1715 Tasting Notes
How is it that I’ve not tried this one yet? I literally have no idea how that happened. Anyway, better late than never. I’ve also kind of come to the conclusion that I really need to work on reducing my cupboard to a more manageable level before I buy any more tea (how many times have I said that before…) because there’s some good stuff getting neglected and it’s not right. At least I’m back under 200. I’d like to get down to 50 before I really consider stocking up again. That would be a much more comfortable place for me.
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup. It’s kinda hard to measure because the leaves are so big they won’t fit happily in my measuring spoon. To be expected, I guess, given that this is the full leaf version. The leaves themselves are a variagated brown-black-gold-cream, some more than an inch long, most with beautiful downy tips. I gave it 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk because it brewed up so dark. That in itself was unexpected.
To taste, this has all the malty, sweet potato wonderfulness I was hoping for. It’s quite robust in terms of flavour – no watery black tea here! The initial sip is sweet and thick-tasting, there are some chocolate/cocoa notes (albeit fairly fleeting), and then in the mid-sip it’s really all about the yam/sweet potato, and that’s a flavour that lingers well.
I’m enjoying this one. When I next place a Teavivre order (which may not be for a while, but it’ll happen…) I’ll doubtless repurchase this one. I’d happily have a large bag in my cupboard as a staple black – it’s that good.
Sipdown! I have a cold at the moment (again), so I’m sticking to teas I’m familiar with for the next few days. This one’s a classic. I adore Dian Hong style teas generally, but this is still one of the best I’ve tried. It brews up a beautiful red-orange-brown, works well with or without milk, and has delicious bread, chocolate, and malt notes to boot. I’m sad to see this one depart my cupboard, but I’m sure it’ll soon be back :)
The beginning of the cold weather pretty much always signals a return to Keemun for me, and it looks like this year is no exception. I think the rich dark chocolate and smoke characteristics are what pull me back towards it as soon as the mornings turn chilly. They’re not flavours I particularly crave in the summer, but now…
I started this year with the superfine fragrant, and now I’m trying this one. The leaves here are much shorter and a lot less tippy, but still thin and wiry in appearance. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water, splash of milk.
To taste, this is mostly cocoa-like dark chocolate, slightly drying, with a light undertone of smoke. There’s also an edge of juiciness that reminds me of Taiwanese black teas. It’s strong and malty, quite sweet after the richness of the initial sip has worn off. I’m not usually a fan of anything smoky, but on this occasion I’m actually a fan. I think without it this would be a pretty one-note tea, but as it is it’s adding an element of depth that I’m really enjoying, and it stops it from crossing the line into too sweet/cloying. A pretty solid keemun, all in all, and one I’d be more than happy to drink again.
I wanted something simple this afternoon, and this fit the bill pretty perfectly. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk, because that’s what I do. Dry, it has the unmistakable scent of Earl Grey – slightly bitter citrus-floral. It’s a scent I find oddly calming, even though I’m not a particular fan of bergamot generally.
Once brewed, it’s a fairly tame beast. The bergamot is very light and really not much more than a background flavour, and the citrus-inflected sweetness of the ceylon base takes precedence. Of the trio of teas I received, this is the only one that’s not CTC, which I guess makes sense for an Earl Grey.
This isn’t a tea that’s particularly out of the ordinary, and it’s not the best Earl Grey I’ve ever tried, but it’s straightforward and easy to drink, and sometimes that’s really all I want. A middle-of-the-road kind of affair.
This one came to me from a work colleague, who wasn’t sure about the “old lady/mothballs” flavour. To me, it smells like turkish delight…
This is a bagged supermarket tea, although it’s a silky pyramid get-up containing pretty sizeable green tea leaves and a decent smattering of dried rose petal fragments. I gave the bag 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.
To taste, it’s pretty strongly floral – more strongly than I typically enjoy (and yes, I did the scrunchy face). It had a pleasant turkish delight undertone, but the level of flavouring could stand to be taken down a notch or two and it would still be good. Better, in fact, because it wouldn’t be so hopelessly overpowering. The jasmine is strong, the rose stronger, and there’s also a degree of initial bitterness that really makes this one a no-no for me.
If I were to try this one again, I’d give it a very short brew time, maybe around the minute mark. I think that’s the only thing that’d recuse this one for me.
Dave and Solomons are a mother and son tea blending company, currently selling their indie creations on their Etsy store. I hadn’t come across them before this sample arrived with me, but it’s always nice to discover a new tea company, if a little dangerous for the bank account! Lavender Dream is a fruit and herbal blend, combining the sweet fruitiness of peach with the light floral of lavender.
Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/10/30/lavender-dream-from-dave-and-solomons-tea/
I can’t remember the last time I drank a Tie Guan Yin, which is something of a surprise as it’s become one of my favourite oolong varieties. I was more than pleased when I came across this one, not least because it’s a good opportunity to reacquaint myself. This particular Tie Guan Yin is from the Anxi Nature Reserve in Fujian Province, a major Chinese tea growing region (although one I seem to associate more with black tea than with oolong, strangely enough!)
Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/10/26/anxi-tie-guan-yin-from-teasenz/
I misread the name of this tea at first, and thought it said “Catnip.” Turns out I wasn’t far wrong, because this blend does actually contain catnip. It’s even more fitting when you consider that the company logo, and indeed the majority of their blends, are cat themed.
Catnap is purportedly a relaxing blend, containing chamomile, mint, lemon verbena, lemon balm…and catnip. In my head, catnip isn’t something I typically associate with relaxation – it conjures images of bright-eyed, mischief-making kittens. Maybe in humans the effects are different.
Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/10/22/catnap-aka-tea/
A sample from Roswell Strange. It’s taken me a while to get around to trying this one, for various unrelated reasons, but today’s the day! I find I drink more matcha in autumn/winter, anyway, because that’s when my energy levels typically tend to slump. I don’t think I drank any matcha this summer, which is surprising now I think about it.
Anyway. This one. I made it up as a latte (because I’ve worked out pretty conclusively now that that’s the only way I can drink matcha and enjoy it.) I used 1/4 tsp of powder, whisked it into about 1.5 inches of boiling water, and then topped off with hot milk. For reference, this is the basic grade matcha with the distinctive level flavouring.
I should probably say upfront that pistachios are my favourite nut. I found the initial sip a lot sweeter than I was expecting, for some reason, but then there’s a distinctive creamy nuttiness that’s almost identifiable as pistachio. It falls a tiny bit short in terms of flavour definition, but it’s definitely nutty, and it’s really almost there, so I’m going to say it’s good with me. It’s more of a pistachio flavoured puddingey, custardy effect than just straight pistachio, but it turns out that’s a delicious thing. I’m pretty sure I have an almond matcha sample tucked away somewhere, so it’ll be interesting to compare when I try that one.
First tea of the morning! Like English Afternoon, this one also appears to be a blend of Ceylon teas. It’s actually very similar to English Afternoon, maybe a touch maltier, and with slightly more muted citrus notes. On the whole, though, I’m not sure I’d be able to tell them apart. They’re both CTCs, both very strong, and they have similar flavours.
It’s pleasant to drink, and it doesn’t require any particular thought or concentration, but I’m not sure it’s different enough from English Afternoon to warrant a different name. They’re basically the same tea.