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Recent Tasting Notes
I created this blend a couple of months ago, I call it “dude” grey because it’s got a California feel to it (citrus-y flavors) but with a pleasant Earl Grey note.
I like inhaling this tea through my mouth just before I take a sip. The aroma wafts over my palate and yum! The black tea is smooth, not too robust, nice for afternoon or early evening. The Earl Grey is softer than in “straight up” earl grey teas (such as the one I enjoyed earlier this afternoon) as it is softened by the other citrus notes. I especially like the grapefruit in this blend.
Another cooked puerh – they’re definitely starting to grow on me, but I still have trouble distinguishing one from another. I’m starting to taste more interesting things – spice, molasses, minerals? – but not enough that I’d pick a puerh over a good black or oolong for sheer drinking pleasure. For education, well, that’s another matter ;)
Now that I take no sugar in tea, I’m having to learn to love some teas again.
Funnily enough, the mildly smoky’s have become my absolute favourite blacks, while LS has not gone down well. It’s very, very savoury without sugar.
So making a cup at 5am was a little risky.
In sort though. it’s been a rough night and I need some invigorating.
This isn’t it. It tastes good, but sometimes, went you need your tea black and strong, the smokiness gets in the way.
I’m not going to blame the tea, rather my choice. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed it, I just might have enjoyed something else more,
So as I was straightening my cupboard this morning, I noticed that my tins of both Florence and Chocolate Tea from Harney and Sons were less than half full, and the wheels started to turn…I wondered what would happen if I combined them, and then added some mini chocolate chips like Adagio does with their Chocolate chip tea…
Success! I was afraid that the chocolate chips might overwhelm the tea and especially the hazelnut flavor, but not to worry – each taste comes through. I’m really pleased with this one!!! It is working to satisfy my chocolate craving AND it made a little much needed room in my cupboard!
Not really an ‘experiment’ this time, per se, but a quick cup. This weekend has been an end-to-end slog of geekery of the highest order, capped off, two nights in a row, with a night out at a noisy bar with about 12 other people all conversing over the noise, and then a drunken collapse into bed (alone, not with 12 other people).
I am hoarse. I am raw. I’m exhausted. And I am about to do it for night #3.
No time to make a full chai, I steeped 1 teaspoon of Samurai Chai Mate and 1 teaspoon of Samovar’s Masala Chai (which I have mysteriously not written a tasting note for, yet?) in a quick 16oz. of water, and threw a tiny bit of milk and sugar at it. I need the caffeine from the mate if I’m going to survive.
Reminds me, as it usually does, of a holiday tea. I’m at a point where I think I really need to get some yerba mate that isn’t dressed up as a chai so that I can try it alone, prepared in a gourd and all of that good stuff. I’m not sure I’ll like it, but there’s no denying that the impact of the caffeine from mate kicks the pants off of the caffeine from almost anything else I’ve tried (though I did manage to get an interesting, refreshingly mellow mood lift from the pu-erh I’ve been drinking, after prolonged periods of sipping — something I can thank takgoti for pointing out).
Anyway…today, back to the con. One last day, one friend’s b-day dinner, and then rest…sweet, sweet rest.
So very yummy. I prepared this accord to takgoti/teaplz’s instructions ( http://steepster.com/teaplz/posts/20967 ) and now I think I need to re-rate all of my chais so that this one doesn’t have an unfair advantage. I had been preparing my chai like normal black tea – hah! I only added a little bit of stevia for sweetener, but it tastes much sweeter; something about heating the milk, I think? Anyway, very very tasty.
I always forget that there’s black pepper in this chai blend, because it’s very understated – mostly cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves – just enough to give it a little bite. I can barely taste the assam, but it enough there to make this taste like tea, and to keep it from being too sweet.
WOW. I made a cold brewed iced tea with this and it is amazing! It really is like St. Germain liquor iced tea because of the Darjeeling. I am really impressed. Very sweet and fruity with that almost grapefruit edge. Very sophisticated! I’m going to save this one for hot summer evening dinner parties :) It’s too good for every day!
I just drank two cups of this tea as fast as I could make them! There is something about me and vanilla tea – I just can’t seem to get enough! I baked black bottom cupcakes (chocolate cupcake with the top third a sort of cheesecake, and mini chocolate chips to decorate), and brought some into work (the rest are for a Tupperware party I am going to tonight. Everyone that I mention it to says “They still HAVE Tupperware parties!?!?” and I am here to say, yes, they do, and my niece is having one. I think the “2010” part is that it’s being held in a bar (!).
Anyway! The combination of these cupcakes and the Vanilla Assam is great! The tea tastes really caramel-y (perhaps the mixing of the malty Assam and vanilla with the rich chocolate and cheesecake?) and very decadent. Tupperware parties at bars, blackbottom cupcakes and vanilla tea at 10am – what can I say – I am a wild, wild woman.
1st steep, 1st impressions: okay, so green/raw/sheng puerh is clearly a whole different animal from black/cooked/shou. Noted. Seconds impressions: smoky aroma, warm cream/pale orange color, smoky/grassy/complex flavor profile. Not a hint of barnyard or fish. Did I just spoil myself for lesser puerhs? :(
Holding off on the numerical rating for some longer steeps
Steep 2, ~2 minutes, boiling water into room temp pot. Same warm gold color, slightly fainter aroma; this is reminding me of a Formosa Oolong in character.
Steep 3, ~3 minutes I think I’ll try cooler water on the next steep, because I’m getting some very roasty toasty notes but not a lot of depth; this tastes like it ought to be bitter, but of course it’s puerh so it isn’t actually.
Steep 4, 4 minutes. Did the boiling water → cup → pot this time, so it ended up around 180°F. I don’t think I mentioned yet, but the leaves are big and beautiful, dry and wet. Very little scent; I think I should start upping the steep time more, but I’ve certain these leaves have more to give. Still a nice pale gold color, and the flavor profile hasn’t changed much (smoke, hay, roasty), but the flavor isn’t as intense this time around.
Certainly a fine example of a cooked puerh, from my limited experience. Looks and smells a bit milder than Maiden’s Ecstasy, but also a bit… sweeter? More floral? Sipping: either I got used to the barnyard taste overnight, or this is a better puerh than I’ve had before. The latter seems more likely. It’s still there, but muted; more sweet hay than dirt. There’s a bit of spice, too. And some fruit, now. It still doesn’t have the kick of a black tea, but this is definitely growing on me.
I’m finding that the mood/energy effects of puerh are more like yerba mate than regular tea or coffee; smoother, and more drawn out.
Steep 2 at ~2 minutes is rather weak; need to up the steep time I guess
Steep 3, ~5 minutes, scent is getting weaker but color and flavor are still good. Starting to lose some of the nuances I got on the first steep though
Steep 4, m sure with a higher leaf/water ratio it would give more steeps.
Today is an exciting day! My Vanilla Assam is ready for consumption!!!
I took about 3 oz of Very Good but Nothing Earth Shattering Like Dear Thomas Assam (Premium Steap’s Assam Khongea FTGFOP-1) and cut into it a vanilla bean (one Extremely Intoxicating Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla Bean). Let sit for 3 weeks to a month, shaking whenever you remember, to infuse. When you make your tea, steep the vanilla bean pieces along with the tea leaves.
Ooooooooh it’s FANTASTIC! If you are a vanilla lover, you HAVE to try this! I guess because I used an entire high quality vanilla bean, the tea is just making me swoon with deliciousness! So much vanilla bean flavor and that slight smokiness. BUT – because it has no extract or flavoring, it’s delicate and really lets whatever tea you use shine. It’s old fashioned and home made and just wonderful. It is sublime for drinking and I think it would really be great infused into a vanilla tea buttercream frosting. I’d also like to play around with different vanilla beans with different origins – e.g. Tahitian Vanilla bean instead of Madagascar, and different teas.
In an effort to reduce Adagio sample tins, inspired by Bethany, I decided to go ahead and start mixing stuff together. Today it was Assam Melody and Keemun Rhapsody, and the results are pretty good…one teaspoon of each for my 16oz. teacup. Raisiny-sweet without being too astringent, a smooth cup to start the day.
And yes, that’s Mr. T. Mr. TEA. …yeah, I know, it’s not that funny.
My first blend is a success! The sum is truly greater than the parts on this one :) A nice synergy is going on between all the random Earls and the Assam. I’m so glad I did this! The soapy citrus from Adagio’s Earl Grey got really tamed with the additions (some of which were smoky Russian Earls), and it results in a pleasant bergamot infused tea. I can’t wait to try it iced in the summer with fresh orange slices!
A tale of two tea occasions.
Last night, I was feeling great, needed a nightcap. This was the one. Great smooth minty finish to the day.
This morning, woken up in horrible condition. real belter of a migraine, and of course, urgent work to complete.
So I’ve been re-steeping last night’s pot for medicinal reasons.
It’s helping. The clean palate of the mint helps clear my head.
Unlike other additions to tea, mint does not seem to disappear from re-steepings. It’s just as perky as when it was first steeped.
I wish I was.
I might have to recreate this one, I do love it.
On my second cup. I have developed a head cold and a sore throat- it’s not been my week – and this is keeping me going.
It’s invigorating and head clearing. Keeps the doctor away!
Oh, and I have it sweet. It’s traditional!
So, I’m sitting here bored and thought I would do a little blending on my own. I used Lapsang Souchong, Keemun, and Formosa Oolong. All of these teas are from Harney and Sons. I surprised myself, this is a real smooth blend similar to Caravan and Russian Country. The tea had no bitterness and was really tasty. I love the smokiness in this blend of tea. Its so easy, I just used equal amounts of each tea. I’m not going to rate this tea as it is something I put together, but I love it.
My 100th Tasting Note!
Our kids cooked us dinner last night, some Asian fusion stuff. We knew our youngest (Saxon) is a talented chef – he has worked for us as such in the past – but our older son Lucas also did a great job.
But… we were promised tea and it never came.
So, arriving home at 10:30, time for a cup.
I made the chai up about two months ago, and this was the last of it. Immediately, you know it’s going to have a more cinnamon taste, because it falls to the bottom over time, When we owned a tea shop, we had customers who would only buy chai when the jar was low.
So, out with a chai, 4 grams in 150mls of water for 6 minutes.
150 mls of skim milk, 1 sweetener and two spoons sugar (yep, diet time)
Steamed to a frothy 80 degrees, poured two steaming mugs, sprinkles on top.
A very worthy, sweet, delicious 100th note!
PS: Saxon’s partner Sarah was wearing a “No Woman No Chai” badge last night.
I thought I’d update on the experimentation we’re going through with this blend and the triniTEA.
I’m using about 6 tsp of English Breakfast and 2 (heaping) tsp of Lemon Youkou. It’s on the hotter setting of the triniTEA (II) and brewing for 2 minutes.
We’ll get about 32 oz of tea, which will then have sugar added to it (about 1/3 cup) and the pitcher will be topped off with ice (it’s a 1 L pitcher).
The bitterness seems to be gone (good, because I can’t brew it for any less time on the triniTEA!). I’m still playing with the amount of lemon because the last one I thought was not enough but the husband said it was too much. I’m making it more to his taste becuase he tends to drink it more than I do.
Note to self: Dopn’t add too much tea. Don’t let it steep too long. Don’t try adding more hot water to the cup make it better.
And don’t expect to be cheerful when it’s 4am and you can’t sleep.
Wrong tea, at the wrong time. Tastes like Mud. But all my own fault.
Wouldn’t be fair to re-rate this tea over this.