2215 Tasting Notes
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.
This was the final tea at tea party, a tribute to the Blueberry Buckle with which we started tea party.
This smells so darn good I can rarely stand it! My daughter says it smells just like a grape lip balm she had when she was younger. I taste grape candy, or possibly violet candy. This is really good, and my kitchen and living room smelled amazing.
Now my cold steep has had one more day to sit in the fridge. Tonight for supper I finally tried with simple syrup added. It was fantastic. I am glad I have enough of this to last out the summer because I will probably start making it by the gallon. This and Fruits d’Alsace are two of my favorite fruity teas for making iced tea.
If you make it the regular way and then chill it, I find it tastes best after a day or two in the fridge. The flavors really meld.
JacquelineM has been teasing Steepster with her reviews featuring Blueberry Buckle lately. “Drool!” said gmathis. “What is Blueberry Buckle?” said I. A quick google search and now it is MINE!
I like to serve sweets with a plain black tea and then I select other teas to follow, keeping the lightest teas for last so we can experience them on their own when we have finished the desserts. I have only about one half ounce of Catherine left, so I decided to make this our first tea and use it up so I can order a fresh batch before chilly weather arrives and/or school begins. Around here, school will start Monday and chilly weather might never show up!
The Buckle was wonderful, fantastic, amazing! I loved it! We served it with homemade vanilla ice cream, a very light recipe that I make. The tea was perfect with it. It is smooth, non-astringent, with a hint of smoke, and just the right strength to pair with desserts or to drink by itself. It doesn’t need milk or sugar for me.
This tea is a fitting tribute for an amazing lady.