2170 Tasting Notes
I have reviewed this tea 57 times already. Why do it again today? Several reasons!
First, we had this yesterday at tea party. We tried a new recipe for French Silk Pie which my guest promptly renamed “Death By Chocolate” and said we needed to put it on the rotation and this was the unflavored black served with it. We followed with Dark Obsession Chocolate Rose.
But I had made a lot of it and we had eight ounces left, which I heated and put in my Thermos and took to the Cancer Center with me. I wasn’t really thinking when I did that, it was just the first tea handy. But Catherine has given me fortitude through some though times. She was with me every morning after radiation and kept me going strong. So how fitting it was that she was with me this morning when the doctor released me – FOR GOOD – from coming to the Cancer Center! I am not officially at the five year mark but he said he felt that my primary care physician could take of things from here on!
Nice to have her there for my celebration!
In addition, I noted some changed in flavor from drinking it in the thermos. The maltiness seemed amplified and there was also an element of hearty green tea about her today. Back in the day when I used to put her in a thermos I also added milk and sugar but I don’t use them anymore. So it was a pleasant little surprise to discover the little change of nuance in my reliable Queen.
Not already in my cupboard? How can that be? I have had this for a long time. Ah well, maybe there was another listing at one time and my notes are elsewhere.
This morning was very overcast and rain was in the forecast for most of the day. Even though it is still pretty hot, it is a good 15 degrees cooler in the mornings than we have seen in a while, and the clouds made it seem so cozy in the house. Maybe I jumped the gun, but I went for a “school year tea.”
I have homeschooled all four of my children and I just have one left – now a senior. I have purchased lapsang as a back to school treat in the past because she loves it so much, and drinks a lot of it in the cooler weather during the school year. And today I am working on her transcript and getting her ready to register with a concurrent enrollment program, the beginning of sounding the final bell on my years as a homeschooling mom. sniff sniff! Mixed emotions!
So today, as I prepare for our final year and gear up to start school in a week, I have a whole pot of lapsang before me. I originally bought this brand about six years ago when we first started drinking loose leaf. My youngest daughter was one of the main reasons I got into tea so heavily, as she started wanting it and was really in love with holding a warm mug and getting cozy. I bought Winey Keemun first, and only because her name is Grace and that was the name on the tin. It was a good choice, though, because all of their teas that I have tried have been good teas.
This one has a medium smoke level to me, not nearly as strong as the delightful Crocodile from Dammann Freres and maybe a little softer in the base than Baker Street. It isn’t quite as sweet as Black Dragon. It is a really good all around smokey lapsang, not too strong, not too smokey, just right unless you really hate smoke.
I first tried this from the wooden sampler box sold by Harney and Sons, which now comes in two sizes I believe. I love the small one so much that I have given it to several people as a gift.
I gave one to my son-in-law over a year ago and as he tried the teas he would update me. First, he found a favorite. Paris! Or in his adorable Irish accent…Pahrse. A couple of weeks later he told me he thought he had found his favorite, and I thought he had forgotten that he told me he loved Paris. But no, he found a new favorite! Apricot.
I finally ordered this when it was on sale last week, mostly for youngest who loves peaches and apricots. She came in the kitchen while it was steeping and said, “Oh my gosh, what do I smell? Is that the tea?”
So now she and my best friend are both in love with it, and I can live with that. We share lots of pots of tea together.
This is NOT peach, it is definitely apricot. Rich and nutty and warm and full of body. And it resteeped! The apricot was lighter, sure, but the base tea really hung in there and it was a nice second pot.
I saved the leaves to see if this can be resteeped. I am happy to say that I did get another good steep out of it. There is still enough rosy flavor left to recognize. The liquor is a little paler and it isn’t a super dark black tea to begin with, but it wasn’t too terribly light and tasted good. I drank some of it cold because of the miserable heat and humidity we have had.
In other news – (stop reading if you are only interested in the part about tea) – I have performed a chicken experiment. Last year, one of my Black Copper Marans got broody and was very hard to break of it. Living in the city limits, I have no rooster. When she went broody again this year, I decided to give in and let her have babies.
I let her sit on three infertile eggs for over a week. (She had been sitting on stolen eggs or in empty nest boxes for at least a week already.) Then one night just after dark, I slipped the eggs out and slipped some one-day-old baby Cuckoo Marans in. She was pleased as punch to become a mother and it is an absolute miracle to watch how she mothers them. She has a special sound that she makes that I had never heard from her or any other chicken of mine before. It always means that she has found food for them. She lets them eat first, and crushes anything too large. She picks up the food and puts it down to show them what they should eat. She summons them when she thinks they have explored too far. She is patient with their constant shenanigans, like repeatedly pecking her head and eye, practicing “scratching” on her back (then hilariously losing their balance and falling off), and getting under her and then poking their heads out between her wing feathers so she looks like a Gary Larson-esque mutant chicken.
They are just over a month old now and they decided they no longer want to sleep in the maternity ward. They fly onto the ramp of the main coop and get in a nest box with their mother.
I really don’t think I fooled Bluebell in the least. I think she knows she didn’t hatch those babies, but she doesn’t care because she got what she really wanted – to be a mom.
I chose this as one of my free samples on my last Teavivre order because I was curious about it. I have had the Rose Ripened Puerh, which has lovely rose petals in it but doesn’t really taste like rose. The rose just makes that one sweeter to me.
For some reason I expected the Rose to be just as subtle in this tea. It is not. It is much stronger, but still not as strong as Rose Scented Black by Harney and Sons, It was very, very good and I plan to try resteeping it tomorrow.
This is a good tea for floral fans, of which I am one.
For some reason, the dry leaves of certain green and oolong teas smell like chocolate to me. When I opened this, I smelled milk chocolate. That was very exciting because I have never been disappointed by a tea that smells like chocolate.
Steeped, the liquor is pale but fragrant and now smells like toasted nuts and full-bodied vegetables. The tea has a medium body and smooth sweet taste. Even though the color is light on the first steep, the second steep is still fragrant and tasty.
We had two pots with supper and liked it so much that hubby requested a third pot to share after. And he is picky, so it makes me happy to find things that he likes!
I have determined that the samples I have been drinking the past few days must be from Cameron B. I had only tried one tea from this swap when a kitchen clean up resulted in someone putting these in a container on a shelf over my head, not hard to do since I am five inches shorter than my daughters and 13 inches shorter than my husband. So thank you, Cameron!
Bohea perplexes me. The first one I ever had was smokey and strong, or so I thought at the time. I liked it, though. Then I got one that was so weak I didn’t like it, until I looked up the instructions on the company website and it called for double the amount of leaf. Using those parameters the tea was good.
So I made this in my Kamjove so it would be easy to make adjustments as I saw how this one behaved.
At 5 grams of leaf per 200 milliliters this is about like the Pluff Bohea instructions I have. After two minutes steeping, the liquor is pale for a black tea but typical of a Bohea. The taste is very nice, reminiscent of a rock oolong, with toasty toasty bread flavor, and little to no smoke. It leans toward heavily toasted bread.
With the assistance of Alexa, my trusty Amazon Echo, I am resteeping at the dining table. If you are not familiar with the Echo, get off Steepster right now and just go buy one on Amazon. My husband was ambivalent about my purchase but now he is talking about getting another one for our room. We love her.
Steep two – as good as the first and now the toasted bread flavor lingers and expands with every breath. It definitely reminds me of some of the Rock oolongs I have tried. Very nice!
This was a generous sample from a swap and I made it as the second tea of tea party. Tea number one was a bust but this one made up for it.
I have only ever had one Fauchon tea, Le Bonheur, and it is quite good. It reminds me of Paris from Harney and Sons. I chose this tea for today based on the dry leaf aroma. I had my daughter make it at 203F for 3 minutes.
Dry leaf and steeped tea smell like a creamy chocolate eclair, the real deal. I was glad that everyone liked this since they didn’t like the Rishi Wuyi Oolong that we had first. This was the favorite tea today.
Our dessert was a French Silk pie made by my daughter. The crust has pecan meal in it, and the chocolate pie was tall and fluffy and so cool on this miserably hot and humid day. Topped with whipped cream, of course.
I thought I had added this to my cupboard. It is too late now as we just finished this. This was the first tea of tea party, and my guest said, “Pour it out.” It is only the second time that has ever happened, the first time being a puerh. Having had tea time together for years now, she knew it wouldn’t hurt my feelings.
I thought it was just all right, a typical though lackluster rock oolong. Youngest didn’t care for it and poured her cup into mine. I didn’t mind it, but I won’t be buying it again. Glad to be rid of one more package, even if it turned out that I had never added it to my cupboard here!