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Recent Tasting Notes
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!
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.