2112 Tasting Notes
An Italian friend of mine is very health conscious, buying organics, eating fresh, whole foods, making her own household cleaners. I asked her for a recommendation for the best, TRUE, olive oil and she referred me to a selection at Olive Nation. I love that company, by the way. Their matcha is great for lattes, nice and earthy but not at all bitter. Their vanilla beans are excellent and not expensive at all.
My new olive oils arrived this morning, so I decided to have a sort of Shepherd’s lunch – olive oil mixed with Penzey’s Tuscan seasoning, Parmesan, and dried garlic served with Italian bread, some Swiss cheese, and apple slices.
Something else also arrived – an adorable, handcrafted card by GMathis with some Tulsi inside. I have it displayed on my writing table! The color is prettier in real life and in the background you can see another she sent a while back. http://www.flickr.com/photos/24998856@N06/8552541342/
I needed a tea that would pair well with this strong Extra Virgin olive oil. As I pawed through my tea, I realized this was a great time to sip down a sample! This was sent to me by Zen Tea a while back and I reach for it whenever I want a nice, strong Keemun that isn’t rough around the edges.
Lightly smokey with cocoa notes, it was brilliant with my lunch. I am finishing the second steep (by the pot, not the cup!) now. Thank you, Zen Tea!
By the way, their teawares are awesome and I really want that Zen Brushstroke matcha bowl. Maybe soon…
I have really been dragging all day. I didn’t sleep much for a couple of nights, plus allergies are acting up. Youngest had two dental/orthodontist appointments today and got a Herbst appliance, and I was trying to wrestle the new shelf into place over my bread table but it was too long to go in the closet, no matter what geometric gyrations I went through. My neck and shoulder were sprung and undone. I even took down the burglar alarm box and the fire extinguisher. I was pooped, and clearly couldn’t do the work I had planned for this afternoon, so instead I thoroughly cleaned the refrigerator. And that was when I found out just how much of a problem I have.
I have been doing the buy three get one matcha deal at Red Leaf. I usually give one to my daughter and one to my best friend. Yet still I have Black Cherry, Bilberry, TWO strawberry (at least), TWO Caramel, French Vanilla, Butterscotch, TWO Cheesecake, Peanut Butter, Belgium Chocolate, and this one, Bavarian Cream.
I also felt very unqualified to be tasting and reviewing matcha since I didn’t know much about it a few months ago, so I also bought four plain from other vendors for comparison. I just ordered another. Oh dear.
Anyway, my reward for cleaning the reorganizing the fridge was a nice, cold matcha latte. It was 71F here and cloudy, but nice enough to sit on the hammock and enjoy a cold drink.
I didn’t know what real Bavarian Cream was when I ordered this and was expecting something like the inside of a Krispy Kreme vanilla cream filled doughnut. I was surprised when I smelled the light and lemony aroma of this one. I didn’t know if I would care for it, but it has turned out to be a favorite, and when I find the right way to start using these in recipes this one will probably be a cooking staple. I can really see it in home made frozen yogurt. This has gone from a what-the-heck? flavor to a “don’t run out” flavor.
I have really liked every Puerh I have tasted from Teavivre. I have saved this sample that I purchased for almost a year, but my best friend came over to try my new flourless chewy chocolate cookie recipe and I thought this would be wonderful with them. It was!
I gave it a rinse because it is such a tight chunk. It is pretty large, more than I would normally chip off for my little gong fu pot. The first few steeps were kept quite short, maybe 20 seconds. I made four steeps, filling a larger pot, and made four more after that. The fifth steep was super dark, really quickly. It tasted great, too. Dark puerh doesn’t scare me, I like it! I saved the leaves because this doesn’t look like it is even close to quitting.
Delicious, refreshing, moist, clean leaves on a forest floor with streaks of sunlight streaming down on you. That is this tea.
I haven’t had this in ages. My friend liked it and I gave it to her for her birthday last year. She hasn’t touched it, though, because she got distracted drinking other teas and her first cup of this was a little disappointing, to as coconut-y as she remembered her sample being.
I wanted to try it because my daughters fiancé is coming soon and I had bought him the Bon Bon tea from Tin Roof Teas and he absolutely loved it. He wants something in sachets though, so I planned a side by side comparison of these today, only to discover that I put my whole bag of Bon Bon in the traveling tea box! Well, I can still drink this one and see what I think!
What I think is that he will like this, but he will prefer the taste of Bon Bon. It has big pieces of coconut in it, and that was the flavor he was really after.
As for my opinion, this is very good. It is very pretty to look at, my house still smells like chocolate, and my friend said it tasted better than she remembered, so maybe the bag just needed to age a little or get mixed a bit better.
Because my bestie is the best bestie ever in the whole world, she gave me her free sample of Lupicia tea that came in her newsletter, even though she had already given me my birthday gifts of matcha and Lupicia Chocolate and Strawberry Puerh early!
I sniffed this one and knew it was reminding me of something very specific, not just generic apples. Youngest loves apples and eats them whole….seeds, stem, and core. LOL! At first I thought this was reminding me of Honeycrisp apples, and indeed it is close. It also reminds me of the smell of super sweet apple turnovers, the kind with the crispy outer pastry dusted with sugar and cinnamon. My son says it smells like hot apple juice, and finally I settled on some kind of green apple gum that I have a very vague memory of from my childhood.
The tea really tastes excellent to me. It tastes like fresh green apple without the puckers. My son thought this would be great iced and I agree. I may have to order just for that purpose.
The green base is very smooth, not sour or astringent. It also is not hidden under the apple flavor. Noticing that the newsletter said you could use hotter water to enjoy the astringency and boldness of green tea or use cooler water for a more smooth experience, I assumed that their steeping recommendation was on the hot side. I set my Krups to 194F but then let the water sit and cool for a few minutes before steeping. I don’t ever recall seeing a teabag, especially a nice sized one like this, say to use a five ounce cup, but that is what I did. It did not make the tea too strong.
Excellent and calming.
Edited to add: second steep is lighter on the apple but really delicious. The green base gets to show off a little more now and it is really good. Probably ordering this one.
I had this at tea time Wednesday with my guest, who remarked over and over how much it smelled like super fresh, sweet strawberries. So last night when I made a strawberry cream tea that I had received as a free sample, it was a bit unfair. I remembered all too well what a great job Lupicia had done on this one.
When our little group had finished off the first tea, I made this and told them to prepare for a real treat. Everyone remarked on how much this smelled like real, mouthwatering strawberries. They had liked the first one we tried well enough, but this one wins hands down for fresh, natural flavor and for having a good tea base that doesn’t disappear under the flavoring.
Last night was Writers’ Group at my house and nowadays that means TEA! And lots of it! We had homemade bread with jam and some flavored tea first, and I saved the big tetsubin of this for after we were through snacking.
This is so good. It makes me crave more every time I drink it. I used to wonder what all the fuss was about TKY teas. Now I know.
Driving home today I was suddenly haunted by the memory of how this tasted last night and the ghost of its flavor filled my mouth. I had to have some when I got home. It was such a spiritual experience that I was struck by the many hands that worked so hard to bring me this tea, and the great distance it had come. I feel very thankful, and humbled.
I really want to try the Top Ti Kuan Yin from Harney and Sons now. It is much, much more expensive, and I really want to experience it.
Friday means Asian Buffet take out! I called home and had my daughter make two 22 ounce steeps and put it in my tetsubin for when we got home. My husband thought it was dragon pearl, and with food it definitely can be mistaken for it. This is a great, economical way to have fabulous tea with your food. When I want a jasmine tea by itself though, the pearls win my heart!
I read on a website – I think Zen Tea Life – that they sell warmers just like the Scentsy and Yankee Candle tart warmers but they are intended for tea leaves. I tried it with three pearls last week, and it was a delightful…and SAFE…aroma. Then I remember I had this more economical open, so I am going to try them in a warmer this weekend!
On a sad note, a vase of flowers somehow fell over today and broke my favorite warmer! Boo!
Tonight was Writers’ Group at my house, and for a number of months now that means TEA! I have been rather surprised at how much everyone likes everything we have served, and they all drink their tea plain, yet none of them were really tea drinkers before.
We also served fresh, hot bread tonight and for the first time I made the bread using the whey from my homemade yogurt. The first teas served were all hot teas, but after we finished our bread and got down to the business of reading our submissions, I made a small pitcher of matcha latte using this: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/french-vanilla-matcha.html
I bought the large size, basic grade, and robust flavor.
I wondered how it would go over since one of the writers says she really doesn’t use sugar, and I had put honey in this. I am using very little water now – just enough hot water to make the honey dissolve. Then I add ice and milk.
The latte came out a really pretty shade of green. We finished it so quickly because it was soooo good and refreshing. The vanilla flavor was just right. The sweetness of the honey didn’t bother my guest at all and indeed she said that it was almost like drinking coconut milk. I have never had coconut milk but I must say I noticed a review for coconut matcha this week and I am thinking that is something that needs to happen! I think it would be especially delicious in the hot and sticky summer we have here. I guess that is my excuse for yet another Red Leaf order!
No notes yet. Add one?