1692 Tasting Notes
I have several samples that I have saved for a time when I can pay them special attention. This is such a time, and such a sample, from the generous and venerable Bonnie!
I put my kettle on to boil and carried my eight ounce pot to the stove with the leaves in it. As I set it down, I caught a whiff of what I thought was peaches. I looked around. No peaches in the house right now. Hand lotion? No. Must be the ae leaves, but straight black tea that smells like a stone fruit? Verdant, you have some amazing and unique teas!
I gave it a quick rinse and then steeped for 25 seconds, keeping on the low end of their recommendations. The resulting brew is light in color for a black tea. The first sips are so milky. “Are we sure this isn’t a milk oolong?” I find myself thinking. A dark, baked milk oolong is how I would describe the first steep.
On the second steep, a metamorphosis is occurring. The liquor is now a little darker – I let it steep for 35 seconds this time. Okay, now I taste what I think of as light black tea with an unsweetened cocoa profile that is very light, but it is mixed with a slight milkiness and also quite a bit of green tea flavor. This is very hard to pin down as a black tea as it seems to behave so much like a oolong!
Third steep: What? Color remains a medium light brownish yellow, but the milkiness has increased, most notably on the front of the sip. The impression of a dark oolong has increased on the swallow, but the aftertaste is that of a well rounded green tea and a slight drying is taking place as an after effect, not unpleasantly.
The fourth steep was my favorite. It was even creamier and the unsweetened cocoa has given way to a soft, buttery vegetal flavor. At first I thought the slight drying effect was gone, but as I kept drinking it was still there, though very light. Steep number five: lighter, maybe a little dryer and the milkiness is lifting a bit now. There is more flavor here than I would have expected from a black tea resteeping so many times.
Thank you, Bonnie, for an enjoyable afternoon tea experience!
Tunes: Luc Baiwer/Symphony des Ages – Prelude for a Century, in Memoriam. Remembering the families, the innocent, the broken, the heroes. And praying.
I got a package from Liberteas today! And it is full of tea goodness! I really shouldn’t be making more tea right now, but you know what happens when you get new tea….taste ALL the things!
I love Premium Silky Green by Bird Pick, so I was especially eager to try this one. I made it in my little handmade gaiwan that I bought at Tin Roof Teas. It isn’t an “easy gaiwan” officially but I think it is the same thing. It is sooooo much easier to use than my first gaiwan that burned my hands all the time. It is just decorating a shelf now!
Wowzer, these leaves swelled immensely! The first steep was golden and while it had a hint of the baked flavor it was really more fruity than anything. It is definitely smooth and not astringent. Second steep – still golden, maybe a tad lighter but I decreased the time since the leaves are fully expanded now. Really fruity and mild!
Thank you, Liberteas! I will keep steeping but I have to cook supper now!
Tune: Traffic/The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, cuz I thought we were going to drink Lapsang but made oolong at the last minute! Traffic is black tea music to me!
Resteep of last night’s leaves: This oolong was made western style last night and I usually only make one resteep when I steep it that way. The first sips are slightly milky, something I hadn’t picked up on before. The liquor was a brilliant golden color this time. I think it was even brighter this time! The oolong is nice and the osmanthus is a little muted.
Tune: Lonely Boy by the Black Keys, celebrating being finished with geometry for the day even though youngest had an early dental appointment. Yay!
Oh, this is really hitting the spot tonight. The aroma is so….oolong! Greener oolong, with the body of roasted somehow. The osmanthus adds a lovely sweet and floral taste, but it doesn’t cover up the beauty of this tea. I am drinking it in a china cup that is white inside, and the liquor is golden and clear, really lovely. This is an excellent tea for when you want to unwind. Absolutely spot on delicious. Those French know how to do tea. Le sigh.
Finally at long last, IT FEELS LIKE FALL! That means I will really enjoy morning tea, and I don’t even have to sneak the thermostat way down. :)
I mixed this the opposite way today because I was feeling a little bruised on the inside – too much thinking does that, you know – and I wanted a black tea that would also be calming or meditative, and florals do that for me. So I went with two teaspoons of Rose Scented and one of Palm Court, but honestly, I think I prefer it the other way round!
The tea and a nice chat with a neighbor while the dogs played and the gentle breeze blew have made things a little lighter. The horrendous humidity is broken for now, and you can actually stand outside for more than ten minutes without needing a shower.
I swore to myself that I was not going to try matcha, at least not for a long time. I have too many teas already, I spend most of my personal budget on tea in spite of the fact that I have needed new shoes for forever, and I also know that I will want all the doodads and I have so much tea paraphernalia already that there is hardly room for anything else.
But Azzrian wrote all these amazing reviews, and talked about lattes and pushed me right over the edge! I have tried to justify my purchase – and the ones that I know are soon to follow – by saying that this is REALLY for my eldest daughter, not for me.
My daughter likes “foofy girly coffee drinks” as she calls them but has been drinking green tea for about nine months now for the health benefits. She also uses it to keep her awake on night shift. So the Mocha Matcha was the perfect first matcha to try!
I bought the small 30 gram size but I did not buy the tin this time because I knew I had one small tin that should be really good for it. Next time, I will get the tin because they recommend keeping this in the refrigerator or freezer for freshness, and I feel that their screw on lid is better suited to that than my regular tea tin. I chose robust for the flavor level because I really want her to feel like she is having one of her foofy coffee drinks! I do not have the doodads yet, so I used my powerful Bamix Immersion Blender to mix it, because if that doesn’t do it, nothing will! I can’t wait to buy the bamboo whisk and scoop and the whisk holder and a matcha bowl, though! To buy the matcha, look here:
Shipping was pretty fast! I ordered this on Sunday and it was a holiday weekend with no mail service Monday, yet I still received my tea Friday.
I am having this early in the day because I have been warned that matcha is…very invigorating, to say the least! I literally argued with myself all night because I wanted to go ahead and try it, but I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep, but I wanted it SO BADLY! I even dreamed about tea last night!
I tried it hot and plain first, and had some chocolate milk standing by, icy cold, to pour it into after tasting it. My Bamix will froth plain skim milk with Nesquik added into a decent semblance of a milkshake because it whips in so much air that it feels thick, so I don’t have to add a lot of calories to this to get a great latte, plus these are things my daughter will have on hand when I get her hooked on…I mean, if she decides she wants to make these, too.
And the Bamix worked amazingly well! After just a couple of seconds pulse, the tea has a nice froth. I was a little apprehensive because I didn’t know what to expect, but I sipped the plain matcha and…smooth! It wasn’t bitter, like I was afraid it might be! There were no lumps and it wasn’t sour or grassy.
The first sip plain tasted like chocolate first, then there was a coffee aftertaste, which is exactly how I feel when I have a sip of daughter’s foofy drinks. I added just an ounce or so to my chocolate milk and it tasted a little like a malted or something, so I poured in almost all of it and added ice. Now it tastes like I just went to Starbucks!
I already know what my next matcha will be. Hubby has a demanding job at times and needs energy, but he doesn’t drink coffee, shouldn’t have soda, and just grabs a glass of Carnation Instant Breakfast on his way out the door. I can hardly wait to try the French Vanilla matcha with vanilla Instant Breakfast! I think hubby is going to love it! Next will be the Pumpkin Pie matcha, again for my daughter because she goes NUTS at this time of year buying everything pumpkin flavored and making pumpkin recipes, and she mourns for good pumpkin the rest of the year. I already saw a rave review for the pumpkin pie matcha, so I know she will love a Pumpkin Pie Latte, and she will be ale to make that herself all year long.
I am going to attempt just whisking some by hand later today. If I get good at it, maybe I won’t feel bad for buying a matcha set. And I can’t wait to see if this makes me get all the housework done!
Dear Madame Potts mixed up some of my Personalitea without elderflower or stevia for me to try! So sweet! Thank you, Madame Potts!
I took a little extra effort that I don’t normally venture to do and took a picture of my tea and had youngest help me make it appear on here! LOL! Apparently you can’t do it from a mobile device, or if you can I haven’t figured out how! But it is so pretty, I wanted everyone to see it. If I were having a tea party, I would set this tea out in a pretty dish just Ike this for all the guests to see before steeping it. Pink rose petals, blue cornflowers, white flowers and coriander, all resting on that green base.
The good news is…it worked. I don’t know what was in the other tea that gave me heartburn, but this did not. I am thinking about trying the first one again to see if it happens consistently. I did like the flavor of the other tea, even the stevia. I like ginseng, I like licorice root though I don’t drink much with it because of blood pressure issues, and I liked the flavor of the tea that had stevia in it. Those are all flavors that some folks object to and group together but I like the flavor of all of them. The stevia just didn’t agree with me. And I see why it was in there, it really does add to the blend, but I guess I have to eschew stevia and if I want to sweeten this I will add honey, but I probably won’t sweeten it at all.
Thank you, Madame Potts, for going the extra mile! I may try to get my hands in some elderflower to see for sure if that or the stevia was the culprit!
Tune: Hall of Fame by The Script
This is a gift from *SimplyJenW" especially for my youngest daughter, but I am sipping it, too! The base is so sweet, the smoke is light and does not accost the nose, yet still lingers so nicely. This is gently bracing, if that makes sense!
Youngest determined that Vanilla Black was strong enough for algebra but will not get her through geometry. We are out of Baker Street and my order to Teavivre has apparently been shanghai’ed because it STILL isn’t here.
Youngest says to say thank you and to tell all my steepster friends who sent her Lapsang tea that she would be dead right now were it not for them. As I have said before, she has a flair for the dramatic.
This one is her hands down favorite. She loved the Teavivre one when we tried it, but she says it has been so long that she doesn’t remember how it compares to this one. I find myself craving the smoky Lapsang flavor lately. I guess I will now forever associate it with sitting at the kitchen table doing geometry with my last homeschooled student. That will be a pleasant memory! We have a good time together!
She asked me twice if I had thanked SimplyJenW and I told her yes both times. She now insists that I tell Jen that she loves her. LOL! These kids have strong feelings about their tea, especially during school work. I hope they can drink tea in whatever jobs they get after college!
First, it was a great pleasure to see K S on Facebook this morning! Are we Facebook friends? Nope. But Teavivre posted a link to his review of a puerh tea they sent him to try!
Second, tunes&tea, I was planning to start posting what I was listening to now and then and I forgot! So I was listening to The Wind and the Wheat by Phil Keaggy but now I don’t remember what tea I was drinking, but I know I had popcorn so does that count? LOL!
This morning, I am enjoying a nice cuppa, and this is a really authentic cuppa. Daughter’s BF sent a box from Ireland. He was desperately trying to find loose leaf tea and it is sad that it is a hard thing to find in a place that we think of so strongly connected with tea! He said when he comes to America next month for a visit, he is going to get lots of loose leaf tea.
This tea has a rich, complex aroma. There is a light astringency. With food, like the strong cheese we are eating right now, I like it plain. If I were only drinking tea, I think I would want a little milk and perhaps a little sugar. This tea will definitely open your eyes as soon as you give it a good sniff. There is malt, there is raisin, there is TEA! The liquor is rich red brown.
This is a CTC tea so I only give it 2 1/2 minutes in the boiling water. Someone with more chest hair might want to give it a little longer.
My eldest daughter came to visit tonight and she likes for us to drink green tea together. She does not LOVE tea, and she used to hate it, but she wanted to drink it for the health benefits and has grown at least tolerant of it. We usually drink unflavored greens other than Harney’s Tropical Green. Tonight I asked her if she drank much flavored green tea. She said no. I asked if she would mind trying some, and she said she could try it. Hubby even said he would drink some with us. Remember, he is Mr. Tetley with lots of sugar and milk.
They both LOVED it. And we all drank it plain. I gave a cup of it to a 12 year old voice student today who formerly drank only sweet black iced tea. She loved it plain as well! I thought she would since she was a fan of Fuzzy Navel, too. So here is another I will have to keep on hand. I love it when people love a new tea, and especially when they say, “This doesn’t need anything!”