1184 Tasting Notes
So yeah, this was a 2010 green tea and I’m just getting to it now. [Hangs head in shame.]
It was vacuum sealed and stored in my magical California climate, though, so when opened, an amazingly fresh, sweet fragrance wafted out of the packet. Like sweet, buttery spinach, where the sharpness of the spinach has been filed down and replaced with sweet pea.
The leaves are amazingly fine and hair-like. They remind me a bit of gyokuro leaves but not as dark in color. These are a light, grass green, and may even be a bit finer in texture than gyokuro, though I’m not comparing side by side.
The liquor is almost a chartreuse color, and the steeped tea smells very much like the dry leaves.
The flavor is sweet and mellow. Very drinkable, very flavorful. Makes me wonder what this would have been like when fresh. I’ve been taking this with me to work the past couple of days. It’s a nice morning tea but I’m also having some now, and it’s just as enjoyable in the evening.
There’s something bright and happy about this tea. It’s like optimism in a cup.
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Peas, Spinach
Sipdown no. 53 of 2016 (no. 264 total). A sample.
Having just sipped down a different jasmine silver needle that didn’t do much for me, I have to say this is pretty amazing.
I wonder whether it is the steeping instructions that make a difference. I steeped this in 8 oz of water. I intended to steep it for 4:30. I got to that by subtracting the minimum of 2 minutes from the maximum of 7, dividing by 2, and adding that number to the 2 minute minimum.
But I started doing something else and didn’t hear the timer go off. So I really can’t say how much time passed. Which is sad because that means I might not be able to recreate this. But why get exercised over that, since Samovar is no longer selling this. Sigh.
In any case, this is far more flavorful than any white tea I recall having, and it isn’t just because of the jasmine. Though that is a big part of it. There’s a piquant edge to the tea that makes me think of black tea but without the heft and depth. I taste hay, for sure, and something flowery and sweet. It’s almost like pollen, but since pollen isn’t a choice I’ve called it nectar. It’s sort of that pre-honey flavor/aroma that you get from some flowers.
The leaves were quite pretty. Silvery green. Made me think of snow on conifers. The liquor is a deep golden yellow, and some of the hairiness of the leaves sent little floaters into the tea.
I would SO drink this again. If only it was still around. Double sigh.
Flavors: Flowers, Hay, Jasmine, Nectar
Sipdown no. 52 of 2016 (no. 263 total).
The last of the Numi Puerhs is no more.
I have been swilling this at work like there was no tomorrow for the past week. It still reminds me more of gingerbread than chocolate. My favorite of the Numi puerhs and with the rest of them, a helpful starter puerh.
I may revisit it at some point in the future, but for now, too many other teas, too little time, so no immediate restock even though I quite like it.
Sipdown no. 51 of 2016 (no. 262 total). The rest of a sample tin.
This was, for a few days, the next in the line of “take it to work in the Timolino” teas. But the tin was pretty small, so now it is gone.
Definitely one I will miss.
I recently read somewhere that drinking green tea every day cuts women’s risk of pancreatic cancer by half. Don’t know if it’s true, but hey, if it helps, it’s sure a pleasant way to cut that risk.
Sipdown no. 50 of 2016 (no. 261 total). A sample.
I’ve had this one for a while, obviously, but it was vacuum sealed in its little sample packet and unopened. So when I opened it, a lovely, green floral scent wafted from the packet.
It looks like your basic Ali Shan, green and rolled. This one had some visible stems.
After a rinse, I put this through five steeps in the gaiwan. I did my usual 15 seconds for the first and added five seconds each time, except for the last one where I sort of lost count and probably let it sit for more than a couple of minutes. I didn’t do my usual anal note-taking thing on each separate steep. It’s raining outside and I just wanted to sip and feel the warmth, and enjoy without thinking about it too much.
I haven’t had that many Ali Shans, but I like them. I think I prefer Ti Guanyins, but in general I just like the greener oolongs. This one had a delicate orchid-like aroma and flavor in the early steeps. The liquor started out barely yellow and progressed to a solid, light golden color. The last steep made me think of chestnuts. There’s an interesting note that is a little salty, which mixes things up a bit. But I had to think for a while about what that note was, so it isn’t at all so salty as to be distracting.
Very nice, and though I may regret later not having better notes, I quite enjoyed drinking this without the anal critic in me scribbling between steeps.
Flavors: Chestnut, Floral, Green, Orchids, Salt
Another tea I haven’t tried before. I generally enjoy chocolate mint teas, but it has been a while since I had one from any company.
In the tin I get a definite Girl Scout thin mint aroma. The steeped tea has a flatter, less powerful and more “spread out” aroma. The color is the same as pretty much all the other Simpson & Vails, medium brown, clear, reddish. I assume that has to do with a common tea base.
The flavor is unfortunately, somewhat disappointing. It’s just way too subtle in the chocolate department. And frankly, in the mint department as well. I was hoping for thin mints in a cup, and I got something that reminds me a lot of what I didn’t like about the Kusmi chocolate teas, including their chocolate mint. But I give it a few more points for having a nice balance, despite the subtlety.
It won’t be hard to sip down, it’s just that one of my rules in life is chocolate should never be subtle. ;-)
Flavors: Chocolate, Cookie, Mint
The first weekend in a while where I didn’t have to be at something early (never thought I’d be so happy for Little League games to be rained out!) so I get to try a tea I haven’t tried before. Yay!
I definitely bought this as part of my great Simpson & Vail sample-fest, and I’m pretty sure I got this one because I liked the name. It’s a pretty florally tea, with little blue petals in it. In the tin, it smells pretty much like all the other Simpson & Vail “well done florals” but after steeping the aroma is more distinctive. There’s definitely pepper in those flowers! It has a medium brown, reddish liquor.
It has much more “tea” flavor that many of the other S&V’s I have had, which makes it an enjoyable breakfast blend. I can taste the berry undercurrent. It’s sort of dark to me, like blackberry-ish with perhaps a bit of blue, but I can’t get more specific. It just doesn’t come across as red berry to me. I’m not sure I would have identified the berry note, frankly, if I hadn’t read about it, but that may be a lingering effect of the evil grippe that I had two weeks ago, that still has my ears a bit clogged and makes me cough once in a while. Definitely the Simpson & Vail floral thing going on. The pepper, I’m guessing, is what is giving me a very fresh and cool mouthfeel on the tongue, which is interesting.
Not the most robust S&V blend but what it lacks in oomph and intricacy it makes up for in pleasant unusualness.
Flavors: Berry, Floral, Pepper
Sipdown no. 49 of 2016 (no. 260 total).
This became my “take it to work” tea and lived in my Timolino for the past couple of weeks.
Sadly, I just don’t really appreciate white teas the way they were meant to be appreciated. This was rather like warm jasmine spa water to me. The jasmine flavor was nice, but there wasn’t much else to it.
I have a lot more white tea in my stash so I’ll have more tries to find one I can discern flavor in, but I think it may be one of those things where I really want to like white tea but just don’t see the point.
In other news, one of our kitties has been quite sick. Thyroid problems, kidney problems, and earlier this week she had a stroke and some seizures that left her blind and unable to walk. We thought Tuesday would be her last day with us, but she made it through and is actually recovering slowly. She is walking a little, but we can’t tell whether she is still blind. Such a sad time in our house. She’s pretty much everyone’s favorite kitty.
Sipdown no. 48 of 2016 (no. 259 total).
The second to last of the Numi bagged pu-erhs in my stash. I made this my go-to work tea for the afternoon after the magnolia pu-erh.
My parting reaction, on the occasion of this sipdown, is largely the same as the reaction I had to the magnolia. Which is to say, it was pleasant while it lasted, but I don’t see myself buying it again. It was fun to experiment with when I was starting out, but I’m ready to get more serious about pu-erh.