550 Tasting Notes
My swap package from Veronica came to me today and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. It is cold and rainy here because of the threatening hurricane. I live farther inland on the east coast, but it is not that far from the coast so our entire area has been prepped for a big storm. So far, nothing has been too huge here even though the schools have been canceled for today.
The dry leaf smells wonderful! It smells like sweet candied lemons. Once the tea is brewed, the smell tones down a little bit on the candy front and you can clearly tell it is a tea blend. Now it smells more like warm lemon sugar. The liquor is a lovely dark amber and the leaves were fun to watch steep in my press because they danced in the hot water.
Now comes the moment of truth: the taste test. Now, I have never had gooey butter cake so I don’t know what exactly that is supposed to taste like. The first thing that really hits me is the tea base. It tastes like a lighter black tea. I can really taste the lemon and lemon in my tea is something I don’t particularly enjoy if it isn’t offset by anything else. But I can tell there is something else in here that is mixing with the lemon.
I added a teaspoon of sugar to my cup and tried again. I am getting a more dessert-like flavor now and I am getting the gooey-cakey feeling that is more like a lemon bar than anything. If anything, I want more lemon in there to be more like a sweet-tart lemon bar and this is coming from the person who doesn’t care for lemon tea! How ironic.
I poured out a sample of the tea into a cup and mixed that with just a drop of milk. Regular milk because I didn’t want my almond milk to change the flavor profile too much. With milk I now get “CAKE!” but I think I like it without the milk better.
The rest of my mug is still hot and slightly sweet. I could probably have put two teaspoons of sugar in it while it was still full and have been satisfied, but I wanted to explore this cup. This is an interesting tea and I am very glad I got the chance to try it. I have a feeling that this might make an awesome sweet iced tea and because of the very generous sample size that Veronica sent to me, I will get to try it iced too!
The one flavor I think this is missing from the cup that would have rounded it out more is a little bit of vanilla. But that is probably me being picky.
I had three steeps of this tea yesterday, but I have been wondering if I could pull out a fourth steep out of this tea. So, I decided to try it with my tea leaves from last night.
I steeped these leaves for an hour until the liquid is a nice amber color like I just brewed a lighter tea. The smell is still wonderful. A light dusty smell that is combined with the scent of fresh rainfall. The tea is still warm even though it has been steeping for the past hour. My french press keeps the tea nice and warm.
The flavor is slightly different from the other steeps. It is still silky smooth and I am getting a creamy mouthfeel that is just divine. It isn’t as dark as the other steeps and is slightly more astringent.
I am glad that I managed to wrangle a fourth steep out of this tea. I’m not sure if I would brew it up often, but I am happy I have the option.
My fiancee, friends, and I all went out to see the Rocky Horror Show yesterday. It was my first time seeing it live and it was amazing! The crew was fantastic and the opening band was very creepy cool. My favorite moment was when we all threw the toilet paper. That was something I always wanted to do, but would have gotten in trouble to actually do it.
Before the show I got a large latte to round out my meal so I wouldn’t be snacking when we got out of the show around 2 AM. It was so yummy. It filled me up for the rest of the night which makes me think that matcha would be the perfect tea for a person trying to diet. Between the regular and flavored matchas, it would satisfy every craving you might have. You would just have to be careful that you didn’t overdo it with the matcha lattes and have most of them without milk.
So, I tried doing a short rinse (10-15 seconds) on the leaves tonight before making the first steep. That made the first steep much more flavorful. If I don’t have all three steeps of this tonight, I might have the last in the morning. It is better than the one cup of hot chocolate I have been having before bed though. I discovered that hot chocolate keeps me up if I have it too late.
Remember when my tea notes used to have every other one being this yerba mate or another flavored yerba mate? I do and I am not used to drinking it anymore.
I made this with a four minute steep, a good splash of honey, and some microwaved steamed vanilla almond milk. I left out the honey additionally, but I found it a little bitter. Once it is cooled down enough to actually drink, it is good. I wish I could have left out the honey, but I was feeling like a sweetened latte. I couldn’t get a good foam with my almond milk this time, but I don’t have a tool to actually froth or foam my milk with.
It still stands that I would like a goard and bombilla set to try this with. I think it would taste better. And I could use the bombilla with my mug steeped oolongs as well so I don’t feel strange trying not to drink a tea leaf.
Time for my green tea after dinner tea plan! Since my white Silver Needle Jasmine tasted better with more leaf, I decided to put in about a teaspoon more leaf than I normally do.
Whoah! It smells green and buttery right from the get-go this time. I don’t even need to get close to my mug to get the yummy buttery smell. I steeped this for two minutes. I am finally getting the butter note that I have missed from my first dragonwell. Then the green tea flavor comes charging in and enveloping my mouth with its wonderful taste. The liquor is still very pale even with the extra leaf. This tea isn’t as astringent as my green jasmine pearls which makes for a lovely bedtime tea.
I think I have been under-leafing my french press recently. I will have to pay attention with my other teas to make sure I am getting the leaf-to-water ratio right and get a new teaspoon for measuring.
This is just what I needed as a hot cocoa intervention. I decided to spoil myself and put in more leaf than I normally would. This adds up to about three or four teaspoons. Oh my! It is so good this way! I was only going to do one steep, but I am going to have another steep later before getting my green tea out for after dinner.
Going off the tea topic for a second, wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a Steepster-like site for hot chocolate, drinking chocolate, and brewable cocoa beans? Ok, Steepster for chocolate lovers and choco-holics. I think it would be amazing.