911 Tasting Notes
I have been craving green tea all day today. I came home, desperately in need of a nap (I almost fell asleep on drive home), but I wanted shincha so badly that I asked the husband to only let me nap a couple of hours because then I’d still have time to have some of this tea without worrying about staying up until 2am (which is what got me needing a nap in the first place). The husband (delightful man that he is) just woke me up so first thing I did – make this.
Of course, I’m a sweet and loving wife, so naturally I made enough to share with him. I wasn’t ultra precise as to temp though, which turns this normally citrusy crisp tea into this fuzzy, thick, pungent thing that, while not as striking as the bright freshness that comes from more detailed brewing, is still pretty awesome. Totally worth a shortened nap. I’ve been drinking on this for a month almost (and had zero sencha for a month or two before that, waiting for shincha) so I’ve pretty much forgotten what bad sencha tastes like. Oh, logically I know it is out there (vague recollections of Golden Moon’s sampler poke at the back of my brain) but this tea, no matter how it is brewed, is so perfectly sencha that I think it all sencha tastes just like this.
I’m approaching the end of the bag of this tea and I’ve really enjoyed it. Like a lot. (Duh, we all knew that. Just look at the score.) But I have two more packages of shincha in my pantry, another from O-cha and one from Maeda-en, both unopened and I’m really looking forward to busting one of those out soon. Hopefully I will get on with them as well as I have with this one.
I didn’t get huge amounts of maple from Tropical Tea Company’s straight Maple tea, so I suppose it is no surprise that I don’t get tons out of this one either. Instead, I get more… calendula cookie. Maybe with a little maple extract added to the cookie mix, but only to the point of making me think, “Hmm, what is that added flavor that makes this not your everyday, plain ole cookie?” instead of making me think “Mmm, maple cookie.” Obviously, I would prefer maple cookie.
Anyway, if this tea had been named Calendula Sugar Cookie (Without Much Sugar), I would have been fully on board and this log would have included the words “hit”, “nail” and “head”. But this is named Maple Creme so I’m just sort of eh about it. While the plain Maple isn’t knock-my-socks-off good, I definitely prefer it over this one.
This not-tea makes me want to sing. Something folksy. Like ‘Jimmy Cracks Corn’ or something. But not that because this taste like puffed wheat, not cracked corn. But I don’t know any songs about puffed wheat. Did the Sugar Crisp bear have a song? Because that minus the sugar is this tea so that’d work.
Today is a sad, sad day. I’ve had to decupboard this beauty of a tea. (Much thanks again to Angrboda for the share.) Is it an Assam? Or a Yunnan? Has cocoa been sprinkled on this? And where is that hint of roasty coming from? And is there smoky, too? Surely there isn’t any Lapsang in this…
No, it’s just a delightful tea with MPD. But that’s why I love it. That and the fact that no matter which personality shows up in my sip, I know it will always be smooth and sweet and so tasty. It will be missed. So let’s all take a moment of silence to morn for my cupboard, which is now lacking this tea.
Thank you. Now, in other news, I just bought plane tickets to go to Hawaii so I suppose this day isn’t a total loss, yeah?
Light, clean, bright, a little sweet. Today this is reminding me of a muted Darjeeling (no sharp edges) though the smell brings to mind chamomile. Not a hint of wood to be found. Yay non-woody rooibos!
Could be thicker or a little chewier but has a nice WAKE-UP flavor to it. Not the end all be all of IB but not bad by any means.
Smells like a slightly toasted Nilgiri but fortunately it doesn’t have the raw taste I associate with Nilgiris. Instead, this tastes like roasted nori sheets – a little fishy, a little soy sauce-y, fairly vegetal and crisp. It’s quite tasty and makes me crave rice with nori sheets.
Hmm, second steep isn’t nearly as nifty. The smell still brings to mind a Nilgiri and the taste has migrated from toasted nori sheets to a mix of wakame seaweed and Nilgiri rawness. I definitely prefer the first steep.
The leaves smell delightful. I tossed in the whole sample (7.7g – a rounded Tbsp) into my gaiwan and did a quick rinse (5s). So away we go!
Steep 1: (1:00 @ 175°) Smells fresh, floral, green, buttery. The taste is surprisingly sharp and tangy. Creamy feeling but taste-wise makes me think of lemon butter. Probably could have backed off the time a bit since this is pretty intense.
Steep 2: (45s @ 175°) Smells fresh, clean. The taste is more of a lemon herb butter. Not quite as intense and sharp but still more citrus than floral, though I think some floral notes are creeping in.
Steep 3: (50s @185°) Starting to smell more “typical” oolong with some floral notes. The taste is more floral, softer, but it still has a citrusy tart twang at the end.
Steep 4: (55s @ 185°) The taste seems a little creamier but also a little muddier. Still overall a very ‘yellow’ taste which makes me think of lemons (though it has lost the tartness it originally had).
Steep 5: (60s @190°) The flavor has cleaned up a bit and is smoother but still lemony (though faint) with a hint of creamy.
I’m sure this tea has at least three more steeps in it, but I’m not sure if I do. I think I’ll move on.
Ultimately, I think this is a quality tea – the tastes are very clear and unmuddled – but it’s a bit too refreshing/lemony for what I’m looking for in a green oolong and so not quite to my tastes. Those that enjoy cleaner, brighter tasting oolongs (and lemony teas) would most likely enjoy this one lots.
Backlogging from the weekend in Louisiana.
This tea has officially become a required vacation staple. Uncontrollable brewing parameters? Pshaw! This tea is forgiving enough to take it! Bad tasting water? No problem! This is strong enough to cover it up and still taste delightful. This tea is a hero in my book. ♥
I’ve had a Monk’s Blend before and while, thanks to Jillian, I now know that grenadine is not cherry flavoring, it still registers in my brain as cherry. I just can’t help it! So this smells very cherry-y, or perhaps like heated Dr Pepper. The taste is vaguely similar too, but with less citrus burst (though the hot Dr Pepper I tried had lemon it in, which would explain the citrus.) I did add sugar and milk but after tasting it, I’m thinking it might be okay on its own – it’s pretty sweet and I didn’t add that much sugar. I’m pretty sure this has calendula petals in it (at least it looks like it does) but it’s a lot less than the other MB I tried. Since calendula seems to make my tongue tingle unpleasantly, less calendula is a good thing. Anyway, this isn’t exactly a complex tea and is a bit like drinking warm Cherry Coke. But I like it.