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Recent Tasting Notes
This is what motivated me to wake up in the morning. I love Darjeeling oolongs; because of how diverse they are. This particular assortment of greens, blacks, and golds was not the exception. The brew was incredibly light. It brewed up a cup with the scent of fresh trees and morning dew. The taste was a light mixture of minerals and hay. This brew carried a vegetal grassy undertone. I feel that if this brew was any lighter it would float away, (My bad joke for the day…)
Flavors: Hay, Mineral, Sweet, warm grass
’Here’s Hoping’ Teabox Round #4 – Tea #14
A great Darj here – very light and fruity, just the way I like them. Very syrupy texture somehow. The second steep was delicious too. Darjeeling always seems so elaborate but I never have enough to say about them.
Steep #1 // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
Steep #2 // 15 min a.b. // 2-3 min
I am tasting this tea thanks to the amazing JacquelineM who miraculously produced a sample of this long unavailable tea. When I first joined Steepster, this tea was all the rage. I put it on my wish list, but the company that sold it – sob! – closed before I could buy any. I think losing the opportunity to try this legendary tea bothered me more than any other that “got away.”
And here I am with a generous sample. She could have sold this on the black market to some tea head for lots of money, but instead she sent it to ME! And I saved it for my birthday, which is today! This is my evening cuppa, a treat for myself in the quiet now that the day is winding down.
This is beautiful, beautiful leaf. Dark, long, twisted leaf that is highly aromatic, especially when you scent your cup first. (Thank you, Garret, at Mandala Tea for teaching us to do that. It adds so much to the experience. Pour your hot water in your empty pot, let it warm a moment, then pour out the water and add the leaf. Put the lid on for a moment. Now, lift the lid and take a long, deep sniff of the pot and leaves. Once you have experienced the aromas, add your hot water and steep.)
This is an extremely complicated tea. I am so glad I tried the hojicha first because my thoughts went something like this: Cocoa! Rough cocoa! Roasted cocoa! Roasted….something….coffee, caramel, smoke like hojicha, and…was that a hint of cinnamon? Chicory, yes, it is there also.
No wonder everyone loved it. Thank you so much, JacquelineM, for blessing my birthday with “the one that got away.”
On another note, when I looked up the plantation on google I saw an article that said a tea garden manager of that area was abducted in fall of 2012 and held in the jungle by some group – I forget now exactly who – but had been rescued. Oh my! Glad to read that he was rescued.
Surprise to me! Had a little bit of this left that had woodged down to the bottom of my “loose ends” packet. First sip just after steeping made me wonder if it’d lost its oomph, but it strengthened considerably after driving with me this morning.
Dark, just on the edge of a bitter bite, and a little grapey on the finish. Sticks to your tongue long after you’ve swallowed.
Here’s to “oh, I forgot I had that!” serendipi-tea.
This one is getting old, but it’s still juicy, not too acidic, a little cocoa taste at the very bottom of each sip. (Have been doing much troubled philosophical pondering this week on the validity of the “it has to be new to be good” mindset, so this was a good fit.)
I don’t give Darjeelings enough time and consideration. This is good.
We all have our reasons for morning tea selections, some sensible, some a little less so—today, I had a wicked sore in my mouth and needed something that would be compatible with a jawful of Orajel.
Don’t know why this seemed to be the one, but it’s been gentle and non-acidic and a little fruit-juicy this morning. (My previous note called it “cereally;” either the goop has really flipped out my taste buds or it’s just an all-purpose breakfast Darjeeling.)
Many thanks to Doulton for sending me this tea! I had some Simple Leaf teas on my wish list and before I could order, they closed. Oh the frustration of reading about an amazing tea and then finding that you can never ever have any!
Thanks to Doulton I will get to try a Simple Leaf tea!
I sniffed the dry leaves when I opened the pouch. There was not much aroma to the dry leaf, but they were very interesting leaves, pleasantly twisted and curled. The tea itself has a nice malty aroma. Malt smells like puppy feet to me, a scent I love! This is a light malt aroma, not too strong.
The tea tastes very good. I have had a few Assams that smack me in the face, especially CTC ones. This is a very civilized breakfast cup, slightly astringent but pleasantly so, flavorful enough to blast through the groggies, and smooth enough not to offend my delicate tummy.
I can’t wait to see how youngest likes it when she gets home from her slumber party with Sandy’s dogs, who have now seen every sci-fi movie made. She loves Irish breakfast teas, so I think this one will be right up her alley.
I know, I know, it’s way past its prime now, but I hoarded my last 1/3 packet of this for cold weather sipping; even when it’s elderly, it’s heavy and luscious and cocoa-y.
When (ha!) I get time to be scientific about it, I’d love to put this side-by-side with my new favorite Fujian Congou from Nature’s Tea Leaf. I think in previous notes I whinged a little about not having an equivalent once my Dawn was Done, but I’m thinking that there may be some strong similarities. (Which would explain why I am so crazy about the FC.)
Was able to carve out a very few brief moments to enjoy this at my parents’ farm yesterday before a day full of packing, power washing, and insurance headaches. I think I may be getting my chops back
- could really enjoy the dark, cocoa essence that I’ve been reading about.
In case you need to know, it is impossible to put one’s life completely back together from scratch in three weeks working 14-16 hour days. Therefore, since it’s a lost cause anyway, I am going to resolve to carve out a little time to restore with a cuppa and a good book (right now, I’m hanging on to my Good Book for dear life) every day. Life can wait.
Thanks again, Doulton, for providing this lovely respite-in-a-pouch.
The Final Sipdown: Day 26.1
The tea. The tea. The tea is on fire. We don’t need no water, let the…
This tea is smoky. Smoky in a way that has me on the fence between wood burning fire and cigarettes. It would be full on firewood, if it weren’t, maybe ironically, for the vegetal quality underlying the whole thing. For me it’s giving it that nicotine-y tinge that’s making me think I won’t be finishing this cup.
The other flavors in it are savory and salty. There’s also a peppery note that is hitting the tip of my tongue. This is one of the least grassy green teas I’ve ever had, and were it not for the lightness of flavor beneath the smoke [and the coloring of the liquid] I may have pegged it for a black tea.
The sweeter notes don’t come into play for me until the end, and then it has an almost fruity sense about it. That fruit, however, is lending a more sickly quality than sweet and fresh…until the aftertaste really kicks in and the liquid is completely gone. Then it’s like a Febreze commercial.
I don’t know. I don’t mind a smoky tea, but this one’s poking at my gag reflex. The combination of flavors just doesn’t make any sense to me, and there isn’t really anything enjoyable about the profile as a whole. A pleasant aftertaste alone does not a good tea make.
Ah well. I appreciate Carolyn sending this to me nonetheless. And now it’s gone! Good things all around.
Teas Downed: 32
So I’ve been sitting on this one for almost a year thanks to Tamm. I’ve tried some here and there and well…it’s one of those teas that you don’t want advertise that it’s in your cabinet. I also have realized that after being a steepsterite for two years now and that The Simple Leaf ceased to be before I became an avid tea drinker. To my dismay, but I’m also realizing the freshness window might be waning. I’ve been making cups here and there just saving it for special time or when I just really want a good tea(like the Imperial Pu-Erh I keep on hand). Today I felt like I needed a pick me up. It’s been really crazy at work. Which happens every year at this time because we are a station that goes all Christmas music for a month. Oddly enough we are one of three radio stations that goes all Christmas music every year. How Cleveland became a Christmas music battleground…I don’t know. It also means it takes me longer to get music logs done as the music director because I have to look over the logs more with a fine tooth comb. Besides that this is time of the year that things get tight financially in our house(which also means drink what ya got because not too many new purchases are going to be made). This year more so than others since my wife is working part-time instead of full, and there aren’t nearly as many wedding gigs as there are during the summer. The wee man has been battling his first cold the less sleep he gets the less sleep mommy and I get. This seemed like a good idea this morning to make a full pot. So I pulled out the pouch and breathed in the goodness. I breathed in an aroma of cocoa that was just outstanding. I could feel an endorphin rush that brought a smile to my face. I have seen this one compared to a black oolong, beans, raisins, chocolaty. Yes it’s all the above. Like Assam and his cousin Ceylon were hanging out a swanky jazz club. Listening to the band do their best rendition of Brubeck’s-Take 5 and throwing back Scotch on the rocks(Macallan not Glenfiddich). So what I needed today. Normally I’ll make a cup of Mate, Pu-Erh, and Coffee in the morning. Today only the coffee and Dawn. I don’t know if there is too much to say but this is just an exceptional tea. After searching the internet high low for other places that carry tea from Arunachal Pradesh sadly there is only one. It is very much like an Assam Oolong. So good.