892 Tasting Notes

68
drank Korean Sejak by DAVIDsTEA
892 tasting notes

My very first Korean tea ever. The appearance of the dried leaves did not immediately call to mind any particular type of tea, but once infused, they smelled an awful lot like sencha.

However, my initial encounter with the liquor was a bit bitter and lacked that satisfying je ne sais quoi of sencha. I did not feel utterly compelled to continue to imbibe this precious liquid (as I did yesterday with another new green tea from China). After a few sips, it no longer seemed bitter but still was not drawing my lips to the glass like iron filings to a magnet. The scent and taste seemed variable from one sip to the next: here vegetal, there a tiny bit floral, again somewhat earthy… Like a kaleidoscope, but subtly so. Korean monks apparently drink this tea. I can see that.

The color of the first infusion was pale yellow moving ever-so-slightly toward green. The color of the second infusion was quite a bit brighter yellow, but the taste was considerably lighter.

I need to try this again before bestowing a rating on it… The water for the first infusion (in a cast iron tetsubin-type tea pot) may have been too hot.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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90

Another trip to Starbucks after the library culminated in a take-away tea refill. I hadn’t eaten anything so first drank a grande latte (whole milk, long shots, extra hot—yeah, I’m one of them…). Then of course my by now predictable refill: full leaf sachet Refresh.

Good as usual—both the scent and the taste. Plus today there was an extra benefit: the hot cup served as a hand warmer while I meandered my way home amidst the sunlit piles of snow.

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78
drank Calm by Tazo
892 tasting notes

I had another cup of Calm prepared from the sachet last night. I still feel that there are a lot of different flavors competing with the result that the chamomile is left lurking in the shadows. However, unlike my latest batch of Sleepytime, the spearmint does not completely take over the blend…

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92

Talk about delicious. Wow! The scent of this gorgeous tea sent to me directly from China by Teavivre is quite vegetal and reminiscent of something like green beans. The taste is superb. Light, crisp, and refreshing. Right up my alley, since I am a major sencha aficionado. One, I might add, with very limited experience with the fine teas of China and a pretty longstanding pro-Japan prejudice when it comes to green tea. Teavivre has arrived on the scene to rectify this situation posthaste!

I am using a small cast-iron pot and was meticulous about the water temperature and timing. At first I thought that I had under-brewed the tea, or perhaps had not used enough of the dry leaves, as the color was extremely pale green, and I worried that it would be weak. Not so: it’s excellent.

I love the flat shape of the dried leaves and how they blossom into large vibrant sheaths upon infusion.


The second infusion is just as good as the first.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TeaVivre

Green tea made from new leaves and buds, like white tea, after picking the leaves are steamed or heated to reduce oxidation. So the color is Pale green yellow.

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88

I have now exhausted my supply of Stash Premium Green filter bags and have resorted to one of my packages of the loose tea. This is one of the cases where the filter bags are so fool-proof that I prefer them since I don’t have to think to produce a perfect cup. I made a real effort today to follow the correct rules for brewing loose green tea: water not too hot; not too much tea in the pot; short steeping time.

The pot wasn’t perfect—there was a bit of a bitter edge to the first infusion—but it was still good. The liquor was the beautiful citron/peridot greenish yellow which I’ve come to associate with high-quality sencha. I love to gaze through it as the double-walled Bodum glass sits on my windowsill, especially on a day like today: 9F feels like -9F. NO WAY am I going anywhere!!!!

I must leave my former high rating in place, because the bags deserve it, and I am sure that I’ll get the proper proportions and temperature right eventually for the loose leaf tea as well. For now, this brew has satisfied today’s post-lunch sencha craving.

I’ll do a follow-up infusion, of course! (My reward for the extra effort required to use the loose leaves…)

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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62

Definitely more spearmint than chamomile… Or am I especially sensitive to spearmint????

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75

Another pot of this excellent, light and refreshing after-dinner green tea. I’m on my third infusion, and the liquor is still yellow (from the marigold, I presume), and the flavor still tasty. Shall I try a fourth infusion? Perhaps. What have I got to lose?

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92

Now I really am convinced that this is better than the Imperial. Despite its lighter scent and lighter weight in the sachet format, and despite the identical color of the liquor, I found that the Supreme brew tastes quite a bit smoother.

The Imperial is good, but the Supreme is better. I don’t even think that that difference has to do with the stronger bergamot in the Imperial, since in the brewed tea it did not really taste stronger. The tea tasted different, though. The silver tips added to this blend must, therefore, be contributing to the final taste of the brew. The tea is truly the perfect base for Earl Grey. Is there a better Earl Grey out there (beyond the land of Harney & Sons)? Do tell!

When I go to replenish my Harney & Sons Earl Grey supply, I’ll definite be ordering more of the Supreme. An excellent Earl Grey.

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74

To celebrate the arrival of Hercules, I decided to do a brew-off between sachets of Harney & Sons Earl Grey Imperial and Earl Grey Supreme. The last time I tried them in close succession, I preferred the Supreme but was wondering whether my preference had to do with the format (loose leaf) versus the sachet of the Imperial. Since I had a few sachets of the Supreme, I decided to try them side-by-side: same water, same steeping time, identical glass, same format, same amount of cream…

I found that the dried Imperial sachet is much more heavily scented. Then I discovered that the Imperial sachet is quite a bit heavier wet. The color of the two liquors was essentially the same: dark orangish red. I was predicting that I’d like this one better than the Supreme. I was wrong!

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72

Not sencha, but still pretty good and in that general neighborhood. It’s certainly a million times better than the middling grocery store China lint-infested greens.

The liquor brews up a bit more golden brown than the green of Harney & Sons Japanese Sencha, and the taste is lighter and less crisp. Again I find the taste similar to bancha…

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Bio

A long-time tea and perfume lover, I have recently begun to explore the intersections between the two at my blog: http://salondeparfum-sherapop.blogspot.com//

I participate at fragrance community websites, and I care about tea as much as perfume, so why not belong to Steepster as well?

A few words about my ratings. In assessing both teas and perfumes, my evaluation is “all things considered.” Teas do not differ very much in price (relative to perfumes or any luxury items), so I do not usually consider the price when rating a tea.

What I do consider is how the particular tea compares to teas of its own type. So I might give a high rating to a fine herbal infusion even though I would never say that it is my favorite TEA. But if it’s good for what it is, then it deserves a high rating. There is no point in wishing that a chamomile blend was an Assam or a sencha tea!

Any rating below 50 means that I find the liquid less desirable to drink than plain water. I may or may not finish the cup, depending upon how thirsty I am and whether there is another hot beverage or (in summertime) a source of fresh water available.

From 50 to 60 indicates that, while potable, the tea is not one which I would buy or repurchase, if I already made the mistake (I have learned) of purchasing it.

From 60 to 70 means that the tea is drinkable but I have criticisms of some sort, and I probably would not purchase or repurchase the tea as I can think of obvious alternatives which would be better.

From 70 to 80 is a solid brew which I would purchase again.

From 80 to 90 is good stuff, and I probably need to have some ready at hand in my humble abode.

From 90 to 100 is a tea (or infusion) which I have come to depend on and look forward to imbibing again and again—if possible!

If you are interested in perfume, you might like my 2300+ perfume reviews, most of which have been archived at sherapop’s sillage (essentially my perfumelog):

http://sherapop.blogspot.com/

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