2076 Tasting Notes
My son has been coming home on weekends to help his dad replace our back privacy fence. They complete only about two panels a week because they have to cut out the forty year old fence that is there (but falling), dig up the old posts, some of which have concrete at the base, and they are building a fence my husband designed so that means ripping lumber, shaping the post tops, digging new post holes that are deeper, etc. It is really hard work in terrible heat and humidity. They can only work for about five hours, then it is Motrin time!
To my surprise, they requested a few weeks ago that I make a large carafe of iced matcha water to keep them going! We have done strawberry and black cherry the last two times, so today when my son said, “Surprise me!” I chose this one.
I will compare this to blueberry flavor because from what I can see, they are virtually identical. Also, this was the first time I order an upgrade on the matcha base and went down a notch in the flavor level to distinctive instead of getting robust. I think this will become my usual way to order matcha.
I need to get some blueberries and really, REALLY taste them, paying close attention. (I can’t do this with the blueberries I have right now because my chicken hopped right onto the edge of the container and perched there eating straight from the box while I was tossing them out as chicken treats. I guess I was too slow.) I say this because I have several blueberry teas, they all taste like this one, and they all taste like violet candies to me, and I have never associated that flavor with blueberries before.
I realize that Bilberries may not taste exactly the same as blueberry, but this tea tastes like my blueberry teas. And it is delicious. My son really liked it. Last time he came, he requested a whole tin of strawberry matcha to take back with him. I won’t be surprised if he requests this one this week!
This first time I made this, I was multitasking and messed up. It was ok, but not great, and all my fault. The second time it must have been good because two people drank almost the whole gallon within a few hours of its being made.
This morning I really paid attention. I measured my boiling water carefully, but I steeped it three times instead of two. I added water and ice. I had added one cup of sugar while it was hot, and added enough water to bring it up to a full gallon of tea.
This is delicious! I am getting more mango than peach, which is what I was hoping for!
An aside: I am a little weepy as I write this – partly for joy, partly a little sad. Miss Arcluckle, our little pullet, never laid an egg. I checked her hips faithfully and they never spread enough for laying. She became HUGE – twice the size of my other hens. Then three days ago, she crowed! “She” took over guardianship of the flock, and assumed all rooster duties because…well, she is a he. Which means we had to get rid of him because you can not have a rooster in city limits. It is very difficult to place a rooster and most are just given away, but it is hard to know what happens to them. (Sometimes dinner) However, a breeder needed some fresh genetic material for his flock for next year, and he wants him! So Mr, Arcluckle is going to a lover, instead of Coq au Vin!
Today was tea party day! My best friend had brought some lovely organic peaches yesterday, and since I know my weekly guest loves peaches and loves my home made ice cream, I decided to make a cobbler and vanilla ice cream. We needed a special tea time since she won’t be here next week!
When I serve something sweet like that, I like to serve an unflavored black or roasted oolong tea that will contrast and complement the food. This was brilliant with the sweet foods we were eating.
I continued my experiments with it, raising the temperature to 203F instead of the recommended 195F to give it some gumption, since it is so very refined. I steeped it for about three minutes and I must say it was a delightful pairing. This was the first time I picked up strong notes of unsweetened dark coca powder. Love it!
The next two teas were chosen because of the sweets but intended to be served after. We had Teavivre’s Oriental Beauty to sample the natural peach-y notes caused by the leaf hoppers, and then we had a full on peach flavored tea from Harney and Sons, to see the difference between natural notes and flavors compared with added flavors.
My friend who came over and drank The White Wolf with me today brought this tea with her! She bought it while at a convention and had not been to a Teavana before. I had forewarned her! She let them over pour the first tea but then out her foot down with the next two.
She made this at home and was disappointed with it. She said she really didnt get the flavors she thought she should have, so I made a pot for us to share. This time she really liked it. I showed her that there is very VERY little oolong in this. I saw lots of rooibos (but thankfully didn’t TASTE lots of rooibos) and the usual plethora of flavoring bits you find in their tea, but not much TEA.
It was, surprisingly, a very drinkable cup. I would have to say that the cinnamon was the dominant flavor for me, not like Hot Cinnamon Spice from Harney but still in the forefront. Next came the nut flavor and burnt sugar with vanilla. This would be a great tea for a holiday party to appeal to non-tea drinkers. It came off as very sweet but there was no rock sugar in it – we checked!
A few months ago my husband forwarded an email to me from his office. A lady in another division found out that I like tea (overlook the fact that I didn’t say “am obsessed with”) and was asking what companies I like. She sent a list of companies from whom she orders, and this was one of the few on the list I was unfamiliar with.
Their website is gorgeous. Their Facebook feed makes my newsfeed pretty every day. The owners of the company were stylists for Martha Stewart Living, and the husband of one owner was a stylist for Anthropologie, so you can guess how gorgeous everything is.
I ordered this one because I was curious about the unusual flavors they have combined here. I chose the two ounce bag to make it more affordable, though I think their tins are heavenly looking. (You can choose for it to come in a box instead of a bag for three dollars extra.)
The dry leaf is positively beautiful. Serving this at a tea party, I would definitely want to display the leaf in a pretty container prior to making the tea. The aroma is mostly spearmint.
The steeped tea is pale gold in color and now smells primarily of star anise, though as it cools the spearmint steps forward a bit again. At no time is it powerfully minty like a Moroccan Mint, but rather it is a nice refreshing breeze blowing through softly.
A guest joined me, and she said she really dislikes licorice and thought she would not enjoy this tea, but she ended up liking it.
My tea came in a pretty bag with brown paper tape with blue pattern. The instructions are handwritten on the label and it was tied up with a pretty ribbon. They also included a generous sample of White Nixon, another of their white tea line. Everything was packed in lots and LOTS of brilliant yellow/gold tissue paper.
Their tins are amazingly beautiful, but I am curious why adding a tin to your order adds a different price depending which tea you are ordering. If the tin is worth $18, why does the addition of the same tin add $17 to one tea order, but $22 to another?
As pretty as the tins are, I will save that splurge for when I am rich as Croesus and can have a whole row of them. For now the bags are pretty enough!
Like the other SBT blends, this has a nice tea base that doesn’t disappear under the flavorings and the flavorings taste really natural to me, but whether the flavor emphasis shifts like another reviewer mentioned, I can’t say.
I made this tea Sunday morning rather early. My son’s girlfriend came over and drank three glasses in a row. When hubby passed through later, I asked him if he would like to try some. He said he had already had three or four glasses of it. When I checked the dispenser in the refrigerator, it was nearly empty already and I had made a full gallon.
So it must be good! But I still don’t know if the flavors change when it sits overnight! I will make it again and hide a bit of it!
I have been very slow in getting my sampler from Verdant tasted and reviewed. Let this be the beginning of setting that straight!
This tea knocked my socks off this morning. I made it western style and didn’t even look at their recommendations for steeping, which I hear is a big No No for Verdant Teas. So this went in my 22 ounce pot and I gave 203 F for about three minutes, except I was making toast and omelets at the same time, forgot to set a timer, and had to estimate how much time had passed.
In spite of all this, the first sip totally wow’ed me. I think my hair blew back. Nutty, deep, dark, rich, and yes, yes, the warmth of ginger with none of the bite as they said so aptly, and yes, burnt caramel. Creamy, smooth, full bodied, and in short, amazing.
I looked at hubby and said, “Oh my goodness! This tea is amazing!” To which he replied, “I know. I already had three cups.”
Not long ago, Red Leaf Tea announced that they had received some puerh by mistake and we could have it for the cost of shipping it to us. I signed up and received mine yesterday. My daughter got some as well and had it shipped here because she works twelve hour shifts and the apartment complexes have those postal boxes like bird houses and I am concerned that they get too hot.
This has led me to wonder if I should order tea in the summer at all. My mail is left in a box on my house, under the porch, but in the meantime it has traveled quite a bit and sat in the back of a hot mail truck before arriving. Does anyone else think this might make a difference? I have never noticed a tea not tasting good and attributed it to heat, though, so maybe it doesn’t matter. Thoughts?
Anyway, I love making puerh the way Bonnie suggested and have enjoyed it very much. She has a cup hot and then puts the leaves in cold water to steep in the fridge. It is too blooming hot here this morning to drink anything hot, so I actually just poured some hot water on two tuocha, left it a minute, and filled the pitcher the rest of the way with cold water and cold steeped it.
The resulting brew is quite dark, so I poured a glass and refilled the pitcher with water. The tea is SO good and refreshing! My friend was astonished a few days ago when I told her I loved iced puerh, no sweetening, but you really should try it! It is a very refreshing drink, and my tummy was a little angry about Chinese food last night followed by popcorn with coconut oil and butter on it. The tea seems to have helped a lot!
I really love Huang Shan Mao Feng teas. They are so excellent with Asian food. At first taste way back when I didn’t believe it would be so, since it was such a gentle, subtle tea. Somehow it still makes itself shine with food and it doesn’t “get lost” in the flavors. Instead it complements meals nicely. Two steeps of this tonight with hubby for a total of 44 ounces.
I served this as the second tea at writers’ group last night. At the rate we drink tea during our meeting, I can not believe I have so few sipdowns! No exaggeration, we regularly finish two LARGE tetsubins and sometimes have a gong fu session or a small Beehouse pot to boot!
Not much to add on this one except to say it is a lovely green with very nice strawberry flavor, very drinkable with or without food, and everyone in the room seemed to enjoy it a lot.