346 Tasting Notes
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
This JUST arrived today. I was greeted by the lovely Canton Tea Club package after returning home from my cousinly brainstorming session. When I read the box, my heart skipped a beat. This tea was A-Murr-ican!
I tore it open instantly. This wasn’t my first exposure to the Eva Lee/Chiu Leong/Tea Hawaii outfit. I had sampled everything from their black, their white, their other green and their oolong. This was a different green tea from the last one. The leaves were longer, wider, a different shade of green, and the smell was kelpy and tart. I assumed this was actually from leaves grown on their private estate, not one from a neighboring garden.
I brewed it up the first time like I would any green tea, and it came out much too light. On a second go-around, I opted for boiling water and a three-minute steep. The approach turned out a very citrusy brew with a slight grassy kick. It was light in a Long Jing sorta way, but with no vegetal profile to speak of.
I liked it quite a bit, and it served as the perfect fuel while writing a Halloween-related rant (here: http://www.lazyliteratus.com/1869).
At the time of this writing, the blog for this offering isn’t up yet, but I’ll update this note accordingly when it does.
Correction: I guess this IS their Ol’a green, only with a different rolling method. shrug
I found myself in a Starbucks for the early part of my day, helping my cousin brainstorm some future story ideas. I had a hand in a children’s book/app he’s developing. Also got a sneak peek of it’s near-completion; lookin’ pretty sexy…er…for a children’s book. (You can “like” it on FB, if you so choose: http://www.facebook.com/The.Riverbottom.Tales).
I was running on four hours of sleep and needed a “brewed” awakening of sorts. So, “Awake” it was. Not much special to say here. It’s black, it’s bitter, it’s the tea version of coffee. As far as English Breakfast variants go, it gets the job done. No more, no less.
I’ll be back a wee bit later for something more esoteric.
First off, I would like to give a hearty (and italicized ) “Thank YOU!” to LiberTeas for this sample. I’m always up for trying new whites, especially one with a name that looks dangerously close to “lotion”.
I was able to try this after a day of two failed interviews, a well-deserved nap, and a cat-puking wake-up alarm (no really). I am constantly impressed with the oddities that Verdant is dishing out, it tickles my geeky bone. As…wrong as that sounds.
This looked like a green tea on appearance, also smelled like one. It had the aroma of buttered veggies. When I brewed it, I accidentally went a little hot on the water. As a result, I decided to lower the brewing temperature by a minute or two – going with a minute-thirty.
The result was a pale yellow liquor that smelled like a green but tasted like a white. It reminded me of a cross between a Bai Mu Dan and a Mao Feng. Or some unholy hybrid of the two. Point is, I loved it. Mainly for the full-bodied aspect of it…but that might’ve just been my brewing. However, a good sign of a good tea is whether or not it can put up with my neglect. And this did. Good orphan.
I have two job interviews today. I figured I should take a page out of my own blog (here: http://steepstories.com/2012/10/24/tea-pairing-with-job-hunting/) and not over caffeinate before interview #1. So, I went with a Western-style brew-up of this. Buttery, leafy, eerily soothing…I think I’m ready for the first one now.
I am finally back up and running after several trials and errors with computer repair. Thanks to a whole slew of friends, this pseudo-writer is back in the proverbial e-saddle. Anyway…back to tea.
This was one I received in a care package from LiberTeas (bless her heart). It’s been awhile since I’ve had me some Assam, and this was an estate that was new to me. Also new to me, it wasn’t an estate with a really Klingon-sounding name. This one was Hazelbank…and that makes me giggle inappropriately for some reason.
This is about as Assam as you can get. It brewed dark copper at only a three minute steep. It’s characteristically bitter on the forefront and malty to the core. I think a few chest hairs poofed! into existence thanks to this. That and I was wide-eyed and alert.
So, good on ya, Hazelbank. giggle
It’s been a s**t day.
I had a second “interview” with a temp agency. I put that word in quotes because they brought me in long enough to say, “Oh, we don’t have anything you qualify for…yet.” Only with prettier words. One of these days, I’ll have a marketable skillset. Like, uh, sniper or something.
On the brightside, I received this beauty in the mail via the Canton Tea Club. It was another Arya “Jewel Tea”, which means I only have one left to mark off, "Huzzah!
The smell of the dry leaves was nothing too spectacular – woody, slightly malty, but no spicy muscatel goodness to speak of. Still a wonderful aroma, though. The leave palette was gorgeous, though.
I will totally confess that I accidentally over-brewed this. When I put the leaves to the steep, I was in the middle of trying to get my computer to work. (Seriously, it’s like defibrillating a homeless person.)So, it was more like a four-minute infusion than the recommended two-minutes.
Even then this turned out quite wonderfully. It reminded me of the Castleton Moonlight second flush mixed with an autumnal. Burly and oolongy. What a weird juxtaposition. I’m not sure if I like it better than the Arya Ruby, but it is still up there.
For more information, go here: http://www.cantonteaco.com/blog/2012/10/canton-tea-club-week-4-arya-diamond/