861 Tasting Notes
Sipdown no. 99 of the year 2014.
This has been a difficult sipdown because the flavor of this tea, while incredibly maple bacon, isn’t for me.
If I didn’t think this had done a stellar job of living up to its name, my rating would definitely be in the orange face range.
Bye Maple Bacon. Thanks for your role in helping to refine my understanding of my own tastes.
ETA: No. 2 asked to try it and liked it, so I didn’t even have to finish the sipdown. Yay!
Continuing with the jasmine theme….
The last time I tasted this was quite a while ago, and I made it in the Breville. Today I’m doing short steeps in the gaiwan.
It makes all the difference in the world! This is at least as good a representative of its type as the Adagio Oolong #40 is for its. So I’m bumping the rating to the same number.
This responds very well to short steepings. The little rolled balls of leaves opened up for me fully by the third steep. I didn’t record in my original note whether they unfurled for me in the Breville, but my recollection is that they didn’t.
I did two at 30 seconds, two at 45 seconds, and I would have done more but we are leaving for no. 2’s birthday celebration.
Between this and the Tavalon Jasmine Dream, though, I definitely got my jasmine fix.
As I’m getting toward the end of this sample, I’m zeroing in on the parameters at which it seems to perform best.
First, short steeps are better than long ones. I did multiple 30 second and 45 second steeps today instead of going up to a minute or more and I never hit the bitter edge that was unpleasant in one of my previous tastings.
Second, lots of leaf is better than less leaf. This is tied to the steeping times. I filled the gaiwan closer to half than a third today and I think it came out better.
Third, it helps to have some time to apply to the drinking of this rather than to do it while being rushed or distracted.
It’s very roasty/toasty, and that peachy note is available when you aren’t too distracted to think about what you’re tasting.
I love the way jasmine smells, and I love jasmine in tea. I just thought I should get that out of the way. ;-)
The smell in the container is of, of course, jasmine, but also a toasty note that I don’t typically associate with Chinese green teas.
The jasmine scent from the tea after steeping is really deep. It’s a sultry jasmine rather than a perky jasmine. The tea is a medium yellow and clear.
The flavor is pretty intensely jasmine, but unlike other Chinese green jasmines I’ve had, this one actually evokes the jasmine flower rather than the jasmine “flavor.” There’s a freshness to it, as though I’m tasting the petals from a fresh flower. I can also taste the green tea in and among the jasmine, and I often have an issue with jasmine greens where I really can’t distinguish the tea base. Perhaps it’s that toastiness that makes this one stand out. But it doesn’t taste toasty. It’s not smoky like gunpowder green. It’s a darker flavor though, sort of like gunpowder without the smoke but not quite as dark.
I am quite enjoying this. I have a jasmine oolong on the agenda for later this afternoon before we leave for no. 2’s birthday dinner. I’m hoping to stop at Bed, Bath and Beyond on the way and pick up some tools so I can season the little Yixing. Speaking of that, I really need to find my matcha bowl. It’s been bugging me that I can’t find it. I should apply myself to a search tomorrow.
A couple of weekends ago I waded through my tea and pulled out some samples to put into the “to be drunk soon” sample pile. This was one of them.
My first thought was that the leaves are just really, really gorgeous. They have a lot of color variation from medium-dark green to silvery white, and they are, as the description says, for the most part long and twisty.
The sample was in a sealed packet, but the plastic made it difficult for me to distinguish an aroma from the dry leaves. I find that to be the case with all plastic packets, not just the one this was in.
The liquor is a very pale greenish yellow, and the steeped tea’s aroma is faint and a little like sweet grass or maybe clover, slightly floral.
The taste is very light and mellow, not as vegetal as the only other mao feng I’ve had. I almost wonder whether the sample is suffering from age or whether my taste buds haven’t yet adjusted back from the lapsang souchong I had before this (I did attempt to clear my palate, but I might not have done a sufficient job of it). It’s tasting almost like a white tea to me, like a shade or two more intense than a silver needle. But with the same “fresh water” taste. The other notes on this found it to have a more robust flavor, so I suspect user error.
I am going to refrain from rating for now and try it again on a rested palate.
Sipdown no. 98 of the year 2014.
I have a love/hate relationship with lapsang souchong. Most of the time when I think of having it, I end up not having it because it’s so intense, I’m not sure I’m really up to it. Once in a great while I really crave it. Sometimes when I crave it and have it I feel satisfied, sometimes when I crave it and have it I wish I hadn’t.
It’s something I try to be moderate about because of carcinogenic fears. My dad was a medical academic and his niche was oral cancer, so I spent a lot of time hearing about that growing up, seeing pictures, etc. and any sort of gastric system cancer is something I hope never to experience first hand.
But in terms of whether I love it or hate it, mostly it depends on the lapsang. I’ve had some that are so strong they really set into my pores, such that I couldn’t get the smell out of my nasal passages for days. The gift that keeps on giving sort of thing. Not pleasant. And I’ve had some that are so mild and are great teas, but they don’t do it for me when I am craving smoke. And I’ve had some that were goldilocks teas. Not too overpowered, not too underpowered.
This is a goldilocks tea.
I don’t need a lot of lapsangs in my life, but this is one that’s going on the list.
Flavors: Pine, Wood
Sipdown no. 97 of the year 2014. A sample.
The name leads me to believe this will have a passion fruit flavor, though there’s nothing in the ingredients (or even the tea description) that says so.
Out of the packet, the pretty blend of flower petals and tea does smell like passion fruit, or at least it smells like other passion fruit black teas I’ve had.
Steeped according to directions on the tiny sample.
There’s a fruity aroma to the tea, which steeps very dark. A really beautiful, reddish brown color. I want furniture this color.
The flavor is fruity as well, though the fruit represented isn’t tasting like passion fruit. It tastes a bit like grapes, a bit like berries. I can get a sort of a passion fruit flavor out of it if I concentrate.
The tea doesn’t represent itself to be passion fruit, so I can’t really fault it for giving only the barest suggestion of passion fruit. Once I take that bias out of the mix, I can enjoy it for a tasty fruity tea with notes of berry, grape and sometimes a fleeting bit of citrus. The black tea base is pretty astringent, but otherwise not very remarkable.
I’ve had better fruity teas, hence the rating. But this is tasty and I wouldn’t turn it down if offered.
This is more like it. This is the kind of “food” tea I can get behind.
Having now tasted all the archaic SpecialTeas samples and having sipped down all but two, I can say this is my favorite of the group. It’s really the only one I could see myself missing when it’s gone, but fortunately I won’t have to because American Tea Room’s Brioche does an even better job with a similar flavor. And I have a whole packet of Teavana Almond Biscotti, which as I mentioned in my first note on this, I’m pretty sure is the same tea.
It’s no. 2’s birthday today. Yay for being 8! He wants to go to I Hop for breakfast (oh deary me). Ordinarily I would tell them to make it a boys only excursion given the destination, but for his birthday, I will go to I Hop.
I’m so glad I’ve had a lovely, sweet, almondy biscotti-like flavor in my mouth regardless of what else I might taste today.
We’re now one pot away from sipdown and the BF has announced he’s had enough of this which puts a bit of a crimp in my planning. Looks like I’ll have to take up the banner alone.
I can do this. This sucker is going down tomorrow.
It will not be missed, but it will have been enjoyed before it got to be too much and I’ll be forever thankful for the learning experience. I now know that most “food” teas (except for pastries and other dessert type fare) are not for me.
This is a strange little tisane. There’s a lot of citrus peel smell in the packet coming from this fruity/reedy looking mix.
After steeping, I could have sworn I smelled orange. But there’s no orange in this. I suspect it is the interaction of apple and lemon that’s generating some in between smell/flavor I perceive as orange. The tisane has a pretty, clear, peachy/amber liquor.
With cardamom, cloves and black pepper I’d expect this to have a bit of a kick, but it doesn’t really. What I taste is really the apple, cinnamon, and lemon and not much else.
I am sure this was a tea of the month club selection because I can’t imagine myself choosing something like this to order. I associate ginseng with health food stores and supplements. I am sure it has a flavor but I wouldn’t recognize the flavor without being told what it is.
It’s vaguely medicinal, but not so much that it is off-putting. More along the lines of something that is probably good for you in a way that is focused more on effect than on flavor. Not a favorite, but won’t be painful to sip down.
It’s another discontinued Teavana product, so this is the end, beautiful friends.
ETA: I should also mention that I didn’t really taste the rooibos. (Rooibos doesn’t seem to be bothering me much lately.) This also contains mistletoe and St. John’s wort, which doesn’t help dispel the medicinal associations.