1816 Tasting Notes
I have liked everything I ever bought from this company. Hesper June generously sent me this sample of their Russian Caravan, one of the few of their blends I have never tried.
It was rainy and chilly (for here, fifty degrees is chilly until we get used to it!) today, with flocks of birds mobbing my dogwood trees and stripping them of their berries. Very much a wet, fall day that begs for comfort foods! It stayed gray and overcast all day.
I served this with homemade Snickerdoodles today, but first we had Morgan Blend by Simpson and Vail, which was rich, layered, and smoky, while this tea didn’t smell nearly as smoky, but I guess Russian Caravan teas usually are not as smoky as lapsangs. From the aroma of the two teas, I thought the Morgan Blend was going to take all the awards.
But the first sip of this GRT changed my mind! Yes, it was much less smoky, but the tea base was delicious! And just as complex! My guest, the owner of the puppy we keep every Tuesday, had only had Lipton until a few weeks ago when we asked him to join us for some tea. He has liked everything we have given him so far, and he declared this one his favorite of the day.
What surprised me most was that my youngest daughter, who loves smoky tea, liked this one better than the Simpson and Vail, too. She said the Morgan Blend was very good, but that the Russian Caravan had “personality.” LOL! I think I know what she means.
It was rather like meeting someone that you had no idea you would enjoy talking to, and then you find yourself in lively conversation, surprised at this person not being quite what you anticipated.
What a fun tea tasting we had today!
Thank you, Hesper June! We have several more still to try!
Many thanks to Hesper June for this tea! What a puzzlement when I looked this up, because I did got detect bergamot AT ALL which goes to show that I need a lot more development in my tasting ability!
I was making Snickerdoodles when youngest made this tea so I didn’t get to smell the dry leaf. Had I done so, I would definitely have picked up a lovely, fruity, juicy bergamot aroma. By the time I sat down at the tea table think we were trying two different plain lapsangs, the tea was made and I gave each pot a sniff. This one had the richest, most bacon-y aroma, nice and smoky for this chilly, rainy day. I tried this one first because I thought it smelled the smokiest and the best.
It was very good, with rich layers of flavor. It was heartening and delicious with our cookies. The result of this tea tasting was a bit of a surprise, though, as we ended up being joined by a new tea drinker halfway through who had fun lending his opinion as well.
The final word, both were great! Thank you, Hesper June!
Ah, the resteep of the leaves from last night is exquisite!
Hubby is off today – he works on the military base so of course it is a holiday for them – so when he got home from the gym I offered him a cup. He drank it and declared it good, and held out his cup for more. He wasn’t overly surprised when I told him that this is a resteep from last night’s leaves that were a bit strong for him. He generally does prefer the second steep of dark oolongs.
My veteran’s day story is about my godfather, Jim. Jim was a journalist and he and his wife had no children, so when they became disabled I took care of all their affairs. When they died, I inherited Jim’s desk. All of his things were still in it. I found a yo-yo in the top drawer and remembered the day he took it out and showed it to me. He was so excited that he still remembered how to do tricks with it, and so pleased to have it. He was as excited as a little boy when he showed it to us!
Behind the yo-yo, shoved to the back, was something he had never shown me. It was his Purple Heart. When he was very young he had been hit by shrapnel on the beach in the Philippines. His left arm never moved again. It was locked at a ninety degree angle, and no one knew because he covered it so well and never told anyone. When I was very young, I remember him always having a windbreaker draped over that arm, so it looked very natural for him to hold it that way. After his funeral, friends and coworkers from forty or fifty years back were shocked to learn of his disability and how it happened.
I also found the letter that told how he had been hit while storming the beach, how he had been carried into a forest where they waited 24 hours to be airlifted to a hospital overseas before being sent to Walter Reed hospital. I found letters he wrote to his father, letting him know that everything was okay.
When the war was over, he went back to college. He rented the back porch of a house in Chapel Hill and attended the school there. That’s right. A young, disabled vet sleeping on a screened porch summer and winter. (And I complain when my toes are cold.) He went on to become city editor of our local paper here, and oversaw the reporting of the famous Jeffrey McDonald case. He was a founder of Methodist University, and never told a soul. He arranged for scholarships for young people from underprivileged families, and I never knew – no one did – until they came and told me after he died, because he did everything quietly, and because he thought it was right.
I wish with all my heart that I could be even half the person that man was, and I am thankful and humbled to have known him.
We have been gone almost all day. First we drove to visit my daughter and have lunch at her apartment, then we took Samwise, our puppy, to the trails at the state art museum in Raleigh. It was a beautiful day.
This was one of those nights when I wanted tea and just didn’t know which one. Standing in front of my Harney shelves, my eye landed on this one. I haven’t had it in eight months apparently.
I will definitely be having it more often. When I opened the tin, the dry leaves smelled like chocolate. They were so long and thick and twisty. These are big, gorgeous leaves! This reminds me very much of the Da Hong Pao that the Chinese gentleman at the Asian buffet gave me. He said his tea was very expensive. Well, this one was, too, so maybe they are related! :)
This is a toasty oolong, and it has so much character. Hubby drinks all black tea with milk and sugar – he says he can’t take it any other way. But he likes oolong, green, and puerh plain. This oolong was too much for him. I really think he would like it if he treated it like a black tea, though. It can handle it! I think it would be a shame because I love it just like it is! Grilled stone fruit, yes, but a touch of vanilla perhaps? A little spiciness that isn’t quite cinnamon to me, and when comparing to cinnamon would be more akin to Ceylon cinnamon than Vietnamese or Chinese.
I definitely want to resteep these leaves tomorrow. Beautiful tea!
I just made a stack of cards to send to all the great folks who worked in my precinct for the election. I love writing cards and letters so it wasn’t a chore, and to make it even better I made some tea and got a few homemade chocolate chip cookies to go with!
This tea in unlike any other Darjeeling I have had. It is very smooth, but rather earthy. It is rather gentle for a black tea, but it is not weak. It is a great tea for those times when you are not sure what tea you are in the mood for. I really like it! I am nearly out of it and not likely to get more since my daughter bought this in Budapest…
I got the nicest surprise today! Another amazing card handmade by GMathis! So cute, and she knows I am nerdy enough to LOVE the Soft Kitty song and that is on the front of the card. I actually sing it to Sam, except we say “Soft puppy, warm puppy, little ball of fur, happy puppy, sleepy puppy, grr, grr, grr!” Thank you! It was a good mail day! (Have you looked at that book yet?)
Well, tonight was writers’ group night at my house and of course I had to serve some tea. I made my big tetsubin full of this tea and put it on a warmer. There were only three of us drinking tea, but it was very enjoyable. Every time I drink a good Ti Kuan Yin, I crave it for days afterward. This is a great, smooth tea, and I think it is excellent for introducing people to the world of unsweetened fine loose leaf. The flavor differs so much from our Southern iced tea that is super sweet, that it doesn’t make them crave all that sugar!
My daughter’s fiancé brought this tea as a gift when he visited from Northern Ireland recently. He is a big fan of Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas. This is a loose leaf version.
The leaf is of medium size and the aroma when you open the inner pouch is so citrus-y and fresh. This smelled like oranges to me, though the box describes bergamot and lemony flavor. The aroma isn’t too strong and doesn’t have that bathroom cleaner acrid smell that I have found in one or two Earl Greys.
I let it steep for three minutes. I did not add milk or sugar to this one and I find it really doesn’t need anything. If you like milk and sugar I feel sure this tea could handle it. The bergamot is present and has a light, fresh aftertaste. If you love really strong bergamot this probably won’t do it for you, but I am finding it to be a very satisfying mid-morning pot of tea.
This is a sample I got from Liberteas a while back and it got buried in my sample stash! I decided to brew up the whole thing tonight in a big pot.
The bad news is that I was painting at the time and got held up pulling the leaves. The good news is that it didn’t make this tea get bitter. The raspberry and acai are more of a fruity tartness so I wonder if the oversleeping strengthened the Sencha enough to mask the flavors, but it isn’t bad, just probably not as fruity as it would have been had I paid attention to the steeping a little better.
The liquor is bright gold and the Sencha has a nice strong presence.
Thank you, Liberteas, for letting me try this one!
I needed a healing tea this morning, soul and body. I only slept about 5 hours Sunday night because I was trying to get the painting done, and I only slept two hours Monday night because I was too wired about the election. It is a hard day, physically and emotionally. I woke up so sore I looked for the truck that ran me over.I almost drank a Dancong that Bonnie sent me but we needed to do geometry and I knew I couldn’t do lots of little steeps like I wanted, so I opted for this instead. When i opened the pouch i gave the leaves a good sniff and my eyes rolled back in my head. The thing is, I didn’t check my water temp, and I got a really good but really different pot of tea.
I used one teaspoon of leaves in my little pot and quickly made three steeps in a row and poured them together. The water must have been hotter than usual. It tasted less buttery and more nutty, still smooth with no bitterness, though. What a bargain!