1352 Tasting Notes
I want to apologise for being inactive. A lot has been going on recently. I had my driving test and study before hand, of which I failed and have had to re-book. That was very upsetting, the nerves got the better of me and I made stupid mistakes. So this left me feeling down, as did the fact that if I want a car I need to find a job and save up for one. My husbands money is covering everything else but we can’t get a car as well, so for the last month or so I’ve been job hunting. After starting at one place and fainting on my first day, there has been no other progress. I was messed around a few times with training and supposing to start work but at the last minute they let me down. So needless to say everything has left me feeling about an inch small and my depression got the better of me. Hence no blog writing, no SS posts, no Steepster posts and so on. It’s been difficult and I’m just back on the road to recovery. This really is a long story put simply into a small paragraph, please know it was not my idea to leave the wonderful tea community for the time being but was rather something I needed to do. I was away from most online communities but continued to cross stitch as a sort of therapy, stitching away my problems.
Anyway that is enough of that, I’m not back to bloody depress people! So today I’m drinking this English Toffee Matcha which was with my last RLT order. I tried it originally in normal flavour but thought I would order distinct, to really see what the difference was. It actually does make a substantial difference, this one is creamier and more toffee flavoured though it does still have some of it’s Matcha flavour characteristics. In the background especially; for example it starts off creamy, sweet and toffee but turns stronger and slightly bitter with mild grass tones. Despite that it leaves a very creamy after taste in my mouth, making it seem that the Matcha qualities were just a figment of my imagination…until I take another sip and taste them again.
This truly is delightful and I’m glad I went for distinctive. It was worth the extra money for it :D And this still tastes like English Toffee so I’m happy on all levels.
I will be working on articles hopefully this weekend, if not the start of next week. I have 2300 Magic The Gathering cards coming tomorrow so I will be busy sorting them out before I go down on Sunday to play with people. So please forgive me for that additional delay, but believe that I am back and plan on staying. It’s time to stop letting my depression get the best of me.
This was with my last Yunomi order and I added them purely because they were on sale. Plus I have been trying a few tea bags from Nakazen recently and this is another to add to the collection.
These teabags are each individually sealed in a silver foil pack for added freshness. The outer packaging can also be re-sealed.
Opening the foil pack I am met with a large polystyrene teabag with a white appearance and a tag attached to string. I cannot see any dust/fannings in the silver foil pack or my hand as I handle the bag. Though white I can see dark leaves filling roughly 1/4 of the space. They are small pieces of leaf. As I sniff the bag it is subtle with some wooden tones and a hint of dryness.
Steep one tea bag for 1 minutes with 100C water. (As seen on the pack)
While it steeps I don’t believe I’ve heard of Tsubaki tea before. A Google search says that it’s also known as: “camellia japonica (a relative of camellia sinensis or tea)”.
The Yunomi website also offers some information on this.
Well once steeped the colour is golden brown (like a dark honey) and it bares a bitter, earthy, wooden and smoky tea. It smells like Pu Erh! I was seriously not expecting that. Just like a Ripe Pu Erh.
Flavour is milder than the scent though still somewhat similar to Pu Erh. It’s medium strength with damp earth, dry wood and a soft smoke after taste. There is also some sweetness to it though mild compared to the earthiness. The dryness increases and coats my tongue over time.
Half way down the mug at this point and I keep having to tell myself it’s not a Pu Erh. Still despite the fact of something it isn’t I like what it actually is. It’s not as ‘offensive’ as Pu Erh can be at times but you have the characteristics of it, plus it has a calming effect. I’m losing train of thought as I carry on typing.
In terms of this being bagged I would not have guessed had I not seen it with my own eyes. It made for ‘unusual’ drinking but I’m still happy I picked this one up.
In raw form the Oolong consist of average size pieces with a beautiful dark and light green colour contrast to them. Also some brown is present and the stems on some appear long.
They have a subtle but sweet and floral scent with a milk after scent.
Leaf – 5g
Gongfu Teapot – 125ml
Water – 85C
Time: 3 minutes and increase accordingly.
First Steep – 3 minutes
Once steeped the colour is light yellow with a soft, floral scent.
Flavour is very soft but bares soft, sweet floral tones. I liken it to gardenia and lily, with a touch of cream in the after taste.
Second Steep – 3 minutes 30 seconds
Still a soft steep but the gardenia is becoming crisp with grass notes. The milk covers my tongue like silk as it slips down. With some sweetness that lingers in the after taste, also with a touch of dryness.
Third Steep – 4 minutes
Still sweet and floral though the milk is toning down to a more buttery affair. Also dryness remains minimal in the after taste though it lingers softly on my tongue.
Fourth Steep – 5 minutes
Buttery flowers with a hint of grass and fresh sweet hay. So soft and delicate in strength and tone, but pure tasting.
Sixth Steep – 6 minutes
Very subtle at this point with very little left. A touch of sweet flowers is all that really remains.
Overall: This was a soft and delicate Oolong with floral and milk notes that developed into butter and grass. Pure and natural tasting with no bitterness and only very minimal dryness. An Oolong that uses very little leaf but gives beautiful flavours despite the soft strength. Note – The after steep picture of the leaf was all one part that was connected at the stem. It is one of the largest full ‘one’ pieces I have found in an Oolong after steep.
For pictures and more information please view my blog. http://www.kittylovestea.co.uk/2015/08/19/an-introduction-to-beautiful-taiwan-tea-company-with-paul-adamson-interview/
The raw leaves are long, thinly rolled and with some curl. From what I can tell they look full leaf for the most part, I can tell easier after steep once they open. Colour is deep, dark green. Scent is sweet with hints of butter and grass and honeysuckle floral finish.
Leaf – 7g
Gaiwan – 100ml
Water – 85C
Time: 3 minutes 30 seconds and increase of 1 minute each steep after that.
(Note) Why the long steep for a gaiwan? Don’t forget these leaves are big and full so they will take longer to steep in general.
First Steep – 3 minutes 30 seconds
The colour is yellow with a grass, butter and fresh spinach scent.
Despite the long steep the flavour is subtle, even compared to it’s mineral scent. It’s soft and delicate with a hint of butter, grass and flowers (sweetpea). Refreshing due to it’s subtleness though a hint of dryness in the after taste. Further sips reveal some mineral flavours albeit soft, spinach and kale springing to mind.
Second Steep – 4 minutes 30 seconds
Still delicate but an increase of butter and spinach notes. Very clean tasting. No astringency. After taste is of sweetcorn with some dryness though not increased from the first steep ie minimal drynes still.
Third Steep – 5 minutes 30 seconds
At this point it’s starting to become even softer which alleviates the grass flavour. An increase of the dryness is noticeable in the after taste. Still beautifully buttery and the fresh spinach is still poignant.
Fourth Steep – 6 minutes
So much butter and spinach is left in this steep, though it’s short lived and does not linger for long in the after taste.
Fifth Steep – 7 minutes
My last steep. All that really remains is butter and spinach but there has still been no harshness/astringency throughout to speak of. The dryness slowly increased but it still at a reasonable level.
Overall: This was delicate in strength but it’s pure, clean flavours had a beautiful eloquence that made it delicious and special. It’s freshness and quality was wonderful and I will be honest to say it exceeded my expectations. Perhaps the nicest BaoZhong I have had the pleasure of tasting. Note the after steep pictures, they show whole leaf (mostly) and with no imperfections.
For pictures and more information please view my blog. http://www.kittylovestea.co.uk/2015/08/19/an-introduction-to-beautiful-taiwan-tea-company-with-paul-adamson-interview/
Recently I received an order from Yunomi of which they were kind to include this tisane as a free gift. While admittedly hibiscus is not something I would usually order it is nice to try something different. Plus I feel tisanes are something I should drink more of, going caffeine free every now and then sounds like a good idea.
They do offer this as two versions on their website: loose leaf and teabag. This is the teabag version.
The bags are a good quality thin polystyrene (very typical Japanese tea bag design). They are white and a little bit see through with 1/5 filled with small, chopped petals. As I sniff the bag I am met with a dry, sweet, tangy and herbal scent. Very hibiscus strong and herbal but also not overly thick.
Steeping: Popping one bag into boiling water for three minutes.
Colour is deep, deep red. Scent is floral, sweet yet sour and overall rather soft.
Flavour is stronger than the smell though it’s not as thick as I expected (or feared). The hibiscus is sweet with sour after tones and a touch of dryness, this leads to a herbal after taste. The sourness is actually rather minimal considering, likening this to sherbet. ie. More sweet than sour.
Half way down my mug I’m finding this to remain consistent with the first sip. The dryness is not increasing and nor is the herbal tang that tisanes tend to have.
Overall I thought this was nice, more pleasant tasting than I had imagined being generally a non hibiscus fan. This was of fair quality and strength which complimented the hibiscus. A simple tisane but a nice companion on this warm night.
I’ve tried this twice and both times not according to instructions, quite frankly the recommended 1 tablespoon is too much in my opinion. The first one was half hot water (80C) and half milk, mixed well with 1 heaped teaspoon of matcha. I found this to be rather bitter after a while and while it was sweet at times it tasted too strong and not evenly balanced.
So I tried warm water (50C) with 1 level teaspoon of matcha and 4/5 water to 1/5 milk. This was almost perfect. The sweetness is enhanced with cream and sweet but lightly bitter grass. The sweetness is like honey, not too much but a nice level. Overall flavour is lighter but the matcha flavour is distinct and as it settles towards the bottom of my cup it becomes stronger with each sip. Plus I also found that it tastes lighter and stays foamier with most water in the mix.
Next time I may try a bit more matcha but it makes for a nice treat every now and then. I picked up a pound in their sale :D Should give me enough time to perfect the brew.
This was part of my recent Golden Tips order. In the morning (particularly on weekends) I share tea with my husband and he tends to favour strong black tea, perhaps from habit. So this was really bought for him, while I doubt he would use it without me I thought it was something we could enjoy together. So for this morning I did a large pot (around 1 litre) with lots of milk and sweetener to accompany with it. I don’t usually have him home on Saturday morning because of football but as we are going out later to another concert (same band as before) he is having to stay home. Though it must be said he is mourning the loss of Rowdy Roddy Piper so this tea is being enjoyed whilst watching numerous wrestling clips.
Loose leaf looked nice, large pieces and full with a smoky, wood and malt scent.
Steeped colour is dark red brown.
Flavour is strong and dry with wood, malt and cocoa notes. English breakfast is spot on, it tastes similar to Twinings EB but this is a little stronger and much cleaner/pure tasting. Slight touch of smoke in the after taste but the wood/malt combination remains thick and full in my mouth.
I took a sip without milk or sweetener and it was smooth enough to drink which was rather a pleasant surprise. Strong but not compensating on it’s smooth quality with unwanted harshness which I’ve experienced with other companies EB.
So frankly this is an English person saying that this is a fine English Breakfast tea, and one would hope I know what I’m talking about :D And when asking my husband for his opinion he added “Yeah it’s nice” which is something for him. So it looked like a winner all around. Happy I got 100g of this :D
Top rating – This received top marks as I could drink this all day/any day in terms of it being a standard black tea used for a ‘pick me up’. Compared to quality black tea this would not nearly be so high but for rating it out of every day black tea this does get top marks.
Quick notes for this one. (For the time being).
Raw leaf: Sweet wood and earth scent with mild smoke. Also some creaminess in the after scent. Pure and very nice overall.
Taste: Pretty mild actually, more than I anticipated from the smell. Even after a few steeps it’s very mild. I’m using roughly 5g in 125ml and thought it would be about the right strength for me. It’s slightly sweet and creamy with some dryness.
Since this wasn’t working for me I decided to long steep it. So on my fourth steep I went straight for 1 minute 30 seconds rather than the 10-15 seconds previously. This worked much better, now it’s thick with some bitterness but the sweet and creamy tones are still present and linger nicely in the after taste with a hint of smoke. Much better than before, though the bitterness was a tad strong and is taking some getting used to.
Since it went from one to another extreme (very light to very bitter) I will not rate it this time. I still have enough left to experiment with but so far I’m not impressed. I have a feeling this one just isn’t for me, I like a strong and creamy Sheng with minimal bitterness and dryness. Oh well, worst case I can always western steep this to use it up.
My Golden Tips order arrived this morning with this tea being amongst them, something I purchased 100g of after craving Assam. Usually when I eat Indian food (which is a few times a week) I like to follow it with a pot of tea, unfortunately my supply ran dry of everything but Darjeeling. So during the promotion of spend $75 and save $25 I thought it was too good to pass up. From those I ordered this is the first I am tasting, it called to me in particular today.
Again this is quick notes as my back is still bad and I’m not in the right frame of mind to write a full review.
The leaves were thin, long, a bit squiggly and very wooden smelling with a hint of sweetness.
Steeping in my new teapot (red clay measuring 125ml) with approx 1tsp/3-4g leaf.
Flavour is malty but not as thick as you would think. Dominantly sweet wood with soft dark fruit tones (date and mature plum) before the malt and dryness kick in during the after taste. Some musk/smoke in the after taste which leaves a thick and full flavour in my mouth.
I liked this tea quite a bit, the flavour had authentic Assam tones I had expected but was also more delicate and pure tasting than I had anticipated. This had no bitterness and was not overly rich as some Assam can be, perhaps helped by the rather large leaves. Glad I got 100g of this rather than a sample as my husband would probably like this too.
In other news it looks like I’m too ill still to attend tomorrows concert, which with the hotel booked has cost us £80 and now shall go to waste. Money isn’t everything though and we agreed to spend the day together regardless. We also have tickets for Saturday so with some luck I will be able to make that one.
Let me start by apologising for the lack of posts over the last few days (as well as the upcoming week or so). Unfortunately I have a herniated disc in my lower back and my physical ability to move has been severely altered, so much so that every now and then I can make it a few feet to fetch something. Otherwise I am hunched over/tilted in pain just trying to get comfortable. It was my fault but an accident all the same. On Saturday I was asked to fetch some cat litter as the new kitten Ollie (Oliver) has meant we used up our stash pretty quickly. The shop is only a 2-3 minute walk away so I thought it wouldn’t be a problem, well it seems 3 bags of litter was too much and my back went crunch. An hour or so after that while I was resting at home someone came to claim Oliver, they said they had been looking for him and were told we had him. Heartbroken and in pain I had no choice but to take him over and meet them. They were to put it frankly, stupid, and had no idea how to look after him. They claimed he was a girl (which he obviously isn’t if they bothered to look at his ‘berries’) and that he must have jumped out of the bedroom window and escaped. After some arguing and me lecturing them I left him with them, hoping he would be fine. The short walk home in agony from my back and tears down my face ruined my make up and I ended up looking like The Joker, but didn’t care.
An hour passed by and me and my husband shed tears for a boy kitten we wish we got to know better but really hoped he would be fine in his original home. Then there was a knock on the door, I asked Richard to answer as I was pretty much sofa ridden and unable to move at this point…plus my Joker makeup. He was talking and I saw him take something from whomever knocked, at this point I decided to try and stand up and see what is going on. It was Oliver and his owners, they said that they named him Nelson and that they hadn’t bonded with him and really she didn’t want a boy cat. They also said it seemed like we bonded with him (too right, had him for 5 days and the first day he kissed me and slept in my arms) and asked if we wanted to keep him. I cannot describe the joy I felt to have him back, I thought I would never see him again. So Oliver is lost no more, he is officially home and part of the family. As much as Richard said he wasn’t having any more cats he was as upset as me to see him go, such a softy at heart really but he would never admit it. Even though I’ve done my back in and may have to miss a concert I was going to on Thursday (and had a hotel room booked as it’s not local) I am still happy with how everything worked out, it’s all worth it just to have him back with us for good. I will question what went on in that hour he was with the original owners since they seemed adamant they wanted him back, but either way I am just over the moon he is mine again.
Long story I know but pretty much that is where I have been and why I’ve been absent. Even writing this is painful as I’m not in a comfortable position but unable to move, but I am determined to do it.
Why write this on this tasting note? Well I’m actually drinking this and have been for a couple of days now. I decided to try it cold steeped so left it in my cold steep wine bottle gadget for a couple of days until it became a cloudy yellow and looked fairly thick in flavour. (Forgot where I was due to large back spasm and cramp). Oh yes I waited for the thickness as I like strong iced tea if it’s green based.
It worked a charm as flavour is thick, grassy and sweet but with a refreshing clean finish and floral aftertaste with only a touch of dryness. Not as thick as if it were to be brewed hot but enough flavour to tell what type of green tea it is. Plus since it’s been a few days I finished one bottle last night and re-steeped the leaves overnight. Again the strength is pleasing and it was well worth the re-steep. Plus honestly at the moment it’s easy for me to grab the bottle in the morning with a glass and sit down so I can help myself throughout the day. It wont be ice cold but it’s nice luke warm too.
So this was a story that started off badly but really turned out for the best, injury and all. Nothing is more important to me than my kitty babies, that goes for all five of them. :)