430 Tasting Notes
Had to break this one open as soon as I got home, and I was not disappointed. It’s a crisp, invigorating flavour, even if I’m not sure how much of the peach I’m getting. This will be a nice sencha to break up my day. I enjoyed it greatly.
Even though it was a green tea tasting, after exclaiming over the Ola’a tea, also from Hawaii, the wonderful Stefanie prepared this oolong for us, as it is also of Hawaiian origin. This is a tea that was meant to be prepared gong fu style: slowly, with great respect, and with as many resteeps as possible.
It starts as a dark vegetal flavour, mellowing into a sweet note that’s between floral and fruity. Tina described it as being like jasmine without the actual jasmine. There’s also a spicy note on top of the sweet, of nutmeg or cardamom. This is a tea that can be sipped a hundred tips and taste of a hundred different things. We lingered over our cups and it was like watching clouds, calling out everything you saw – this one looks like a bunny, that one tastes like a chai.
Again, I was very lucky to be able to try this special offering. Drink Hawaiian tea!
There is just one word written in the comments column of my tasting notes: AMAZEBALLS.
As part of the tasting, not only were we given the chance to try this amazing tea, we learned about the growing tea production in Hawaii; if given the chance, I think Hawaii could be a major competitor in the specialty tea market. The two Hawaiian teas we sampled today were so incredibly beyond anything I have tasted of their type that I almost cried when I found out the price tag.
This is a straight green. This is not a blend of any kind. So imagine my shock when I took the first sip – the tea being extremely pale in colour, almost clear – and immediately tasted pineapple and mangos. It was light, fruity, sweet without being cloying, and with a fuzzy edge to it that kept it from being too severe. The second steep, while even clearer in colour, was even more fruity, the complex notes and flavours of the tea coming out in force.
I feel extremely lucky to have been able to try some of this tea, and afford a small sample of it. I know it’s an indulgence, but teas like this are rare, and they need to be enjoyed while they can, and in the proper way (with an eye to time and the low temperature). Amazeballs.
One of my favourite teas from the tasting today; the only tea of which I immediately bought 50g.
The dry leaf, which I got to smell, was very seaweed/fishy, much more like a very strong sencha, which, if I had smelled the leaf first, would have turned me off the tea entirely. I’m glad it didn’t, because the taste is absolutely amazing. It is sweet and light, with a surprising touch of an alcohol burn as it goes down. There is also a faint floral backhint, but not off-putting.
An amazing straight green, and a beautiful alternative to the senchas that I don’t care for.
Yet another tea from the tasting at the Tea Haus. I would have enjoyed this cup much more if it hadn’t been oversteeped, because it was definitely bitter, with a touch of acidity. The tea itself was a light golden yellow, very pretty. The flavour was faintly vegetal but mild; I heard this tea described as a work-a-day tea, and I would agree. A solid standard green.
This is the first straight sencha that I have almost actually enjoyed.
The scent of the brewed tea was very strong, with definite seaweed aromas and something else that I couldn’t quite place; almost like the roasted, popcorny taste of a genmaicha. The seaweed tapered down into a light vegetal flavour upon drinking, but that mystery flavour was still very present. Still didn’t turn me into a sencha believer.
The second matcha we tried was this one, and I could begin to see how people (like my wife) could enjoy just straight matcha. It was a much smoother, mellow scent. The flavour was still fishy, but it was more like a back hint this time.
The Tea Haus held a “Shades of Green” tea tasting today, so I got my green on! The first three teas we sampled were all Japanese greens, which I don’t usually like. I haven’t rated them, because I know already that I don’t like sencha and I don’t think it would be fair for me to rate one objectively since they all taste like butt to me.
So turns out that I don’t like matcha either! This offering had a very strong scent, very heavy and fishy. The taste was slightly less reeking of fish, but it was still very strong.
I will admit to being superficial and wanting to try this just because of that huge chunk of orange in the picture. I got a cuppa in-store while the wonderfully helpful guy bounced around to fill my four-page list of teas. I think it was both burnt and oversteeped, which dented my enjoyment of it a little. Still, the fruit flavours blended well with the white tea to make a light and fruity drink. It would make a good base for a sangria or an iced tea, but I don’t feel any great need to stock up.
As I sit me down in the passenger’s seat / I pray the lord my soul to keep / and if I die ‘cause TinaS doesn’t brake / I pray the lord my tea to take / up to heaven with me.
Road trip tea! It was off to London and its incredible Tea Haus for a tasting and a shopping spree, but I had to start the day off right, with one of my all-time favourite teas. Equal parts minty, musty, and smoky, this tea is perfectly balanced between light and dark and sweet and savoury. Just perfect.