2513 Tasting Notes
This tea has been on my shelf nonstop since I first tried it nine years ago. If anyone were to ask me what my favorite green tea is, I could answer without even considering it for a moment – Huang Shan Mao Feng! I have had this one and one from Harney and Sons and both were excellent.
It looks like I haven’t posted a note on it in about eight years. I have been trying so hard to sip down all my older greens and I have neglected it! I knew there was a fresh sample of this that came with my Christmas gift from Superanna, my eldest daughter, so I made it to go with my homemade miso soup today!
It has been so long since I had it that my first reaction was confusion. I had already eaten some of the miso soup and took a sip of tea and was shocked at how floral and strong it tasted. Did I accidentally make jasmine tea? Did I not rinse the pot after making jasmine tea?
Nope, it was just tasting that floral to me!
The soup was rich and full bodied with wakame seaweed and fresh green onion tops and peas and corn. But the tea cut right through and lit up my mouth with fresh, bright flavor and floral sweetness. Many teas would have disappeared under the food flavors.
But what a changeling! The food is all gone and I still have quite a bit of this big pot to go!
Now the tea could not be mistaken for jasmine. It has good body, slight briskness, fresh green taste, and the floral aspect is milder and is found in the lingering aftertaste along with minerality. This isn’t a second steep, still the first, but just so different when not paired with food.
A delightful tea and one I will continue to keep stocked.
Last night late I got a craving. It was a bad one. I wanted a cold, sweet, matcha latte. But like I said, it was late. I started bargaining with myself. “Maybe it won’t keep you up til 5 am! Maybe the L-theanine will help you sleep instead!” All hogwash, I know. But I couldn’t shake the craving.
I thought about steeping something in hot milk and adding ice and making a smoothie but I didn’t want to take that long as this was a really bad craving. I wanted it five minutes ago.
That’s when it hit me. I had this blend. This has smoothie in the name. Why do I have to steep it at all? I have a Vitamix. Isn’t it supposed to be powerful and decimate whatever I put in? And really, this is mostly dried fruits and flavorings, so why not?
So I did it. I put in some homemade mesophilic yogurt, a little raw sugar, some ice and a teaspoon of this blend. But it was too much ice, and basically I had made ice cream so I added more yogurt and a little milk but the color was so nice I decided I didn’t need to add more tea blend. I gave it an extra 30 seconds to make sure I had blended the tea in really well. I ended up with about 28 ounces of smoothie so I divided it and gave half to Ashman.
We loved it! It was so fruity and sweet and good, and it hit the spot and satisfied that smoothie craving that had hold of me, plus it was caffeine free and wouldn’t keep me up all night. It had lots of berry flavor. And all that with a single teaspoon of Parker’s Berry Orange Smoothie! I am definitely doing this again. Maybe tonight. Maybe sooner.
Has anyone else ever just put tea (other than matcha powder) or tisane blends in a smoothie?
Nichole sent me Birthday Cake in my last order, and she didn’t even know that my birthday is next month! Naturally, I decided to save this to open on my birthday.
Naturally, I didn’t.
It started innocently enough. I would just SMELL it. That’s all.
I opened the pouch and sniffed and it smelled exactly like Birthday Cake Oreos! Or….like birthday cake but we always do chocolate or lemon cakes so I didn’t associate it with cake first!
The next step in this parade was that “it wouldn’t hurt to try just one cup.” After all, it resteeps twice more so I could have a lot of tea with just one teaspoon gone and still have plenty for my birthday.
It does not taste quite the same as it smells. It tastes better, way better, because I don’t like overly sweet bakery cake and cupcakes with towers of icing. The reason it is better? The base here is the same very “adult” black tea that I loved in Vanilla Black and Peach Vanilla. It is a sophisticated tasting black base. It is forward enough to keep this from tasting like a syrupy sweet children’s tea party tea. The base has the raspy unsweetened cocoa “feel” that I enjoy.
The aroma of the steeped tea is largely caramel to me! It smells really good! So good that I asked Ashman if he would sniff it. You know where that went, right? Another teaspoon bites the dust. The vanilla and cream are there for sure, but the caramel got its hooks in us.
Giving up entirely on the notion of saving this for my birthday, I made a huge pot of it for breakfast the next morning. I guess I am going to have to order a new pouch.
Thank you, Nichole! We loved it!
Well, I ended up with two additional boxes of these tea bags and decided to give them a try a new way. Made with water like normal tea the base is simply too weak to me but the spices are all right. It is pretty good steeped in milk with sugar and then topped with whipped cream and sprinkles.
But I decided to take advantage of these spices and make a syrup. I used extra teabags and equal amounts of sugar and water. This made a concentrate that I chilled in the fridge. We added it to cold Perrier and VOILA! Pretty much tastes like root beer. We both really like it and it is perhaps ever so slightly healthier than actual store bought soda with its preservatives and HFCS.
The main problem is that I like it so much that I am tempted to drink more of it than I would if it were actual commercial soda, so I have to keep that reigned in because there is a lot of sugar here, though not more sugar than a commercial soda would have.
This is good enough as a soda that I would consider buying more just for that use.
My tea came today! This is the one that incited me to order so I had to try it first.
I opened the pouch and sniffed and my knees trembled. Literally. You think I am joking? Watch the video. There is no video so just imagine it. It really happened.
It smelled so good that I thought my heart would break if it didn’t taste the way it smelled.
Since there are orange peels and chocolate chips and I know I am going to triple steep, I used a teaspoon and a half.
I am going to cry.
This is so good. It tastes like it smells. I think I had Jaffa Cakes once in Ireland. BUT easily available in the US are orange Pims (also in raspberry) which are nearly the same. And when my two youngest daughters and I first started having tea together and wanted to be fancy we bought Pims. Back when you could have people over for tea, remember? Back before viruses and nasty February weather that keeps you from even having tea with friends outside.
And this has taken me back to the best memories of those days.
The orange is fresh “peeling-an-orange-and-the-juice-lightly-mists-your-face” orange. Up front the aroma is all orange orange happy orange. Aromatherapists know that orange scent is a mood lifter and even peeling one can make people feel better. (I am so tired of all the orange, clove, and cinnamon teas though.)
As you swallow, the back and sides of your tongue are drenched with chocolate, which haunts your mouth after swallow. Orange up front, chocolate lingering after.
Tonight as I am sleeping, I will be whispering, but if the Ashman leans close to hear what I am saying, all he will hear is, “Jaffa Cakes.”
I prolly need more.
No review on this one? And tonight was a sad sipdown! It is possible I reviewed it for the Sororitea Sisters blog and never got around to posting it here, but this one was a love and I am sad to see it go.
When I first got it, I shared a pot of it with my friend (pre-Covid so I have had this a while) and she immediately went home and ordered a bunch of different Cuppageek teas. That is how much she liked it. (Melissa’s first order, Nichole!)This is so lemony and good. You know how a slice of lemon cake can be so light and sweet and a little lemon glaze on it just makes you happy and feels like sunshine? That is how this tea is making me feel today. It is bright and clean and soft and happy.
A few months ago, Cameron B mentioned loving some freeze dried miso soup so I ordered it for Youngest for Christmas. She loved it so much that I ordered some for myself! I had never had miso soup. I tried it and it was really good. My husband liked it, too, so I decided to try to make some homemade miso soup.
I made miso soup with zucchini, fresh chives from the garden, and wakame. I also made potstickers and a homemade yumyum sauce. Naturally I wanted a Japanese tea to complete the meal and this is probably the only one I have other than matcha.
The first time I made it we had it more or less gong fu style, resteeping and pouring into tiny cups. It looked almost gray/pink with purple at the edge of the cup until we added lemon juice which turned it really pink, but I preferred it plain.
This time I made it western style and poured two steeps together into a large tetsubin for serving. I think it had more purple/pink color this way, but probably just because we used larger Japanese cups that Superanna gave me. (The tea was also from her.) It was probably the depth of the tea that made it appear to have deeper color.
We both enjoyed it, and it was really great with the food. It is a rather mild Sencha so it can tend to disappear if sipped right after a strongly flavored bite. We made a third steep to drink after the meal and I think it looked even pinker. It was easy to drink and had very little drying effect, nicely hydrating.
I actually drank this over a month ago, but I am putting a note here because Youngest asked me to remind her which teas we drank when she visited at Christmas. We drank tea pretty much non-stop but I didn’t review many of them because I don’t see her often and wanted to spend time with her. Thus it completely slipped my mind that we had a sample of Jingle Bells that came with my order of Carol and Merci Mille Fois.
We both loved this one. The grape flavor is so spot on. I don’t know how they do it, but the fruit flavored teas from Lupicia that I have tried have been amazing. This fairly sparkled and would be absolutely wonderful to serve for a Christmas time tea gathering when we can finally start having gatherings again. I bet it would also make an incredible iced tea, but we only had one sachet to play it.
Ashman was so enamored of the aroma of Carol this morning that I told him we really need to order even more next year since it is limited edition. Now that I think about it, we should order a pouch or two of Jingle Bells as well.
I found a little ziploc of this tisane when I was organizing my stash today. I know it has to be old and I can’t remember where it came from, but since Cameron B last edited the info, I am guessing it was from a swap we did about…three years ago?
Looking at it, I thought it was plain chamomile. The aroma had a little something extra but I wasn’t sure what. Steeped, it is mostly chamomile. The description says it has orange flavor which sounds absolutely delightful, but if it was here it faded, and the tea can’t be blamed. It is entirely my fault for having too much tea and not getting around to drinking things in their prime.
I am a bit of a night owl but I am super relaxed and sleepy now, so maybe the chamomile is working its magic in spite of the age. It was good, and I can tell there is something added but would not have been able to peg it as orange.
Thank you, Cameron B, if this was from you!