1200 Tasting Notes
Tonight’s bedtime brew was Pukka Love. Lots of vibrant yellow chamomile is in full evidence in this ever-so-slightly sweet blend. (That would be the licorice root…)
I now consider Pukka Love to be the much less sweet second cousin of Tazo Rest, although from the other side, it could be compared to Harney & Sons Yellow & Blue or other chamomile and lavender blends. In the case of Pukka Love, the lavender is rather low-key, but still discernible. A nice change of pace from straight-up chamomile soliflores—there is lots of chamomile here as well!
In an endeavor to ascertain whether I was simply having a “bad Earl Grey day,” I decided to brew up a glass of Numi Decaf Earl Grey right after the Kusmi. This was not exactly a steep-off, since I brewed and drank the teas separately (in succession), rather than side-by-side, which is a requirement for a true steep-off chez sherapop.
Nonetheless, I did keep the controllable parameters as similar as possible, using 4 grams, the same glass, and boiling water, and steeping for about five minutes. The result was clear: Numi is the winner. The black tea base is much better, in my opinion, and the bergamot aging process used by Numi is obviously superior to the “spray on” application method (I assume) favored by Kusmi. My understanding is that the Numi caffeinated Earl Grey uses an Assam base. It is unclear whether this same base is used (after being CO2 decaffeinated) in the Decaffeinated Earl Grey, but I suspect that it is, as the flavor is rich and deep like a good Assam. The dark amber liquor becomes an enticing caramel color with the addition of light cream and tastes very good.
Despite being brewed from filter bags (I used two so that the total amount of tea would be the same, 4 grams), the Numi proved to be significantly better than the brewed loose-leaf Kusmi Decaffeinated Earl Grey. In fact, this Numi decaf tastes better than many caffeinated Earl Greys and easily beats the grocery store competition!
Once again I found myself craving Earl Grey way past my caffeine cut-off time, so I brewed up a large glass of Kusmi Decaffeinated Earl Grey and drank it with light cream. The amber-colored brew was certainly potable, but it was not what I’d call lip-smackingly good. I’ll finish my small (25 gram) tin but will not restock.
That’s what’s really nice about this size for testing: you can be fairly sure after a few different tries whether or not the tea is for you. In this case, I’m just not enamored of the black tea base . The bergamot tastes okay, but the underlying tea flavor is not appealing to me.
I’ve been wanting to do a steep-off between the various green tea sachets in my cupboard, but now upon brewing up a glass of Paromi Palace Green, I recognize that comparing it to Wissotzky Timeless Green doesn’t make much sense, though it is true that they both brew up golden veering green. Beyond that similarity, they are completely different teas!!!!
The Paromi is smoother and buttery. The flavor is far subtler—which can be a plus or a minus, depending upon one’s current craving. I would also say that this Paromi seems closer to a Japanese than a Chinese variety—although I believe that it also came from China.
All in all, I remain convinced that this is a super-suave grocery-store green sachet. Of course, this one came from Whole Foods, not the regular market. I do not believe that the swank jar alone has won me over, either. It’s the taste!
Looking forward to a second infusion of this plump sachet later today!
While drinking some other gnarled knots earlier today, I was reminded of this surprisingly good grocery-store offering from Wissotzky: Timeless Green, from the Signature Collection.
The dried leaves are gnarled and compact, highly scented and somewhat redolent of floral greens, though the scent in this case comes directly from the tea leaves, it seems.
It’s really very good. The flavor of the golden-green liquor is quite robust, so one must be in the mood for a hearty green, but there is no bitterness to this brew whatsoever. I’m increasing my rating!
I love the compact, gnarled knottiness of this Curled Dragon Silver Tips tea from Zen Tea. The scent of the dried leaves is strong and toasty. The liquor is pale greenish yellow and begins to veer toward peach after a couple of minutes.
My first glass seemed a bit low on taste somehow—probably expectations. It was reminding me a bit of subtle China greens such as Bi Luo Chun. The second glass was more flavorful—again, I believe, because the perfect drinking temperature for green tea is a bit lower than the brewing temperature.
The flavor was succulent but still subtler than I had been expecting. From the scent of the dried leaves, I was fully expecting a more robust liquor. I’ll probably increase my leafage next time…
Of late, I have been focusing on the loose leaf chamomile from Harney & Sons, but tonight I wanted something quick and easy, so I infused a single sachet. I suppose that another virtue of the sachet format is … portion control!
To be honest, I am basically the antithesis of the type of tea drinker praised on the Republic of Tea cans, where they scold us for “gulping” rather than “sipping”. Is my alleged “vice” mitigated to some degree by the fact that I drink my teas and infusions with no sugar added? I don’t know—it all sounds pretty moralistic and condescending to me. Tomorrow I’ll definitely brew an entire large Bodum of scalding chamomile just to spite the scolding sippers!!!!!
As usual, the liquor was golden and shimmery, and flavor very good.
The unfurling of the dragon pearls from this Jasmine green tea from Zen Tea was a joy to behold! The leaves are whole, and they just kept unraveling, until at last each pearl (I used 10) was completely unrolled and fully extended. In fact, the leaves are so long that I was able to fish them out, rather than using a sieve to remove them.
The liquor is pale greenish yellow, and mixed in with the green tea leaves were full-on jasmine petals. A very nice tea—the flavor is lightly floral but also slightly sweet from the green leaves. I am looking forward to the second steep!
My very first experience with Zen Tea—from an order placed only a couple of days ago!—Jasmine YInhao brews up pale greenish yellow but begins to turn golden as the temperature cools. I think that I may have used overly heated water, so it took a while before it cooled to drinking temperature.
Anyway, so far so good: a nice jasmine scent and flavor. I’ll be trying this tea again soon steeped at a lower temperature to ensure that it is experienced in the best possible conditions.
The jasmine is imparted by essence, not flower petals, but it smells true to nature.
Now that I have a cute little scale for tea weighing, I am making sure to use a full 5 grams for a regular-sized tetsubin pot. Today’s Tealux Mao Feng Superfine High Mountain did taste mighty fine as a result!
Very pale greenish yellow liquor veering peach. Very Mao-Fengy flavor with a bit of vegetal undertone.