1082 Tasting Notes
I have managed to accumulate a fairly large collection of loose-leaf senchas in zip-lock envelopes from a variety of different emporia, and I was debating which one to brew up today after lunch, but it all became too complicated, with me changing my mind about three times. Then I began to wonder whether I should not try one of the new gyokuros.
In the end, I aborted the tetsubin plan, and brewed up two filter bags of Harney & Sons Japanese Sencha. Just what I was craving, as a matter of fact!!!!
Another Tazo China Green Tips at Starbucks yesterday. This time I ordered it in a ceramic mug and threw in a few ice cubes to cool the water even further. The brew was good. Maybe the best way to order this is to ask the barista to throw some ice into the bottom of the cup?
second infusion: I reinfused the spent sachets at home. The second round was almost as good as the first, albeit more golden in color than green.
third infusion: I was still craving green tea to accompany my bath, so I gave these sachets another dousing, and the tea was perfectly potable, now veering more toward “generic” green than anything recognizable as Mao Feng. Still, not bad for a decaffeinated green!
This decaffeinated blend from Tazo is a rare example of a floral-scented green tea which sits well with me. I have serious issues with jasmine, and this tea is generously scented in a similar way—only with lotus and marigold. Somehow this works for me. The liquor is peach-orange colored, and despite being decaffeinated, these leaves can be multiply infused, yielding a beautiful peach color and a floral flavor each time!
I brewed up a pot of Decaf Lotus Blossom Green this evening because I imbibed black teas this afternoon, rather than green, and so had no spent leaves from which to prepare a post-dinner pot. This really hit the spot, as usual. I do believe that I could not drink such a markedly floral tea every day, but that’s just fine since most days I do drink a pot of caffeinated green during the afternoon, which I am then able to resteep long after the final caffeine bell for the day has rung…
I remain impressed by the Tazo offerings. I find the teas to be of high quality—relative to most other mass market varieties. I’ve been noticing that the fans of Tazo and the fans of Teavana do not seem to overlap much. The two companies seem to have very different approaches to tea and tea-like beverages. I’m a Tazo gal, myself.
Starbucks acquired both companies to cover all bases in their quest for total global beverage hegemony. I’m not complaining, mind you. They are a well-run company with high-quality offerings. Plus a most generous tea-refill policy!!!!!!
Tazo Awake has always struck me as the tea equivalent to dark-roasted coffee. Some people don’t like it because they find it too unrefined and blunt. For me what matters is that it does what it says on the label. This Assam blend packs a mighty punch of caffeine, has a malty heft, brews up dark reddish brown, and tastes good with cream.
Awake satisfies both my Assam cravings and my need for an afternoon caffeine jolt. Dare I demand more?
I have fallen behind in my endeavor to review all of the Steepster Select teas, so I’ve decided to do something about that, beginning with Red Jade from Eco-cha.
My first observation is that the envelope did not really contain very much tea. There is no possible way that the spent leaves could be re-steeped to produce anything but dreck.
My initial attempt at a first infusion, using boiling water and steeping for 3 minutes, produced a weak liquor—nothing like the Assam mentioned in the accompanying card description. This was already a bit disappointing, as I had poured the tea into a glass with a bit of cream in the bottom (under the assumption that this would be an Assam-like experience). The color was very light beige, so I knew that I needed to let the leaves steep a bit more. I don’t usually steep leaves with cream in the pot, but I made an exception here in an attempt to salvage the lot.
The resultant brew, steeped for a total of six minutes, actually tasted pretty good. More complex than most Assam teas, and not at all malty. I think that I was a bit misled on this one. I do think that this tea is pretty good, but it seems closer to a Yunnan than an Assam tea to me.
I’ll try again with the second packet, using even less water (I used 12 ounces today). I think that the Steepster program may be too expensive with this amount of tea being provided for the price. I’d suggest that the administrators of this program provide a minimum of 5 grams per envelope. Otherwise I see a lot of attrition in the future, once the original alluring introductory price becomes $25 per month. I realize that there is a desire for profit, but tea is not really that expensive. A full five-gram portion would not cut so much into profits and would make the subscribers a lot happier—at least if they are anything like me.
Another afternoon of China Green Tips. I read a long law journal article on the distinction between unlawful combatants and domestic jihadists. Green Tips was very helpful in navigating my way through this turgid linguistic bog.
second infusion: this was very good today, probably because the first infusion was steeped at an appropriately lower temperature. I remain convinced that this is a very good Mao Feng blend.
third infusion: I’ll be having this along with my bath…
I had refrigerated the second half of my pot of Teavana Almond Plum Perfection because I did not find it very palatable hot. How is it cold? Honestly, it reminds me of Hawaiian Punch doctored with Everclear. I’m working from memory here—freshman year in college—but there is a low-grade grain alcohol flavor to this cold brew! I do smell the almond off the surface of the liquid, but the flavor does not break through the spiked punch-like beverage.
I have an entire, unopened 2 ounce envelope of this blend, which I should probably confer upon some person who actually likes it. If you are such a person, please drop me a line!