in rice flour so they hold their shape, but it’s only a little.’ well some things may be small in amount but large in effect!
the balance was off and i kept feeling as though i were eating a tart fruit stir fry over rice. i am heartbroken on behalf of the figs!
this is a first real failure on teavana’s behalf for me.
okay, it’s not verdant or butiki, but this tea surprised me! first, i never would have guessed it was an oolong. very sweet all on it’s own so my standard bit of sugar tipped it rather over the edge, lol.
the champagne part comes from champagne grapes, the rose is just the right strength and the strawberry is very light but still noticeable! although i didn’t i’m sure it would be fine with cream. it’s almost juice-like. very perfumed, but with a taste backing it.
very western in its style, but that not a bad thing. there’s even a bit of bubble that comes with it…. not bad!
UPDATE: and apparently it’s a good thing i have my receipt… i always figured it was the bubbles that made me feel like i was part blowfish… apparently not! apparently it’s the grapes. glad i didn’t eat too much at dinner or i wouldn’t fit my trousers!
a green oolong? and a roasted oolong in my verdant tea of the month package? it seems that lily and david like to start new loose leafers out with challenge and intrigue! i was just getting used to oolongs nevermind these lovely roasty things… or this very elegant green. (what a lovely week with verdant i’ve had!)
dry it smells very marine. almost to a point where i was uneasy… i was getting a strong seaweed vibe which is grand for sushi, but i am reluctant with tea. my concerns, however, were overblown. as soon as hot water was added to the complicated knots the scent became ‘other’.
i frequently find myself trying to define verdant phenomenon, lol. under the influence of heat and water there were still marine tones but it had become a more familiar aqueous reflection: i tasted bamboo! light, sweet, with an oolong curl which drew my attention more than any conventional green could.
no cream. a bit of simple syrup (which i find much less acid than stirring in straight granulated) and my tea was excellent! an excellent week indeed!
Golden fleece is an apt name… once I snipped my way into the bag I felt like Jason staring down surprised that I had fulfilled my quest by using such a simple tool. Long wavy leaves, some gold, some bronze. The leaves smell like a spice I don’t know, but feel like I should, light and sweet—not cinnamon, not clove, it’s not so offensive as those… though up until the opening of this bag I had liked both of them . How odd.
I scooped a spoonful into my tea basket… it left gold speckles behind against the stainless gleam. Proof of my golden victory or so I thought until I sipped. A crew of eighth century Argonauts heaved a cheer off a page of parchment. The normally quippy music theme in my head became infiltrated by high stringed arpeggios playing counterpoint to bass drums and brass chords. I was drinking a dramatis personae, a choir in perfoming an unblemished harmony in my mouth. Just as suddenly the ensemble vanished without a trace and I was left bereft. Had it all been imagined? I sipped again out of distress. FORTISSIMO! It came back. I swallowed. Pianissimo… it ebbed and left with a whisper as though it had never been there.
Indeed… it takes quite a tea to stow my humour, to play the part of a serious reviewer. And all it took was the prize from an ancient Greek myth.
Words: superlative, exceptional, unparalleled.
Personal Note: Lily and David, if I could give you 142/100 (because 42 is the meaning of life the universe and everything… just like this tea) then I would in a heartbeat. What a lovely experience on such an exciting day for me.