968 Tasting Notes
My barista almost refused to give me my requested refill of Tazo Green Tips—apparently because my frappuccino had been a reward drink. Huh. I’ll never understand why wageslaves go to the mat for a man who earns zillions of dollars. In this case, attempting to violate the company’s own rules to save Mr. Schultz, what, 20 cents? Isn’t that about the pay out for a cup of venti Green Tips with two sachets?
Fortunately, another barista overhead what was going on and disabused her colleague of her false belief, that refills are not available on rewards drinks. So I took my venti Green Tips and went on my merry way. Maybe I should start frequenting a different store. Have I outworn my welcome??
I’ve been experimenting with various methods for achieving the best brew of this quite decent Mao Feng blend. Today, I did not bother requesting ice cubes, since the barista, who already seemed to think that I was robbing the place, would surely have rolled her eyes. Instead, as soon as I got my cup, I went to a table, removed the lid, and pulled out the sachets, allowing them cool a bit, then dunked and redunked them a few more times, until the liquor was the greenish golden characteristic of the best cups of this tea.
It was very good. So I learned a new method today, despite having to endure a surly barista’s sardonic crusties.
Another save by Harney & Sons Japanese Sencha, as I needed a good tea—and fast—before departing again for more work on my new and humbler abode. I’m working both fronts here: trying to get out of this place, while trying to prepare the other place. This will sound perhaps bitchy, but I cannot abide moving my worldly possessions into a space which is covered with other people’s dirt. So I had to go do a major mopping, the serious, nitty-gritty kind, involving towels and buckets of soapy water and clean water for rinse. Why? Because it seemed pretty clear that the floor in my future bedroom had not felt the drip of water in years. It looks better now, after my furious hands-and-knees cleaning of the place, but I may have to do it again around the corners and crevices.
Sounds like I’m a clean freak, right? Actually, I’m quite the opposite. My issue is other people’s dirt. I have no problem with my own.
Well, thanks to my two glasses of Harney & Sons Japanese Sencha, I had the vim and verve to do what needed to be done!
I do have one relevant observation, for people who read tasting notes to learn about tea, not about the authors: by whom and why and where is “wood” listed as a tasting note for this tea? I scoured the other reviews and could not identify who the culprit slinging the wood epithet was. So why is that listed prominently as a tasting note on this tea’s profile? It almost seems like a competitor corporate hacker sabotage. Not to be paranoid, but how else to explain a tasting note which is not claimed by any of the reviewers?? I ask most sincerely.
Do I recommend this tea? Hell, yes. Does it taste like wood? Hell, no.
Tonight’s bedtime infusion is Celestial Seasons Tension Tamer. I’ve been drinking these functional blends regularly during the last leg of my moving marathon. Like the Good Earth Good Night blend which I was drinking last night, Tension Tamer offers a somewhat eccentric combination of flavors. I nearly always find the licorice dominant, and tonight is no exception.
I do hope that this brew will induce sleep soon, as the book movers are coming tomorrow to take away about thirty (or is it forty?) boxes of books. I made very severe cuts, asking myself whether a potential book for donation could or could not be accessed via my Nook. Turns out that almost everything can these days. I am keeping all of my beautifully bound books, the Folio editions and the Pléiades, along with anything written in a language other than English. I am donating nearly everything else. Another relevant factor which went into my drastic reduction in book tonnage is that I’ll be living within a short walking distance to an excellent library with access to any text I could ever possibly wish to read. I’ll just pretend that the library is my personal collection from now on!
Soon I shall be departing from HRH Emperor Oliver’s final resting place, so I felt the need to brew up a glass of one of his commemorative teas this afternoon. Today I made #1, which is a simple blend of white tea with blueberry and peach flavor, and decorated with cornflowers. It tastes quite good!
May HRH Emperor Oliver rest in peace! His spirit will surely follow me wherever I may go.
I see now at the Mighty Leaf Organic Breakfast profile page that the black teas used are sourced from India. So that would be Assam and something else, probably something similar to Ceylon or Keemun (the usual English Breakfast suspects—but those are not from India). Or perhaps there is a more complex multi-tea blend involved here. Anyway, this tastes good. Definitely a solid English Breakfast tea. I’ll try this steep-off again soon and make sure to compare the Mighty Leaf with the Harney & Sons BEFORE adding cream!
Annoyingly, I just lost a lengthy tasting note relaying this afternoon’s steep-off chez sherapop between Harney & Sons English Breakfast and Mighty Leaf Organic English Breakfast. I’ll try to reconstruct what I wrote.
My first observation was that the tea in the Harney & Sons sachet was ever-so-slightly darker than in the Mighty Leaf sachet. Both smell like classic English Breakfast, with a hefty dose of Assam—or reasonable facsimile. Harney & Sons has used Kenyan Milima in place of Indian Assam. Not sure what Mighty Leaf is using. Perhaps it is just good old-fashioned Assam! The lighter coloring of some of the tips in the Mighty Leaf sachet leads me to suspect that they may be using more Ceylon or some other tea lighter than Assam as the mixer. I believe that Keemun is often used.
The brew of the Harney & Sons was slightly darker than the Mighty Leaf liquor—also dark amber. The scent was characteristically English Breakfast. I cannot smell or drink English Breakfast tea without thinking of Tazo Awake—no doubt because I consumed so much of it in the past.
As far as the taste is concerned, I began thinking that I preferred the Mighty Leaf. Then it seemed that I preferred the Harney & Sons. Basically I seemed to go back and forth from sip to sip! I mistakenly added cream before starting the sip-off, so probably I’ll need to do another steep-off in order to determine the winner in this case!
This afternoon I have confirmed that the cherry flavoring of Harney & Sons Cherry Blossom is too strong for me. I don’t want to hold it against Harney & Sons, though, since I also prefer the second infusion of the Kusmi flavored green teas. It seems that, with rare exceptions, I really do prefer my green tea without adulterants…
Despite containing pineapple as the fruit, Mighty Leaf Green Tea Tropical reminded me a lot of Kusmi Thé Vert à la Fraise. I wonder whether strawberries and pineapple are related somehow? So, yes, this is a fairly fruity-flavored green tea with probably a bancha base green tea. I’ll try another sachet soon to get a firmer idea of what may be this tea’s unique virtues…
I received two generous samples of Bi Luo Chun from Teavivre (thanks!), and I just brewed up a nice-sized pot. I’m not really sure what the dose of this tea should be, as it is extremely light and airy, filled with spaces. It almost seems weightless! I ended up using about three teaspoons for the pot, but I’m not sure whether the samples are supposed to be measured as pot portions. Perhaps Angel could weigh in? ;-)
Anyway, this was my second experience with a Bi Luo Chun tea, the first having been one from Tealux. So now I know: this tea has a very subtle flavor, not at all vegetal, but still tasty and thirst-quenching. I like the comparison to flaky pastry, except that the texture and flavor are not at all buttery to me. Bi Luo Chun strikes me as a very neutral tea, which would work well as an accompaniment to any meal—or dessert!