1943 Tasting Notes
Finally! I have my variable temp kettle! I like the way it looks, especially with the filters in it, isn’t that silly? But it is attractive just as a pot for boiling water, too.
All of this section will be the pros and the facts. First, you can set the kettle on the base any old way. It spins – you can turn the handle how you wish. I find that handy.
The lid comes all the way off for filling and cleaning. (Some brands don’t, and they are harder to fill and clean because of the angle you must hold them.) The lid twists on securely so you don’t have to worry about burning yourself with steam or water as you pour as could happen if a lid popped off.
The lid and filters are plastic but they are BPA free. The dual filter allows you to tout leaves or bags in the small filter, insert into pot with filter raised, then you can lower it when the water reaches your desired temperature. When time is up, simply twist the top and the filter draws up out of the water and you can serve straight from the variable temp kettle if you wish. I bought this just to heat water, though!
The water came to a full boil at about 4 minutes 38 seconds. Testing it against my English kettle on the stove, which was more expensive than the electric kettle and is designed for super fast heating, the electric was a little faster as my stove kettle took 4 minutes 50 seconds to come to a full boil. I have noticed it whistles starting at about 195F so I gave it until I could hear the water rumbling a bit to stop the timer.
One of the deciding features for me – this kettle will hold your temp for ONE HOUR! Most others cut off after 20 or 30 minutes.
The lid and glass must be somewhat insulating because HOURS after I tested the pot I poured out the water and it was still warm. Not tea making warm mind you, but I expected it to be cold by then.
Now the one and only con I have found so far. It only holds one liter of water. I often make two Beehouse pots at a time and on tea party day I make three. One liter doesn’t quite cut it, but I can work around that, especially since I really bought this for gong fu steeping sessions.
Edited to add: Also, it doesn’t beep when it hits the target temperature. The blue light on the base turns red and flashes. I don’t know if that is a pro or a con! Beeping would get annoying, but sometimes I might not be paying enough attention!
So far, I really like it and I am not disappointed!
These are available at Tin Roof Teas and I had waited a long time for them to come back in stock. Just when they did, I found out that none of my kids were coming home for a couple of weeks, and I wanted my kettle yesterday, so I ordered it with a discount coupon code from Macy’s and also got free shipping. LOL! So it all worked out in the end, and I think I am still going to be picking up one more from Tin Roof for a friend!
This was sent to me by Bonnie a while back, and I really, really wanted to brew it gong fu style but I really didn’t want to be tied to the kitchen stove for 18 infusions! I vowed that I would not try it until I had a variable temperature kettle to make it easy. (The ancient Chinese didn’t have to worry about it. They had cast iron warmers with coals beneath that kept the water nice and hot for a long time! I have used my tetsubin in a similar way but a tea light candle doth not make the same heat as coals!)
So, of course my shipping notice said that my new Krups kettle would get here on the day I was going to be out of town ALL DAY LONG. But my neighbor watched for it and snagged it so it wouldn’t be in danger on the porch! And now the tea…
I out 2T in my little thick and easy gaiwan and gave it two rinses as the website suggested. The steeps are about four seconds and believe me, that is enough! The later steeps are my favorite, and quite frankly I feel like I am floating because I have drunk so much tea! Hubby abandoned me several steeps ago so here I am plugging on all alone and drinking it all! They aren’t kidding when they say you can expect about 18 infusions.
The first steeps were a bit astringent because I was having trouble juggling the new kettle and the somewhat awkward place I put it to be near an outlet and getting back to the tray in four seconds! They weren’t bad, just not remarkable. The later steeps are quite good – lots of stone and mineral taste in this with a nice overtone of the apricots and even a little spice like Ceylon cinnamon, the milder sort.
I plan to try it western style very soon! I will also review the Krups. Spoiler: I think I am going to love it, and youngest has already claimed it for making her tea on school days!
Next to Lapsang Souchongs, this is my youngest daughter’s favorite tea. I wanted to make a pot of tea that everyone in the house would like today. I had just made a batch of sugar cookies based on the America’s Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated recipe that is supposed to be nearly perfect. (It is.) Hubby got off work early – well, he got off slightly later than he was supposed to, but having just worked one 18 hour day followed by a ten hour day, it felt like “early” and I wanted to have a family tea time to celebrate. Plus, tomorrow is our annual Christmas shopping trip out of town and we are feeling festive!
This was the best choice for an “everyone will drink it” tea. I am not sure, but I think that for the first time, hubby drank a black tea without adding milk or sugar! If so, that is a huge deal. He drinks greens, oolongs, and puerhs without additions, but black tea ALWAYS gets at least some sugar!
Great tea, great cookies, a very nice day!
This was so good yesterday that I just had to have it again today. This was the first tea of tea party, as I wanted a great unflavored black tea to pair with our food. Today we had slices of homemade buttermilk bread, buttered and toasted, then spread with black currant jam, lingonberry jam, and/or Double Devon Cream.
How good was it? It was the only one of today’s teas that my guest requested a second cup and though she liked the other teas, said that this one was her favorite of the day.
Smooth, cocoa-y, hearty without biting, this is indeed a great black tea.
This is the third and final sample from Zen Tea in this round of tastings!
I requested this sample because a young man who works at the big tea company which shall not be named told me that this is one of his favorite teas. He really encouraged me to try it sometime. What better time than now when Zen is offering to let me pick a flavor to try?
I served this at tea party today as our final tea. The last tea is usually served after we have eaten all we are going to eat, so I often choose a flavored tea for that spot.
The dry leaf has an amazing coconut aroma. The wet leaves, when removed from the pot, scared me a little as they had a bitter smell. Nothing to worry, though, because the actual tea was sweet and smooth.
The coconut flavor is really dominant here and tastes very natural and pure. It is just like opening the bag of Baker’s Flake Coconut for the first time, and the smell of the sweet coconut rushes out.
There is nothing bitter or offensive in this anywhere.
Another great tea from Zen!
I was hungry but I have had a moderately angry tummy since yesterday. I wanted black tea with a snack, but I knew I couldn’t drink just any black tea or I risked making things worse. I thought this one from Nature’s Tea Leaf that was sent as a very generous sample (I STILL have some left, thank goodness!) would be just the thing. It is delicious and would satisfy the black tea craving, but it is smooth enough not to upset things further. At times like this, Assams are out of the question for me.
This is an excellent Chinese black tea. I steeped one teaspoon of leaf in 8 ounces water, resteeped, and poured it all in my big Christmas mug. This accompanied second breakfast which was cinnamon toast, heavy on the brown sugar and cinnamon. So yummy! I have really got to reduce my cupboard enough to order several teas from this company. This one and their Dragon Pearl Green are definitely on the list.
I made this by the hot latte instructions they include in the tin. I added Turbinado sugar instead of the six cubes of Demerara. YUMMY! I know this isn’t pumpkin flavored, but the spices in this make it taste like liquid pumpkin pie. I think this is my favorite chai, mostly because it doesn’t taste like other chai I have had. No turmeric, no pepper, just yummy spices. Of course, it doesn’t have chai in the name so maybe it is not really considered one.
Last night I steeped these leaves for one pot of hot tea. Then, thinking about Bonnie’s puerh reviews, I put the leaves in my Bodum iced tea pitcher, filled it with filtered water, and out it in the refrigerator. By the time I was ready for bed, the water in the pitcher was as black as cola and even had bubbles along the sides that made it look carbonated. I decanted the first cold steep and put in more water to see what would happen.
When I got up this morning, the second steep was still pretty pale so I poured a bit in a glass and it was very weak though good. I added a bit of it to that ultra dark first steep.
I tried a glass of that mix, and Oh. My. Goodness. This is the most refreshing thing I think I have ever had to drink in my life. Sometimes a fine white or green tea will have a taste of snow melt to me. This is a whole glass of icy cold fresh pure snow melt with the loveliest aftertaste. Pristine. I really really want to do this some more. This is going to be amazing in summer heat.
Matcha time! My friend came over and had tea with me today, and before she left she was lamenting about how much work she needed to do when she went home. I suggested that she try a matcha latte and see if that gave her a boost of energy. It must have worked, or it just tasted really great, because she is texting me right now picking what flavor she is going to buy, what size, what flavor level. I told her that picking the flavor is the hardest part for me because there are so many tempting ones.
This review will be about my latte, however, not hers! You can get the matcha right here:
I bought this one in Robust flavor level to mix with peanut butter to see if I could get a Reese’s peanut butter cup flavor, but I also wanted to try this one by itself as a hot cocoa substitute.
For this particular latte I made it the lazy way. I poured one cup of milk into a two cup Pyrex measuring cup. I added a spoonful of Turbinado sugar, which I am finding goes really well with the lattes. (I have to consume it all because I tried it in the kids’ drinks and they swear it tastes different from other sugar and they don’t want it in their drinks!)
When the milk was hot I used a plain kitchen strainer to sift 1/2 teaspoon of matcha into the cup. Then I just whisked it with a regular Kitchenaid brand metal whisk. I got a good froth, I suppose because it is milk instead of water. That helps!
This tastes good and creamy. I had to add extra milk because it was a little strong and you don’t want to add TOO much of the flavored matcha. The taste suffers. The good thing is that means you can use less and make MORE matcha lattes! It doesn’t taste exactly like hot cocoa, but it does taste like a hot drink that is chocolate, if that makes sense. This isn’t a kid’s kind of chocolate flavor, but rather a more adult one.
I do think I will order this in a milder flavor level next time, but for now I will just add more milk than usual to my lattes.
My best friend really loves puerh tea and I wanted to have some more today to keep trying to counteract all the holiday food, so I invited her over. Of course, I made apple dumplings to go with it, so how much did it help? LOL!
The instructions on the bag call for a great deal of tea and a rather short steep of 1-2 minutes. I put a bit less tea than called for and steeped it just over two minutes. The resulting tea is rich and dark dark dark – as dark as coffee. But it is oh so good. There is a cedar oil aftertaste to this one that I love.
Bonnie mentions cold steeping her puerh, so I only made one pot with these leaves and then put them in cold water in the refrigerator. It is already so dark! I can’t wait to see how I like it.