1165 Tasting Notes
Another Andao tea that I never opened before. I take it that Qimen is an alternative spelling for Keemun?
In the packet, the dry leaves are dark, curly and fine and smell like dark chocolate! Really rich dark chocolate.
The steeped tea doesn’t smell like chocolate, so much as baking bread with smoky pepper around the edges and a dark, sweet note, like molasses. Its a tawny red color, and quite gorgeous.
The tea is deep, full bodied, and malty, and it has a stout aspect to it, like a dark beer. It’s almost chewy in texture. As it cools, some chocolate comes out in the aroma and a-dare I say- coffee note, almost. Like a mocha note, which is fascinating. I think this is the first tea I’ve had that wasn’t flavored that reminded me of coffee, but without really tasting like coffee.
Quite an interesting tea with a lot of character. If this tea was a person, I’d want to invite it to dinner. It isn’t overly smoky for a Keemun, which is part of its charm. I must do some sleuthing to see whether I can determine if anyone else is selling it since Andao as a company is no more.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Mocha, Molasses, Pepper, Smoke
Sipdown no. 24 of 2016 (no. 235 total).
It’s pouring rain this morning. No. 2 has a field trip in all of this and we have a parent conference for no. 1, plus I have a car full of items from my cleaning spree to take to donate along with other errands. So it will be a busy day.
This is a nice way to start. I really do like this one, even though like the other S&V Earl Grey’s I get little to no bergamot, and today I’m also getting a savory note (rosemary maybe) which I don’t ordinarily adore in tea. The floral notes are so gentle and pleasant, though, that they make me want to drink this again.
It also appears that I didn’t include all my Simpson & Vail teas in my cupboard. I just poured two of them into tins as a result of recent sipdowns and noticed I didn’t include them in the inventory, I guess because the bags were in the sample bins. But they’re about 2 oz a piece, so they are enough to consider cupboard material. Must remedy.
I put a portion of the sample, about 5 g, into a 100ml gaiwan and steeped for two minutes. I still have about 2.5g of the sample left, so I can try it again with less leaf.
All I really smell in the dry leaf is jasmine. The leaves are lovely, silvery and long. After steeping, the aroma is jasmine +, but I’m having trouble identifying what the plus is. The liquor is a light apricot color.
The flavor is also jasmine plus. I’m thinking it’s nectar I’m tasting, Something mild and sweet in any case. There’s a tiny touch of bitterness, like bamboo maybe.
It’s more flavorful than some of my other silver needle ventures, and not just because of the jasmine. Rating it compared to my other silver needle experiences, though the rating doesn’t reflect it’s overall appeal to me as a tea, which is less.
Flavors: Bamboo, Jasmine, Nectar
I’ve had this a few times now and it’s been pretty much the same experience each time. It’s a drinkable sencha but it’s not as juicy as some I’ve had. The dry leaf is very fine and tends toward a grassy fragrance. The steeped tea is yellowish green, with some floaters (the fine leaves of sencha always do this when I steep in the Breville).
The steeped tea doesn’t have a strong aroma, just a light grassy/hay thing going on.
I don’t find the tea as flavorful as some senchas I’ve had. It’s not bitter, but not sweet. It has a vaguely hay like note, not vegetal, not buttery.
It’ll be easy to sip down when I want a green tea but don’t want to think about it too much.
Sipdown no. 23 of 2016 (no. 234 total). The rest of the sample.
Another weak tea day (as in the consumption of tea was weak, rather than the tea itself) because of further house cleaning and a rather lengthy nap this afternoon, followed by the baking of cookies (I found as part of the cleaning a jar of cookie mix that a neighbor had made as a holiday present a while back that never got made and now has been) and the cooking of dinner while the Democratic debate was on in the background.
The BF wanted an herbal and I started down the list with a Todd & Holland Pear Helene sample that we haven’t tried yet, which he nixed. This was the second one I mentioned and I was sort of surprised he picked it, but also sort of glad as it means another sipdown.
It’s definitely got a medicinal thing going on, and is mostly peppermint, but if you’re in the mood for a truly herbal herbal rather than a rooibos or a fruit blend, or are looking for a palatable tummy soother, this isn’t bad. I probably wouldn’t drink it often and would likely save it mostly for tummy upsets so I doubt I’ll order it. Refresh by Tazo is a better mint in my view, and mint alone is plenty soothing when I have an upset stomach so I’m not sure I see the need to add this to the cupboard permanently.
Sipdown no. 22 of 2016 (no. 233 total).
Again, not much to add to my previous notes. A floral more than citrus tea that isn’t really an Earl Grey in my estimation because the bergamot is pretty much missing, but is tasty and pleasant nevertheless.
Oh, hey. It seems I’ve hit tasting note no. 1100 with this one.
Seems like my first encounters with those of the Leafspa teas that are left tend to be cold brews, just because each container has 4 oz of tea which is a lot in my world.
This actually made a pretty good cold tea. Though much of the magical green-ness of the tea is muted or lost in the cold, the buttery flavor translates better than I would have thought.
Today was a slow day for tea, because I spent the day cleaning the house. Please applaud at the end of my list of accomplishments:
1. took a ton of empty boxes to recycling
2. removed hard drives from old desktop computer and old backup server, and recycled the remains, plus some keyboards, old routers, old power supplies, printer toner cartridges, etc.
3. donated cat diapers and liners to animal shelter (yes, I had cat diapers in my garage; my last kitty before the three I have now became incontinent in her declining months and though I threw away the ones she actually used, I had some that never made it out of the package)
4. finished clearing space in garage
5. moved tubs of toys from family room (and dining room!) to garage and went through two of them with kids to decide what to keep, what to donate, and what to store (there are a ton more to go through)
6. sorted and filed or stored papers found during movement of toys as mentioned above
And then, now that we have moved most of the junk out of the family room we could see our fire place again, so we had a fire! And I cooked dinner.
I’ve been at this since 8:30 a.m. and it is now 9 p.m.
No more tea tonight. Tonight I’m having a couple of glasses of wine and hitting the sack. ;-)
Sipdown no. 20 of 2016 (no. 231 total). A sample. This is a chunky blend, and the sample was really only enough to yield four cups. The BF was interested in trying this so I just made the entire thing.
In the packet I definitely see the apple and the almonds. The smell from the packet is very similar to that of T&H’s Amaretti Cookie, and I’m wondering whether it will turn out to taste like that. I hope so.
It has an unusual colored liquor. Peach, or maybe melon? A light yellowish-pink. The aroma is wonderful. Very like the Amaretti Cookie/Almond Biscotti/Brioche profile.
The flavor is way more interesting than the aroma would have led me to believe. There is citrus (lemon?) on the front end of the sip that rapidly dissipates and spreads out into a gently flavored tisane that is in fact quite reminiscent of the various almond pastry teas. But it’s not as simple as that; there’s also a freshness and lightness to the tisane that makes it extremely pleasant to drink late at night. It’s not something that sits heavy in the stomach. The cinnamon, fortunately, while tasteable, isn’t overpowering.
I’m really impressed by this one.
Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Citrus, Lemon, Pastries
Sipdown no. 19 of 2016 (no. 230 total). The fourth sample in the pure tea sampler.
I haven’t had that many gyokuros. They sort of intimidate me because they’re so delicate and expensive, and because they have such individuated preparation instructions. I’m not entirely sure I did this correctly as there were not instructions included with my sample, but I got the water temperature and steeping time instructions from the internet, and I steeped it in the gaiwan since it seems you’re supposed to watch the leaves unfurl. The main parameter I’m not sure about is the ratio of tea to water. I used the entire sample, which was about 6.5 grams, in 100ml. The instructions I’d read on the internet said you could do 1-2 grams per 30ml, so I think this worked out about right. I steeped uncovered.
But gee, I expected to see that neon green radioactive color I’d seen with other gyokuros and I didn’t get that at all. I just got a generic yellow green tea color. The aroma is sweetly vegetal as I expected, and the flavor is similar to the aroma.
Frankly, though, the flavor I’m getting isn’t all that different from what I get from sencha. I wonder whether it’s the age of the tea that’s the issue, or whether I just didn’t make it correctly. I will say that the last sip, after becoming quite cool, had a distinct seaweedy flavor that I am guessing is umami.
Not sure how to rate this so I’m not going to.
Flavors: Seaweed, Vegetal