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Recent Tasting Notes
Angrboda mentioned that she was picking up walnut notes in this tea and I can sort of see what she means, there’s definitely a nutty quality to it. But to me it doesn’t taste nearly as astringent as walnuts do (which I’m not a fan of anyway, so that’s a plus) and there’s also a bit of sweetness at the tail end of things.
I’m also getting some notes that I can only describe as ‘green’ in the middle of each sip. It’s not a grassy or strongly vegetale taste like green teas, it’s…argh I don’t know how to describe it. I think my tea vocabulary is a little lacking. :D
My experience with white teas is, sadly, quite limited, but when I got this in a swap with Angrboda (thanks hon) I was eager to try out this tea that had garnered such rav reviews from her.
The dry leaves don’t really look like anything special, in fact they look almost identical to ones used in Adagio’s White Cucumber (bad association – I’m sorry). They brewed up a pale gold-coloured beverage, with a light, slightly-sweet odor. The flavour is…I’m not sure how to describe it except that I think this is what a good white peony tea is supposed to taste like.
Thumbs up to the Angry Dane, she’s found a winner! XD
So… ages ago one of the things in the Box of Random Rooibos I inherited from Angrboda was some quince rooibos. I think there was only enough for one pot, which apparently I then forgot to log, but I enjoyed it a lot. So it was very nice to find a bag of this in my Christmas stocking, so to speak (along with others, to be detailed later)
So. Aroma is quite strong and fruity, and presumably quince-y, although I’ve never met one in person. Certainly you will be aware if you have some of this in your tea cupboard, let’s say ;-)
To taste, I would call it very smooth, if that makes any sense, and the quince flavor lingers very pleasantly on the tongue, after an inital burst of sweetness. A nice and relaxing rooibos, I would say.
I’m freezing! Also, I’ve followed Bethany’s example and gathered together all the teas that I only have a little left of and therefore needs to be finished off. I figured this was the closest one for getting warm what with all the spices in it.
Usually when I’ve had this I’ve done it the traditional way with Lena’s and Takgoti’s recipe, but I don’t have any milk so I went out on a limb and just brewed it like I would have any other ‘normal’ tea.
It’s been a good while since I’ve had any of this, but I definitely remember that I could have lived without the black pepper. For some reason, when taken plain like this it’s actually a lot smoother. Probably because I’m using less leaf this way, but it works. Pepper is diminished, although I could still cope without the note of it that’s left.
It’s still not something that I’m likely to be stocking up on, though.
I can’t seem to make this consistently. Maybe it has something to do with whether or not it boils over horribly. Last time it boiled over and it turned out kind of concentrated and sweet. This time it didn’t boil over and it’s extremely peppery.
I could still live without the pepper.
It’s very christmassy, I think the next step on the christmassy scale would be glögg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulled_wine#Gl.C3.B6gg) and that’s an entirely different thing.
I’m being encouraged to try and blend my own, so I’ll probably give that a go one of these days.
PS: The link up there looks strange, but it’s been tested and it works. Even if it looks strange.
Tonight I am absolutely for absolute certain going to bed at a decent hour! And I refuse to lie awake until half past 1 too.
So tonight I’m having just-before-bedtime chai. Tea before bed isn’t usually a problem for me sleep-wise, so what I’m really looking for here is the warm milk aspect to hopefully help me fall asleep afterwards.
Of course… There is a fairly good chance that this is going to be pretty awful, due to getting sidetracked and the whole thing boiling over. Gah! Yay for ceramic cooktop scraping things. grumble
The taste is a bit… concentrated. Especially in the sugar department. Probably due to having overdone it a bit on all the boiling steps, but it’s totally drinkable and the flavour hasn’t been significantly changed. It doesn’t taste burned or anything. There’s just less of it this time than there was the first time I tried it.
The fact that it’s sweeter this time helps with the pepper taste too. But I could still have lived without the black pepper. Easily.
And this me now going to bed at a decent hour. Goodnight steepsterites. (
The observant Steepster Peep will have noticed that I added this to my cupboard yesterday. The Great Chai Adventure continue, this time with actually buying a real, proper chai blend in my little local shop. It was the only one they had so that made the choosing a non-issue. Do or Die.
I made it like Lena F described in the forum thread about chai, only half the amounts she wrote in case I didn’t like it.
It was mild and smooth with the milk, much like the ones I’ve already had to go in the last couple of weeks. On top of that though there was the pepper. Prickly on the tongue and throat. I think this might actually be that flavour I found in my first ever chai that led me to believe I didn’t like ginger. Or part thereof.
Overall, it was nice, but I could totally live without the pepper. I’d like it much much better if it didn’t have that pepper in it.
EDIT: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! The Evil Enabler has struck again. Meet Lexitus, previously mentioned boyfriend. Say hello, Lexitus.
Gosh, these leaves must be ancient! If there is some fading, however, it doesn’t really matter today as what I was looking for was something mild. Let’s not go too much into detail here. Suffice to say that I had milkshake-tummy all day yesterday and that yesterday’s diet consisted primarily of water and the glass of juice I had in the evening was somewhat regretted at bedtime.
So. Something mild for me, please. I’m feeling better in the stomach department today, but let’s not rock the boat, eh?
This turned out as orange as… an orange today. I always get surprised by the colour with this one. I keep expecting it to be very very light and then I get shocked at how dark it actually is.
The aroma is weirdly custard-y. A bit buttery and a bit sweet and I wonder if the fact that I made lemon curd earlier today is messing with my senses. I can’t really spot much nuttiness in the aroma. Perhaps a little almond here and there, but not really anything noteworthy.
Which is funny, because I distinctly remember it as being quite nutty. Or maybe that was just all in the flavour?
Yes it was. It is indeed quite mild, likely due to some fading, but the note of walnut is still quite obvious. Sad to say, however, that either the remainder of the leaves will have to be brewed somewhat stronger than this or it will mainly be used for occasions such as this where I’m feeling it best to stick with something mild.
I had originally given this one a grand total of 98 points, but seeing as how I’ve been so disinterested in it for so long, I’m going to take it down somewhat. No tea that one loses interest in like this is really worth 98 points.
IMPORTANT EDIT!!! GAH!! I completely forgot! Happy New Year, Steepsterites. Be careful around the fireworks.
Look what I found at the back of the cupboard! Did anyone say ‘summerly’?
peers into cup
DEAR MY TEA!
I gave you a 30 second steep. 45 seconds as the very very most. How come you are so dark looking?
Nothing wrong with the flavour though. One sip made my eyes go all roll-y and my face go all grinny. I’ve missed this one and I didn’t even know it.
I need to do some experimental forays into other whites though. This is the only one I’m completely at home in. I’ve only ever had silver needles once for example, and I wasn’t truly aware of what I was drinking then.
I think I’ll take this cup with me to the balcony and finish Gullstruck Island.
This is actually a backlog of what I had last night before sleeping. I made it with the gaiwan (really need more of those things!) and with cooler water than I have before. The reason for the c ooler water being that I forgot it and then couldn’t be bothered to boil again.
I think the steeping time must have been shorter too. The only thing I know for sure, really, is that I used more leaf.
The result was VASTLY different to what I’ve had before. At least it seemed like it. It came as a bit of a surprise to me when I took the first sip, because that was just not how I remembered it at all. It wasn’t as walnut-y and borderline astringent. It was sweet, a note of nuts but over-all insanely buttery.
It was good enough at all, but I think I prefer it the other way. I’ll have to experiment a bit here.
Yes, yes, I know, I’m supposed to be eddicated in japanese greens. But I had that lovely sencha yesterday (and this morning) and tonight I was supposed to have one of the other ones for a bit of comparison. Thing is, though, I’m absolutely and completely pooped. Weird really with how little I’ve had to do (apart, that is, from my previous post. Said pathologist is a very friendly guy. Just… keeping track of him is like herding fleas sometimes)
Anyway, I don’t think I can think well enough to actually sit here and learn stuff about green tea. So I thought I’d just go for something I know, something that I don’t have to think that much about. I’ve got a generic gunpowder of unknown origins and that one is fairly… ordinary.
But then I saw this tin. And realised how long ago it’s been since I had any. That is so not okay!
Oh my yummy Pai Mu Tan! Nomtastic!
You know… disregarding the fact that I was impatient with the water and didn’t let it get cool enough, so it’s gone a bit bitter. The walnut stopped being so obviously walnut. It still has that round, slick flavour though, so all is not lost and it’s still a lovely cup.
Just ever so slightly abused. Bit like me. Thank all deities tomorrow’s wednesday!
What I wanted was to try another one of the samples from Nothing But Tea.
What I needed was this. Well-known and sure to please. I’ve reaced a point with this one where I don’t have to sit and taste it and think a lot about what I’m having. I know exactly what I’m going to get. Sweet, clean nuttyness.
It’s the get-me-started cup this morning. I’ll dive back into the NBT samples later.
I got green tea for christmas from my little cousin and I got three kinds of tea from Lexitus also (and a cd and a book. I gave him tea and a cd. We gave each other nearly the same things.) I also have some Bethany-teas that I haven’t tried yet.
But I’ve gone for this one because I’m too tired what with being social and having trampled around in the forest for two hours to be able to taste anything properly and that would be a shame with any of the new ones. I’m not currently in any sort of position to do them justice. So, something familiar and uncomplicated. This is the one I’ve logged the most times, so it seems a good choice. The fact that it’s one of my all-time favourites, doesn’t hurt either.
Also, Takgoti and Teaplz both had it recently (although a different brand) and both mentioned a note of walnuts. It was one of those things that just clicked for me when I read it. Of course there’s a walnut note. I just have to check you know? And confirm it in my head.
Yup, there it is. And it’s loud too! I can’t believe I never thought to connect it with walnuts before, it seems so obvious now.
Should also go well with Midsomer Murders which starts in five minutes or so. Whether it’ll suit the ice cream flavour that I got (Chunky Monkey) is a different matter. Well, it has walnut bits in it, so maybe it’ll be awesome in combination with the tea.
I saved the leaves from this morning on this one, and I’m switching tea-gears mid cup. I’ve just received some hugely bad family news, and I need a cup of this. Not in the way of a celebratory cup, but a comforting cup and a calming down cup, because I’m so angry right now.
I’m beginning to think I actually like the second steep of these leaves better than the first. It seems smoother and sweeter. More pat-on-the-head-everything’s-going-to-be-okay like. Or is that just because I’m using it in this particular situation?
The problem with a celebration tea is that it’s all too easy to think of things to celebrate. Today for example it’s snowing on my city. The real deal! White stuff falling out of the sky! Winter, REAL winter, has come to Denmark at last. I hope it’s snowing in Copenhagen too, just to give some of those state leaders from far away countries an experience. Some of them might never have seen snow before in real life.
This is my fortifying cup before going out in the winter weather (SNOW!!!) and getting the last of the presents. It’s a bit understeeped today because I’m impatient and I wish I could say that it wasn’t damaging it any, but it is a bit watery. At least with the cup I’m using today I couldn’t drain the pot entirely, so I should be able to top it up with some more properly steeped tea.
Still good though.
Seventh steep now while watching Midsomer Murders and still no crutches. It’s definitely getting a bit thin now, but still seven steeps is like a new record for me. I’m really depending on that little stir before drinking to get it all well-mixed at this point. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of flavour at this point. It just that it comes with a side of… water. It’s like you get two different flavours. There’s the white tea. And then there’s the hot water.
(And for those keeping track, Barnaby is put on a diet and to make matters worse is initially put on the case of a stolen goose. So much lol involved with this. Poor Barnaby!)
EDIT: 8th steep like 7th. Nothing new here. Just wanted to add in a reminder about the Travelling Teabox! Don’t forget to sign up by emailing me at email@example.com before 2009 is out. Details on the forum thread here: http://steepster.com/discuss/102-travelling-teabox
STEEPSTER! You are BACK! Never leave me again! cries, cuddles
This is the fifth steep of these leaves, the same leaves that I started last night. I’ve been so panicky about Steepster not working that I kept forgetting to make tea. I boiled water for these leaves several times and then forgot to use it so the water got way too cold. You would think this downtime would mean that I’d be getting my chores done instead, but uh… Let’s talk about something else.
But we’re back in business (I hope), although I’ll probably be pressing post with my fingers crossed.
For four steeps now, and one of them a bit overdone, I’ve used these leaves with success and lots of flavour. No crutches this time at all. They fade a little but it’s not really noticeable. If you served fourth steep of this and didn’t tell me it was a resteep, I’d never catch on.
The thing with steeping in the cup instead of the pot though, is that in the cup I feel like I get the best result if I give it just a little stir before drinking so that the concentration of extract from the leaves is the same all over the cup, or the top ‘layer’ is just warm water. This happens automatically when pouring from the pot.
I’ve kicked the rating the rest of the way up and am making myself a sixth steep now (still without crutches) in celebration of Steepster coming back to me after several hours (so many hours!) apart.
Celebration: New dashboard FTW!!!! That’s pretty much how I imagined it once people started suggesting tabs. I’m especially in love with the tab about notices about posts that I made. No more having to scroll through tons of notifications, keeping an eye out for my name. YAY!
Comfort: Taxes FTL! >:( Long story involving own stupidity and unexpected december expense. BOO!
Needless to say there was only one tea I could possibly drink today.
It doesn’t really work very well when the cup isn’t big enough that I can drain my small pot in one go, so for the next steeps I’m just going to transfer some of the leaves directly to my little cup and hope I can get it right. I don’t usually use these little cups… Eh well, I can add more from the pot and I can take some out of the cup. How hard can it be?
So yeah, this last bit of the first steep is a bit over-done. It’s got a slightly dry quality to it and the flavour doesn’t win from being somewhat stewed.
It’s a bad day when you need a comfort tea after having had celebratory tea! O.o
Luckily, the second cup brewed directly in the cup is more up to par with previous experience with this tea. It’s a bit strong, so I’ll have to remove a few of the leaves, but it’s definitely better. Much nicer and sweeter, even after leftovers of last night’s slightly spicy dinner. This tea works remarkably well as a dessert, actually. It can’t completely replace a good cake or ice cream or pudding or what have you, but it’s a nice after-meal tea.
I think I’ll stick to this for the rest of the evening.
I am breaking out my celebration tea! And I’ll tell you why, Steepster Peeps! Today I have, after some successful grovelling and begging, convinced 52Teas that shipping to Denmark would be a really good idea. And just a short while ago I placed my order! So not only have I discovered a new place to shop with very reasonable shipping fees, but I have ALSO for the first time EVAH! been able to get the Steepster Select item. I’ve been really good at saving money this month in spite of falling off the wagon a few times in order to buy tea, so although I’m not getting paid until monday, I decided I was allowed. It was really hard to choose. I dithered for ages. In the end I more or less closed my eyes and pointed.
Can we say WOOT!!!!
It was so worth being scolded for creating a horizontal scrollbar with my squeeing.
I love this tea. I really really do, but I hope I got the dosage right. Large leaves, narrow tea scooper. Do the math. Have also patiently steeped for as long as the shop said to although it’s still twice as long as my brain says would be a good idea.
But once again I’m both surprised and relieved. It’s awesome. It’s celebration in a cup.
Now, if anybody wants me for anything for the next week or so, I’ll be waiting by the letterbox.
Oh gosh, what a day! I hate the first day back at work after having been on holiday. Especially when first day back at work after a holiday coincides with the first day of moving lab craziness. I’m in bad need of some good tea. And a nap. And some ice cream. (And a little pity would be nice too)
I think this would be the sixth steep or something like that. Since the fifth was getting a bit on the thin side, I’ve added just a pinch of fresh leaves.
It’s still as clear as water while pouring and it still gets that funky greenish colour in the cup. Lots of nutty aroma though, and the pinch of fresh leaves gave it a little more kick.
However, even if it wasn’t for fact that for hygenic reasons, the leaves are being discarded today (and probably hygeine-wise should have been yesterday. If I get ill, I get ill. I doubt it’ll kill me), there probably wouldn’t be enough kick left in them for a seventh steep.
(Mind you, I may have used slightly too cold water, because I almost nearly forgot about it. I can tell because the fresh pinch leaves got into the cup and are refusing to sink to the bottom… pokes them. Poke poke poke)
ARGH! I accidentally did something weird and the post got eaten. I think it must have been a stray back button click. Oh well.
We’re gearing up for steep five of this. I was advised last night to put the leaves in the fridge over night, and then while I was sleeping I was adviced to not do that under any circumstances ever. Hm. Well, I stuck them in the fridge because that was what I had to go with at the time of going to bed and to be honest I felt best about doing that from a hygeinic standpoint.
I took the pot out some 45 minutes ago to let the leaves acclimatise themselves a bit, but primarily because the idea of pouring 80C hot water into an ice-cold favourite teapot with farm animals on it sounded a bit risky to me. I’ve seen what happens when you pour newly boiled water into a glass that wasn’t technically made for it. It… exploded… So yeah, I’m cautious. And especially with this one. (Farm animals!)
Again, it’s got that funny green shade in the cup and it’s as clear as water while pouring. Still got some aroma to it though, and while it has lost colour in the cup, there still plenty colour left.
Tastewise, it’s faded a bit. It’s definitely beginning to taste weak now. I think if it got a little help from just a pinch of fresh leaves, there would still be plenty of kick in it. It just needs a… crutch, so to speak.
Cheers to the next 100 posts. I’m still drinking this. I’m on my fourth infusion now.
Steeps two and three still had loads and loads of flavour in them. That sourness in the aftertaste that I mentioned is almost non-existant at this point and the natural sweetness of the tea is more pronounced.
Steep four is turning slightly greenish in colour. It’s almost completely clear when pouring, but after it has been allowed to stand and develop a little more in the cup after pouring it turns into that same golden colour again. It’s the same with the flavour. Beginning to show a little weakness at first, but once it has had a few minutes to develop in cup there’s still lots of flavour in it.
I don’t have time to do any more steeps of this tonight, but I would rather like to see how much flavour it’s possible to wring out of this very nice tea. My resteeping experience only goes so far as to immediate resteeps. Is there a good way to somehow preserve the leaves over night? Like, should I rinse the pot out and put the leaves in the fridge overnight or should I dry them or some such?
This is my post number 100! Happy Steepsterversary to me, yay!
This is one of the teas I bought earlier this week when I first feel off the stingy-wagon. I haven’t tasted it yet as I have saved it for this very occasion and this particular post.
Pai Mu Tan has always been for me one of THE white teas. This one and Yin Zhen. They are the very essence of white teas and nothing can surpass them in greatness. They don’t need to have fantastic outstanding flavours, they are carried by their names alone.
Today has been a day in the name of glazed teapot maintenance. I very rarely clean out my pots on the inside other than a thorough rinsing with clean water, because a teapot that you can see is in use is a teapot with character! And it also greatly reduces the threat of accidentally making up a pot of tea that tastes of soap residue. However, I felt that this tea for this post deserved as clean a pot as I could muster. So that was eight teapots total, half a tub of baking soda, god only knows how many liters of water boiled and even more water for rinsing. (The planet probably hates me now.)I am very carefully brewing this as well as I can without actually owning a thermometer. I’m a bit surprised that the shop recommends a steeping time of 6-8 minutes which I think is eons for a white, so I had to consult my literature. To my enormous surprise, the literature agrees! O.o Have I been brewing whites all wrong all this time? Very well, I shall give it 6-8 minutes, although it’s really difficult to convince my head that this is a good idea. My literature also informs me that green teas are best steeped without the pot lid on so as to prevent it from stewing in the steam and a gentler preparation. I’m assuming that this also goes for white tea.
It’s steeping now, there are five minutes to go. I’m really nervous that I’m going to ruin this. What sort of Steepsterversary post would that make! O.o
Anyway, the dry leaves are large and green and they have a fresh, grassy sort of smell. You can dream yourself halfway to China on this smell, it’s very nice. Because I’m impatient and can’t wait until I’ve poured a cup, I’ve been sniffing the pot too as it steeps. The grassy smell is more prominent here when mixed with the steam, but it’s hard to really pick up on the notes this way.
I have made sure to choose a big white porcelain mug that allows me to drain the pot in go. Of course, I have to say yay for surface tension here and I’m not going to attempt lifting it! :p It’s a darkish golden colour, very unlike the murky brownish stuff in the cheap teabags, and after pouring, it darkens a little further quickly.
It has a very clear sort of vegetal and leafy smell that you don’t have to sit and search for. It flows right up and out of the cup and fills up your nose on every sniff.
Mmmm, no, the long steeping time definitely didn’t ruin it. Once again it would seem that the literature is smarter than me. It has a natural sweetness to it. It’s not as delicate as I had expected. I’ve had white teas before, obviously, but I think this might be my debut with this particular variety. It leaves a sort of fresh feeling in the mouth on the sides of the tongue, the same way that mint does, only without actually tasting of mint at all.
However, it does also leave behind that somewhat sour aftertaste that lasts forever. I like a tea that has flavour that doesn’t go away immediately, but I’m not really a very big fan of this particular sourness. I find, though, that it decreases considerably if I don’t keep the tea in my mouth for too long before swallowing.
I am not in the slightest disappointed by this. (And will have to take my white tea brewing methods up to some serious revision, it would seem…)