1858 Tasting Notes
I am sitting in my living room watching the dog sleep in his chair as a torrential downpour floods my garden and the last candle from tea party is about to gutter out. Youngest has become passionate about cooking and has made the most wonderful meals and treats for the past few months. Today’s tea party treat was Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.
This was the first tea of tea party, chosen because it is unflavored and won’t compete with the dessert, and has enough natural flavor to stand out and complement at the same time. I had forgotten how great it is, but thanks to the generosity of K S, we had three magnificent teas for tea time today that brought sighs…every, single one of them.
Though the flavors section mentions astringency. I only tasted rich, malty goodness. Bready, yes. Cocoa, yes. This is a real tea shelf necessity and I am glad I got to refresh my memory on this one before placing my Teavivre order.
Thank you, KS, it was sooooo good. I wish where we have the option to recommend a tea, our choices were “No”, “Yes”, and “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
As I look at the dates on other reviews I am forced to wonder when I got this sample. Note to self: start labeling samples and place them in a better spot to encourage quicker sampling.
I have tried this before and liked it, but didn’t get to give it the attention it deserved. Today I am all alone for about an hour, something that almost never happens, and I am having a little gong fu session.
My water was 194F and I started with a two minute steep, no rinse. I think I should have rinsed for gong fu with this one, because it was very light. The first aroma to hit was sweet potato but with an edge this time. There was little to no astringency and the flavor was quite light.
I gave the second steep three minutes and the color deepened. Now there is astringency but not an unpleasant one. This is accompanied by a creamy texture.
This is a very good tea for when you want TEA. I don’t think I would serve it with food unless I made it western style with extra leaf. It is not really a breakfast tea for me, but rather an afternoon or,even a contemplative evening tea.
Thank you for the lovely sample, Teavivre!
This is a decent matcha for matcha lattes. I have had it for a long time and am continuing to try to sip down some of my older teas. I have been wanting to try a kefir matcha latte, and I chose an unflavored matcha to try to duplicate something like the Starbucks drink.
For those who are not familiar with it, kefir is a cultured milk drink, and thanks to Mercuryhime I am making it myself now. Think of something like a cross between Greek yogurt, unflavored Gogurt, and sour cream or buttermilk. The funny thing is that I have never liked buttermilk but I LOVE kefir. The chickens like it, the dog likes it, and my hubby and daughter like it. When a batch comes out just right, I can’t get enough! When it is really tart, the chickens get it, and they are quite happy.
This batch of kefir was thick and creamy. I added a tablespoon of sugar and a half teaspoon of matcha to eight ounces of kefir. I stirred it with a spoon instead of using a blender stick this time. The overall effect was like drinking a glass of matcha ice cream that has melted. I would call that a success.
I am not clicking that I recommend this tea, not because it is bad, but because you can get better matcha for this price.
I have been craving Keemun lately at breakfast time. I have some of the finest Keemun, but it is not as bracing as I was wanting for my morning tea, though I love it as afternoon tea.
This one really hit the spot today! After a sweet pancake breakfast I wanted something to cut the sweetness and give me a little boost and this did the trick. I had one cup at home and took a JoeMo to go with me. There was a nice bread and cocoa flavor, and the smoke was more evident somehow from JoeMo, perhaps just because the tea was starting to cool and the flavor profile was morphing. It reminded me a bit of my beloved Queen Catherine.
Very nice tea experience!
I had a hankering for black tea and could not decide what I wanted. I am trying so hard to SIPDOWN some teas that are older or have very little left, and I realized that making a whole pot would send this expired box well on its way. I drank one cup and decided the fresh, fruity aroma was crying out to be tried iced and sweetened. Now I wish I had some more hot to refill my cup.
The base is pretty smooth as long as it doesn’t sit too long and cool on you, the bergamot is present but not overpowering, there is a lovely orange blossom scent, and I swear I think there is a tiny little hint of jasmine.
For a bagged tea, this performs.
I ran out of my mystery Keemun so I am now making our iced tea with this. I make two gallons at a time and put it in a Pottery Barn glass dispenser in the fridge. It makes a really good iced tea, as the sugar really requires a little more heft in the leaf so you don’t lose the tea flavor and just taste syrup. I am using about five tablespoons of leaf and thee cups of sugar for two gallons. My mother made her iced tea with three cups of sugar PER GALLON, so…I’ve come a long way, baby. Actually, I drink a lot of my iced tea sans additions but this batch is for family and friends and unsweetened just won’t fly.
I keep the tea from getting cloudy by adding about 1/4 tsp. of baking soda per gallon or two. You don’t taste it, and your tea stays clear even after days of being cold in the fridge.
I decided to try to drink it as a hot tea, sans additions. The first sip or two with breakfast was okay, but then I noticed that burn in my stomach I get when I drink Assams and Darjeelings. If I added milk, there would be no problem, but I would rather get a tea that requires no additions for me to enjoy it than to add milk, so this is staying an iced tea blend for me. Those who love their brekkie teas with milk and sugar would probably enjoy it, as would I if I simply put those additions on the table and used them!
Yesterday was an adventure. I needed to finish my pickles, which take about three days for all the steps. Youngest was waiting for the chance to have the kitchen because she was making an Italian Cream Cake from scratch, from freshly ground soft white wheat. As I was pickling, I managed to set a spoon on fire, scorch my dish towel, and burn my hand (on the flaming spoon whose nylon hanging string melted and burned into my hand). Then the phone rang and the lady who has breast cancer wanted to come over to talk about her surgery and pre-op some more since, like mine, they didn’t get it all the first time, and I had a new student coming just after lunch and needed time to eat lunch myself, and….well, you get the idea.
So today was the first day of school for my final homeschooled child, who is a junior this year, and it was TEA PARTY DAY!!! Yay! It has to be a better day when you are going to have Italian Cream Cake and tea with with friends.
I checked the package today and noticed that this tea is technically expired. It is still truly delicious, and I do have more of their newer harvests as I ordered a couple of different ones because the samples were so, so good. It would be considered expired on 6/12/13. We have actually had it a couple of times lately and it was a favorite with guests both times. In spite of the age, this is a fabulous tea that still shows its fine pedigree. It is almost gone, but expired tea is what happens when you buy way more than you can drink, even when you drink it in groups.
I keep thinking that I will pare down my cupboard, and then I see a tea I must keep on hand for so-and-so, or one that I have been wanting to try, or one that I can’t bear to run out of. Ah well, I will keep I drinking and sharing and it will all work out!
This tea is so far superior to the one from Teavana in my opinion, and it is probably half the price. It is a tea that can go with any mood, any food. I served it today to youngest and her friend and I forgot to put milk and sugar on the table. It didn’t matter. They drank it plain. I think both girls have been trying to drink their tea straight for a couple of months now, and this one is an easy one to learn to like like sans additions.
Mercuryhime got me thinkkng…and looking around. She mentioned having to clean when you invite people to tea. Well, Mercuryhime, if I am ever in the area, don’t clean for me because I just want to be with you! Let your dogs lick my face, let me get dirt on my shoes in your garden, I will be happy! I love getting to know new people and learning from them.
BUT…I am going to bare all and tell you PART of what is cluttering my kitchen right now. Remember, my kitchen is large though my house is small, because this was a kitchen/den combination when the house was built, with a tiny dining area. A den was added, so the old “den” is now informal dining and school table and the formal tiny dining corner is now the laundry area and bread making center.
Okay, here goes. Tomatoes everywhere on the island, cucumbers because I am about to make pickles, teapots all down the counter, a Breville, a mixer, two ceramic egg holders because I don’t refrigerate my eggs. (Fresh, unwashed eggs have an antibiotic coating from the hen.) There is a cooling rack out still from muffin making, a cast iron Dutch oven that I can’t put away due to my surgery and am waiting for someone else to do It, two jars of kefir fermenting, a compost pail, some recycling that hasn’t been carried out, lots of spices, a mortar and pestle full of eggshells that need to be distributed, a bowl of fruit. I have my mother’ s and godmother’s rolling pins and my MIL’s old hand powered egg beater. All sitting out or displayed. It really does look like an old general store in there. On the fireplace, there are candles, lanterns, a candle box, a paper towel tube (WHY?), and some magazines. That is probably less than half. LOL!
Does anyone else dare tell what is sitting out in their kitchen? Several OCD people probably just fainted. I am sorry! :D
FYI: we eat almost all our meals at the little tea table in the “L” of the living room because of all the stuff in the kitchen.
This is my second note on this tea. The first time I had it, chamomile was the first aroma that rushed from the sample pouch, then Rose, and then chamomile with creamy white tea was the dominant flavor to me, the Rose coming in as a sweet taste.
Tonight I opened my new pouch of this and set up a gong fu session for my youngest daughter and her friend who is spending the night. They are having lots of food adventures and made us a wonderful French onion soup for supper. Since it is quite late, I thought this would be a great night time tea with the chamomile.
This is such a beautiful tea. It really should be displayed briefly before steeping whether you are having people over or drinking it by yourself, because the beauty of the flowers is a part of the experience with this one. This time it was more rose-y to me. Both of the young ladies loved it, and said that the Rose flavor lingered for a long time. They stayed for three steeps before getting ready for bed, and I continued steeping for two more steeps.
This is a truly lovely tea, and I already knew I would enjoy it in the evenings for a quiet, contemplative cup.
I made two gallons of this iced a few days ago to keep in the refrigerator. I put it in the Pottery Barn dispenser. Guys, if you buy a dispenser, get one with a real metal spigot and not a plastic one. You will pay more but it will last years longer. Just ask Pioneer Woman. It is worth it not to have to clean up from those leaks all the time, and I love having enough on hand for guests.
Anyway, yesterday a neighbor was walking by with her wee dog and stopped a moment to chat. We have been neighbors for over twenty years but hardly know each other. I asked if she wanted to see my chickens and we called them to the gate. She said she wanted chickens, for a long time, badly!!! And now she swore she would get some. She lives four houses away but didn’t realize I had chickens before.
Today I got a text that someone was giving away five laying hens. I walked to her house to ask if she wanted them. Yes! Yes! She and her hubby came over to see my coop so they could build theirs, and….they had tea. Her husband said this was the best iced tea he had ever had in his life. His wife promised to come learn how to make it if he would get the coop built! We also gave them blueberry muffins and kefir.
The wife was very interested in my tea wall and wants to try puerh, so we are going to schedule a tea tasting soon. She said it smelled horsey but she could tell it would taste sweet and creamy.
I also found out that she has tried making kefir several times and was never successful. Thanks to Mercuryhime , I am now a kefir maker myself! So she is also going to learn to make kefir and when my grains make enough babies I am going to share them with her.
Tea makes friends. Friends make tea.