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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve been sitting here for HOURS trying to figure out what sort of tea I felt like having. I couldn’t even agree with myself on a type, so I eventually took my troubles to the random pick thing that Teaplz’s boyfriend came up with.
I’d call this a pretty unfavourable result. It’s ancient and I didn’t like it the first time. On the other hand if I do it now, I’ll be rid of the sample for good and ever and won’t have to actually throw it out, which is difficult for me.
My previous note for it mentioned something like a washing up soap aroma and not really being terribly impressed with it. Well, 21 points, I think that illustrates my level of non-impressedness pretty well, doesn’t it?
I sat for a while and pondered this pick and eventually decided to go ahead and do it. I happen to be in possesion of some milk at the moment, so maybe that’ll help matters a bit. Sugar too.
It’s not really a fruity blend because it’s so full of lemon grass and spices. And it’s not really a spicy/chai-y blend either because it’s so full of fruity stuff like pineapple and what have you. In my head it’s a sort of in-between thing. Like… fruit chai or something like that.
Which frankly doens’t sound all that inviting, does it? The washing up soap memory is coming back again here.
So after all this introductory chatter, how does it actually fare when being introduced to additives?
Not well. Not well at all.
As I mentioned the last time I posted about this five months ago, it’s an ancient sample. It was ancient already then. It’s unlikely that it hasn’t faded somewhat over time. Maybe when it was fresh I would have liked it better. Or maybe I’m just not a fan of lemon grass, period.
Okay, I gave it a fair shot. I even experimented with additives. Can I have something else now, please?
I gave up on the mango thing. I just couldn’t sit there and essentially drink hot water with a bit of perfume in it. And since it wasn’t what I had been inspired to have in the first place, let’s move right along to this. This too is ancient and haven’t been stored right, but I have better hope of this having retained some of it’s original flavour.
It smells like washing up soap. I think it must be the lemon grass and the orange zest. I believe I can pick up a hint of coconut too, but mostly it’s just washing up soap. I mean citrus.
Fresh taste, yes a bit actually. I think it has faded somewhat too, but at least it actually tastes of something. It has a hint of something minty that settles in the after taste. It must be the undisclosed spices. This isn’t really something special. I can’t pick out the individual flavours, but even if I could, I’m not really all that impressed.
I still don’t know why I bought this sample, but at least it’s better than what I had before.
Not having much tea luck at the moment. That should teach me to pay better attention to storage. But at least this is drinkable.
Sshhhhhh! looks shifty I’m skiving off for a few minutes!
I took this one with me to work, because frankly it’s too boring really to drink at home. I have now found out that it’s not very suitable for work either. It’s difficult to brew it consistently and there are enough distractions at work that oversteeping happens every now and then. It’s not a very forgiving tea about that.
It’s got a bitter edge today because I forgot to take the leaves out in time. I don’t think I’ll buy this one again and I’m not sure I’m going to keep it here at work. I think maybe I’ll take it home again and bring something else. If I get around to it before the tin is empty, that is.
Better get back to some sensible, productive activity.
Good morning, Steepster.
We’re trying the Ceylon again this morning and trying not to oversteep it too much this time as experience showed us that we’re dealing with a pretty unforgiving tea here.
And it’s still as dark as coffee and it still has that very Ceylonish aroma. I’m a bit concerned. Why the heck did I say in my first review of this upon purchase that it was surprisingly mild?
Oh well, at least it’s not unbearably bitter this time. It’s full and strong and just a hint of bitterness when I swallow. Not bad bitterness that comes with too long steeps or bad quality leaves. It’s the sort of bitterness that’s supposed to be there. It lends… I want to say ‘character’ but I’m wondering if I’m over using the word a bit. ‘Personality’?
Anyway, if it hadn’t been for yesterday’s chai-that-wasn’t-chai-experience, I’d have said it would work well with milk for those who likes milk tea, but having tried it and not really liked it much, I can’t make myself say that in good conscience. If you like sweetened tea, though, a bit of liquid honey might work.
The other day Rijje reviewed a Ceylon tea and didn’t much like it. This morning I wanted a solid, plain black and weirdly enough Rijje’s review put me in mind of some Ceylon. Yes weird, I don’t know how my head works either, but there you are. Imagine my surprise when I looked in my cupboard and found this!
There’s just something about a tea as black as coffee and you’re almost expecting it to have completely different smell. That Ceylon smell really is special, isn’t it. Sweet but strong and kind of roasted. It reminds me a lot of your average English Breakfast Blend. Not that strange since Ceylon is often a big part of those blends.
Ack, I oversteeped it a bit, which it so cannot handle. Next stop Bitterville. Rather astringent and it’s hard to pick up any proper flavours to review, due to my own negligence. (Which is ironic, since JUST YESTERDAY I was sitting around all smug claiming to be able to brew a decent and consistent pot of tea through guesstimation. Of course, that was about dosage of leaves and not steeping time, but STILL! GAH! feels silly)
So, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I added a little bit of cane sugar and I added a little bit of milk. I almost never do this. Very few teas IMO are nice with a little milk, and it’s not just depending on the tea, it’s also depending on the situation and the people I’m with. My colleague, with whom I frequently go to a specific cafe/tea house, is just about the only person that I will sit and drink milk tea with. Our cafe visits have turned out to be highly ritualised. Same table, same chairs, same tea, same scones. The only things that vary are the things we talk about and the cake he have.
Furthermore, and this is really a snob-thing, I prefer to add milk to the cup first and not last. When added last it’ll go in and settle below the surface of the tea, like it’s not properly mixed. It looks weird and then you have to stir to get it mixed right. With milk in first, you get it instantly mixed right and you save the spoon. One less item to wash up. Yes, this makes PERFECT sense in Angrboda-Land.
Anyway, this tea with milk and sugar isn’t working for me. At least not today and not in this situation. I’m reminded of the chai I had yesterday, because although that one was based on Assam I feel like I’m sitting here drinking a chai where somebody forgot to add in all the spices. On the other hand, if I was to try and attempt making my own chai mix, this might be a good base for it.
Today and this morning, though, I’m feeling slightly let down.
Another tea I’ve never logged. WTF? I thought since it’s such a relatively long time since I shopped tea (and I mean really shopped through!) that I could have sworn all my loose had been logged at least once.
This is my reward for having written concentratedly for 15 minutes. NaNo wordcount total is now 9356 words. I’m ‘racing’ one of my writing buddies though, a fun little game we’ve had for years, and she was hot on my heels this morning. I was only 21 words ahead! O.o
Thank heavens for wednesdays! I’m part time employed so I have wednesdays off and although I was a bit annoyed at the position being a part time one when I started five years ago, I have come to love and cherish my wednesdays and I’m not going to ask for more hours until I’m forced.
Anyway, I’m taking (another) tea break. Double win when it’s a previously unlogged one. I ought to just drink it while doing another 15 minutes and let the review be the reward. But there’s a limit to how much discipline I can muster at any given moment.
It’s a good solid black, this, originally bought to drink at work, but I ended up bringing a different one instead. It has a nice reddish colour and not all that much in the way of aroma. It’s quite mild, almost fleeting and I had to sort of search for it. It’s nice once you find it though. A bit surprising in a black, I find.
Especially compared to the flavour. I brewed it a bit too strong. Wasn’t really paying attention to what I was doing when adding the leaves and used too many for the size of pot chosen. Which is weird, frankly, because this small one with the farm animals on it has been my preferred pot for quite a while. My head must have been full of witches and caves and wordcounts and such while preparing. Anyway, it turned a bit bitter because of the strength but underneath it there is a lot of that thing which I have finally learned to recognise as ‘astringency’. Although, with the lab work in my background, the word still have some completely weird associations for me.
It’s a shame I used too many leaves, because it’s really pretty much all I can taste in this batch. I’m giving it a higher rating though, because I know from previous experience that if one pays attention to what one is doing, it’s better than this.
Backlogging. Still drinking this one at work. It was particularly good today after first a meeting with the other lab that are being moved in with us. That’s going to be interesting. The sort of thing that even though it’s super-frustrating while it’s happening, it would be a shame to miss out on, because it’ll be a great laugh afterwards. Right now, though, we’re looking at a heck of a lot of confusion.
And then that’s followed by another meeting to do with pay regulation and who’s turn it is to get an add-on and how the negotiations for that are conducted between the hospital management and the union spokespeople. Dry and complicated stuff and likely irrelevant to me, because I’m pretty sure I’m not getting anything this year. I got some last year, so it can’t be my turn again, even though my immediate leader has ‘nominated’ me. (Not that I’d complain, mind!) Very dry and complicated stuff, most of which went completely over my head.
All in all, getting back downstairs to my lunch and a big cup of this tea = heaven on earth. I still stand by my first review of this taste-wise. I just thought that the absolute relief it was to get it today was worth logging. Just for that alone.
This is what I’m drinking at work at the moment. Currently they’re messing with the ceiling and the ventilation system so it’s impossible to work. In the meantime I figured I could go and talk about this tea.
It’s the house blend of a small local tea shop near where I live. It consists of Panyong, Keemun and Yunnan black tea with mallow flowers and is supposedly without or low in tannins.
I’ve had a sample of this ages ago which I liked but never bought more of. I’m pretty certain it didn’t have the mallow flowers then, but I can’t really be certain. (actually I think I might have an ancient review of it somewhere, but I don’t have access to it at the moment)
It’s a pleasant blend with a nice floral but not too much so aroma. It’s a good work-tea and I imagine it would be quite nice with a bit of milk as well as without. I don’t really agree with the no tannins, though. I feel like I’m definitely picking up some tannins in this.
However, I learned a few weeks ago that it’s not a particularly good tea for brewing in the morning and bringing on the train in the travelling mug. For some reason there I didn’t like it much at all. I expect it was too much of it at one time since this is not necessarily a tea where you have to drink gallons.
One, maybe two cups is pleasant, but enough.
(I hope this is getting a green thumbs up sign. When I move the cursor away from the icon it turns into the red thumbs down… It’s supposed to be a green one for liking it!)
Hyrulehippie inspired me and you can blame her for the fact that I’m logging my third tea today. Or maybe I should just change my name to Spamrboda instead.
Anyway, I’ve listed this one as black (because it is) and fruit because it’s not fruit but it’s not a plain black either. See my dilemma?
It’s very sweet with the almonds and it has big almond chunks in it. You can smell marzipan from miles away just when pouring the water on. This tea is totally a dessert tea and I really ought to wait and have it after I’ve eaten dinner. But it’s slow food tonight and I can’t wait that long!
When smelling the leaves or the steeped tea, you’re not left in the slightest bit of doubt as to what marzipan is made of. When they say it’s a sweet tea, they’re not kidding! Show me a person who takes this tea with sweetener and I’ll show you a person with a sugar problem. It’s not unbearably sweet though, and the actual flavour is more black tea with a streak of almond than it’s the unbearable sweetness that you get from the scent. It’s actually much better than expected, but unlikely to be a tea I’ll be drinking large amounts of. One small pot now and then should suffice.
Second steep of last night’s leaves of this.
I am not impressed. It’s much weaker now and watery. The last of the already very faded cactus flavour is completely gone and, weirdly, it has gained a note of something almost chamomile-ish instead.
I’m not quite done with it yet, though, so I’m making myself a new pot, using the last of the leaves I had.
Since I bought this one, the shop has moved twice and switched owners at least once, so it’s pretty ancient. Had the leaves been fresher, they might have held up to the resteep better. I’ve seen that they have a green cactus flower tea on their website now, which they’re calling an interesting newcomer, so now I’m not sure if this particular tea that I’ve got has been discontinued and brought back or if it’s a new but similar tea. Mine doesn’t say anything about flowers. Could be either.
The rate I’m cleaning up nearly empty tins these days, I’ll have to do some shopping before I send the travelling teabox out, or the first person on the list is in for a bit of a disappointment! O.o
I was asked once, “what does cactus taste like?” and I floundered wildly to come up with an answer. I still don’t know how to describe. I could recognise it instantly; it’s even one of those flavours that it’s easy to imagine when you don’t have it, but I don’t really know how to describe it.
It’s sort of sweet and sort of fruity but not like your ordinary sweet and fruity. It has that cool sensation that you also find in mint and it has a certain freshness to it so it doesn’t get cloying. And a touch of fennel(*) too.
My leaves of this are fairly old and have been standing forgotten in the cupboard for a long time, so I can’t really remember how much flavour it had to begin with but I think it must have faded some. There isn’t all that much of the added flavour left in it, except in the aroma, but the green tea it’s based on is coming out loud and clear. It doesn’t say what the base is, but I’m guessing it’s probably Sencha, since the vast majority of the green flavoured teas in that particular shop are based on Sencha. Or at least they were at the time I bought it.
It’s been ages and ages since I’ve had a pure Sencha (that I knew for sure was Sencha) so I can’t really judge it on flavour. Only an educated guess. Due to the nature of the cup, i can’t tell you about the colouring of the liquid and looking at it as it’s poured doesn’t really give a very accurate picture. It did look a tiny bit neon-green though. Just the slightest hint.
The taste is definitely different from my chinese and taiwanese greens too. It doesn’t taste as green, kind of. As in, it doesn’t taste like it’s not a green tea, it just doesn’t invoke the same images of things that are green while drinking it. Or something. Gosh, that sounds ridiculous, but I can’t figure out how else to explain it. It reminds me very strongly of Genmaicha, to the point where I have to remind myself that it isn’t actually Genmaicha. Does any of this sound Sencha-ish to those of you who have more experience with Sencha?
.(*) Fennel, btw, might be an interesting flavour in a green or white tea, come to think of it…
Backlogging. I’ve had this one for a long time, it’s one of the teas that have been forgotten during a long period of time where greens didn’t really interest me much. It’s one of those green ones that get an almost neon-like colour and you wonder if there might have radio-active waste involved in making it. It’s really old though, and the flavour has faded rather a lot, especially the cactus flavour.
But it was awesome when it was fresh.
This is one of my favourite greens with additives. It’s got a really sweet flavour. Hard to describe it exactly, and this is going to sound really strange, but it’s sort of like Dr. Pepper only not. This particular batch that I’ve got though is getting on in age, so it’s turned a little dull, but it’s still enjoyable.