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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
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.
I made dinner, dessert and this tea iced to bring to my mom for Mother’s Day. I made the big 8 cup pitcher cold brewed with some simple syrup and half a lemon. Very refreshing! The cold brewed method makes the bergamot subtle enough to be delicious with food. I still prefer this with lime, but I used all my limes for the pie!
I also gave some tea to Mama Earth today. I compost all my used tea leaves, and my garden got a nice helping :) It’s so great to see my used tea leaves, vegetable scraps, the leaves the trees shed in the winter, etc. become food for my garden, then food for me, then food for my garden, then food for me… :)
I made cold brewed iced tea with this, a little simple syrup, and a half of a lime juiced. So. Good. So refreshing! Perfect with our picnic after a long, muddy hike. I originally used the lime because I was out of lemon, but we wound up preferring it to lemon! My husband thought it was the best iced tea so far this year (I still like the Darjeeling Assam better, but this is a close second!)! Next I will try this one with some of a juiced orange.
Made some iced tea with this! 4 tablespoons of Earl Grey tea, 4 cups of water in big pitcher for 8 hours in refrigerator. When ready strain into another pitcher with 4 tablespoons simple syrup. I also juiced a lemon and added it. I found it a nice touch but too lemony. I will use a half lemon next time. I can’t wait to make it again because it was so refreshing! Earl Grey makes a fantastic iced tea! We drank all four cups with our dinner!!!
It paired so nicely with the Alsatian Onion Tart/Pizza hybrid I made for our meal!
(basically this dough:
combined with this topping from the Baking with Julia cookbook:
with a little bit of grated cheese sprinkled on the dough before adding the toppings and baking. I used a cheddar but next time, definitely smoked gouda!)
(I highly recommend making your own pizza. It’s so much cheaper (even a super gourmet one is literally like 3-4 dollars vs the 10-15 you can spend ordering one) and this overnight dough method makes it so easy and ultimately quicker than waiting on a pizza delivery. Think of all the time you can then spend on Steepster, and $$ you can then spend on tea! Not to mention – the iced tea costs pennies vs. the expensive, horrible for you soda most people get with pizza delivery. OK. Off my soapbox ;)
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!
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!)
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.
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’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!
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
Time for Clarence, a slightly bigger teapot, because it’s tea for two. Interesting mix of brown and black colours with a fair bit of really small stuff.
The liquor is reddish brown, the aroma quite Assamese.
I think it works better in my bertter half’s cup (white with two) than mine (black with oneish)
But pleasant. And my late Grandmother, who grew up in the Great Depression, would ne mighty impressed with the effort of recycling the last few grams of three teas to get more tea.
Basic tea, well made if I do say so myself!