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Recent Tasting Notes
Ugh, today was one of those days where I got absolutely nothing accomplished. I had a list of things I wanted to do, but I think the utter lack of sleep last night sapped any desire to do anything today. Well, it is a lie, I have successfully mastered the fine art at staring at a website without actually reading it. We all have one of those days sometimes.
Today’s tea is Tazo Teas Rest Herbal Infusion, a blend of roses, valerian root, and citrusy herbs. I will admit, I have no idea how this tea bag got into my stash of tea, but I wanted an herbal tea to sip in the evening, so why not? I am very curious where this tea came from, maybe the tea fairy visited me, you know leave a tea-ball under your pillow and wake up with a soggy mess…and maybe new tea! The aroma is a soothing blend of lemony, herbaceous, a little bit of floral sweetness, and a finish of bitter herb (hello valerian, you still smell kinda awful.) The rose aroma is pretty faint, mostly the dominant notes are herbal and citrus.
Once the teabag has been steeped, however, the rose becomes more dominant. As does a bunch of different herbal notes, some of them not so pleasant and bit astringent smelling. There are also strong notes of citrus, honestly the tea smells like a medicinal cacophony with some rose perfume covering it up, it is not bad, but it does smell like medicine!
The taste of this is not offensive, which is always a good way to start out with a tea that has valerian in it. There is some bitter root taste, but it is pretty faint and only at the end, a bit of honey or sugar takes that bitterness right away. The taste of the tea is mild, with notes of citrus, rose, wildflowers, sage, and a general herb and grass feeling to it. I didn’t hate it, if this tea magically shows up in my stash again I would drink it before sleep, granted there are significantly better night time herbal teas out there, but this one is not bad.
Because of the cherry/berries, I’ve been wanting to try this chilled. Because of the green tea, I’ve been hesitant to cold steep or prepare this as sun tea. Hit sort of a happy medium; gave it a 20 minute start in the sunshine, then removed the bags and chilled it. Little rock sugar (just a teaspoon to a quart) to chase off the bitterness and it’s mighty nice after a bona fide hot day of mowing and puttering.
The mowing, inadvertently and unfortunately, displaced a couple of adorable baby bunnies the size of Twinkies who have spent a good bit of the day quivering in the flower bed. Can’t seem to convince them that the abode of El Puma, the serial rodent killer, is not a prudent place for them to take shelter. Anybody want to volunteer for the Rabbit Relocation and Protection Program? I could ship them to you in a shoebox…
Going into my second day of training at Disney today! Totally forgot that there’s no traffic on a Saturday morning so I arrived i Anaheim like an hour and a half early… But it’s okay! I decided to pass by Starbucks so I can get energy today :)
This guy made it *okay. It did get a bit bitter so it’s just an okay cuppa
Do I like this tea? No, not really. I think maybe I did at one time, but now it just tastes medicinal to me. I’m only drinking it because I just got home from playing a kickass gig, & I’m wired, naturally high as a kite on music, good vibes, adrenaline, etc. So I’m drinking 2 bags of this in my usual cup, with a double dose of Valerian tincture added, in hopes that I will come back down to the planet’s surface & be able to sleep soon.
Tomorrow will be known as ‘The Day She Planted Sweet Potatoes’.
Silly me, I ordered 24 sweet potato plants, 4 each of 6 different varieties from http://www.tatorman.com/
Vardeman, Red Japanese, Nancy Hall, Beauregard, Carolina Ruby, & Bunch Porto Ricans.
I always grow alot of sweet potatoes, & we eat them all fall, winter, & spring, but the local stores still don’t have plants, & they only ever have one variety anyway.
Of course, it’s insane that I bought so many, LOL, but they arrived today, & they are adorable, & I’m very excited! Tomorrow the entire day will be dedicated to getting them in the ground!! I wanted to get some of the purple japanese ones, but you have to buy 12 plants, & that would be 36 plants total! Maybe next year…
Hopefully this year I’ll remember to save one of each kind for starting next year’s crop.
I also almost ordered more garlic for the fall from another company. I currently have 5 varieties, but you can never have too much garlic, & there are some really interesting heirlooms, including a few amazing sounding Italian ones, & I also want a few shallots to add to my shallot collection. The company I order those from doesn’t take paypal though, so that order will have to wait until I actually have some money in my bank account.
That & my Laoshan Black order (not like I need any, I just want a bag of the new crop for comparison sake).
Sipdown…I have no idea what my total is though…
Wish me luck falling asleep…
Just checked my sipdown total. I’m at 373!
(Not counting any new teas that have arrived since June 1st…I’ll add them on July 1st)
I have been through a real roller coaster ride with Tazo Thrive. I loved my first pot prepared with the loose leaf blend. Then I bought a bunch of filter bags, which were a huge disappointment.
Today, I am happy to report on my first cold-brewed pitcher of iced Tazo Thrive, prepared using 8 filter bags in 1 quart of water and steeped overnight in the refrigerator.
It tastes very good! What a pleasant surprise. I’ll definitely be using the remaining filter bags for iced tea this summer. The flavors mingle together perfectly. Especially prominent are mint, pepper, and green tea. Cold is the way to go for this blend, it seems! I brewed my pitcher on the strong side so that I could fill a glass with ice and it would melt without over-diluting the tea. The final iced tea is very refreshing.
One concern may be that I’m going to be consuming a large amount of caffeine if I finish this pitcher this afternoon. On the other hand, a single large iced coffee would likely have more! Oh well, I suppose that it does not matter very much since I appear to have adopted a nocturnal schedule anyway—up until 3am last night…
I count this as a new tea experience: first cold-brewed Tazo Thrive. I am increasing my overall rating for this tea, but it’s important to note that I approve of the filter bag only for iced tea.
(Blazing New Rating #78)
Flavors: Mint, Pepper
Somehow I went two days without drinking either green tea or jasmine! I decided that I needed to rectify the deficiency on both counts and so brewed up a pot of Tazo Jasmine Yin-Hao right after lunch. I don’t usually drink jasmine with a meal, but since I ate only a bagel it seemed compatible.
The liquor of this good-quality jasmine green tea is light gold veering green. I brewed this floral-scented tea a bit stronger than usual, with 5.2 grams for a two-glass tetsubin. The pot is said to hold 20 ounces, but in my experience, it really produces about 17 ounces of tea.
The flavor is smooth and rather floral—naturally! I think that I may prefer jasmine dragon pearls to Yin Hao, but I’ll have to try out some other versions before I can know for sure. I also may have slightly overleafed this pot.
I always look forward to the second infusion of jasmine teas, since they tend to offer a completely different—far more green—experience…
(Blazing New Rating #72)
I cold-steeped one of the large pitcher-sized filterbags to prepare half a gallon of Tazo Citrus Bliss. The dried tea in the bag smelled soooooo delicious when I put the pitcher in the refrigerator last night before retiring that I was totally looking forward to the result in the morning.
The color of the liquor is cloudy orange—a little darker than Tang, in case anyone out there knows any astronauts—and the flavor is basically citrus-tinged rooibos. A lot of rooibos going on here. It’s possible that I am sensitive to rooibos, or perhaps rooibos is just plain strong.
Either way, I’ll drink the remaining five filterbags in the box—the summer months ahead promise to be hot!—but will not purchase again. Nothing wrong with it, really, I’m just not that fond of rooibos.
(Blazing New Rating #71)
Flavors: Citrusy, Rooibos
It seemed like such a darjeeling day that I brewed up an old filterbag of Tazo Organic Darjeeling, having forgotten that I already wrote a tasting note for this one four months ago. So this is a rupture of my steady posting of 67 new tea notes in a row! Mistakes were made. I’ll pick up the pieces and move forward after this review.
My goal: to review 100 new teas before permitting myself consciously to brew any of the old standbys. Unfortunately, the intended effect of the Blazing New Rating scheme has been entirely undermined by the fact that I keep buying new teas. Perhaps my next challenge should be a true sipdown suite, with a moratium on new teas until my cupboard has been somewhat cleaned (not completely, of course!).
Nothing new to report on this old organic darjeeling, really. Still seems like a pretty average filterbag darjeeling to me. Still a bit bitter, even with a short steep. The liquor is dark orange amber, and the grassiness really stands out—which could be a virtue or a vice, depending upon one’s feelings about chewing cud.
This grocery store darjeeling makes no pretense to FTGFOP, nor does it name any illustrious names such as Margaret, nor aspirations such as Hope. The Himalayans are mentioned—again, probably for those ignorant of the fact that Darjeeling is a region of the world. We really have no idea which estate(s) the contents of the attractive bluish-teal envelope came from, but it’s pretty clear that it was swept off the floor .
It’s okay, that’s the most I can muster.
Flavors: Dry Grass
I must have got the last bag of Tazo Pi Lo Chun, as it is no longer even listed at the Starbucks website! The demise of Tazo is imminent…
This is my third experience with Bi Luo Chun, the first and second having been from Teavivre and Tealux. These Tazo leaves are not as airy and voluminous as the others, and they are darker in color and more robust in scent. Today’s batch I drank right after a big bowl of oatmeal, which I prepared to celebrate the unseasonably cool and rainy weather we’re having.
The liquor is peach veering gray more than green, and now that I’ve read the story of this tea, it makes sense, given that the leaves are charcoal fired. I like this pleasant, slightly sweet and not very vegetal green tea, and will surely finish this bag!
(Blazing New Rating #62)
My second yellow tea, Tazo Jun Shan Yin Zhen has a much more uniform leaf form—very similar to silver tips, except more yellow—than the Teavana Yellow Tea I tried yesterday. The shimmering leaves are covered with tiny hairs.
The flavor of the similarly pale peach-colored liquor is very similar. The aroma, too, reminds me of the Coors Beer Company boiling barley emanations. Maybe I don’t understand what tea masters mean by “floral”, but to me this tea does not really offer any identifiably “floral” notes. I find it closer to cooked vegetables, but with a smooth finish.
Anyway, I like it, and am happy to have tried Chairman Mao’s favorite tea!
(Blazing New Rating #54)
Tea of the morning here. Thanks to Carol Who for this sample that I’ve been meaning to try.
I steeped this entire sample for 3 minutes in a 20 oz. teapot. What I had was around the equivalent of 6 or 7 pearls. Eh, this stuff is okay. It certainly got some dismal reviews from others but I don’t mind it that much. It seems to be a bit on the side of brisk and winey for me, which is strange for a tea you’d think is Chinese. To me this tastes a bit more like an Indian tea. I thought it was better with some soymilk added. Now I feel like I’m getting a bit of chocolate notes. I’ve definitely has better dragon pearls but this wasn’t terrible in my opinion.
I’m NOT looking forward to my morning. I have to visit the dentist and I’m getting 4 fillings worked on. They told me to eat a good breakfast because my entire mouth will be numb for hours afterwards. I guess I will be having a smoothie for lunch… lol
I just learned from my envelope of Tazo Long Jing that a light tea oil is used in the wok for producing this type of pan-fired tea. So it’s fried, not just fired! Learn something new every day. Well, I picked up a bottle of green tea oil with the rest of my Tazo Collection order, so it will be interesting to discover what other applications it might have in cooking. I have not opened the bottle yet.
This tea from the soon-to-be-defunct Collection series chez the soon-to-be-defunct Tazo company—or rather soon-to-be-evolved-into-Teavana company, tastes good. It’s a solid Long JIng—no question there. The leaves are on the large side, rather broad and long and extremely thin. They are lighter green color (not sure that I’d call it “jade”) and very fragrant, with a cereal-like aroma.
The liquor is pale peachy-green and tastes like an above average Long Jing to me. I’ll be drinking this supply and will probably try at some point to compare it to the current Teavana Long Jing just to see whether it is the very same tea.
No point in recommending this tea, since it will be unavailable in the not-too-distant future, but I am enjoying mine now! (Howard, Howard, Howard… )
(Blazing New Rating #49)
I’m slowly working my way through all the earl grey bags my grocery store has to offer, because I like to take a few with me whenever I travel and I want to figure out what I like best. I think it’s safe to say that this is not it. The bergamot is way too floral for me and the tea itself gets bitter fast. It’s really hard not to oversteep this one, which is a shame because it’s not too bad when it’s done right. I can only seem to get a good cup out of it about 1/3 of the time, though, usually because I’m distracted. Since it’s so sensitive I might try brewing it at a lower temperature next time.