953 Tasting Notes
Another LeafSpa tea I’m pretty sure I bought because of the name. I thought it was cute. And the tea itself is cute, too. Like little twisty sticks of tea. Unicorn horns of tea.
I steeped it like any other green tea, and I don’t get the honey color that other notes have described. I get a standard issue pale yellow with green tinge green tea liquor with a vegetal aroma and a light, buttery vegetal taste. Lighter even than the bi luo chun of yesterday. It’s pleasant, but not terribly distinctive or interesting.
Just for laughs I think I’ll steep it longer and hotter net time and see if it produces a honey color in the cup.
I decided to look through my tea collection and see whether any of the other companies I bought from have gone out of business besides SpecialTeas, Andao and LeafSpa.
I found one more, The Simple Leaf, a much beloved company here on Steepster years ago for its Dawn, Mountain Malt, and other teas. I think everything else is still standing, though. That makes me happy.
Today’s first tea to see what it’s like not following an Earl Grey.
It’s definitely the way to go with this one, not having an echo of anything on your tongue already when you drink it. I’m getting much more chocolate flavor today, so it’s much more like chocolate covered raisins than generic fruity, black tea with a cocoa note.
And it’s not bad with a chocolate almond biscotti from Trader Joe’s (my breakfast). But the flavors do become a little confused.
Well, we’re off to start the insanity that is our Saturday. Breakfast on the go for the kids, kung fu and then shopping for baseball trousers (no. 1 gets a free pair and no. 2 gets 10% off at a local store). Then I have grand plans for rearranging and revitalizing the way my drawers are set up in the dresser and chest of drawers in the bedroom, and decluttering the garage. As I type this, I’m thinking maybe a nap instead…
I ate too much tonight at the Italian place we went to. Ugh. Still, I am celebrating a 10 lb weight loss as of yesterday, and I don’t think one night is going to be enough to sabotage it completely. I’m also feeling pretty good because I finished a pro bono project today and turned in my research. And I’m looking forward to going to sleep as soon as I say that I had sort of been hoarding this, which is the last of the Adagio herbal samples, and now I remember why.
It deserves a higher rating and I’m giving it a bump. It’s a very gentle, almost vague, herbally lemon, not a fruity one, but it doesn’t push any of my buttons. No bitterness, no soapiness, no unmitigated tartness, no random un-named unpleasantness.
In the grand scheme of things it’s something I wouldn’t mind having in my cupboard, but not until I’ve determined there isn’t a pure lemongrass I like better from another vendor. (Perhaps lemongrass is lemongrass is lemongrass, but how will I know unless I try ALL THE LEMONGRASS?)
Last time I made this in the Breville and tossed it into the Timolino and never really saw the liquor or smelled the aroma of the tea.
The liquor is actually pretty shocking. It’s a very deep, almost golden yellow and clear, but it really made me think of melted butter. The aroma made me think of baked bread in the same way the Irish Breakfast did the other day.
And the flavor today was very much liked baked bread, which is pretty amazing for a green tea. The dry leaves are also quite pretty, a dark tangly nesty looking mess. Maybe that’s how it got part of its name?
It was yum today on a rainy, rainy afternoon before no. 1’s piano lesson.
Bumping the rating. Still not sure I would really buy this again (even if LeafSpa was still around) because it’s more like black tea than a green, but I can’t penalize it for my buying decisions.
I went to go enter this into the database and I couldn’t find Andao online. From which I conclude that this is another now-defunct tea company.
I’m pretty amazed. I didn’t think I was out of the tea loop that long.
But that means there’s no picture and no real description of this that I can upload. I did find out by looking at Wikipedia that the name means Green Snail Spring and it’s because the leaves are rolled into a snail-like spiral.
I didn’t have much time to pay attention to the leaves when I made this this morning. I just steeped it, poured it into the Timolino, and jumped in the car.
This is a light but flavorful, buttery, vegetal green tea. It’s more “green” and less vegetable in flavor, lighter on the vegetable side than the mao feng and the mao jian I’ve had recently. I can’t say I like it more or less than those. It’s about the same in terms of how much I like it, just different in flavor.
I think I’ll have to rejigger the ratings on all of these as I see I rated the mao jian a 78 and yet I like it better than some of the black teas I’ve rated the same. For now, though, keeping this the same as the mao jian. I’ll fix them all later.
Sipdown no. 105 of the year 2014.
I did a little more research before I steeped this time. I had been surprised to find steeping instructions for darjeelings at less than boiling water temps. Then I read further and it appears that that is a recommendation for a first flush darjeeling, whereas a higher temp and lower steeping time is recommended for a second flush.
This being a second flush, I decided to up the water temp this time and see what happens.
First off, there’s a big difference in liquor color. The liquor this time is the color of maple syrup. Second, the aroma is different. It’s much more sharp and darjeeling-like, and I think for the first time I really understand the muscatel references. I still haven’t put my hands on an actual muscatel wine (the BF is embarrassed to buy any or for me to buy any given its reputation as a wino wine) but for the first time, I am smelling wine and not just a wine-like aroma. There’s still something that is nutty as well.
The flavor is much richer steeped this way, too. Instead of water chestnuts, I get something that is almost cocoa, definitely musky and woodsy, with a grapey tang. It’s astringent, but not painfully so.
I’m fairly sure this is how I should have steeped it the first time. Bumping the rating slightly.
Second tea of the morning after the trusty, over-tea-noted Earl from LeafSpa (which is marching toward sipdown nicely). Having had this yesterday, there was almost enough room to shake the packet (remember to shake the packet, remember to shake the packet). Next time I should be able to get a nice shake in.
I am getting the raisiny fruitiness of yesterday with the same not very strong chocolate. I got some chocolate chips in my mix today so I think perhaps it’s just the balance of this blend. Though I will make a point of trying it after something other than the Earl or as a first morning tea as a test.
I wouldn’t buy Raisinettes at the movies but would take some if they were passed to me during a flick, and that’s sort of how I feel about this tea. It gets high marks for living up to its name and for being a tasty tea that is not at all doing a number on my brain or my stomach. It’s nicely done. It’s just not among my favorites.
Thank you so much yyz for your suggestion on steeping silver needle. I was definitely doing it wrong.
There’s flavor in them there leaves!
Steeping in the gaiwan at a minute a steep using water that started at about 175 degrees, I’m getting a definite nutty, slightly woody flavor with a sweet aftertaste. The second steep was definitely thicker, a very nice mouthfeel. No bitterness, no planty-ness, but not just like a mouthful of snow either. It’s less dewy and nectary, which is what I thought silver needle tasted like.
I now know there’s much more to it.
I heart Steepster.
I only have two bags of this left in the home stash but almost a whole box at work, and as my work stash is now not exactly a pillar of diversity, this has been my “commute home” tea for the past few days.
I really do find this pleasant. Some teas blow you away from day one. Others grow on you slowly. This one has grown on my slowly. It’s like that friend who keeps being a great friend and then one day you wake up and you’re in love.
I’ve never had an unpleasant cup of this. It has never been at all offensive even when abused by water temperature and oversteeping. It’s forgiving. And it’s nothing if not consistent. It’s not flashy or terribly exciting, but kids, when you get older you’ll find there’s a lot to be said for stability. ;-) This is a tea I can count on.
I do want to try some more lotus flower scented teas if I can find any that look promising (as opposed to the Thai seed thing which is said to be bitter), but not to replace this one. Just out of curiosity to see what a non-decaf lotus flower tea might be like.
I have to bump the rating on this one for its steadfastness. Rock on, Lotus.