35 Tasting Notes
Here I am: so excited for tea-time (always a big occasion in our house) and I brew Red Jade. I take a sip, and do a double-take. What is that flavor? Is it the cinnamon, clove, or mint that the package speaks of? No. I freely associate the flavor and come up with: meat. Specifically, raw tuna fish. Yet, I love raw tuna fish. This tea? not so much.
This is a light, airy tea. I can imagine that it would be a great tea for meditating, so that one would have time to puzzle out its subtle flavors. However, with a long day ahead of me and a slight cold, I was hoping for a strong tea to wake me up.
This is a smooth and ultra-bergamoty earl grey. A damn fine morning tea. One of those teas where it doesn’t matter how sleepy you are when measuring and brewing, because it is near impossible to screw up. Too much tea? No problem, it’ll wake you up quicker than a pot of coffee. Too little? Don’t worry, the bergamot is strong enough to cover it up.
Long Jing and Dragon Well are the same thing? I’ll be damned.. Hm. Wish it hadn’t been so long since I had my last Dragon Well so that I could compare them more accurately.
This tea, like most I’ve tasted in Steepster select, is strong and bold. The vegetal flavor is dry and serious, and is accented by a nutty base flavor. The Long Jing doesn’t taste springy as some ultra-green teas do, but it reminds one of roasting vegetables to put in a slow-cooking soup. A great winter tea.
I occasionally regret my decision to become a sophisticated loose-leaf tea-drinker, especially when all I want is a nice, bitter cup of tea to stave off weariness. I love a full bodied tea, where the flavors hit your tongue fast and heavy, like one often finds with CTC bagged teas. I’m not always up to the intellectual task of sorting out what tastes like water and what tastes like tea, as I frequently find myself doing with the best of loose-leafs (read: Verdant).
This tea is the best of both worlds – a full, bitter black tea that hits your palate like a battering ram, but with a complicated, almost sweet, tobaccoey finish. Beautiful.
Sometimes I love the descriptions of tea most of all, “aromatics of coffee, brown sugar, concord grapes…” I always find myself wondering whether the describer truly has such a sensitive palate, or if she simply has an innovative and lyrical grasp of language.
I had thought the claim that tea could taste like coffee and brown sugar a particularly inventive piece of whimsy, but I do taste something dark and coffee-ish in this cup. It is somehow comforting and down-to-earth in the way coffee is, without those light floral notes I’m so used to in oolong. However, I can’t say that I taste grapes, much less a taste as specific as concord grapes, but I like to think that someone can.
The second cup is every bit as strong and satisfying as the first.
If Hot Coconut were a beverage, in the same way Hot Chocolate is, this would be a perfectly delicious example. The sweet, thick coconut flavor rounds out the cup and ensures that the Rooibos doesn’t taste tart and watery, as it sometimes can.
I’d recommend making a huge pot on a cold winter evening just for yourself.
For me, the recommended brewing time wasn’t quite long enough. I let the tea steep for an additional 30 seconds, which brought out both the caramel and black tea notes. In a lot of black teas, any caramel sweetness comes out below the tea flavor, like the sweetness requires thinking about and parsing out. This tea seems to lead with the caramel, with the soft round black tea coming in second.