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41 Tasting Notes
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There is, for those of you who have more decorum than I and thus are unaware, such a thing as the “I Got New Tea Today” dance. It may not be pretty, but it does exist. I would know, I just did it. Then I got down to business and sorted out what tea to try first.
This tea sample was one of the ones I scored in a ‘bunch of awesomeness’ sale from Brenden. For the record, he is great to order from, even when you do it all wrong. :)
This is yoga disguised as tea. I love it. It feels brisk and cooling from the mint, and it certainly has a sharpness to the smell because of it, but it is the best mint blend I have ever tried. Both mint and jasmine are flavors (and smells for that matter) that I adore in theory but get very sick of most of the time in practice. Two steeps in, it is staying wonderful, and just as intriguing as the description. In fact, the smell now reminds me of a wild mint patch I accidentally crushed once… Ah, some memories are not fit for public consumption!
Ahem. The jasmine smoothes the mint in both smell and taste and allows the tea to be a conversation, not an assault. Neither the spearmint or the peppermint ever quite takes over, and there is just perfectly enough jasmine to have a floral grace to the scent and a very unassuming sweetness throughout the cup. This is what I wanted peppermint green tea to be when I first tried it as a kid, mixed with what jasmine tea just plain ol’ lies and pretends to be when it is trying to trick you into sipping perfume. Wow. This is an excellent blend.
I had completely forgotten about this tea until this morning. I bought this at Whole Foods on my way in to the office one morning many moons ago, before I knew what ‘puerh’ meant. Poor innocent me, at the time I just wanted a strong butt-kicking tea for my non-coffee morning. I still haven’t tried a real pu-erh, but a bag of this was enough one day to put me off and teach me that I know nothing about tea.
I still can’t stand the smell of this one, and it is a very …fragrant mug. FYI, for anyone who might be tempted by my sexy sexy review: it is a terrible idea to carry a mug around the office that smells like moldy old straw and a barn full of poo. I remember now why I hid this box of tea in the work cupboard instead of keeping it in my tea drawer in my desk. My co-workers hate me. I bet I could go home sick today with little to no explanation, though. (Trying not to torture myself with the thought that they probably think this smell is somehow coming from me!) With this one cup of tea I bet I could fertilize my whole garden. I keep eyeing the bottom of the mug to see if there’s a horse farting up at me. – Not sure yet, it’s still pretty dark in there.
That being said, I’m still drinking it. It tastes better than it smells. I am from Nebraska, and while this smells gawdawful, it tastes like the farm smells. Tobacco ash, old leather, dust, straw, black walnut. I want a scotch. Wow, I wonder if it’s possible to mix this tea and a really really peaty scotch, like a Laphroaig, in some sort of recipe? It’s the only thing I can think of that could possibly save it.
So, after all that… does anyone want some of this?
So, I had tried a few yerba mate blends before, and even got a surprise gourd, straw and pound of mate from some friends overseas a few years back. Admittedly at the time I was very politely ungrateful and all “My friends moved to Argentina and all I got was this nasty bitter dusty tea!” Though not out loud, of course. Turns out I just hated the type of mate. This stuff is much better.
This green mate is MUCH better than the dry dusty brown stuff I am used to. It has a bitterness still, but much more subdued, and it can stand on its own or particularly well with a bit of sweetener. I also tend to toss a bag of lipton lemongrass ginger tea in with this. Yeah, I said it. Trust me, (or better yet try it) – it’s good.
I’ve tried and tried but couldn’t enjoy the smoked stuff. Several of my friends developed a taste for it, but I suspect that has more to do with the buzz than the flavor. This has the same buzz but doesn’t taste like chewing a wet cigar out of an ashtray.
Seems like every time I try a tea I feel like I need to try it again. The rest of you can do great notes the first time. I will learn. Anywho, I will be trying this one again soon, but so far it is fabulous. I wanted a good black breakfast tea and I got it. This was a sample I got along with the basic black chai sample, and I think I actually like this more!
I cream and sugar my breakfast teas, so I like them bold. This is a deep rich flavor, just the right maltiness and power but without being a caffeine blast to the gut, and smooth enough to go with breakfast instead of overpowering it. Of course I sort of forgot about breakfast today and sat sipping instead.
Thank you for the samples, Angel!!!
Last night I had a minor tragedy and lost TWO plants to mealybugs, so I needed the cheering up. I had clipped a few leaves from my purple basil for dinner and discovered dozens of the fluffy white menace. This plant shared space with some cilantro I had been having trouble with and was neighbors to the dendrochilum I had just performed surgery on yesterday. With chemical assistance I could have saved the herbs, maybe, but I wouldn’t want to eat them. I decided to throw them out before they had a chance to infect everyone else.
What a way to be cheered, though! I was fortunate enough to have today off, and the s.o. was working from home as well, so I was able to sign for my long-awaited samples from Teavivre and we both got to try this one! I started with the ginseng oolong because it was the one most likely to attract the curiosity of the non tea-obsessed. This impressed us both. I fixed up a little pot and we shared it.
The only reason I am not ordering more already is because there are more teas to sample and I want to make sure I try them. Oh, and combined shipping for the ones I decide I must have. If I order more of this now it might be all I drink till the weather turns. But I really love it. I have never tried anything really ginseng-y before, there is something tingly and clean and healthy feeling about drinking this, like a hot honey cough drop, but wonderful.
This is a beautiful Japanese tea. I got this in my sampler from Den’s (yay!) and I have just enough left to share a pot, so the s.o. can tell me I am right. I followed the ‘traditional’ parameters as best I could, but doubling the volume of water and tea to accommodate the Americanness of my current teaware.
This tea has a humid vegetal, roasted seaweed nose that I can’t get enough of. Humid seems like a crazy thing to say about a smell, but I know what I mean! ;) It smells how I always thought rainy Japanese coasts would smell when I was a kid, based solely on National Geographic photos. It smells actually quite close to the roasted seaweed snack it just inspired me to open, though without the sesame oil.
HAH! Oh yeah, and it tastes good too. Three steepings in and I am quite happy, pleasantly buzzed, and still trying to figure out how this can have a little bitterness in the finish without being unpleasant. It actually adds quite a bit to the overall character of the tea, just a touch of bitter, a touch of sweet, and a richness to the mouthfeel that I associate with umami.
Oh, and ignore the prep details at the bottom, they are wrong. I am on my iPad and it refuses to play nice with the sliders on here.
Had this at the Birch and Barley over the weekend. Capped off an AMAZING anniversary dinner! I love that I was able to finish a fabulous meal with a genuinely great tea. If this wasn’t so simple but perfect it never could have stood alongside the dessert I ordered – a Chai Cheesecake with roasted seckle pear, cranberry orange sorbet, walnuts and salted caramel macaron. (Which I thought was the same as a macaroon and it wasn’t, but was good anyway.)
I set one lovely sugar lump and a few splashes of milk into it. It was soothing, smooth and simple, but with surprising elegance. I think I need to make a friend in France.
This tea deserves better than the quickie service I just gave it. I am at work and had to microwave water, so I think the water temperature (whatever temp this is) is too high. Fortunately I received a great sample and I have enough left over to try again at home. I brought it to work with me thinking I would enjoy something new today. I do, but it is … odd.
The leaves are mostly fine shred, they have a deep brown dark earthy color that I like, somewhere between coffee and good soil. When I first opened the bag for some reason I smelled cocoa and burning leaves but somehow that has changed. Not sure why/how that would happen, I might be insane. Now when I smell the dry leaves or the bag it smells mostly of cedar pepper and salt water. Strange. Oh, and the wet leaves smelled like steamed shellfish a minute ago and now that they are cooled they smell like something else completely. It does keep me guessing, though. I am gonna have to try this again at home when I have my thinking nose on. It is possible that I am going crazy. I like this tea, though. It tastes a little astringent, and a little dusty. It won’t hold still. Strange stuff. Will edit when I get a chance to try it at home.
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First off, apologies are in order. After ordering this tea based on it’s description and reviews on this site I then promptly ignored all comments on how intensely spicy this was, assuming for some reason that the praise was accurate but the comments on it being too spicy would not be true for me. Oops. This is too hot for me by itself.
With some milk and honey it is much better, but with some quality cocoa powder it’s amazing. A great addition to the cupboard for the fall.
I know this is not a very respectable tea, it isn’t even a real tea at all, but after months of turning my nose up at this box I realized over the weekend that it was exactly what I needed. Again. I am also almost out of it and am going to have to go pick up more. I apparently keep this in stock just in case.
When I don’t feel well I become a spectacularly bad homemaker. This means that sometimes I run out of fresh ginger, or lemon, or gasp BOTH!! In these situations I have found a bag or two of this can stand in. I can add it to chamomile and honey, or mate, and it is the perfect base for a flu/sore throat/scurvy/black death/general ick recovery potion. Over the weekend one of these and a spoon of honey got the S.O. to actually enjoy a mate, and ask for more! It’s just a good basic lemony-gingery tool to have in the arsenal.
By itself though it is not much. I always add honey or, well, something. By itself it tastes too much like the soapy side of lemongrass. Oh, and it is VERY forgiving of steep time and temp.
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I have tried several times to like this tea because my mother pawned off a giant box of it on me a few months ago. Haven’t been successful yet. I think it will become a cooking tea. It moves from tasteless and dull to bitter and overpowering in a flash.