355 Tasting Notes
ANGEL FOOD CAKE!!!!!
I’m not even 1/3 of the way through my huge mug-o-tea, but I couldn’t help myself because from the moment I smelled this tea I was transported to childhood when my mother would make angel food cake from an old family recipe (including homemade cherry frosting). The only difference would be if you substituted coconut frosting for the cherry and toned down the sweetness.
The cup is more coconutty, but the flavors still blend beautifully. I think that perhaps I may be transforming into a coconut fan. I think that the other flavors may come out more prominently as the cup cools, but I’m having trouble putting my cup down so it might not get a chance to cool off much before it’s all in mah tummy. I will edit if anything else needs noting, but oh my lordy: yum! TG
ETA: I think that I finished off my first cup in record time! The fragrance was pretty intense throughout all of it. I’m having my second steep now and I think that I like it even more than the first. The flavors are all meshed beautifully and I’m getting more of the tea base. I love the second steep of this tea. Another big thank you to Daniel Mann for this sample!
What a great way to start my day! I actually slept in past 10am (gone are the days where I could sleep ‘til 1 or 2 in the afternoon ::sigh::). I’m getting a lot more of the sweetness in the first steep this time around. I also drank most of my first cup while having pizza and it paired really well with it. I only have enough left for one more pot so I need to get crackin’ and really try the rest of my Georgia Tea Company samples that the generous Daniel Mann sent to me because there will be an order as soon as I get my mid-month paycheck. TG
I had three rather pleasant steeps of this tea this afternoon/evening using my huge mug. I don’t think that I’ve had a plain “Formosa” oolong. I tried doing some research (i.e. I looked at two sites and then gave up), but I came up no more wise. My brain just sort of glazes over when I start trying to figure out locales/types of oolongs. I was really feeling impressed with myself when I could go “oh, that’s gotta be a Wuyi.” And then I visited Life in Teacup’s site and my head ’sploded a little.
All this is to say I can’t really grade this as an oolong. It has a great peachy smell both with the dry leaf and steeped cup. I got hints of “planty” oolongishness (as opposed to “veggie” or “earthy”). It’s a really pleasant tea but I prefer a bit more “oomph.” I’m quite curious to try it iced. NE
My first 52teas order arrived yesterday — woohoo!!!!! I was too pooped from work and had so many other things to catch up on that I decided to wait until today to start steepin’ (but you can bet your sweet bippy that I opened them all last night and sniffed the leaves). Yummy!
So, I bet you’re looking at the tea that I’m rating and giving me the hairy eyeball. I know what y’all must be thinking: “but she goes on and on about how she doesn’t like chocolate, and yet she buys a big honkin’ 4 oz tin of this?!?! She cray-zay!” Yes, I am, as I think you’re thinking “cray-zay.” I actually really like Girl Scout Thin Mints — they’re sort of in their own realm of chocolate. But then again they’re not available year round, so that makes them more of a treat. I generally prefer my chocolate mixed with other things such as peanut butter, mint, cookies, caramel, etc (never chunky nuts — blech). But even then I can only do a little at a time and then I’m good for at least a month or more in regard to consuming chocolate. So, I think that my tin of this should last well over a year. Well, unless my Mom steals it from me.
This tea truly is like a liquid Thin Mint. It’s sort of like having a smooth black tea while eating a box of those cookies. Like you’ve just swallowed your cookie and then quickly taken a sip of tea. NOM!
This tea also helped me stop crying after a second mystery Samovar package showed up today. It turned out to be my original order that had been mis-handled. I thought that the original package would be sent to me — apparently not. This original box that I received today (2 days after sending out the Geek Prizes almost a week late) has the super-special prize for the Geek Pride grand prize winner placed in a nice gift box whereas the replacement shipment had everything thrown in and individually wrapped up in TONS of bubble wrap (you’ll eventually see Cait — again I apologize). The boxed item takes up about a third of the space of what I sent out to Cait. I was moved to angry tears because I was so very excited to place my first Samovar order and it has turned into such a nightmare. I don’t plan on ever repeating this nightmare ever again — I didn’t spend this much money to get so much grief. I’m awaiting a response from Samovar to see what on earth I’m supposed to do with this box that I don’t want and I’m angry that I have to deal with it. At least I wasn’t double-charged because I couldn’t afford that (my car payment would have bounced). If that had happened, then you would’ve seen Rabs really really mad.
Sorry for the venting, but it does come back around to my conclusion:
All of this frustration seemed to melt away once I sent off my email to Samovar and I was able to concentrate on this wonderful tea. I’m definitely tickled pink with Frank’s customer service and free shipping. The thought of spending my money (and knowing how much further it’ll go) at places like 52teas gives me hope in my tea future. TG
I finished off my sample tonight ::cry:: and confirmed that when I order from Georgia Tea Company that this is the Cancer Fighting Tea that I’ll purchase. When I poured the last of my sample packet into the teapot I was a bit concerned by the large amount of rooibos that was in it compared to my first pot. The smell of the wafting steam as I poured in the hot water seemed more mediciney than I remembered. Ruh-roh.
But hot-diggity-darn! It’s still good :D I continue to consider this to be more “sweet floral” than the original Cancer Fighter, but I think a lot of it is the fruit. It’s like you took the vegetative aspects of a late spring meadow (blueberries included) and blended them up into a tea. The second steep didn’t morph as beautifully as the first time I had this, but I’m thinkin’ that it’s because this was so rooibos-heavy. Healthy yummers. NE
JOEmo works great with iced teas as well! I did notice that I could really tell that I had a cold drink in the thermos vs. when there’s hot liquid (it insulates the hot ones beautifully). The only thing now that I’m sort of bummed out with this is that I’ll need to get some sort of “sponge-onna-stick” to do a thorough cleaning of the inner thermos.
Doulton’s Shakespeare: A Tasting Note in 5 Acts
Act IV scene 6
And therefore, — since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days, —
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Richard III, Act I scene 1
This morning I fumbled through my Shakespeare box trying to find one that I hadn’t had that would be good for the morning. I’m getting closer to the last “Act” of notes and I’m not wanting it to end! I picked up the packet of this tea and got ready to keep rummaging because I thought that I’d already tried it. But no — it’s unopened! But it’s an oolong, isn’t it? NO — it’s a black tea! Awwww yeaaaaah!
I popped open the packet: Golden Monkey? It must be a kin of Adagio’s Golden Monkey (I’m too lazy to google at the moment). I started to scoop it into my teapot and froze: the leaves are striking! Many are spiraled up like mini cinnamon rolls. They’re fuzzy-wuzzy cinnabuns! Two different shades of brown (again, like the Golden Monkey). I dub these the cutest leaves that I’ve seen so far.
The smell was very reminiscent of the Monkey as well: malty and dark. The first few sips I was amazed at how much my tastes have changed over the past few months. It has a sweet rich maltiness that I really enjoyed. It’s not my favorite flavor in teas, but I liked it better than ever. There was a great sweetness that I couldn’t place and I finally looked up the description. Unsweetened cocoa? I enjoyed something quasi-chocolatey? ::earth shatters:: As the cup cooled I got a bit more earthiness that’s very similar to a Pu Erh.
I shall call this tea my Richard, Duke of Gloucester (a.k.a. Richard III). One of Shakespeare’s greatest villains: a bad boy whom you love to hate. The only problem I had with calling this tea Richard III is that he’s known as a rather unattractive hunchback. Well, I think that I’ve figured it out: if you were to make a Richard III action figure, then you could stuff a spiral tea leaf under the shirt’s back for the hump. Yes, that’s lame and also insensitive to hunchbacks, but that’s what I’m going with and I’m sticking to it. Ultimately I think this is a really good tea and deserves a dark and complex character to represent it. NE
The description of this tea mentions “pink rose petals.” Well, I gots me some pink rosebuds in my sample packet which made my inner girlie-girl squee. This is a very pretty looking tea. The smell is somewhat…wait for it…waaait for it…coconutty and vanilla-ey.
The first steep is all about the white tea and coconut. The vanilla is complimenting the coconut nicely. I should mention that I’m not the biggest coconut fan, but this is pleasant in a suntan lotion sorta way (sorry, that’s my main association with coconuts).
I’m really enjoying the second steep (kept the same parameters). I’m getting a bit more vanilla and the coconut/white tea is more mellow and blended. I’m really liking this. I am getting a bit of a dryness at the back of my throat, but am unsure as to how much of it is from this tea and how much it is from my ceiling fan kicking up dust. Maybe it’s a bit of both. I’m thinkin’ that I need to try this iced. NE
On a side note: I’m really liking my JOEmo XL that I got from TeaFrog. I’m still figuring out how best to prep my tea, but it’s getting better each time. It truly keeps the tea shockingly at or near temp. I had it at work yesterday and it kept the tea hot for close to 7 hours (I drank verrry slowly to test this out and I think it could’ve gone longer, but I finished my tea on my commute home). At first I wasn’t a big fan of how I had to push down on the button in the lid (germ issues), but then I realized that the liquid came out on the perimeter and not through the button spot. Still not my favorite thing, but I think that it’s a good tradeoff for being able to drink from any side of the lip. I may have another issue, but I want to give it some time before getting into that.
I decided to take this tea to work with me today in my JOEmo. I think that I’m getting better at using it in regards to the right temp and only using a teaspoon of tea. I think that I should drop it 10 more degrees for optimal drinkage using this thermos.
Onto this tea. Every single sip was uber-yum. I don’t know if it was the lower temp, or the fact that it was in consta-steep in the thermos, but lordy was it sweet and good. It tasted less Earl Greyish, but oh the creamy sweetness was awesome. Again, I’ve never had an Earl Grey Cream before, so I have no basis for comparison. I’m bumping up the rating from an 84 and a NE to a TG.
I thought I’d keep up my Earl Grey trend of late and start my morning with something completely new to me — an Earl Grey Cream. Since I drink all my teas straight I really couldn’t fathom what a “cream” flavor would be like paired with an Earl Grey. The answer is yummy.
This tea isn’t listed on GTC’s website yet, so I sent Daniel Mann a PM to see if there’s any info available yet — I’ll update this tea’s listing and my note once I hear back. ETA: Daniel got back to me and yes, this is a brand new blend and he’s using us lucky Steepsterites as guinea pigs. I’m a happy guinea pig :D
The smell of both the dry leaves and the steeped ones were a sweet vanilla-ey fragrance with undercurrents of a black Earl Grey tea. I can’t say that I’ve ever used the term “hairy eyeball” in my life until I started trying GTC’s teas. I can’t say that I’m in love with the general combo of EG and a sweet vanilla-ey creaminess, but with this tea it’s really really good. I could imagine this type of tea going horribly wrong, but I think it works here. There were quite a few sips that were “NOM! NOM! NOM!” in a desert tea type-of-way. I could imagine this tea eventually becoming something that must be in stock in my cupboard, but it’s too soon for me to say. The EG itself was nice and smooth.
I must admit that I was once again distracted while trying to enjoy this tea: my final shipment for my Geek Pride Day Giveaway came this morning (only took the order 20 days to arrive :P) so I was busy putting the final touches on everything before I posted them. Therefore, the last 1/3 of my cup had completely cooled. I did not like the cooled cup — the citrusy aspects of the EG came through too much. The second steep (added a minute) was still yummy, but perhaps not as sweet. I look forward to trying this one again with complete focus. Another huge THANK YOU to Daniel Mann for sending this sample to me. NE