322 Tasting Notes
I was seriously fearful of this blend. Two words: Licorice root. I hate the stuff. Sickly-sweet is a flavor I need in my tea. Thankfully, enough of the citrus and spice did their darnedest to mask the damnedest of all roots.
One word of advice: Obey the two-minute steep time to the letter, though.
Boy, I’ve been really failing at that whole “consistency” thing this month. I have plenty of teas to go through, plenty of diversity in there. But with a 6AM wake-up time, the only thing my mind wants to veer toward is the Earl Grey and get on the road.
I guess that’s what days off are for.
I actually had time to tear open a sample of Mi Xian black – a Taiwanese “red” tea with an interesting twist. Like Gui Fei and Oriental Beauty, it uses leaves that have a special coating of…uh…stuff on them to prevent leafhopper (read: bug) attacks. With Gui Fei and Beauty, there is a noticeable flavor difference as a result. And you know what? The same can be said for Mi Xian. It’s like a Ruby 18 black crossed with Oriental Beauty with a dash of Dan Cong. The flavor is spry, tart, somewhat malty and creamy – all in contrast to its rather light liquor. That and it holds up to a neglected steep time.
I’ll probably do a more formal review on it soon, but this was my positive first impression.
It’s been two weeks since I’ve chimed in on here. Where have I been (er…besides watching copious amounts of Youtube, and saying “OWWWWwwww!” after work)? Okay, maybe that answers that question.
Got this in the mail as part of the Canton Tea Club. I’d had it before, but it I didn’t quite remember what “exactly” I thought of it. After four steeps so far, I now know that I “wuvved” it. It was toasty and tart like a good Dan Cong should be. Further cementing this as my favorite style of Chinese oolong.
It also helped to alleviate my general feeling of “blah” that’d been prevalent for the better part of a week.
For more info, go here: http://www.cantonteaco.com/blog/2012/12/canton-tea-club-week-10-mi-lan-dan-cong/
I thought I felt a cold coming on this morning. My natural instinct is to either hit the Greek Mountain or the white tea…hard. In this case, I still had plenty of Rwandan white and Kenyan white to work with. I couldn’t decide which to use. So, I went with both. A simple blend of 2 tsps. of each in a 32oz. teapot.
The results were rather surprising. The Kenyan white helped to mellow out the Rwandan some. I’ve found the latter was just shy of harsh sometimes – like Yue Guang Bai. This had a very mellow, grassy, and slightly floral lean. Overly pleasant.
Here’s hoping it helps combat the zombie plague.
This week’s Canton Tea Club offering had participants trying to decide a victor between Li Shan and Ali Shan oolongs. For an indecisive Libran like me, this was going to be difficult. Why? They look, smell, and (from what I recalled) tasted the same!
So, I subjected both to a Western-style pinting to determine a victor. Ali Shan won by a hair, thanks to appeasing my sweet-tooth. However, the best results came when I combined the two. I was downing the mixture by the pot as a wrote this: http://steepstories.com/2012/11/27/throwing-in-the-towel-after-a-tea-fight/
While listening to M.C. Hammer.
A couple o’ weeks back, I found a canister that I usually kept Lapsang Souchong in. What I hadn’t realized was that there was also an opened bag of Risheehat Vintage Spring (2011 First Flush). At first, I lamented. I loved the Vintage Spring for its freshness, but now the bag smelled like smoke. Then I thought, “Eh, let’s brew it up.”
And I loved it.
I tried it again this morning, same result. Loved it. There was muscatel with a hint of smoke. I thought the accidental Lapsang scenting would supply more of a smoky palate, but it was understated – which I liked.
However, this prompted me to try a new approach. I took the Lapsang out of its bag, and put it in a do-it-yourself filter teabag. Then I put it in with the naked Darjeeling. They are both, now, occupying the same canister, and will for a couple of days or so. I’m trying a Jasmine green tea-ish approach to see if more smoke can affect the Darjeeling leaves.
Canton Tea Club Week…oh, heck, I’ve lost track.
The full story on this stuff can be found here: http://www.cantonteaco.com/blog/2012/11/canton-tea-club-week-7-hawaii-forest-white/
Jane Pettigrew waxes all Voltaire-like over the stuff – far better than I ever could.
I did, however, do a write-up of last year’s batch, which can be found here: http://steepstories.com/2011/09/09/missing-the-forest-for-the-teas/
But enough linkies, my take.
I’ve had a s**t day. (See, nowhere near as poetic as Pettigrew.)
Between work and last-minute dashes to pick up a far-flung paycheck, and another dash to a far-flung bank – followed by grocery shopping – I was exhausted. Top that off, and I still had a NaNoWriMo project to contend with when I got home. Oh yeah, and a screamingly hungry cat.
When I saw this in the mail, my beaten brow beamed. Half-hour later, I brewed 8oz. of it up – boiled to perfection. It differed from last year – less butter, more grape, and all-around tropical. I also prefer it to last year’s crop, which was already near perfect in my eyes.
As I write this, I’m currently on steep…uh…three? Four is currently brewing. Just the fuel this writery-type needed.
Stacy over at Butiki Teas is on my mental wavelength.
She should probably have that checked.
Her flare for the unusual rivals even my own. And, boy, was this unusual. I mean that in all the best possible ways I can muster. While it technically shouldn’t be called a pu-erh in the traditional (read: Yunnan-produced) sense, it meets all the character criteria I care about. That being, it actually tastes good. Cocoa was at war with coffee, and chestnuts were the jury and arbiter…er…as far as flavor goes.
Whatever it’s called, I want more of it.
My full feature on it (and other tea/writing adventures) can be found here: http://steepstories.com/2012/11/12/writing-epiphanies-and-japanese-pu-erh/
It was The Jasmine Pearl’s eighth anniversary when I went to pick this up. When I first planned the outing with my brother, I didn’t know that. My only mission was to pick up some Earl Grey, which – even with all my teas – I had none of. EVERY one needs an Earl in their cupboard. (Unless you’re allergic to citrus.)
I’ve only ever encountered one or two near-perfect Earl Greys before. My criteria for perfection is: “The more bergamot, the better”. No, not those double-bergamot hackjobs. They’re too much of a good thing. What I mean is a bold citrusy presence without being too astringent. This met that requirement in spades. As I write this feverishly, I’m downing a pot of it. The Ceylon/Keemun base also shines through with floral aplomb.
My account of JP’s anniversary (and other announcements) can be found here: http://steepstories.com/2012/11/04/cheating-nanowrimo/
Here’s proof that I’m not a hoity-toity, oolong orthodoxical tea purist. I loved the smell of this stuff right on opening the bag. It smelled like Vanilla Coke. No joke. (Cheesy rhyme WIN!)
However, I could not – in good conscience – prepare it like a normal rooibos. No sir. I had to latte the s**t out of it. And it worked quite swimmingly that way. A great capper to a busy (and tea-filled) day.
Full review: Pending on www.teaviews.com