909 Tasting Notes
Tea of the morning…..
I am so glad to be home from a short trip to the lake. We had a lovely time with family, but it was so hot! Temps were over 100 deg and that is hot for this north east Ohio gal. Plus, the water is not ideal for making tea, so I was drinking mostly bagged tea. I missed my tea bar. (I am not sure what else to call it, as it has all my tea making stuff and a stash of more loose leaf than I can reasonably drink!)
Since I have been home, I have had some of this, plus Diamond Jubilee from Harney & Sons. I am trying to get a read on their differences since Harney will be offering Diamond Jubilee in loose leaf soon. This one is very light bergamot and orange, and Diamond Jubilee is a light bergamot (as opposed to very light) with sweet grapefruit. For me they are different enough. I do seem to be going through the Gout Russe pretty fast, too, so hopefully the Diamond Jubilee loose will help slow that down a little. I can’t afford to be ordering from Dammann Freres more than a few times a year.
And Happy Anniversary to my Jim. We are celebrating 18 years today!
Usual teapot method.
Hmmm. Thought I reviewed this before because I got a sample from Indigobloom and it was the reason I decided to purchase this….
Anyway, second tea of the morning…..
I think pu’erh is usually a cooler weather tea for me, but I decided to have this today anyway. I did pick this up on a recent trip to Williamsburg, VA where they have a Spice & Tea Exchange. It was a fun stop. I picked up an ounce of this, the Coconut Oolong, and a Hazelnut tea that I cannot seem to locate at the moment….This should tell me it is time to do some rearranging…. I do find their tea a little on the pricey side. I think $4.89 per ounce is very steep for some, but not necessarily for others like the Coconut Oolong. They did give $2 off for buying three ounces. I do appreciate the ability to buy in small mounts, though. Bulk amounts there are definitely cost prohibitive.
I really like this one. There is something wonderful about the combination of chocolate flavors and pu’erh tea. It is like they were meant to be together. The addition of the strawberry just makes it taste like a decadent dessert. I can’t really decide if I like this one or the one from Lupicia better. I guess it will just depend on where I am shopping at the time of needing more….
Mug method, 3 minute steep. Lightly sweetened.
Iced tea of the day…..
Oh, this is perfect for a late night pitcher of iced tea! We have been working in the yard today in the heat, so water was definitely the main drink of the day, but about 7 pm I decided I needed iced tea. I also like the idea of a good night’s sleep, and too much caffeine at this point could really hinder how easily I can fall sleep. So, I chose this! It is perfect. Refreshing, notes of black currant and bergamot with a hint of vanilla…..yes, I can taste them all!
Usual iced tea method, just with a 3 minute steep.
Tea of the morning….(SRP #48)
I definitely wanted the opportunity to taste a high quality Bohea. And this one is also from my favorite region for tea (it is a Fujian Province black tea.) Lucky for me and all of us, really, Upton offers just about anything in a sample. I have to admit, this is probably the most expensive sample I have purchased there, but this is worth it!
I will probably be comparing this to other smokey teas. I think it is sweeter and less smokey than Upton’s Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon. TeaVivre’s Lapsang has a slight bacony edge over this one. Hu Kwa from Mark T. Wendell is much smokier. Light notes of malt and honey, but no where near the cocoa notes like you would expect in a Keemun. I would not call it particularly winey, either, like Keemuns can run. I guess that leaves me with light smoke, malt, and honey. The stand out characteristic for me that makes this tea unique in comparison to other light smokey teas I have had…the honey notes.
I have enough for another cup or two, and I will thoroughly enjoy them. Does that make this worthy of purchase? Price is definitely a factor here. If I did not have a few other smokey teas or so many black teas in my stash, I could probably get over the price and purchase. With the current state of things, though, I need to pare things down a little more first.
Usual mug method.
Second tea of the morning…..
I have been so excited to try this. I have been curious about Frank’s new black tea base…..I have to admit, it is a winner. Nice and smooth…tastes like good black tea but is not in your face so that it can better highlight Frank’s awesome flavor ideas. You have to admit, the man does tea like no other.
On that good black base, is the flavor of cotton candy! Sweet that is definitely cotton candy, and maybe cheap strawberry candy (you know, the stuff you could not get enough of as a kid! I am thinking strawberry taffy-ish stuff….) This has been a great little flavor trip down memory lane, and I am so happy that it includes tea as well. I love fun tea!
Usual teapot method.
Iced tea of the day……
This pitcher has 4 scoops of thepuriTea’s Earl Grey and one tea bag of Lupicia’s Sakurambo from my New Year’s Happy Bag brewed up in my usual method for iced tea. I was to the point where both were on my cut list, but it is hard to just dump/rehome over 5 ounces of the first and 9 tea bags of the second. Hence, this was born. I am trying to do some serious stash busting and was to the point where the Earl Grey did not really appeal much to me even iced, as I have so many others that I love. Since my first sample of the Sakurambo bag of 10 sachets, it really has not appealed to me at all.
However, the combination of the two is really pretty good! I get light notes of bergamot and the sweetness of Japanese cherry. The iced version is nice and smooth. And I will be doing this 8 more times for sure! So glad this worked out. I guess once the Sakurambo is gone, I can try another berry flavored tea to perk up this Earl!
Tea of the morning…..
I am about halfway through this tin. It is a very rich Keemun, but there is a definite after-bite. I am sure it is a great example of a high quality Keemun, but I am finding that the higher grades other then Mao Feng don’t appeal as much as they used to. The last two ounces of this are probably going to be filed into my Franken Breakfast blending box. I am sure I can blend something with this to smooth it out for my palate.
Backlogging tea of yesterday afternoon…..
Very pretty! Long wiry black leaves with rose petals and pieces of citrus peel. Dry leaf smells strongly of chocolate, but there is not much of the bergamot. I will do a more in depth review later, but my first impressions of the brewed tea were heavy on the dark chocolate (definitely not in a bad way, though) and very light on the bergamot and rose. I also had time for only one steeping. I am going to let it sit for a week to see if the flavor oils will blend in a little more before trying it again. Right now, I wish the bergamot was a little more present.
Usual mug method.
Another tea of the afternoon…..
This is the second tea in my recent Dammann Freres order. I am always on the look out for a good Earl Grey. It is definitely my tea preference in the warmer months. I was looking for an Earl Grey at Dammann that was available loose (because the loose teas packaged in a bag are a great value in my opinion!), and this is what I picked because it seemed the simplest Earl in their current offerings. They do have one with Yin Zen white tips in the black tea blend, but this one just looked prettier. In sachets, they also have a plain Earl Grey. Since the blue flowers in this one are cornflowers and not lavender, I figured I would be safe (as lavender is usually a turn off for my palate.)
This is really good! I would call it lower on the bergamot intensity, but not as low as something like Earl Grey Supreme from Harney. It is more like a mellow version of bright bergamot. Let me explain that! My favorite Earl Grey has bright notes of bergamot…kind of an in your face bergamot that leans slightly orangey. You definitely know it is there. That version works because it is on a slightly stronger tea base. Since the tea base here is a little more relaxed, and the bergamot level is perfectly matched to the strength of the base, it is a more mellow and relaxed version of my favorite. No hints of floral on the perfumey side which I don’t like at all, but leaning slightly to the orange side of bergamot. I now count this one among my favorites.
Usual mug method.
Tea of the afternoon…..
I almost typed “second tea of the morning”, but we are getting a slow start today. Yesterday was full of activity, and it ended with going to the Drive In Movie to see “Brave” and the “Avengers”. If you know anything about that kind of movie watching, it means a late night as the second show did not even start until nearly midnight. We are moving a little slow today. The kids slept in until noon. Ahh, Summer. But man we need to work on readjusting our schedule a little!
It took just a little over a week to receive an order from Dammann in Ohio. They provide great tracking, but unless you know French, you will need to type a few things into Google Translate. There are a few fields on the page returned from tacking that did not translate in my browser. I did have to sign for mine, so that is also something to keep in mind.
Onto the tea…I purchased a tin/caddie as well as a 100g bag of Gout Russe. Originally, I was thinking that Gout Russe (the tin) and Gout Russe Douchka (the loose version) were two different teas, but it seems they are the same since the tin actually reads Gout Russe Douchka, too. I wish I had ordered something different, but I do love this one, so I am sure I will drink it. The bags for loose tea are not actually sealed, but the roll up kind with a long bendable tab. They did send a few sachets for sampling.
Wonderful China black tea base with orangey citrus done so well it almost leans slightly foral. I love this!
Usual teapot method.