663 Tasting Notes
The last time I tasted a darjeeling at Happy Lucky’s it was the last picked darjeeling of Autumn, after the Monsoons. It was very rich and tasty.
While I was sitting at the bar tasting that tea, someone mentioned another one…this Monsoon Darjeeling that I hadn’t heard about, and I decided that it would be my next pot of tea on my next visit.
I hadn’t forgotten the name or season. I’d become aware through trial and error that the later darjeelings interest me more than the muscat, first flush ones that everyone else raves about.
I’m all for the gypsy darjeelings cloaked in wet leaves, saturated with a slight smokiness and dripping with the fruits of a golden Fall compote.
I call this gypsy for the brisk dryness that is not like linen but more like the top of your hand across velvet. The tea tastes almost peachy and nutty…then floral, changing to brown sugar toffee. No, this isn’t a darjeeling that is too sweet, but is pleasant.
I sat and cupped my hands looking at the honey liquor, bending over my cup and going back to the sweet fruity/floral aroma over and over again with great pleasure.
Surely, I thought, this tea would become astringent as it cools. It must. But, as I waited that prediction didn’t ring true, I was wrong and glad to be incorrect. No tannin or acid or turning into meh’ as we like to say here on Steepster.
I do like this Monsoon and the other late darjeeling tea’s. They appeal to me because of my love of darker tea’s with malt,smoke and rich complexity.
I remember that today is 9/11 and I will remember to serve others in memory of them and all those innocents who suffer in the World (I know I’m one of many who do the same)!
(I wrote this review a few weeks ago under the wrong heading…oops)
Oh I wanted to write a special story with this tea. I was going to take my time and sit thoughtfully, sipping and thinking and sipping and thinking.
First though, I had to take a final paper to the registration for my car. Then the Post Office to mail a Birthday Card. Then, well of course Happy Lucky’s Tea House was on the way, so I brought in some tea for the guys to try. Imperial Breakfast Summer Blend (Oh they really liked that one!) and Butiki’s Guranse Orange Pekoe (an interesting Nepalese tea), and this Diyi Cornfields Shu (another that everyone went Ooooh over!).
I had the best time sharing.
Sometimes I feel empty drinking tea all by myself. Out of gas…like something isn’t quite right.
Well, in fact it isn’t quite right.
Tea needs to be shared!
My day was hardly over.
My son-in-law Paul came by to install an MDA for my phone service
and my provider had sent the wrong equipment. I ran to the cable store, swapped it out for the correct item and he quickly did the install and left (with a Rootbeer and Reeses Peanut Butter Cup tip!).
My internet didn’t ever work. I had to figure this out (which I did and without me asking, and because the cable company screwed up, I got my current DVR service free for a year! Blessings Happen!)
Now I’m back to making more of this Cornfields Shu.
What has happened to my plans for a beautiful story? Everything got
Life happens to us and we go on. What a chuckle.
I have to say that the bright places in my day have outweighed the tense ones. And the tea…well…I’ve had the best time sharing and sipping in hospitality with friends!
Oh this Shu is so different that it makes me want to celebrate and have a party…make snacks for a crowd…something like that!
The first thing I thought of was hot buttered corn on the cob off the grill. Dripping…and salty sweet.
I used my Gaiwan and the steepings are FAST! I was tempted to go past the recommended 5 seconds…but didn’t.
On the first steep the corn flavor and color were light, but on the second steep the liquor was browner and surprised me for such a short swoosh of water.
The aroma reminded me of the County Fair…. corn on the cob and kettle corn tempting me as I walk along trying to stay on my diet!
The flavor was sweet salted corn with a bite on the tip of my tongue and good enery tingling throughout my mouth.
I was interested in what a little raw sugar would do to this sweet corn tea and when I added a little the taste was like the caramel corn I loved at the San Francisco Zoo as a child. There was always fog, chattering black birds in the trees, the call of peacocks and the smell of salt air with the sea next to the Zoo. All my reviews on Steepster could be written about what I observed sitting on the bench at that Zoo and watching the people of San Francisco walk past me when I was a young girl. I was in love with all of them.
On second thought…(Maybe the second runner up would be warm Cracker Jacks with the nuttiness).
At any rate. Who would in their wildest dreams think this could be a SHU? Are you kidding me?
I could take a thermos of this SHU to the Circus, open the lid and everyone around me would think I had buttered popcorn!
This is hardly tea, this is my new snack food!
I’m a new Cornfields Shu Lover! And, this is a special one.
Thank you to Nuvola for this Oolong Black Tea sample!
I was suffering from the beginnings of a migraine today, the nausea felt like vertigo making me dizzy. In my bag was this sample which I had promised to share with Joe at Happy Lucky’s yesterday. I told him about the tea trees being at 9000 ft. in the mountains of Taiwan. What an adventure it would be to taste the tea and discuss the flavor together.
A stop to get a light for my refrigerator and another at the Post Office were challenging. Would I be able to make it to tea? (My car’s outdoor temperature gauge recorded 95 degrees, still hot and dry for September.)
“It’s just nausea, push through it. Caffeine will be good for the migraine anyway,” I told myself. So off I went to my tea pub.
When I arrived today, there was a buzz of people in front of the bar and behind it (including Joe). There was the owner George in his bermuda shorts, fiddling with some tea things…greeting me with a big “Hi Bonnie, how’re ya doin?”
I explained that I had a little migraine and needed caffeine, but that I had brought some Taiwan Oolong Black Tea grown at a high altitude that I wanted to share.
What happened next was Tea Theatre!
A flash of cups, a Gaiwan…six people lined up on barstools and several servers behind the bar as George deftly worked his magic. Pourings, scenting, tastings for everyone…steep after steep, after steep…on and on at least 6-7 times. I lost count.
The interesting thing was that from the beginning, the tea was potent. There was no need to work up to a 3rd or 4th steeping to gain the full flavor of this tea. The taste was assertive as though all the hard work the trees had to go through to produce the leaves at the high altitude was condensed and released like golden pearls. The flavor released easily from the leaves.
Comments flew around me…
“Dark Cherry”, “Malty”, Chocolate", Wonderful lingering flavor", “Rich and complex”.
My own notes were:
I felt a coolness on my tongue (which the others felt on the lingering finish also). There was a nuttiness and flavor somewhat like tutti frutti (brandy, sugar and many kinds of fruit placed in a crock and stirred…an old recipe for preserving fruit). A floral scent from a musky flower.
The color of the tea was honey from beginning to end and very fragrant. The leaves reminded me of smoky, malty Formosa Red (Red Blossom Tea) that I reviewed before (although this came up only when I was reminded of this tea by Joe).
And…my nausea…gone. The caffeine did what it is supposed to do and helped take the effects of the migraine away!
I can’t think of a better way to have experienced this tea than with this community of tea lovers.
I had a great time with a very lovely rich and flavorful tea!
Thank you Dhart1214 for this sample tea! Again!#3in the tea taste trio challenge from Dhart1214!
Surely Swiss Chocolate Tea with chocolate chips in it would taste
completely different than Strawberry and Blueberry…I mean come on…it’s CHOCOLATE! I could SEE the big chocolate chips!
The aroma was cocoa (however that was a pretty light scent).
Just like the previous 2 tea’s, the taste was creamy smooth, a little sweet and very lightly cocoa but BITTER! More than BRISK!
Remembering (only a few minutes ago) the sweetening effect, I added a little which tempered the bitterness slightly. Then I added more which helped more. Then some more until the tea was drinkable but sweet.
I ended up with a tea that tasted odd. Not like cocoa but like frosting out of a pre-made container. Betty Crocker artificial Swiss Chocolate Frosting in a can!
These tea’s are not for people who want a tea straight without additions.
There you have it Dhart1214. No, they didn’t all taste the same.
What was the same is…they are SUGAR BANDITS!
Thanks Dhart1214 for this sample tea!
This is Tea #2 in the tea taste off!
The aroma of this tea was the best of the 3 I tasted. Definitely
But, wah-wah….the flavor was again a sweetish nondescript berry with some creaminess.
“Let me see what happen’s when I sweeten this tea!”, I said to myself.
Just like the Blueberry Pie tea (which so far was similar but more pie crusty tasting) a little sweet didn’t help the flavor much.
So I added a little more and BAM! Strawberry!
Why should I have to add a ton of sweetening to get a strawberry flavor out of this tea? (Makes no sense to me!)
At least I’ve established that the Blueberry and Strawberry are not identical twins at this point and the Strawberry has inched ahead of the Blueberry in taste points.
Thank you Dhart1214 for this sample tea!
This is #1 of three tea’s to taste on Dhart1214’s challenge
I received 3 tea’s. Blueberry Pie, Strawberry Black and Swiss Chocolate Black with a note that said, “Please try these because they all taste the same to me!”
So today I set up 3 pots to brew with 3 mugs and 3 3×5 cards to jot my notes. I loaded the baskets with tea leaves, poured the water on and set the timers…game on!
This is the first of the 3 reviews:
The scent of the liquor was crusty pie…but not blueberry or any berry for that matter. It smelled yummy, like a bakery.
When I took a sip from my little glass cup, it was pretty bland but creamy, with a slight crust taste and nondescript berry flavor.
I sweetened the tea a very little bit which did not bring out any more berry flavor. Adding more sweetening again, and the berry was stronger. Odd. Who would make a tea that only tastes like the name if you mega sweeten it?
No blueberry here for me but there is a hint of pie and a light berry of some sort.
Thank you to Joe at Happy Lucky’s Tea House for this taste!
Today I went for my regular Sunday Tea. Almost immediately after perching myself on a high barstool, a special bag of tea was whipped out from behind the bar by my grinning tea professional, Joe.
“Here it is, the 1982 Wenshan Baozhong I told you about,” said Joe.
“Heh, chimed in Eric, none of us were born when this was produced.”
(Which made me groan!)
“Really? Thanks!” I said, pretty excited to try a tea that old!
Instead of me bringing a tea for my friends to try, they had a special tea to share with me! An Oolong 30 years old from Taiwan!
Joe made sure that I was presented with the tea in a formal way for viewing at every stage of the process.
First, I looked at the long dark twisty leaves, some with a little green on the edges. I smelled them but they had little fragrance since they were so very old and dry, but they were lovely.
Next the tea was brewed in a Gaiwan and then poured into cups and the leaves placed in front of me so that I could smell the aroma. Whiskey, apple, tobacco, honey.
The fragrance of the wet leaves was unbelievable. Everything about the leaves was a symphony of shifting melodies.
The flavor was so delicate that as soon as I decided on one flavor it was gone and another took it’s place. Again another one was also elusive and gone. The flavor’s were moving around like sheets of silk on a breeze.
Plum, light colored jujube, honeysuckle, apricot, yellow delicious apple, yellow raisin, and always back to a mystery flavor or flavors that I could not figure out at all.
My friends had as much of a laugh at my delight in drinking this special tea as I have when I bring one to them.
This is what hospitality is truly all about!
Thank you Joe! http://flic.kr/p/d8Zvvs (Here’s Joe!)
With a flourish of a teacup, I’m turning my attentions from the Highland Games of yesterday to the Greek Luncheon of today. And why not? One of the biggest joys of my life has been the blending of cultures that we can participate in so freely in North America. It wasn’t always so. When I was a little girl, this would never have happened the way it does today. So Hooray!
I had this Elderberry White waiting for me to try this morning before heading off to St. Spyridon’s. (If I fail to have some caffeine before Church, I’m more likely to get a migraine so White Tea was a good choice!)
I steeped the tea 3 minutes at a suggested temperature of 160F.
The resulting brew was too sour for drinking without sweetening for me. The elderberry added enough tang to support sugar but was just too much for me to enjoy plain.
Sweetened, there is a soft smokiness to the tea, an energy from the white tea and an elderberry flavor that is light and gentle.
As the tea cools there is a little creaminess and dry tanin on the tongue (nothing much though).
This was a smooth and soft cup even with the hint of smoke. A good cup before heading off to Church and my Greek Luncheon with the good people from St. Spyridon’s (although there won’t be any roast lamb or dancing at this one…too bad!)…I should bring some tea!
Have a wonderful day everyone!
http://youtu.be/M84us5Wvy2U (If you ever get to travel to a Greek Island, Santorini is wonderful…I was there 4 years ago.)
Slàinte!•[ slanj’-uh; often shortened to slanj ] (To your) Health!
I’ve been away for a couple of days at the Scottish Games in Estes Park, CO with my beloved daughter Annalisa and we had a great time!
Thank you to ashmanra for this tea sample!
The mountain air was refreshing the last few days. 70’s in the daytime and high 40’s at night with a drizzle late yesterday afternoon for a short time. I watched mist rise in wisps above the 14,000 ft mountain peaks, sweeping higher and higher like silken threads forming into clouds by force of nature.
How could I observe such beauty and stand.
When I hear the bagpipes play in such a setting as this, I feel as though all the breath inside of me goes out with the piper into the instrument and the cry goes forth…“Here we are, mere humans in the middle of this beauty and we give all our strength in this breath as a gift.”
Yes, I’m a sentimental Scot! I had my dram of whiskey too with the Clan Cameron Men looking fine in their Kilts!
On to today’s tea!
I was getting a bit sleepy this afternoon so I made a pot of tea. I followed the instructions for brewing temp. and time, then took a little sip. WOW, this was a STRONG cup of tea! I wasn’t expecting such an extremely potent brew!
Not only was the tea dark and strong, but it was on the bitter side.
“Maybe this is one of those tea’s very particularly suited to milk and/or sugar,” I said to myself.
Not wasting time, I added some milk and found the tea much more palatable. Then I added sweetening, then more and more until it was exactly to my liking. (This tea took more additions that any other tea in my memory).
The flavor was malty with a little raisin taste, and brisk. With no additions the tea is bitter like a strong espresso.
The wet leaves had the aroma of cinnamon bark (not sweet cinnamon) with a hint of vanilla.
I liked the heaviness of the brew for a morning cuppa. You could really go to town with any type of additions and not overdo it.
When the tea cools down, the malty flavor mellows and becomes more cocoa. You can leave your cup, let it cool, then come back and there is the cocoa taste you may have wanted in the beginning.
A h-uile la sona dhuibh
’s gun la idir dona dhuibh! May all your days be happy ones!
I’m surprised that this is the first tasting note on this Butiki
Organic Ceylon Green Tea
I was rustling through the latest order from Stacy for my morning tea and wanted a good cup before packing for an overnight with my daughter up in Estes Park.
A green tea for breakfast? I don’t drink green tea for breakfast, unless…it’s a Ceylon Green Tea. There’s something about the Ceylon Green’s that are almost like a darjeeling. It’s as if the tea bushes have intertwined the flavor of green and black tea’s.
I prepared a small 8oz pot for tea and steeped the leaves 2 minutes.
The leaves and liquor have none of the vegital aroma that I associate with most green tea’s. In fact, the aroma was very, faint. I almost thought I hadn’t steeped the tea properly, but when I reenacted the steeping, the outcome was the same.
The liquor was clear, very golden and beautiful.
When I took a sip of tea, I was surprised at the light flavor.
There was a smoothness to the tea but hardly a whisper of flavor.
I had to concentrate, finding the faint salad green, celery taste which were sweet and fresh.
As the tea cooled, there was an increase in the thickness of the mouthfeel. I added some raw sugar which was a very nice addition.
This morning tea was one that I would recommend especially for those who don’t care much for grassy green vegital tea’s. This was subtle and smooth. Very gentle.
I won’t be writing on Steepster until Saturday.
Today, my daughter Annalisa and I are off to the Highland Games and a Tattoo (all the Piper’s marching together) tonight at 7200 ft. surrounded by towering 14,000 ft mountain peaks. We’ll both cry. The bagpipes are wild and special to us, a reminder of persecution and survival. The fiddle and pipes are played at family events (mostly funerals now). Old Scot’s songs are passed from generation to generation and we Bless the Tartan’s on St. Andrews Day.
I’m bringing along tea of course. There’s a mountain river next to our condo and I’m going to sit there with my tea and soak in the beauty of the Colorado Highlands. (I’ll take pictures)
Have a bonny day!
http://youtu.be/P5P1M5qwBwo Not the best youtube but you get the idea of the pipers playing Amazing Grace
I’ve probably posted this before…Estes Park http://youtu.be/xWlwZA2PnxA (an hour away from my home it’s a great vacation destination for hikers and wildlife lovers).