2204 Tasting Notes
I should have gone to bed a long time ago, but it has been a weird weekend. I took a nap this afternoon and that is probably monkeying with me. I didn’t eat supper but just snacked on walnuts and drank some chocolate milk. So at 3 am I decide it is a good time to continue watching movies with the (college) kids and heat up a plate of Asian buffet leftovers. Probably not smart.
I wanted a nice green to go with it, and this was close at hand and fit the bill. I don’t remember how I made it before, but I was in a hurry and just gave it about 90 seconds at 180F. It came out really well and is great with my food. Now I am going to absolutely CRASH and yet I have to get up early to take care of the chickens. Maybe another nap will be in order tomorrow!
I was surprised and excited to see that Upton had included a free sample in my order! I wanted something to go with my bagel and hoped this would be a good choice.
The dry leaf smells like a nice breakfast tea, not overly fragrant, but pleasant. I saw that there is Darjeeling in this blend and decided to cut my steep time down to 3 1/2 minutes snce Darjeeling and I sometimes don’t see eye to eye. It is listed last, so I thought perhaps there wasn’t a lot in here and I think I was right. I think this is mostly Keemun and Ceylon.
I am drinking it plain because that is my preference whenever I can possibly get away with it.
The tea has a bright flavor on the citrus-y side, no doubt from the Ceylon. The Keemun is not as apparent to me but maybe it got lost in the first sips due to the toasted onion and garlic of the bagel.
The Darjeeling adds a fruity and wine-y aftertaste.
It is very drinkable and pleasant, but not one I just have to have, but good and I am so glad I got to try it. I think if it were steeped longer with a little more leaf, it would be an excellent breakfast tea for those who like to add milk and sugar.
Thank you, Upton Tea, for the sample!
We accomplished another sample sip down at tea party time today! Middle daughter made chocolate chip cookies with freshly ground hard red wheat. This was the second tea served. It is my second or third favorite Darjeeling, though I am not yet a Darjeeling connoisseur. It is smooth and fruity and doesn’t have as much astringent bite as some. This was actually the favorite tea of my guest today.
Grace Rare Tea does not offer a great variety of teas, but what they have is excellent. That was their mission.
Another sample sip down! (Which is good because I couldn’t sleep last night and when that happens I lose all restraint and get online and order tea. Yes, I did.)
I served this first at tea party today and I liked this best, but I really love oolong tea now. The other tea was quite good – it was Darjeeling 6000 from Grace Rare Tea – but I am not the biggest fan of Darjeeling in the world, though I have tasted a few that really were quite nice.
This has a high fruity note that almost borders on sour, but not sour tea, rather a sweet and sour fruit. There is a hint of that elusive and hard to describe flavor that I get from Tie Guan Yins, the one Bonnie described as oil paint and I realized it reminded me of the smell of my acrylic paints when I was a kid taking art lessons. (I was terrible at it but my mother thought I should take lessons because I am a lefty, I am a mirror writer, and I clutch pencils with a death grip. Art didn’t help that.)
This isn’t astringent but is very fresh and even though I started with it hot and now have let it cool to room temperature it almost tastes as though I refrigerated it. It is very light and refreshing.
I like this! Next time I order my beloved Premium Silky Green, I may add this to the order.
Boiling water? For a green? Well, I have seen that once or twice before, so I gave it a go. I was expecting an awful lot of this, and braced myself for a sour or astringent cup of tea.
Surprise number one was that when the water hit the leaves it smelled like matcha! The tea came out smooth and bright, not sour at all, and not astringent. This was a very pleasant green to end the tea party with!
My sample sip down continues, and I am starting my day with this sample that came in a tea gift box from my daughter. (Superanna, for those who haven’t figured that out yet! grin )
Not many apple teas have made me roll around in ecstasy. Neither does this one. LOL! It isn’t bad, it is quite good. The base is smooth and warming, there is definitely more than just apple going on in it, and I can see this being incredibly comforting and soothing on a cold winter day. I don’t drink alcohol at all but I can really see this tea becoming awesome with the addition of something stout and dark, like maybe a splash of cognac? Brandy? I don’t know liquors though I have tasted some way way back, but I do think this would be an amazing tea to add some warming spirits to.
And I may be a hypocrite, because I said I wasn’t crazy about apple tea but I polished off a large cup of this in record time. Now I wish I had more.
Edit to add: second steep weaker but still really good. Also, gone.
I was fortunate enough to get in on the tasting when Red Leaf was about to release this product, and then with a later order they sent me a free sample of this. I think the caramel flavored matcha was the very first purchase I made from them, so I thought this was a brilliant flavor to start with for the mixes.
It is super easy to make, has fewer calories than most of the things I reach for when the afternoon hungries hit, and it is good for me. My son’s girlfriend asks for it every time she comes over, and it is my hubby’s favorite latte. (This is tied with almond flavor for me!)
With matchaccino you don’t have to choose a certain flavor level, and I find the amount they are putting just perfect.
As I continue to attempt some sip downs before ordering more tea, I am finishing my two baby tins of this. I do not understand why I thought I still needed milk and sugar in this one after I quit putting it in my other teas. I know my tastes have changed, but this one is plenty smooth for me now. In fact, it is downright fruity at times. I have another Keemun called Winey Keemun and this is reminding me of that vibe a bit. Sure, the toasty cocoa notes are there, but as I become better at tasting tea I am finding hidden treasure. I considered this to be a good every day breakfast tea that needed to be mollified with sugar and milk, but now I Iike it plain!
I got a few more sip downs today! I let a repairman into the neighbor’s house today and waited for him to leave his estimate. He started talking to me and told me that he had ulcerative colitis, and that his doctor had recommended that he started drinking “hot tea like the Asians do, because the doctor had never seen an Asian with these kinds of digestive problems.” So I packed up a little bag of samples from Teavivre, Harney and Sons, and Nature’s Tea Leaf and included instructions for making them all and dropped them off at his office today. My husband laughed. “Another proselyte?”
My best friend came over with cheesecake today! Yay! She is a teacher and we took advantage of her day off to spend some time together even though youngest and I did NOT take the day off. We are doing a few extra days of schoolwork because she is going to Northern Ireland, Ireland, and England next month!
With sweet food, I like a contrasting tea. Nothing astringent, mind you, just something to “cut the sweet” and clear the palate so that dessert is delicious instead of cloying. One of my favorite teas to serve with really sweet food is Teavivre’s Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls. My friend had those recently at my house, so I thought we would drink this so she could try something new.
Oh, what can I say? I really love Da Hong Pao teas. One of the first ones I tried (by a different company) was anemic and uninteresting. This one has the fresh walnut flavor, the woodiness, the hints of unsweetened cocoa, that I love in DHP. The dry leaf in particular smells like a chocolate flavored tea! Steeped, the chocolate becomes a hint of cocoa and the nutty flavor comes to the forefront.
I am on the second steep and will be making at least one more with this even though I am making it western style and by the pot. So good!
I saved my very last Southern Boy Tea especially for this weekend. Today is Librari-Con in our fair city, and my youngest has been excitedly awaiting her first ever cosplay – Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite, the younger one. I will try posting this link and I hope it works but Flickr has changed an awful lot since I last used it.
It feels wretchedly hot outside today. This tea is one of my favorite flavored iced tea blends. And it is the perfect geeky drink for this weekend! My son was there in his sand trooper armor, my godson changed clothes and appeared as three characters in all: an Imperial Gunner from Star Wars, the Cobra Commander, and the ninth doctor. Hooray for cosplay!