1166 Tasting Notes
Not quite done with my confectionery tea fix for the morning. I thought about having the Teavana Almond Biscotti, but then I saw that I had some of this so decided to try it instead.
In the packet it smells very similar to the Teavana. Which in turn was pretty much identical to the SpecialTeas Almond Cookie, which in turn was similar to American Tea Room Brioche.
I did this before in a previous note, but just for fun, let’s compare:
Teavana Almond Biscotti—Black tea, almond pieces, cinnamon pieces, and safflower blossoms
SpecialTeas Almond Cookie (and yes, I read the thread about SpecialTeas being a provider to Teavana and that maybe being part of why they aren’t around anymore)—tea, almonds, cinnamon, flavouring, safflower blossoms
American Tea Room Brioche—well-oxidized ebony leaves are contrasted with pale, sliced almonds, bits of cinnamon and vermillion-colored safflower blossoms.
Guess what Amaretti Cookie has? Black tea, almonds, cinnamon, and safflowers.
One of the things I like about these blends is the safflowers.They brighten the tea up and make it look festive. Red is particularly fetching among the black leaves. I’m not sure how and what they contribute to the taste. In fact, I’m not sure I know what safflowers taste like.
The tea is a medium golden brown and translucent, but is not clear. The aroma has an interesting citrus note to it but otherwise smells like almond cookies.
Flavor. Well, it’s definitely almond-y, more pastry than cookie, I think. Rather like an almond croissant and very tasty, but the first sip did a bit of a throat grab on me. I should perhaps steep this at my usual 3:30 instead of 4, but I thought I’d go with the package directions to start. I also wonder what a slightly lower temperature would do.
It’s got a pretty amazing aftertaste. Like what I taste after eating almond pastries such as bear claws. It’s a juicier flavor than the Amaretto Cookies I’ve had (the kind that come in the red tin, individually wrapped in paper that is fun to set on fire, but don’t try that at home, kids). Those are crisper, in my recollection.
I haven’t had either the Teavana or the ATR versions in a while, though the SpecialTeas is sadly, no more.
I’m not sure I’m ready to unseat Brioche as my favorite in this genre, but this is a good tea and I’m glad to have it available as an alternative. Rating it the same as the Teavana and SpecialTeas in this genre.
Flavors: Almond, Cookie, Pastries
Exciting! In going through my tea stash yesterday, I found some of this! I can’t believe I never wrote a note about it because I know how much I like it. In fact, I was lying in bed this morning thinking about what tea I wanted with breakfast and this one came to mind first and wouldn’t leave.
It smells amazing in the tin, deep and rich caramel aroma, which makes me think of colors like chocolate brown. No. 2 smelled it and immediately said he wanted some, so I made enough for him to have some (but he left to go get pancakes before it was done steeping, so great, more for me).
The aroma of the steeped tea lightens up quite a bit into more of a candy caramel, which makes me think of colors like coffee and tan. That’s also where the vanilla note comes in. The tea is a clear maple color, not murky like some caramel teas, where the caramel bits melt and turn the liquor to sludge.
The flavor is just as I remembered it. Very obviously caramel, but not overpowering, and not just riding the surface or otherwise glommed on. The tea itself isn’t overly strong and is fairly smooth. I might steep it a bit longer next time and see what that does. Yes, I’m overjoyed that I have enough to enjoy more cups of this! I can see why I was hoarding it, as it is one of the last of the LiberTEAS teas, but it’s one of those things where I’m going to have to bite the bullet and drink it or risk that it be discovered fossilized in an archaeological dig in the far distant future.
Flavors: Caramel, Vanilla
Sipdown no. 199. After last night, there was only enough left for a couple of cups so it became a prime sipdown candidate.
I’ve been sticking my unaccounted for teas into my Steepster cupboard, both because a desire to be anal about it overtook me and because it is helping me to remember what I have. My cupboard has grown tremendously as a result, so it is nice to have something to take out instead of put in.
It’s a good tisane, and I’m now pretty happy with how true it is to its name. So I’m rating it high.
At the moment though, it’s not something I’m ready to put on the shopping list. Lately I find myself favoring fruity tisanes rather than desserty ones, so though it’s definitely something I’d put on the list were I in the mood for something like it, I’m just not in the mood.
In other news, I did go to The Force Awakens today. I’d forgotten how much I like going to the movies by myself.
It was great fun, and so much better than the prequel trilogy. Much more in line with the original Skywalker trilogy. Han, Leia, and Luke may have just made it cool to be old. About time. ;-)
ETA: As it happens, this has been discontinued so even if I wanted to put it on my shopping list, I couldn’t.
Another tea company that sadly, is no more. I have a number of never opened teas from them and this is one of those.
Continuing to explore the Yunnans in my stash, and I was delighted to find that the leaves on this one are almost as golden as the Adagio ones and quite pretty. There’s a peppery, malty note to the dry leaves that makes me think this one holds a lot of promise.
The tea is a clear maple color and smells terrific. Chocolate, cocoa, malty, a little pepper, sweet molasses. It tastes just like it smells. A little drying on the tongue, very smooth and clean in the finish. Pleasant, sweet arboreal aftertaste.
Very lovely indeed.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Malt, Molasses, Pepper, Sweet
Well, tonight it sure tastes like Tiramisu. I see I didn’t think much of its ability to mimic the dessert a while back, but I’m going to go out on a limb and venture a guess that the reason it tastes more like its name is we had pizza for dinner, and I had this afterward. Tomato sauce, garlic, and other Italian types of ingredients, i.e., the foods that typically prime the palate prior to eating the real deal. At least that’s how I usually have tiramisu. After a meal at an Italian restaurant.
Roswell Strange probably knows whether this is the reason from a scientific standpoint, but I like my unscientific logic. ;-)
Made a lot of this today at the BF’s request. Steeped hotter and longer, and this time the flavor was noticeably different, so much so that even with his cold he tasted the difference. What I found most interesting was a citrus note, something suggestive of mandarin orange maybe? As well as a very mild nuttiness.
I look back on my initial note on this with amusement. Between then and now I have learned to appreciate green tea in general far more, and Dragonwell in particular.
For one thing, I was seriously underleafing when I first tried Dragonwell. I was using a spoon as a measurement rather than gram weight which undoubtedly resulted in underleafing given the size of Dragonwell leaves, and then I found out that the gram weight I was using (2.5 g per cup, which is pretty standard) is about .5g less than what one should ordinarily use to steep Dragonwell. Once I got the leafing right, things fell into place.
One thing that’s still true for me, though, is that Dragonwell is different from other green teas; I get less butter than with many others and it doesn’t taste like run off from cooked vegetables so much as it does actual vegetables. It’s interesting that Harney mentioned eggplant. Not sure I would have come up with that on my own, but with the power of suggestion, I certainly understand what they mean. Bumping the rating.
Sipdown no. 197. A sample.
I am slowly but surely making headway in the oolong sample department, aided by the fact that many of these are single-serving size samples. (Say that 5 times fast.)
This has the tightly rolled medium to lighter green look I expect from this type of tea, but what’s interesting is the aroma of the dry leaves. A really gorgeous floral note in there. Again, it makes me want to say lilac, though I am not great at identifying individual floral notes except for rose, gardenia, and jasmine. I rinsed it and steeped in the gaiwan at 195 beginning at 15 seconds and adding 5 seconds each time.
1. Light, greenish yellow, clear color. Milky, light floral aroma. Mild, light, green taste with a hint of butter and a floral aftertaste.
2. Yellower in color. More milky than floral, and there is a vegetal note. Folks have found asparagus and cabbage notes in this. For me it’s more cabbage than asparagus. Come to think of it, cabbage can have a note that straddles vegetable and dairy. There’s a slight green piquancy to it, as with cabbage so I think that’s what I’m tasting here. But I love cabbage, so to me that’s a good thing.
3. Color is more golden and less green this steep. The aroma has turned quite buttery. The dairy/vegetable straddle note is there and more intense this time, with flowers in the finish.
4. A straight up yellow color. Definitely cabbage in the aroma, more on the green side than the dairy side with that sort of nutty flavor quality that cabbage can have. It’s pretty complex, though. The flavors seem to change from sip to sip, sometimes they’re more heavily floral than others.
5. Brighter straight yellow, smell like buttery cabbage.
The leaves expanded nicely between steeps 1 and 2, and had pretty much completely unfurled by steep four. They steeped leaves are olive green in color and have a bitter green smell, a bit like collard greens.
This is an interesting one. It’s not as sweet and creamy as some I’ve had, more vegetal with that interesting cabbage note. I enjoyed it and its differences. I don’t like it better than some of the tie guan yins I’ve had, but it’s very good and I’d drink it again.
I would love to do oolongs all afternoon, but my taster needs a break as does my bladder. I think I might read for a while.
Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Milk, Vegetables
Sipdown no. 196. A large tin.
I thought about giving this another shot in the gaiwan or yixing, but decided I didn’t have the patience as it hadn’t been a stellar performer in either in the past. Too much tea, too little time. I’d rather just move on. There are other shous.
So I rinsed it and then steeped it in the Breville. Not a lot to report other than it is warm and inoffensive.
But the best news: I found my Timolino! Yay!