3071 Tasting Notes
The Day She Planted the Sweet Potatoes
I have various ways I grow sweet potatoes, & of course, every year is a different experiment.
Usually I create a Playpen out of moveable wire fencing, put it somewhere, add a bunch of compost, etc, plant the potatoes, & hope for the best. This works really good if you plant them in the middle of a leaf mulch pile that is 1.5 or more years old. The worms have already done their magic, so there is actually soil there instead of just clay.
I’ve also made a playpen around well established beds with a fair amount of success. The potato vines love climbing, & you can pretty much plant them & then walk away for 3 month, just giving an occasional drink if it doesn’t rain.
My best sweet potato haul was a raised bed made out of straw bales. I made a thick layer of cardboard across the bottom, & filled the form with various layers of soil, compost, manure, etc. When we were ready to dig up tators, we were amazed to find some that were the size of a newborn baby!!! And guess what? They weren’t ideal for baking, but they were great cubed up & fried, although it took every skillet in the kitchen to cook them. We’d eat as much as we wanted for breakfast, & then make a coconut curry for dinner, adding the leftovers, plus greens, shallots, etc.
So this year’s sweet potato experiment: I already have 8 wire frames that I used to grow potatoes in. I no longer grow potatoes because my feet hurt when I eat them, although I do still occasionally eat them anyway, especially if I find volunteers in my garden somewhere. The frames are circular, roughly 3 feet across, 2 feet tall. My plan is to put those frames in various locations around the garden, line them with cardboard (I save cardboard all year for these little projects), & then fill them with the usual mix of growing stuff, then plant one sweet potato slip in the center of each one.
In 3 months I’ll let you all know how this experiment turned out!
So while I’ve been eating breakfast & drinking this tea, which is a great breakfast tea, with a nice punch, & an earthy quality that makes it perfect for a gardening day, my 2 sons have been putting together another 8 wire frames. (4 foot tall cheap fencing wire, cut long ways so that each section is 2 feet tall, & then cut into 10 foot lengths, more or less). Our first run to Lowes will be to get more fencing, because we need 8 more frames.
The Day She Planted the Sweet Potatoes
In spite of not being able to sleep until after 2am, I woke up at 8:00 & watered half of my garden. I keep hoping for rain, but we haven’t gotten any for the last couple of weeks, at least nothing that counts. I also drank a cup of this tea while I was standing around with the hose, assessing my plan for the awesome day. I’m not quite sure where we’re gonna put all these tater plants, but it will be so.
I’m pretty certain that when Teavana first started carrying these pearls they were of a much higher quality, & much sweeter & more flavorful. Of course, in those days my tea tasting had never included amazing things like LB, so what do I know?
This is an ok tea, & although I used to get 2 or 3 steeps out of it, now I can really only get one decent cup. Good for drinking while walking through the garden.
I haven’t really been writing about most of the teas I’ve been drinking lately, because I don’t want to keep reviewing teas I’ve already written about. I probably have 153 logs on Laoshan Black alone, so I’m trying to mostly review the newer stuff.
However, I will say I made a cup of this in my Finum travel mug (that it took me so long to figure out how to use) & it was real nice to be able to sip it while I was setting up, & throughout the gig.
Do I like this tea? No, not really. I think maybe I did at one time, but now it just tastes medicinal to me. I’m only drinking it because I just got home from playing a kickass gig, & I’m wired, naturally high as a kite on music, good vibes, adrenaline, etc. So I’m drinking 2 bags of this in my usual cup, with a double dose of Valerian tincture added, in hopes that I will come back down to the planet’s surface & be able to sleep soon.
Tomorrow will be known as ‘The Day She Planted Sweet Potatoes’.
Silly me, I ordered 24 sweet potato plants, 4 each of 6 different varieties from http://www.tatorman.com/
Vardeman, Red Japanese, Nancy Hall, Beauregard, Carolina Ruby, & Bunch Porto Ricans.
I always grow alot of sweet potatoes, & we eat them all fall, winter, & spring, but the local stores still don’t have plants, & they only ever have one variety anyway.
Of course, it’s insane that I bought so many, LOL, but they arrived today, & they are adorable, & I’m very excited! Tomorrow the entire day will be dedicated to getting them in the ground!! I wanted to get some of the purple japanese ones, but you have to buy 12 plants, & that would be 36 plants total! Maybe next year…
Hopefully this year I’ll remember to save one of each kind for starting next year’s crop.
I also almost ordered more garlic for the fall from another company. I currently have 5 varieties, but you can never have too much garlic, & there are some really interesting heirlooms, including a few amazing sounding Italian ones, & I also want a few shallots to add to my shallot collection. The company I order those from doesn’t take paypal though, so that order will have to wait until I actually have some money in my bank account.
That & my Laoshan Black order (not like I need any, I just want a bag of the new crop for comparison sake).
Sipdown…I have no idea what my total is though…
Wish me luck falling asleep…
Just checked my sipdown total. I’m at 373!
(Not counting any new teas that have arrived since June 1st…I’ll add them on July 1st)
Someone said on a review that we should all honor H & S by drinking & reviewing their teas today. This is the only one I have, sent to me by Sil, sent to her by Kalliboo. Thanks!
I’ve been very busy today, teaching, practicing, & prepping for a gig that I have to leave for shortly, so I didn’t really give this tea the full attention it deserves, but I can report that it is a tasty one, with notes of honey, fruit, & a little floral in there as well.
And it’s a sipdown!
Thank you Angel & Teavivre for another generous sample.
In shades of Sage, sof gray, & cream, this is a delicate tightly rolled tea that opens to beautiful bright green small leaves. The dry aroma is thick & a little tart.
I went with 4 G in the test tube steeper, only filling it a little over halfway, which is maybe 3oz or so, using short steepings of 30/60 etc
Overall, I found it to be refreshing, lightly tangy, & sweet, with a wonderful sense of clarity!
The later steeping tended towards a light astringency & small bitter quality, but not enough to make it unpleasant in anyway. An enjoyable tasty tea, although admittedly, I believe I prefer the Cha Want Tai Ping Hou Kui.
This is one of Tasty Brew’s offerings for the Spring round of the BBBB.
It’s certainly an interesting idea, & I approached it with a mixture of fascination & reluctancy, if that makes sense to anybody. For those who know my history (a grand tale of addiction, an intensive wild youth filled with various substances, & although I wouldn’t change it, it definitely included some very low points), I tend to not care for most alcohol-like things, not because I’m afraid that they’ll send me into a relapse after 30 years clean & serene, (there is no actual alcohol in the tea), but really just because I don’t care for the taste. Or the smell.
But I was still fascinated. I mean, this was aged in a Bourbon barrel! It’s got to be interesting, right?
I wasn’t sure how much tea to use, or for how long, so for the first cup I went with:
1.5 tsp + 8oz X 3min/5min
Too weak :p
I should have gone with a full Tb. We live, we learn.
Initial perceptions? meh…I really want to be amazed by this, but I wasn’t.
Call it ‘user error’. I’ve made a note on the package to up the dose next time, & I’ll let you know how it goes. :)
I’d like to start out by thanking Angel & Teavivre for this wonderful sample. This is the most amazing looking green tea, absolutely beautiful. It looks like fronds of some exotic sea veggie, with iridescent shades of green that I can’t even begin to describe. Dried & pressed into long bud sets, averagine 2 to 2.5 inches long! It’s so beautiful that I took pics & posted them on my FB, for those who might like to see.
The dry aroma is rich, thick, & buttery. I rehydrated single frond, just so I could watch it unfurl alone, & take photos of it. I gave the entire 5 G sample 1 minute at 180F in my test tube steeper, & the resulting liquor was a pale apricot color, with a sweet, thick, & buttery green taste, delicate & refined.
2min: still rich & buttery, with a yellow taste, bring to mind yellow flowers. As I continue with this cup I also taste saffron & pumpkin seeds.
3min: a little tangy-er, fruity like apricot, but also savory like buttered asparagus. Slightly astringent, slightly bitter.
4min: sweet melon/pumpkin taste.
This is a lovely bi luo chun style black tea, very golden, nicely rolled up into the classic spring snail form. For my first cup, I steeped a tsp for a minute, which was weak. I sampled it again at 3 minutes, & ended up giving it a full 5 minutes. The resulting tea was tasty, like a pale milk chocolate, a little honey, & pastry. I’m also getting that flavor that translates to coriander for me, commonly found in ‘Beauty’ teas.
I gave it a 2nd try, this time using 2 tsp for 3 minutes. The flavors are basically the same, with a little more pastry, a little more honey, etc. This is a pleasant & gentle tea, nicely refined & sweet. I kind of wish, in retrospect, that I had dumped the entire sample into a Gaiwan & given it the gongfu treatment, but I wanted to save some of it for my dear Sil, and so this is a sipdown. Tea Sister, I’ve officially started a new box for you :)