1999 Tasting Notes
I wanted to do a side by side comparison of the two Ruby teas. They are very different, but have some similarities. The aroma of Ruby #18 is very fruity. Steeped, it is a lighter cup than Black Ruby. This one is lighter in flavor notes as well compared to the deep dark fruity fig notes I got from Black Ruby. I don’t know about Black Ruby, but even if you forget to time your Ruby #18 it will not get bitter. I should know – I left a second steep accidentally once and decided to try it, and it was still wonderful. I read online that you can steep it for six minutes on the first steep, and it will not suffer any bitterness. Paul, I am sending some of this your way to get your opinion. You should have it by this afternoon. Just kidding! I don’t know if we can count on the USPS being as fast this time!
Is it terribly wrong that I dreamt about tea last night? Specifically, I dreamt about THIS tea! I was sipping the cup and a flavor of raisins exploded with each sip. Fast forward to this morning – based on the description this is the very same tea I buy called Ruby #18, a tea I love! I was interested in how it might differ coming from a different distributor.
It differs greatly! I LOVE this! The aroma is magnificent – buy it for that alone if you wish. It smells dark and richly of…raisins or dried fruits, or deep dark fig jam. But the flavor is complex and interesting. I would not add anything to this. The description mentions cinnamon and mint. I don’t get cinnamon or mint, but perhaps the mint they refer to is a high lingering note and mouth tingle that I attribute more to a slight astringency or lingering light smoke. Magnificent! I feel very wise and somber drinking this. I think I may call my children “Grasshopper” today.
This was the second tea at tea party today, and I braced myself because I usually drink it with milk and sugar, and on Wednesdays we usually don’t add anything to our tea. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was smooth enough without additions, and held its own very well with the teas today. I like this better than I remembered! It is a breakfast style tea in the Irish tradition, but perhaps reminds me a little more of Irish Afternoon teas I have tried, or the milder Irish Breakfast from Southern Season, but I think I like it better.
Golden Snail was, as I predicted it would be, the winner today at tea party! In fact, that is what my guest said as soon as she took a sip before trying anything else – this one is a winner. So true. I am loving this tea! You know, I think I like it even better than Keemun Mao Feng!
It is gray and rainy again – too rainy to run to the tent outside to read our book. (We are on page 120 of Children Of Green Knowe, JacquelineM!) English Breakfast to the rescue! This is a nice, full-bodied tea with just the right hint of smoke. I take it with milk and sugar, though it tastes good even without additions. What could be better on a rainy day than a good book, a great daughter to read with, and a pot of good tea?
Mike Harney says some new teas are coming soon that have not been sold outside of China before, too! Exciting news!
This was my guest’s favorite tea today! She really loved the roasty, toasty flavor of Golden Snail. Her eyes grew wide when she sipped it. I have been trying to think of a little gift for her, so now I know exactly what to get! An extra tin of this little beauty will be going on my next Harney order.
I had planned to serve two rose teas for tea party today, but decided to go with this one since it was tres meta! My guest said she really only tasted coconut with the white tea. She liked it very well and said it was a fun tea to try, but she probably would not be inclined to keep it around all the time as it was more coconut flavor than she would prefer. I do not care very much for coconut flavor, but for some reason this tea appeals to me. And Paul, she said she didn’t detect a single molecule of rose flavor, although she thought she smelled just a hint of it when she first poured her cup!
This tea came to me courtesy of JacquelineM! Thank you!
I had this today in a side by side tasting with Harney’s Rose Scented. The results were unexpected for me as I thought I would prefer one over the other. I didn’t anticipate the bases of these teas being so different.
First, the rose scent and flavor is lighter in this one, though it isn’t overly heavy in the Harney offering. The tea base is a bit stronger, and I think that made this one take milk and sugar better than the Harney one, which I liked best plain. I expect that the Tuesday tea party attendees, who always add both milk and sugar to their tea, will like this one best, and the Wednesday guest who never ever adds sugar and only very rarely milk will like the Harney one best! As the Upton cup cools I can taste the rose a little more and it seems to get sweeter. Very good tea!
I haven’t had many rose scented teas, or floral teas for that matter. I tried this one because I have spring fever and I like the smell of roses, and I thought it sounded romantic – and also because I get the itch to try new teas! I don’t try hard enough to control it!
First, the aroma of the dry leaves is not overpoweringly rose, but it is most definitely present. When steeped, the tea has a lighter rose fragrance. It isn’t strong enough to make me feel that I am drinking bath water or eating soap! It is a light rose middle note that lingers for a moment and teases your sinuses as it wafts up.
The tea base is smooth. Very, very smooth. I drank the first two cups of this without milk or sugar and enjoyed it very much that way. I made another cup with sugar, and I think I like it best without. The rose flavor is very civilised, but I don’t know if it might be a bit too much for you, Paul, having been through a floral trauma! :)
I tried a little milk in the cup with sugar when it was about half gone. It didn’t hurt it, but didn’t do much for it, either.
The tea was served with pears and it was a nice pairing.
I am always looking for teas that taste great plain because I have two guests who DO NOT add milk or sugar to their tea. (And three who always always add milk and sugar no matter what the tea!) This will be a fun addition to the next two tea parties since we enjoy trying new things and comparing notes, and I think it is balanced enough that everyone will like it. We’ll have to see if anyone LOVES it! I am glad I bought it, and will drink it whenever I want to feel the way Marco Polo makes me feel – soothed and a little spoiled.I cut a “Madame Marie Curie” rose from the garden to join me at table for afternoon tea today, but it was far enough away that it wasn’t lending any extra aroma to the tea!
It was supposed to be partly sunny today, but I haven’t seen a single peek of sky through these clouds! (Better than last week when there was a tornado four miles away though!). I am STILL working on our Excel program – which I loathe doing – so I decided to treat myself to a cup of one of the new teas I ordered.
Chocolate Mint would perhaps be better called “Mostly Mint”. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but the tea taste is greatly subdued and the chocolate is definitely waaaay in the background. The mint really lingers…and lingers. I am drinking mine sans additions and the bright flavor is going a long way toward keeping me awake and keeping me out of the doldrums. I made a cup for hubby, who does NOT like chocolate and mint together, and for him I added a lot of sugar and a bit of milk. As expected, he did not care for it. No surprise there. But I tasted it with sugar and milk and found that it acts much like Florence – the sugar amps up the dessert notion and the milk brings the chocolate a bit more to the front. I don’t regret buying it. It will be a nice change of pace! I will probably continue to take mine without milk and sugar, but if you like a nice dessert tea this could be it!
Since there are so many peppermint leaves, I think I may add more leaves than usual next time so there will be rhe right proportion of TEA leaves to water. That may bring out the tea and chocolate flavors even more.