90 Tasting Notes
I have so much backlogging to do, but right now I’m just going to sit here and relax while enjoying this tea. It seems a bit smokier today but perhaps that is because I haven’t had the Bohea recently to compare smoke levels to.
Bumping this rating up a little.
When I need something that goes with anything I reach for this tea, just as I did this morning. The deep amber-red liquor has a medium-full body that tastes of tea. No, really. It tastes like regular, comforting, no strings attached, black TEA. No bells or whistles, no apologies. It is what it is and sometimes you just need a cup of something that won’t tease or hide behind itself.
Back-logging from this morning.
So, I stopped at the Bar Harbor Tea Co shop on my way home from work last night (huzzah! I don’t have to pay shipping for this stuff! Na na na-na na. Ahem…) with the intent of picking up a Bodum travel tea press. I got the press but figured I’d pick up a new tea while I was there. I had smelled this one during my last visit (to pick up a new tin of the chocolate chai) and had been amazed at how much like the native blueberries this smelled. So I snagged a small tin.
Now for those of you who have not spent time in Maine or the Maritime provinces of Canada, there are two kinds of blueberries. Most of you are likely familiar with the big, plump, bursting-with-juice blueberries commonly found in the grocery store. Those are called highbush blueberries. What we have here in Maine is called the lowbush blueberry. The plants grow right down flush with the ground, no taller than 15" and usually more like 5"-10", and the leaves and berries are smaller than those of the highbush berries. But what Maine blueberries lack in size they greatly make up for in flavor. No highbush berry can compare to the sweet/tart/juicy fruits of the lowbush blueberry that grows wild in the acidic soil of the region. Yes, wild. While there are indeed fields where these berries grow and are harvested they grew there naturally, with no human hand to plant them, no field equipment to water them.
It is of course the flavor of the native, lowbush wild blueberry that is used in this tea. The bright, red-amber liquor is redolent with the aroma and flavor of these berries, even more strongly in the aftertaste. And I would love to know what variety of black tea was used as a base for this as the steeped leaves are quite colorful. Large, though broken, and green, but with red-brown veins and stems.
And writing this has made me want another cup of this tea!
Back-logging from Sunday.
I over-steeped this. Never over-steep Earl Grey, it tastes horrendous. I’m going to hold off rating until I can give this another try with a 4 minute infusion. Who knows, with such a quality base tea it might actually get me to like Earl Grey…I suspect not though. I’ve smelled it countless times, drank it twice, and Earl Grey just does not seem to be my cup of tea.*
*Pun FULLY intended >:D
Back-logging from Monday.
1st infusion: 4 minutes
Color is a deep red-brown and it tastes very much like the unsweetened iced tea you get at restaurants…and that’s WITH a teaspoon of sugar. I think 4 minutes is too long for the 1st steep. Otherwise it tastes malty and woodsy.
2nd infusion: 2 3/4 minutes
The color is only slightly lighter but the taste is much better. Sweet, malty, woodsy. should have done the 1st steep at this amount of time.
3rd infusion: 3 minutes
Color is golden-brown. Flavor is malty, woodsy, and a bit peachy.
4th infusion: 4 minutes
Color is a dull brown, lighter than previous. The flavor is lighter as well, the woodsy tone has mellowed to something more like loam.
An online friend of mine went to India to visit her fiance’s parents and go dress shopping for her wedding and nisanlik. Half-jokingly I asked her to get me some Nilgiri tea while she was there and much to my surprise she did! It arrived yesterday after much anticipation on my part, so of course I had to have it with my breakfast this morning!
While putting the dry leaf into my tetsubin I caught a tantalizing whiff and moved the bag with the tea under my nose for a deeper sniff. Mmmmmm, chocolate!
I found myself humming “Do, a deer” while waiting for my tea to steep…probably because I was spreading home-made spiced peach blackberry jam on my toasted bagel. It certainly made the five minutes go by faster and soon it was time to remove the strainer with the leaves. The wet leaves were a muddy brown but the veins had a definite red-ish tint to them, unfortunately they no longer smelled like chocolate.
The bright, amber-gold liquor didn’t have any chocolate notes either but that was all right, it still tasted lovely. A buttery mouth-feel, it tasted malty with notes of raisins and figs. 12oz was gone much too fast!
The liquor is a lovely amber color. The flavor of this actually reminds me of an oolong. It’s sweet, malty, woodsy, but with a very…unique vegetal note. Not quite spinach but close. Almost as if someone mixed an oolong with chrysanthemum flowers.
Backlogging from last night.
I originally tried drinking this “Chinese style” with the leaves in the tea cup. After battling floating leaves through most of one cup and hardly being able to taste anything except the leaves that kept creeping into my mouth I decided that the Chinese must be either crazy or very skilled & dumped the leaves into my green tetsubin, adding a bit more since the pot is obviously larger than my cup.
Ah, much better. The pale pale gold liquor was vegetal, nutty, and (with a tiny bit of sugar) had a buttery, almost silken, mouth-feel. You know how it feels to drape a heavy silk brocade over your arm and hand and then you turn your arm this way and that to feel how it drapes and swishes, pretending that you are wearing a formal kimono with long, flowing sleeves? Yeah, it was kinda like that.
Having this again this morning. I think I like this tea so much partly because of how different it is from everything else in my cupboard.
Backlogging from this morning.
The first thing I noticed upon opening this tin was that the leaves were much smaller,(broken?) than that of the Bohea. The liquor, like that of the Bohea, is amber-gold but not as lively a color and with less gold. The flavor, unlike the color, was much lighter. The smoke and fruit notes much subtler. Due to this I actually managed to detect a coco note in my final, cooled cup :D
This is a very nice tea, but I think I still like the Bohea better. I never thought I’d say that about something that has as much of a smokey note as it does.