2116 Tasting Notes
I was going to have something else tonight but there was a tiny bit of this left from breakfast. I drank it to empty the pot, and it was so good I decided to have another pot. The whole pot, all by myself, this late at night with an amazing candy bar that my daughter brought me from The Ganachery at Disney. Might be up late tonight…
This is my favorite Keemun right now. It has just the right heft to be delicious at any time of day and yet never need sugar or milk. But it isn’t one of those Keemuns that gets relegated to afternoon tea because of not being strong enough for breakfast.
Best of all, I bought more during that two day sale a few days ago. Between the coupon and the exchange rate, I almost feel like I robbed Zen Tea. I got so much tea for so little money! And then Ken included three samples in the box, and they are generous sizes. In addition, I added some of the free tea to the cart that is listed as not meeting their standards so you can get one pack free with each order.
Between the box of new tea and the candy bar, I would say my tastebuds have had a pretty awesome day.
I was feeling a need for ritual tonight, something soothing and peaceful, and asked youngest if she would like to join me for tea by candlelight on the living room floor. Hubby was already in bed.
It was so dark that we kept overpouring and spilling our tea, but that’s okay! I took a picture of the tea tray with my phone and the color of this tea was amazing. Deep golden yellow!
The first steep was quite short (no rinse) and was one of the favorite steeps for my daughter. The second steep was much stronger – had a wang to it, as she said! – but it had that beautiful rising sweet taste that comes from deep within and blooms in the throat. Third steep went a little long and was seriously strong, so I went quickly to steep four which was brilliant. Here I was getting that energy that vibrates through raw puerh. On and on we went. Steep seven was creamy, almost milky. And these leaves would keep going but I have run out of water in the kettle and I feel mellow and sleepy. That is a nice side effect of raw puerh.
On a side note – we did have a sandalwood candle burning but also a Luminara “fake” candle. I love mine for those times when you want a candle burning but you don’t want to risk having a real one lit because you might fall asleep! They have a timer, and I fall asleep with one by my bed every night now. Although they are obviously fake when you are close to them, they are incredibly realistic from a short distance away and the flickering is soothing.
This is a sipdown. I didn’t care much for this tea at first, but I saw a review from Mark that said you need to double the leaf. Once I did that, I enjoyed this tea.
The sad thing is that after having enjoyed many cups, I didn’t enjoy the last one much because I have a cold and can’t taste things properly. I had made soup for my daughter’s birthday gathering and had my future daughter-in-law ( :) :) :)) taste it and she said it was perfectly seasoned, but when I tasted it I just didn’t get a thing. There was even a pinch of cayenne in it! And the tea was simply smoke and nothing else. It wasn’t the fault of the tea, just the absence of any ability to properly taste food or drink.
Ah well, if it had been a different tea I would have tasted nothing at all, so at least I got to taste a bit of smoke! Good tea when you know to add lots of extra leaf.
I realized that I have been hoarding this and I really don’t have to since I have another tin already. I feel TERRIBLE and decided to give myself some special tea today. We all have colds; coughing is pain and sneezing is pain because we have coughed long enough and hard enough to make our muscles sore. I wanted the good stuff for breakfast. And Eggo waffles with butter and warm maple syrup.
This is smooth and sweet. It is milder than the Zen Tea Keemun that I dearly love and have been having lately. It goes well any time of night or day. I would add milk and sugar to the Keemun if I wished, but I would never add anything to this. It wouldn’t be right, and it wouldn’t be proper treatment of this tea to me.
A friend asked to come over and make cards together. We had leftover Snickerdoodle cupcakes that my youngest daughter the awesome baker made. I asked my friend what kind of tea she would like it, as I usually serve sweets with a plain black tea unless I have a fruity tea that matches the flavor of the dessert. She said she normally liked fruity flavors but that didn’t seem like a good match with dessert, so I mixed Hot Cinnamon Spice half and half with Queen Catherine to tone it down a little. I don’t want to scare away tea newbies!
It went together really well, the cinnamon was present but not as “in your face” and the more cupcake I ate, the better the tea tasted with it. I think it came out as a really great pairing.
And yes, I just did a review that said we are all sick with a bad cold, but I did tell her and give her the option not to come, and she said, “I’m not afraid of a cold!” :)
My house sounds like a kennel. A kennel where all the dogs have kennel cough. I needed fortification this morning.
This is a really good breakfast Keemun with the nice scrape of unsweet cocoa on the tongue that I have come to love, and yet it has some of the fruity flavor found in some Keemuns. It really could take milk and sugar and I almost added them this morning just for the comfort, but decided to stick with my usual unadorned cup. Excellent. Will need to order more soon, and if you are placing an order you might as well get a little new teaware at the same time, right?
Flavors: Cocoa, Muscatel
I love love love Lapsang Souchong Crocodile, and this one is close on its heels. Most people would probably prefer this one, but I love the heft and smoke.
On that note – this was awesome today. It is cold, I got lost in a really bad section of town while under time pressure to get somewhere, and I hadn’t had breakfast. When I got home I knew I needed something a little fortifying this morning.
This is stronger than the lapsang teas we have been having lately and I welcome it. You taste the base and not just the smoke. It is sweet and smooth and the smoke doesn’t have that ashtray smell that even some of the nice lapsangs have. (They do usually taste good even when I don’t like the smell.) This one has a nice campfire aroma. I am ready for a nap, though. I am so ready for spring!
The owner of Tin Roof Teas was kind enough to share several sample cups of this tea with me as I browsed the shop today. It is a new tea in his shop and will be part of a raw puerh tasting event coming up on January 28, 2016. If you live in North Carolina and can go, I recommend it. I went to a puerh tasting last year and it was great! They do a tea flight about once a month and often do pairings with the gourmet chocolates they sell or samples from their honey bar. They have a honey room and stations for refilling your honey containers, as well as bee pollen, herbs, candles, teaware, and tea candies and such. Follow their Facebook page and send them a message if you want to reserve a spot in the tasting.
This is not a puerh, but an aged black tea. It reminds me very much of a mature sheng. The dry leaves had a unique aroma, first of turnip greens then immediately followed by a deep oak-y scent. These were loose leaves, not a cake.
The steeped tea is pale for a black tea and much the color you would expect of a mature sheng. This tea came from a puerh master and is probably not called puerh simply because of where the leaves were grown. (You may remember that Harney and Sons sold a green tea cake a few years ago that could not be called puerh because of where it was grown but it was in every respect an excellent puerh-type tea.)
The flavor was mild and not as green tasting as the aroma of the dry leaf led me to think it would be. It also really did not taste like a black tea, but some customers who were primarily black tea drinkers in the shop took it without question, drank it, enjoyed it, and I think they may have even purchased some. Our first steep was about 8 seconds, and the second was about 12, I believe. The instructions say that it gives about eight good steeps.
The tea was smooth and mild. It needed no additions. I would have purchased some but I am trying to reduce my cupboard, especially since I just found that exquisite 2013 TGY that I adore and have neglected because I have TOO MUCH TEA. I plan to drink and drink and drink what I have so I can feel good about ordering more when the new harvest gets underway. And yes, I share, swap, give away, invite people for tea, but I still have too much!
One nice thing about the shop is that they normally sell 100 gram bags and 250 grams and up, but you can request a sampler pack of fifty grams each if you buy at least four different teas, and you choose your teas. They also have premade samplers of various kinds like flavored black blends, or all greens, etc. They have quite a variety, too, some blends being TeaGeschwendner and some in-house.
They will also try to make special request blends when they have time.
Information on this tea may need to be updated soon as I didn’t write down the ingredients in the store when I tried it. This is Tin Roof Tea’s in-house effort to create a blend similar to Paris by Harney and Sons. In addition, they intend to tweak the blend as customers taste it and express their preferences.
First, the aroma of the dry leaf was heavy on caramel but the berry flavors certainly put on a show. The bergamot was evident in the scent but not overpowering.
Steeped – the tea is smooth enough to drink sans additions. It is not very similar to Paris to me, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad blend. It is much more caramel flavored than Paris and when steeped the bergamot almost disappeared for me. The berry also backed off and were lighter. They considered increasing the bergamot but I recommended bringing up the berry flavors more instead since there are so many people who do not like bergamot. We shall see what other customers think and what they ask for.
It was a fun day hanging around the tea shop, looking at all the goodies and talking tea talk.