Nothing But Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
I suppose I must have eaten coffee cake at some time, though I can’t remember doing so, but the dry tea really does smell as I imagine a coffee cake would – a combination of instant coffee granules and digestive biscuits. There is also a slight piquancy there, perhaps some citrus but I can’t pin it down any closer than that. There are actually some small beans in it. They look very lightly roasted.
I used a well-heaped teaspoon and brewed for two and a half minutes, boiling water.
It made a slightly yellowish, brown brew, clear but almost opaque in its intensity.
It did smell like an instant coffee. My references to ‘instant’ are not meant to be complimentary; I’m a ‘buy-good-quality-beans-and-grind-them-myself-man’ (yes, I’m a coffee nut too, but I tend not to mention that around here). Again there’s that slight piquancy to the aroma – it lifts it a little from being just an instant coffee smell.
It really does taste like a mix between coffee and tea. That’s okay as far as it goes – though I’d say they were not particularly special tea and coffee, but there is also that same astringency I mentioned for the Walnut Layer Cake Sencha. It’s something more bitter than the citrus piquancy I got in the nose from the dry and the brew, but it’s not as strong as with the Walnut Layer Cake and is not strong enough to spoil the brew. Having said that, the overall brew is nothing special.
As I said for the Walnut Layer Cake, the smell I get when sipping is more enjoyable than what I get in the mouth. The brew is okay but uninteresting.
The dry tea has a fairly strong and really rather pleasant aroma. I get coconut, lemon, thyme and a general perfumed note like you get when you walk by a shop like Lush, selling scented soaps and so on.
I brewed pretty much as in the dealer info – five minutes, 80° and with the weight of tea adjusted for the capacity of my mug.
I didn’t get so much in the nose as with the dry tea. It smelled rather like one of those coconut cakes or coconut biscuits.
In the mouth it was rather sour – the lemon note, I think. I added two sweeteners, as I do with ordinary tea. This cancelled-out the sourness, but the result wasn’t really sweet. It was rather a disappointment compared to the aromas of both the dry tea and the brew – a note somewhere between walnut and coconut and an astringency that I just can’t pin down – it’s not lemon, more bitter than that – and that seems to linger in the back of the throat and rather dry it. Perhaps five minutes was a bit too long. I’m not at all sure that I’m detecting any actual tea flavour.
Actually, the smell I get as I sip is much more enjoyable than what’s in my mouth – don’t much care for this.
I made a brew with a heaped teaspoon, water left several minutes to go off the boil, steeped for three minutes.
In the mug it’s a clear, medium-intensity orange-brown.
I’m getting very little aroma. Sometimes I get a hint of freshly turned-over soil, sometimes a fruity hint, but they’re very fleeting, hardly anything.
In the mouth it’s the same story. I’m getting hints of turned-over soil, fruitiness (I really can’t define that any more accurately), possibly chocolate, there’s also a hint of bitterness; but they’re all very, very faint – even the basic tea.
I made a second infusion, three minutes again. It was’t any different but may have been the tiniest fraction stronger in aroma and flavour. Or my taste-buds may have learned what to look for.
Having written that, I’m feeling a bit guilty about giving it a rating in case its lack of flavour is due to it having been lying around too long – it’s from a 10g sample that got forgotten about, and it’s been here almost a year; So I’m not going to rate it – I’ll get another sample with my next order.
I made a brew with a well-heaped teaspoon, water several minutes off the boil, steeped for two minutes forty seconds – I’d meant two and a half, but …
In the mug it’s a quite dense colour – dark brown, opaque in its intensity and with a touch of brown-yellow round the surface circumference. Which is quite different to yesterday’s brew.
In the nose I get a rusty, ‘brown’ aroma, perhaps a touch of raw dough. As I get to the last inch or so in the mug and it’s quite cool, I get a hint of toffee.
In the mouth I’m not getting a lot, perhaps a hint of freshly-turned soil, perhaps a hint of ripped cardboard, and I get a hint of chocolate when I swallow (sometimes). As with the aroma, when I get towards the bottom of the mug and it’s quite cool, there might be the tiniest hint of toffee. I’m having to ‘search’ for all this – it really doesn’t have much flavour. That’s a disappointment: going on the colour and aroma I was expecting a little more flavour than yesterday; instead, there seems a little less.
I decided to scrap that one and made a fresh brew with two well-heaped teaspoons; steeped for two and a half minutes with water several minutes off the boil.
The colour is similar to last time but even more opaque.
The aroma is great: I’m strongly getting good basic tea with touches of rust and dough. There’s possibly a hint of chocolate.
Damn! Again, the flavour doesn’t live up to the smell. The basic tea is there – it’s actually the tiny-tiniest touch harsh – and there’s a tiny hint of chocolate. And that’s about it. It might be a better cup of tea than for the single-teaspoonful brews, but it’s very much ‘supermarket teabag’
One last point: I forgot about the last third of this and it got cold. I drank it anyway and was suprised to get a distinct, ‘herby’ note in the mouth, giving an invigorating bite. I’ve just been sniffing the dried basil, rosemary and thyme in the kitchen. It isn’t any of them but it’s similar, possibly similar to what a mixture of the three would be like. If I could add that note to the warm tea I’d consider it reasonably good stuff.
I made a second infusion: water off the boil for several minutes, three minutes steeping (forgot I was doing two and a half – my mind doesn’t seem to be on the job, today).
It’s still the intense colour.
In the nose and the mouth I’m getting garden soil and ripped cardboard. What I’m searching for but not getting is that herby note. I’m not even getting that hint of chocolate.
I deliberately let the last inch or so go cold, to see if that herby note came back. There may be just a hint of it, and of grass. It all adds to the feeling that there are potential flavour notes in there that I’m somehow not getting out.
I got a 100g bag of this tea (sorry, tisane) a couple of weeks ago and I have been drinking it constantly. It makes my mouth water, it is so delicious. It really is juicy! The cream aspect just adds that extra touch that calms the juicy, fruity mirabelle plum flavour. And I LOVE green rooibos, so that is the cherry on the top. I will rate it later, this computer won’t let me.
My first pu-erh, courtesy of a fantastic sampler sent to me by Angrboda!
…Okay, I totally see what everyone is talking about with the smell. There is definitely a delicate odor of cow barn here. (When people talked about “barnyard”, I was imagining something like the hay and leather scent of a riding stable, but no: this, my friends, is cows.) Weirdly, though, it tastes like it smells and it tastes good; I don’t know what to make of this! I am, so far, confused by pu-erh tea.
I did the first few steeps at near-boiling, under thirty seconds, and then had a few with cooler water and longer times. The tea didn’t get noticeably bitter, but the first few steeps were juicier, I think. The color was an utterly gorgeous red-gold!
So: I am intrigued enough to come back for more. We shall see!
Not that into flavoured teas, but I got this as a freebie with an order I placed (it’s the only one I’ve got left!). It actually went down quite well. Something about a warm spring afternoon, maybe. The strawberry smell is quite strong, but there’s a peppery bite at the back of the mouth (and in your nose). Quite compelling.