1119 Tasting Notes
Knowing I had another caffeinated evening requirement (since I needed to stay up to watch The Biggest Loser) I tried my sample of this tonight after dinner.
There were some pretty cream colored flower petals among the dark brownish leaves, though I could not smell jasmine. I did smell some wonderful smells, though. Vanilla, brown sugar, and yes, maple syrup.
The liquor was a light brown/orange color with a sweet aroma of vanilla/maple syrup. There was also a whiff of something else, something really interesting. It reminded me of incense, though it has been so long since I burned any I can’t remember what kind. Sandalwood maybe? In any case, I really enjoyed it. Made me feel all Bohemian, like I should be wearing a long, diaphanous Indian-print skirt, sandals, big hoop earrings and a peace sign medallion on a leather thong around my neck.
There was something silky smooth about the mouth feel, as if the mapleness was actually emanating from a few dollops of syrup dropped into the tea. It tasted much better than I’d expected for some reason. Vanilla and sweetness, and if I closed my eyes, I could almost taste waffles with syrup and whipped cream.
I wish I could tell you more about the tea itself, but as with the other tiny Herbal Infusions samples, it’s a bit of a tease. I wasn’t easy to get a handle on the tea flavor before reaching the bottom of the half cup brew.
I can see buying more of this to play around with it a bit more and decide if it was just the right taste at the right time, or more than that.
I was another lucky recipient of a sample of this, though it has taken me until now to taste it. Sigh.
The flowers are so pretty! Small, with big yellow centers. Some of the flowers are pretty much only the centers as the petals have disconnected from them. The scent, as Cait said is odd. It’s extremely pungent and a little disturbing. Pollen, mixed with… salted wax? Sap-filled plastic? Fortunately it smooths out quite a bit after steeping and becomes much more green and plant like, almost bready.
It steeps to a light yellow/green, not too far removed from clear. The flavor is gentle, floral and sweet with a hint of chlorophylly bitterness. It suggests nectar and pollen, and something a tiny bit like cauliflower. I suppose the nectar and pollen part aren’t surprising given that it is made of flowers.
I also think this may be a taste you either love right away or you gradually acquire. It may be that I am in the acquiring stage, or I may not be able to get past the smell of the dry flowers.
Though I’m not sure this is for me, I appreciate getting the chance to try it. Thanks, JK Tea Shop.
Some people bang themselves over their heads with 2×4s. I keep trying flavored green teas. When will I learn?
I placed this order for samples from The NecessiTeas mostly to try some of their flavored blacks since my success rate with their greens had been so low, but while I was at it, I went ahead and ordered samples of the greens I hadn’t yet tasted. There were only three, so it didn’t seem overly masochistic.
Having experienced more and different kinds of green tea between my original set of samples and this one, I can now make some observations about the tea I wasn’t prepared to make then. I now recognize the green base (at least for this tea) as sencha. It has the leaf shape, and yields the green/yellow liquor color with little particles suspended in it I recognize from my Den’s sampler experience.
This tea, however, doesn’t have anything like the flavor that the Den’s had. There is no juicy, vegetal goodness — it’s just a green whisper in the background. The main flavor is strawberry, but it isn’t a robust strawberry, certainly not the strawberry I would expect in a daiquiri. It, too, is a mere whisper. To be more precise, it’s not even really strawberry so much as a vague strawberry-flavored sweetness, like a Jolly Rancher that’s been dissolved in at least a bathtub’s worth of water. This is unfortunate, because in the packet, the dry mixture smelled promising — a strong strawberry flavor and an identifiable undercurrent of rum.
There was no appreciable difference in flavor after steeping 1.5 minutes as opposed to 1 minute.
This sounded like it had potential for a dessert option so I threw caffeine caution to the wind (I plan on staying up to watch 24 tonight anyway, so might as well). Dry leaves smell vaguely like Frango mints, and look like the black/green interspersion of mint with black tea.
The aroma of the steeped tea is odd. It’s got mint, it’s got chocolate, but they’re not mixing particularly well. There’s a sort of strange, spicy warm plastic smell to it. The liquor is a reddish orange, but the sample was pretty small so it may be a little weaker in color than it would be were it a full cup with appropriately measured leaves.
The tea tastes like a mint tea to which has been added a little bit of melted baking chocolate, which is to say the chocolate is not at all sweet. I like the taste, but I think it could be improved with a little lactose to sweeten it up. The chocolate and mint steal the show here. I was just getting the beginnings of the tea’s taste right when my cup ranneth out.
I think this shows enough promise to merit trying it again, unless I should happen to run across a chocolate mint in the interim that knocks my socks off.
Used up the last of the bags in the home stash this morning, though I still have about half a box at work. Of all the bags I’ve been experimenting with, this is one of the ones I will remember most fondly. Miss is probably too strong a word, though. I’m grateful to this tea for making me curious enough about darjeeling to go on to broaden my experiments into loose leaf and undoubtedly better things ahead.
My sample is called “French Verveine” on its very elegant black and dark gold jacket, but in double checking my order detail and the web site it appears there is really only one Harney product called Verveine, so this must be it!
It’s hard to imagine how I have thus far managed to escape experiencing lemon verbena in the flesh, so to speak. But as far as I know or can remember, I have. I was expecting an alternative to other lemon flavored tisanes, but it soon became apparent that this is something entirely different.
The leaves are humongous, light green, and curl inward along their main vein/vertical axis, and apparently, they are weightless. I put the entire packet on the scale and only came out with enough for half a cup? (Perhaps I am going to regret this?)
Dry, they smell nothing at all like lemon; they smell like a savory spice of some kind. Dried thyme or dried sage, I think. Or maybe even dried basil. Or notes suggestive of all three.
Steeped, it’s a very dark yellow color, and the aroma still has nothing that is smelling to me like the lemon I expected to smell. There is a hint of lemon, but it is more along the lines of the juice from a roasted herbed lemon chicken. Savory and brothy.
And that is pretty much how it tastes as well. This doesn’t taste like a lemon tisane, it tastes like a savory spice tisane with a subtle lemon note to it. It’s tasty, but in the sense of the spicy taste of a very well-spiced poultry stuffing with some lemon squeezed into it.
I am wondering if the scale lied to me and I should not have used the full packet? I’m going to resteep with more water to see what that’s like. I am making this as a full cup (approx. 8 oz) this time instead of half of that.
Indeed, more water lessens the brothiness considerably, or perhaps it’s the second steep effect. It’s still a very savory taste, though.
Hmm. I’m not going to rate this as I’m not sure I prepared it correctly, and because I have nothing to compare it to. In reading about verbena on the web, it seems this is supposed to have a “bright lemon taste” which I’m not getting. Mine is definitely full-bodied, but the lemon is not the main flavor I’m getting, nor is it bright. I’d describe it as sultry.
Golden Moon sample No. 12 of 31.
Fate apparently wanted me to drink this one, too, right away — because I drew it out of the basket on the heels of another green and so happened to have the water in the Zo still at 175. (The next one to come out after this was Irish Breakfast, so we’ll be waiting a while to drink that one…)
I’m sure this is the first Ceylon green tea I’ve had, which is interesting in and of itself.
The dry leaves aren’t as deep green as other greens I’ve had. They’re a little browner, with some that almost reach yellow, even. They smell a little toasty. They seem to have some oolong-like characteristics, except in shape where they are long and for the most part not curly though some are almost balled up.
Liquor is a very pale yellow green and has a sweet, vegetal aroma that is similar to that of Chinese greens I have had, but less. By which I mean it suggests a light-bodied tea. Which is, in fact, borne out by the drinking.
In taste, this tea has less depth of flavor than the Teavana Three Kingdoms Mao Feng, which I found lacking in depth. Less vegetal, and not particularly buttery, though it does have some sweetness. I was looking for the subtle candied pineapple and didn’t find it. Candied pineapple in my experience is extremely sugary and that is not this tea. I did, however, taste something that if I stretched (reach out with your feelings, Luke) suggested fresh pineapple, but ratcheted down several major increments from the best fresh, juicy, sweet, pineapple.
I’m glad I got a chance to try something other than a Chinese or Japanese green tea. I probably would not have sought out a Ceylon green. I don’t like this well enough to order more, though.
Golden Moon sample No. 11 of 31. Plucked from the basket at random.
I may have used too much water in steeping these leaves. I had about enough for .9 cups in the sample. I played a little with water levels over the course of several steeps.
The dry leaves are long, and silvery green. Snow seems an apt description; it’s like you’re seeing the green of the leaves through a light dusting of white. I didn’t notice any fuzziness to them but I was a little rushed as it was right before dinner so I didn’t get to do a relaxed examination of the leaves. For me it wasn’t an obvious snow, certainly nothing near Christmas tree flocking. Rather, it was all in gradations of color.
When I first started with this one, I thought this was going to be the story of the tea that wasn’t there. The dry leaves don’t have a strong nose. It took a while to get my olfactory muscle memory working enough to detect something describable. When I finally could smell something I could put into words, the words that came were “salty green.” Like the plants in a marsh leading into an ocean. The saltiness also had a sharpness. I know this will sound weird, but it reminded me of the smell of the brown powder in Lipton Onion Soup Mix.
The liquor was virtually clear. It was only a slight green tinge that kept this from being the invisible tea. Aroma-wise, also nothing very strong. Dew, maybe pollen. The borderline between green and floral.
The taste was similarly subtle but surprisingly complex. It took several steeps for me to get a handle on and appreciate the taste. I took it through four steeps. The complexity gradually started to show itself; at the end of four steeps, I wished I had more of this so I could follow where it led.
Here is what I tasted, in no particular order: a light film of butter, a grainy nuttiness (like the kind you find in “Grape Nuts”), a little whiff of salt, a sweet spicy/salty flavor that reminded me of sauteed leeks at times and at others of sauteed scallions. Then I read the notes here and saw macademia nuts. Yeah, I can see that too; it’s a sweet, mild, buttery, salty nuttiness that I associate with those.
After steeping, the leaves looked the color of overcooked asparagus or green beans, a faded olive green. The silver was gone, but they were still pretty.
So yeah, I want to give this another try. It’s surprisingly interesting and even a little challenging, and like good literature, I think there is a lot more there than I found on a first “read.”
This is the end, beautiful friend[s]. The last of the teabag notes from the initial round of overbuying when some mysterious force moved me to become a tea drinker and appreciatrix. Yay!
The only other honeybush I have had thus far is the Tazo bagged version, which I appreciate for its versatility. It’s a pretty good all purpose sweetener for too-tart fruit blends. It’s also fairly smooth and flavorful on its own.
The Numi bags smell greener and woodier than the Tazo, which smelled like apricots to me. I don’t get an apricot smell here so much as — honey! And that repeats in the aroma after steeping, with a reedy note similar to what I recall was present in the Numi Green Rooibos. This brews slightly darker than the Tazo.
It’s a greener, reedier, less sweet taste as well, which makes me wonder whether this is less oxidized than what Tazo used. But there’s no information on the Numi web site that would help determine this. The honey note is present, but it seems to move around some rather than being continuously present. Sometimes it pops with a little burst of flavor on a particular taste bud, but the overall impression is that it is less pervasive and less sweet than the Tazo.
This could make it more appealing for someone who really likes drinking honeybush plain. This describes me only very occasionally, and when I am moved to drink it plain I think I’d be likely to go for the sweeter alternative. In any case, as I’m mostly using honeybush as a natural flavor enhancer to bring out sweetness in tart fruit blends, I’d be likely to choose the Tazo for that purpose as well.