1515 Tasting Notes
I was seriously craving this tea last night, but I was so worn out by the weather that I opted to go to bed early instead—at midnight instead of 3am.
Today’s second TOD (teaof the day) had to be this one. (I nearly always start my tea day with a green.) The dried tea smells so fantastically, incredibly rich and sumptuous that I could probably be content just sitting and sniffing it all day. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration.
Once again, I was very pleased with this golden brew, its sweet floral aroma, and luxurious texture. A very good grocery store find indeed!
Today’s tetsubin of Teavana Jade Dragon Mao Feng was not quite as good as I recalled from the past. It’s possible that it is losing some flavor—I opened the envelope back in January, and the dried tea does not smell very fragrant anymore.
I’m going to try to sip down all of my already opened packages in view of the absurd level of heat and humidity we’ve been experiencing of late.
I admit to having been spoiled by Harney & Sons’ super fresh and delicious Egyptian Chamomile, but even Pukka Love is a lot better than this Sweet Dreams chamomile blend from Bigelow. It tastes either stale or sour—or perhaps both. Perhaps the mint is old, or perhaps the hibiscus is making the whole mess taste sour. I know that this particular bag is not old, because it came from a new box in my housemate’s cupboard. It’s just not good.
To dump or refrigerate? That is the question.
Could I really go an entire 24 hours without any tea-esque beverage sipped hot? It almost happened today, because though my top-floor space is fully equipped with an air conditioner (which I grudgingly acquired, though now I am grateful…), the living space downstairs feels like a sweat shop!
My solution: take a shower, and then sit in front of the air conditioning until I feel cold. Now I am sipping a bedtime glass of Pukka Love. This is a decent chamomile blend. I stand by my earlier rating, though I still do not taste much in the way of rose. The chamomile itself is very and tasty, and there is a thickness and slight sweetness to the brew—though nowhere near Tazo Rest, which is more like sugary roses somehow.
I consider Pukka Love to be a successful filterbag because I am pretty sure that this blend would taste about the same brewed from a sachet or perhaps even loose. The bright yellow hue of the liquor is the first clue that the chamomile is fresh.
Love is a genuine like for me.
Like all good middle-class Americans, I’ve consumed my share of Celestial Seasonings Zinger teas, including this one, Raspberry Zinger. For years, I was perfectly satisfied with this company’s many variations on the hibiscus-rosehip theme. Until I encountered Tazo and realized that the Zingers really lacked zing by comparison. I especially found that Tazo Passion occupied a different stratum as far as intensity and quality of flavor were concerned. From then on, I pretty much stopped buying Celestial Seasonings tea, though I do occasionally find some in my house.
Case in point: this four-bag sample pack of Raspberry Zinger, of unknown age and provenance. The dried tea smelled exactly like my memory of this blend, so I brewed it up fully intending to drink it iced. Upon discovering that it was indeed a bit lacking in the flavor department (though I brewed it double strength to pour over ice), I threw a fair amount of True Lime into the mix. Then the iced beverage was more like a strong citrus punch with a bit of raspberry in the background. Pretty thirst quenching, but I won’t be buying it again. If I find any more Celestial Seasoning Zinger bags lying around, I’ll probably deploy the same strategy with them as well. The reason why I brewed this hot rather than cold was because I accidentally boiled too much water while preparing today’s coffee, so I figured Why not?
For those who do not know: True Lime is the miraculously freeze-dried form of lime juice. It is a million times better than the juice in those green plastic limes or in any bottled form. I highly recommend it to those who like to use citrus to flavor iced teas or in cooking. The company also makes True Lemon, True Orange, and True Grapefruit, all of which do truly represent the taste of the respective juice.
I recently had an epiphany about filter bags. Their true destiny, I now see, is to be used for cold brew! I gave away a slew of filter bags when I moved this past spring, but I still seem to have hundreds lingering around, so I’m going to try to use them up this summer for pitchers of iced tea.
Today’s sip-down of sorts was a liter of Yogi Green Tea Super Antioxidant, prepared last night right before bedtime. It makes a decent pre-sweetened iced green tea. I usually do not add sugar to tea, but the licorice root gently sweetens this brew. I drank the entire pitcher in lieu of my usual big tetsubin of mid-day green. It is simply too hot for anything but iced today.
I have a few of the muslin sachets of Palais des Thés Thé du Hammam and since I did not awaken until 1pm I figured that drinking green tea at 9pm will simply cement my nocturnal summer schedule. Here I come, 4am…
This may be a case where I’d be happier to see the tea. I certainly did not grasp any of the apparently abundant florality present here: roses, sunflowers, and blue mallow. I really only tasted the green tea (which I do not believe is sencha, in contrast to some reviewers) and the berry flavoring, which seemed somewhat artificial and, what is worse, much louder than the green tea base.
I don’t usually enjoy the taste of sunflowers in tea, so I did not miss it here. I have no idea what blue mallow should taste like, but I love rose and do not really taste or smell it in this blend. I should probably do a second steep, since generally by then the flavor on top subsides, allowing the underlying green tea to reveal some of its character.
The weather here in Boston has been rather Morrocan of late, so I figured that this would be a good time to try out Kusmi’s version of Morrocan Mint tea. I have had this small tin for a while, but I usually change my mind upon lifting the lid, as the preponderance of spearmint makes me realize that this is not really a good first green of the day choice—at least not for me.
The appearance of the dried tea reminds me of an old can of Republic of Tea Morrocan Mint. I must never have developed a liking for it, because it eventually became so old that I ended up throwing it away when I moved.
Gunpowder green appears to be the tea, and the mint of course is spearmint. This tastes okay, but it’s not my favorite combination. I should get my hands on some straight-up high-grade gunpowder to see whether I like that tea. In the past, I tried some middling versions with left me with a negative impression of the entire genre.