110 Tasting Notes
I received this as a free sample from Alice.com (Love Alice! Love, love love Alice!) The sample was 20 teabags, which ought to be enough for me to form an opinion ;) The bag is one of the generously sized pyramid mesh types, and leaves plenty of room for the leaf to expand. The leaf is very black, and fine, but not too fine – no visible dust or finings. The cinnamon scent is intoxicating and almost floral. The tea brews up very quickly – within a couple of minutes it was dark and very fragrant. The color is a deep brown red, with almost no sediment – one of the reasons I dislike bagged teas is that the leaf is generally so dusty that there is a lot of sediment in the cup. The tea is a rich, sweet, straightforward Ceylon with a hint of astringency. The cinnamon adds warmth to the cup without overpowering the tea – it would take some doing to overpower this tea. The cinnamon tastes like real cinnamon – not cassia, not some plastic flavored cinnamon flavoring, but real, honest cinnamon.
I am definitely going to take advantage of the coupon Alice is giving me for this tea.
I was wandering the aisles of World Market yesterday, killing time before my evening concert, and discovered that they have pouches of loose tea. Is this new, or have I just failed to notice before?
Anyway, this is a fairly decent white tea – liquor is golden in color. It is light, sweet, and delicate in flavor, and I’m on steep 4 of the tea, and it is still rewarding me with decent tea.
So, why not a higher rating? Well, it just doesn’t really ring my chimes. I can’t say why, it just doesn’t make me as happy as a good oolong, or a genmai cha. This isn’t going to stop me from drinking it or buying more. It’s a good cupboard staple.
OK – I have at last decided what this reminds me of – mulled wine. Deep red color, spicy, sweet fruity taste. Not tea – wine.
All of the flavor and none of the fun. Nonetheless, I am bumping up the rating, just because it tasted so good tonight after late choir practice (Durufle’s Requiem will be the death of me.)
I bought a sample of this with my last Adagio order, because I really need to find a bedtime tea I like that is not mint. This just might be it, but it is so unlike anything I would call tea that it deserves its own genre.
Oh yeah – tisane. That’s the word.
This tea looks a lot like the dried fruit blend I buy for adding to my oatmeal. I see very little in here that looks like a leaf. When I add hot (not boiling) water, the smell seems familiar, rather like what you smell when you walk into a Yankee Candle store. Except that it is much less intense than the candle store, which is an all-out sensory assault on the nostrils. Still, it has that same undefined sweet rush of different fruity odors.
It’s hard to identify anything in the taste or smell that actually reminds me of mango, but it definitely has a very sweet, fruity taste. Somewhere lying underneath the fruitcake potpourri is the distinct taste of hibiscus. I happen to like hibiscus tea – a hangover from my hippie vegetarian herbalist days – but I’m glad it is not a strong presence in this tea. After getting home from a late choir practice, I’m not ready to be assaulted by what’s in my cup. Sweet, unsophisticated fruitiness feels rather soothing.
I have been craving citrus lately – probably due to a decided lack of sunshine down here in the Sunshine State for most of last summer and this winter. Anyway, I’ve been bringing home bags and boxes of oranges, clementines and such, and even smearing Meyer Lemon marmalade on my morning toast.
So, this tasting note may reflect a little bias. Because, oh my goodness, this is so good! A delicate citrus scent while brewing, and a delicate flavor in the cup. The tea is a pale grassy color and a light, bright flavor with no mineral taste that I can detect.
When I was a small child, my mother used to give us that puffed rice cereal for breakfast. I loved it – so toasty and caramelly tasting. So, I have been preprogrammed from early childhood to become instantly addicted to this tea. After trying it for the first time today, I can report that all of that childhood conditioning worked, and I will never again be without genmai cha on my tea shelf.
There is an instant rush of toasty rice smell as the hot water hits the leaves. The color is golden green and the smell is rich. With the first steep, the flavor reminds me of brown rice sushi – warm grain with a hint of saltiness and seaweed flavor, with perhaps just a dash of toasted sesame oil. As the brew cooled on the first steep, I noticed a very pronounced bitterness and astringency, that nearly disappeared with the second steep. It may be I need to use a shorter steep or less leaf, but this is definitely so good that it is well worth experimenting to find the perfect brew.
Astonishingly honey-dark color after 7 minutes steeping, with a light, slightly spicy scent that does remind me of peonies. Sweet, and slightly salty taste, with almost no bitterness even after the long steep. Second steep is bolder and darker, with more of a honey taste.
Very finely cut tea with some dust, with a very intense, almost rank odor of bergamot in the dry leaf. I used about 1measuring teaspoon to a pint of boiling water, and steeped for about three minutes. This produced a ruddy dark brown tea, fairly clear, still with an intense bergamot scent and somewhat less intense bergamot flavor. Good breakfast tea, which is when I had it, together with toast, marmalade and a nice boiled egg. My husband tried it as well, and pronounced it “good.”
I bought the loose leaf tea, which came in the coolest. tea. tin. evah. It has an airlock-type top – one outer lid like a dome on top of the opening, and an inner lid which fits tightly into the opening, with a neat little button handle on top so that you don’t have to pry the lid out with a screwdriver.
The tea itself is very finely cut, with some dust. Truly, it looks like the same particle size I would expect to see if I tore open a teabag. It took me about 4 tries to make a palatable cup of tea. The loose leaf teas I have been using lately are all much coarser, and I wound up using way too much of the Dilmah leaf for my first few tries. I ended up using one level teaspoon, about 2 grams, in an infuser set in a one pint teapot.
The resulting tea was very dark and a little murky with sediment. I found the color improved as the tea settled. Despite the infuser, a lot of tiny leaves escaped and settled to the bottom of the pot. The resulting tea flavor is classic Ceylon: bright and citrus-y, with a spicy, almost pepper-y finish.
For comparison, I made a pot of my current favorite, Adagio’s Ceylon Sonata, which is a much coarser tea, with long, slender strands of leaf, and little dust. I use a longer brew time (5 minutes) for this tea, and I made it as I ordinarily would, with about a tablespoon of leaf. The Adagio tea compares favorably with the Dilmah – the Adagio is more fragrant, somewhat smoother tasting, still very bright, with a clearer, more reddish liquor and far less sediment. It seems to lack the peppery finish that the Dilmah tea has. At $4.99 for a 125g tin, compared to $7 per 4 oz tin for Adagio, the Dilmah tea is an excellent value and well worth a spot on my shelf.