300 Tasting Notes
I just reached for the cup and it was empty. I guess this counts as backlogging, then. Pfff.
Apparently I feel very oolongy right now, so it’s pretty much all I crave. There’s very little to be added regarding this perfect tea that hasn’t already been said in previous notes, except that I’m hoarding this one, too, as it’s not available through French Lupicia (yet).
One thing I really look forward to is doing a massive post-summer inventory of my tea stash. If there is anyone I’ve promised to swap with, send me a reminder, and I’ll add you to the list – I’ll look through my messages, too, in case we’re both senile.
This tea makes me so happy.
Oh, bad, bad, bad. I hate the sound of traffic accidents in the street outside. It’s beyond a stretch of park and out of sight, but somehow not being able to see the extent of it makes it worse – there’s just the shock of the impact and then the perplexingly slow motion screech of metal and the honking and yelling far away in the distance, sometimes not even carried all the way here, and then finally the sirens. I’ve seen so many accidents there – it’s a badly planned stretch of road, with trams stopping in the middle, pedestrians meandering all over in a fairly heavy flow of traffic… and to top that off, trams crossing the road to turn around. Now I’m just waiting for the sirens – the crash occurred just as I clicked this note open, so this has been a live report from Rome, reminding you to be careful.
I was just going to say – and mostly for the benefit of those of you with whom I’ve been discussing cold-steeping methods lately – that this has been in the fridge for about three additional days now, leafs removed, of course, and that it tastes just as fresh and clean as it did when I wrote my first review. I’ll keep experimenting with various tea types, but these oolongs are very forgiving.
So I finally got around to cold steeping this, and I have to tell you – if anything in the mortal realm could ever taste like ambrosia, this would be it.
This is golden plum honey balm. This is perfect.
Seeing as this tea should have been given an 85 in the first round, this will kick it up an unprecedented 10 points, right up to 90.
Really, now. All the talking I do about this tea. All the references to the delights of the melon oolong. All that swagger. And yet I barely ever log it.
The main issue is that I’ve given most of it away, so I’ve been hoarding the rest of it, just a little bit, for summer. But now summer is here! 33 C in the shade, and Em and I have to go groceryin’, and Em is all but the heat and I’m all I love when it’s warm and Em is all noooo please carry me and I’m all well, if you’re a very very good little puddle of sweat i will buy you a gelato and I could go on but you get it.
This tea is gorgeous. I’ve been in doubt after all these melon white discussions – did I really note such a big difference between the two? Was I mistaken? I am very happy to announce (ha, classic hog) that I was not. This is so much better than the melon white, in my opinion – ripe, fruity, smooth, complex. This is really, really, really good.
You and me, Champagne & Cream rooibos, we’ve been together since fall 2012. And you know what? I’m still into you. You still taste and look pretty much like you used to – I’d like to think that’s mostly thanks to me, seeing as I’ve treated you lovingly, kept you in an air-tight tin in a dark, cool cupboard, written you up and introduced you to several of my friends. We’ve had a good run. We’ve been good together.
Now, in your old age, it would be predictably trite, of course, for me to discard you. But that’s just not me. I’m steadfast and loyal and true – I stick around. You might not be the freshest of my teas, nor the fanciest, but I still love you. When I commit, I commit. When I say forever, I mean forever.
What I’m saying is that I’m going to finish every last little rooibosy bit of you.
Because that’s just how I keep a promise.
Someone had liked my review of Kotobuki (Mirabelle) and I reread it because I remembered nothing, and then I remembered everything, and so I cold-steeped some for tomorrow. I so very much look forward to getting a tea scale so I can leaf more scientifically – this randomness is not Anna at all, now is it.
And while I was at it, I made a warm afternoon cup of this for myself – because if you act like it’s not 33 C/91 F outside, it’s probably not. Also highly scientific.
I just like this more and more. It fills the whole room with its lushness – in stiff competition with the sweaty jasmines outside, should be noted. But it’s the lovely lingering aftertaste that really gets me. This reminds me more and more of Lupicia’s green tea Bravissimo! in terms of that perfect linger.
(And we all know what a sucker I am for a good linger.)
Rome is at its very worst in June; I’ve always left in summer and it’s always taken a couple of years for me to even consider going back. All because of June. There’s something about the light, maybe. Or the dust in the air, the loudsweaty tourists, the desperate groping in the parks. This season turns everyone into an animal, but June, for some reason, is always the worst of it. In June you still remember delicate, sheer May – what it was like not to be sickwrong and itchy. In July you’ve adapted and just learned to live with the illness.
A ripe, dark, fruity oolong is just right on a day like this. I’m never disappointed in Lupicia’s oolongs – they never let me down, they never make me reconsider. What more could you possibly expect from anything?
Because Dexter3657 is beyond amazing, I received a whole package of additions to the Project Peach sample collection. I’m known as the insane tea person here (The cleaning staff allegedly talked about my tea cupboard for about three months before someone finally worked up the nerve to ask, ‘Is that really all tea, and WHY?’) so when I picked up my mail, one of the cleaners side-eyed me and said, ‘More tea, huh?’ It did smell insanely good in my cubby, so it could also have been that.
My favourite yoga DVD is ridiculous in many ways – it’s from the mid-nineties, and Bryan Kest has long, curly hair, wears yoga jeans (?!) and is very touchy-feely while topless. Combined with his random life advice and thickly slurred lilt, it’s definitely an acquired taste… but a wonderful programme, nonetheless. It’s on YouTube, but beware of any drinking games based on him touching the curly-haired lady, or using the word ‘release’ – you will thank me in the morning.
But I digress – what I meant to say was that Kest was the first teacher who really made me work hard to get to that fluid stage, where each movement is precise and measured, but still flows into the next seamlessly. That’s the first thing I thought about when I tasted this tea. It’s like a shapeshifting scene, where the two faces exist simultaneously – there is absolutely no way I could distinguish the passion fruit from the peach in this tea, but they’re still both undeniably there – I’ve never really tasted that before, and I love it.
So yeah – the two fruit flavours work very well together, and the end result is a smooth, juicy rooibos. There is a slight tartness to the aftertaste that I haven’t decided how I feel about yet, but other than that, this adds up to a very well-balanced sip. I will definitely enjoy finishing the rest of this sample – thanks, Dex!
[Sample sent from Dexter3657 to Rome, June 2014.]
Skype asks, ‘Does Skype power your passion?’ (white text on pink background) and I admit that the only time I can talk forever on the phone is when I’m in love with the person on the other end, because otherwise I get bored.
M was here, and wanted tea instead of alcohol (wait, what just happened and how) so I managed to find this. I picked it up at the grocery store as some kind of emergency tea when I was here for a couple of days in the fall, and mostly tealess. I guess that worked out well, for what could be more of an emergency than me saying, ‘But there is PEACH VODKA,’ and the other person shaking their head in response?
This is simple and reliable – I steeped it at something like 90C for 2 minutes, dropping a few tea bags into the pot, and there was no bitterness or astringency. It’s a very flat jasmine, none of the personality, deep scent, or floral exuberance I tend to prefer. I like over-the-top jasmines, I really do.
What brings the grade down in this case, though, is that it’s a little papery – a little too obviously a bagged tea. I will have no problem finishing the rest of this box up, and I might even get some more to keep around for emergencies, like if Sil shows up like a ninja and sips my other 156 teas down in the night… but it’s not something I’d ever crave.
[Purchased at Luthagens Livs in Uppsala, fall 2013.]