434 Tasting Notes
I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day yesterday! Mine was kinda odd, my dryer broke while I was doing laundry so I ended up hanging things on the line with a perpetual eye on the stormy clouds…it never did rain much to my surprise. While hanging the laundry out a grackle assaulted me, I think it wasn’t paying attention and it flew right into my chest and then squawked at me like it was my fault. I also got sunburned and the associated sun sickness because I keep forgetting that the UV is higher in the Midwest and going out without a sunhat is dumb.
Today’s tea from Just Organic Tea is Just Charming Chai, a blend of Oothu Black Tea, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Cloves, Organce Peel, and Natural Flavors. The aroma is spicy and warm, a blend of cinnamon and cardamon with notes of malt and a tiny hint of orange at the finish. This smells like a classic chai but with a nice orange flair to it.
The aroma of the brewed leaves is very spicy, lots of cardamon and a hint of pepper. There is also a nice amount of malt and earthiness, there is a tiny bit of sweet orange at the finish. The liquid is malty, sweet, and creamy with a spice and orange. It is very balanced and an intriguing twist on chai.
With the traditional cream and sugar, since that is how I like my chai, the taste is quite yummy. A bold and very smooth chai, strong spices that are well balanced, and nice rich malty finish. There is a tiny bit of orange that shows up in the midtaste and stays until the aftertaste. This tea does do something kinda funny, the flavor is really rich and bold at the beginning, but at the end it putters out to just mild orange and a tiny bit of spice. This tea had a great start but a pretty meh finish, but I did really like the start and the quirky orange twist.
I had a bit of a rambunctious kinda day, lots of energy and spunk. I believe it was a combination of having a really good day of hanging out with friends and gaming yesterday and the promise of storms today. Also I found out that there is a massive hurricane out in the Pacific Ocean that has my name, I have been waiting for a Hurricane Amanda pretty much my whole life. I really hope that either its path or the tropical upheaval brings lots of rain to the Midwest so that the drought conditions lessen even more. That would please me immensely.
Well, I did it again, I forgot that seasonal teas are in fact seasonal and have missed the season to write the review for this tea. Oops, I promise that in the future when I get a seasonal tea I will not just write about it in my tea notebook, but will blog about it immediately. Pumpkin Chai from DAVIDsTEA was part of their 2013 Fall Collection and is a blend of Black Tea, Cinnamon, Cloves, Lemon Peel, Squash, Carrots, Caramel Bits, and Pumpkin Candies. This tea really caught my eye when I saw that it was not only pumpkin spice themed, but also has squash bits! The aroma of this tea is very sweet and creamy with extremely strong spices. The cinnamon and cloves really overpower the rest of the aromas, but there is a faint hint of malt, pumpkin, and caramel under the potent spices.
As this tea sits and steeps, the delicious aroma of pumpkin and spices float out of the cup and around the room. The aroma is a blend of earthiness with much milder spices, and squash. Specifically the aroma of acorn squash and pumpkin bread. The aroma of the wet leaves makes me rather hungry for one of my favorite bread types. The liquid without the leaves is rather sweetly spiced with notes of creamy caramel and squash.
The initial impact of the taste is a tingly and numb feeling from the spices, it is a little overwhelming, but it quickly fades to mellow sweetness and spices. Adding cream and sugar (this is a chai after all) dampens the overwhelming spices, and now there is a rich caramel taste and strong squash notes. I still think that the spices are too strong, so much so that a few minutes after starting to sip this tea I started getting red in the face and breaking out in hives…sometimes that happens to me when I have too much cinnamon. I was really happy that this tea tasted like squash, but the abundance of spices really made this tea not a favorite.
For blog, photos, and a nice crafty tutorial: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/05/davidstea-pumpkin-chai-tea-review.html
MAHVEL BABEE! Sorry, this weekend there is a fighting game tournament (this one is in Chicago) and I am watching the livestream for my favorite game, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. Weekends where I can devote my attention to what is the equivalent to my favorite sport make me very happy. Especially when I can fold origami and sip tea while watching…tea, geekery, and crafts, three of my favorite things at once. Get hype, yo.
Today’s tea is from Just Organic Tea, their Just Pure Green, a green tea bio-dynamically farmed in southern India. I had to look up bio-dynamic farming since it was not something I was really familiar with, apparently it is a holistic approach to farming, using things like special manures and composts, along with astrology and burying quartz crystals in the soil. Well, that is certainly an interesting approach to farming. The aroma of this tea is very faint, the leaves have a slightly vegetal and leafy aroma and that is all. What little aroma there is in the leaves is certainly a classic green tea.
Brewing the leaves brings out more aroma, the wake up in the water. The aroma of the wet leaves is quite green, a blend of vegetal notes and a slight citrus finish. It is a very typical green aroma that you expect from a ‘generic’ green tea. The liquid without the leaves is pretty much exactly the same as the wet leaves.
The taste of the tea is probably the most ‘green’ green tea I have ever had. That probably needs some explanation, when I say it tastes like a green tea…not any specific tea, no sencha or bi luo chun, just a generic green tea…this is exactly what comes to mind. A mild vegetal taste with a hint of citrus and a very faint hint of smoke at the finish. Add a little sugar or honey and it brings out latent fruity notes, let is chill and you get a really refreshing vegetation notes. This tea is solid, I would recommend it if you are wanting to take baby steps into the world or green tea, or if you want a good green for making iced tea.
Well, I have pulled a muscle in my shoulder, apparently I am not enough of an amazon to move furniture around by myself, but that is really no surprise. I did, however, get my craft area and tea lair redone meaning I have a little more room. I still need to find a small table to place my computer on, giving my desk an L shape, I need more room for folding paper!
Today’s tea is Vanilla Mint from Golden Moon Teas. A blend of Gunpowder Green Tea, Mint Leaves, Black Tea, Mint Oil, Vanilla Extract, and Vanilla Bean Pod Slices. I was quite intrigued by this tea, the ingredients reminded me of Moroccan Mint tea but with a vanilla twist, and I do really enjoy those flavors together. The aroma is predominantly minty with a strong presence of sweet vanilla. Underneath these two dominating smells we have a gentle vegetal note, a subtle smokiness, and a tiny hint of malt.
The now quite soggy leaves are still very minty, but now they have more vegetal notes. There is an underlying sweetness and a faint smokiness. The liquid is all about the creamy vanilla, it is sweet and a little decadent. There is also a minty presence but it is more of a background coolness (it is even wearing shades and a popped collar) and a hint of smokiness. It is like a creamy mint milkshake with a hint of campfire, actually that sounds like a good camping idea.
Oh man, this tea has the best cooling effect, I love how mint teas warm you up and cool you down in the same sip. Combine that with sweet vanilla, slightly oak wood black tea, and a nice vegetal zing, and you have for a really interesting tea. The mint does not overpower, which is great, I notice that a lot of tea blends with mint make the mistake of having it be too minty…it kinda bullies the other flavors and you don’t notice them. My favorite part of this tea is the smoky finish, it adds a richness to an otherwise light tea. I decided to chill this tea and found that chilling it makes it a lot mintier, I think I prefer this tea hot, but I honesty do with most teas.
Today Ben and I went for a hair cut, he for practical finding a summer job while school is out reasons, and me because I was getting really sick of my hair. I am blessed/cursed with thick, fluffy hair that goes everywhere and has a perpetual cowlick, when it is short it is quite cute and manageable, when it is long I get lost in it Cousin It style. It is safe to say that with my now very short asymmetrical pixie cut I feel like my head is 10 pounds lighter. Perfect for the inevitable onslaught of summer.
Today’s tea has nothing to do with hair, in some cases that is sad (a non fuzzy silver needle would be so weird) but in the case of Just Naughty ’Nilla by Just Organic Tea, that is probably for the best. This dessert like tea is a blend of Black Tea, Carob, and Natural Vanilla Extract. The aroma is malty, rich, and sweet with a nice kick of vanilla and a mild woody chocolate finish. I always find that carob smells like a mix of wood and chocolate, just different enough to not be chocolate.
The brewed and now quite soggy leaves have an earthy, woody, and malty aroma with a very nice and sweet vanilla note along with a finish of rich chocolate. It smells more like chocolate and less like carob, but I admit most my experience with the stuff is in food and not tea. The liquid is mostly creamy and rich vanilla with a pleasant malty finish.
The tea is quite brisk and wakes you up, there are nice notes of malt and vanilla with a finish of chocolate/woody carob. This tea was surprisingly not very sweet on its own, it had the taste and olfactory pleasure of vanilla and chocolate but not of the sweetness. Adding a bit of sugar did bring it out some, bit oddly I preferred it unsweetened because with sugar it seemed a bit fake. I am not sure I would seek this tea out on my own, but I certainly would not say no to it if offered.
Sometimes I really should put some sort of time limit on myself with regards to Pinterest. I have spent my day (so far) sipping tea and looking at origami designs on Pinterest, ever expanding my origami board with tutorials and diagrams. Ok that is not entirely true, I did make a blooming kusudama this morning as a way to wake myself up, I also learned that the pick (or pointy thing) from my Gong Fu tea tool set works as a great origami tool as well.
Today’s tea is a celebratory tea commemorating a royal wedding between teas! Royal Wedding Tea by Capital Teas is a blend of Black Tea, White Tea, Bergamot, and Rose Buds. Hmm, red roses and red tea…looks like this is a Red Wedding…I am a terrible person. So this wedding is an arranged marriage between Earl Grey Black and Earl Grey White, hopefully their union will stop the War of the Roses. Ok, I will try my best to have that be the last of my terrible puns and references. The aroma of this tea is a great blend of bright bergamot and heady roses with a creamy quality, this tea smells pretty. The aroma reminds me of summer blooming flowers and warm sunlight, I like the effect this tea’s aroma has on my brain.
Giving the tea a steeping, the wet leaves take on a more malty quality, but there is still a lot of roses and citrus. Although, it seems like with steeping the bergamot has evolved into orange making it sweeter. The liquid has a sweet, creamy, quality with notes of malt and oranges. The strong rose aroma from the leaves does not seem to transfer to the liquid, except in a delicate finish.
The taste of this tea is elegant, sweet and creamy with a vanilla quality that quickly transfers to oranges and roses. The vanilla and creamy tastes remind me more of a muffin or some baked morsel rather than an ice cream taste, specifically some baked goody with an orange glaze. This tea is smooth and the rose notes become stronger as it cools. I want to sip this tea from a fancy teacup while nibbling scones and wearing petticoats. Sadly at the time of taking the notes on this tea I lacked a fancy teacup and just had a monstrous glass mug, now I have a pretty white teacup but still lack the fancy teacup with matching saucer…and preferably some sort of gold accenting and flower design. I tried adding cream and a bit of sugar just to see what it was like and I found that it did not improve, the tea is smooth and sweet enough of its own that it does not need any additive, except scones on the side. While listening to White Wedding…ok really, I am done with the puns now.
For blog, photo, and random crafty link: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/05/capital-teas-royal-wedding-tea-tea.html
I love octopuses and anything with tentacles (Phn’glui mglw’nafh Chthulhu R’lyeh wagn’nagl fhtagn) so when my friend gave me this mug the other day…well…let us say much maniacal giggling happened. You know what they say, the best part of waking up is a Great Old One in your cup…
This cup has its ups and downs though. Pros: There is an octopus…in my cup…and that brings me great amounts of joy. Cons…ugh, where to begin? Obviously this thing is a beast to clean, not only is it really hard to clean around those tentacles, but it is also kinda hollow meaning that cleaning it is an extra beast. That hollowness does lead to some hilarious airbubbles leaking out of my cephalopod, so maybe that is more of a pro.
The other problem is kinda hit or miss. If you want a tea that has cream or sugar I most certainly would not recommend this mug because there is no room to stir, you just end up with an octopus with sugar coated tentacles…and some people might be in to that, I am not. Luckily I figured that out pretty early on and just use this mug for teas I want straight.
Is the pain to clean part worth it? I certainly think so, but I might be a bit biased.
This is probably my new favorite tea toy. I have been dreaming of a gaiwan tea set for a while, something about the allure of extremely tiny cups that match not only each other but the gaiwan and cha hai just sounded so appealing to me. I had also been coveting a travel set for when I visit my mom back in PA, so logically I put my desire for both together and decided on this beauty…because it is covered in fish.
Yes I have a mild obsession with aquatic themes. First off the printing on the set is spot on, no blurring or smudges. True, having this set be hand painted would have been amazing, but it would have also been more expensive…I am not such a snob that I turn my nose up at printed designs on my teaware. I really like how everything has two fish, in the photo it looked like the cups might alternate between the black and orange carp, but each cup has both.
The gaiwan pours nicely and the lid is well balanced without creating too much of a seal. I am not a fan of gaiwan lids that fit perfectly flush on the gaiwan, I find it makes it a real pain to pour.
My favorite thing about this set is it is so tiny! The pouch is probably smaller than my camera so it will be so convenient for travel. Everything fits very snugly and safely inside so no worries about breaking.
I am practically exploding with fidgety excitement! My much anticipated travel gaiwan set arrived today and I want to test it out, but I want to try it with Ben and waiting for him to get home is killing me! I am so extremely pleased with my new treasure, the six tiny cups, gaiwan, and cha hai all have a black and orange carp and a little bit of pond weeds. Also the pouch is tiny, it is smaller than my camera and is the perfect size to fit in my purse. So happy about my fishy tea set!
Today’s tea is another offering from Just Organic Tea, Just Tulsi With a Twist! A nice herbal blend of Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Lemon Myrtle, Peppermint, and Tulsi. The aroma is quite peppery, lemony, spicy, and loads of tulsi goodness. I have become rather enamored of the aroma of tulsi…ok, I have become enamored of its taste as well. Do not, when sniffing this tea, stick your nose in and take a good sniff. I suggest wafting the aroma towards your nose because intense sniffing will end up in a sneeze. Pepper, gotta love the sneeze effect! The different elements of this tea have quite potent aromas, but they all manage to blend together well and balance nicely.
The brewed herb and spice pile has a very strong aroma, lots of ginger and lemon myrtle, a little too potent for me. There is also a hint of pepper and mint. The liquid without its herb-tastic friends is much milder. Notes of tulsi, lemon myrtle, and spices waft up with the steam from my cup. Yum!
The first thing I notice in tasting this tea is the pepper, it really seems to linger for the majority of the sip. There are other notes such as the lemon myrtle and tulsi, but along side these notes is the nice dashing of pepper. I think The Duchess’s Cook in Alice in Wonderland would be quite fond of this tea. After the initial herbal and peppery treat, the taste fades to a gentle sweetness and gingery finish. This tea did not strike me as much as their Just a Trio of Tulsi, but it is quite enjoyable in its uniqueness.
I am going to open today’s blog with a bit of back-story and a TMI warning. I know some people get all squicky at the mention of PMS and the monthly curse, so if that is you…well, there are plenty of other teas I have written about if you need a tea review fix. As for back-story, well, I could give gore-filled details and sob stories, but it is not really necessary. What you need to know is I do not have periods, I have two-three week long hormone crazed events that culminate in a week of agony, anemia, and general not being able to function. Endometriosis is an evil, evil thing.
So when I saw that one of my favorite tea companies has a new herbal blend for giving us ladies a break, you can bet your sweet tea cups that I had to get myself some. Ladies’ TLC by Raizana Teas is a really pretty blend of Lemongrass, Rose Petals, Horsetail, Natural Rose Flavor, Dong Quai (Angelica Root), and Stevia. Dong Quai is THE go to herbal remedy for lady problems, in fact I am pretty sure it is the first herbal remedy I learned about when I started studying herbal medicine when I was thirteen, coincidence? No…definitely not. The aroma of the tea is pretty pungent, it is one of the biggest downsides to Dong Quai, I have had it in pill form before and could smell its distinct sharp root and earthy aroma through the bottle. It is not a bad smell, it is just very strong and pretty medicinal. There are also notes lemongrass, roses, and a touch of hay, but these are subtle notes compared to the presence that is Dong Quai.
The aroma of the wet leaves (and flowers and roots) is still intensely pungent. There are side notes of roses and hay and a finish of celery. The liquid is pretty identical to the wet leaves, except it is more subdued and the floral aroma is stronger at the finish.
I am afraid! I have had tea with Dong Quai in it before and it was super bitter and medicinal, Dong Quai (along with Black Cohosh and Valerian) is one of the most medicinal bitter tasting roots I have run into. One apprehensive sip later and I was pleasantly surprised! The tea is quite sweet, which is great for PMS sugar cravings, there are also strong rose notes and a distinct pineapple taste to the tea. As the tea cools it takes on a celery taste to it and there is a bit of a root taste at the finish, similar to burdock. The best part is, it really takes the edge of my cramps, granted it is not as strong as taking an advil, but since my stomach does not really allow me to take any kinds of pain medication, this tea is a life saver. Raizana, you have done it again, you created a medicinal tea that works and tastes good, bravo!
For photos (Origami!) and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/05/raizana-teas-ladies-tlc-tea-review.html