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Recent Tasting Notes
I am certainly not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, but you should all still be jealous of the pasta I just made and am very proud of! It’s “Miserable Tube” Tomato Alfredo with Red Onion and Red Pepper, and a maple cheddar “crust” on top. Yummy!
http://www.foodiggity.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/pasta-shapes-for-the-depressed.jpg A helpful image board for people who can’t name pasta shapes.
To finish this one off I made it in a timolino and brought it to work with me. To attempt to cut down on bitterness I steeped it for a slightly shorter amount of it. And, guess what!? It wasn’t bitter this time! Hoo-rah!
Instead it mostly had the flavour of sweet cream. Like, uh. Well, like Sweet Cream ice cream (which has a distinct flavour I’m struggling to describe) but without the ice cream part of thing. You know, sweet cream. And, that was totally from the white chocolate in the blend for sure.
Sadly, it seems to consequence of no bitterness is that I lose the “juice” from the apricot and instead can only taste muddled, lesser stonefruit flavour notes. And as a huge apricot fan, I’m not sure I’m ok with that trade off. I mean, I can sort of fill in the gaps in flavour because I know what it’s supposed to be, but that’s definitely NOT the same thing.
So, a bittersweet sipdown for sure.
Flavors: Cream, Stonefruits
Thank you Cameron B. for the sample!
This one really excited me if I’m being totally honest. These last few months I’ve tried a couple new Apricot teas, and I’ve been largely impressed with them. In particular, I’ve become largely fond of Tea Desire’s White Angel blend which is a very creamy Coconut/Apricot blend. In my head, I was imagining this tasting similar to that blend but on a black base.
Firstly, dry this smells delightful: very fruity and aromatic with juicy apricot notes and a more subtle buttery kind of smell; the white chocolate I suppose. And steeping which that’s much more muted, it still smells like wonderful apricots!
Taste wise, the first thing I noticed was a bit of a bitter edge to this which made me think of burnt sugar cookies. I’d like to say that went away, but it was pretty present throughout the whole cup; though maybe a little less so once this had cooled. That definitely impacted the experience a little negatively.
The rest was lovely though! The whole cup had a succulent and juicy apricot flavour accented with other less defined stone fruit notes, and that was paired with a very thick, creamy white chocolate flavour with rich milky and buttery notes to it. So that creamy apricot flavour was there and phenomenal and that was ultimately what I was looking for in the first place. Now writing this and reading the companies description a little more thoroughly I see that in addition to these flavourings they were going for Christmas baking and nuts – I don’t recall anything that made me think of nuts, but I suppose the Christmas baking was there in the form of that burnt sugar cookie flavour, and I also tasted a baked bread note very subtly from the black base that could be likened to Christmas baking.
So a pretty accurately portrayal of what they were going for, and definitely a nice tea overall – just with that one small negative. I’d absolutely drink it again though; maybe with milk to kind of mute that bitterness. And playing with steep temp/time could possibly help resolve that too.
The fact that I haven’t been Steepstering shouldn’t lead you to believe there hasn’t been any tea activity. There were moments of supreme tea bliss in California in the fall, where I managed to visit no fewer than three Lupicia stores in the Bay Area… with predictable subsequent stash-killing results.
It did help me forward with poor neglected Project Green, to some degree, which will hopefully see more action in 2015. This is one of the California teas, chosen especially as a Project Green participant.
It’s a first flush sencha (Does that automatically make it a shincha? Or is that an additional category within the first flush senchas?) from Uji, a city right outside of Kyoto. Things I knew about Uji that made me pick this one up: parts of the Tale of Genji play out there. High-quality green tea is made in Uji. The world’s oldest tea shop (Tsuen Tea) is located in Uji. It seemed like a good start, right?
I obviously realize the ridiculousness inherent in picking something like this up from Lupicia, rather than just ordering it online from a(n even more) local company that carries Uji-produced teas, but it’s convenient, which is a major bonus in these times of carpenter/painter/electrician-propelled chaos.
Obviously, I could keep talking about other things, but you’d know it’s because I’m just trying to avoid exposing my painfully inadequate green-tea-tasting skill to the world, so let’s just do this.
In the bag, this is all long, skinny needles of dark green. Dry, it smells very sweet, but with a baked note to it as well – light and elegant, though, like the most delicate of green tea-infused sponge cakes.
In the pot (for I made a whole pot of this, as has become my habit, and I will soon be out) some of the sweetness evaporates nose wise, and it comes off more as a light, mellow cloud of…light brown. My synesthesia screws me over here, because I don’t have better words than this very plain cross-sensory experience of colour. The liquid is a yellowish green, though, and the flavor is all green, all the way.
What’s so terrifying about green tea – and I know I’ve said this before – is that it is its own flavor. It tastes of green tea. In addition to that, I can speak of notes of hay or grass or sweetness, but no full-fledged mango is ever going to spring up and punch me in the face. No childhood memories will be evoked, because the first time I tried green tea (and I grimaced, and I complained, and I vowed never again) I’d already taken and discarded more lovers that I have fingers on my hands.
And that makes this very scientific, rather than emotional. And science, in its turn, is obviously terrifying, because it suggests unnegotiable truth. Two of the most intimidating words! Unnegotiable. Truth.
On the tonguetip, it’s vegetal. No salty weedness, but boiled grass – the good boiled grass, too; the top-shelf boiled grass. The main body of the flavor hits mid-tongue; mid-swallow. There is surprising complexity, and it’s a light, late spring, early summer type of flavor. The aftertaste is heavy on the grass, but it’s more of a full-on meadow than just the sweetgrass, so the complexity lasts throughout the sip.
All in all, a complex, mellow, smooth sencha that makes me want to explore more Uji teas.
The Cookie Lady sent this along in the Cooking TTB for me. =)
Oolong. Plums. Floral.
I love it when I can tell the type of tea when it’s a flavored tea. This tea’s plum note is not really candied, or salted or even fresh plums. It’s reminiscent of plums, but the overall is very floral. I really like it! The oolong base is smooth, and although light, is still evident in the sip. It’s not at all drying or astringent. This one is definitely going on my shopping list.
So I took a look at the recipe list so far, and most all of my tea recipes are already listed! Looks like I should probably do some experimenting.
I’m not sure how I still have a couple of Lupicia holiday teas that I haven’t tried! This is the only caffeine-free one, so the others will have to wait until tomorrow. My sachets of this tea are in a cute little tin with two doves holding bells on it. Inside the sachet, I can see small black tea leaves, a few pink rose petals, and some small shreds of coconut. Coconut… why? Isn’t this a strawberry and vanilla tea? I really hate it when companies put real coconut in their teas, it goes bad so quickly and ruins the entire blend. I’ll be sure to drink these up quickly now that I realize they contain it. Anyway, dry scent is sweet strawberry candy.
The steeped tea also has a strong and candylike strawberry smell, perhaps with a touch of cream. Hmm, this isn’t half bad. I never have high hopes for decaf teas, since the bases are usually terrible. Now, certainly the base here isn’t amazing, but it’s mellow and quiet and isn’t making anything bitter. The strawberry is certainly the candy variety, but I don’t mind that actually. I’m not sure I taste any vanilla, but I do taste cream, and it makes me think of eating fresh strawberries with whipped cream on top. I’ll definitely be able to finish off my 4 remaining sachets.
Flavors: Candy, Cream, Smooth, Strawberry
This tea is full of flavor, but none of the flavors are super bold. There is warm, sweet cinnamon along with a darker clove note, and then there is a bright apple flavor that is really lovely. Lupica does apple flavors very well. I don’t taste the cranberry except for a slight hint of tartness as the tea cools.
I didn’t drink this at Christmas time, but today we had our first snowfall, so it’s been nice to sit and drink this while watching the snow fall outside.
Thank you, Naylynn for sharing this with me!
This is one festive-looking tea! There are pink peppercorns and flower petals in the blend, which has a sweet, mixed-fruit aroma. There’s something about it that seems just right for the winter holidays.
The brewed tea is malty and smooth, with an abundance of fruit flavors—mango, stonefruit, banana, and others all seem to melt together. It’s not overly sweet or artificial, and the black tea base is of good quality. There’s no trace of the peppercorns, but then again, there was only one in this serving! Overall, a solid offering from Lupicia that lifts my spirits on a busy afternoon. Thanks beelicious!
Mmmmmm….okay, I’m about to get really specific. Have you ever gotten one of those chocolate-covered strawberries that is so big you can’t possible eat it in one go? So, you crack the outer shell and bite through to the strawberry and just enjoy? And then, when you go back for the second (or third) bite, you get a whiff of that super delicious smell of chocolate and fresh strawberry juice?
This smells exactly like that.
The taste, however, is a touch more towards the neapolitan milkshake arena of chocolate-strawberry goodness.
So fantastic. Oh man.
Flavors: Chocolate, Strawberry
This is soooooo delicious! Apricot and nuts for sure! I wish they had a year-round version of this at Lupicia….does anyone know if they do?? I didn’t get nearly enough of this at Christmas :( It tastes like the most mellow, nutty, apricot danishy-type of thing. I like it so so much.
Flavors: Apricot, Nuts
I’m back from my travels! This was also from The Book of Tea, from which I took a handful of samples before heading back. I realized on the train home that the samples were in the most accessible part of my luggage, so I brewed this one with the hot water that was provided. There’s something uniquely enjoyable about having a hot cup of your own tea while looking out at the ocean view along the California coast! Even the name of the cafe car is the Seaview Cafe—truly we’re spoiled to be living in such a beautiful place :)
The sachet contained sencha leaf bits and dark orange-colored toasted rice kernels, and was tinted green by matcha. There weren’t many black soybean pieces in there, or at least I didn’t find them. The tea brews up to a rich green tint as well. It’s nicely smooth and savory, moreso than the typical genmaicha. The soybean adds a very distinctive dimension. This might sound terrible to some, but it was “oily”—not in any offputting sense of the word, but rather, the natural oils of the rice and soybean had come through the toasting, and made it a very rich tea heavy on the grain notes. The nori (seaweed) quality of the tea was milder than the average sencha. Overall, it was a very substantial and highly unique genmaicha. If you like genmaicha and soybean, as I do, you’ll probably enjoy it!
The Cookie Lady was nice enough to send me a sample of this tea with her Christmas package I got the other day! I saw a few reviews of it last month and I really wanted to try it. xD I love genmaicha, and I am always eager to try another one.
This one is pretty good. Very popcorn-y. Reminds me A LOT of DavidsTea’s Genmaicha, but minus the actual popcorn pieces.
Don’t think it’s as smooth as Davids’ version though, which is kinda sad. A pretty good genmaicha still though! Glad I got to try it! Thank you, The Cookie Lady!! :D :D
Flavors: Popcorn, Toasty
another one from VariatTEA! that i had last night. This is a smokey tea. What’s interesting though is the blending of oolong, puerh, black tea. It was a really interesting cup last night and even the addition of a bit of maple on the back half of my cup, didn’t seem to phase the tea…it was like…yeah? maple? i can eat that and still be the same lol. Still a neat experience :) thanks VariaTEA!
VariaTEA passed this one on to me, from her book of tea i suspect. I would totally recommend doing something that for any new tea drinkers out there, or folks still trying to figure out their preferences because hey, 100 teas? lots of different types? with just the single serving (that can likely at least be resteeped).
This is a pretty decent average sort of puerh. it’s for that slightly earth taste to it but it’s not overwhelmingly dirt like, mushroom like or any of the other sorts of things that people tend to have a harder time with. it IS strong though…and very much puerh. I had a couple cups last night using the little tea bag and it wasn’t until the 3rd steep that it became a softer puerh. This would be an interesting one for a puerh latte i think. thanks variaTEA!
Such a pleasant tea. Mellow strawberry and subtle vanilla cream flavors – fun yet refined. Although as a Westerner, these flavors evoke more of a springtime mood, I understand that for the Japanese, these flavors are associated with special occasions and holidays so it makes sense as a seasonal tea. I’d enjoy this tea any time of year.
Flavors: Cream, Strawberry, Vanilla
Well, this is the tea that I sort of inadvertently rang in the New Year with. Not that it wasn’t enjoyable; but I was feeling rather sick NYE and had slept through pretty well all of the afternoon and evening. I woke up just in time to make a cup of tea (not looking at the clock) only to realize, half way through the cup, that it was about ten minutes after midnight! Darn.
Last year I started the New Year by making Tea Soda with DT’s Bubbly Blend – you know, champagne tea for the new year. This year the plan was either Jingle Bells from Lupicia (which is a champagne tea) or Strawberry Champagne from RiverTea. Too late to do anything about it now, though.
Actually though, this was a lot better than the first cup I had of it. I thought the honey and graham cracker notes were both still very much present along with the strawberry flavour, but the medicinal/lozenge quality had, much to my delight, seemingly vanished. Also, the less defined currant flavour I experienced with cup number one tasted significantly more like black currants in this cup.
Thank you Cameron B. for the sample! I’m happy that I got this second cup to produce a better brew than the first, but I honestly don’t have the faintest clue what I did differently to switch up the flavour.
Flavors: Black Currant, Graham, Honey, Strawberry
Thanks Cameron B. for the sample!
Personally, I didn’t expect this one to come in sachets. I guess that was partly because the display image here on Steepster and on the Lupicia site is of loose tea, and other than the barley teas I’ve been trying my Lupicia experiences have all been loose – but I was just a little taken aback by the sachets. I feel like I lose something when I’m not the one portioning out my own tea. But actually, the sachets have been surprisingly convenient, which I guess is the whole point anyway…
I had this one on the 28th, immediately prior to meeting up with Kittenna for the afternoon at a new local teahouse. I imagine it probably seems ridiculous to some people to be drinking tea right before meeting up with someone for tea, but I think if we’re honest with ourselves that’s something a lot of us would do.
Dry, this one smelled fairly woody and maybe even a touch peppery; both scents which are characteristic of the base tea here. I also smelled a sort of flat strawberry. There wasn’t anything lush or extravagant about the smell; but it wasn’t unpleasant either and I saw promise in how it could translate flavour wise.
This one didn’t read as overly complex to me; the body of the flavour was composed of an almost ‘candied’ strawberry flavour with some currant notes. It was a little hard to discern whether they were red or black currants, but I think I lean just slightly more to the side of them being red. I also tasted raw honey notes like the description of this tea suggests that there should be; I imagine they at least partially added to the sweetness of the strawberry.
Interestingly, I also tasted graham notes which loosely reminded me of s’mores and other “Campfire” type treats. I really liked the graham paired up with the strawberry; it meshed very well. I’m gonna attribute this flavour note to some sort of skewed impression of “wood” notes, which are common with rooibos. In my head, there’s some sort of correlation between those two flavours. The big negative, unfortunately, was a medicinal quality that reminded me of very mild lozenges; I think it came from the base but also possibly the currant flavour I was picking up on.
Either way; it brings me back to the total nightmare I experienced with DAVIDsTEA’s Currant Affair tea. To be fair though; comparatively the intensity of the medicinal levels between the two blends would be like a two or three for this one, and a nine or ten for Currant Affair. To offer further example; Currant Affair was a tea I would not revisit and immediately passed off to someone else, and this one I did revisit later in the week to sipdown.
So to summarize; this was a mostly lovely rooibos with notes of red berries as well as some other less expected notes like graham crackers.
Flavors: Graham, Honey, Medicinal, Strawberry