1004 Tasting Notes
I finally caught up on my backlog, and we also have internet chez sherapop once again. Phew! I needed a quick pot of greenish oolong this afternoon, so this Anxi Benshan Oolong from Enjoying Tea was my choice for the simple reason that it was the closest tin ready at hand since I had left it downstairs from the last time.
Perfectly satisfying and makes a good second infusion, too.
Custom blend: Harney & Sons Chamomile and Harney & Sons Yellow & Blue
I decided to reinfuse the spent sachets of these two teas and together they produced a fine second brew! I actually like this ratio of chamomile to lavender better than the Yellow & Blue alone, which sometimes seems too heavy on the lavender—depending on my mood.
Sipdown. Over the course of these four filterbags filled with, let us be frank, dust, I ended up deciding that this bedtime infusion is better than I had initially thought. Now it’s all gone, and I won’t purchase again, but I am increasing my rating. There is a hefty dose of aniseed in this blend, which initially seemed off-putting to me, as I had been prepared from the name for chamomile. The key term here is Italian, not Chamomile…
I remain convinced, as I believe that I reported last time I brewed up a glass, that the flavor and aroma of the tea in this muslin sachet are very similar to genmaicha—so, yes, Japanese. I am tempted to dissect my way through the cotton to see whether I’ll discover some popped rice in here somewhere…
Well, what can I say to conclude this steep-off chez sherapop? I am not at all sure that Tamaryokucha and Tamayokucha are the same tea at all! I am happy that the Tea Leaves version is organic, but when all is said and sniffed and sipped, I prefer Le Palais des Thés. Despite the small amount of tea in the modest sockish sachet, I find that the resultant liquor tastes better, in the end. I do believe that this tea is very close to genmaicha, but that would be a high-quality version, with a good base tea, not one of the cheaper versions which sometimes use low-grade green tea under the assumption that the toasted rice will cover it up.
One final note, since I tried two different muslin sachets from Les Palais des Thés today. I noticed in both cases (this and the Long Jing) a small snippet of cotton thread floating in the glass! I presume that it is safe to eat, as I could just have easily swallowed it while drinking the tea. I have wondered, actually, about the flavor of these little socks. They must taste like something, no? It seems to me that they should be changing the flavor of the teas, if ever so slightly.
That’s not, however, the real reason why I dislike the cotton sock method, pace Kusmi and Les Palais des Thés and whichever other companies are using them today. I also dislike not being able to see the dried and the infused tea leaves. I feel that I am missing out on some of the full tea experience when I use sock sachets…
I’ve been wanting to do a steep-off of this Organic Tamayokucha from Two Leaves with the Imperial Tamaryokucha from Les Palais des Thés, but my remaining sachet of the Two Leaves was MIA. Happily, I just found it. However, I just noticed that the names of these two teas are actually different “Tamayokucha” versus “Tamaryokucha”. Could be a type-o, I suppose. Or are these really and different teas? The way to find out for sure will be to do a steep-off chez sherapop!
Both the diaphanous sachet from Tea Leaves and the cotton muslin sachet from Le Palais des Thés brew up golden with a green tint. Le Palais des Thés brews up slightly lighter and slightly more green. I noticed that these cotton muslin sachets contain quite a bit less tea than the see-through sachets of most every other company. The size appears to be determined by the same template as the one used by Kusmi—smaller and more rectangular in shape, rather than a pyramid or tetrahedron.
The tea in this sachet reminds me of Mighty Leaf Organic Green Dragon—more of a robust China blend than a single-origin Japanese tea… It’s good, but I would never have guessed that it came from Japan.
In my side-by-side comparison of Les Palais des Thés Long Jing (in a muslin sachet) with Mighty Leaf Organic Green (in a see-through sachet), I discovered today that the Mighty Leaf is probably (as I had been suspecting) a blend, not a straight-up Long Jing. The muslin sachet from Les Palais des Thés, in contrast, has a smoother and more silky texture, along with a less vegetal and more chestnutty flavor.
I conclude that this is the better choice for those seeking a portable Long Jing experience.
In today’s steep-off chez sherapop, Mighty Leaf Organic Green Dragon in a sachet is going sip-to-sip, sniff-to-sniff against Les Palais des Thés Long Jing in a muslin sachet.
Both teas brew up golden, and the taste is different enough to reconfirm my suspicion that the Mighty Leaf is a blend of Long Jing with some other teas. The taste is more robust and while enjoyable, it does not really match the profile of the many Long Jings I’ve tried of late.
This tea is perfectly good, but more vegetal and less chestnuty, so I would not recommend it to those seeking a silken Long Jing experience.