1960 Tasting Notes
My tin is getting dangerously low, and I bought the one pound bag! It is almost gone…
It is finally a really cold morning here. I needed some warmth to look forward to after breakfast. Tea is almost always after, rather than with. This one is especially yummy today.
There is a taste and texture I get from some Keemuns and from Teavivre’s Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls. It is almost as if a dark cocoa powder is being dragged across your tongue, and that is a good thing! I guess it doesn’t sound that way, but it is, because it is a chocolate-y but dry but not an astringent feel that is going on. It catches your attention if you are distracted by other things and says, “Hey, appreciate me here!”
This is really hitting the spot this morning.
Today for lunch I made turkey panini with sautéed onions, lettuce, Raspberry Enlightenment from Penzey’s, and mozzarella cheese. As a side dish I had rotini noodles with Double Devon Cream, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. To me, that meal screams for a good, stout Chinese black tea, like Keemun Hao Ya or Fengqing Dragon Pearls. But hubby doesn’t go for many black teas…yet. His favorite black tea is Ceylon, and even then only certain Ceylons will do.
He liked this one very well, and drank three cups to my one. I really wanted some tea after lunch so I tried resteeping the leaves, something I don’t do with just any black tea because so many come out weak. This was definitely weaker, but still very enjoyable.
Side note: the puppy we are fostering because she was hit by a car is doing well and should be ready to go up for adoption in a month or less. The puppy I keep on Tuesdays is staying with us indefinitely now since his owner is in the hospital having tests run. So every bite I eat, every sip I drink, is watched by three pairs of eager eyes…
I had a matcha marathon! This was one of the flavors in my latest order that I had never tried. (Two were refills of old loves!)
I like cheesecake but I don’t love it unless it is the kind I make myself. I don’t want it dry and dense, or heavy. I actually prefer the easy, super creamy kind that has a sour cream, sugar, and vanilla topping on it.
One of the main aromas that hit me when I opened the pouch was vanilla. That is great, because I love vanilla!
(By the way, I haven’t seen anyone address the best way to open these pouches to prevent the loss of any precious matcha powder. These pouches are vacuum sealed so tapping it lightly on the counter is not going to jiggle the powder down lower. If you start cutting or tearing the pouch from the side a little poof of your matcha might escape, or even more.
There is a little half circle notch on top of the pouch. Make a tiny cut right there with scissors, just big enough to allow air to enter the package. Now the matcha powder will obey the call of gravity and go to the bottom of the pouch so you can safely cut a larger opening and pour it into your container without losing any!)
So on to the tea! We made hot matcha lattes and they were excellent! I think this would be awesome for mixing with MOST other flavors, too, to lend its creamy vanilla goodness. I really want to try this as a cold latte tomorrow. Almond matcha is still my favorite of all (right now!) but this is running a close second, maybe tied with butterscotch!
You can buy it here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/cheesecake-matcha.html
I chose four puerh teas for Christmas from my hubby. Three were shu puerh, and one was a sheng.
Furthermore, this is a very young sheng. I chose it because I thought it would have tons of potential for aging based on its origins, and I confess also because the paper wrapper is beautiful and I love that a friend of Garret lent her talents and designed it!
I think the papers wrapped around puerh are beautiful. Perhaps they also look exotic to me because the language is completely mystifying! There are no letters we can pick out similar to ours, so no hope of finding a word or two similar to English or other languages we may speak. The message on the wrapper is a complete mystery to me! I save my wrappers because I hope to one day cover a tea chest in them.
Concerning wrappers, I also will probably never qualify to be a puerh con artist. You know, those people who buy expensive puerh, keep it, and wrap the nice wrapper around a cheap puerh and sell it for a lot of money? Well, I wouldn’t, but I also couldn’t, because I can never get the wrapper back on the cake with the beautiful tight pleats that it had to begin with! Deft and nimble hands wrapped these cakes! Maybe with practice….
I took Garret’s suggestion and poured some boiling water into my little pot. After the pot had warmed a moment, I poured out the water and added the leaf to the empty pot. I put the lid on for a few seconds and then lifted it and sniffed. Root vegetables! Rutabagas, I think! I am going to try this with a lot of my teas.
I gave the leaves a thirty second steep. There is still the root vegetable aroma, but it is milder and it isn’t “biting” at all. The liquor is a pale golden yellow. The flavor matches the aroma rather well. I am drinking the third steep now and there has been no diminishing of flavor. I think this would also be great with food.
I am really excited to be moving forward in my puerh journey. I hope to live a long time so I can try this tea over many years and see how it matures. I must say it is a well-behaved child, though. :)
Thank you, Garret and mrmopar, for helping me choose my Christmas tea!
I debated long and hard about getting the almond matcha. I love almond scent in hand lotions and such, but my mother never ever used almond extract and I never had anything flavored with it until I was grown. I have never had marzipan that I can recall though I had a marzipan chocolate bar that was quite good that my daughter picked up in Budapest or somewhere.
When I was young, I became friends with a man who owned a Chinese restaurant. He served a dessert drink called Toasted Almond. If I remember correctly, it contained Amaretto, Creme de Cacao, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a bit of milk, and ice shavings tossed in a blender. There was possibly a bit of sugar added. Bottom line – it was intoxicatingly delicious. Literally. Because there was alcohol in it but it was so good you wanted to have three in a row, which fortunately I did not do.
Yesterday, my bestie and I had a matcha marathon! I got a bamboo whisk and an aerolatte for Christmas so we were experimenting. We made an almond matcha latte – just cold milk, a spoon of Turbinado sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of matcha. Yummy!
Then my son and his girlfriend came. I amped it up for them. This is how I made two servings at once: Two scoops Breyer’s Lactose Free Vanilla Ice Cream (because it tastes sweeter due to the lactose being broken down), milk, a tablespoon of sugar,
and a teaspoon of almond matcha.
One second their glasses were full, the next – empty! They said it reminded them of an expensive dessert drink they had at a fancy Italian restaurant near where my son lives.
I think I have found my favorite matcha flavor! I am so glad I bought the large as I have a feeling this drink is going to be much in demand throughout the holidays! I chose Robust flavor level, as always! Here is where to get it:
Another Christmas tea! Yay!
I started this one last night. I used Granny Stella’s tomato knife to work a chunk about the size of a teaspoon off of the brick. I notice this is called an iron cake. I haven’t heard that term before, so perhaps Garret and/or mrmopar will enlighten us?
My husband and son joined me drinking this one. They would have bailed on me if there had been any fishy odor. This tea has none.
I steeped this for forty seconds at first, increasing to sixty seconds for the fourth and fifth steeps, which is where I am right now.
The color was deep at first but not inky black. This is a medium strength flavor, not knock you down powerful but not subtle either. It has the horsey profile I like.
I am such a newbie at puerh that I have trouble distinguishing between the good ones. I can tell a bad one easily enough! I am trying very hard to learn to distinguish between cedar, mushroom, earth, leaves, and wood.
The main thing that came to my mind as I drank this was “nature.” Not wilderness nature but perhaps a large farm bordered by woods with fields of grazing horses. There is the horse farm scent to this, but added to it are leaves crunching underfoot as you walk, breathing in fresh, clean air. Sometimes I get a hint of caramel in this one. Steep four had a little cedar oil richness coating my mouth. Steep number five is still going strong so I will probably continue working with this teaspoon of leaves, and soon I will try it with more leaf and shorter steeps.
Of the three teas I have tried from the Mandala order, they are all very good and I would not be able at this point in my puerh education to tell them apart if I were drinking them “blind.” But I can say with certainty that I enjoy drinking every one of them and look forward to sharing many cups of these teas with family and friends.
Another Christmas present!
I want some tea before driving up to Raleigh to pick up my daughter at the airport. She has been in a bit of a white tea kick, so I guess that is why this one was on my mind.
I checked out the recommended steeping instructions on the tin. Thank you, thank you, Hugo Tea, for putting those on there. It gives us a starting place to find our own favorite way. It calls for one tablespoon of leaf to eight ounces of water and when I open the tin I see why. These are big leaves! They don’t look like typical tea, but more like what you pick out of your socks after raking the yard. All that fluffy means you need more leaf! It reminds me in appearance of a Shou Mei (SooMe) white tea I had a while back.
Oh my gosh! This is fantastic! Reading their description of the tea made me think I was going to have to hunt for flavor unless I wanted to pretend I was having a nice cuppa hot water, but this is so flavorful and good. It is sweet and smooth, a little bit creamy, a little mineral, a little tiny bit buttery, a bit floral, a lot good.
Hubby downed his cup before I could sip mine once and he asked for another, so I immediately went in and made a second steep.
Home run, Hugo Tea. Home run.
This is one of my Christmas present cakes from hubby! We drank it tonight while playing Star Trek Settlers of Catan with my son and godson.
First of all, I have had loose puerh and mini Tuocha in the past. I liked puerh right from the first time I tried it, even though the first ones I bought at A Southern Season were really fishy smelling. (Not fishy tasting, though.)
Tuocha are easy! Just drop it in! Getting the amount you need detached from the cake is a challenge and I don’t have a puerh pick or knife. I had read that a butter knife would do and that is what I used last night but it didn’t work so well.
Tonight I tried Granny Stella’s tomato knife, a cheap little white knife my husband got when his granny died. It has a serrated edge and a very pointy tip for piercing.
Now I don’t know if this cake is not as compact and hard as the other one, but that knife worked a treat and in no time I had pried off what I needed for steeping.
I am not an experienced and learned puerh drinker, though I hope to be some day, but I can give my impression of this. It was not fishy at all. It was rather mild and the liquor lighter than others I have tried. I used only a little leaf in an eight ounce pot and we got about six steeps that were pretty good strength from it. I was keeping it around thirty seconds per steep. A final steep was really pale but still tasted nice.
This is very good, and I think it would be a great unflavored puerh to start the fearful on the path.
Many thanks to mrmopar and Garret for their help in choosing my Christmas teas!