1697 Tasting Notes
I opened my pouch of the “old” 52 Teas reblend version yesterday evening. I’d been hanging on because I was half-scared that it wouldn’t live up to my memory of the original. I needn’t have worried, though! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water, no additions. In terms of scent it’s exactly like the SBT version, and it’s very similar in terms of flavour too. It’s tangy, a little creamy, with flavours of lemon, lime, orange and raspberry that are at times distinctive and at times part of a greater “sherbety” whole. There’s even the suggestion of fizziness, which is as lovely as it is intriguing. This will make a wonderful transition to spring kind of tea, and it’ll certainly brighten up my day every time I drink it. Wonderful, magical stuff.
A sample from Roswell Strange. I still had some coconut water left after yesterday’s experiment, and I figured a sweeter/fruity matcha might pair better with it than plain. I used 1/2 tsp whisked into half a glass, and was a lot happier with the result. There’s a pleasant overall “orange rind” kind of flavour that works well with the sweet, tropical coconut. This turned out a lot more palatable than just plain matcha, and I was happy to sip on this first thing. A success!
The sample I’m working on currently is from Christmas 2014. I believe I still have some in a tin from 2013, but I didn’t have that to hand this morning. Needless to say, I really enjoy this one. It tastes like Jamaican ginger cake – warming, spicy, with a sweet biscuit/bread/cake like element underlying the spice. It’s my favourite of the Bluebird Christmas blends, but one I’m also happy to drink year-round. It certainly brightened up today.
I’ve been drinking this one on-and-off for the last few months, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really work for me, at least from an energizing perspective. I’m not wild about the flavour either, so it’s not one I’d repurchase. It’s definitely my least favourite of the three teatoxy blends.
I do enjoy the effect of the bluechai flowers. That never gets old. Colour isn’t enough to earn this one a long-term place in my cupboard, though.
My second matcha of the day – I’m going to try and stick to one morning matcha and one post-lunch, which is when I really start to flag. This afternoon’s is a quarter teaspoon of Morning Organic Matcha, whisked into a shot glass of coconut water. It certainly looks healthy.
I have to say, I’m not such a huge fan of this particular preparation method. The coconut water is sweet and slightly thick-tasting, exacerbated by the matcha which thickens it still further and has a natural sweetness of its own. Plus the flavour of strong, grassy green tea. It’s not the best of pairings, at least in my book. I’ve hot and cold water and milk still to try, so hopefully I’ll find a “shot” version that does agree with my tastebuds.
I hasten to add that there’s nothing wrong with the matcha – that I have no quarrel with. It’s user preparation error only, and for that reason my rating remains unchanged.
I finished off my pouch of “old” 52 Teas Boo-Berry Cotton Candy at the end of last week. It was a sad moment, because I genuinely enjoyed every cup. I’m wary of gunpowder in general, but I had no problems with it here. It never overpowered the blueberry, which was sweet, fruity and a touch sugary, perfectly reminiscent of candy floss. This isn’t a total sipdown, though, because I have a taster pouch of Anne’s version in my cupboard to try. I’m intrigued to see how they’ll compare.
I’m drinking this one as a latte today – clearly that’s what I’m about this morning! I actually started my sample tin yesterday, when I was out of the office running an event. I prepared that just like I would any black tea – 1 tsp of leaf in boiling water for 4 minutes, finished off with a splash of milk. I enjoyed it – it has a pleasant spiciness that really helped to warm me up on a chilly morning. I really, really enjoy chai as a latte, though. It’s probably one of my favourite things in the world, if I’m honest. For this cup, I used 2 tsp of leaf in half a cup of boiling water, topped up with hot milk. It’s sufficiently spicy that the milk doesn’t drown it, and I can easily pick out clove, cardamon, ginger and cinnamon. The black tea base is smooth and inconspicuous, which is nice in this case because it really lets the spices shine.
I find this to be a fairly mild chai. It doesn’t have anything to give it any real heat – no pepper, chili, etc. I don’t always want that in a chai, but it adds an extra dimension. This one is moderately spicy, not too in-your-face, and the milk gentles it still further. It’s a comforting, warm hug of a cup. Just what I need right now, basically. I’m happy with this one!
This, I think, is my final pick from the EU TTB. I knew I wanted to try it, and as I’ve not that much experience with matcha I set it aside for a later date. It turns out today is that later date. There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, it’s no secret that I’ve not been feeling great recently. I’m tired a lot of the time, and I never feel like I have enough energy to do all the things I need to do in a day. My doctor will only recommend vitamins and early nights, both of which I have already. I’ve lost interest in a lot of things, probably because I’m so tired, and I know something’s likely wrong by I don’t know WHAT. I’ve also had what’s becoming a permenant headache for the last week or so, but I’ve been drinking less tea so I’m sort of thinking that might partly be the reason. I do get headaches if I don’t have caffeine. That’s reason one – if I increase my tea intake so it’s near where it used to be, my headaches should clear up a bit. If they don’t, then it’s back to the doctors for me.
Reason two, specific to this tea, is that people tell me matcha has energy-giving properties, and I could seriously use some energy right now. Teapigs have a matcha challenge which I’m going to take – at least one shot of matcha every day for two weeks. I figure it can’t hurt to try, so that’s what I’m going to do.
Today is day one, and I’m starting with a matcha latte. I used 1/2 tsp of matcha whisked into boiling water, topped up with heated, frothed milk. I’m using an aerolatte whisk for now rather than the traditional kit, but if it turns out that matcha is my thing then it’s something I might look into. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m actually really enjoying it. The vanilla flavouring is pretty strong, so it doesn’t taste too much like milky green tea. It’s sweet, creamy, and mostly reminiscent of vanilla milkshake. The powder combined well, with no clumping, which is always a bonus in my book. I’d definitely drink this one again!
I’m in a bit of a funk…not just tea-related, but life/work related (or that’s how it feels, anyway). The only thing I’m making progress with at the moment is my stitching, which is odd because usually I have to be in the right frame of mind for that kind of thing. Instead, it seems to have increased exponentially in importance in relation to pretty much everything else. I think maybe because it’s totally different to my job, and when I get home I really do just want to switch off and lose myself in something unrelated to the day.
That kind of means that at home I’m drinking mostly this one – Twinings Everyday. It’s pretty good as “normal” tea goes. It’s strong, malty, reassuring kind of stuff. I don’t have to think about it at all. I’m still drinking “proper” tea at work, but I think now I’m starting to associate it with work, and so it’s become one of the things I don’t do at home in an effort to not think about work while I’m not there.
Clearly I need to sort myself out, but other than applying for jobs I’m not really sure how to go about that right now. I want to move out of admin, but I don’t know what I’d prefer to do instead and that’s at least half the problem.
I know things will come out on an even keel sooner or later, because they have done before, but I’m just not feeling myself at the moment and that’s why I’m not really posting anything new. Basically, I await the return of my mojo.
Mao Jian has become one of my favourite green tea varieties over the last year or so, and I’m always pleased to try one that’s new to me. This Hunan Mao Jian from Harney and Sons looks pretty much as I’d expect – thin, wiry leaves that are a little curly and twisted, a fairly uniform dark green in colour, and pretty long (most around 2cm, but some more like 5-6cm). Dry, it doesn’t seem to have a great deal of scent. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees.
See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/12/29/hunan-mao-jian-harney-sons/