1155 Tasting Notes
Sipdown no. 15 for 2014. BTW, Steepster undid my likes, too, today. I think it was because I was doing them on my phone? Who knows. In any case, if I missed your note it wasn’t intentional.
Back to the original time and temp for steeping and it makes such a difference. That bitter edge I found last time? Gone! The hint of butter to the mild, green vegetal taste? Back in force!
Lovely. I shall miss it. Now I must try to go focus on writing as I have an exercise due tonight. Alas, I fear my cats need vacuuming.
I had a sample of this that I’d planned to make over a couple of tastings, but it ended up as an unintentional sipdown. I was making 3 cups in the Breville and that left only enough for about one more cup so I figured what the heck. Adding it to the count of sipdowns for 2014. This is no. 14 for 2014.
It was in my “soon to be tasted” box of samples, which means it was not kept away from light as it should have been, particularly given the clear plastic bag it came in. I am not sure how that affected it. I didn’t get aroma from the dry leaf-I just smelled the sample bag’s plastic, so my guess is it had a negative effect.
The leaves, being FBOP, are small and brownish. Fairly uniform in size, shape and color and pretty to look at. The tea steeps to a pretty, orange-brown tea color. The leaves were a bit too fine for the Breville filter and some made their way into the tea and settled at the bottom of the cup.
There’s a subtle aroma that actually strikes me as a little fruity, rather more than flowery. In taste, it’s light and a little fruity. Not full bodied but pleasant, definitely a more appealing taste than what Americans have been raised to think of as “orange pekoe.” I’m glad I got the chance to try it though for plain blacks I find a richer flavor more to my liking.
I didn’t get to try it iced, but I think that could be its sweet spot.
ETA: Peanut number 2 asked to sniff this and then to taste it and proclaimed “I love it!” I added a bit of sweetener to mine and found it opened up the flavor quite a bit. I should also add that the mouthfeel on this one is nice. It has some thickness to it that I wouldn’t expect given the body of the tea.
I love the name passion fruit, but until recently I wasn’t sure I’d ever eaten one as opposed to just tasting it as an ingredient in juice. Then last summer, we vacationed in Costa Rica, and pretty much every breakfast buffet featured these little guys. Still, it’s not a flavor I grew up with so it isn’t strongly imprinted in my mind. In other words, I am not qualified to say whether a tea accurately captures the essence of passion fruit.
This morning, the BF, who seems to be getting into tea some as a result of the most recent bout of horrible winter illness, asked for something fruity. So I decided to break out my sample of this.
The aroma of the dry leaves from the packet is not as strong and juicy as was the apricot of yesterday, but it’s still very nice-fruity, with a freshness and cleanliness to it. And of course, there are flower petals so I’m happy with the look.
The liquor brews to a reddish amber, almost a mahogany color. I suspect this is the same base used in the apricot. There’s a light, fresh, fruitiness to the aroma.
The taste is very pleasantly fruity without tasting artificial. It fit the bill for the BF’s fruity request. He said, “I’m not sure I taste passion fruit, but I taste fruity and I like it.”
That about sums it up.
I was going through my “already tried” sample box (as opposed to the not yet open sample boxes of which there are many) and was shocked-shocked I say-to find that I had a good bit of this sample left and that it was still in the original packet which was NOT SEALED. The ATR sample bags I got back in the day don’t have a zip lock at the top (have they changed that? if not, they should). Still, that’s no excuse. I could at least have stuck the packet into a zip lock myself, but I didn’t. Sigh.
So I decided I had to drink this asap. I really loved it when I first tried it fresh so I was hoping some of the magic was still there. The dry leaf didn’t have a lot of smell left, though, so I was prepared for the worst.
And the verdict is-this one is best drunk fresh. It’s not that it doesn’t have some decent flavor left in it. There’s a lot of lavender in the flavor and the undercurrent of the Yunnan reminds me of what I loved about it in the first place. But the interplay of flavors seems to have gone off some with age-the bergamot, which was light to begin with is all but gone, and the tea base isn’t quite keeping up with the floral. There’s enough that’s still good about it so that I understand why I loved it, though. Still plan to buy some when I come out of lockdown.
Sipdown no. 12 for the year 2014, and my 550th tasting note. :-)
This is a fitting blend for it, as it was really the first “tea” that I felt I’d been successful in steeping (i.e., it had flavor!) and was what led me to try everything else. At the time I had no idea that rooibos was so forgiving-so it was a huge (though misplaced) confidence boost.
I owe it much, so parting is bittersweet.
Accidental sipdown! (Sipdown no. 11 of the year 2014.)
When I last drank this, I had decided to make it in a pot the next time so I could get a full cup out of it. As I was pouring the leaves into my little pot (to fill it up to about a third, as I’ve read is what oolongs like), I suddenly ran out of pour. I.e., I had to pour all that was left of the sample into the pot to fill it to about a third, resulting in an accidental sipdown! I think I may have used a bit too much leaf, but it’s too late to change it now. ;-)
This time I also steeped significantly longer for the first steep, 2 minutes, because it’s more par for the course when going western style. Not an improvement, though. With shorter steeps, this had a really lovely roasty-buttery flavor. With the longer one it seems a little overcooked, lacking flavor in the middle of the sip with a bitter edge in the aftertaste.
I went much shorter for the second steep, about 45 seconds. Much better. The floral notes came out on this steep, particularly in the aroma. The bitterness I got on the first steep all but disappeared, and the aftertaste was pleasantly sweet. But somehow it still wasn’t as lovely as I recall it being the first time I sampled this. It could be that I’ve tea’d myself out for the day. I don’t blame the tea as I recall my first experience with it fondly.
Third steep, somewhere between 30 and 45 seconds. Much milder, and closer to my original memory of it and enough to give me my oolong fix. It could possibly go for additional steeps, but I’m good with three.
Hoookay. This is the 400th tea I’ve written a note about!
Four years ago I wouldn’t have thought there were that many tea options in the world. Now I know I’ve merely scratched the surface. It’s a humbling experience.
This is another in the Adagio white sampler. Pretty sure I tasted the Silver Needle a while ago and thought I’d drunk it all because I misplaced the tin (I’ve now found it). And there was a jasmine silver needle as well-but I now can’t locate that one, which is a shame because it seems to be the one everyone on Steepster likes most of this group. I hope it will turn up. The perils of having too much tea.
I am starting with the Adagio preferred speed and feed… I mean time and temp. But because I skimmed through a few of the other notes before trying this, I’m going heavy on the leaf, as that seems to be the consensus for max flavor.
Pretty, silvery green leaves. A lighter aroma in the sample tin than the White Symphony, but with some of the same characteristics. A sweet, not quite green, not quite oolongy fragrance but with a slight sharpness that does remind me of oolong.
I got a very very light green tint to the water after steeping. The aroma is very subtle, almost like the aroma of a very very light black tea. A sort of blunted sharp edge to it.
The flavor isn’t coming through very noticeably for me. It’s far lighter than the other Adagio whites. It’s almost like a very, very dilute sweet melon flavor over the surface. Though if I try really hard, I think I can make out the woody note others have described. It is very very mild, though, just a suggestion under the surface flavor.
I’m rating it the same as the White Symphony, which had a louder, more accessible flavor, but which lacks the subtlety of this one. This is a bit like eating a very clean snowball; it would be the kind of thing I’d enjoy drinking after a massage.
Now that I’ve given all the flavored whites in the Adagio white sampler an initial taste I thought I’d move on to the non-flavored ones.
I’m using the time and temp on the Adagio label for the first try. White tea steeping times and temperatures still seem a bit of a mystery to me as the recommendations vary widely. I’ve read lower temperatures and longer steeps, lower temperatures and shorter steeps, higher temperatures and shorter steeps. It seems to be highly subjective. Next time I might try the Breville’s white tea settings and see what happens.
The dry leaves look and smell like the leaves used as the base for the Adagio flavored whites, so I’m expecting a similar flavor, minus the added fruit flavors.
The aroma after steeping is sugary, with a hint of plantiness and the color is almost the same as water, a very faint green-yellow.
And yes, the flavor is what I tasted under the very faint pear and very faint tangerine, and I like it much better on its own, mostly because I can just sit back and enjoy it without playing find the flavor. On the other hand, it isn’t knocking my socks off. Part of this may be that I’m still working my way up the white tea learning curve, but I know I’ve had whites that had more to them in subtlety and substance than this.
Now for something completely different. I noticed that I have now rated 399 teas. Woo hoo-the odometer is about to turn over! What to pick for no. 400. Hmmm…
Almost in sipdown territory with this one, but not quite. I’m trying to drink through my open greens (well, all of my open teas, but greens first).
I see that I steeped this differently than I did in my original note. I went by the directions on the sample tin and steeped at 170 degrees for a minute and a half rather than the lower and shorter time I used originally. I think this really does need the shorter steep, at least for my taste, as there’s a bitter tinge around the edge that I didn’t record in my (um…er… wow, that was long, though to be nice to myself I’ll refer to it as exhaustive) note. It’s still quite nice but I think I’ll steep the last of it (maybe tomorrow?) shorter and see what happens.