1184 Tasting Notes
Another of the Andao teas that I never got around to opening before the company went kaput.
At least I had the foresight to buy some yunnans.
This one has really pretty dry leaves. Long and twisty, with more dark than blond but still a nice variation in color from the tips. A malty, cocoa scent from the dry leaves.
The steeped tea is clear and brandy-colored, and it smells bready with a hint of pepper.
The flavor carries some of that breadiness over. It’s medium bodied, with a bit of perk to it. It isn’t sugary sweet like some yunnans, but it does have a gently sweet aftertaste. More cocoa than honey.
I’m going to enjoy sipping down this one.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Pepper
This is another sample from the pure T sampler, and the first of the Sanctuary T samples I haven’t sipped down in a single serving. It’s about 9g of tea, and that was too much for my gaiwan. So I get more than one shot at this one.
I expected this to be pretty much what I’ve experienced in other tieguanyins from the look of the dry leaves and their green, floral aroma.
But I started with hotter water, and the first steep after rinsing (15 sec) was more like a darker oolong. More of a roasted flavor than a floral/dairy one. The steeped tea does have a strong floral/dairy note, but it’s got a roastiness as well.
So I decided to go cooler for the next steep and see what that did. The water temperature didn’t seem to make much difference in the flavor. So I’m concluding that this is a medium or dark roast tieguanyin, rather than a green.
There’s an interesting toffee-like note to this, particularly in the finish, and once I stopped looking for the green oolong flavor, I could focus on the nuttiness of this one.
I took it through several more steeps, but I’m reserving the rating for now as I’m not sure how to classify this. I’ll think about it more and give it another try before rating.
I spent the morning going through papers that had piled up and have paper cuts on three out of five fingers on my right hand, so my notes are likely to be a bit shorter than usual for the next day or so. Ugh.
Flavors: Almond, Floral, Nutty, Toffee
Time to try a new tisane. I have a few samples left, as the collection continues to get whittled down.
In the packet, it smells like some sort of baked good. Gingerbread, maybe? It’s not so chocolatey that I’d identify it as a chocolate aroma. The mixture looks heavy on the chocolate and caramel pieces and light on the honeybush and rosebuds.
Steeped, it smells boozy. A liqueur smell. Kahlua, maybe, though it has been a while since I had Kahlua. It has a tea-colored liquor that’s remarkably clear given the various sugary things in it that undoubtedly melted when steeped.
Fortunately, it doesn’t taste boozy. Well, at least not in the sip. There’s a bit of liqueur flavor in the aftertaste. The sip is mostly caramel, with some vaguely cocoa notes. It’s smooth and tasty, and a bit on the subtle side which I think improves it over what it might taste like if it was the sort of thing that hit you over the head. I can’t really taste the honeybush, which is a plus.
I was going to say I couldn’t really taste the torte, either, which would be a minus. But as it cools, I do get a suggestion of baked goods. Not as strong as the one in the Amaretti Cookie, but it is there.
This is the sort of thing I would have gone nuts for a few years back when I was marveling at the fact that a drink could taste like a decadent dessert without the calories. It’s good enough that it’s tempting me back toward desserty non-fruit tisanes tonight.
For that I rate it high, but I’m not sure it’s enough to make me completely buck my trend of late to crave fruity tisanes instead of desserty chocolate, caramel, cake, etc. ones.
Flavors: Alcohol, Caramel, Chocolate
Sipdown no. 10 for 2016 (no. 231 total).
After sipping my way through this, I can safely say that the ginger was more prominent than the lemon throughout, not just in the cup I wrote about initially. I continued to enjoy the ginger flavor in this, though I can’t say that in the last few cups I sipped down I got the effervescence impression that I mentioned initially. Perhaps that is a function of age (the tisane’s, not mine).
Flavors: Ginger, Lemon, Wet Wood
Sipdown no. 9 of 2016 (no. 230 total). After saying I should shake up the tin to try to distribute the mint and chocolate more evenly, I forgot to do that every single time I had this until after I was already steeping. Oh well.
Not much to add. It’s more mint than chocolate, and it’s ok but not the best I’ve had.
Sipdown no. 8 of 2016 (no. 229 total). A sample. The second of the green tea sampler from Sanctuary T.
I was delighted to find jasmine pearls among the samples as they are such a favorite of mine. These smell very jasminey in the packet and steep to a very pale, clear yellow that is almost colorless. The jasmine is the primary note in the aroma as one might expect, and the same is true with regard to the flavor. The tea is quite mild in its jasmine-ness as well as in its tea-ness. Not bitter, or otherwise having any off notes. Just not very present, and the jasmine is rather light. It’s actually a good combination to have the jasmine light where the tea is also light. Otherwise you get a pasted on jasmine flavor, which this doesn’t have.
It’s a good jasmine pearls, but I prefer more depth to the underlying tea.
Sipdown no. 7 of 2016 (no. 228 total). A sample.
It has been a while since I had a genmaicha. I like them, when I’m in the mood for them. Since it’s still pretty early in the day, I thought I could risk turning to this one, which has matcha in it, after a couple of black teas this morning without ending up awake at four a.m. We shall see.
It makes a cloudy, yellow liquor that is quite pretty. It looks like liquid lemon drops. The aroma is mostly toasty rice, but with a seaweed/grassy tone as well.
One of the things I like about Genmaicha and also one of the reasons I have to be in the mood for it is that sometimes it can remind me of eating sushi. The green, vegetable, and seaweed tones combined with the rice tones can sometimes remind me of kappa maki (without the soy sauce, wasabi, and the need to chew).
This one gives me a bit of that experience. It’s tasty, not bitter, has quite a lot of toasty rice and is nicely balanced with the grass/seaweed flavor of the tea.
I am not sure I fully understand umami, but I would venture to say this has it.
Flavors: Rice, Seaweed, Toasty
Sipdown no. 6 of 2016 (no. 227 total). The rest of the sample.It tastes particularly brisk and bright today, with honey in the aroma and in the finish. The assam throat grab is barely present. It teeters between being a great tea on the surface and something that has a bit more depth.
So here’s a question. When you’re tasting tea do you ever perceive distance in taste? I know some people taste colors, etc. but I noticed that I taste depths and heights. I find myself often saying something is “deep” or “on the surface” or has “high” notes. It’s like taking a VR walk through the taste, I guess, or it feels a little bit like that. Hmmm.