342 Tasting Notes
I wanted to write and thank you so much for the cinnamon swirl tea you sent me!
I woke up this morning with (and I’ll be honest) a certain amount of dread in my heart. I knew that today I was going to be stuck dealing with provincial government red tape and that it would probably take hours. Before I even got started I put the kettle on. ‘cinnamon swirl’ I determined as soon I perused the tea stash you sent me. It was the sample I most coveted as we wrote back and forth determining what we would send to one another.
My electric kettle clicked off and I opened the little bag of cinnamon swirl. Long fibers all stuck together reminding me of the tasty goo on top of a cinnamon knot… a vague scent of cinnamon, but not the heavy smell I had been expecting. Well, if there’s anything I’ve learned on this journey it’s not to judge a tea before it’s steeped.
At this point I will confide in you something that I hope you find most complimentary: I followed your written instructions! You always hear about different personality types: A, B, etc. people have always told me that I’m an SC which stands for Serial Contrarian. It’s never my intention to be contrary, and so far as I know I’m not a jerk, I just tend to do things my own way! That said with such a precious sample, did I really want to waste it by serial contrarianing it away? (I just couldn’t risk it especially seeing as I have read frustrations about not tasting what was expected by other steepers). so, 1 tablespoon for 6 ounces of water for 1.5 minutes of steep time…. Really? I thought to myself. Because I am famous for my long deliberate steeps as well as getting distracted and inadvertently making them even longer. Oh well…… instruction following. Yup yup!
The water changed colour and became rust hued, the vapour billowing out of my cup took on a cinnamon slant. I smelled a bakery! Just a second, afk… must take another sip. I’m back. The most remarkable thing happened when I removed my tea ball: mass amounts of red poured out of it! it reminded me of the huge red algae blooms you see in the ocean from space. It just kept pouring out and filling my mug. Wow!
Now, I know the purists would frown, but I added my standard bit of cream and sugar, it is MY cup of tea after all and for reasons that are old and complicated to explain those add ins give me comfort. (and who doesn’t need a bit of extra comfort when dealing with the government all day???)
The verdict: I am drinking cinnamon swirl bread. Cavocorax your instructions were magic! As I near the bottom of my cup there is cinnamon piled there. No floral notes or undertones aside from the warm taste of cinnamon bread. Interesting though because the flavour is warm even as my tea is cooling. This is lovely. Thank you for such a tasty respite from phone calls… and the directions so that I achieved the desired result!
thanks so much to cavocorax for this awesome sample!
in retrospect i think my standard practice of oversteeping may have bitten me a bit because this tea is everything it declares itself to be (ie: i have heartburn and it’s my own fault! lol)
this is a difficult tea to describe: heavy, a thick taste without being viscous or sticking to the tongue, the malt is very detectable as is the chocolate. there are also notes of molasses and is very reminiscent of chocolate stout.
no floral notes, but as i previously mentioned, i did steep for 6 minutes (or so) so it might be that i overpowered them, lol. surprisingly smooth, though at this length of steep a wee bit astringent (again reminiscent of stout!).
if you like artisan ales and are up for a creatively contributed tea, then i’m sure you’ll be satisfied with this one! i especially enjoyed playing up the sweetness with a bit of sugar and adding a drop of cream.
if i had to ascribe this tea an image it would be this: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/black-purple-calla-lilies—1—macro-flowers-fine-art-photography-artecco-fine-art-photography—photograph-by-nadja-drieling.html …this tea unfurls, draws attention, is unusual. you won’t forget it soon, nor should you.
dark chocolate overtones, but no sweetness. molasses. very low acidity. this is a heavy tea that moves and changes in the space between sipping and swallowing.
it metamorphoses in the second steep. it becomes mineral heavy. it has an odd (but not unpleasant) refractive granular quality, but is somehow still smooth.
this elegant tea has been driving me bananas all day. multiple cups, multiple steepings and the same disconcerting echo: i know this taste, i’ve had it before, what on earth is it??? i have spent my sips narrowing it down.
the sweet fresh taste from pea shoots, the hollow starchy taste from corn milk when you’re husking it, the woody husks you sometimes find on ripe blackberries. to my palate no part of this is connected to a green, black or puerh tea. i have never had a tea remotely like this. there are no floral notes, only fresh, sweet light tones that echo around and around ‘you know me, what’s my name?’
this excellent tea has had me doing circles today! i even gave up one of my precious sample buds to chew on so i could whittle down the taste contributers.
beautiful clear, lovely with cream…. drat i’ve run out…. must look into buying more….
thank you scribbles for this very unusual tea! okay, i will start by saying that i do like this tea. why say it that way? because i am on the cusp of laughter and i needed to have my enjoyment of the blend stated first, before i have a snicker.
i opened the bag and i smelled neo citron. yup. reading the history behind the blend’s design i wondered if david had a cold or at least a bit of sinus congestion while he was in L.A. i tried to remember whether i had liked neo citron but failed because it always used to knock me out.
being the super steeper that i am i gave it my normal 6 minutes, figured that cream would just give me a mug full of feta but did stir in a bit of sugar. i wafted the vapor towards my nose, a st. bernard named neo making it’s way towards me through the steam. i burst out laughing and took a sip. neo citron! but also not.
much smoother, has a hefty dose of caffeine…and you know what? seriously, the next time i’m miserable with a cold i will brew this up, add honey as opposed to sugar (and maybe some rum) and make this as a toddy! it won’t be an everyday for me, the affiliation with cold medicine is just too old, but it will make an awesome substitute for the junk i’ve taken in the past when i’m sick! (that’s a pretty big compliment).
this is a complicated tea, while also being simply striking.
it’s a laoshan black, no big deal…. or so one could mistake by the oversimplified name. this is not a simple anything.
long dark strands that seem innocuous until water was added. dry it smelled like leaves, steeped they became darker and deeper in smell and appearance.
the thing i am discovering about verdant teas is their quiet brilliance. this tea has a heavy dark chocolate-like tone. it’s not from an additive… but from incredible technique.
beautiful clear and untouched, hot, cold or creamed and sugared. my compliments to you verdant teas.
this tea evolves with distinct changes from bag opening to sipping.
-when i opened the bag i smelled roasted coconut with some oolong in the background.
-once the water was added the evolution began, but not in a way i would have predicted: the colour didn’t deepen much but took on a milky hue AND the smell went from a fierce coconut to a lesser coconut with undefinable florals.
-a 6 minute steep because i like a robust tea and this one stayed quite pale.
-cream and sugar because it is the common way i take all but greens.
-on the tongue: i taste coconut and a VERY light oolong, no bitterness, with a refined floral smell at the same time.
-the sip is smooth, as is the caffeine (as opposed to sticky on the tongue).
nicely done tao tea leaf! and a thank you to scribbles for sharing this little gem!
generally i consider andrews and dunham a staple: their tiger assam, their double knit— this is a company that has studied tea and knows what they’re doing.
i completely understand why this one was named ‘caravan’. i can taste the bonfire smoke and hear the nomads dancing about the flames. if you like a smoke heavy blend that is also smooth then i predict you will bond well with this tea. for my part it was a bit too much smoke, even with cream added. it was, however, very smooth.
thank you to scibbles for this tasting experience!
scribbles, you are a hero among everyday folk!
this tea is the classy little black dress that every woman has in her wardrobe, but with a twist: along with this elegant slip the accessory is not pearls or gold, but a cuban cigar. oh yes!
this is a simple black tea. almost purist but for the sweet, smoky taste of organic tobacco leaf. perfectly matched, beautifully balanced. it is not even remotely subtle with its caffeine punch, but it is very smooth.
thank you so much scribbles for sharing! i will meter this out and buy more when i’m done.
….. i wonder sometimes with the amount of tea i consume how it is that i sleep at all, lol.