2171 Tasting Notes
We have been back “in school” for a week. I hurt my back AGAIN Saturday, an appraiser was coming to the house at 8:30 and youngest has an orthodontist appointment at 10:30. I really needed something special this morning. I wanted black tea but nothing too bold. I needed a little pampering.
Enter Pour Maman. It really is a great “Mama Soother.” The berry scent is so intoxicating, the black tea is tempered by the green, and it is really lovely. It must be. I just finished the whole pot and we are not yet nearly done with Algebra!
I tried new steeping parameters, mostly because I forgot how I made it before. I used 194F water for three minutes and it was super! I think this is a pretty forgiving tea, and even if you make it like a straight lack tea it just adds astringentency instead of becoming undrinkable. I like it best between 175F and 194F as I look through my notes. BUY SOME FOR YOUR MOTHER!
In a way, this is the tea that started it all. Years ago I ran into a friend at Barnes and Noble and she was buying Hot Cinnamon Spice tea. She told me it was her guilty pleasure. Months later, I remembered it and bought her some for Christmas, but since I had a “Buy Two Get One Free” coupon I picked up this blend for myself.
My youngest daughter loved it, and we began to explore lots of the Harney and Sons offerings. I think I still have more of their teas than any others on shelf. But I have purchased so many teas and quite a few that just turned out not to “float my boat” that now I am swamped with tea that needs to be drunk before it gets too old. This is not the original tin, but one my daughter cajoled me into buying because she missed it, but then she started drinking their vanilla teas and Lapsang for a while and neglected this one.
I asked her to go ahead and finish it as there are only five sachets left, so she made some today. I really MUST clear away some tins as i have five “tea spots” in the house and there is just too much!
It looks like I will be repurchasing this one, as she just came to my room and told me that she thought it was one of the best teas she has ever tried, and she cant imagine why she hasnt been drinking it all the time, LOL! I shared the cup with her and it really was a nice blend, although she always puts loads of sugar and milk in her tea and that part was a bit much for me!
There are several teas I want to order from Harney and Sons but I won’t let myself until I sip down some more teas.
I got an email a few days ago from my husband. It was titled “Tea Disciple.” It turns out that a fellow he met at work has travelled extensively and loves tea from all over the world. He is presently drinking Celestial Seasonings Fast Lane as a replacement for coffee and wants recommendations for a good black tea blend with boosters like mate. Anyone know of some good ones? I recommended that he go to Tin Roof Teas and buy his mate and try some of their loose leaf black teas and mix it himself.
He mentioned that he had been in Sri Lanka and found some teas there that he loved, so I took my two high grown ones that I don’t care for and sent them to him. That reminded me that some of my other Ceylons are getting old. I need to drink them up. These past two days I have been drinking this one from the Fine Tea Wall at A Southern Season. You purchase these by the ounce and there is no minimum.
This is an enjoyable Ceylon, though I do like their Ceylon Extra Fancy even more, and I like Harney and Sons Kenilworth Ceylon and Ceylon and India teas more also. Once I sip this one down I will not be replacing it, but rather I will stick with the ones that I like better.
Hubby started out only wanting Ceylon teas with TONS of milk and sugar. Now he mostly drinks oolong, green, and white tea plain, so I have a big backlog of Ceylons to finish off! But it is a great problem to have! I was delighted when his tea tastes expanded and changed!
Writers’ Group night at my house should mean lots of sip downs. It should be a warning sign to me that with as much tea as we drink at group every two weeks and at tea party every Wednesday I still have too much tea!
Tonight we drank three large tetsubins of this. Everyone loved it. One guest remarked that he liked it because it didn’t dry his throat. I was making 18 ounces, resteeping, and pouring it all into the pot so each pot was a mix of two steeps. I still smell grape candy instead of fig, but it didn’t seem to matter. They loved it, and that was my goal.
Personally, I think it tastes really nice, but I really don’t taste tea. If you are a tea purist looking for a nice oolong with its characteristic flavor, this isn’t for you. If you like a flavored tea, this one is pretty darned good, and it is one of the most beautiful to look at, dry leaves and liquor. It looks almost purple in the cup as the cornflowers and poppies donate all their color!
This was cold steeped and served unsweetened at the very beginning of tea time today because it was miserably hot and humid outside. I wanted to cool us all down before trying our three hot teas. My guest really liked it. I have been drinking it all week, and have just put a jug of Harney’s Passionfruit Black in to cold steep. Can’t wait!
I see I had removed this from my cupboard. I have a serious tea problem. I did indeed finish my large tin that I was refilling from my one pound bag of this. I finished the bag, too. But today I started taking another hard look at the tea I have and the tea I know I want to order, and something had to give. I have already given away two boxes of tea yet I have four shelves in the kitchen covered in tins, two boxes of samples, a basket in the kitchen, a box full of teas in a cabinet, and a chest full of teas below the shelves. There are a few tins in the living room also, it is everywhere.
I have begun a SIPDOWN and clean out, and found a couple of teas that are nearly gone that I asked my daughter to try to finish soon. As I was cleaning out teas, my eye fell on the lovely tea chest I had ordered long ago from Harney and Sons. A friend had given me an additional baby tin of English Breakfast to replace the Hot Cinnamon Spice that I had given to my future son-in-law. That means I have two baby tins of this!
I had it for breakfast because we were out of milk (I bought six gallons at lunch time) and then I served it at tea time today. Middle daughter came home from school and ground some wheat and made chocolate chip and walnut cookies for us! This was really good with it. It is 100% Keemun, and for the price it is a nice, drinkable English Breakfast, much smoother than the ones with Assam. A good black tea is excellent for serving with really sweet food, to “cut the sweet” as my mom used to say.
I really love their Keemun Mao Feng, but for a good daily drinker that is affordable and smooth, this is nice.
SIPDOWN! I loved this when I first got it, but I did find it to be finicky – finicky, but worth it. As long as I keep the temp around 203F and the time around three minutes this is great.
Hubby and I now prefer Anna’s Blend from Tin Roof Teas, which I think may be sourced from TeaGeschwendner. I has a yogurty tang to it with nice strawberry flavor, but is overall smoother than Marco Polo and is much more forgiving.
This last pot of Marco Polo was really great until I got to the last cup. A tiny bit of very fine sediment had escaped the infuser and that was enough to add a touch of bitterness, or perhaps it just gets bitter as it cools. Either way, the first two cups were fantastic and the last…not so much.
If I added milk and sugar to my teas this might not be a problem, but I prefer my tea sans additions whenever possible.
The tins are lovely! I peeled off the clear label that tells the name of the tea and relabeled this tin with a permanent marker in my fanciest attempt at lovely handwriting so it can now hold my Anna’s Blend!
I set up my bamboo tray on the floor in the living room last night, lit candles, and brought in the electric kettle. Hubby and I had seven steeps in my eight ounce glass pot. I love using the tiny double walled glass cups I bought from Teavivre with my glass pot! The tea looks so beautiful in glass and you don’t burn your fingers. A friend had tea with me using these once and made me order a set for her before she left.
This is a good TGY. I don’t taste the honey and I noticed Bliss said it added texture to her tea. Perhaps that is what I should look for next time but nothing about honey stood out to me. I don’t add any sweetener to oolongs (or hardly anything, for that matter) so I don’t need the honey, but it is fun knowing that the honey came from hives all around the tea fields.
I did notice a remarkable difference between the very hot, freshly steeped tea and the tea that sat for a little while in the fair cup. Henceforth, I will most definitely be cooling this tea a bit before drinking, because the flavors really blossom and swell as it cools.
It was a lovely tea experience, very peaceful.