1876 Tasting Notes
It is our twenty-sixth wedding anniversary today and to celebrate I wanted to…do what we do most Friday nights and get Chinese take out! LOL! i guess I am pretty low maintenance! At least, I hope I am.
I am getting low on this tea, but since the mystery Da Hong Pao from the restaurant was so good with our Chinese take out I thought we would have this again. At first I thought I should use it up since it is getting older, but I have seen some things that say that oolongs often age well, and on eBay they sell aged and pressed cake oolongs that look like puerh. I need to find out more about this.
There are a lot of notes about this one and I don’t have a lot to add other than that I now find it a favorite to pair with meals.
I was craving this last week but didn’t make it for tea party day because my guest does not like puerh tea, and she likes almost everything else. I get a little irritated sometimes when people try to get me to taste seething over and over swearing THIS one will be the one I like. I have had that happen with coffee lovers.
But this week I broke. This tea is so chocolate and so strawberry and so rich that surely no one culd object to it, no matter how much they dislike puerh.
My gamble paid off. My guest liked it and did not find it offensive like the plain and osmanthus puerhs I have given her in the past. And of course I loved it. My first taste of this tea came from a swap with Doulton, and I am sad to say that my card to her remans unanswered, so we still don’t know what became of her.
I don’t own this Keemun….yet….but the way my guest loved it today I may need to put it on my shopping list. I would love to try ALL of the Teavivre Keemuns!
This particular one is mild and smooth, with a silky, almost cedar fragrance. There are hints of sweet potato and a little molasses or honey perhaps. It reminds me a lot of Golden Monkey. This was my guest’s hands down favorite.
I think it was Missy and Dylan who compared a number of Teavivre’s Keemuns. I need to look at his reviews and narrow down the ones to try. They have several! As my guest said, “This one’s a winner.”
This was an unusual tea party day in a way. Today we didn’t do a set of three different teas. Instead we had two of the same type of tea but from different companies to compare them. We also had a flavored version of a tea my guest normally does not like. For our snacks, we compared two of the same cheddars but different ages from the same company.
The results were mixed. Both Keemuns were excellent and both went well with food, and we drank them quite easily without milk and sugar, something I couldn’t handle with Keemuns a year or two ago. The other tea being tried alongside this was Teavivre’s Organic Superfine Keemun Fragrant.
This Keemun tasted the most like what I consider to be a classic Keemun. It had rich, cocoa-y flavor and I found that it really stood up well to the salty aged cheeses we were tasting. It had the power to wash down those strong flavors without wilting.
The Teavivre Keemun was less of a “classic” Keemun flavor to me, but it was nevertheless an amazing tea. I don’t think you can go wrong buying either of these if you know the differences between the two and know what you want from your Keemun. Teavivre’s was smoother, less cocoa-y, more baked sweet potato with a hint of molasses.
Seriously, these were both so good you don’t want to miss either tea.
Once upon a time this was one of the very few teas my hubby would drink. He drinks lots of others now so this one has been neglected. I decided we had better get nostalgic and revisit it before it goes stale!
This is not only a nice, lemony Ceylon, it has a lovely floral note as well. I now take it sans milk and sugar, though in the early loose leaf tea days I took it with both, like hubby. This was a very nice accompaniment to our lunch today – bold enough to pair with food, not astringent, a little malty.
Bonnie sent this tea to me a while back, but I absolutely refused to make it until I could make an event of it. Tonight I asked hubby if he would join me for tea. That always means the two of us, at the tea table, and no laptops, no electronics, just us and tea. He said yes, so here we go!
I made a plate of some new cheese I bought to try – Drunken Goat, a 6 year aged cheddar, and an 8 year aged cheddar. These were served with Club crackers, the whole grain version.
I unwrapped the lovely wrapped pillow. I love the texture and weight of the paper so I saved for an “as yet unknown” project! The pillow of tea held together but was loosely packed, which was a surprise. I have only seen the tightly compressed puerhs so that is what I expected, but this pillow was so large it would never do to put that much tightly compressed leaf in a small pot. I love how unique this is!
We steeped five times, beginning with 90 seconds and increasing to 3 minutes by the last. Each steep was flavorful. My husband is not the biggest fan of green and oolong teas but he has a few he really likes. He enjoyed this one!
The liquor is somewhat pale, and I would call this a medium bodied tea. This is very smooth and has no drying effect at all. The flavor is vegetal with a floral note overlaying it.
So I got my wish! I got to try this tea, and it really was an event – a nice, mid-week date for hubby and me! Thank you, Bonnie!
You won’t believe how I made this. I made it like matcha! LOL! I think I have almost exclusively made lattes, but this time I did a little of both! I was really worried that I had made a mistake ordering this and French Vanilla because I thought they would be almost identical. Instead, they are barely similar! What I bought: Size – small, base – classic, flavor level – robust. Buy it here:
First surprise – out of the bag this smells very lemon-y! When I whisked a small amount in hot water it also tasted lemony. If someone had told me I was drinking “such and such a company’s lemon green tea”, I would have believed them. It was very nice that way but we all know why I bought this, right?
Usual prep – eight ounces hot milk, one teaspoon sugar, 1/4 tsp. matcha powder, plus immersion blender.
Oy vey! Ay caramba! Second surprise: I now have a European pastry with soft creamy filling. It is still a bit lemony, but the vanilla aspect comes out a bit more and the taste and texture are very creamy! This tastes like a fresh Bavarian cream, not like the preservative laden grocery store mess that they pass off as Bavarian cream. I only know this because many years ago a German family opened a bakery in our town. When I went in for the first time I purchased a pastry to share with a friend, and the friend did the choosing. She picked a pastry filled with Bavarian cream, to which I thought, “Yuck.” Then I tasted it and it was so good!
I told the owner how different it was from any I had tried before, and he said that it was because his son comes in at four a.m. every day and makes it fresh. It is kept chilled. When they sell out of what was made that morning, it is gone until the next day. And sell out they do, every day even now.
This is that good.
At last! I have reached the point where I am buying matcha flavors especially for ME! So far I have chosen flavors based on the preferences of family members, and in a way this one is influenced by that – I want to add this to hubby’s Carnation Instant Breakfast in the mornings so he will get his protein and vitamins along with the caffeine boost and antioxidants in the matcha.
When I opened the package, the aroma was wonderful…but not exactly what I expected! I thought it was going to smell sickeningly sweet, like a whole bakery full of cupcakes covered in fatty, sugary frosting, although I believed it would taste great. Instead, I am picking up an aroma that I normally find in a super fresh, newly unsealed pouch of tie guan yin. I don’t know if I am smelling the matcha base this time, or if oolongs have reminded me of vanilla all along and I just didn’t put a finger on the smell accurately. Any way you call it, this smells GOOD. There is nothing sickening or cloying about this, even in this Robust flavor level, at least not for me.
I wanted strong vanilla flavor, so I chose French Vanilla over Madagascar Vanilla and I ordered Robust flavor level. I knew I would love it so I ordered the large size, of course!
Here is where to get it:
Oh my goodness! I am so glad I got the large! For this first tasting I just added 1/4 tsp. of matcha powder and one teaspoon sugar to eight ounces cold milk. I used an immersion blender to mix it up and get some froth.
This is really good. When I was a kid I had milk with Nestlé Quik almost every day, but on special days my mom would let me make vanilla milk. Back then, that meant a few drops of vanilla extract and lots of sugar stirred into a glass of milk. I would put so much sugar that my vanilla milk would crunch – it was actually gritty, though I loved it.
This is taking me back to that drink, but with far less sugar, lots of antioxidants, and a bit of caffeine to kick me into gear. I can’t wait to experiment with it. This is going to make a marvelous hot vanilla drink, too.
Oh la la! It is still chilly (okay, it is about 52F outside but compared to the eighty degree temps we were having, that is chilly!) and it is completely overcast and drizzly. We have lots of geometry to do and it is puppy sitting day and I had Mountain Dew at supper last night (stupid, stupid, stupid) and hardly slept a wink last night. Time for fortification!
Most of the time when I set out to make tea, I know exactly what sort of thing I want. Today it took a few minutes to figure it out, but I sure picked a winner. I had five pearls remaining from my free sample and that is what I am finishing here, though I did get my own order of it last week, thus I get to click “Add to Cupboard.” :D
These five pearls have given me four eight ounce pots of tea. It is cocoa-y, smooth, and…manly. I don’t know how else to put it. It isn’t strong as in astringent, biting, or drying, yet it has a lot of presence. I am taking it plain, but I think it would hold up well to milk and sugar if such was your wont. It is very good with sweets.
I was pretty surprised today when I made a pot of this tea, gave it a sniff, and realized that I was in the same boat as GMathis. If you put this in front of me without telling which of my teas I had, I would be hard pressed to tell if it was Marco Polo, Tower of London, or Anna’s Blend.
The big difference comes in the sip – this base is more like what I think of as a French base, though not all French teas have it. It reminds me of the base for Rose Congou from Upton. I am finding that since I no longer take milk and sugar, I prefer the Harney teas like ToL and Paris, or Anna’s Tea from Tin Roof Teas, to this one. I am going to make an effort to finish this tin soon as it is getting on up there in age.
It is a very good and I may come back to it, but for now I am preferring Anna’s or ToL.