2208 Tasting Notes
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.
Today is the first day of school for our youngest daughter, who is homeschooled, and my middle daughter who is in community college.
We have a lot of traditions. On the first day, the kids “ride their bikes to school” with their dad. They leave the house and go to the grocery store a few blocks away where they buy presents for the teacher. I get flowers, apples, and candy bars. :) This year even Sammie got a treat since he is listed as co- teacher. (That’s our dog, for those who don’t know!)
Many years, we have had to work hard to keep our traditions going. This year is no different. We set our first day of school to coincide with middle daughter’s schedule. Afterwards we found out that we need to take my husband’s mother to a dental appointment early in the morning. Daughter was only going to be able to join us because hubby was going to drop her off at school so she wouldn’t have to go super early to find a parking space. So our wake up time got pushed back an hour.
Then I discovered that middle daughter can’t buy her parking sticker today because we failed to get the van inspected – the paperwork was buried. So now we are scheduling an inspection and oil change for the first day of school. ARGH! Fortunately, everything is working out and running smoothly so far, though. Mother-in-law has seen the dentist, hubby dropped off daughter, hubby is dropping off van, I am picking him up soon, then we pick up middle daughter and head to our traditional first day school lunch going out to eat. After that we pick up the van and come home.
ETA: we have three Toyotas. I had the paperwork for the wrong one. The van is just now due for inspection and the car I had the paperwork for was done on time! So we still had to go get that done. Picking it up later! LOL!
Meanwhile at home, youngest and I have finished our Algebra 2 lesson, Biology, and Grammar and we are about to do German. Whew!
This is why I reached for the Queen this morning. With all this activity, however, I wanted to soften it and calm the mood a bit, so I mixed in a teaspoon of Rose Scented. This was perfect. I had only had Carnation Instant Breakfast when I went out to take care of the chickens early this morning, so I treated myself to a Bagel Thins with Nutella with it.
Happy First Day of School, everyone! I am going to miss homeschooling when this is over. My two eldest have graduated and one is now a microbiologist and the other an autism advocate. When youngest graduates, I am going to have to hunt down a toddler to start over again! Maybe grandchildren…..? I need someone that I can read all these lovely books to again!
I saw some tasting notes on this and then found out that one of my tea proselytes had purchased it and really loved it. I hightailed it to Barnes and Noble to acquire a tin. And it is ORGANIC!
The first batch was only decent but that was all because I FAILED TO READ THE LABEL! I prepared it as if I was making an SBT blend. This is supposed to steep for fifteen minutes! Making it the right way made a huge difference, especially since I was resteeping. I did not make a full gallon per bag, but rather about three quarts. It is lightly sweetened.
As with all my iced teas, this tastes best to me after it has been in the fridge for at least a day. This is what iced black tea should be. It is stout but not bitter, smooth, clear, and clean. It goes great with a banana sandwich, and what more can you ask of a black tea in summertime?
Yesterday we drank this hot at tea party. There was about half a pot left because I had used my biggest pot for this blend. Today I added simple syrup and ice and drank it with lunch. Absolutely delicious. I did try it unsweetened and cold first but I didn’t care for it nearly as much as with some sweetening.