4665 Tasting Notes
Backlog: Yesterday morning, my hubby took me and my daughter and her best friend out for breakfast and the place we visited had a selection of Stash Teas. I didn’t really have high hopes for them at first when I asked them what kind of tea they had, and they could only name one of them (Earl Grey) and I asked them what brand it was and she answered “I have no idea, I’ve never really noticed the brand.” Then my hubby groaned and said “Tea snob” in a not so hushed tone. But at least it wasn’t Lipton Earl Grey, so that was a step in the right direction.
This isn’t a bad Earl Grey (for a bad Earl Grey, try the aforementioned Lipton’s) but it isn’t great either. It kind of makes me sad in a way, because this was one of Steven Smith’s first tea companies, but, of course, they could have changed much since he left. I just had higher hopes for the tea than what it was able to deliver, but it wasn’t terrible. The black tea flavor was pleasant enough although it wasn’t particularly a strong or bold black base, and the bergamot was at a moderate level – I could taste the bergamot, but, it wasn’t the best bergamot I ever tasted, either. I’d rate this as average.
Oh dear. This is … bad. I don’t know if my taste buds are off or something. Or if I just got a really bad batch. Or what. But … this tastes of perfume-y soap. I know it’s not the chawan or the chasen because I only rinse my chasen using the left over hot water from my teapot that I heated up for the Matcha, and I know it’s not the chawan because I rinsed it not only after cleaning but I rinse it in hot water before I use it to warm it up a bit before I make the Matcha.
This is bad. I can’t even try to ascertain what else I taste because my taste buds can’t get past the powerful chemical taste here. It tastes really bad. I’m really disappointed, and I’m not going to rate it, because I don’t know if the fault is mine, or if it’s with the Matcha… I will try it again another time … just not again tonight. I hope it is a case of taste buds being off and not the Matcha.
This is my first cup today. Earlier, I just wasn’t feeling very good so I went back to bed and slept a couple of hours and I feel much better now. I am one of those people that if they don’t get the required amount of sleep, I start feeling really sick with Flu-like symptoms. Achy, cold-sweats, and feeling nauseous… and that’s just exactly how I felt this morning. I hope my body gets accustomed soon to the change of sleep patterns due to school starting up again.
Anyway, on to tea! It’s been a while (at least a week!) since I’ve had a really good Assam, so when this sample arrived today from Zen Tea I jumped all over it, deciding this would be the tea to start my day.
And it’s AWESOME! Deliciously rich. Sweet with caramel-like undertones. Delicious malt notes and an amazing creaminess to it. One of the nicest Assam teas I have ever had. It isn’t bitter, but then, I did take precautions to avoid it by steeping it in 200°F water instead of a full boil and steeping for just 2 minutes in my Breville One-Touch. This rendered the perfect cup of tea. LOVE this!
Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me a bit of this Oolong. It’s really nice.
Yesterday’s Oolong was also a Shui Xian and that was purely by coincidence. I did not even realize that this was a Shui Xian until I started to put it in my gaiwan. Sure, the label said Shui Xian but what I was really focusing on was the “Oolong” part.
And as I’m tasting this, I do note similarities between this and the tea that I had last evening. They possess similar honey-esque tones and fruit notes, as well as roasty, charcoal-ish, nutty flavors. I notice a little less creaminess with this cup than I remember from last night, but that would be the only real notable difference. Then again, I’m not drinking them side-by-side so I can’t do a very accurate comparison … this is all based on my memory of the tea that I had last night (although I will say that it WAS a memorable tea) versus what I’m sipping right now.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed both teas.
Arbor Tea is one of my favorite companies if for no other reason than the fact that they are very dedicated to preserving the environment and that is important to me. But on top of that, they also provide excellent quality, fair-trade, organic teas.
Today’s bowl of Matcha is a combination of caramel Matcha and Hazelnut Matcha, both from Red Leaf Tea. I combined these at a 1:1 ratio, whisked with hot water, and then added a tiny splash of half & half just to up the creaminess a bit. And after I put the half & half back into it’s spot in the fridge I realized that I still had some Holy Kakow! Sauce still left in there… so I added a drizzle of that in the bowl too. Now, I have a Caramel-y, Hazelnut-y, creamy, chocolate-y drink that is absolutely amazing. It tastes a bit like a Hazelnut Turtle. YUM!
Mmmm! Cupcakes are one of my very favorite treats … probably only second to creme brulee. However, as I don’t own a blowtorch (and my husband seems very hesitant to get me one) nor do I have much patience for making custard, cupcakes are a more frequently enjoyed treat around here because they’re fun to bake, and I don’t require a blowtorch to apply the finishing touches on a cupcake.
This really does taste a whole lot like a strawberry chocolate cupcake. The strawberry comes through at the start, tasting fresh and authentic and sweet with just a hint of tartness that comes through at the finish, and lingering on into the aftertaste. After the first couple of sips, the chocolate begins to emerge and after a few more sips, the chocolate is just as strong as the strawberry. I even taste a creaminess to this (frosting!) and a bake-y, cake-y kind of taste.
So very yummy, this is a great way to enjoy the goodness of cupcakes for breakfast without the guilt of eating an actual cupcake.
Wow! OK… so this is AWESOME!
Normally, when I brew a pu-erh, I’m kind of … hesitant. I’m usually hesitant to even brew it. And after it’s brewed, I’m hesitant to taste it. I’m getting much better, because I’ve found so many wonderful pu-erh teas that I’ve not only enjoyed but even loved. But, those first few experiences when all I tasted was dirt and fish and just… yeah… all that still comes back to me when I smell that earthiness of the pu-erh.
Here, I do smell the pu-erh, so, yeah, I was hesitant… until I took that tentative first sip. and WOW! This tastes nothing at all like those first few experiences with pu-erh way back when. There is some earthiness to the flavor, but it sort of melds with the other flavors in such a way that it is not in the least bit off-putting.
What I’m trying to say here is that if you’ve tried pu-erh and did not like it because of the earthy/peaty/fishy kind of taste … TRY THIS. You’ll be amazed!
I taste a full-flavored tea, with notes of sweet cherry, warm cinnamon and clove, hints of soft vanilla, and even the faintest note of cocoa in the distance. This is where that earthiness sort of melds … into the cocoa, tasting more like a deep, rich chocolate note than anything. Amazing. So VERY amazing, at that.
I have been SO impressed with everything that I’ve tried thus far from Vintage TeaWorks. I LOVE this company!
I hot-brewed this and let it cool instead of cold-brewing it. I’m still not particularly keen on cold-brewing loose leaf because of the messiness factor. One of these days I’ll get over that. But for now, I’ll enjoy this hot-brewed!
And it is quite nice. I took a few sips of it while it was still hot, just to see what it was like, and I enjoyed it hot too, but, I do think this tea really excels as an iced tea. Hot, it tastes a bit like something you’d want to drink if you’re feeling under the weather … the spices are warming and soothing, and the citrus brightens the cup.
But as an iced tea … the flavors just come together in a totally different way. The spices taste … savory! This is not at all what I expected from this tea … when I read “spice tea” I think CHAI. But this is not a chai! The spices come together in a deliciously savory way which is so refreshing and unique for the palate that expects a sweet-spicy-hot flavor from a spiced tea.
I think I’m going to try this in my Steep & Go and see how it fairs… I’m really liking this!
What a delightful Oolong!
The first two infusions start out so soft, very light… but do not remain light for long. Within a moment the flavor of vanilla blankets the palate like sweet, vanilla bean infused heavy cream. After the flavor of cream subsides a bit, I start to notice a smoky/roasty/toasty kind of flavor in the distance, honey-esque sweetness (somewhere between honey and pollen!) and a fruit flavor. The description from Verdant suggests mango, but, I find it to be more apricot than mango… perhaps a melding of these two fruits.
In the second two infusions, the apricot emerges. The smoky notes become more of a nutty flavor, still quite toasty but less charcoal-y now. The tea has lost the creaminess in texture, it is more mineral-y, but, the vanilla tones remain. A cinnamon note also comes through and I find the combination of the cinnamon taste and the mineral-like texture to be very compelling.
With my third and final cup (fifth and sixth infusions), I find that the flavors have become more unified, softer … but still very complex. The sweet honey-esque tones of the first cup have become more of a caramel tone … perhaps because the flavor of honey and smoke have melded together? It tastes sweet, fruity, and smooth. Less mineral-y now, it is more like a thin brothy texture, very soft and smooth as it glides over the palate.