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.
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.
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.
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…)
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.
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!
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…