885 Tasting Notes
It really is a shame this one doesn’t taste as good as it looks. It’s quite pretty. There was a big honking cylinder of cinnamon in my mix tonight. Seriously, I wanted to crawl through it like a culvert. And some gorgeous red peppercorns that looked like little berries or Christmas ornaments, and all on a backdrop of other colorful stuff. I went very heavy on the mix tonight because (1) I thought it might help the flavor and (2) I want to sip this sucker down asap.
Alas, the extra mix provided no improvement to the lotiony aroma, and only slight improvement to the flavor. I do think it is a bit less lotiony than last evening, but perhaps I’m just more used to it? I’m getting more clove tonight which may be helping to cut the lotion flavor. Clove masks and/or cuts most everything, sometimes in less than optimal ways.
The good news is I’m pretty sure I only have one more big-ass pot of this and I can say goodbye.
Is it wrong to be seriously considering seasoning a Yixing pot for jasmine scented oolong?
I read pretty much every Yixing related thread on the discussion board and so I know that at least a couple of folks around here drink jasmine oolong out of Yixing clay implements. I like jasmine flavored tea quite a bit, so I don’t think it would be a waste in that sense as I’d surely use it. The main question I have is whether it would be a waste in the sense of not really providing much addition to the flavor since there’s not as much variation in jasmine flavored teas as there there seems to be in their unflavored equivalents.
Something to ponder.
In any case, today is apparently national pancake day or some such nonsense and they’re giving away free pancakes at IHOP. When the BF brought no. 1 home from baseball practice, I’d already shed my work clothes and got into my PJs, as had no. 2, but the BF decided everyone should go for pancakes. I declined citing the fact I’d have to get dressed, but no. 2 went in his PJs. It’s so great being 8. You can do stuff like that without getting arrested or thrown out of Walmart or whatever it was that was so scandalous about the woman in her bathrobe a while back.
With the house quiet and everyone gone, I can oolong-out. I came very close to trying the maestro version of the Adagio jasmine pearls, the Fujian Jasmine, which is sitting on my counter along with the rest of my Adagio samples, which are getting to be fewer and fewer. But I decided to do this one so as to bring another sample closer to sipdown range.
I really like steeping pearls in the gaiwan because they stay put, whereas other teas squirm out when I shift the lid and pour. I may have mentioned my gaiwan style leaves much to be desired. Tonight, these are fresh, floral, and calming and I’m too blissed out to be annoyed by the slightly bitter downturn in the aftersip.
Now can I please go on vacation?
I decided to try this first in the gaiwan so that I could get to know it before trying it in the Yixing, in the hopes of seeing whether and to what extent the Yixing changes the flavor.
I get a leathery, fish oil smell from the dry leaf, which is smoothed out some after rinsing and steeping but is still a bit fishier than the other Adagio shu I’ve had, the Dante. The steeped leaves smell like raw white mushrooms.
I was doing homework with no. 2 while sipping this and he sniffed it and said “smells like salmon.” A few seconds later he said, “I don’t like salmon.”
I do like salmon as it happens, but I am not sure what I think about this tea. Those with far more sophisticated palates when it comes to pu-erh than I, with respect to which I freely admit to being a novice compared to some other tea types, have pretty much unanimously liked this one judging by the notes. But to me it doesn’t have as much flavor as the Dante. It’s smoother, for sure, and earthier where the Dante is more leathery. (This doesn’t taste like salmon, regardless of aroma.)
Perhaps the problem is I expected it to taste more like the Dante than it does, or more like the Emperor’s Pu-erh from Numi, both of which have the more leathery flavor.
This is a deeper flavor, more like mossy tree bark than leather. I put it through about seven steeps starting at 15 seconds and working up to around 50.
I think I need to try it again in the gaiwan now that I’m prepared for it to be different than the others I’ve had and see how it tastes before I graduate to the Yixing with it.
Not rating for now.
I reread the label on this one and discovered that Tavalon recommends using more leaf than I was. Sort of. They recommend two teaspoons per 8 oz water.
I’m using a spoon that’s a bit larger than a teaspoon and I tend to use heaping (or at least not level) teaspoons so I’m actually using more than a teaspoon. But just for fun, I put in twice as much tea as I’d been using, same amount of water, same temp and same steeping time. Then I threw it in the Timolino and drove to work.
I really didn’t notice a difference. It didn’t seem twice as strong as it was yesterday, although there might have been a bit more of the underlying tea. But the fruit and coconut flavoring wasn’t stronger.
Still liking it as a commuting tea, though.
Sipdown no. 112 of the year 2014. A sample.
A colorful, geometric (because of the lemongrass), attractive mix. The dry leaf smells very minty, with a little citrus.
The liquor is tawny, like a dark lion color. The aroma is herbal—mostly minty.
Mine is a little on the thin side, and as I’ve used my entire sample I can’t go back and adjust leaf/water/time and temp to test whether this was just a one-off result or a general characteristic of this tea. I mostly taste the mint and a little lemon. I don’t taste much black tea, but I do get an undercurrent.
I can see this being a really nice iced tea, and I think I’d quite enjoy it hot as well if I could get it a bit stronger. There’s nothing at all offensive about it—on the contrary, it has a really nice mint flavor that’s mellowed slightly by the lemon and vice versa.
I can’t rate it extremely high based on this one experience, but I like it well enough to put it on the wish list if I ever get out of lockdown and order from Teas Etc. again.
Second tea of the morning after the LeafSpa Earl Grey, which is now positioned for sipdown tomorrow. It was a big tin, so that’s a rather major one coming up.
Truly, Red Hot Cinnamon is much better hot, as I’m having it today. I’m enjoying the little pops of sweet cinnamon flavor where the red hot concentration must have been higher in the mix.
I am sure this must have come from the Teavana tea of the month club. Sadly, it isn’t at all to my liking, which is ironic because it’s one of the few blends I got as a result of that club that Teavana still makes.
In the packet it smells decent—peppery, cinnamon-y, some weird fruity smell of unclear origin—and it is pretty and colorful like many Teavana blends.
But after steeping there’s something in the aroma that is unpleasantly lotiony smelling. Like cinnamon hand lotion, if there is such a thing.
And even more unfortunately, that lotiony-ness manifests in the flavor, too. Which is too bad, because the spice combination is rather tasty. There’s a very peppery, cinnamon-ginger flavor that every now and then rises briefly above the lotion. And it’s this that I’m still tasting in the aftertaste.
But something else in here is giving me that weird lotion flavor. Is it the tulsi? The rooibos? The coconut? I really don’t know, but there it is.
This is going quickly into the must sip down soon category. Ugh.
In revisiting this, I must first point out that I misread the package, which clearly states that you should use one TABLESPOON of tea to 8 oz of water. I used a teaspoon, but one of those ones from David’s that is really bigger than a regular teaspoon but still not as big as a tablespoon.
So I’m starting from the right amount of tea, or perhaps a bit more, this time.
Second, I’m steeping hotter. I bumped the temp to the recommended 180, only a 5 degree difference, but Rishi’s instructions are very adamant that while one is free to vary the time, one should never vary the temperature. Apparently I was a bad girl on two counts the first time.
Third, I’m steeping a minute longer. Four minutes didn’t turn the tea into a wretched mess of bitterness, and so I’m going to be brave and try the minimum recommended steeping time, 5 minutes.
I spend so much of my time telling my kids to follow directions, you’d think I would have it down myself by now.
Directions are meant to be followed in this case. I get what the other notes mean when they say corn. There’s a hint of corn in the aroma and in the flavor. I get a lot less sweet and a lot less butter steeped at this temperature and time but it’s not bitter. I get the pine nut flavor, too.
It’s still a fairly light, subtle flavor even when steeped according to directions, but it’s got much more character this way.
It’s definitely different among green teas, many of which have lately been very tasty but very much the same to me—either cooked buttery vegetable or cut hay-grass variations.
This one isn’t either of those. It’s in a category by itself, which makes it somewhat hard to rate. I think I still need to do some work to get the best flavor out of it, but I could definitely see drinking this regularly. I give it a solid excellent mark in its own little category. It’s not to the crack level for me, but it has attributes that I admire in teas and particularly green teas, namely that I don’t think it’s something I would get sick of easily.
Sipdown no. 111 of the year 2014. A big one. I started out with a lot of this.
Of my original teabag purchases when I first started exploring tea, I only have left some of each of the following: Tazo Honeybush, Numi Red Rooibos, Tazo Lotus, Tazo Refresh, Bigelow Constant Comment and four different Numi Pu-erhs.
Progress. I enjoyed this one for what it is, and I’ve spoken about what I like about it and how I judged it against its chai peers at length in other notes so I won’t repeat myself.
It’s not something I will buy again, at least not any time soon. I have a ton of loose chai, including some decaf, and I prefer the stovetop version. Having the teabag version isn’t all the convenient where I’d drink it most, i.e., places where I don’t have the loose chai ingredients and a stove top, i.e., at work—because I have to get a hold of milk and sweetener. So that sort of defeats the purpose for me. It was a good introduction, though.
Second time having this, and it remains an improvement, at least in the view of my palate, over the plain yerba mate.
It also remains not enough to push me into mate fandom.
But it’s a nice greenish tea flavor for the after lunch caffeine boost (though matcha or a black tea would probably do a better job).