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186 Tasting Notes
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I just got a big box from Teavana today, and the matcha gift set was part of it. Also, it turns out I ordered a lot of tea. More than I realized. Oops.
This would be my very first matcha. It is pretty good! Very green, very grassy, but not vegetal, like some green teas are. My only problem with blending it was that it turns out the bowl that comes with the set is 16 oz. I poured….16 ounces of water. Oops. So blending it was a bit messy, with all the tea sloshing over. Lesson learned, never to be repeated!
I rewhisked it after it was about halfway done. It is much darker now, and still not all the way blended. So the blending process was sort of a bust on this one. Does one have to be patient with the whisking? I may not be patient enough, and stop whisking before it is ready.
Hmm, anyway, I have a lot left, and it isn’t bad. I hope the reputed caffeine buzz kicks in soon, since I could use some energy.
Yummy. I had this before in the DT 24 days of Christmas, but had it way too dilute. This is delicious. I tasted raspberries, or more accurately, “something fruity” that I later discovered were raspberries. I was trying to decide if it was strawberry or cherry before I looked at the description. The scent is marvelous, rich and chocolately. I didn’t get an overpowering chicory note from this one, which is good, since I’m not the world’s biggest chicory fan. This is definitely going on the to-order list. Definitely. Thank you, Aisling of Tea for the sample!
Steeped 4 (ish) teaspoons for five minutes in 750 ml water.
Another sample courtesy of Aisling of Tea. It turns out I like this more than my first time around with it, brewed with more leaf. The vanilla scent was apparent as I was pouring the tea into my little teacup, and the brew itself is a lovely light yellow. The vanilla (or maybe it is the oolong itself) gives the tea a creaminess that feels lovely in the mouth. I don’t get so much of the vanilla flavor on the sip, it is more like the suggestion of vanilla. Certainly not as strong tasting as the smell indicates it should be.
I don’t think it is my perfect vanilla tea. I think I want one that wallops you between the eyes with vanilla. I think that is how strong the vanilla would have to be to be readily apparent to me at this point in time. Or maybe it is hitting me between the eyes and I just don’t get it. The smell is certainly potent enough to suggest a powerful vanilla. Maybe it is because I have hiccups, and that is all I can really focus on. Hmmm.
Brewed at 195F for four minutes, 3 generous teaspoons of leaf/750 ml water.
Second steep: More mild than the fist steep, less earthy and peaty, more leathery. Better hot than after it had cooled off.
Resteeped four six minutes at boiling with 3 teaspoons/750 ml water.
Backlogging from this morning.
I decided Pu-erh was the order of the day today. I was in the mood for a black tea of a different sort, and this is what I came up with. I really can’t compare it to any other pu-erhs, since it is the only one I’ve had, but it is growing on me.
The odor of the dry leaves was less disturbing and fishy this time, which clearly indicates that the fishiness was all in my head as a result of suggestion (this would be the danger of reading pu-erh reviews before I’ve actually ever had one). The brewed tea smelled earthy and peaty, and tasted exactly the same way. I also got a taste reminiscent of leather. Brewing my tea stronger does appear to be working to make me taste more of the things I should. I’m still not very good at picking things out, but flavors are becoming more obvious.
Brewed at boiling with 3 teaspoons/750 ml water for four minutes, first steep.
This is another tea sample sent to me by the generous Aisling of Tea. I must say, I might be changing my mind on oolongs. I have to be in the mood for them, mostly afternoon or evening it seems. They just don’t pack enough punch for me for a morning cuppa.
When I opened my sample of this, I immediately smelled sweet cream, rather than a proper milk scent, which doesn’t necessarily upset me. The brewed tea smelled like warm milk, rather than of sweet cream. The taste? Ye gods, the taste. It tastes milky, with a vegetal contribution from the green oolong (my first green oolong, if I’m not mistaken). The mouth feel is heavy, rather like milk, it sort of coats the mouth and leaves that after-feel of coatedness, but no funky aftertaste.
Steeped 2t in 500 ml water in the Breville at 90C for 4 minutes. I definitely plan on resteeping shortly.
This is my first time breaking into the tin of Jasmine Green. It smells divine. Not like soap, more of a true floral smell than a fake soapy-floral smell. I brewed it at recommended time and temperature, and poured it in a beautiful porcelain cup from Russia. The cup is gorgeous—blue and gold and white and lovely. I’ll enjoy using them, before I inevitably break the ones I have (one of them, alas, did not survive the trip home in the luggage).
The tea itself is a robust golden yellow, darker now on this third cup than the previous two. I always wonder why that happens—greens get darker the longer they sit. Anyway, back to the tea. It is very much jasmine, jasmine seems to overwhelm the green tea flavor. The jasmine pearls from Teavana that I have are more balanced between the green and the jasmine. The jasmine still retains that natural floral note, it isn’t overly artificial or like perfume. This is definitely a tea I’m going to enjoy drinking!
Steeped with four teaspoons to 1000 ml of water in the Breville at the below parameters. Incidentally, I discovered that I have been using too little leaf in the Breville for most pots of tea that I make. Teach me not to read directions. That may explain why so few teas really taste like they should. At least, I hope.
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I’m about to head out the door to a friends house for a New Years Day Hoppin’ John. For those not in the know, Hopping John is a traditional southern good luck for the new year dish. One of my friends hosts a party each year with hopping john, gumbo, greens, and the most lovely company a hungover woman could ask for.
I’m taking Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride with me since I could use more fluids right now, and water just doesn’t sound appealing, and because I really like Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride. It is rather annoying how much I like it, I’m going to have to stock up before it goes away.
Anyway, the roasted barley, vanilla, it’s all delicious. The downside is that I have to double bag it—the tumbler I’m making now requires 4 bags of tea! It is going to take me no time at all to go through what I have at that rate. The need to double bag is the only drawback to this tea.
So, who had lots of fun at their NYE party last night? You guessed it. And now I have a mild hangover as a result. Nothing too terrible, mostly a bit of stomach blah, but definitely not something I wanted my normal morning black tea on. I was casting about, trying to decide what to have, and I remembered that Some Velvet Morning was somewhat of an after-party sort of tea. So here were are, together again. It actually is perfect for this morning, unassuming and gentle. I taste the citrus, and don’t have any idea what shizandra berries are supposed to taste like, so I don’t know if I’m tasting them or not. My stomach is thanking me for not subjecting it to Captain Assam. I’m glad David’s sent me this by mistake, I don’t think I’d have tried it otherwise.
Happy New Year’s Eve, Steepsterites! I hope everyone has something just right for them to do tonight, whether it is a party, or curling up quietly with a cup of tea at home! This is my last tea of 2011, something sweet and shiny to ring in the new year. A little early, but you get what I mean.
I received a very generous sample of this (among other samples of delicious, delicious tea) from Aisling of tea. Wow. I love this tea. Its going in my very next order, for sure. The dry mix smells exactly like icing. I love icing. Even on crappy cake. I love the pure exquisite sugar rush and tooth-achingly sweet taste of icing. I knew this tea had to be right up my alley.
The brewed tea smelled more of chamomile than of icing, I noticed immediately when I poured the brewed tea. It also looks like chamomile, with that lovely yellow color. When I first tasted it, I was disappointed not to find it sweet. I was sure that evoking something like icing, I’d have to be able to pick up a trace of sweetness. Especially after the scent of the dry tea. Nope. Not really. But wait, not all is lost. I got chamomile, and a bit of mango, though it was more generic fruity rather than screaming “mango!”, and I got creamy and buttery, which I suspect is the white tea.
It works, people! My palate works! I actually could identify individual flavor elements! You have no idea how happy this makes me! I’m actually pretty sure I’m at the opposite end of the taste abililty spectrum from a supertaster. So to actually have a tea that I can identify flavors in? Is amazing. I’m in love.
It has been a long time since I’ve brewed an Earl Grey. It was one of the teas that kept me attached to teas, back in the day of the occasional cup of bagged tea. I always loved Earl Grey. Even in a crappy tea bag. I had to wait until just the right time to open this tea. Waiting until it called to me, instead of grabbing it in one of my “whatever” sort of moods.
I must admit, I was a bit worried when I smelled the dry tea. The bergamot was strong—almost overpowering. I’d forgotten that smell. Actually, given that I’d only had bagged EG before, I’d probably never really gotten the pure, potent, punch of the bergamot before. It reminded me of David’s Tea Countess of Seville, which I wasn’t a fan of, with that strong citrusy scent.
I was wrong to be worried. This tea is delightful! The bergamot isn’t overpowering, but definitely present. Vaguely citrusy. It pairs well with the tea base, which is smooth and not bitter even after a five minute steep (what? I know, amazing, right?). It doesn’t have a lot of body, it feels kind of thin, but not in a bad way. It feels exactly the way it should. The entire tea just tastes right.
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