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Recent Tasting Notes
After last night’s fiasco with appalling cardamom tea, I was enraged, so I made my own.
Made up some assam, cracked open three green cardamom pods and dropped them in the pot.
And it was a corker. It was as good as the pre-packaged garbage was bad.
Malty of course, but with a lovely overlay. Ahh, good tea with cardamom – simultaneously conjures up the hot dusty desert roads of its origin. and the decadence of the desserts it usually follows.
I’m doing some manly stuff – installing an espresso machine. So I need a manly tea, and the manliest of all is lapsang souchong.
Now I know everyone believes that the Chinese make this stuff, but I reckon it’s actually 6foot4, check-shirted, beer-drinkin’ Canadians along the Yukon (or is that in Alaska?)
Anyway, it’s lumberjack tea all the way, without the Monty Python-style aspersions cast upon these manly lumberjack men, and so as not to be sexist, manly lumberjack women.
So, I get out a dainty little teapot, and pop some in. And pour some hot water. 5 minutes along, and the kitchen smells like a manly campfire. I pour the tea, and it comes halfway up the sides of the very butch oversize cup I’m using. So I resteep it in Panda (that’s my smallest teapot, named after the Fiat Panda, the smallest car I’ve ever been in).
Ah, bliss! As I’ve noted before, the second steep is always less smoky, and the mixed 1st/2nd steep cup hits a lovely midrange note.
It’s refined and elegant.
I’m instantly transported to visions of the tea room at the Ritz in London, with elegant platters laden with sweet, sweet tea cakes and cucumber sandwiches.
A liveried waiter point me in the direction of the eclairs. But sadly, in my vision, there’s a bunch of lumberjacks wolfing them down.
A good cup of tea is a journey, indeed.
This is only my second tea of the day; the first day of our new found democracy in South Australia.
i decided to replace the English Breakfast in the micro-cafe with Jim’s Caravan.
So. it’s infuser and paper cup time.
Great aroma and lovely tan colour.
The smokiness is just at the right level, the brackish warmth is very heart-warming.
A little cup of happiness.
Big mistake last night. I ate half of an iced fruit juice thing. It said grape juice – the migraine says otherwise. lemon or Orange for sure in there somewhere.
Took some heavy duty painkiller, but couldn’t sleep.
So, it’s my famous green tea cure.
HUGE cup of this delicate green.
The first third is needed to wash away the aspirin/codeine taste.
Then i start appreciating it’s lush floral tones.
Taste, mouthfeel and aroma all combine to start me on the road to recover.
I suppose I’ll have to force myself to drink another cup…
Thought I’d finish this one off while browing steepster and appraising the hornet’s nest I (somewhat) inadvertently stirred up.
It’s strong today, and it seems to match the slightly cooler, strong wind buffetting us here.
Nice tannins, earthy, real old-fashioned tea.
Probably the last decent cup I’ll get until I arrive home in 8 hours.
I’m not a big fan of the vaguely bread-like flavor of chamomile, so I put in a smidge of rooibos tropica to liven it up. And it did! The tea came out pale-pale-pale, but it had all the fullness of chamomile and a nice little zing on top from the sweet rooibos tropica. I will have to remember this for the next time I crave some chamomile. I might try adding a little sugar so that not all of the sweetness is coming from the rooibos, although that could also end up being too much.
(My girlfriend pronounced, with a tone of great surprise, that this was “Huh! Actually comforting.”)
I have no idea where this rooibos caramel comes from. I have an old Teavana tin with “Roo. Caram.” scrawled across the label in my handwriting, so obviously at one point I knew more about it…you know, for someone who catalogues as obsessively as I do, I’ve managed my teas rather poorly so far. Anyway, this rooibos caramel isn’t much good on its own — it’s far too sweet in a cloying sort of way — so I keep it to sweeten my other teas. Today I tossed it in with an old and rather bitter Ceylon Black that really needs the help, and the result was a nicely balanced cup of black tea. It would have been too bitter for a first cup of the morning, but as a second one the bitter was mixed with the caramel and the rooibos nicely. (I’ll refrain from any philosophical generalizations on the blending!)
I’ve gone through about ten cups of this over the last week without ever reveiwing it. I think it’s because it’s a ‘social’ tea – I tend to drink it with others.
So, it’s dark, it’s malty, it has a delicious heady pure tea aroma.
It is the essence of tealiness .
And i love it!
Just shot a video of me making this, should be up next week. Layered in a wine glass.
I should have sweetened the milk, but nevertheless, a very rewarding ‘dessert tea’ having just consumed china jasmine, pai mu tan, assam and darjeeling whilst filming three episodes back to back.
The wild cherry is interesting, but for this, I think the plain and the quince are better flavours. The cherry is lost a bit in the milk.
I might add chocolate and make it into a black forest cake tea!
Made up a batch of this yesterday afternoon.
For those not familar with it (and since only about 5 kilos have ever been sold at a guess, that’s pretty well everyone) it’s a Russian Caravan-like blend but with a fair amount of FTGFOP 2nd flush Darjeeling.
A good approximation is to buy a good quality RC and mix 4:! with a good 2nd flush Darjeeling. Or make your own RC.
So, I sat down in the late afternoon yesterday with a cup, and with the daughter of the “Jim” who the tea was blended in honour of (who is also my wife).
It was warm, there was a breeze, and it was paradise out on the deck.
Chattering parrots in the fruit trees added to the environment.
I guess drinking anything at that time was likely to work. However, the laptop battery was flat, and I was forced to make paper notes. (Kiddies, if you can’t remember the old technology of a pen and paper, look it up on the net. It’s ingenious!)
First note: CLEAN
I’d been shovelling mulch and moving rocks. Hot and thirsty as I was, the tea cut straight through.
Second Note: Smoky
Definitely a smokiness. There’s no lapsang in this mix, but the Keemun base seems to emit a hint of smoke.
Third Note: Vitality
Your tongue sparkles. This is what the darjeeling adds to the mix
Fourth Note: AAhhhhhhhhh
The lingering taste of an excellent cuppa.
Unpretentious in the extreme, this tea. I’ve created some really exciting teas, including custom heritage blends and a freaky chai for those who take it without milk, but I’m still proud of this one.
If anyone wants to create it at home and review it; I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Ahhh yes, time for that first tea of the day.
Even though I’m sitting at my wife’s desk creating diagrams of social enterprise models, I am supposed to be outside digging up some rock-hard ground and old grass before the horror of the day (Should be about 39degC, or about 105F) really hits and then mowing the lawn.
So, for these manly pursuits, I need a manly tea. LS it is !
I made it in Cyril, my glass teapot, to better admire its leather-brown colour (OK, so not the manliest of starts there)
But the colour is that of a leather belt, or gun holster, or saddle. Very apt.
The aroma is that of a campfire, with a real pine forest feel.Camphor and campfire, saltwater and saltbush all roll through my mouth, it’s like a camping trip in a cup.
And the taste cuts through the mouth, extinguishing the sleepless night I had, and reinvigorates me in exactly the manly way I was after.
“I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK !”
I had put down MS publisher and picked up my garden tools.
OK, made this as one of my famous layered rooibos lattes.
Layer of hot milk
Layer of vibrant red rooibos
Layer of froth
(I’ll shoot a videe of this soon, promise)
I like to take a few sips carefully to enjoy the full Rooibos falvour, then a quick stir and enjoy the milky goodness.
Sweet and invigorating