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Recent Tasting Notes
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!
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,
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.
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.
After a crack at Taylors bagged version yesterday, decided I’d better redress the balance and have a real one.
And the difference is indeed mighty. My kitchen already smells like an open campfire. Don’t want to steep too long…
Hmmm, it’s a lovely round taste that circles your mouth. Strong enough to chew, but fades in a surprisingly dainty manner.
A great tea to take just before I head into the city for some work. Of course, my first stop is actually a tea shop.
I am still feeling quite crappy after a bad night, and 4 cups of Pai Mu Tan, so here goes:
teaspoon of Superior Vanilla with pods in an ibrik (turkish coffee pot)
Steep in a little water for 2 minutes
Add a dash of honey, a shake or two of dried ginger and two split green cardamom pods (hang the expense)
Added some low fat milk and on the stove to slowly heat up.
The taste is wonderful. I’ll comment later on whether it worked
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!
A lovely cup of a tea that remains a favourite despite it’s inadvertent creation.
I had to get up very early, and I’m not ready for anything heavy, but I wanted to move on from my cup or two of Jasmine an hour ago.
A mint tea can be a dessert, and I used it to follow some toast. The aroma has filled my office, and it keeps drawing me back fro another sip, and the inevitable second cup.
The green tea teases the palate; the mint smashes it to smithereens a millisecond later.
It’s the most exciting think happening in Adelaide at 5:59am, I am sure
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.
Just attacked the espresso machine again to make this.
Made 100ml strong tea. As an experiment, I left the infiuser in the jug while I heated the milk and sugar to 70 deg C.
mmmmm, it’s smooth. I love the way the spices line up in order on your pallet. Sugar / Cinnamon/ Cardamon/ tea/ milk / aniseed and cloves. Then sip again
Hand crafted chai – blended two weeks ago for the flavour to mingle.
So, I place a double serve (4g) in an infuser with a quarter cup od boiled water, and let steep for 6 minutes.
Then I add half a cup of cold milk and two sugars.
Then, it goes on the steam wand of the esspresso machine. I end up with a hot and foamy cup, which I sprinkle with a blend of cinnamon, cardamon and sugar all ground to a fine powder together
The result is a sweet, mingled flavour that holds you attention for about 15 minutes after you have finished. The aniseed flavour of star anise and the warm black pepper give you the foretaste, cinnamon and tea tend to linger.
Also chills well.