1692 Tasting Notes
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!
Sample SIPDOWN! One more down, one hundred and…um…who’s counting?….to go.
This was really nice. It is strong enough to be a morning tea, refined enough for an afternoon tea, cocoa flavored with hints of puerh rather than anything smacking you in the face. This is a great wake up tea to me and would be fantastic with bagels.
I am trying to accomplish some more sip downs, especially of older teas. I do not list my samples in my cupboard, so what you see does not include the three boxes of samples that are lying about.
This seemed a good one to use today for one last cuppa hot, and then ice the rest.
I maintain my earlier statements about this tea. This is not the same base as Harney’s Rose Scented, which is my favorite rose tea, but rather this is more like Upton’s Rose Congou with a hint of bergamot added. Good stuff, a little more gutsy than Rose Scented, and with a little more morning “Oomph.”