907 Tasting Notes
Tea of the morning……
And a lesson in steeping parameters! This cup is so much better than the last. The last was a 4 minute steep with about 2 1/2 tsp tea in a 15 oz. mug. It was a little intense for me, a little too smokey and too astringent at the end…so I slightly lowered the amount of leaf. I also cut back on the steeping time by 1minute. What I have now is the perfect mug of Keemun. Perfect level of smokiness, perfect nudge of astringency at the end (which is pretty slight!) Yum! I am totally changing the rating! The take away lesson…..as tea preparers, we do have control over what we taste to some degree……use that power wisely, my friends! ;)
Usual mug method with a 3 minute steep and 2 tsp. tea rather than closer to 2 1/2 tsp.
Tea of the afternoon……I really wanted to buy a few teas from thepuriTea, and this one kind of just jumped into my cart in the amount of 8 oz. I know, completely shocking! Really, there was not that big of a price jump from 4 to 8 ounces, and I needed to pad the cart a little to get to that golden level of free shipping. Plus, the description……well, they had me at “Fujianese” for the tea base…… What more could a Chinese black tea loving girl want in an Earl Grey?
I am not disappointed in this one…. The bergamot notes are bright. The tea base is very good! I am not sure I could pinpoint a difference between this and my new found favorite EG from Lupicia. Aha! Yet another mystery that needs to be solved by your ace tea detective, SimplyJenW! Comparisons to come at a later date, because all of this perkiness in my tasting note is more tiring than I thought…..or maybe it was the shoveling snow……
Usual teapot method.
Post workout tea…..
This one is good. It amazes me how well chocolate flavor pairs with puer. I get hints of the strawberry along with a chocolaty richness, and then the earthiness (in light amounts) of puer. The taste is very close to coffee. For those of you out there that are puer beginners, this one definitely has training wheels! And I enjoy this one so much better than the Sunny Fruits Puer which I also liked.
(I am wondering if I am now ready for real pu’erh……;D)
Mug method with a 2 minute steep.
Tea of the morning…..
Ohhh. This one is good. I don’t taste near the amount of astringency at the end of the sip like I did yesterday on the Keemun Grade 2. To be fair, I do think I used a little less leaf today, and I steeped for a minute less, too. I will probably give the Grade 2 another go after this cup and tweak my steeping parameters. I am tasting cocoa notes, a slight roasty-maltiness, and then just a little nudge at the end. The leaves are just a little longer and finer (narrower) than the Grade 2.
There are times when I am doing a tasting like this and wonder if I should not have my scale out, rather than eyeballing the level on the spoon….you know, for the sake of science. I am also thinking of getting another white mug set (ForLife 15 oz with an infuser) in order to do some side by side tastings with more exact parameters. I have been over and over thoughts of a gaiwan or a yixing, but I tend to drink tea in larger amounts and such varying types that ceramic teaware seems to fit best. I also have only so much storage space (and honestly, I would rather fill it with tea!) I am not apologizing, but there is nothing petite and refined about my tea drinking. I have also been considering a cast iron pot. Two things stand out for me here…first, while I see the practicality in the even and longer heating (you will not ever be able to separate me from my cast iron cookware!), I drink tea much faster than it would go cold…remember, nothing petite or refined about how I drink it…think far away from sipping for sure! Plus, the more research I do, the less traditional a cast iron pot actually seems. I am not at all posing this as a judgement on anyone else’s teaware, because quite frankly, the gear needs to fit how you drink it.
Back to the tea. This is very good. Like I said before. Need to play around with my steeping parameters on the other two levels of Keemun from Teavivre. Eventually, I will get into comparisons with my Hao Ya A and my sample of Hao Ya B. The parade of Keemuns continues, even though I would probably be very happy to settle on this one for quite a while! And thank you to Teavivre for sending this sample with my order!
Usual mug method with a 3 minute steep.
Tea of the afternoon…….
I am having one of those moments where I think I have too many kinds of black tea that are similar. Yes, I know I am getting to the place where I can tell slight differences, but if I had stuck to just one or two, could I have been satisfied? I am having a moment where simplicity is appealing. Where having fewer options in my tea cupboard is starting to seem wonderful. (I hope I wake up soon!) I think if I had to settle on one basic black tea (not one black tea all together!) this would be it. I may just start drinking this one as my breakfast tea when it is all said and done……. Always good, always reliable, and with an air of something special. A solid black tea base of Keemun,Yunnan, and Panyang Coungou. This one tastes of roasty, malty, chocolatey tea with hints of floral in there.
Usual teapot method.
Third tea of the morning……
Yes, another value priced Keemun. This one is a little more complex than the English Breakfast from Harney. Very slight smoke, more toasty actually, stronger cocoa note than Harney. No astringency. This one seems to be where I am leaning, but all of the complexity of this one is in the front notes of the taste. The end notes are rather smooth and kind of simple. I am not looking for a huge kick at the end, but a little nudge would be nice!
I am beginning to wonder the differences in the tea based upon the year and the weather experienced during that growing season. I really only have harvest information on one company’s tea…… The leaves look very similar in shape and the amount of tips in the last few tasted today, except for the Heng Ru which has slightly finer leaves.
Usual mug method.
Second tea of the morning……
We will just call this “the parade of Keemuns”. I am trying to get an idea of which basic Keemun is the best flavor profile for me. I have three in a similar price range for around 4 ounces. One of them is organic. I might even add in my bargain basement Keemun from the Asian grocery if I am not floating away after the third cup. Unfortunately, I don’t have the one I liked the best on hand….I am out, and getting a refill was not in the cards for me, even though I tried.
This one is much lighter than the Keemun – Grade 2 from Teavivre. Ideally, I want something between the two. I am not adverse to mixing, but I would love to find an outright replacement for the one I really liked. This one just lacks complexity, even though it is a great basic Keemun. It is very smooth. No real notes of smoke (which I miss). No astringency (which I like that there is none!). Slight notes of chocolate, like is normal for this type of tea. Very mild.
Usual mug method.
Tea of the morning……
Wow. I am the first to log this one! Since I am a lover of all types of Keemun, I had to give this a try. Since I purchased this one, I requested a sample of Grade 1 Keemun from Teavivre, so it will be fun to compare all three grades of Keemun available from them. I hope I am up to it!
I would say it is slightly smokier tasting (this, of course does not mean it is a smokey tea…) than the Keemun variety I usually drink for breakfast. It also has just a hint of astringency at the end of the taste. In general, that makes this one just a little bolder than I am used to. Since I drink Keemun for a breakfast tea, it is not really a problem, though. I need a little bit of a kick start some mornings. After a few more tastings, I will know if this one will work for me in the long run. The one I liked best was somewhere between this one and the Harney English Breakfast. I think I might try a shorter steep next time or a little less leaf to see if that will improve the flavor for my specific taste. I am sure I will drink it all!
Usual mug method.
Tea of the afternoon…..
It has been a good day for tea arrivals. I got my February tea (yes, a little early!) from TeaVivre, and an order from Lupicia that kind of replaces my Christmas tea that was a complete bust. Read all about that fiasco here:
Anyway, I now have some really good Earl Grey in my house thanks to Lupicia, and a few different grades of Keemun to try from TeaVivre. Take that F & M! (I can and will buy my tea elsewhere….obviously Earl Grey and Keemun were on my order….)
Onto this tea….. I have been wanting to try this one for such a long time. It smells of dark chocolate, and I hate to say it, something kind of like fake chocolate. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it is not good. I am thinking this is a flavor to base mismatch for me. Kind of a big let down in a way, but maybe I am more satisfied with teas that have cocoa notes built in rather than a flavored impostor these days. There are only a few places where I like their chocolate tea. And I think this is not one of them….at least until I try the Chocolate Strawberry Puer. I will give it one more go before rehoming…. Maybe it was the PBJ sandwich I just ate?
Usual teapot method. Not even sure I will finish the pot…. :/