542 Tasting Notes
After finishing my mug of hojicha in the study last night, I really wanted another cup of tea right away. None of my non-caffeinated bagged teas were catching my interest so I chose this one. I steeped it a minute less than usual and still enjoyed a very nice cup. This tea isn’t a favorite but it’s always very pleasant to have. I resteeped the tisane earlier today when my throat was bothering me and added a bit of honey. I forgot to take the basket out so it steeped awhile but tasted just fine.
2nd steep: a long time.
Hello Steepsterians! Long time, no see.
(The explanation: Christmas 2010, I ended up with a lot of rough tasting “notes” jotted down on slips of paper that I hadn’t entered on to Steepster. This continued on and on with briefly writing down my thoughts in my moleskine or typing out an actual tealog posting in a wordpad file AND dating everything with the intention of backlogging it up on to Steepster and having a complete catalog of my tea drinking for the past year plus. However, I have slowly come to the realization that this isn’t likely to actually get done (anytime soon) and I miss posting my tasting notes so I’ve scrapped the idea of getting my tealog up-to-date and I’m starting posting again as of February with the teas I drink going forward. I hate to not post the completed tasting notes that I’ve written but I’m a bit of a completionist so I’d end up frantically trying to post everything if I did.)
And now, on to the tea. I picked this up on sale at Earth Fare awhile back not knowing what it was but thinking a roasted green tea sounded like it could be good. I decided to try it yesterday night with Korean leftovers because the regular girl at the Korean place asked me if I wanted a hot tea awhile back on a cold night and has since given me tea with Asian characters and sometimes some English on the tags (twice genmaicha, once oolong) and since the genmaicha, as a toasted rice tea, went well with the Korean, my thinking was that a roasted green tea would as well. And it did.
Just taking the plastic wrapping off of the box of tea, I could already smell the toasty roastiness of it. Steeping instructions recommended 2-5 minutes so I settled on 3:30 for my first try and was quite surprised to find the tea had come out so dark considering the genmaicha has come out a lighter brown and I had expected them to be similar. The toasty roast smell of the steeped tea was lighter than the smell of the bag had been. The taste was much stronger than I expected but still good and tasted pretty much like you’d expect something like this would. Next time I’ll either steep this for less time or use a bigger mug, possibly both, as I’m sure I’ll enjoy this tea more when it’s less strong.
I’m rating this tea a 52 to start – a nice bagged tea. I think it will creep up a few points once I get the steeping time and water quantity adjusted more to my tastes.
For the fifth tea of Christmas, Frank gave to us Chocolate Mint Flavored Black Tea.
When I opened this sample packet, at first I got alcohol, followed quickly by mint – real strong mint ~cough, cough ~, then chocolate – dark chocolate. I do have to say that Frank nailed the smell on this blend. I’ll confess that I’m not a chocolate mint fan at all. The husband is and occasionally I’ll want a spoonful or two of his ice cream. The dark tea leaves have visible chocolate bits and bits of mint leaves.
Steeped, the tea still smells distinctively of chocolate mint and is a color that we’ll call standard tea color. I did a butt load of dishes while and after this tea had steeped so it was not piping hot when I first tried it. The taste is mint tea with dark chocolate. This is good, but definitely not a favorite of mine. I’ll have to see what the husband thinks when he tries it. As I finish drinking this tea, I decide a like it a bit more and raise my initial rating five points. I definitely get the Thin Mint comparison that others have made. I did not attempt a second steep because I did not want anymore chocolate mint at that time.
I’m rating this tea a 67, which is on the high end of my nice range (60-70).
2nd steep: 5 min, 30 sec.
I made this stronger than usual per not checking Steepster for my usually steeping time and apparently having forgotten it. Well, I do have too many teas to remember everything. As usual, this is my go-to tea when my tummy hurts or I’m feeling vaguely under the weather and, as usual, I felt better after drinking it. =) Possible placebo effect, but who cares so long as it works.
For the fourth tea of Christmas, Frank gave to us Sheri’s Blend.
I opened the sample packet and smelled sweet, fruity – maybe peach, candy. Sheri’s Blend has the pretty autumn colors of orange brown rooibos, dark yellow flower petals, and dark brown chunks of apricot. This is one of Frank’s rooibos/honeybush blends I wanted to try.
Steeping, Sheri’s Blend smells nicely of stone fruits and sweetness. The liquid is a medium orangey brown. The first sips have more of an apricot feel than taste. As it cools some, the juiciness of the fruit comes out more. The cinnamon is like a faint dusting. This tea is lovely but more muted than Frank’s other blends. It would make a good companion for reading on a cold evening.
I tried a second steep and it was mostly apricot fruity warm water. I am finding I don’t mind drinking these though, even if they aren’t nearly as flavorful as the first mug.
I’m rating this tisane a 76, which is in the middle of my good range (70-80).
2nd steep: 12 min.
I mixed the last small bits of leaf of this one with A&D’s EG. It balanced the overly bergamoty EG without adding bitterness.
This tea has been my go-to when I’ve wanted a better quality cup of standard black tea. It mixed well with honey when my throat was sore. It’s also the first A&D tea that I’ve finished off the tin of now.
Would I buy this again?
3 – maybe. This tea was a limited number release which is sold out so that’s a moot point. But it was a good reliable tea and while I likely wouldn’t go out of my way to order it specifically, it might be something I’d throw in an order if I were ordering other things.
2nd steep: 5 min.
It looks like I’ll have to find another plain black tea to punch up this one cause I’m all out of the A&D Ceylon that I’ve been using. Since I was using the dregs of the tin for the Ceylon, this mixture was not half Ceylon and half EG. Last time, I did that and the smaller bits of the remaining Ceylon made a bitter mug of tea. This time I compensated for that fact and was rewarded with a not bitter mug of tea.
2nd steep: 5 min.
For the third tea of Christmas, Frank gave to us Coconut Cream Pie.
I clipped open my sample packet and instantly smelled coconut again without even having to put my nose down to the packet. I had just mentioned in my Pina Colada Honeybush tealog that that tisane made me want to try the Coconut Cream Pie and low and behold, here it is.
Like the Pina Colada Honeybush, the Coconut Cream Pie has large shavings of coconut against a background of black tea and smells delish — a strong coconutty, creamy scent. Steeped up, it’s a medium brown and smells like warm creamy coconut. It tastes strongly coconutty with a good sense of creaminess. Between this tea and the Pina Colada Honeybush, Frank has that flavor down pat. And yum, is this a good tea too. I definitely like it and look forward to drinking it again. But it is no Pina Colada Honeybush, which I have been thinking about drinking again since I had it. But I seem to be oddly hoarding it for later, not wanting to have no more of it yet. I am starting to wonder if all the rest of the samples will pale in comparison to that tisane, which isn’t really an apt thing to say because neither of these teas paled at all. They were quite good. Just not Pina Colada Honeybush good. It might have been a flaw to make that the first sample.
Back to the Coconut Cream Pie. (Sorry that I could not help making the comparisons.) So yeah. Chris and I went to one of our favorite restaurants (local, fresh, Southern food – http://www.ilovetheglassonion.com/dailymenu) for a rather late brunch (fried quail, biscuit and gravy, and eggs for me; pork belly, biscuit with honey, eggs, and sausage for Chris) on Sunday and they had coconut cream pie on the desert board (it changes weekly) and I really wanted to have some after having had this tea, but I was so full and couldn’t. We’ve been obsessed with fried chicken Tuesdays this month so you know where I’ll be early tomorrow night (yes, they actually run out of the fried chicken, it is that good) and hopefully the coconut cream pie will be there still. I’ll keep you posted.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention. I did do a second steep, which I was sure would be too weak to drink, and it was. But it turns out, even warm essence of Coconut Cream Pie is worth drinking.
I rated this tea a 74, which is right in the middle of my good range (70-80).
2nd steep: 7 min.
For the second tea of Christmas, Frank gave to us Chai with Chocolate.
I smelled the chocolate even as I was cutting open the packet and started thinking now which chocolate teas does Frank have in stock. I put my nose to the packet and smelled ginger strongly. Then I looked and knew it was a chai.
So the question was: To stovetop or not to stovetop? If I stovetopped, I’d use more of the sample and be able to try it less times. But it’s stovetop. So I went with stovetop. There was little decision there.
Sipping it while it’s still likely a bit to hot to drink, I get ginger then chocolate. I like ginger. =D This is good. Not Pina Colada Honeybush awesome good. But quite good.
I finish my extra large mug quite quickly. As I drink, I get ginger, chai blend, and chocolate at times. The chocolate is not majorly in your face but you can taste it and you can definitely smell it. This tea feels decadent to drink first thing in the morning.
I gave this tea a rating of 70 for now, which is right in the middle of my nice/good range (60-80).
1 cup water. 1 tbsp sugar. bring to boil. 1 tbsp tea. steep 5 mins. 1 cup milk. bring to boil. turn heat off. steep 10 min.