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Recent Tasting Notes
I enjoyed a cup of this tea on the flight home from my brother’s wedding in New Orleans. The wedding was great, and I especially enjoyed reconnecting with family I haven’t seen in a decade. We flew back safely on Saturday afternoon before Hurricane Sandy hit. Thank goodness we didn’t stick around all weekend for Voodoo Fest or we might not have been able to get home at all! Luck was on our side.
But man, the weather was cold that last day in New Orleans! It was supposed to be sunny and 84 every day we were there. Then on Friday evening, we walked outside and the temperature had dropped about 20 degrees in 10 minutes. Yikes! I don’t think people had turned the a/c off yet either, so we pretty much froze everywhere we went.
The plane ride home was especially cold, so I asked for a cup of hot tea. They served me this Mother Parker’s Orange Pekoe. It wasn’t the best cup of tea I’ve ever had, but it was hot and tasted like tea, so it met my expectations. :) I’d rank it somewhere in between Lipton and Twining’s. Not bad stuff!
My weekly update: I was so excited to play with my new (used) teapot I almost forgot to share about this one. The tea loving server saw us coming in this morning and begged the others to let her wait on us. Yeah – cause that means way better prepared tea. And a new tea bag with each cup. What a novel idea.
This week I took her a baggie of Teavivre’s Yunnan Dian Hong Golden Tips and a sample bag of Teavivre Jasmine Dragon Pearls. The pearls were harder to give away because I don’t know if I have any more at the moment. I told her these blow the ones I previously gave her out of the water.
I asked her if she was steeping the teas more than once. She said, “Are you kidding me, I’m steeping them until they have nothing left to give.” Awesome. She told me she pulled the teas out at her book club and shared with ‘the girls’. They loved them – dragon well was the favorite. As you can tell, I’m loving this.
I asked if she was willing to try pu-erh. She did not know what it was. I told her it smelled like a horse barn and tasted like leather. Her eyes lit up. Now I have to go through the drawer and figure out which one I have is the best example of what I just told her.
Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel.
My Saturday morning restaurant tea. It is pretty funny right now watching the guy server trying to butter up to me because I gave tea to the lady server. He is trying. It is kind of like an agnostic trying to talk Bible with a believer. He doesn’t really ‘get’ the connection. I’m working on him. I think I’ll take some Candy Cane Lane and Sugar Cookie for him to try. He isn’t ready for meat. Right now, he sort of heats the cup but the water is already cooling by the time he gets to the table. Still a pleasant tea for cheap bagged stuff.
Total Tea Girl – the lady server – was swamped but we talked as she ran past the table. She wasn’t feeling well so kind of glad she kept her distance. ;) First time she ran past she said, I just have to say I have been enjoying some amazing teas all week. Specifically she mentioned the Dragon Pearls. The one’s I gave her are good but no where near as good as the Teavivre Premium. I’ll dig through my stash and find her the good stuff.
She also mentioned the Nina’s Earl Grey. She said it was amazing. Her roommate could smell it across the room and asked what she was drinking – nothing, move along nothing to see here. This is not the tea you are looking for. (I sense a disturbance in the force from a pilfering roomie – just guessing)
Talking about all of the teas, and especially some of the green’s (dragon well for one), she commented on how clean and crisp they were. This comment made me very happy.
She told me she lived in China for a while and has been asked to return as an English teacher. Can’t wait to discuss this more in depth with her.
I promised her some lapsang souchong next time, which she has never heard of, and I think she needs to experience golden tips. It was a game changer for me. I’m debating on pu-erh. Ashmanra has much success with it. Since I can’t control the pot, I’m not sure about it yet.
Remember me telling you about the ‘total tea girl’ server at our Saturday breakfast? As I crossed the river this morning, I remembered I did not pack tea as I promised. D’oh! Anyway our server today (a guy) brought my extremely preheated mug and a pot of already brewing tea to my table. I told him I was impressed. As he walked away I said to my wife, Steph must be rubbing off on the other servers. I took a sip and went Mmmmmm. Later total tea girl stopped by the table, I mentioned the morning cup. She told me when she saw us come in she started heating the mug. She added the other server asked her how come she made better tips than him. She told him it is because she goes the extra mile. When the guy came back to check on us, I explained to him how it really did make a difference. Progress has been made. Let’s see if it sticks. Now I need to pack up some teas and set it with the Saturday coupons. For cheap tea, when prepared going the extra mile, this stuff is pretty darn tasty.
Our usual tradition is to go out for breakfast on Saturdays. Always the same place where I always order hot tea. Because of my wife’s craft shows we haven’t gone for a month. I was happy to see our server today is the same that told me she was a total tea fan girl. When I ordered she warned, “You know it will take a while because I have to warm up the mug.” When she brought it out the tea was already in the steaming mug and she placed a saucer on top as a lid after setting it down. Awesome. I told her how cool it was to be served by someone who ‘gets it’. She was busy so I waited for a slow moment and asked if she ever drank loose leaf. She does. I told her I would bring her a thank you package next time. She said her favorite is chai but she would try about anything. I might still have some white chai. That made her eyes light up. Now if she can just get the other servers trained in the ways of tea, this corner of the world will be better for it.
Even lowly tea-bag tea actually can be pretty decent if prepared correctly especially when served with a meal.
Got up made my green tea milk drink and some toast. Started out the door to take Spike to the vet. My son popped in as we opened the door. The 3 of us plus the dog piled into my cruiser and headed out. After dropping the dog off and a quick stop at Wallyworld, they wanted breakfast. Sigh. I really am trying to watch what I eat. So Steak and Shake here we come. I ordered hot tea. The server brought my cup full of steaming water, the silver metal pitcher of water with the bag in it, and a Styrofoam cup. At first my thought was, you are going to get in trouble when they find out you are the one staining the pitchers. She said she likes to heat her tea cup and that I could pour the water into the extra cup. Neat. It really did make the tea fruitier. For a tea bag it is pretty good anyway. She said she was a total tea girl. A moment of conversation and I realized she meant she drank a lot of tea bag tea. Still, she was correct on this one. I may have to sack up a few loose leaf samples and help her expand her horizons.
I have reviewed this cheapster steepster many times. Today’s experience was interesting. I caught hints of leather. I have no idea what was different. Nothing on my end that I am aware. No matters, I enjoyed 1 1/2 cups. The waitress was talking with my wife and kind of poured decaf into my first cup. She was embarrassed. I was amused. It made my morning seeing how quickly she scrambled to get another cup on the table.
It is really warm today for the middle of February – but we kind of earned it this winter. I wanted a green tea frap but the wife wanted breakfast. This is the bagged tea at the restaurant. Normally I really like it, good taste and decent depth for what it is, but today I must have gotten the bottom of the box. Pretty much tasted like cardboard. Oh well, the biscuit was good.
The gloom and doom forecast was four to six inches of white stuff. Instead we woke to a light rain. For fear that it could all ice over tonight we decided to head out in the rain for breakfast and mostly for our sanity.
The first cup was meh. About what you expect from bagged tea in a restaurant. The problem is the water. I asked Andy our waiter why the water was sometimes only warm. He said it depends on how many pots of coffee they made – as in the water is just being used to quickly to get hot. He promised the next silver tea pot would be hot. It was, and the second cup was once again the delight I expect.
I have praised this simple bagged tea many times. Today is not one of those times. The waitress brought me the little silver pitcher and I noticed the water took its time turning dark. I picked up the cup and tasted. It was lukewarm and tasted like bland nothingness. Asking for a new pitcher, thinking she had gotten distracted on the first, the second cup was no better. I started to ask for a third, telling her someone may have turned off the hot water dispenser.
“Oh, the machine is broke, that water is just hot out of the tap. I guess I should have told you.”
Do you think?
Anyway, this makes my point. Bagged tea too often gets a bad wrap it does not deserve. Is it as good as loose leaf? No, but many bagged teas are quite nice, you just have to take care in preparing them, otherwise you get bland nothingness.
Off my rant. Leaving my score from past experience.
Looks like Steepster is down again. who knows if this will really post. Anyway, I think the allergy medicine is actually working. I still feel stopped up but man o’ man this tasted so good today. Probably shouldn’t moan out loud in a restaurant but I did anyway. Multiple cups. It is just a cheap bagged tea but has more depth than most. Today it had a light earthy roastedness to it. I swear I was even catching some leather notes. So glad to taste again.
I had three cups of this today. As you may remember, I complained yesterday about tea made at home not tasting right lately. This one was made with the north corporation water. We have south at home. It tasted ok but nothing special (in a cheap bagged tea sort of way). I am now leaning towards my allergy medication being the main culprit. Most of what we detect as flavor is actually smell. I think I am either going to have to drink powerful tea or loose the medication. Maybe I’ll try both for a few days.
Three cups of this one to start my day. The first one, I was overcome by a spirit of stupid or something. I added cream and honey. OMGosh that’s just gross. I emptied the cup in a hurry so I could drink it dark and strong. So much beter. A good basic bagged black. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get the day moving.
Grabbed a sausage biscuit and a couple cups of this (after the Fig Newtons). This tea is so much smoother than any of the other orange pekoe teas I have had in a bag. I have no idea what type tea these fannings are supposed to be but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a large proportion of china black in here. Not even a little bitter. I liked their Darjeeling better but I never tire of this one.
I met up with a fellow former co-worker at Denny’s for breakfast and conversation this morning. We sat and talked over 2 hours. He has been unemployed 3 1/2 months now and says when his tax check comes in he will actually have more money in the bank than before he was let go (fired is what he called it). He added, tell me I’m not blessed. To which I add amen.
So I took this one with me and asked for hot water. The waitress looked at me questioningly. I told her I brought my own because, no offense, but your tea is really bad. She giggled a little and brought my water. As it turns out their tea is bad because its Lipton and it makes horrible hot tea, but the biggest problem is their water. My tea that I normally really enjoy, tasted of fish. Had this been the tea Denny’s carries I would have rated it 12. What a difference the water makes. Glad now I didn’t waste some loose leaf.
I had two cups of this bagged tea with my scrambled egg, sausage gravy & biscuit at Steak N Shake. I deeply love and appreciate beautifully complex teas. That said, I have a soft spot for the inexpensive basic comfort tea. This one does a great job in that regard. Today it had a light amount of malt and maybe it was the food combination but I swear I was getting hints of smoke. This has become like family so I’m upping the rating.