1161 Tasting Notes
Strangely, my second envelope of Eco-Cha Red Jade contains about twice as much tea as the first one did. So there must be some quality control issues in the preparation of the Steepster Select envelopes. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that this tea is much better today, in all likelihood because of the greater leafage. I also reduced the volume of water, so together these measures definitely improved the brew.
The liquor is coppery amber, and the smell of the dried leaves is, oddly enough, somewhat barbeque-esque. I decided to drink this glass without cream (I never add sugar or honey to tea—except chai) because I wanted to give Red Jade a fair chance to reveal its complex flavors. What did I find?
Red Jade has a decidedly Assam demeanor, but it is not at all malty. I suppose that this could be compared to an Assam-Darjeeling blend, but there is no denying the Assam-like density of the brew. While enjoyable to drink, I have to say that I do not detect any of the acclaimed tasting notes: cinnamon, clove, or mint.
I brewed according to the prescribed parameters, so I do believe that I’ve given this tea fair trial. I’ll prepare a second infusion later today, though I am skeptical, as I never, ever reinfuse black teas…
second infusion: so it’s true! This tea is better in the second infusion. Perhaps this is a case where an initial quick hot rinsing would help? I suggest this because by the end of the second infusion the leaves had only just completely unfurled. They are huge! The brew is much better now.
third infusion: all good things must come to an end. I tossed this round. Red Jade definitely peaked for me in the second infusion.
Conclusion: I am very glad that I tried these follow-ups because from my first pot and the first infusion of the second pot, I would have thought that this was just another Assam-esque tea, when it’s really not. The full leaf size is quite impressive. They must have been very tightly wrapped!
I believe that this is my very first experience of Bi Luo Chun, this being Dong Ting from Tealux. The leaves have a distinctive appearance: light and fluffy but curled and covered with white fuzz. Because the tea is so voluminous, I used two heaping teaspoons for this pot—the equivalent of three.
The liquor is pale gold veering peach, and the taste is subtle and faint. According to the Tealux description, the flavor is akin to a flaky pastry. That might be a fair assessment, but it is not at all buttery, so I am not sure. I guess that I associate butter with pastry.
Anyway, this is not a hard-hitting, vegetal green tea but a mild one closer to white tea. I need to imbibe another pot or so before I’ll feel qualified to attach a number to my tasting note. I’ll be brewing a second infusion of these leaves later today, once my caffeine deadline has elapsed.
Harney & Sons Yellow and Blue offers a better balance of chamomile and lavender than does the Traditional Medicinals blend of the same two flowers, which I found to be much more about lavender than chamomile. I’ll have to do a steep-off one of these nights.
Yellow and Blue adds an aura of mystery with lavender lurking in the shadows cast by the sunlike chamomile.
I am somewhat obsessed with violets (and refer to myself as a violet-ho at fragrance community websites), so naturally I could not resist trying Kusmi Violet.
The dried tea smells very violet. The liquor is a dark reddish brown—of course, I brewed it strong. The taste of the brew, however, is mostly black tea. I struggled to “taste” the violet, though I do believe that I caught some wafts off the the surface of the tea. Fortunately, the black tea used is pretty good, so I did enjoy this pot and will be drinking the rest of my tin. Perhaps I should sit and sniff the dried tea while I imbibe!
I now have the small (1 ounce) tin of loose leaf Kusmi Rose Green Tea, so I was anxious to see how it compared with my memory of the brew produced from a sachet.
I used more tea than is contained in a sachet, so for sure this liquor is stronger and darker. The color is peach veering slightly green—not so much brown, as I found with the sachet liquor.
The flavor remains rather rosy. The rose is more prominent than the green tea, and I am very curious now which green tea this is. As I looked through the Kusmi green tea sample tin set, I recognized that they are using different greens for different blends, so I’d better give them a call to find out which is which!
Rose Green is a very floral tea, at least compared to some. The scent off the top of the liquor is especially redolent of fresh roses. The flavor is not at all sweet (as in Tazo Rest, which also features a dominant rose note).
second infusion: this produced a very nice pot of decaffeinated green tea with only a hint of rose. Yum. Note to self: do not neglect to reinfuse these leaves!!!!
For today’s pot of Tealux Lu Shan Yun Wu, I increased the leafage as I felt that last time the flavor was quite faint.
The liquor is still pale yellow, but a bit darker, and the flavor is smooth and ever-so-slightly sweet. This is a fairly neutral-tasting green tea, which might appeal to people who don’t like the more vegetal greens. A good mealtime choice.
second infusion: the liquor this time is bright yellow! As in: do you take a vitamin B complex? That kind of hue. The flavor is good, too.
This filterbag organic chamomile from Traditional Medicinals is very good, but does not quite measure up to the stiff competition: Harney & Sons Chamomile sachet.
The color of the Traditional Medicinals liquor is virtually identical to the Harney & Sons. I noticed that the sachet seemed to weigh more than the filter bag after infusion, so perhaps that contributes to the slightly better taste of the Harney & Sons.
Traditional Medicinals does get extra points for being organic, but the steep-off winner is Harney & Sons. This organic chamomile is slightly drier and less succulent, but still quite good for a grocery store offering. I do recommend it heartily for anyone looking for readily available organic chamomile!
In tonight’s steep-off chez sherapop, Harney & Sons Chamomile sachet is going sniff-to-sniff, sip-to-sip against Traditional Medicinals Organic Chamomile filter bag.
Okay, so the playing field isn’t really even, but I wanted to compare these two because I really liked the Traditional Medicinals when I tried it for the first time the other night.
Both brew up bright yellow and then become gold. Both smell fragrant in the dried and the brewed form. I have to say that the Harney & Sons tastes richer and fuller and more flavorful. Looks like it’s time to increase my rating for this infusion!
I actually ordered Tazo Green Tips as my refill at Starbucks this afternoon. I was given Refresh instead. Rather than complain (it was free!), I decided to look at the mistake as a dictate of fate. It had been a while, and yes, it was good.
There is a reason why Refresh is my most logged tea! Or I should say “tea”. Simple yet oh-so-satisfying: tarragon and mint. I do feel a bit better now, having imbibed a venti Refresh after a grueling day of moving challenges.
I feel like Sisyphus. Seriously.