1382 Tasting Notes
My very first Palais des Thés experience, I have to say that Thé des Moines is a very pleasant surprise!
I was concerned that this black and green tea blend would pose brewing challenges, as I have found it tricky to negotiate the parameters for Tazo Joy, which combines black, green, and oolong teas. I read somewhere that the best approach to these sorts of teas is to brew conservatively, as though the entire blend comprised only the most sensitive tea.
When I smelled Thé des Moines, however, it was so reminiscent of Earl Grey cream teas that I threw caution to the wind and brewed up a small pot as though it were completely black. Boiling water; 5 minutes.
The result was remarkably good, so good, in fact, that I enjoyed the entire large glass of dark amber liquor without adding any cream, which is a real rarity for this Earl Grey amateur. I usually take a sip or two of a new Earl Grey before adulterating it, but in this case the brew was so tasty that I preferred to drink it au naturel!
The flavor is subtle and smooth, with all of the beauty of an Earl Grey cream but without the usually mediocre base tea. Very tasty. I was thinking about reinfusing the leaves, because so many of them are obviously green, but then I decided to drink a suite of new teas on this cold, gray day. I’ll try multiple infusions next time.
For now, I am glad to have a beautiful clay potful of this unique blend! The recipe appears to be a carefully guarded secret, but clearly bergamot has been added, along with a smidgeon of vanilla or something else which gives it that “creamy” taste. The black and green tea leaves are visible, so no debate about those ingredients, though it’s unclear which black and green teas they are…
(Blazing New Rating #1)
The temperature plummeted thirty degrees since yesterday, making this evening a perfect excuse to brew up a wonderful comfort tea: Vanilla Comoro. As usual, I drank mine doused with light cream and marveled that this could actually be decaffeinated. I like this tea so much that it may end up being my first completely emptied Harney & Sons tin—which I intend to refill with this same tea in loose form!
I continue my journey through the world of jasmine-scented teas with Kusmi’s loose-leaf Jasmine Green, of which I have a sample tin (25 gram). The dried tea is strongly scented, but that is to be expected from Kusmi, which appears to have a liberal scenting policy, generally speaking. I should say, though, that there are visible jasmine blossoms in this blend, so it’s not just a matter of spraying on jasmine essence in this case.
The many shapes, sizes, and shades of the leaves suggests that this is a blend of a variety of green teas. I knew that I’d be performing multiple infusions, so I used 4 grams in my small pot (about 10 ounces). The resultant dark gold liquor was, unsurprisingly, rich and potent. In fact, I may have slightly overleafed on this batch. But that just means that the second infusion should be perfect! I’ll report back…
second infusion: as predicted, very tasty—and better than the first!
I wanted to compare this Mao Jian from Nourishtea with the one from Teavivre, but this is not exactly a steep-off chez sherapop, as I brewed and drank this tea after the Xin Yang Mao Jian. I also failed to use the same parameters.
For this two-glass pot, I used 76C water (not 79C) and steeped for about three minutes. To be honest, I am not sure which I prefer! All I can say for sure is that I do like Mao Jian, in general.
The liquor of this brew was greener and lighter than the Teavivre, but it might be because there were small particles of broken leaves in the bottom of the glass for the Xin Yang. Another interesting difference is the appearance of the dried leaves, which are darker and more uniform in color in this case.
In order to decide which Mao Jian I prefer, it looks as though I’ll have to do a serious steep-off chez sherapop!
I am a relative newcomer to the world of Mao Jian, having tried only one other example of this tea. What I can conclude on the basis of an induction on two cases is that I do like Mao Jian! Teavivre’s variety, Xin Yang Mao Jian, has a distinctive dried leaf form, with long, thin, spindly leaves which look a bit like twisted ropes with some silk threads interspersed. Lots of shadows and light—and very attractive to behold!
I brewed about 4 grams in about 16 ounces of water for about three minutes. The resultant liquor is a somewhat darker shade of yellow with a hint of green. The flavor starts out seeming somewhat robust and vegetal but as it settles on the palate it becomes more smooth and soft. My packet contained some smaller particles which passed through the sieve, so it’s possible that the tea would be less robust if I filtered those out.
For now, based on this initial experience, I can say that I am happy with this tea—a fine lunchtime brew! I am looking forward to a second infusion of the spent leaves, which are redolent of further Mao Jian goodness to come…
I may have overleafed—or rather overbudded—my big Bodum of Harney & Sons Egyptian Chamomile tonight. Oh well, no harm done. The liquor was darker gold, but the flavor was still chamomile, chamomile, and more chamomile. Next time I’ll weigh out my serving, rather than eye-balling. I should have today, but I just kept popping buds while watching Billionaire Boys Club, which is basically Rope meets Hustle.
I reached for this Numi Decaf Simply Green tonight because I was suffering from a severe green tea deficit, but it was way too late for caffeine. It was fine. Not Numi’s best offering, but good enough, under the circumstances. This batch seemed more like Chun Mee than Gunpowder, but perhaps it is a blend of n’importe quoi?
On the decaf question, it occurred to me that perhaps I should start setting the first infusion aside to put in the refrigerator for iced tea, and then I could drink the second and third infusions at night. I definitely will not going out of my way to obtain any more decaffeinated green, because I can make my own using this method.
I did it my way. That’s right: I completely disregarded the meticulous instructions offered by Tea Setter on its sample packet of Jasmine Pearls Green Tea! I had even watched the charming YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji55CQSLYTI) on how to “experience” (rather than just drink) tea, but I ended up deciding that for this brew I should use more or less the same amount and method which I’ve been using for Jasmine Pearls over the the past week or so.
Instead of using all 4 grams, I counted out half of them (13 pearls), and steeped them for about 2 minutes in a glassful of water. It tasted good, and the liquor was pale greenish yellow with a very slight tinge of peach. The second infusion was even better than the first, and now I am wishing that I had followed the prescribed procedure.
My hesitation to get hip with the gaiwan method is two-fold. First, I cannot really imagine brewing only 3 ounces of tea! What? That’s a single gulp! Guilty as charged: I am indeed a tea gulper. Second, how can I steep something for 10 seconds? What?
Well, I’m sure that I’ll come around at some point in the future, but for now I am sticking with the much-maligned “Western” method.
second infusion: still rather floral
third infusion: the leaves are now fully unfurled and to my surprise I see that they are mainly long stems rather than broader leaves. This round was not very flavorful—perhaps the stem to leaf ration had something to do with it… Or perhaps I should try the gaiwan method, since 10 seconds + 20 seconds + 30 seconds + 60 seconds adds up to my first infusion but four infusions using a gaiwan!
It is rare for me to leave the house without first having imbibed some form of green tea, but it happened today. I awoke rather late (it was nearly noon), and since I had eaten ice cream sandwiches (plural, that’s right…) last night, I wasn’t even hungry enough to eat lunch, so the need for the obligatory post-lunch green was obviated given my squelched appetite.
My first “brew” of the day ended up being a venti (unsweetened) iced Passion chez Starbucks. As usual, it was very good. I defy anyone to identify the alleged difference between this “new” iced tea, which they refer to as “Passion Tango” and credit to the Teavana company, and the iced Tazo Passion with which I have a long and steamy relationship. Well, not exactly, but I do tend to drink it on hot and humid days like today!
Memories light the corners of my mind …
Flower power continues tonight chez sherapop with Tazo Rest. I’m approaching the depletion of my supply of these filter bags and do not know whether it will be possible to restock, given that the company is apparently awaiting a death knell to be delivered by my favorite global beverage hegemon, but I’d consider replenishing for sure because the blend is truly unique among contending bedtime brews.
Sugary rose petals in a viscous golden liquor. I realize that may sound outlandish (if not repulsive), but I’m not imagining the viscosity, as I espied small particles of what look like very fine gelatin in the bottom of the glass!
I ended up drinking two servings tonight, so hopefully this will put me over the top for a long and deep sleep. I’m aiming for ten hours!!!!!
Make it happen, Tazo Rest!!!!!!!!
[stage instructions: to be articulated in my best Godfather voice]