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Recent Tasting Notes
’Here’s Hoping’ Teabox Round #4 – Tea #6
I’m not sure what makes this a holiday tea but at first it seemed to have a cantaloupe flavor (not sure if that was intentional or just the imagination of my tastebuds.) Otherwise, this is a decent chai blend that uses that really sweet cinnamon I revisited the other day when I steeped up Harney’s Hot Cinnamon Sunset. I love that type of cinnamon! The black tea itself is a medium strength. I almost didn’t try this because of the peppermint, rosehips and hibiscus listed in the ingredients but thankfully none of those really showed up in the flavor, at least in my teaspoon. This was a great tea, especially with the unusual use of the sweet cinnamon. I don’t think enough chai blends use that. Tasty steeped twice.
I’ve tried this now hot, iced, and cold brewed, at least a few times each way. This is a really nice flavored tea in my opinion. It’s not too sweet and doesn’t overwhelm the tea itself. When brewed hot, it has an interesting milk chocolate flavor (not sure where it comes from though?) with some rose in there. Cold brewed, the chocolate flavor gets even stronger, in a good way. Iced is where the pomegranate really shows up in my opinion. The tea takes on a tart tanginess that you really don’t get with the other methods.
Flavors: Chocolate, Rose, Tart
Wow, I can smell the cinnamon in this one through two layers of bags! That is some strong stuff. The scent is intensely cinnamon once steeped too. There is so much cinnamon that it tastes a little sweet on it’s own. It reminds me of Hobbie’s orange cinnamon tea that has so much cinnamon that it gives me a stomach aches. The most delicious stomach aches ever, mind you, but I have learned my lesson over time and am concerned of the same happening here. I don’t even taste the tea. Just cinnamon. That is what this tea is all about.
I am still anxiously awaiting a shipment from the exotic land of French Canada (Camellia Sinensis order including some things I’ve never heard of, let alone tried) and have been pounding the new yixing with Upton’s Wang pu-erh pretty thoroughly, so I wanted to take a break, re-group, and clean house a bit.
So, I am brewing up the last of this in my pyrex and straining into the hand made glazed pot which I bought from the very nice octogenarian woman at the Japanese-American Cultural Festival of Houston two years ago.
I need to find out more about this tea so that I can investigate higher quality options, if they exist. This is a very fine tea, but because Path of Tea is serving a retail population they have to be much more careful to balance price point with quality than, say, Upton, CS, TeaG, or Verdant does. What I mean is that this tea is good enough that it makes me want to find the finest varient of it I can get my hands on.
A friend has said that the wet leaf smells like oatmeal. I get cacao, myself.
The cup has, as I think I’ve said before, the sweetness of Yunnan golden without the fruit.
Today is a strange day. On the one hand, I’m recovering from a near miss with a migraine last night (my first in a long time, thank God), but on the other hand, a friend gave me the gift of YIXING and I have spent the morning seasoning my new jewel via David Duckler’s method which he shared on YouTube a week or so ago.
Because of the holiday weekend, my online orders of new tea have hit some delays and I was obligated to pick up a few onces of something drinkable from Path of Tea to cover the gap.
I love this qu hao, and I love it even more at home in the gaiwan than I do in their shop steeped Western style. The result is more like a Yunnan golden than it is like other Chinese black teas. That sweetness, honey and molasses is here as is that mellow roasted grain.
This is a fantastic daily drinker.
I’m into the last of this first order, today. The good news is I’m going to the Path of Tea tonight, so I can pick up another bag.
Although, I’m tempted to pick up the black pearl or the black spiral and see if I find myself relishing them the way I relish this qu hao.
I had this yesterday, or was it the day before?
It was fast becoming my go-to tea of choice when at the Path of Tea shop and ordering a pot, so the last time I was in I opted to buy some loose to bring home.
I am slowly but surely falling in love with all these Chinese black teas that have more or less no astringency. It makes me wonder why anyone drinks Assam. I mean, sure, it’s good with ice and lemon, but it certainly isn’t premium tea most of the time.
Something about this tea and others like it always makes me think of premium black strap rum.
This tea was sent to me courtesy of Soccermom in a swap. I was in the mood for a non caffeinated tea tonight as today has been crazy and I needed something relaxing. This tisane smells like a holiday tisane (spices and citrus/berry scent). I noticed raisins in the mixture and other berry colored fruits. Once steeped, the liquor is deep hibiscus red with a tart berry flavor with an aftertaste of spice and berry. I’m not sure what exact spice it is, smells a bit like cinnamon or nutmeg, but can’t decide what it is I’m tasting for the berry. Might help if I look up this tisane online to see what it is I’m tasting.
I’m sorry in advance if my tasting logs are a bit incoherent. I’ve been working extra hours this week and on some strong cold meds, so most of these teas may have to be reviewed again in the near future!
Amount: 7 tsp
Water: 1200ml at 195°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 2 minutes
Dry Leaf Smell: vegetal
Steeped Tea Smell: vegetal
Flavor: smooth, but only very faintly vegetal
Liquor: Translucent yellow green
translucent, water tasting
translucent, water tasting
translucent, slightly vegetal, very very weak
Rating: 1/4 leaves
Took this to work with me yesterday and blew it. I used my Tea For Life set with the metal infuser and WAY too much leaf. The leaf soaked up a good third of the water and didn’t turn it loose, and I think I oversteeped by about 30 seconds to a minute, so I ended up with strong, bitter tea.
I cut it with a dash of half-and-half, which helped, but locals reading this beware: this was definitely user error. Exercise moderation in all things!
I got my David’s Tea shipment so will be reviewing that genmaicha shortly.
Been a long time away from Steepster! I stopped by Path of Tea to try this again. This time I used about 1 1/2 tsp tea for a 10-12 oz. mug, water not quite boiling, steeped 3 minutes. I still don’t have it right. Also, plenty of browned rice but no popped kernels in this purchase — the dry tea looks the same except for the absence of popped rice. Wonder whether that makes a difference? Still smells lovely but tastes slightly bitter. Onward.
Re-steeping. This time I used a timer set for exactly 3 minutes as recommended on the packaging.
Lovely floaty show in the French press again, like watching the old Aquarena Springs mermaid show in San Marcos when I was a child.
Brewed, the buttered-toast aroma is still there but fainter, as I expected. Flavor milder, again as expected, but a bit stronger than I expected. I don’t have much experience with re-steeping so honestly, I expected bleaugh. It’s actually quite pleasant but I don’t think I will try a second time. The toasty flavor is best at the back of my tongue.
I would certainly buy this again.
After spending most of Friday night/Saturday morning awake while monitoring the process of a server replacement, and THEN realizing I needed to go in to work Saturday afternoon to re-enter data that didn’t make it, I was desperate for something comforting and I became fixated on finding some loose genmaicha to take with me.
The Path of Tea delivered! (Well, not literally. You know what I mean.) I was lucky enough to find one of their designated parking spots open. I dashed in and whimpered, “I need some jin-MY-cha!” mangling the pronunciation badly. With a Texas accent.
So after a few moments of gentle confusion during which they thought I needed to sit down and have a nice quiet cup, or maybe a whole pot, and I learned how to pronounce it (hard G, matcha rather than MY-cha) I walked out amid sweet smiles and choruses of “Come back again!” with a small bag of loose tea and continued on to work.
Oh, the tea itself? Excellent.
Lots of rice kernels among the tea leaves. I did not see any popped kernels as shown in the photo. Dry, the leaves were smallish and did not exude much aroma.
I used a clear glass French press so I could see what happened to the leaves and I may have steeped a bit too long because of my fascination. Everything rose to the top of the water. I never did see the rice among the steeping leaves because of their buoyancy. At last the leaves began to unfurl and some sank through the water, every shape imaginable – some long and bladelike, some like little shreds of torn silk. The water in the press seemed a little murky so I suppose there was some tea dust as well.
In the cup the aroma was fabulous. Buttered toast! The first sips — ok, gulps — were exactly what I craved, very sweet, almost as sweet as if I had added honey or something. Then the toasty note took over as it cooled a bit. As it cooled more, a slight bitterness was there but I think that was my fault for oversteeping. I didn’t even time it but it was probably over 4 minutes. There are a few shreds of leaf in my cup that got through the press and yes, a little fine residue that looks like dust.
I have two more small quantities of genmaicha on the way, from Den’s and from David’s tea, and at least one more local potential source of organic free-trade genmaicha. It’s going to be fun deciding which turns out to be my favorite.
Thanks to my new friend Mike for this tea.
First off, it smelled amazing in the tea filter. Just a wonderful scent of orange & maybe even tangerine? Overall, there is no doubt there is citrus in this tea.
This is my second Oolong tea to try & I have to admit, I am loving oolongs! They are seriously proving to be well worth the money spent as you can get several brews from one little spoonful.
The tea smelled wonderful during the brew of the first cup. I’m at work & had to use a tea filter bag & a few people in the cafeteria this morning wanted to know who was ‘cooking an orange’.
The first cup was warm & inviting & promised a wonderful flavor…it truly delivered! The first cup was gone almost instantly. I had to refill the cup & I’m admitting it freely, I’m on cup #3 right now as this is getting typed! I’m almost sorry I’m being greedy in making so many cups, but I don’t care.
There is definitely a little pick me up for me with this tea. Citrus teas that smell really good when dry often do this for me. I swear I think oranges really do give off some kind of energy boost!
Mike, thank you for sharing this tea. You were right. It is simply delicious!