Chi of Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
How strange that my last tasting note two years ago was for this tea and, not even realizing it, I reached for it this morning! This is still one of my favorite teas though I do not reach for it as often now due to the time constraints of dealing with two children.
This morning I used a bit more than a teaspoon of this in my 12oz tetsubin and did an initial infusion of 1 1/2 minutes. The second infusion I’m drinking now was steeped for 3 minutes and is darker than the first. I probably could have gotten away with a 2 minute steeping time. I’ll likely do a third infusion at 4 1/2 minutes and might even get a fourth. I’ll have to update this if I do.
Another old sample dug out from my tea cupboard. I’ve never tried a Hawaiian oolong before this – in fact I never knew Hawaii grew any tea at all. The fist steep (at 4 min) is rich and full bodied. It’s lightly sweet and slightly fruity with a hint of warm spiciness that reminds me a bit of ginger.
Subsequent steepings were lighter and a bit more woodsy/evergreen-tasting, but they still kept a hint of sweetness. It’s a unique and complex tea that I really enjoyed. Sadly my sample was only one cup’s worth and since Chi of Tea isn’t in operation anymore I’ll have to see if I can track down other sources.
Another old sample I uncovered during my cupboard re-arranging. The tea seems to have stayed relative fresh, thankfully. The Darjeeling oolong was a good choice for this tea as it gives the blend a smooth, subtle sweetness without loosing that quintessential tea flavour that seems to belong to Indian black teas. The vanilla is rich and creamy and there’s just the right amount of bergamot to compliment it rather than overpower it. It’s a shame the company is no longer selling tea (though their website is still up) as I think I would like to buy more of this blend when the sample is finished.
I found a couple samples for Chi of Tea in my cupboard – no idea how old they are. ¬_¬ Clearly this is a sign that I need to concentrate on drinking up all my older teas and samples.
The scent makes me think of bubble gum, which is a bit odd as I’m used to pu-erhs smelling very earthy. The earthiness comes back in the flavour, though it’s fairly mild compared to some pu-erhs I’ve tried (admittedly my experience is pretty limited). I can taste the orange flavour clearly, though it’s more like a sweet mandarin orange rather than a sour, acidic navel orange type of taste. However I noticed that each sip ends on a weirdly dull note that I’m not sure I care for – maybe I just need to steep the tea longer or hotter.
Today was one of those mornings where I was really in the mood for a Yunnan black.(*) Only to discover that I hadn’t got any. At all. Not a one. Not even a sample! That’s just typical. When I really want one, I can’t have one. When I mostly associate them with a mouthful of hay, I’ve got lots.
I went for this one instead because it seemed to be the closest I could come. I expect I’ll probably be drinking this all day until the boyfriend comes home from Copenhagen tonight, at which point we will hopefully have something extra nommy to celebrate that particular wedding hurdle being over with (because he’s not a Danish citizen, there are some documents that he needs from the British embassy. It’s a formality, but a really silly one). Gong-fu-ish method get the leaves used up. :)
(*)ought this actually be ‘. . . one of those mornings when I was really . . .’
Fantastic Yunnan. Lots of flavor. Sweet, floral, fruity, and with a nice spiced undertone. Incredibly smooth. It has a hefty flavor to it, like it’s got what it takes to get me going.
This, as well as every tea that I clicked on at the Chi of Tea website is out of stock. I hope this does not mean that Chi of Tea is out of business, because they really do provide wonderful teas, including one of my favorite (probably my #1 favorite) yellow tea. If anyone else has any information about this company, please comment and let me know.
I finished the last of this up today. It is a very sad day. I decided to take it to the next level, and I had it with cream and a little vanlla sugar, and it was Heaven (with a capital H) in a cup. Especially since this is the first time I have had tea in a couple of weeks. I can’t believe it has been that long – I haven’t been well and I seemed to lose all interest in my tea! This was the perfect way to start back with the tea habit, though.
This tea also goes quite excellently with a milk at a higher steeping time, I’ve discovered. The Nilgiri base instead of the usual Ceylon was a great choice for this tea – it supports the vanilla and gives the tea body without becoming too strong or astringent and drowning the flavours out.
So it is possible to ruin a chinese black through oversteeping. 45 minutes should do it. Poor thing rendered undrinkable.
Why do I not have a rating on this? I’ve had it before, I know I have because I had two samples of it at one point. I had one left now, which I’ve ruined, but I must have had an opinion on the first one… Odd.
Yum, this tea is a good one. The smell alone could have told me that – it was a real, raw-vanilla scent rather than something artificial. The tea itself is wonderfully flavourful and the creamy vanilla is nothing short of delicious. The tea is full-flavoured without being bitter or astringent and I have no problem drinking this cup without milk.
I received this tea as a sample with an order I placed a few months ago. I stumbled across it this morning as I’ve begun to reduce the amount of tea in my home. (Whew!) I realized (with chagrin) that I hadn’t stored this one properly and worried about how my neglect may have affected the flavor.
My first real concern set in when I tried to smell it and couldn’t detect the scent. I steeped this one at a lower than recommended temperature, for the maximum amount of time recommended.
Now I can smell the tea. It’s slightly… floral? Yes, floral. I can detect the scent of honeysuckle. It’s a sweet scent, with a delicate floral note.
The taste is amazing, quelling any concerns I had about flavor. It’s not bitter at all, which was one thought I had when I saw the recommended steeping time. Instead, it is gently floral, but so sweet, too. It’s a beautiful green, tempered with the very slight vegetal taste a traditional green brings to the cup. It’s one of the best green teas I think I’ve ever tried.
Now, Chi of Tea, where are you hiding this gem? I hope this is something that will be considered to offer as a purchase because it is amazing!
I haven’t had this for a while, but I remembered that I wanted to try it with cooler water and a shorter steep time, so I settled on 190 degrees and 3.30 mins. It still had a sort of unpleasant bitterness to it, so I added a little sugar but that just made it a little sickly. I didn’t really enjoy this at all today, especially the sugar, so I am knocking the score down from 73.
The first thing I noticed was that the leaves are in very small pieces. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting a whole leaf tea or anything, but with the pieces so small you get more of the tannins leeching into the tea and a very strong black tea flavour. Which wouldn’t be as big an issue if the spices were stronger, but apart from the mint they’re pretty tame and get overwhelmed by the rest of the tea. Mind you, the mint was a nice addition, it wasn’t too strong, just a hint that lingers on the tongue.
Taken as a whole though, I’d only consider this chai to be okay rather than great. They’ve got a good thing going with the mint, but they need to work on the rest of the tea.