565 Tasting Notes
Macro Polo TTB
Yours truly is currently sitting in a hotel room in North Carolina, near Lake Norman. Apparently there is an exceptionally large lake nearby, but I cannot see if from my hotel. What I can see is a my travel gaiwan making tea for my mom and myself as we watch TV and relax before finish the road trip to South Carolina. It is pretty exciting to be writing from a hotel, I am not sure why but I feel super fancy with my travel gaiwan far away from home.
Today’s tea brings a bit of closure to a series, quite a while ago I looked at Tea At Sea’s other teas from Indonesia, and today I am reviewing Mountain Organic Indonesian Black. I find it really interesting to experience the green, oolong, and now the black, it was like a journey! The aroma of this tea is sweet and malty, there are notes of berries and raisins with a hint of roasted peanuts at the finish. I shan’t deny it, the dry leaves smell quite yummy, but I do love my sweet black teas.
Brewing the tightly balled leaves brings a malty, rich, aroma from my gaiwan. Investigating the now wet leaves even further with my nose reveals sweet berry notes and a touch of metallic, there is also a tiny note of yam at the finish. The liquid from the first steep is malty and sweet with tasty notes of molasses and yam, with a tiny finish of raisins.
After that especially enjoyable sniffing, it is time for tasting! The first sip is very sweet and quite smooth, it starts out malty and builds to fruity notes of plum and berries. This transitions into a richer, heavier finish of yams and oak wood, the finish is malty and it has a lingering sweetness.
I decided to go for another steep (because it is me, of course I go for another steep) and the aroma has managed to become sweeter, notes of honey and berries with a touch of plum and yam. The second steep is quite similar to the first but brings out more sweetness and berry notes, it is honey sweet with a rich malty finish. This is a great tea for when you are in the mood for a super sweet black tea that is both rich and mellow.
Hello everyone, how are all of you today? I am doing well, quite sleepy after a day of shopping with my mom. We visited some of my favorite thrift stores and found some adorable tea things and then had a giant pile of sushi and dango. For now I am relaxing before we have a friend visit for hot wings and gaming! I will have to put some thought into which tea goes well with hot wings other than Southern Style Sweet Iced Tea, perhaps a chai will do the trick.
Today’s tea is Life in Teacup’s Wuyi Jin Jun Mei, a delicately curly tea from the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian, China. Its name, beautiful golden eyebrows, is a perfect description because the leaves are covered in a golden fuzzy down, though I am not sure about the eyebrows, to me they look like little tails off of some adorable creature. The aroma of these fun little leaves is very sweet and rich, there are starting notes of cocoa, yams, and roasted peanuts which transition to a delicate note of flower nectar and sweet raw honey. I have to be careful when sniffing Jin Jun Mei because I could spend all day with my nose in the leaves inhaling their rich aroma.
As expected, when you place the leaves in a gaiwan and give it a good steeping, the aroma of the wet leaves becomes even more intense. The cocoa notes become more like actual chocolate with honey and molasses and a tiny touch of distant flowers. The liquid is a blend of chocolate, molasses, and honey with a finishing hint of roses. That little touch of roses at the finish adds a hint of the exotic.
The first steep is so sweet! It is like a rich dessert with notes of chocolate, caramel, cocoa butter, and creaminess. It lingers with those notes for a moment before moving to stewed plums and molasses at the finish with a slight aftertaste of roasted peanuts. Since it is the first steep it starts a bit mild, I anticipate some serious richness in the later steeps.
It is no surprise that I was practically bouncing while waiting for the second steep, Jin Jun Mei hits all the right notes for me, blending the delicate and sweet perfectly. The aroma of this steep is very sweet, with notes of chocolate, caramelized sugar, and a nice bit of raw honey at the finish. Tasting the tea is a real pleasure, like the first steep it is super sweet, but it has increased in richness. It is creamy and sweet with a very smooth mouthfeel with notes of creamy chocolate and honey, this transitions to stewed plums and a pinch of flower nectar. The aftertaste is roasted peanuts again, but there is also a bit of cocoa.
For the third steep, the aroma has a more subtle sweetness, like stewed plums and cocoa with a hint of honey for the finish again. The taste is still rich and quite sweet, with more of a molasses taste more so than chocolate and sugar. The chocolate note is still there, but instead of being sweet like biting into a bar of chocolate, it is rich like cocoa, and not as sweet. As I am enjoying the more reserved sweetness, out of no where, the aftertaste explodes with raw honey sweetness and flower nectar that lingers for quite a while. That was a fun finish! Jin Jun Mei never disappointing…and I certainly hope it stays that way!
Hello blog! I have missed you! After two solid days of travel and pretty much non-stop action since my last bit of blogging, I can safely say it is nice to sit down and just relax with some tea and writing. The first thing I did upon arriving in Pennsylvania, after dropping my luggage and proclaiming “I am too old for this nonsense” and giving my mom a giant squish, is go shopping at the local thrift store where all clothes are 85 cents. I came up with the wonderful idea of not bringing any clothes and just buying myself a new wardrobe.
This is in theme with today’s tea from Fashionista Tea, Organic Green Pomegranate! This fashion themed tea is a blend of Organic Green Tea, Organic Raspberries, and Essence of Pomegranate, and I can say that the dress that is on this tea’s page is super pretty and feminine, I want to wear it. The aroma of the dry leaves (and fruity bits) is quite delicious, it has that tart sweet smell of fresh raspberries and pomegranates with a slight hint of rose hips and a gentle finishing note of slightly grassy green. It has a very fresh scent, reminding me of late spring.
Into my steeping basket the tea goes for a nice little soaking. The aroma of the now quite wet leaves is fruity fresh and sweet, just like freshly picked raspberries and pomegranates, nicely juicy and just a hint of tart. The liquid without its leafy friends is sweet and creamy, like raspberries and cream but with a hint of leafy green aroma. It is very mellow and pleasantly sweet.
Oooh, the taste is so mellow, which is quite nice with a tart fruit tea, sometimes you run into ones that are super tart and overwhelming, not so with tea. It starts out sweet, much like biting into raspberries or pomegranate arils, then fades into gentle tartness with a gentle green finish. Out of curious I added a bit of sugar and chilled the tea, this takes away the tartness and brings out the fruity notes even more. I could see myself really craving a tea like this in the late spring to early summer.
Flavors: Fruity, Green, Sweet, Tart
Usually when reviewing a tea from a company I would pull out my camera and notebook and log it for review on my blog, I am making an exception with this tea since Butiki is going away :( and all of my tea logging stuff is packed up for my trip tomorrow. Since I played packing tetris with my stuff unpacking it would be a giant pain. I hope you all forgive my more freeform rambling today. I was giving a sample of this tea by my tea-bro Lion after making noises about wanting to try it, so thank you for that! The aroma of the really dark curly leaves is really quite rich and sweet, lots of fruity notes going on here with an underlying mineral note as well. I am specifically picking out plum and a hint of peach.
I decided to go gongfu for this one (probably my last until I get to PA) and as the leaves rehydrate themselves I begin to see the purple tones shine through, like the purple of a plum skin. The wet leaves have a slight fruitiness to them, but they are also kinda odd, I am picking up notes of loam and green beans, it is reminding me of something from my childhood that I can feel tickling around at the back of my head, but I cannot put my finger on it. The liquid is sweet and warm, like cooked plums and freshly baked snickerdoodles.
The taste is somewhere between the smell of the leaves and the smell of the liquid. It has a creamy mouth feel with a distinct gently spiced cooked fruit, but there is also a loamy quality and green bean brothiness to it. The finish is a bit sharp, similar to the sharpness I get with a heavily mineral noted Wuyi.
Steep two! Only time for one more before I have to go run last minute errands, including getting new shoes since mine totally fell apart. Bleh. Yum! Second steep is still quite buttery, but it is all fruity plums and mineral with a touch of spice. It is pretty mild though, I fear that as soon as I put the cup down I kinda forget about it, which is tragic. I like it, though I wish there was more there.
This might be my last tasting note until Tuesday, yipes! I have a long, long trip ahead of me and need to cram in as much hanging out with people and last minute packing as possible…plus most my good tea gear is all packed up. One of the reasons this tea is brewed in my gaiwan rather than my Wuyi special Yixing teapot. The aroma of the leaves is a blend of cocoa, smoke, tobacco, and a touch of fruit. The cocoa note is at the forefront, which is pretty nice. Usually I am used to my Yancha’s having a much stronger kick of char, but I run into milder ones on occasion. The brewed leaves have a stronger char smell, but also a cocoa, bready, and slight frutiness to it. Ooooh the liquid smells super fruity and sweet. Yum!
Very smooth mouth feel and super sweet are the first things I notice, hardly any char taste at all, just sweet plum juice and cocoa. It is pretty mild, but I am using a brewing technique that is different from my usual of boiling water, tons of leaf, and flash steeping.
You know one of my favorite things about this TTB? I can let my tasting notes be freeform, usually I have my notebook and take detailed notes, but if I was to actually blog/write those as a review, it would be a mess. With these I can just let my thoughts flow as I sip my tea. The second steep has a little more of that distinctive char and tobacco leaf taste I am used to, along with some strong fruity notes that just do not quit. It kinda reminds me of Verdant’s DHP in its mildness. Still not sure how I feel about a mild Yancha overall, but I can certainly say this one hit the spot for me this morning.
And now, to go bake a giant brownie!
mmm Red Jade tea smells so good, it smells dark and fruity, like stewed plums and some dark chocolate with a hard to describe sharp undertone that is almost minty but is not…it is certainly cooling. There is also a touch of sassafras, but it is very slight. The brewed leaves take on a tinge of yam, as does the liquid, it is rich and sweet and I cannot wait to sip it. Gotta wait so I don’t burn my tongue.
Delicious, rich and malty with a sweet sassafras taste a bit of plum and some mint-like cooling. The taste is not minty, just the sensation. I love red jade because it is one of the more unique tea tastes I have run into.
The second steep is much the same but richer and has more of a fruity quality to is. Perfect for an autumn evening me thinks
Having a Kindle Fire is probably the most awesome thing I have experienced in a while, combine that with a free trial to Kindle Unlimited, and I am pretty sure my ‘books read’ count this year is going to sky-rocket past 100, easily. If I am lucky I can afford to keep the Kindle Unlimited thing after my free trial, because $10 for a mountain of books is just awesome. I love being able to carry all those books around with me without being crushed under their weight, a common problem when I travel around, I need my books! Having a book has always been a security blanket for me, I never leave the house without one.
Today’s tea comes from Yunomi, they recently gave their website a re-do, it caught me off guard, but it looks quite snazzy. From Kurihara Tea #12 Shira-Ore Stem Tea with Matcha will be the tea that gets to take a soak in my Kyusu today. Usually called Kukicha, stem tea in the Yame Region of Southern Japan is called Shira-Ore. It takes the stems separated out during the production of Sencha and mixes them with a bit of leaves to balance out the flavor and some Matcha to add in some richness. The aroma of the dry leaves is so green! There are notes of cut grass, fresh spinach, and an underlying sweet nuttiness, the aroma reminds me of the smell of summer when everything is in full growth.
Ah, the aroma of sweet, fresh, vegetation is a beautiful thing, especially to sniff when once is not in the best mood, it is like taking a walk through a lush field on a summer day, but without the worry of annoying bitey bugs. There are notes of fresh hay, cut grass, spinach, nuttiness, and a tiny hint of a green algae note. The liquid is sweet and green, there is a bit of grass and spinach with a sweet nutty quality and a tiny hint of umami filled kelp.
The first steep is delightfully mellow, not to be boring but the tea tastes pretty much exactly as it smells, no mysterious hidden notes that appear in the taste. Fresh green growth, cut grass, sweet fresh hay, and a nice nutty sweet finish. Very refreshing, especially if you, like me, are a lover of all things green. I should say that the Matcha taste is very mild, a lot of teas with added Matcha usually have a very distinct kick of of the stuff, this one is very light, so if you are one who is afraid of Matcha, this could be a good introduction to its taste.
I decided to go for a second steep (while I vigorously browse for new books for my kindle, that thing is going to be loaded with books for my train trip) the aroma is a warm grass green and sweet, mellow, Matcha. It reminds me of sun warmed green growth, where earlier it was a field in morning, this time it is late and lazy afternoon. The taste this time around has a more umami sea air and kelp tinge to it, with less sweetness and more green, there is a touch of cooked kale and fresh vegetation, with a finish of hay. An excellent example of stems being awesome.
So, I totally missed last night’s eclipse, boo! I woke up at an obnoxious hour to look at it and it was cloudy, or I was too out of it to find the moon, that is always a possibility when I stumble out of bed. Then when I went back to sleep I dreamed about the eclipse, so maybe I did see it after all. This eclipse was particularly awesome because it was on my Grandmother’s birthday, how awesome is that? I hope I get an eclipse on my birthday some year, but I also hope for a blizzard too, and thunderstorms…I don’t ask the weather for much.
Today’s tea from What-Cha might win the award for the most unique terroir I have experienced! Azores ‘Encosta de Bruma’ Premium Green Tea is, as the name says, from the Azores and is from the oldest European tea estate, the Gorreana Tea Estate. They have been producing tea since 1883, they have been pesticide free for 130 years, that is some old school organic practices! The thing that infuriates me is none of my tea history books mention this tea estate, or if they did it was so brief that I forgot about it, tsk tsk, I was not even aware that the Azores produced tea, so being able to be educated about a new tea producing region makes this tea extra special to me. The aroma of the green leaves is gentle, with initial notes of fruit and vegetal. This transitions to sea air and a touch of tomato leaves. I would say that the aroma is both interesting and non-assuming, so it is not like getting hit in the face by a wave or sitting in a pile of fruit. It balances its sweet and savory notes quite well.
I decided to steep this tea Western Style, as it fitting for a European tea. The steeped leaves are still quite gentle with their aroma, it is savory too, with notes of tomato leaf, a bit of tomato, and a nice pinch of sea air. I think it is safe to say that these leaves have some serious umami going on. Which is a total contrast to the liquid! Its aroma is a great blend of fruity notes, specifically apricots and a bit of orange, along with fresh tomato. I will be honest, I had to do a double take sniff, because it caught me a bit off guard. It is a strange aroma, but not an unpleasant one, it reminds me a bit of a salad.
The taste is delightfully mild, sometimes you want a tea with a bold in your face taste, other times you want a tea that is mild and delicate, this is definitely that tea. It starts out fairly savory with notes of sea air and tomato leaf, this slowly transitions to sweetness until it is like taking a full bite out of a fresh apricot. Drinking this tea reminded me of standing on a sea side cliff in Maine while eating an apricot, the refreshing sea air and lush vegetation with fruity sweetness make for a very refreshing cup. I could certainly see myself reaching for a cup of this tea when I have a headache and I want a light, refreshing, tea with very clear and crisp flavors that do not overwhelm.
Flavors: Apricot, Fruity, Ocean Air, Vegetal
Woo! A fuzzy tea from Yunnan, it is not a super fuzzy tea, I would put this solidly in the middle on the scale of fuzz. The aroma is quite sweet, with notes of plum and berries with a touch of roasted peanut and a very strong kick of malt at the finish. Giving these leaves a good steeping bring out a brightness that was not present in the dry leaves, of course it is still very fruity sweet and malty. The liquid without its (not so) fuzzy friends is mild, fruity sweet and malty.
The taste is quite mild, there are notes of dried fruit and malt with a really bright finish. It makes for a good wake up tea that is sweet and not too harsh. Once the tea cools it becomes even sweeter and takes on a slight smokiness. I have no complaints, but I have never met a Yunnan tea I did not enjoy.
So this one is a little hard to review, because it is peppermint! It smells exactly how you expect it to smell, very minty, my sinuses are cleared and my throat feels cool. As to be expected I feel quite refreshed. Once steeped my whole room smells like mint, my cats keep sniffing around at it for some strange reason, silly cats.
Tasting the tea, well, it is mint! It is cooling, slightly sweet, and fresh very similar to eating a mint leaf. This would be a good ingredient if you want to blend it with other teas since it is a fresh mint. Also good for sipping if you have a cold or a belly ache.