300 Tasting Notes
So today I had a very special tea date with my friend and former co-worker Michelle. We went to a Bavarian Tea Studio! Sanctuary on Green: http://sanctuaryongreen.com/home is located on the east side of Cleveland (I live on the the west) and is studio, gift shop and cafe in a grand old house. They have two sittings Wed-Sat, reservations are required (last Friday I called in the morning and they were booked) and the tea portion is only open half the year (ending next week!) For such limited time open they sure do have a large selection of tea. I pursued the menu before hand and cross reference on Steepster and found many were form Art of Tea and TeaGschwender.
Michelle chose this one though it was actually on my shopping list and we shared a pot. It does have a honeysuckle like sweetness but also nice savory, herbaceous and woodsy qualities. It felt very cleansing and was a good pre-meal tea. For lunch I ordered the Seascape, three preparations of heron: in dill, dill cream sauce and mustard sauce. Oh my goodness, I’ve never had herring before but it’s true what they say, it’s like Scandanavian sushi (by which I actually mean sashimi cos no rice). The sauces were terrific, yum!
We chose a Plum Oolong for dessert and split a rum raisin poppyseed cake, great pairing! I should probably do a separate review on that and a review of the place, but I am tired. Up earlier than normal to shower before fencers came over (by which I mean fence builders not people that fence, of which my brother-in-law is the latter). Also I drive a Prius now, Prii are cool. 200th tasting note, whoo!
Summer Harvest! You are finally in my cup! 199th tasting note! Woo hoo! Ahem. This tea smells of caramelized figs, dipped in chocolate and baked into a dark rye beer bread that was made from stout (so not a rye beer, a rye bread, made from stout, got that? I have to be clear on these things). Sorry I have a case of the sillies this morning and it is all because of this tea! I was grouchy before this I swear! Sweet malty black tea where have you been all my life?
Oh no my mug is empty! Off to rebrew, then some food, then vacuuming and shampooing the old Buick Century. I have been driving a grandma car since college, but that all changes in a few days. My mom is buying a new Prius and giving/selling me her “old” one, payments are cheaper than any lease, so it feels like a gift. Enough rambling, back to the tea!
I’ve had a few smokey green tea before but this one is unique. It has a cool tingly sweet aftertaste that reminds me of orchid and ginseng oolongs. It didn’t come out till the second steep and is most strong in the third. I hadn’t experienced it in a green before neat! It is a bit bitter at the front and charcoaly, but the lingering taste on my tongue and in my throat are worth it. Thanks Michelle for sharing this one!
Swoon this tea is heavenly. They had me at “delicately scented with the flavors of fir” though I am wondering if that was done by the tea master or if it was naturally picked up from the mountain air. I didn’t get those notes in the first steep, but I what I did get was sweet creamy smooth oolong, it really reminded me of milk oolong and I thought perhaps that is why I picked it out, but no, just a happy happenstance :)
I think I am getting the fir in the second infusion though. It’s richer and greener and slightly resinous with just a tinge of astringency, but not enough to be at all unpleasant. I love breathing in this cup, I’m getting lost in it. Third infusion is sweet and creamy and pure green mountain oolong. I may have to spend the day with it or at least save the leaves for this evening as I have many other teas to try including two more from Nuvola and a few other Taiwanese teas, but first a few more sessions with this now. Wonderful! Thank you Nuvola Tea
I keep trying to get around to this tasting note and I keep getting interrupted, in good ways mind you but still. I have spent three session with this lovely Dong Ding and am sending it to two people and I still have enough left for a few more sessions myself!
The first session was the best, I got this really lovely sweet tingling feeling on my tongue on the third steep like I get from orchid and ginseng scented oolongs, but I haven’t been able to replicate it. I’m still a little unclear as to whether or not this is scented with osmanthus. The description on the website says “a subtle Osmanthus note with a naturally sweet finish that leaves the palate an impressively long lasting aftertaste. The scented Oolong tea helps to…” however it is just called Dong Ding.
Either way it is delicious. I have only had four Dong Ding/Tung Tings so far. Two were small samples (one of which was crushed) and the other was a long gongfu session in a yixing pot at a tea house. This did remind me a bit of the later, though its really hard to compare especially since I think one was greener and the other two more roasted, this is a nice balance of fresh mountain floral with a slight charcoal raostedness which I love.
The leaves are in pristine condition and are wonderful for multiple infusions, a really quality tea. But right now I’m sipping on their Shain Lin Xi and I have to review that because it’s excellent! Thank you Nuvola Tea!
Last tea from the traveling tea box brewed up this morning! This tea is sparkly, there are pink shimmering flecks in it, dry tea should not sparkle, nor should vampires. I felt better when I realized they were candy pieces, caramel “candy”, okay I can live with that. So this is another lip gloss tea. Not Lip Smacker this time, no, this is a very particular lips gloss I got in a set of lip glosses years ago, there were in tiny clear hard plastic cases shaped like candy wrappers. Yeah. I see the apple pieces once they have plumped up, but I barely taste them. Not bad just not conjuring up caramel apples for me. But its definitely not the thai curry that Amanda tasted. Farewell Traveling Tea Box, it was fun while it lasted! I just got my order from Verdant in the mail today, as well as another pair of free samples from Nuvola and I still have to review one and brew the other. Plus samples from Michelle and Allison. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the tea right now. Going to go curl up with with my cup. Oh who am I kidding? I’m going to log it, after I backlog. Thank you Amanda!
The name on this was one was very tiny so I didn’t realize it had matcha in it. I did notice the leaves were a little dusted, but it wasn’t a shocking green like Teavana’s Gyokuro Matcha. I’ve only had a couple genmaicha’s and this one is by far my favorite. Yes at first it tastes like burnt popcorn, but this gets really smooth and buttery and its just very yummy. In fact I based my dinner on it, ramen with roasted veggies and soy crisps. Resteeped well a second time. Yum. Thanks Amanda!
Ah a mystery tea from The Traveling Tea Box! This one came from Sare, from a swap with Rachel Sincere. No company nor ingredients were indicated, just the name “December”. This is made up of short fine black leaves with shreds of spices and possibly fruit. Brewed up this smells like mulled wine and the taste is not that far off, though I would say it is more like mulled cider. But it tastes more familiar than that, like another tea I’ve tried. It took me some time, wracking my brain trying to thing of similar blends I’ve tried, then it came to me it wasn’t a blend, this is Ceylon! Winey, cidery, Ceylon. The other ingredients are really just supporting the tea in this blend. There are some things a like about Ceylon but unfortunately it easily can turn astringent, which is what this one is doing, boo.
This tastes like Lip Smackers! Chocolate, strawberry, cherry and maybe even Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers. Husband took a sip of it, said it was too hot, but smelled like coffee and tasted “like that rice thing with the, the sencha!” Sigh, no dear, I’ll brew the genmaicha next, but this is certainly not it. Chocolate covered strawberries in lip gloss form, no doubt. Thanks Traveling Tea Box for bringing up late elementary school memories.