908 Tasting Notes
One of the things I like most about Yumchaa is that the bases vary from tea to tea. I sort of assumed all of their green teas would use the same base, but they obviously don’t. I think they used to say they were all sencha, but they’re just identified as ‘green tea’ now, so I guess they must have changed that at some point. Saying that, though, I think this one actually is sencha, so that was a pretty misplaced perception.
Anyway, the leaves in this one are quite broad and thick, and look like they’ve been rolled. They’re all fairly long, but they’re relatively flat too. The scent is mildly fruity. I’m getting blackberry and rhubarb mostly. There are a lot of peony petals among the leaves, so I was expecting it to be quite floral in fragrance, but it’s not at this point.
Brewed, this one smells gorgeously sweet and fruity. It’s actually reminding me of a rhubarb and custard sweet, which came as a complete surprise. When I saw the thick, dark green leaves I was expecting a strong and bitter green tea taste, and not much else. This has come off surprisingly delicate, though.
The taste is similarly surprising. The green tea isn’t strong or bitter, and, as with Wanderlust, it remains resolutely in the background. What I can taste is fruit. Rhubarb and blueberry, primarily, with a very creamy-tasting finish. I never really expect a lot from green tea. That’s my one inexplicable tea prejudice. This tea is going a long way towards changing that, though, as it’s actually left me pretty speechless. It’s absolutely, geuninely lovely. Sweet, fragrant, fruity, perfect. Anything that can get me to drink green tea with a smile on my face must be some kind of enchanted. Yumchaa are rising quickly in my estimation.
I feel like a green tea this morning, which is something that doesn’t happen all that often. There are a couple of Yumchaa greens untried in my stash, so now is probably as good a time as any to make a start on them.
First up in Wanderlust. I think it just might be the kind of apple pie flavoured green tea I’ve been searching for all my life. Or since I started drinking tea, anyway. The dry leaves are long and wiry, and vary in colour from a pretty dark green-black, all the way to a pale creamy green. Most of them are on the darker side, though. Among the leaves are pieces of apple, almond, and what looks to be cinnamon bark. It smells subtly of apple and cinnamon.
Brewed, it smells even more like apple pie. Apple pie that’s just come out of the oven. There’s an immediate kick of cinnamon, and then the warm, slightly sour scent of apples. To taste, it’s much the same. Cinnamon first, and then a naturally sweet, rounded apple finish. The green tea remains resolutely in the background, and it’s smooth and perfect. Not bitter, not astringent, just supporting the flavours of the apple and cinnamon while being pretty unassuming itself. I think the almond and vanilla that are supposed to be in here are a bit lost. I can’t really detect either of them all that much. I’m not complaining, though. Any tea that tastes as much like apple pie as this one does is all right with me.
Had another go with this, as I couldn’t stop thinking about where I might have gone wrong. I let the water cool a little, left the bag in for 2.5 minutes, used a little bit less leaf, and made sure there were some fruit pieces in my infuser. I also left it black.
I’m still not keen, the problem being that this time it doesn’t taste of anything at all. I don’t understand this tea, at the moment.
I always enjoy this one, as long as I’m patient and leave it long enough for the caramel and white chocolate pieces to melt. And then give it a decent stir. It wasn’t my favourite at first, but it’s growing on me as I learn better how to brew it. A surprise contender for a permenant place in my stash.
Tried this for the first time today. I generally like black teas flavoured with red fruit, but finding one with a good flavour balance can be difficult. In the bag, this one smells just as I want it to. Blackberry and raspberry predominate, and I can actually see one or two whole fruits among the leaves. The base of this one is actually identified on my bag as a keemun, but it seems to have been cut fairly liberally with raspberry leaves. The effect is pretty, but I guess I’m kind of wondering why they’re so predominant. Surely they’re not going to add much in the way of flavour?
Anyway, on to the tasting. I brewed this for about 3.5 minutes in boiling water. Yumchaa don’t really give much in the way of brewing parameters, so I know it’s going to be trial and error until I find what works best. At first, this has no discernable smell, but after about three minutes it develops quite a strong smoky scent.
The smokiness doesn’t translate to the flavour too much, although I can taste it. On the other hand, I can’t taste much in the way of berries. Maybe very slightly in the aftertaste, but that’s all. Obviously I’m going to have to work on how I brew this a little, because what I’ve got at the moment can’t be this tea at its best. The smokiness confused me at first, although after a quick google, I established that keemun teas can taste smoky and bitter, depending how they are processed. I know the taste isn’t contamination, as I haven’t had any smoky tea in my cupboard since I bought this. Smoky tea really isn’t my thing. Where is the fruit, though? It’s so odd, because it smells just fine dry, and I want it to taste like that too!
Not sure about this one at the moment. I might try it black, and adjust my leaf and time/temp parameters to see if any of that helps. The name is pretty accurate, though. It tastes like a walk in the woods in early autumn, when there’s the scent of woodsmoke on the breeze…
Had another of these today, as a sort of joyous farewell to winter. Just straight, with a little bit of milk. The chilli and clove come out most prominently when it’s brewed this way, I think. I’m not a huge fan of clove, so I generally prefer this as a latte, but it’s good all the same. Nice, warming hit of chilli. Good stuff.
I think I’m getting better at brewing this, because today’s cup didn’t taste like ordinary black tea, even to start with. I could taste berries, sweet and juicy, straight away. I’m really happy that they’re no longer just in the aftertaste. I’ll have to try and work out what I did differently this time, so that I can repeat it again next time. Or maybe it’s just that it’s been out of the plastic bag and in the caddy for a while since I last drank it. I don’t know. Either way, I feel justified in raising its rating a little now. Truly delicious for a warm spring day!
Okay, so it’s actually been appreciably warm today, so after a walk to the supermarket to get my lunch ingredients for next week, I came home and made a big pitcher of this. I think it’s the first time I’ve been able to use my iced tea jug this year, just when I was beginning to think winter wasn’t going to end!
I used 4 tablespoons worth, and was rewarded with a lovely, strong, fruity result. I can’t decide whether I prefer this cold, or hot with honey. Both are equally nice, but cold is a better fit for today’s weather. I don’t actually have all that much of this left, maybe enough for another pitcher. It’s one I probably won’t be buying again, as there’s something in the flavour that doesn’t appeal to me. I still can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but I find it puts me off what is otherwise a very pleasant fruit tea. In spite of the hibiscus, as well!
Still, this is going down well this afternoon, and that’s all I’m asking for the minute :)
The last of my samples from Butiki. I really enjoyed the Cider Guayusa yesterday, so I have high hopes for this.
The dry leaves smell delicately of orange, creamy rather than zesty, with the earthiness from the guayusa providing a pleasant undertone. It’s quite a straightforward scent, but if it tastes as good as it smells, I’ll be a happy girl.
I brewed this for 6 mins, and needn’t have feared. The tangerine is a subtle flavour, but it’s definetly there. The creaminess isn’t noticable at first, but develops more as the tea cools. I haven’t added anything to this, but I can imagine the contribution a little sugar would make. There’s not a great deal of natural sweetness from the tangerine, so the earthy guayusa does tend to dominate, at least in the intial sip. The creamy tangerine is noticable in the aftertaste, though, which makes for a very pleasant early-afternoon drink.
On balance, I prefer the Cider Guayusa I tried yesterday, so this probably isn’t one I’d order more of. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try it, though. Experience is the key in all things!