951 Tasting Notes
Hi all! Generally hot weather, combined with end of school year craziness with the kids and the fact that one of my colleagues at work recently departed so (guess what) I am now doing part of his job as well are all conspirators to keep me from enjoying sitting down with a cup of tea, much less writing tasting notes. However, I’ve been coughing for the last couple of days and today, I woke up with a squeak in my voice signalling the beginning of laryngitis. Ugh.
The good news is that baseball season is almost over, one of the kids’ other activities is on hiatus until the fall, and school will be over in a couple of weeks.
This tea has now become part of my work stash, and I’m glad I had it here with me today. There really is nothing like a cup of warm tea for any throat ailment. I see more warm tea and potentially a few notes in my future. ;-)
I was cold brewing for a while and then got side tracked by some other bright shiny objects and haven’t put any up for a while, but I think I will do that tonight as well.
Hope everyone’s doing well!
Sipdown no. 154 of the year 2014.
Honestly, I don’t care enough about this tea to try to perfect steeping parameters for it. It was decent, but not special when I tried in the gaiwan, and I tried it several times. I dumped what was left (about 6 grams) into the Breville and made it according to Tavalon’s instructions—180 degrees, 4 minutes.
This didn’t make it any more or less remarkable than it was in the gaiwan using a lower temperature. Fortunately, it isn’t planty, so I give it higher than usual white peony marks for that, and this time a slight floral note is coming out high above some slight woodiness.
But I strongly suspect white peony and I simply aren’t meant to be unless it is operating as the base for a nicely flavored white tea.
Sipdown no. 153 of the year 2014.
I think I have figured out what Harney tea this reminds me of. Ready?
And here’s the really amusing thing. I see that I rated this and Queen Catherine the same without realizing at the time what the comparison was.
I had the kids do a sniff test of what was left in this sample bag against what was in the Queen Catherine sample. They both said this one smelled more “green.”
This is a nice sized sample in a sealed packet. Too much to be sipped down in one sitting. It’s enough for two servings.
This has a faint orange fragrance in the packet, and I don’t smell tea underneath. The leaves are dark with curls of orange peel among them.
After a rinse and an initial 15 second steep in the gaiwan, the liquor is darker than I expected, sort of a natural honey color. There’s a dark oolong stonefruit aroma with a slight citrus note.
I get what Rabs said about this, there’s an earthy flavor. Even after a very short steep it’s almost bitter, which is disappointing. I get not much in the way of orange flavor. It’s very faint. It could be a fair amount stronger without running the risk of overpowering the oolong base.
Second steep, 20 seconds. The liquor is darker, a sort of brandy color. More orange in the aroma, along with the typical dark oolong toastiness. Still not much orange in the flavor, and as dark oolongs go, this one doesn’t seem to have a lot of flavor to the base, either. It’s not bitter on this steep, but it doesn’t have much complexity.
Third steep, 25 seconds. The flavor has opened up some. There’s a bit more orange flavor, and a rather pleasant, thick mouthfeel. Some astringency and some peach-pit notes starting to emerge from what seemed before a sort of generic woodiness. A slight bitterness at the finish.
Fourth steep, 30 seconds. Pretty much the same as the third.
I may fiddle around with this through a few more steeps, but it’s not doing much for me. It’s drinkable, but it doesn’t bowl me over.
Flavors: Orange Zest, Stonefruits
Sipdown no. 151 of the year 2014. This time I made it with plain Assam (LeafSpa Banaspaty Bliss) as the extra black tea rather than spicy chocolate to see what difference that might make.
It does tone down the spice to about an 11 from a 15 or so, but it’s still quite spicy and there’s a substantial afterburn. Certainly a bit more than I can handle on a regular basis, but every now and then something like this could definitely hit the spot.
I really do like chai, which may explain why I seem to have it coming out of my ears. I haven’t counted all my chais, but I have two other chocolate chais from 52teas and at least ten others (some chocolate, some not) that I can think of offhand, not counting samples. It’s likely that number is higher. Sipping down chais isn’t all that easy for me. It’s higher in calories (because milk) and more labor intensive than most other teas, so I can’t drink it as frequently as I’d like. So getting this sipdown in gives me a feeling of accomplishment!
This is yum.
I think I bought this sample because I liked the name (both because of the London neighborhood and because of the movie), but I’m glad I did. It’s a bold, hearty breakfast tea without being heavy. In the packet, I can smell both a bit of sharpness from the Assam and maltiness from the Yunnan. The steeped tea has a sweet, malty aroma and is a clear, mahogany color.
It has been a while since I had the Earl Grey Shanghai, but this reminds me somewhat of the base of that tea (must be the Yunnan) without the bergamot. I definitely get the “woodsy sweetness” of the description, as there’s something very arboreal about the flavor. I’m conscious I’m drinking something made from leaves when drinking this, and it’s a pleasant reminder. I can also get a hint of sweet tobacco.
Definitely many notes in this one, all of which work together nicely. It’s going on the shopping list.
And happy Easter to those who are celebrating.
Flavors: Malt, Tobacco, Wood
Wow, it’s been five days since I posted a note. Which goes to show how crazy it has been.
The kids were on spring break and going to a day camp, so our schedule got all discombobulated from that, plus work has been such that I come home every day feeling as though I’ve been crushed and ground into a fine powder. And then some nights, I had to get back on the phone for calls with Asia. My left eyebrow has been twitching intermittently for the last week, which sometimes happens when I’m overtired or stressed.
I have been feeling unmoored and I think it is because all vestiges of routine have been abandoned. I haven’t even been having breakfast, really. No morning coffee or tea, or at least not on a regular basis.
Also, it’s been warm-ish here, so I haven’t been craving hot drinks.
But as I mentioned in the last note before the lapse, I cold brewed some of this.
I don’t think my palate is very refined when it comes to tasting iced teas. I mean, I can taste a difference between this and the other cold brewed blacks I have had lately, but not a great difference. I suspect that the fact that the difference isn’t that great is reason enough not to brew this cold, unless I try it hot and it doesn’t send me. Darjeeling may be too complex a flavor to translate to iced tea readily? There’s a little more sharpness to this than there is with the cold Assam but sharpness isn’t really the right word because the cold brewing has blunted it. Otherwise, it’s pretty much a decent black iced tea and does the job of being a refreshing cold drink.
Continued apologies for not reading/commenting as much as I’d like.
Made some of this cold brewed using the same formula I used for the Grapefruit Black. It was quite good, a great thirst quencher which is really one of my main requirements for cold tea. No. 1 liked it as well.
I’m now trying cold brewing the LeafSpa Goomtee Darjeeling. I’ll let you know how it turns out sometime after 5 p.m. tomorrow.
I realized that I forgot to post no. 1’s results from his piano Certificate of Merit exam and now I feel bad about not posting it because (to the extent anyone thought about it at all ;-)) my silence may have led you to believe that he crashed and burned.
Brag starts here:
However, such was not the case. He got all excellents except for in sight reading, where he got a good. And he got a branch honors sticker on his certificate.
So now that I’ve set the record straight. This tea is definitely a step up from the Choconut and a decent flavored green tea, but not very distinctive. It’s one of many tropical fruit flavored greens I’ve had that are solid but not exceptional. So I can’t say I’ll miss it much when it’s gone, which should be fairly soon, because chances are I have another tea with a similar flavor somewhere in my stash. Perhaps even two or three…