Recent Tasting Notes
Next on the tour, we have this Argentinian tea (#104). It was purchased in September of 2011. It looks like a cheap, nasty CTC, but it always brews smooth and sweet with no touch of astringency, so I always enjoy my cup of it. I am pleased to find that this cup was still very delicious, although perhaps slightly less currant-y than before. Still, not bad for an old tea that doesn’t look like good leaf in the first place.
I got this tea in Argentina in September of 2011, so you can do the math that it is an old tea. It’s also a tea that once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Once again, I will say how amazed I am that a CTC leaf tea can be so smooth. Overleafed with extra long steep? Yes please. The flavor on this one is fading slightly I think, but it’s always been a mild tea. Perhaps I should bump the leaf/steep time again. Now it tastes mostly like red fruits, with a hint of jasmine and some very light citrus from the bergamot. Still delicious.
It’s been a while for this one, mostly because of strong hoarding impulses. I would probably have to travel to one small town in the Andes of Argentina to get this tea again, and while it is not completely out of the question that it might happen again in my life, it is pretty unlikely.
This reminds me a lot of the black currant tea I had before (it has red currants), but with more florals from the jasmine. I used a full two perfect teaspoons for my 12oz cup this time, and it worked perfectly, no bitterness even after a four minute steep. Not sure what they did to these CTC leaves but somehow they wrung all the bitterness out of them (but none of the flavor!).
There is something that is just so caramelly and sweet about this blend. Maybe it’s the tea base, maybe it’s the red fruits flavoring that’s just really rich. This tea always surprises me because the leaf looks so… not inspiring of confidence. Tiny tiny pieces of tea that look like they belong in a tea bag. A lot of times those teas can get bitter (or just too strong for me) quickly because of all the surface area. But not this tea! I brewed it at four minutes this time, and there is not a hint of bitterness. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t use more leaf, though, because I could still go for a somewhat bolder flavor. Definitely enjoying this cup, though!
I just got a new infusing basket in the mail last night, and I couldn’t wait to try it out! I use a Tea Forte Kati Cup for 90% of my tea, but the handle on the infuser basket for it broke off a while ago, so I’ve had to pry the basket out with the tip of a dull knife at the end of each tasting, and sometimes it’s really hot! Finally I broke down and ordered a new ForLife infuser basket (this one: http://preview.tinyurl.com/7we6l5v) that is kind of a tall, narrow, use-it-in-any-mug deal with a nice sturdy handle. I’m also excited that since it’s a ForLife the holes are way smaller than the metal screen of the basket I had before, so that should mean less bits in my tea now.
This is a pretty decent tea to try it out with because the leaf is CTC and very small. And indeed, only the finest of tea dust escaped the basket. This tea is just amazing to me because it totally doesn’t look like much, with it’s tiny little pieces of leaf, but it is so tasty. Last time I brewed it for some unknown time because I forgot to start the timer, but I think I could actually brew it for longer and not get bitterness because this time it seems a tiny bit weak. Still, I love the combination of flavors (bergamot, jasmine and red currant), and when I run out I will probably have to make a blend myself since it is unlikely I will find it again. But for now I have a pretty decent sized tin that will likely last me a while, yay!
This is the first time I’m logging this tea, but it’s not the first time I’ve had it. I randomly found it when I ordered it at a chocolate shop in San Martin de los Andes, and was surprised that it came out loose-leaf instead of in a bag. It was tasty and had a flavor combination I hadn’t seen before—bergamot, jasmine and red currant—and the chocolate shop sold tins of the tea, so I brought one home. The tea company is actually located in another small Andean village near San Martin, which is cool and unexpected.
The leaf is pretty chopped up, composed of a lot of small pieces. There are some jasmine blossoms, sugary looking red currant pieces, and some other brighter pink dried fruit pieces as well. The dried leaf smells nicely red-fruity, a bit jasminey, with the bergamot providing a high bright note.
I meant to brew this for three minutes but forgot to start my timer, so I’m not quite sure how long it brewed for. The predominate aroma in the brewed tea is the red currant with somewhat floral notes behind it. Despite an unknown steep time, the tea came out well! Lots of red currant in the flavor, with some pleasant jasmine behind it. The bergamot isn’t the star here, but plays a supporting role, kind of like Harney’s Paris or Tower of London. In fact, it kind of reminds me a bit of those teas, which is probably why I like it. Even the obviously not high quality tea base provides a pleasant foundation and provides some nice caramely notes. The tea isn’t sweet, but the aftertaste has the illusion of sweetness. This isn’t a tea that will be easy to find again, so I guess I better savor it while it lasts!